Encouragement

Longing for Noise

 

Looking back over 20+ years of homeschooling, I wanted time to be alone. Yep. I admit it. I wished for places of silence in my life. As much as I loved the sounds of life all around me, I longed for moments of stillness throughout most of my parenting and homeschooling years...

 

Natural Beauty: Take Care Of Yourself

Today let's talk about the importance of taking care of ourselves in order to maintain and cultivate inner strength and outward beauty. Strength -- to do our very best in what we're called to do: love our husbands and children, manage our homes (I realize that many work outside the home, too), and teach our children. Beauty --- not just outward. We're also talking about those inner qualities like graciousness, kindness, and a pleasant demeanor -- virtues that are fast disappearing and often mocked in our androgynous American culture... 

Welcome Summer

What comes to mind when you think of your own childhood summers? Swimming on hot days, camping in the backyard, chasing those elusive butterflies, or running through the cold sprinkler? Side-walk chalk and jump rope? Gardens and snow-cones? Walking barefoot in the grass? However you spent your summers growing up, I encourage you to savor the upcoming moments and days with your family throughout the season ahead...

Make It An Active Summer

It's easy to forget that kids need a lot of physical activity as they grow.  Fresh air, sunshine, and plenty of movement is  beneficial for all of us, but especially important for children's coordination, growing bones, and mental acuity. I encourage you to help lead the way in this area, and enjoy burning some calories in the process. After all, we're meant to move!  So, here are some helpful suggestions to get all of us moving this summer. And, don't worry -- you don't have to be super coordinated or athletic to take part in these fun ideas... 

Independence Day...a great day to give thanks!

 

With determination, courage, great conviction, and a humble reliance upon God they made it possible, for generations of Americans to come, to enjoy these gifts and faith and family we all too often have taken for granted...

 

Celebrate Father's Day

What characteristics stand out to you as you think of your father? What do you admire most about him? Perhaps it's his gentle manner or quick smile. Maybe it's his generous nature, or his wit and wisdom. Now matter what good things we remember about our dads, I'd like to encourage all of us not only to give tribute to our fathers, but to think of ways we can express appreciation to our husbands in their vital roles as dads.

The Yard Sale

 It was 2005 when hurricane Katrina hit the Atlantic. I remember because it was the end of August, and we had just kicked off a new year --- 6th grade.  Maryland wasn't hit badly, but we listened to the news to hear which states had been hit the hardest. In the days that followed, Samaritan's Purse ministry deployed personnel and equipment to help those who were the most devastated all along the coast.

Congratulations Graduates & Homeschoolers Of All Ages!

Temperatures climbed into the 80's that bright day last year. Graduation day. I remember how my heart skipped a beat or two when each of the guys put out their hands to receive their high school diplomas.

      "I'm so proud of you!" I said afterward as we basked in the wonderful feeling of having completed our homeschool journey.

     Big smiles. Everyone squinted as we snapped pictures. I stood on my tip-toes to give each son a kiss. Thoughts of all our official last days of school flooded my memory... 

3 Helpful Tips As Your Kids Study Music

 

I kept my eyes on the highway as our old white van whizzed past small towns in Maryland's rolling suburbs.  Monday night, 5:25, three years ago.  The twins had only recently gotten their driver's permits, so I decided to drive Austin to orchestra rehearsal that night.  His straight-forward comment broke the silence.  "Mom --- I have to tell you --- I'm quitting orchestra tonight..."

Music, Part II

I sat outside the violin lesson that afternoon while I graded math papers and wondered, "Is this worth it?" I taxied the twins to lessons once a week, encouraged them to practice every morning, and sat through many long recitals and rehearsals ... 

   Our family found that studying music is about so much more than simply learning songs. It takes a big commitment from the parents and the students!

Music, Part I

He positioned the guitar to the left side of his body and held its long neck like a hunter with his prized goose. He looked straight ahead, his new dress shoes creaking as he ascended the three steps to the vast stage which consisted of one lone chair. The audience was oddly silent except for one lady who coughed. I sat there in the second row and wondered if my nine-year-old son had practiced enough. This was his first recital.... 

Happy Mother's Day

 

How can we describe the love, admiration, and appreciation we have for our own mothers?   Next Sunday, our extended family plans on having a picnic in the mountains  ---- to celebrate Mother's Day, and to pay tribute to our wonderful mom who worked so hard (along with my dad, of course!) to raise us ....

What a Mother's Love Does

Now that I have six adult children and my last child soon to turn that corner (unless I can figure out a way to keep him from getting any older!) I've been thinking about my role as a mom these past 25 years. I started out knowing so very little about what makes a good mom. I was a bit scared. I had no confidence. I certainly hadn't formed any lofty long-range plans; I still had to learn how to hold a newborn and change a diaper!

Our Mothers Told Us So

Have you ever said something to your kids and thought, "I sound just like my mom." 

    "Say something nice, or nothing at all," or "Please get those elbows off the table," I reminded the boys over and over again.  Countless reminders.  We've all been there...

       I'm sure that all of us occasionally find ourselves repeating those tried-and-true phrases that are forever etched in our minds because they were so often repeated by our own mothers.

Encourage Your Family, And Your Family Will Encourage You

"I have absolutely no desire to learn how to swing a golf club and hit that elusive white ball.  Why don't you three go?" I said that spring afternoon.

"Mommy, come with us. We'll teach you," Justin pleaded as he looked up at me without blinking his hazel eyes...

So I reluctantly tagged along to the golf course with Jay and the boys that day.

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