31 August 2015

First week in the books!

Yesterday as we exited church to retrieve our complimentary snowballs on a particularly hot day, my DS12 was talking to another tween from youth group. They were talking about trivial things and then proceeded to compare their back to school stories. Eventually, the tween asked my son what school he was attending. As I waited in line, I was playing off the fact that I could hear their conversation when I glance at my son, standing tall and beaming with pride, he exclaimed, "I'm homeschooling!"

The other boy paused and thought for a moment before asking him if this was my idea (partly true); but, alas, my son confidently replied that it was his choice and he began listing all the benefits: sleep in, go to school in PJs (or at least sans shirt), study the subjects in whichever order he likes, take breaks as he desires, and eat snacks while "in class". This is just what he has figured out and what he deems as mentionable in the first week back to school!

It was great to hear him boast about his new school choice and the transition our family is making. It is a process not to be taken lightly. We have enjoyed most of the aspects of our curriculum choice and we recognize the learning curve it will require. We recognized this before beginning and only focused on the 4 main subjects plus the Bible curriculum. This week we will weave the extracurriculars into our schedule.

We hope everyone is off to a great first week of school!

12 July 2015

The Family Meeting

Last week was boy scout camp and my husband tagged along this year with our son. We had decided upon his return that we would discuss our idea to homeschool. My husband had the opportunity to get to know another parent in the boy scout troop who does homeschool. He came home excited to share with me all that he learned in favor of homeschooling teens. I already knew this from all the reading and conversations I have had but I knew he needed to hear it for himself also. This is that light bulb moment when it all clicks and we look each other in the eyes with confirmation!

After all the camping gear was cleaned and showers were taken, we sat our 12 & 15 year old down to give them the option this coming school year of whether to go back to public or start homeschool. I presented how all their deep desires that they had shared with me would be met at home vs in school. I addressed how we could strengthen their friendships outside of school too. My husband was there to enhance the conversation and he chimed in with youth group and boy scouts continuing as their extracurricular activities to show some continuity. We also told them about having the ability to explore more of the subject matter they choose. We let them ask their questions. At the end, I have given them a week deadline to decide so I can get the paperwork going if need be before the new school year begins. I have my suspicions who will choose homeschool. Knowing my boys, they need time to warm up to the idea. I wanted them to feel in control of the choice.

09 July 2015

Us vs Them

As I set out to embark on a new path for my family, I'd like to address the notion that the choice to homeschool is an "us vs them" battle. I have begun to share my thoughts with a few friends and family who have all been receptive. I've inadvertently shared my growing distaste for public school as it pertains to my kids and that has gotten some reactions. I'm beginning to see this division forming. It makes me wonder if I've ever come off that way to my other homeschooling friends. I'd like to think I portrayed acceptance to everyone. But nevertheless, I will discuss:

Think about it: God created snowflakes and fingerprints in such a way that no two are alike. We should consider our children to be the same. If that is true, then children learn differently, too. My children have been raised in public school. I figured this is what we do. Many of us take our parenting styles by what we were raised on. If we hesitate on how to handle a particular parenting dilemma we have no fear because our default button is set.

After all, I came out of public school okay with a 3.2 GPA. I loved school for the most part. I struggled with socialization as many kids do but today's world coupled with changes in the school systems are among a couple reasons why I'm seeking homeschool as an option. I've learned that my kids may need something different than what I was raised on. They both need something new that public school simply can't provide. They use a one-size-fits-all approach and can't afford to alter it too much for the sake of my children. I get it. I also see it will not be a good fit anymore. It does no one any good to lead a life of frustration out of fear of the unknown.

One child has an approved IEP with documented learning delay and my other child was tested for disabilities years ago only to find he's quite intelligent...yet his grades are poor. Poor grades means lots of remedial classes where he is bored instead of putting him in a more stimulating setting. Two extremely different kids who are slipping through and losing their natural desire to learn. Hmmm, something has to give, right?!

On the other hand, many of my friends have kids who thrive in the public school setting. I'm happy for them...truly I am. I feel that everyone should do what is right to build a nuturing, loving environment for their family. I do not believe all can homeschool just like not all can public school. So, I am venturing out on my quest to discover and learn alongside my children as their mom, teacher and mentor! Are you considering homeschool? Does the idea of leaving your corporate job scare you? You are in good company! Join me as I figure out this new lifestyle we will be entering soon.

02 June 2015

Uncover the Dirt

Isn't it funny how everything seems clearer in hindsight? Do you know the issues, dirt, dilemmas that have plagued your family for generations? Have you wondered why you see patterns or themes that span generations?

There is nothing new under the sun yet we all hide our secrets under the rug in hopes no one else finds out.

What happens when you do this? You give power to that secret dirt.

Who does it help by hiding it? Absolutely no one. Not even you.

We must confess our stuff (to the right people) for the purpose of stopping the cycle. I know you are thinking this is crazy or not going to happen. I challenge you to consider it.

Generational issues, curses, or whatever else you want to call them, keep occurring because no one has drawn the line in the sand and said, "Not anymore"!

When will you get mad enough? When will you say enough is enough? Do you really want to see your kids struggle through what you did? Do you want to see them questioning and wondering what is wrong with them to find them circling the same issues again and again?

Do you realize you will cause them to be secretive about their stuff unknowingly? They won't understand fully why they feel compelled to hide it. You may never know what they struggled with and how your secret stuff could have helped them in theirs.

The thing that keeps you silent is pride. Swallow your pride and talk. I learned that by sharing my struggles, I began to take back my power, my strength, and also, our family's legacy. When you stuff it down deep, it controls you. You may not notice how it controls you but I promise you it does. The majority of mental health issues and/or physical health issues stem from the stress of keeping dark secrets hidden. We were never designed to hold it in. We were made to share and help each other. The fact is we all have some heavy burdens. Some of it is caused by our own misguided choices and other times it is out of our control.

It is hard to uncover the past but it is so worth it. Take small steps to tell your closest friends and family and gain their support. You might be amazed at the new levels of connection it brings. Eventually, you'll be able to tell just about anyone your story. You never know how that may impact others in a positive way.

13 May 2014

Choose Your Legacy

This weekend my mom, sister and I had taken a road trip for the first time ever. It was a grand experience and everything I had hoped it would be (other than too short). Due to the number of hours on the road, we found ourselves talking in great length about various topics.We began talking about how a girl growing up amongst all brothers tends to be a little more aggressive or defensive in relating to others. I wouldn't say we began to write a thesis paper but we drew from some relational experiences.

My mom grew up with two younger brothers and didn't seem to come off this way in all my years growing up. It could be because she was always distant from them and more introverted. I only had a sister; however, I did find myself always surrounded by boys in the neighborhood(s) where I grew up, school, the Army and everywhere else I turned. I always had more guy friends than girl friends. I could understand this summation being a possibility. Boys were rough, in-your-face, blunt, rude, and all things that require massive amounts of grunting Toolman
Taylor's famous grunt from the '90s sitcom Home Improvement>!
One lovely lady had admitted this very thing about herself to me awhile ago when I confronted her. She never came off rude to me...but to her sister-in-law she did. I thought, "How could this be? Is she channeling a Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde personality?" Her SIL would complain about the issue she had, often times to me, but I never picked up on it when I would see her. I thought there must be a miscommunication, misunderstanding or something. I don't like to gossip. It serves no useful purpose. I like to help people find a solution. I knew if I was hearing both sides of this from them individually then it was up to me to resolve the issue. I listened to each of their complaints individually. I took the knowledge I had from each to speak to the other on how to relate. I challenged them to have a cup of coffee or something similar where they could open up. It was great to see that this helped them crack the ice and move past their upbringing and insecurities from the past.


It wasn't until the road trip that I realized (out loud) the aunt that I had always been bitter towards may have been tough and difficult to get along with because she was sandwiched as the middle child between 4 brothers! My mom looked at me the way all mothers do when they see you have realized something that they had noticed long ago. She informed me of how they were raised to fend for themselves because food was not plentiful.


While insight into someone's past is great for learning how to communicate with someone and have compassion, we can't allow that to be the excuse for our present and most certainly not for our future! We can't continue to allow the pain and hurt someone has caused us to control our destiny, dreams and desires. We can't allow that to be the excuse for treating others how we were once treated. We need to buck up against phrases such as "well that's the way it was" or "this is how we've always done it". We need to work diligently and steadfastly to recognize the pain and find a way to use love to drive our future.

I'll be the first to admit this isn't something you can conquer once and for all. It is a daily choice. I spent last year working very hard on myself. (I'll save that story for another day.) I can't use the excuse of my past to dictate how I should treat my spouse, my children, my friends or the Average Joe. I must work purposefully to be kind and compassionate...to be loving. If we all begin to own up to our past, look it in the eyeballs and say to it, "You can't control me anymore". We will begin to leave a better legacy.

When we say we want our children to have a better life than we did, we need it to be about the legacy we leave and not the amount of trendy toys that fill their closets. It doesn't matter where you came from, YOU get to choose the legacy you leave for your children & beyond. What can you do today to change your legacy?

03 December 2013


I had just situated myself in bed after a long day to do a little Cyber Monday shopping while watching tv. It was almost a quarter to nine last night when my husband's cell phone rang. I glanced over only to see that it said "No Caller ID".  I assumed it was no one worthy of my time so I ignored it. Just after my husband entered the room, I heard his phone "ding" that there was a voicemail and I informed him of the call that I had ignored. He reaches for the phone and proceeds to playback the voicemail. It was from a teacher. We weren't expecting one of our oldest son's teachers to call.

I have so many friends (or at least it appears that way by looking at my Facebook wall around report card time) who have children who are honor roll students, top of the class, gifted and/or popular. My children, despite my best efforts, do not compare to that level of academia. For a long time, I'd wish and pray that they could  be as successful in school. After all, I couldn't brag about their straight D's. I was happy if they avoided an E.

In middle school, teachers do not have the time to contact each parent. If you receive a call from one at almost 9pm, it's not a good sign. I listened in on the message bracing myself for what she may have to say only to find out it was GOOD NEWS!!! She praised him for making significant improvements in class over a period of two weeks. She went on to explain how he had begun to separate himself from the other students that would distract him in class. The changes prompted the teacher to speak to his guidance counselor who informed her that he was choosing to make it a goal to improve in this particular class.

What prompted him two week ago? Our Family ID. One of the final lessons is to brainstorm and write out individual goals for each family member. We had discussed it over dinner one night. I sat with my pad and pencil jotting down everyone's suggestions along with my own. The boys had just received their report cards and we made specific goals for the next marking period. We had also made goals on the character traits we wanted to see them possess.

What I didn't realize was the profound effect it would have on them. In the past, I've made countless personal goal posters and have always failed to accomplish them. Despite that, I believe in setting goals and striving for it. My family has watched this cycle over and over. Setting goals on a bigger scale to include the whole family was a first. Because they had seen me do it before, it wasn't foreign to them. They were willing subjects.

Prior to this study, "No Caller ID" was what identified our family. We were mindlessly sailing along. We had something to tell the world but have been ignored just as I disregarded the phone call last night. We wanted our children to possess certain traits and progress academically, emotionally and spiritually. We wanted to strengthen and improve our marriage and ourselves. We did not have a plan. We were formless and void of producing quality fruit.

As Habakkuk 2:2 mentions, we must write out our plans and make them plain. There must have been power in that statement. The changes that have occurred in my children recently would attest to that. I did not realize it until the phone call last night.

What identifies your family? Do you feel like you're aimlessly wandering? Feel free to discuss below.

13 November 2013


When we began the journey into the Family ID small group curriculum with our life group, there were no warning signs posted at the door or caution stickers affixed to the workbook to show us that there would be huge hurdles in this lesson plan. We began carrying out the lessons each week and completing our homework assignments towards this family vision and gravitating from idea to action. It has been the most invasive of all the studies we've done. It will cause you to dislike your comfort zone and no longer desire your current circumstances. You will want to change your family's course of life for the better!

Sounds doable, right? Not too hard. Until the enemy comes to thwart your efforts. My last post gave a small glimpse at some of what the enemy had plotted against us to derail our efforts and to plant seeds of doubt.

The enemy is quite slick at making us focus on the actions of what the other person is doing. We allow ourselves to become his puppets if we don't arm ourselves daily with God's Word and his protection through prayer. We don't realize this enemy is pulling the strings to engineer his crafty scheme. The ultimate goal for him is to derail what we as a couple are working towards.

Palm to face. Facepalm.

The attacks began as soon as we verbalized what we were willing to step up and do! We did not see the true impact and nature of what we agreed to. I'm sure many who are called into ministry can attest to far greater trials and tests than what we've encountered.

As my husband and I discussed with our great friends what led to the pitfalls over the past 2 weeks (and so many times long ago in our marriage), I did that facepalm motion.

We have all had these moments in life. When we are in the midst of a storm, we can't see through the rain. Once the rain clears, the clouds dissipate and the sun comes out, we can see a clearer picture. I realized all the above last night. It was more than my husband not catering to my needs. It was more than my emotions getting the best of me. It was a test to see if we were made of the stuff necessary for the next level in our marriage and in our purpose. The heat and pressure was applied and our pot boiled over.

Hmmmm, ok.
       Lesson learned.

Like the wise elders leading the young valiant hero in one of those classic stories, our great friends continued on in the conversation to warn us this would happen again. Not if, but when. What?No sugar coating? Darn. Ok, I guess we must prepare for battle. For you see, we have been called to be a peculiar people. To BE WEIRD!

Have you been fighting and struggling in your marriage? Perhaps it's because you aren't willing to settle for average in our society of normal? Don't give up. Be encouraged. It may seem grim. It may seem bleak. Get counseling. Kneel down and pray together. Don't allow the enemy to sneak in and kill the thing God blessed you with.