Looking Forward

Posted May 2, 2015 by A Homeschool Graduate
Categories: Children, Homeschooling, My Family, Young Adulthood

Tags: , , , ,

I’ve known since I was in high school that I planned to homeschool my children someday.  I probably assumed it even earlier, but I think the decision was conscious and concrete in middle or high school.  My own experience of homeschooling was so wonderful that I had no intentions of letting my kids miss out on what I had.

That intention has never wavered.  It was an important question I asked Sir K before I got engaged, especially because he was not homeschooled.  He responded that I myself was a good argument for the lifestyle, and he has supported my desire from the start.  I’m very much looking forward to the day when I begin teaching my own children, while at the same time I am still a bit intimidated by the enormity of the task.

I probably have a head start of a lot of moms who weren’t homeschooled themselves, and quite a few of those who were.  That head start comes from being the daughter of a homeschool mentor.  My mom has helped numerous other moms get started, whether they were starting at the beginning or pulling kids out of school systems.  I also got to see a lot of the inner working of her eclectic system (although we incorporated from some of the more well known prepackaged curriculum, my mother did all her own planning).  As the eldest, I was trusted to check my younger siblings’ work when there was an answer key, and in high school she even let me check some of my own work.  Not like I was going to cheat by then, I really wanted to know the answers!

Mom also included me in the process of choosing curriculum for myself and my siblings.  Letting me help choose my own materials meant that when I had a strong negative reaction to one history textbook’s confusing page layout, she was able to look for other options before the school year began and not wait till the second week when I was suffering through my lessons.  Part of helping children learn is being able to choose curriculum that suits their individual learning styles, and I got exposure to that early on.

Even with all this background, however, I still sometimes think “how on earth am I going to get started!”  What I remember of homeschooling is mostly the last five or six years of it, not the first.  Teaching a child while also keeping track of smaller children sounds like fun of the exhausting kind.  On the other hand, I know from experience how wonderful homeschooling was, and I would never think of quitting, especially not before I’ve begun.  I know that when the time comes in a few years, I will rise to the occasion, just like I did when facing what seemed like tough problems or subjects in my schoolwork.  I’m not always going to swim well, but I know I have a support system that won’t let me sink.

Those few years are going to go by faster than I can keep track.  You see, I can already number them.  Five years from now, I will be making kindergarten plans.  Yes, Sir K and I are expecting our first this Fall.  While various members of both families are exhibiting characteristic excitement or enthusiasm, Sir K and I are already praying for parental wisdom, and I am thinking of the sweet days to come when I can gather my nestlings on the couch for reading time.  You see, as I’ve said many times and probably written at least once or twice, homeschooling is not an educational choice for me.  Homeschooling is a lifestyle, and it’s the best one I know.

The Shepherd’s Tale

Posted December 29, 2014 by A Homeschool Graduate
Categories: Poetry/Writings

Tags: , , , , , , ,

I posted this poem and drawing a couple years back as my Christmas gift to you.  I haven’t written a Christmas poem since, so here it is again. Enjoy, edify, encourage.  Merry Christmas!

 

 

 A Shepherd’s Tale

The city below was hushed and dark,
and starlight lit the hill.
The sheep were sleeping soundly,
and the night around was still.

Then in the quiet came a light,
and we lay in awe and fear.
The angel of the Lord had come,
and we our dooms did wait to hear.

But he bade us be not frightened,
for his tidings were only good.
A savior had been born he said
in Bethlehem which nearby stood.

A sign he gave us ere he left
to help us know the child.
We’d find him wrapped in swaddling clothes
in a manger – and we smiled.

No sooner had he finished
than a multitude appeared,
who sang a song of praise and joy,
and then the heavens cleared.

A moment thus we sat and gaped
then one by one we stood.
We ran as one to find the babe,
and share these tidings good.

We found them, as the angel said,
and gathered round the manger.
With Mary and Joseph we worshiped there,
then ran to tell the neighbors.

Many heard but couldn’t believe
that shepherds such as we
Would ever have been favored so
that angels we should see.

So we went back to find our sheep
all there and sleeping still,
And many nights we sat and sang
the angels’ song upon the hill.

The In-Between and the Afterward

Posted December 15, 2014 by A Homeschool Graduate
Categories: Highschool, Homeschooling, My Family, Parents, Young Adulthood

Tags: , , , , , ,

When my youngest brothers graduate from high school in two and a half years, they aren’t getting a graduation party.  They weren’t keen on the idea anyway, not being social butterflies or party people, but we had a better idea.  Instead, my mother is having a retirement party.

Someone recently asked her what she will do when she’s no longer overseeing their education.  The suggestion was that she might quickly become involved in homeschooling again – her grandchildren.  I was also part of the conversation, and I quickly assured the inquirers that I am planning to homeschool my own children, thank you.  That’s my responsibility and privilege; one which I have no intention of giving up.

This period between being homeschooled and the time when I can begin being the homeschool mom myself is an interesting in-between.  My mother has switched from educator to mentor for me, with the transition lines being very blurry on occasion but nevertheless present.  I am looking forward to homeschooling my children, even though I’m also a bit intimidated because I had such a great mom myself.  I keep thinking that I’ll never be as good as she was/is.  The point, however, is not that I’m as good as she is, but that I do the best I can, and I am trying to keep that in mind.

While my mom won’t be homeschooling my children, I do hope that she and my father can be involved to some extent.  I know of other families in which the children have benefited from taking a subject or two from a grandparent with expertise.  I want my children to know both sets of grandparents well, to respect who they are, and to love spending time with them.  That’s easier to do with my own parents right now, as we live in the same town versus my in-laws, who live 3 hours away.  I intend to give both sets of grandparents their chance to love my children despite any difficulties with time and proximity.

By now, you’re probably wondering if I’m ever going to go back and answer the initial question about my mother.  What is she going to do after she retires from active homeschooling.  I may have given away part of my answer just now.  She may retire from active homeschooling, but I believe she will remain a willing resource for new homeschooling moms like I hope to be in the not too distant future.  She has a library of materials I hope to borrow when my children become ready for them, and I know she will lend them to others as she feels led in the meantime.  She also has many insights into homeschooling approaches and techniques which I hope to discuss as I am making decisions someday.

Yes, we’ve suggested that she write a book about homeschooling.  She says all the books she would write have basically already been written, so that is probably unlikely.  Not impossible, however!  We joke that she may finally have time to finish all those sewing projects that she has had in the plans but never had the time to make.  We’ll see whether she finds enough other things to keep her busy.  Other things like caring for my grandparents, teaching one of our church’s ladies’ Bible studies, and helping my youngest siblings with their projects, studies, and other endeavors.

There is indeed a life after homeschooling, just as there is one in-between.  Both have a great opportunity for serving and blessing others.  We’re both enjoying the stages of life we find ourselves in right now, and looking forward to the next.  In the Lord’s perfect time, we will find out His will for the next stages of our lives, and I know because He planned them, that they will be amazing!

Let Us Pray

Posted October 27, 2014 by A Homeschool Graduate
Categories: Growing Up, Theological Musings

Tags: , , , , , ,

I grew up bowing my head, eyes closed and hands clasped, to pray.  Over the course of my walk with God, however, I have gradually acknowledged that no part of that posture is necessary.  In history I learned that Stonewall Jackson prayed while riding his horse.  In my own pew, I observed my mother dealing with my youngest siblings before they were old enough to understand that “let’s pray” meant they needed to be quiet.  Neither of these situations allows for closed eyes or clasped hands.  In a war torn countryside, it’s doubtful that General Jackson kept his head bowed either.

I also learned that bowing in respect to Almighty God was more of a heart thing than a posture thing.  Have you parents ever had a child who sat when told, but you could tell they were still standing on the inside?  Have you ever been that child?  Well, sometimes we bow our heads, but our minds and hearts are so full of other things, that we might as well be walking out the door already.  Bowing your head ought really to be an outward sign of an inward reality, but instead, it has become a form, a traditional posture, that can be easily mimicked.  So posture is not the key to prayer.  But that doesn’t answer the original question.  Now jump forward to my late teens.

That’s when I met my Father God.

Sure, I already knew He was my father, but it wasn’t until my teens that I recognized something important.  I began to understand that God loves for His children to come gladly running to meet Him, whether in prayer, or devotions, or in going about His work.  My prayers became much more familiar, like I would talk to my earthly father.  And I began to look upward while praying.

You see, while I picture the Spirit as being inside me, and Jesus walking beside me, God the Father is in Heaven, so when talking to Him, I wanted to look toward Him, trusting like a little girl instead of hanging my head like a condemned sinner.  Yes, I still bow my head in reverence sometimes.  I also bow it in shame at others, but I am learning to bring everything to my Heavenly Father with confidence (Ephesians 3:12; Hebrews 4:16; Romans 8:14-17).

So when I pray, and often while I listen to others pray, I look toward heaven.  I do tend to close my eyes, as that helps cut down on distraction, but looking up helps me remember that I am now a child of God, and He loves to involve His children in His work.  So I encourage you to step back and see if you bow your head simply because that’s what everyone does, or if you do it with a good reason.  I also encourage you that God is a Father who loves you, wants to hear from you, and wants to talk to you.  He desires fellowship, and I’ve always found that’s easiest with people if I look at them.  Why should fellowship with God be so different?  After all, He walked with Adam, didn’t He?

I look forward to the day when we walk with Him on golden streets, and can look Him in the eye.  What joy that uninterrupted fellowship will be!

An Average Scholar

Posted August 23, 2014 by A Homeschool Graduate
Categories: College Online, Highschool, Homeschooling, Young Adulthood

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Do you ever feel like you’re just an average scholar? Like no subject seems stronger than another? Maybe you get good grades, maybe you don’t, or maybe you don’t care because you already know what you’re good at, and it’s not academics. Or maybe you’re like me.

I got good grades in most subjects, certainly by the time high school crept up on me. At the same time, I didn’t have a particular affinity for any of the subjects. I liked music and art, but I couldn’t imagine doing either professionally (wasn’t that good, just enjoyed them).  I wasn’t interested in pursuing science, math, or history.  English either, although I was getting pretty good at writing by the time I graduated high school.

So when I looked for something to major in for college, I felt as if I’d struck out.  It’s not like anyone offers a degree in Homeschooling!  And I already had most of the credits I thought necessary for that one after helping homeschool myself and four younger siblings . . . But anyway, I couldn’t figure out what I was suited for that I wanted to study.

Do you feel like your dream job is elusive?  Like you’re not sure where to fit in?  That was me for a year or more in high school.

I had settled on a General Studies degree, and yes, it was settling.  My favorite thing was books, but they only offer Library Science as a Master’s degree, which I didn’t figure I’d want to go for once finished with a Bachelor’s degree.  So I had something at least, even if it was settling for second best.

That’s when I started to write my scholarship essay.

My father’s company offered a scholarship which would cover most of the cost of the online school to which I was applying.  It required an essay, in which I needed to convince the readers of why they should help pay for my education.  In writing that essay, I realized that I liked helping people.  I made the assertion that they would be benefiting more than just me by helping me pay for college.  That I was interested in helping people around me, and they would really be benefiting the whole community.

As I was planning and writing, someone finally suggested, “why not study helping people?!”  That’s when I started looking into degrees in Human Services.

I ended up building a degree that incorporated human services, human development, and communication courses, all of which were meant to support each other in helping me prepare for a job in the field, as well as preparing me for the rest of my life where I would continue to help people, watch them grow, and communicate with them.

Four years later I walked across the stage with a huge smile on my face, happy with my choice and my direction.  I like to feel as if I’ve helped someone, whether it be simply holding the door for a mother with little ones, or showing someone how to use Excell’s many features.  I’m not a wizard at any one thing, but I have experience in a variety of things, and am very willing to pitch in.

To go back to my question, my dream job was never all that elusive.  I knew I wanted to be a homeschool mom, but I also knew that there needed to be something between college and that!  My dilemma was in what God wanted me to do with the between years.  I’m glad He directed my steps so that I wrote that essay.  I found something that I enjoyed doing, and through writing about it, I figured out how to turn it into something I could study and then practice.  My subsequent work in a couple of non-profits was very rewarding.

Having now left the workforce, hopefully for good, I’m not inclined to say any of it was wasted.  I grew through the requirements of the jobs I’ve held, and through the friends I made among my coworkers.  I’m happy to be home now, but the journey here makes me appreciate it more.

Your journey will look different.  Have you considered what you like to do in your choice of  a career path, rather than just what you’re good at?

Have You Got the Time?

Posted March 4, 2014 by A Homeschool Graduate
Categories: Hobbies, Music, Young Adulthood

Tags: , , , , , ,

Since I’ve stopped working, I’ve sometimes felt like I have time on my hands.  I’m not sure that I’ve been using it as wisely as I could be, but one of the reasons why I felt like it was time to come home for good was that I was getting glimpses of inspiration while I was at work and by the time I got home, it would be gone.  I had no energy to pursue creativity.

I resigned in November, and then the holidays came, so I didn’t feel like I could really find a new normal until late January or February.  I’m falling into something of a normal pattern now.  It involves some outside activities like my Ladies’ study one morning a week, a piano lesson for a new homeschooler, and my weekly shopping.  I also usually visit my Mom and younger brothers at least once a week.  And then I have a bunch of projects going at home.

Beside the furniture and painting plans we’ve been making and the various household items that I’ve been working on picking up during my shopping excursions, I’m also working on a few craft projects.  I think I posted once about all my hobbies/crafts.  Right now, I have two crochet projects, three painting projects, and one cross stitch project all going at once, plus two or three other painting projects and a crochet project or two in the wings/early planning stages.

And now that I’m at home, when inspiration strikes, I pick up my guitar and work on a song.  I’m just beginning to see the fruit of the decision Sir K and I made last fall that I needed to come home.  I have the time and the freedom to write the melody that is singing inside of me.  And that wants to be shared.  I have the time and energy to practice my playing and singing, to become better able to share all God’s songs with people.

These days I sometimes feel like I have time on my hands, but I can usually find something constructive to fill it.  And I finally have time to focus on the things that God has called me to do.  One is to create a welcoming home for my husband, future children, and friends.  Another is to share the music He has put in my heart.  I am a vessel through which He wants to sing the songs of His heart, and I just pray that I can keep getting out of His way.  My songs may only ever touch my small circle, my church family, but God knows and will send me the songs He wants them to hear.  If he wants a song heard by the nation, he sends it to someone on the national scene.

Do you have time in your schedule for the things God is doing in and through you?  So many people these days, especially women, are so busy at work that they have little time for the basics at home, let alone hobbies.  Between work and their social life they are emotionally drained, leaving less and less for family and self.  Or their work and family take up all their time and they have little left for socializing or for God. I’m not trying to say that everyone should give up working, but that you should give some serious thought to this question.

What is your calling, and are you spending time on it?

Which Shelf Are You On?

Posted February 25, 2014 by A Homeschool Graduate
Categories: Young Adulthood

Tags: , , , , , , ,

At some point during the last year, my husband told me a story very similar to the one I told in my last post, and told me that he was the little boy who had let his father choose.  I was the wife off the top shelf.  Of course, I countered that he was on the top shelf himself, so how come he hadn’t seen me!

As a follow up to that post, here’s the flip side.  Which shelf are you on?

Are you a person worth putting on the top shelf?  One of my most viewed posts is Are You a Woman Worth Waiting For? which I wrote back in 2011.  I talked then about focus and preparation, focusing on God’s plan for you right now and preparing for the future He’s planning for you later.  Those things are valid for both men and women as we wait for the spouse God has planned for us.  Whether you’re 15, 25, or 45, you can be focused on God and preparing for the future He is bringing you.

I value the fact that my husband didn’t go wife-hunting, dating every girl who came along.  He’d been out of college for three years before he met me – plenty of time to have given up on God ever bringing someone along and have gone looking himself.  But he didn’t.  He just kept doing the work that God put in front of him, and in His time, God brought me to that church and introduced us.

And because Sir K had waited patiently while preparing for having a wife and family, he already had a steady job, had bought a house, and had paid off his student loans before asking me to marry him.  Many young couples do not have this opportunity, some because God wanted them to take another path, others because they rushed ahead with their own plans before they were ready.

Are you willing to wait?  To be “on the shelf” for a few years?  To focus on God’s plan instead of your own?  To prepare for the future instead of just wishing it would get here sooner?  If you want a “top shelf” spouse, then start thinking how to be worthy of that person first, and let God take care of getting them to you.  Then when God brings that “top shelf” person along, they will also see something “top shelf” about you.

Which Shelf Are You Looking At?

Posted February 23, 2014 by A Homeschool Graduate
Categories: Young Adulthood

Tags: , , ,

I’d like to tell you the story of two little girls.  Their names are Gabby and Fay, and they are twins.  One day they went to the toy store with their father, to pick out a toy because their birthday was coming.  The girls were on a quest to find the best doll ever.

Gabby immediately grabbed a doll off the nearest shelf, a very pretty doll with  a pink dress.  “This is the one I want, Daddy,” she announced.  “She’s the prettiest thing here.”

Fay looked over, and agreed.  “I like the pink dress too.  She looks like a princess.  She’s the prettiest doll I’ve ever seen.”

Their father looked down, “Are you sure?  Would you rather have those, or would you prefer that I choose for you and make it a surprise?”

Gabby piped up quickly, “Oh, no, Daddy, I want this one most.  Please, please?  Just let me have this one?”  She hugged the doll closer as if to prevent her father from taking it away.

“And what about you, Fay?  I’d like to give you the best present I can,” he continued as he met her eyes.

Fay thought for a few long moments, then looked down at the doll she held.  To Gabby’s surprise, Fay put her doll back on the shelf and quietly turned to their father.  “Daddy, you pick out my doll.  I know you’ll pick the best one.  You always give me the best presents, and you never needed my help before.”

“But Fay, this is the best doll here!” Gabby was aghast.  “Daddy, aren’t you just going to get her that same doll?  You’re being silly, Daddy!”

“Am I? Well, you’ve made your choice, so I’ll buy your doll now and we’ll put it in the spare bedroom until your birthday.  I’ll come back later to buy Fay’s doll.”

The birthday dawned a week later, and the twins were both excited to open their presents.  Each had received a few gifts from friends and relatives, which were quickly opened and exclaimed over.  Finally, they turned to their father for his gifts.  A small smile played around his face, chasing twinkles from his eyes.

Gabby’s doll was wrapped in pink with a silver ribbon.  She tore into it quickly, and pulled out her doll.  Her smile dimmed a little, and she looked over to watch Fay open her gift.  The pink princess’s glamour was already wearing off.

Fay’s doll, on the other hand, was wrapped in blue paper and tied with a white ribbon.  She tore into it carefully, and gasped at what she saw.  The doll was dressed as a queen, wearing a wonderful gold ball dress.  The queen doll was smaller, but even more beautiful than the one Gabby had picked, and she had a small trunk of accessories.

“Happy Birthday, Fay!” said her father.

Fay’s eyes shone.  “Oh, Daddy, she’s so beautiful!” she breathed.  “Thank you for picking her for me!”

“Daddy!  Where did you find this doll?!  I didn’t see it at the store.”  Gabby’s eyes were stormy and her tone upset.

“Oh, this doll was there all the time, but you couldn’t see her.  She was on the top shelf, above your head.  You chose your doll from the ones you could see, but Fay decided to let me choose from the dolls I could see.”

* * * * * * * * * *

Are you like Gabby?  So intent on finding the best present, best job, best husband that you are unwilling to step back and let God do the choosing?  So sure of yourself that you won’t relinquish control?  What if God is like this father and can see the top shelf?  What if He has bigger plans, if only you’ll let Him give you His best?  Will you be like Fay and wait?

Note: I heard a version of this story from my husband during our engagement period, and it was not original with him.  I have taken some artistic license with it, but I hope you enjoyed it anyway.  Stay tuned for the second question!

Waiting for Happily Ever After

Posted January 10, 2014 by A Homeschool Graduate
Categories: Growing Up, Young Adulthood

Tags: , , , ,

I’m beginning to wonder if “happily ever after” doesn’t strike a discordant note with some children, since so many families do not have a happily ever after as I’ve described.  The parents do not stay together or if they do they fight.  On the other hand, those children may find their only ray of hope for their own future in the fact that stories and movies usually have a happily ever after, and in the few examples they can find in real life.  If someone can write about it, then happily ever after must be possible even if it doesn’t happen all the time.

Happily ever after is not something you find laying in the street.  It’s not something you can dig up with a treasure map.  It has to do with waiting for the right person to come along at the right time.  Many unhappily ever afters seem to be started with the wrong person or at the wrong time.  Sometimes people are in a hurry to get married because they think that will solve all their problems.  In those cases, they don’t always evaluate whether the person is a good fit, whether they have similar beliefs or hobbies, whether they like doing things with the person and whether it is the right time to get married.  Hence, sometimes couples find that their happily ever after dissolves quickly upon returning from the honeymoon, or even several years into their marriage, after the feelings of being “in love” have worn off.

I say this because I want to encourage any young readers who find my blog that it’s okay to wait for your happily ever after.  My mother met my father in college, and they were married just weeks after she graduated.  I had always hoped that would be my story too, because I didn’t want to have to go job hunting, and all that.  That’s not what God had in mind.

Although I also met my husband while I was in college, I wasn’t ready to think about marriage while carrying on with my studies, so we were just friends.  He was perfectly content to wait on God’s timing as well.  I had been out of college for 18 months and working for a year before he asked me to prayerfully consider whether God had marriage in mind for us.  I was nearly 24 at the time, and he was 28.

Because neither of us rushed into relationship with the first person we met, we were able to wait until God gave us the signal that it was the right time and the right person.  We have been blessed wonderfully these past five months, and we are very much in love.  Why do I think it will last?  Because we took the time beforehand to do our homework and make sure we saw each other clearly.  Because we were already very good friends, and enjoyed talking together, playing games together, and doing ministry together. But most importantly because we are both committed to God first, and then to each other.

You might find your happily ever after at 18, or it might be 28.  Whichever is God’s plan, are you prepared to wait for happiness?  Understand, people can make things work, even in less than ideal circumstances, and be “happy enough,” but the point is, are you willing to wait until God puts all the details in place?  Please don’t rush headlong into your future.  Just because the movies get to happily ever after in an hour or two, doesn’t mean you will, and you have a long ever after to think of.  Wait for the one you can see yourself spending the rest of your life beside.  Because that’s when you will live Happily Ever After.

Happily Ever After

Posted January 9, 2014 by A Homeschool Graduate
Categories: Growing Up, Young Adulthood

Tags: , , , ,

As little girls playing with our dolls, my sister and I usually got to the part where the prince and princess get married, and then we ended the story.  Just like the movies – Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Robin Hood, even The Swan Princess – we got to happily ever after, and that was it.  We tried once or twice, but we didn’t think we knew what came next.

Of course, we knew that kids came next, because we saw enough young married couples around us, but we knew (or thought we knew) all about kids growing up (being a pair of them ourselves) and that wasn’t interesting enough to tell a story about.  At least, not in comparison with the part where two people met and fell in love.  Our heros and heroines were quite as talented and good as we could imagine, and sometimes they rescued each other or something, and sometimes they just met at church, which was plenty realistic, but we would get to the part where our two main characters married, and that was usually the end of it.

In a story where more than one marriage was involved, sometimes one couple got married early on, and then we had a hard time figuring out what to have them do except have a couple of kids.  Which sometimes seemed awkward, but it was all we knew.  Was that really all there was to happily ever after?

Fast forward fifteen years.  A few weeks ago, I reached the quarter century mark, and I’ve embarked on my “happily ever after” with Sir K.  So what really happens when the wedding bells stop ringing and the honeymoon is over?  Why do all the stories stop at the wedding?  One obvious reason is that the newlywed couple wants some privacy, but besides that, isn’t it boring until the next cycle of romance begins?

I can tell you this, my happily ever after is not boring!  Granted, I might still be treading clouds rather than terra firma, but I’m living a very real life.  I went back to work a week after the wedding, and so did Sir K.  There was dinner to get on the table, laundry and shopping, church activities and such.  We didn’t stop being ourselves just because we married each other.  We just had a new set of priorities.

That set of priorities has meant that I left my job to be a full time homemaker.  It has meant that Sir K has had to reevaluate some of his commitments.  We are in the process of building a new life together out of the things we were doing as single people plus perhaps some new things that we could only do together.

Happily ever after does not mean sitting around staring into each other’s eyes, although we certainly do that when the occasion arises.  Happily ever after means living with the person you love, doing things you love with or for them, and knowing that no matter how bad it seems elsewhere, there’s a home to come to and a spouse there who cares deeply about what affects you.  And we definitely have that in each other.

As children we didn’t really understand all that, which is perfectly all right.  A five or ten year old only knows that she wants to grow up to be like mommy and mommy got married, so that must be what she wants to do.   Children watch movies, read stories, and gather that happily ever after follows the wedding bells.  And then they have to figure out how to find their own Happily Ever After…

Year Break

Posted January 2, 2014 by A Homeschool Graduate
Categories: Poetry/Writings

Tags: , , , ,

Snow on the ground, the thermometer’s cold
The ball drop is over, the party grows old

A new year is dawning, resolutions are rife
Weight loss, a new job, or to end war and strife

Plans at their brightest, shiny and new
Yet many the same ones we had last year too

So what truly is different, save a tick of the clock,
A change in the date, and a new party frock?

If the old year hasn’t taught us one single thing
No light can it shed on what the new one will bring

When the hoopla dies down what will remain
Is a world growing weary, tired, and mundane

Yet we face the world with hope in our hearts
That the story of the last holiday, Christmas, imparts

Tidings of joy and peace to the Earth
For we celebrate once more our Savior’s Birth

~Homeschool Graduate

To be like Naomi

Posted December 6, 2013 by A Homeschool Graduate
Categories: Theological Musings

Tags: , , , , , ,

In my quiet time this week, I found myself thinking of the famous women in the Bible.  I didn’t get very far, because when I reached Ruth, it suddenly struck me that I usually skip right past her mother-in-law, Naomi.  Naomi, whose name means “my delight.”   Naomi, whose testimony is one I’d like to emulate.

Of course, I am not looking for my husband to run away to Moab to escape a famine, but Naomi followed him faithfully.  I can see her struggling when her sons married “outside the camp” and her daughters-in-law were heathens, but I also see that she had good relationships with both women.

When she heard that the famine was over, she quickly decided to return to her homeland, where she could expect to at least be cared for by the Israelite welfare system, which allowed the poor to glean in the corners and after the harvesters had done their work.

As she set out, both her daughters-in-law were ready to go with her.  That speaks volumes of Naomi’s testimony.  They recognized that she was different than they, and worth being around.  Now, Naomi also realized that she couldn’t really expect either girl to be well received on the other end of her journey, and there wasn’t much future for them either.  So she told them to stay in Moab where they had a better chance of a new life.  Of course we know Ruth, recognizing that Naomi had something she wanted, refused to stay.

Where you go, I’ll go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people will be my people; and your God, my God (Ruth 1:16b).  That statement must have been growing in Ruth as she watched Naomi’s life, leaving her home, then losing her family, and now going back to her people.  Naomi’s everyday life must have been such that Ruth not only saw that she was different, but that she wanted to be like her.  We don’t have a record of Naomi preaching at anyone, and that would have been unlikely.  All we know is Ruth did not have to follow her, but she did because she wanted to.  Wanted to so fiercely, she was willing to give up everything, including her gods, to follow Naomi’s God.

We all know that the story continues with Ruth catching the eye of Boaz, and that he becomes the Kinsman Redeemer according to the law and marries Ruth.  When their son was born, Naomi was his nurse, helping to raise a new generation.  And it dawns on me that even as Ruth is part of the genealogy of Christ, so is Naomi.  Not by direct blood, since Obed was not her blood son, but she was his grandmother through Ruth.  As such, Obed would have also seen her testimony, and if people then were like people now, he would have told stories of Ruth and Naomi to his sons, and their sons.  And you know, one of Obed’s grandsons was named David.

Because one woman lived what she believed, a second was brought to follow God.  And that second woman was an integral link in the line of Messiah.  This challenges me because I am not a street preacher.  I don’t take to overt evangelism, and am suited more to live for God and let others ask me questions because they see something different.  I see Naomi as doing that same thing.  Evangelism was not a big thing then, and the Jews rather had a sense of being better than other people because they were “chosen by God.”  They had forgotten that He chose them in His mercy and not because they had anything to boast about.

Naomi lived what she believed, and  God used her.  Am I living what I believe?  Are you living what you believe?  Are we challenging a new generation to follow God?

Do not be discouraged if you don’t see immediate fruit.  Everyday evangelism is about the long term.  It’s about building relationships which then give you a right to speak into peoples’ lives.  And God uses the lives of His children to draw others to Himself.

Many people are like Ruth, coming to God through the example of another.  But are you willing to be a Naomi?  To be the example for others to follow?  To live for God even when you don’t think anyone is watching?

Let’s be the shining testimony to a generation that faces ever darkening days.

Coming Home

Posted November 22, 2013 by A Homeschool Graduate
Categories: Young Adulthood

Tags: , , ,

As I mentioned in a recent post, I have come home.

I’ve always known that I wanted to be a housewife, but I never realized how strong the desire would be once I had a house and husband to take care of.

Many little girls start out wanting to be “just like Mommy” when they grow up.  I was one of them.  As a little girl, I would try to imitate my mother as she cared for my younger siblings, Mom with the baby, me with my doll.  I’ve never lost the desire to one day become what my mother is, homemaker and homeschooling mom.  Now, I’ve taken the first step and become a homemaker.

I love being at home.  The relaxed pace suits me, and I’m much more of a homebody than a social butterfly, so I’m not sorry not to be dealing with people all the time.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed my job and it was a wonderful two years, but the stress of working 40 hours and then trying to come home and get anything done was more than I wanted to continue.

I don’t really know how some women do it, and then add kids, activities, and such.  In any case, my tendency to do the next thing with all my energy meant that I was spending all my energy at work, and had none left to do chores many nights, let alone work on the redecorating plans Sir K and I have been talking about.  And that increasingly did not feel as if my focus was in the right place.

As a wife, my focus felt like it should be on my husband and future children, making a pleasant home haven for them.  And while I was spending the best 8 hours of my day outside the home, I didn’t seem to be able to do that.  Sir K might not have been complaining yet, but he is completely supportive of my desire to be a stay at home wife.   And two weeks in, I’m loving the change.

I’m no model housekeeper with pristine house and cookies baking, but that’s not my goal. My goal is to create a warm, inviting atmosphere for my husband and later my children.  And to make a place where Christ is welcome.  When I think about it, that’s really the most important thing in a home to me.  That Christ be welcomed in and asked to stay.  Whether in a home or a heart.

Because then it can truly feel like heaven.

Just a short year ago…

Posted November 20, 2013 by A Homeschool Graduate
Categories: Friends, Young Adulthood

Tags: , , , , ,

I was single and didn’t want to be.  Yep.  I was getting to the end of my tether, and it felt like God had prepared me enough that I was ready.  So where was Prince Charming?  Was I doing something wrong?

It didn’t help that I knew a guy who could fit the bill.  Quiet, responsible, 5 years out of college and working, funny, and my best friend.  But nothing more than a friend.  And no sign that he wanted to be.

At this time last year, I was in a holding pattern.  Waiting to God to move.  Waiting to see what He was going to do.  Trying not to let my impatience ruin my friendship.  Waiting.

Most of you know, waiting is not a fun game most of the time.  As a human, I like to know what’s going to happen in the future.  Whether that future is tomorrow, next week, or next year.  But I had to learn to let go of that and let God work out the details.  If He wanted me to go another year, did I really want to rush in anyway?  If I’d learned anything about the Lord in my twenty odd years, it was that He has good reasons when He asks us to wait for something.

And sure enough, waiting paid off big.

This time last year, I couldn’t know that within a month, my best friend would ask me to embark on an intentional relationship exploring whether marriage was God’s plan for us.  Within four months, we would be engaged. And a year later as I write this now, we’re four months married, in a cozy little home, and very happy that God chose each of us for the other.

When God makes changes, sometimes we have to wait while He sets up the stage first, and then hang on to the handrails, because the whirlwind is coming!  With 19 weeks from engagement to the wedding, our planning was nonstop, or felt like it.  Once Sir K asked me the initial question last December, things didn’t really slow down until…well, a couple of weeks ago when I quit working.  More on that in a later post.

But we needed the waiting at the beginning.  Little did I know that Sir K had been asking God when he could propose to me for a year before he actually got to do so.  When I found out that he had faithfully waited until God gave him the green light, it meant so much more to me that he had waited for God’s timing than if he had merely asked God if it was me and then forged ahead.  And God did several things with both of us that year which never would have happened if Sir K had been courting me.

So, for all you waiters out there, whether you’re 18, 28, or 48, whether you’re waiting for a husband, a child, a job, or something else entirely, whether you see a possibility on the horizon or not, know that God is faithful to bring you the desires He has placed in your heart In His Time.  That song is still one of my favorites, and I made sure it was in my prelude music because it has become so special to me over the course of my waiting.

He does indeed make all things beautiful in His time, even me.

In His time, in His time,
He makes all things beautiful, in His time,
Lord please show me every day, as You’re teaching me Your way,
That You do just what You say, in Your time.

In Your time, in Your time,
You make all things beautiful, in Your time,
Lord my life to you I bring, may each song I have to sing,
Be to you a lovely thing, in Your time.

We Laughed Too

Posted August 21, 2013 by A Homeschool Graduate
Categories: Growing Up, Links to Articles, Blogs, Etc., My Family

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

. . . I remember the moms of one or two kids, eyes like saucers as we passed them in the grocery store, asking one of two questions: 1 Are they all yours? 2 How do you do it? And Mom laughed. . . .

Phylicia’s post sounded some echos from my own past, so go have a read!

I remember those days, when my own mother would be shopping in the grocery store or the mall, five little munchkins trailing behind.  “Are they all yours” was a common question, at least until people were more distracted by “are they twins?”  The answer to both questions was yes, so at least that was easy…

My siblings and I span ten years from oldest (me) to youngest.  I know that helped a little, since some of us were able to be a significant amount of help when the last two came along.  I know I can’t fully appreciate all the work that went into raising five children, at least not yet, but I know that it was worth it!

We laughed too.  Some days it was little more than a smile, but we laughed.  We sang, we played games, we read books, and we laughed.

Phylicia is right, there is a joy and a peace that transcend circumstances, whether there are five kids, six kids, two kids, or none.  We can encourage it, or we can smother it, so look for the ways that God is blessing your family and point them out.  Rejoice in the family you’ve been given.

And build for the future.  Your future home, your children’s future homes, your future home in heaven.  Rejoice, for the Lord is come.


%d bloggers like this: