Clinging not Cruising…

Last February it hit me. Like a tidal wave. Out of nowhere.

Two months before we’d decided not to “cruise” in 2018. To throw our arms up and embrace the ride God was calling us to.

Anxiety wasn’t part of that plan.

Step 1: Meet with the doctor
Step 2: Take better care of myself
Step 3: Embrace Jeremy’s comforting words “You do you”
Step 4: Memorize verses like Psalm 46:1-“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”
Step 5: Do hard things (especially ones that make my heart race and palms sweat)
Step 6: Believe that this doesn’t define me

It’s been almost a year. There have been bad days, good days, and great ones.

II Timothy 1:7 has been my background music for months. “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

When fear takes the joy from our days, we embrace the tiny moments as grace.

And we worship.

Hard things don’t have to stop us, friends. They can cause us to pause. To fall on our faces. And to let His strength show itself perfect.

Because He faced the hardest thing, I can face hard things. You can face hard things.

Planned. Unplanned. Let’s cling. Not cruise. And find His grace totally sufficient.

“And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.” Colossians 1:27b

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DR Day 4!

We are tired tonight. Maybe my bones ache. It’s a good feeling somehow.

This morning we did a kids’ program in a neighborhood. 85ish people came. Our supplies dwindled. We tweaked as best we could. God is faithful. 

Could I please bring 1 or 10 of these sweet, brown faces home with us?

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This afternoon we worked at the church. We scrubbed paint off the floor. And my thoughts were…I.Am.On.My.Hands.And.Knees.Scrubbing.

How is this worship?

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Then Stephen’s quiet voice interrupts…”Can I bring y’all some ice water?”

Yes. Scrubbing floors can be worship. And bringing ice water. And holding little hands. And Jesus, aren’t You the one Who washed feet? Am I better than that?

Foolish me.

Love gives and gives and says I’ll do whatever is needed. Because that’s what He did.

“And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” (Isaiah 58:11)

Thoughts on Online Homeschool

Several people this school year have asked me about our experience with Liberty University Online Academy. Yes, this is a little off my blog’s focus (and long), but I thought it could be beneficial.

Some background info.:
-Stephen did the 3rd grade program with LUOA.
-He struggles with reading and has never liked school.
-I have a background in education but somehow lose resolve when teaching my own kids.
-We are very laid back around here when it comes to school. I love for the kids to learn hands-on (We lean toward Charlotte Mason ideas).

With that being said, LUOA could have set us up for failure. But it DIDN’T!

Here are some pros:
-All the lessons and quizzes are set up for you so there’s minimal planning. (It’s like reading a textbook on the computer. It’s not video school where you watch a teacher all day. Often they include links to games and videos that further explain the lesson. Stephen loved these.)
-It includes a subscription to Reading Eggs and Education City (which we loved and shared with all 3 boys).
-I don’t have to keep up with piles of papers in case we’re “homeschool audited.”
-Stephen’s teacher was awesome and remained in contact with us throughout the year (including his adviser who was precious).
-We had to be focused to get everything done by our yearly deadline-instead of floundering around and never doing school. (We ended up finishing in 9 months as opposed to 10 and took about 4 weeks off during the year).
-Stephen rarely complained about school because it was no longer me asking him but “Mrs. Taylor.”
-I quit comparing myself to other homeschool Moms and what they were doing, because I trusted LUOA would provide a solid curriculum. (This nearly makes it all worth it!)

Here are some cons:
-We used a lot of printer ink and paper.
-I often got behind scanning and sending in written assignments.
-It’s a little costly at $250 a month for 10 months (but not compared to private/Christian schools I’m told). Oh, and if your child ends up going to Liberty University, you get all your money back in a college scholarship.
-I had to read a lot of the assignments with Stephen (he has some reading delays), so we were one on one about 2-3 hours a day (this isn’t necessarily a negative thing but hard to manage with 4 other kids).
-We couldn’t take off all the days I would have liked to. We had to stay on task to finish. (This is also a pro.)

To summarize, Stephen ended the year liking school (He’s not the type that will ever love it.). His reading jumped nearly 2 grade levels. He learned a ton and read some awesome books. We are so pleased with the results that we’ve re-enrolled him and enrolled Caleb for 1st grade.

No, it wasn’t easy. Yes, there were times I thought we’d made a mistake. No, the curriculum wasn’t perfect and sometimes I wanted to spend more time on certain topics than was given.

But it worked. I kept my sanity. And we’re doing it again.

If you’re thinking homeschool (or maybe burned out), I’d say give it a shot. LUOA gives you an excellent curriculum and accountability with the perk of being home and planning your own schedule.

Hope that helps someone. Please comment or email me if you have questions! I’d love to chat more about it!

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Last day of school!

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Our end of year cake…We were all celebrating!

My life is a bubble

The pastor talks about SAT’s and filling in those little bubbles. It’s been nearly 16 years, but I still remember. See the classroom. Hear the teacher call time. And I check my work to make sure all the bubbles are filled in. Neatly. Perfectly.

The pastor has lost me in his sermon. My mind drifts off…

I’ve been filling in bubbles ever since. Life is my bubble. I try to do it neatly. Perfectly. There’s just no room or time for error. Pencil. Bubble. Repeat.

And it gets condemning. Overwhelming. Trying to live up to what you expect others expect. Trying to justify when the cross has declared justification. How easily I forget.

My obsessive bubble filling is pointless. I am not perfect. My life is not neat. But Christ came to fix all that. He lived perfectly. He died innocently. And I can put the #2 pencil down. Time. “It is finished.”

God, you know this is a struggle. May the cross and Your declaration over me be enough.

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)

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Ahh…living freely!

When Pretending is Easier

Sometimes I like to pretend that I’m a real writer…

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Computer, hot chocolate, notes, cute flower…That’s what the “real” bloggers do!

Hmm…I wish you could see the rest of this house and hear the chaos upstairs.

But there’s a fear in being real. A fear in letting someone see the real mess. A fear in getting too close.

We’ve been studying Acts 2:42-47. Here’s a portion-
“And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”

I’ve been convicted…To have this kind of fellowship with others you must be real. You must be open and honest.

Maybe that’s one reason why a lot of people are turned off to Christians. Maybe that’s why the Lord isn’t “daily adding to our number.”

Let’s stop pretending. Let’s take off our masks.

Let’s embrace the freedom of grace.