Monday, June 29, 2015

The 12 Things I Want to Teach My Boys

There are four kiddos in our family.  Two girls and two boys.  And let me tell you, I have decided that boys are harder to raise.  Seriously!  The girls were easy- mostly.  But the boys, wow.  There are so many things that we feel we need to teach them.  We want them to be ready to take on the world, marry if they so choose, and make a mark on the world for God.

So my boys, here is what I want to teach you!

RESPECT- For authority, for adults, and for girls.  We require "yes ma'am" and "no ma'am" in our home to foster a sense of respect for those that are older than us.  We try to teach our children to look people in the eyes when speaking to them, to stand when someone older enters the room, and to defer to others.  Do we miss the mark sometimes?  Yes!  But we are all a work in progress.

CHIVALRY- I know that most guys do not show up on white horses and sweep ladies off their feet, but we do still believe in chivalry in this house.  Opening doors for ladies, offering your seat, or walking on the street side of them down the street.  I want my boys to treat the woman in their lives in such a way that makes them feel special, cared for, and protected.

HOW TO LOVE-  This is a hard one to teach in some ways.  We shower our kids with love and hopefully they see that and emulate it.  While we do not encourage too much "PDA" as my grandmother used to call it (public displays of affection), we do want them to see a healthy marriage where hugs and kisses are given freely and "I love you" rolls freely off our lips. We want them to know that God wants us to love our spouses like He loves us- sacrificially.

HOW TO BE A GOOD FRIEND- A friend loves at all times.  Are we teaching patience, humbleness, listening skills?  Are we teaching our boys to lay down their life for a friend?  To stand by them through thick and thin?  In our life of moving every few years are we showing them how important true friends are and how to work hard to have them and keep them?

HOW TO BE A PROVIDER- We want to teach our men to be the providers of their families.  We want them to know that money is not everything but it is something important to have a handle on.  We want them to be good stewards of their money and be able to lead their families in those skills.  We also want them to understand that providing is not just about money.  It is equally important to provide stability, love, and support to their families and friends.

MONEY MANAGEMENTDave Ramsey anyone?  ;)  Actually, any wise spending plan will do. I am convinced one does not have to make millions to be able to provide.  Thank goodness, right? Good money management and a good plan will take you far.  When you know where your money goes and you are a good steward of what God has blessed you with, you can not only provide for and bless your family but others as well.

SELF SUFFICIENCY- Too many kiddos today carry an entitlement mentality around with them. They believe they can always get what they want and not have to work for it.  That mom and dad will always provide.  We want our boys to know that we will always be there for them, but we also want to teach them the life skills they need to be able to be a functioning adult in the real world.  Things like changing the oil and tires on a car, survival skills and situational awareness, how to wash clothes and the dishes, what to do with a hammer and nails, and how to start a fire, cook a meal, and fire a gun.

WHAT NOT TO WEAR- Don't laugh, but there are too many young people out there who have never been taught what not to wear.  Or at least how to dress appropriately for certain situations.  We want to teach our boys that what they wear to hang out with their buddies is not the same thing they wear out to dinner.  And those things are different from what to wear to a funeral or an opera.  We teach them to think multi-generational, as what you think is ok may not be for your grandparents.  My husband tells the boys that you can never be overdressed, but you will stand out like a sore thumb when you are underdressed.  Clothes don't make a man, but they sure make an impression!

HOW TO BE A LEADER-  Of their homes.  Of their communities. Of their families. I want them to be bold in leadership without being a tyrant.  To lovingly lead their future wives and children with clear direction and a lot of love. I want them to learn that leaders often lead from behind- being a cheerleader and motivator.  Other times call for leaders to forge the way for others-being the first to clear the path

HOW TO BE A PROTECTOR- Can they defend themselves and others against harm?  Are they situationally aware at all times?  Right now that job in our family is that of my husband, but eventually the torch will be passed to our boys for their own families and we need to be teaching them those skills. Even more than that, are they being taught to protect others' freedoms, emotions and hearts?  Do they put others before themselves?

PURITY- It may not be what society teaches, but it is what we teach in our home.  Our bodies were meant to be shared only with the one God calls us to partner in life with.  No one else.

FAITH- Our family grows in faith daily, but we work hard at it.  We have nightly family devotions and we work hard to point our kids to God.  We want them to not just know God but to have a relationship with Him, to love Him with all their hearts and to cling to Him always.  Life is not always easy and it frequently throws us a curve ball.  Faith can and will see you through!

Oh friends, the list could go on and on.  Some days the weight of it all overwhelms me, especially in this season of our lives.  But the importance of it all pushes us forward with determination.  God has made these boys with amazing potential, and I pray that we as parents will help them reach it!  May we trust in Him to guide us and then allow Him to get ALL the credit.

Linking up with friends-


Hearts for Home Blog Hop

Friday, June 26, 2015

34 weeks of Clean! Week 26- The Dreaded Storage Room/Attic

Confession time! Here is what happens when you are hosting a 34 Weeks of Clean series!  Each time you clean a room, stuff gets shoved to the storage area.  Some of it was to give away, some were items that needed to go to the dump, (like the broken office chair) and some things were just in a holding pattern.  Add that to the chaos in my current life situation, and well, you see what happened. 

Don't worry, hubby, I promise better pictures are to come.


I took some tables out I needed and dumped it all in the floor! Nice, huh?!

I share this with you to say, things happen.  Life happens.  Not even the Queen of Clean, whomever she may be, leads a perfectly clean and organized life.  I know, can you believe it?  So while we are doing our best to take back our homes, we must also give ourselves the grace to just do the best we can.

BUT, no excuses.  Let's do our best!

On that note- today we are tackling those pesky storage areas and attics.  Well, today and maybe a few more days this week! ;)

This actually represents two separate places.
I know I have encouraged you not to spend lots of money buying things to help you organize, but I broke down and bought a new storage shelf system with my awesome 13 year old helped me assemble.  I will say, I do think we often buy "things" to help us organize like buckets, baskets and such, and then wind up with just as much stuff as we had, just disguised in pretty holders.  Don't fall into that trap.  Remember that one of our goals is to pare down our stuff.  But, I do realize we have some things we need to keep, though probably not as much as we think if we are being honest.  That being said, to get all the stuff off our floors we did put this rack in place and then put stuff back a little neater.

So storage rooms and attics, here we come!
  • If at all possible, take everything out.  This was not possible for us, so we concentrated on sections at a time.
  • Sweep out the area!  Don't forget the cobwebs in the rafters.  Boo hiss on spiders!  Have I ever told you I am afraid of spiders?
  • Go through everything BEFORE you put it back.  Get rid of things you do not need (no hoarding), do not use, or is no longer useful.  Remember the "Do I use it? Would I buy it again?" rule!
  • Make a plan!  Please don't skip this step.  Think about where you want to put things BEFORE you do so.  It will save you time and energy.  Ask me how I know this.
  • Be creative in storage!

Unless you are in transition, I would honestly have to tell you that if you do not have enough room to store your "stuff," you may have too much "stuff."  It is my dream to not have anything in storage areas with the exception of seasonal things like clothes and Christmas decorations, but until we stop moving that is not reality.  One day soon, maybe!  The only thing we can do in the meantime is keep the stuff to a minimum and remember that our joy does not come from things, but in God alone.  

And maybe a newly cleaned room! ;)

Our giveaway basket pile is growing!  What is one thing you would like to see in the basket if it arrives on your doorstep?


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Quietly Fighting

One of the things I have missed about our current location is an ongoing women's Bible study.  I love studying the Word with fellow believers, but quite honestly, I also just love the time with women.  It's time that is set aside to rejoice in our mutual love for God.

As the years go by though, I more clearly see that we all need a time to rejoice in our differences as well.  We need a safe place to come together and feel free to be ourselves.  To not be judged, especially because of the choices we make.

Women are like that, you know.  Have you noticed?  We smile sweetly at each other and then judge quietly.  In the modern day world of social media - not so quietly.  It is unfair, it is hurtful, and God calls it sin.

Do you?

In her newest online Bible Study, The Quiet Fight Among WomenAngie Tolpin tackles some of those very hard issues and gives hope to a different way of doing life together.  You are going to love Angie!  As you listen to her speak, you will feel like you are talking to an old friend.  She obviously has a heart for women and speaks truth with care and love.  Here is what she says in Unit 2-

"...most of the division that we see among women today is actually over issues that are not eternal, issues that Paul would have labeled disputable." 

That is it, ladies - we draw lines in the sand for each other and cause division among women based on preferences or personal convictions, rather than God's law.  Issues like whether to vaccinate or not, public school or homeschool, breast feed or bottle, or to drink kombucha or coffee become battle lines in our friendships. 

What causes this division? Often it is because we have taken a non-eternal issue and made it an idol in our lives, or we have seen the pros or cons of a topic in our lives so it has become personal.  For something to become personal for us is one thing, but when we make it personal for others we are sinning.  Our identity should not come from things, but rather from Christ alone! As Angie says, we are "making idols out of liberty choices."

In her 8 unit online study, The Quiet Fight Among Women, you will be challenged to think about these divisors as sin and then how to make changes for the better.

Unit One- Outline and Intro
Unit Two- The Root of Conflict
Unit Three- The Comparison Trap
Unit Four- Redeeming the Division
Unit Five- The Grace That Christ Offers
Unit Six- Rejoicing and Grieving Together
Unit Seven- Authentic Community
Unit Eight- Cultivating Unity

Let me tell you what is great about this study, outside of just the content - which by the way is amazing. Though online, Angie encourages journaling.  Not only are there workbook pages you can print out but you can also record your answers online and save them.  The format is very easy to work through.  Each video segment is just a few minutes long, followed by written portions to read and often followed by a multiple choice question to highlight a point Angie discussed.  This layout is repeated several times per lesson, but at any point you can save your progress and exit the study. Angie has a busy life with kids and  understand the demands on our time.  Any work you complete on the computer saves into a workbook that you can access and see how you have responded.

The Quiet Fight Among Women Bible Study can be done alone or as a group.  Angie has recently added a Group Leader Kit option.  In it you will find-

 - 6 minute video for Group Leaders
– Group Discussion Questions {PDF download}
– Letter to Group from Angie {PDF download}
– Tips & Tricks for Small Group Interaction PDF
– Group Dynamics Etiquette {PDF download}
– Prayer Audio from Angie to Group Leader
– Access to Private Group Leader FB Group
– $10 off coupon for the course, for all those in the small group

One of the things that has stuck with the most from this study is this statement from Angie; "We need to allow each other to be the person God has made us to be."


When we walk away from God's laws and make up our own, becoming prideful about the choices we make, and then judge others based on how they live up to our standards, we are sinning against a sister in Christ.  So many of us are guilty of making idols out of lifestyle choices.  Me included.

This study is challenging.  It is humbling to look at the sins in our lives and label them as such.  But it is also freeing, to ourselves and others.

Oh friends, that we may learn to repent of our sins, ask for forgiveness when needed, and forge a new path!

Our friendships will be blessed.  Our lives as well!

To share the excitement of her new Bible Study, Angie is hosting a fun giveaway. You can enter to win an Apple iWatch and course giveaway by using the rafflecopter below!  Quick, only 9 days left to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Here's the Plan- Homeschool High School Blog Hop

It is often funny to me that people are not amazed that we homeschool, but that we homeschooled for high school.  Teaching reading and math seems insignificant to people, but move it to a high school level and well, that blows them away for some reason.

I have mentioned before that we did not start this journey with the intention of homeschooling our kids forever.  Really, I had all intentions of sending the kids to the private school sector when they got older.  But things changed.  A lot of things. God has a way of doing that, doesn't He?

Homeschooling High School Blog Hop 2015

I loved learning with my kids.
I enjoyed spending time with them.
I loved seeing them grow and mature.
I delighted in seeing their test scores continue to rise
I loved the relationships schooling at home was building between our kids.
And eventually I could not imagine doing things any other way.  Even for high school.

I know, I know, some people think high schoolers are scary.  I love them.  Yes, they can be emotional and wishy washy sometimes, but, hey, so can I!  On a whole though, they are fascinating creatures who have brought me a lot of joy.  And so far we have rather successfully gotten two through the high school years, with two to go.

I can do this!

Good news- you can too!  It all starts with a little planning, so let's talk about that today as we continue in our Homeschool High School Blog Hop.  It is not really that hard, but there are a few things you should know in the beginning of this journey.
  • The first step is to know what your state's requirements are for graduation.  Some states require three sciences, some four.  Other want physical education every year, while others couldn't care less.  A quick peek online will tell you what your state requires.
  • Your next step is to plan ahead.  While you may not yet know what specific curriculum you will be using, you should at least know what year you will be fitting in each subject.
For example-

8th Grade

Physical Science
U.S. History

9th Grade
English Comp. 1
Algebra  1
Church History
Foreign Language
10th Grade
English Comp. 2
World History
Foreign Language
11th Grade
English Comp. 3
Algebra  2

12th Grade
English Comp. 4

Science Elective

And yes, you read that correctly.  We start some high school subjects in our 8th grade year.  As long as it is highschool level work, it is fine.  Just make sure you document EVERYTHING is case anyone questions you.

I recommend you also begin to look at colleges or any program your child might be interested in by 9th grade.  No one is asking you to make a commitment yet, but you do not want to find out in your child's junior or senior year that there is a requirement for a specific program that you have no time to fit in. Know your options and you will not get yourself into a bind.

If your child is not college bound, begin to look at the options that better suit him or her and help them work in those specific directions.  A student bound for nursing school needs more science and math classes than someone considering a history or art major.  Someone headed to a military academy needs to make sure they have specific boxes checked off to compete for those coveted slots. Technical training, such as needed for an EMT, can begin at age 18.  Don't limit your child - think outside the box.

  • Dual Credit what you can! I have mentioned this in the past, but it bears repeating.  If your child can take a college level class during high school and get credit for a high school class AND a college class, why wouldn't you do that?  Many colleges offer a discount for high school juniors and seniors and it is a great way to get ahead of the game.  My high school senior will only be taking dual credit classes her senior year and will be able to enter college as a junior.  It is a win win situation!
Keep in mind that what your state requires for graduation may not be the same as what a specific college require for admittance.  A perfect example of this would be in the foreign language department.  While many states just want two years of a foreign language, some schools request three years and some none at all.

The bottom line is that you need to know the requirements for both and decide what is best for your student.  Homeschooling high school is doable and with a little foresight and planning it can be done well!  And even easily!

Join us back here July 29th as we discuss the world of electives for highschoolers!  Until then you can see what some friends are planning and how they are making those decisions-

Meg from Adventures with Jude on Planning Your Homeschool High School
Chareen at Every Bed of Roses with thoughts on Planning to Homeschool through the High School Years
April from ElCloud Homeschool shares Homeschooling High School: Planning For High School
Debra over at Footprints in the Butter asks: You mean I have to PLAN our Homeschool High School?!?
Lisa at Golden Grasses says Don't Panic! Homeshcooling High School Blog Hop
Debbie at Debbie's Homeschool Corner Planning Out a High School Program
Gena over at I Choose Joy! shares her The Top Tip for Planning Homeschool High School
Kym at Homeschool Coffee Break shares on Planning and Preparing for Success
Tess from Circling Through This Life shares on Planning the High School Years
Erica over at Be The One shares Planning and Record Keeping for High School
Jennifer from A Glimpse of Our Life on Planning For Homeschooling Highschool
Carol over at Home Sweet Life on Making A Plan
Wendy at Life at Rossmont shares thoughts on Planning for High School
Cristi from Through the Calm and Through the Storm shares on Making High School Plans
Dawn Oaks at Double O Farms shares Planning for the High School Years
Leah from As We Walk Along the Road shares her thoughts on Making Plans for Homeschooling Through High School
Leah from As We Walk Along the Road shares her thoughts on Making Plans for Homeschooling Through High School

Linking up with friends!
I Choose Joy!

Monday, June 22, 2015

A Visit From Friends

A while back I mentioned friends that leave footprints on your hearts...

Yep, these are some of those friends.  To help us pass the summer faster, they drove all the way from Texas to spend a heavenly 7 days with us.  It was magical and much needed.  We have beautiful memories to treasure in our hearts!

A big thank you to this lady, whom I have been blessed to call friend for over 19 years.  We raised our kiddos together, been stationed together, vacationed together, ridden out hurricanes together, and shared our hopes and dreams together.  I would not be the person I am today (the good parts!) without her love and treasured friendship!

We are missing two of her precious children in these pictures (darn them growing up) but most of these kiddos have known each other since birth.

Riley and Nathan were born three weeks apart and are the best of friends.  They share the passion of singing, theater, and old movies.

And these two - boy, have they spent hours playing and goofing off.  Get them together after a few year's sepreation and they do not miss a beat- picking up right where they left off.

Days were filled with games,

  And eating,

And lots of singing!

Good times, great friends!

Thank you L family for loving us and doing life with us!  You are treasured and loved more than you will ever know.

Proverbs 17:17, "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity."