Sep 9, 2014

Homeschool (and Parenting) Wisdom


Slow down.

Do less.

Breathe deeply.

Choose to be present.
(which means not half present, 
not multitasking,
 not keeping an eye on your Pinterest
 or email
 or texts.
And certainly it means that phone 
shouldn't be an extension of your arm!)

Make a list of things that you would like to do together.
(then do them...
one at a time
 in a slow chew your food,
 so you can savor it,
 kind of way!)

Hug your kids.

Kiss your kids.

Make food together.

Go on a picnic 
(you can even do it in your living room floor
 when the weather just isn't quite outside picnic worthy!)


Do messy and not so messy crafts.

Go to the library...
you will never regret time spent together gathering books.

Read together.  
(sprawl out together in one room. 
 Tea and snacks make it perfect!)

Enjoy the outdoors.

Go for a walk.

Go for a hike.

Go in search of something new.

Get in the car and take an old fashioned ride...
like we did in childhood before gas prices were so outrageous. 

 Choose to live extravagantly just for a day.

Reach out and be kind to someone who needs it.

Find an elderly person to befriend. 
 It will mean the world to everyone involved.


Don't become overwhelmed and lose focus that your time is short
 and slowing down actually reduces stress.

Say no to activities.  
Weed down to the ones that are necessary.
Be brave and say no to them for a season. 
 (trust me you will live!)

Thank God for what He has given you.  

Pray together.

Teach them to love God.  To love family.  To love others.  

Read your Bible...it is full of wisdom.
Teach your kids to read theirs each day
 and tell them it is God's love letter to them 
and to you!

Childhood is fleeting.  
You blink and your kids are grown-up.  
Make a decision to live in a new slow downed pace...
and in it I promise you that will find joy unspeakable!


If you are a new homeschooling parent I welcome you to your new year!  
Don't be afraid!
Enjoy it. 

 I encourage you to stop and ask God to speak to your heart.
  Ask Him to help you keep it simple and learn to love the spot He has you in.
*If you are a parent minus the homeschooling.  Ditto!

Remember...children grow so fast. 
 Be intentional in how you live out their childhood
 and your days as their loving parent.


Aug 20, 2014

Testimony



Testimony:  
your witness,
 your profession (of faith),
 your confession (to what you have experienced)
your declaration (manifestation)
It is your story!

It isn't just knowledge, it's about sharing your relationship (Jesus + you) with others.

Ever have something continually pop into your head (heart)?  Well, for the past few weeks God has been depositing "testimony" into my spirit.  When this happens I always begin to look around me and to ask the Holy Spirit what it is in it that He wants to teach me. I dig in deeper and open up my bible and study tools to get a deeper and clearer understanding of the word itself (and the meaning within the word!)  I listen and look for the word or deed being done.

So in pressing in to understand testimony, 
 I have discovered a hidden gem. 

I have shared my faith many times over the years, a few times behind a microphone, in group situations, one on one situations as the Lord led me and on this here blog.  But never did I truly understand the impact and power that is within each of our testimonies.

  As we share, it releases the power of God to go out and to reach the hearts, minds and souls of those who have ears to hear.  It can change lives, open doors and bring others to greater faith, never mind to salvation!

BUT

This year for our homeschool (and also in our regular family devotion time) we will be pressing in to learn HOW to share our testimony.  We will be jotting down our thoughts, which in turn will lead us to share our testimonies with each other.  Like all things, practice makes perfect!  (not saying that in any given situation that you can't just spontaneously share your testimony, but I am saying that with practice you will be more confident and clearer with what you are trying to express).  

This in turn will give us MORE opportunity to let God open doors for us to minister to others for Him!  Even the smallest child can do this (and so can YOU!)

I feel like God is asking me to be 'the poster child of testimony.'  Perhaps, in me sharing it with you, that God will begin to stir your heart to share your testimony with others.  Perhaps you have, perhaps you haven't done this yet. 

Wondering how many of you have officially shared your testimony with someone?  

Was it recently or do you too need to dust of your story 
and get ready to willingly and joyfully share it!


Revelations 12:11

They defeated him because of the Lamb’s blood
and because of the message of their witness.
Even when facing death
they did not cling to life.


Jul 30, 2014

Favoritism and Favor


Favoritism. 
You've heard of it, you've been on either side of it and you can write home about it, I am sure.
It can be great or it can be painful, depending on which side you find yourself on in this matter of favoritism.
We ask and pray for the favor of God, but how do we act when it isn't all about us?
Case in point~drawing it out...
*you are not the one getting the favor
*over and over you are not the one getting the favor
*you find yourself not getting picked (remember gym class?)
*you are not the teacher's favorite
*you are not your youth leader's favorite 
*you seem to be out of the loop when it comes to the word "Favorite"
*you have been in a group setting where there is a 'clique' and know the pain of not being in it.

As I was reading this chapter of the Bible this morning (John 11), I came to the part where it lists Lazarus' family members.  The story is mainly about Lazarus being raised from the dead and God getting the glory
(when people gain faith and believe in Him). However, it struck me that sometimes we find pain in the position we are finding ourselves in.
 It moved in my heart that though Jesus loved them all, that Mary doesn't have her name listed in this sentence.  I looked it up in several versions and in most it didn't.  Now did Mary rejoice that she was loved or did she get caught up in the fact that He just called her 'her sister.'  

Let's think on Mary and all she is about.  We know she was the one sitting by Jesus' feet while Martha was busy running the house.  We know she is sitting down waiting (and mourning), while Martha is running to Jesus to ask Him what is up with His delay. 
 Did Mary feel the pains of not being His favorite?  Was it enough that He loved her.  In her pain did she remember that essential fact, or did she get lost in the situation?

How are you doing? 
 How is your focus?
 Have you felt the pain of exclusion?  Have you wrestled with watching someone else being the favorite, when in your heart you are longing for it to be you? Does it feel like Jesus has forgotten you too?
Favor and Favoritism are not the same thing.  God does one, but never the other.  People of course do both, which is where our problem (and pain) derive.


How about we clear our soul of all of this by holding onto what this verse tells us:

John 15:10
 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commands and remain in His love.

Well, if we learn contentment and that 10th commandment that speaks of  "be happy with what you have and don't want other people's things" we can abide (stay, remain, hold fast, not waiver, to wait for) in that love. Things can be so much more than stuff, I think it can even be found in comparison of "us to them" kind of thoughts.

Favor is all about timing.  It can be favor with God or man, but the Word tells us God doesn't show favoritism (Romans 2:11).  

 Don't get lost in life's circumstances, remember you are love, you are not forgotten and God's favor and timing is perfect.

Hold fast and tell your soul (that may be wrestling with this) to pipe down because
 God's got you!

Jul 22, 2014

WELCOME HOME!!!!!




Four years ago my oldest fell in love with a fine young man, who happened to go to our church and just so happened to be leaving for boot camp.  Our lives became a sudden whirlwind of events, as so often happens with the suddenlies of God.

After a year of long distance courtship, they picked a wedding date.  It was all fast and furious, due to the fact that our fine young man was about to deploy to Qatar. 

A beautiful homemade wedding happened in the beautiful girl's Grandparents garden. The very blessed parents got to keep their first born-homemade daughter for 6 months, whilst her beloved was off serving our country under blistering heat.  

Then...
we took her to the airport and kissed her so-long!
Many tears came, as the troop of us said our so-longs.
We had never been separated for longer than a mission trip or an adoption pick-up...
so this was going to be stepping into new territory for all of us.

Would they come back??  Would they reenlist?  Would we get to grow along side of each other serving God, as the vision her parents had been given so long ago?

Well...
we don't know all the details yet, but we do know that today

TODAY

they will drive up our long gravel driveway and begin to unpack their lives into ours.  We will welcome them back with glee...our homemade and our son-given!  We have moved and rearranged, so they could find a haven beneath our shingles, while they job hunt and prepare for the coming new adventures that God has awaiting for them.

Am I excited?  With tears in my eyes this Mama says, "Oh, yes!!"

Finishing the last minute details of house arranging and then waiting for the gravel to sound the arrival, as they drive the U-haul and tandem vehicles up the long drive and into our arms.



God is so faithful...thank you for sharing my JOY!!

Jul 13, 2014

Honoring Our Airman~ Air Force Tribute!


A Tribute to my Son-in-Love~ JoJo

Today is your 25th birthday and we want to honor you with a post in tribute not only to this milestone birthday, but to your service to our country.  Thank you for saying 'yes' to God, and signing up to protect and serve us (all) in such trying times. 

 We are so proud of you.  

Though you are my son through marriage to my daughter, we love you as if you were always ours.  I think you were our fastest adoption and you slipped right in with such grace among such an unruly tribe as ours. ;-)

Today you are so many miles away, packing up and heading back to the next adventure God has you and our oldest Princess.  Wish we could help you pack up that truck, or help with the driving all your belongings back to home base.  We are excited to chart your adventure with all of the kids, we have a map and a dry marker ready to follow your course!

JoJo,  thank you for serving us these last four years.  This was our first experience with a family member in the service.  Thank you for keeping us so close to you, through the many miles that kept us apart.  You have blessed not only your new Father and Mother-in-Loves, but all the rest of the smaller tribe members as well.  So many big and little faces here adore you, each and everyone can't wait for you to pull up the gravel driveway and cross our threshold.   We can't wait to hug you, to squeeze you tight and to engage the next step of your married adventure with you at close range (temporarily under our eaves). Yeah and you are bringing back our babe with you too!!

This morning I asked God if He would give you a prophetic word (a love note from the Father!)


My son JoJo,
I am glad you said 'Yes' to my call to this four years of Air Force adventure. 
 It has been a 'training' for you.

I have given you a sensitive-tender spirit.  The ground of your heart is form-able in my hands.  You also have the gift of careful listening and a watchfulness that comes from Me.  As you continue to follow Me, these precepts and quiet understandings will grow.  It is how I made you, but you are still in the process of growing into it.  I will continue to build on this, it is a strength from Me.

 I will show you hidden things, things that others will not be aware of.  You will get insight into spiritual matters (knowing hearts of men/people).  You will have an increased level of discernment and I will show you how to take it and apply it for Kingdom business.  

I have made 'openings' for you~  I go before you.  Some of these openings will seem 'odd' to you.  Pray, and the same knowing that came to you as you embarked onto My path for you into the Air Force, will come.  It is not in the figuring, but in the finding and knowing Me.  

I am pleased with you.  I want you to pursue Me with fantastic, unabounding energy- run after Me!  This run will not leave you road weary, but energized.  It will fill you, drive you and complete you.  The course won't always be easy, but you are made (and up for) the challenge.

 Put your heart in my hand and see my Goodness poured out over your life.

Understanding and Knowledge are my gifts to you-accept them, use them, touch those around you and I do know this will be stretching, however I made you for this purpose.  You will win others to me through relationship-you will speak life to those who don't see the way.  I am The Way-and I will guide you to show them the way.

Son, I love you- follow hard after Me.  It's not about comfort but about coming into my fullness and seeing all I have planned out for you.  The plans are great, the detailing specific~it WILL pour from My heart into yours.

Please son, say 'Yes' again.

Love~
Your Father-in-Heaven


And here are some more for the rest of you to enjoy....















all other photos thanks to my daughter Bella!!
 (good sneaky work helping me with this!)

We love you and glad you are ours...
happy 25th birthday and thanks for keeping the Land of the Free just that!

Jul 4, 2014

To Have Loved and Lost


Oh Trinkilo!  
Sweet Trinkilo.

You showed up as such a surprise at such an unexpected moment.  
A blessing for my soon to be "out of the nest" daughter.  She loved you, you were precious to her.  She cared for you, like I imagine any good mother would.

But we didn't know, nor did we expect that your kitty life would be so short. 

 For the first few weeks you grew up under my roof, as my daughter had.  Then as she packed up her belongings to begin her new life across the country with her beloved Air Force husband.  She packed you up and carried you along with her most valued things.  

I heard how many adventures you had that first year.  How full of life you were and how much more they loved you.  Funny how you think you have hit the love peak, only to find out there is still more to grow in it.  Grow they did.  Grow we all did in love with you. 

 My first little fur grand baby, you will be greatly missed. 

 I will remember you full of life, jumping at the laser dot on the wall, as your Air Force Daddy gave you a bit of exercise in the evening.  I will remember all the photos that I got from your proud Mama, who tried to keep me well posted on your daily doings on McChord Air Force Base in Washington state.

You were loved until your very last here upon this earth.  
You will continue to be loved in our hearts forever.


Jul 1, 2014

A Fun and Educational Learning Program!!!!


Several weeks back, before the finishing of another school year, (end of year 18 of homeschooling!!!)
 I was approached by a team member from K5 Learning to review their online site.  I was excited for the chance, as I was looking for a way to do some review for 4 of my home schooled students.  The site is not just for home schooled children, but for any parent or child who wants to open up to some excellent educational opportunities online, with this very supportive company. 

The site offers reading, math and spelling practice.  I must say that when I tested each of my children, prior to their starting with the program, I felt a little daunted.  My daughter in kindergarten seemed to need more help than I was supposed to be giving.  I am not sure if there was suppose to be audible sound help with the directions, or if there just was a glitch in the system.  I did offer her help in figuring out what needed to be done in each tested area in reading. My daughter turned 6 in early April and was reading at about first grade level in my estimation.  My other 3 students, grade 5 and two 6th graders, managed on their own quite well  in the testing area.

The test results came the next day and we were able to jump into 6 fun-filled weeks of hassle-free extra school! (I didn't tell my kids that it was still 'school,' as they thought it was merely fun!)  The work was challenging enough to hold their interest, but not so difficult that they were discouraged in any of the areas they happily dove into.

 I was encouraged and really was impressed by how the program was set up and how it educated them without their even being aware that learning was going on.  Learning areas included; arithmetic, reading, phonics, spelling, geometry, vocabulary, sight words, math facts, comprehension, money/time and fractions.


Now let me say that my kids don't do a lot of computer stuff before 7th grade.  So this was exciting for them to be able to have a program at their level to be able to attach themselves to.  One that was specific to their level (as I did share their test results with them) and fun enough that it was never a battle for their daily time on the site.


Now this program is intended for grades kindergarten up to the ending of grade 5.  However, my thought was review is always good, and upon testing I learned that my 5th and sixth grader needed some attention in math and in reading comprehension.  (both tested lower than the grade just finished.)  

I contacted the company several times with questions on placement level (for my kindergartner- who they said was at second grade level in all areas).  They were quick to respond and offer me help.  

Now as their Mama and teacher, I was aware of some of their weak areas already.  We had set to a plan of more summer reading and continuing in last years math for extra help in the summer months.  This program was perfect for the first part of our expedition in learning. it touched on many things we had covered, but some that were brand spanking new to them that their DVD math program had not yet begun to teach.  When new concepts came, they pressed in and 'got it.' 

 Yah!!

My kids thoroughly enjoyed their daily time in the program.  Each segment gets rewarded with some fun games in between lessons.  They never had to be prodded to sit and do any of the sections of  K5 Learning.  They quickly learned that the game area was just within reach if they continued to the end of each learning segment. They looked forward to it and spent many hours over our 6 week trial 'having at it.'

The weeks went by quickly, as time always seems to do and we were sad to see our trial come to an end.  I must say that while each child had their turn and happily memorized their individual username and password, the other 3 would often gather around silently watching what the program would offer them that time.  It really was like when you turn on a light in the dark and all the moths and such come to the area to see what all the excitement is about. Hee-hee.  

The program has you set up the child with a username and password, which they use to enter into the site.  Also you set up a parents access area, so you can check on progress and see both the strengths and weaknesses of the program.  It is done very clearly and easy for any parent to be able to access their students work.  You can try a trial too!

I will happily link you to the site and let you read the specifics yourself- K5 Learning.  I did not receive any payment for the review, other than a 6 week free trial subscription and an agreement to post an honest review.  I have been offered a $25 referral program reward, if anyone signs up through this post and lists me as their reason for wanting to try the program!


My review is honest and I hope it may help you in finding a great educational opportunity!
Have a great  learning filled summer friends!

I'll leave you with these heartfelt words from my 6 year old daughter, when asked what she thought of K5 Learning,
 "Oh, I loved it Mama!" 
 "Getting the frogs into the spaceship was so fun!" 
"Thanks for letting me do it Mama!"




Jun 26, 2014

When a Life is Broken



When a Life is Broken

Deep stuff to think about.  It could be talking about any of us, or perhaps all of us.  
So what is the point.  'When a life is broken', okay, it's kind of a cliff hanger.  Then what?
Does the story end in tragedy or is there a happy ending?

Well, it depends.  

It depends on "who" is writing your story.  If you're the pull yourself up by the boot straps kind, maybe you can muster a happy ending to your life story.Maybe, but probably not. If you have struggled and found yourself on a constant down winding path, then perhaps you can't see how it could end well.  Perhaps you've even lost hope in the fact of a turn around to your story.

Let me interject something that might be worth chewing on;
"Who is writing your story?"

 Did you know you have other options, you don't have to continue trying to write your own story.

"What are you talking about Kimmie?" you may very well be asking at this point.

Well, I am firmly stating that if you aren't happy with either your past story, present story or maybe even future story's outlook, then maybe you ought to ponder what I am going to say.

Life is short.  This is the only shot at life you are going to get.  It's a one time deal.  Does that make you begin to sweat considering the current situation of your life.  Well, if it does, even slightly, than may I offer something that will radically change your story.  

If you know me or read this old blog you will know that I am a "Jesus girl."  

Jesus is your answer.  He is the answer to everything and it is pretty easy.  
Let me walk you through it in a few simple steps.

1.  We aren't perfect (not even close)
The Bible tells us that all of us (ALL) are sinners.

2.  We can't get our story right in the end without an intervention by God.

3.  No matter how hard we try "ain't nothing gonna fix our troubles but Jesus."

How can we connect with Jesus so he can write our story  (or rewrite our story!!! imagine that!!)

1.  Tell him you realize you are a sinner.

2.  Ask him to forgive you of your sins (past screw ups).

3.  Invite him into your life. (Let him write your story...make him Lord over your life.)

Okay that sounds fairly easy...what else Kimmie?

(ask him to help you find a church that will help you grow in your faith!)

(again,  ask him to come and help you understand and apply it)

3.  Connect at church...don't just show up- make yourself available to be known.  
Slipping in and out isn't going to help you.  Opening yourself up and allowing others in certainly will.

4.  Pray.  
God is listening and wants to hear you, meet you, talk to you and for you to get to know his voice.


As you do these things, guess what...He begins to rewrite your story.  You move on to a new chapter with new adventures.  It won't always be easy, but HE will be with you. This is the life of faith, a walk of trust and love. Not love like you have ever known, but a powerful love that comes through a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Jesus brings you into God's family and promises you a hope and a future!

  You can count on him and trust him.  He will never leave you or forsake you.  

Hope this helps you. 

 Praying for God to help you release your life story to Him. 
 It will be the best decision you will EVER make.  

Jun 23, 2014

A Love Note



Quite often I think of something that would be interesting to share, but life jumps in the way and perhaps lack of motivation, somehow my thoughts never quite land as I would like here.  Really I blame my Kindle that my husband bought me two years ago...seems she keeps me from the computer where I use to blog regularly. That and my Pinterest addiction.

Summer is officially here and hopefully more time for this mama to share her thoughts with you.  

At the moment I am up to my neck in yard work.  We hit a streak of rain and I kind of stopped gardening stuff to maintain house stuff.  Throw in having the last three rooms of our first floor wood floors being refinished, well you have another reason no blogging occurred.  Hmm.  

The floors look amazing and we are currently on the search for some larger area carpets.  I searched several non-carpeting stores with no luck (Home Depot, HomeGoods...).  

Well actually I thought I had some, but then after we carted home three new rugs, we quickly decided they were totally not the right size or color and had to be returned.  So back they went and the search for a 5 by 7 rug and a 10 by 12 rug and then an 8  by 10 rug are in order.  Hmm, and a runner to go along the hallway with that 5 by 7 rug.  

I really would love to find wool rugs, as I find them to hold up under our "destructive" living ways so much better.  Also dark and lots of colors seem to hide so much of life that occurs here.  Now you'd think I was asking for the moon, really.  It just isn't that easy. 

 My Knight is telling me to try some online carpet sites, but this little housewife is a tad leery.  I have the same problem with ordering books (curriculum for our home school) without first fingering through them, sniffing their pages (okay, maybe only the old ones I buy) and seeing if it will work for us.  The thought of not touching a rug or feeling the density of the pile just sends shiver-me-timbers down my spine.  But post this posting, I am going to see what my dear Knight has bookmarked for me to peruse.  

He says that the shipping is free, as is the returns on these sites he has found.  I just imagine me carting all these rugs back to the post office (which is near Timbuktu in correlation to our home) and trying to jam them back into some cardboard tube.  Did I mention that I can't fold sheets?  Well, maybe the flat ones, but never the fitted. (and yes, I did bookmark on Pinterest what the secret to folding them is, but honestly, it still, no matter how I try to tilt my head and figure out what all those steps mean, doesn't quite happen as the picture shows.)

Perhaps this will go differently than I am painting it for you, guess we will see.

How are you doing?  Are you up to your neck in projects?

I always imagine summer to be filled with lazy days and reading tons of books that don't seem to manage my attention any other season.  

The littlest Princess has a stack of laundry that looks more like a mountain than a mere load to be put away.  So I am off to do that first. Did I mention that Princess Mercy loves to wear all her clothes and that she had on 4 different outfits just today.  She is very passionate about dressing and what she should be seen in at any given moment. (sounds like a photo shoot opportunity and a blog post!!)  I am sure someday it will bring a huge smile to my face, but for tonight I am not quite dancing at the thought of getting it folded and put away.

Princess Mercy did say she would help me, in that cute 6 year old voice.  She said, "Mama I am going to put my pajamas on and then we can get to work."  As I finished drying the dinner dishes with the older girls, I saw her in a 5th outfit (that wasn't pj's) and saw her slip quickly out the front door to the soccer field that is our front yard at the moment.  It's World Cup time and the children here are out trying their skills in between popping on the tellie to see who won, who lost and who perhaps will be the ultimate winner of it all.

Okay, I let her slip past, because I was avoiding it too.  But now I must tend to it, or it just might ruin my hope of reading my library book tomorrow.

 I am  also trying to read a book called The Spiritual Man by
Watchman Nee.  Not a particularly light read, but one that I am currently fascinated by in learning about soul and Spirit. He uses the word, "soulish" which I had never heard termed before.  Interesting and amazing how God works it in after He has opened it to you.

Love to YOU...hope you'll drop me a line or two back...I could use a few love notes!

Jun 8, 2014

Do You Need Prayer?


Could you use a friend, someone to stand with you and lift up your heart concern to God?
I'd love to join you in that!  Please leave your need and together we can carry your burden and lay it before Jesus.

Hope your well ~ May God bless you today!

May 22, 2014

Making A Fortress


How often in life do we put walls up, trying to protect our hearts. It might begin as a mini-fortress of self protection, but it ends up being more like a prison that we are entrapped in.

  How often do we forget that we put those walls up.  We then begin to wonder why life isn't going so well. The fortress of our heart can be penetrated.  The fortress can be removed, but not in our own strength.

I challenge you today to give your heart a good checking.  See if you don't have protective walls in place that need to be taken down.  If after you ask God to search you, you discover that indeed there are 'walls' that need to be removed, then ask God to forgive you and help you to break them down.

Originally the box we put our self in seems like such a great idea, but walls always manage to keep out so many other things, besides the things that were hurting us.  They keep out people who might just be the one God sent to minister to our lives.  They keep out blessings that are trying to reach us, but can't because the walls divide us from them.  They keep out God's joy, which indeed is our strength, because walls or things that keep us separated don't allow joy to rule or reign. 

 His strength (and joy) come as we trust Him.  As we open up our hearts (and fortress) before Him and allow Him to bring us to new understanding of where our strength and protection must come from.  If we chose to be our own fortress, He will allow us that option, but it means that we forgo His strength and joy.

As children we enjoy a mini-fortress made of cardboard and paint, but as children- sons and daughters of the Most High God, we must realize that this is not the way in which we should live our lives out as His children.  

May today be the day that God helps you to break free and live with a new sense of joy and strength in Him.
After all the Word says that no weapon formed against us can prosper,
 I double dog dare you to let the 'fortress go!'


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