Wednesday, December 16, 2015


On a great day, my alarm sounds at 5am. It's quiet and still in our home. That's when I meet with God, uninterrupted and unhurried. I have at least an hour, yes an hour, to spend with the Lord.
I have been neglecting this 5am quiet time lately. Admittedly, my husband has a new work schedule, and my daily routine has changed. Our pace of life is different. And quite honestly, I've been too tired, more like exhausted, to get in the Word - especially at 5am. I'm still tired from the day before... and I'm exhausted at the thought of what the current day will bring. 
Consequently, I have been going through my days not only lacking physical energy... but spiritual energy as well. And I have been defeated. A lot. I have been defeated in my thoughts. I have been defeated in my actions. It seems like I have been spinning my wheels, and getting no where... Driving with 4 flat tires.
But I thank God for His reset button. You see, as much as I desired to get back on track, I don't have the means within myself to pull it off. But the Lord does! Not because I'm so good, but because He's so faithful. Yes, God continuously draws us to Himself - even when we're faithless. 
So what does that look like in real life? Let me tell you. Just this morning, I silenced my alarm, and woke up 2 hours later, already defeated. But by 7am, there remained an unusual silence in our home. And I knew the Lord was calling me to use this time to spend with Him.
I was a little leary, as I anticipated the pitter patter of little feet that would soon be coming down the stairs. But I went ahead... sat down at the table, and met with the Lord. And my children, who normally wake up at 7am, remained asleep, until 8:05am. Coincidence? Absolutely not.
God cares for me! And He loves me enough to let me struggle on my own, in my own strength... just long enough to let me see that I can't do it! But oh, He doesn't leave me there! In His unconditional love, mercy, grace... He picks me up, and HE places me on the right path!
Do you need a reset button?... Whether it's physical, mental, spiritual... Go to the Maker of your very soul! And even if it ain't pretty... Allow Him to reset you!

He restores my soul; He leads me in the path of righteousness for His name's sake.
~Psalm 23:3

Monday, December 14, 2015

Progress Report!

Homeschooling. We call our gig Reese Christian Academy, also fondly known as RCA. It's been 80 days! Yes 80, but who's counting? So far we're surviving. Well, more like pressing our way through, with the patience of my kiddos and utter reliance on God's grace!

So how's it really going?

I tell you, I get asked this question all the time. And usually in a fog, I do my best to spit out some coherent statement about education... and children... and stuff like that.  But, like any good teacher, there comes a point in which I need to actually sit down, process, and evaluate what exactly has been going on for the past 80 days!

What works for us?
  • Reese Rally. Every morning when the school alarm sounds, Khloe (age 3) goes running around screaming, "It's school time! It's school time!" Then we rally together and begin our day with prayer, scripture, and songs galore! 
  • Independent work. The kids are divided into 2 learning groups... the uppers and the youngers. Each group has a collection of work to do while I focus on the other. This includes written work, computer games, puzzles, stretches, and from time to time, a movie! Let's keep it real.
  • Stretch break. We stop whatever we're doing... every 30 minutes... and streeeeeeetch. Then get back on the grind!
  • Headphones. Quiet time. Enough said.
  • Recess. 60 minutes of play, 60 minutes a day! This time is precious and unique, and I love it. You see, I can either play with the kids... orrrrrrr.... have a quiet moment to myself, in which these people are sternly warned to stay far, far, away! (Don't worry, I can still see them... usually.)

What doesn't?
  • Afternoons. We haven't quite mastered that yet. Some days we get it, some days we don't. Yup, still trying to find that groove - especially with my uppers, while my youngers are napping. The set up is there, but my motivation usually isn't. Again, real talk.
  • Laundry. I've never been perfect at it, per se, but I once had a system that worked well for our household of 7. And for some reason, ever since we started homeschooling, I just don't do laundry anymore. Strange, I know! Disastrous, most definitely. 
  • Paperwork. Attendance sheets. Written work. Lesson plans... I just don't like it! 
  • Mom guilt. I was a much better teacher (by profession) than I am a homeschooler. And I battle that thought every day. Honestly... every single day. I question what I'm doing. I wonder if it's enough. I compare my old "nice, fun, patient, loving, laughing" self to my new "mean, short, mad, tired" self... and it's ugly!

Where do we go from here?

<<WARNING... Control freak ahead>> Welp, we're going to sure up those things that are lacking, of course! Our second semester plans are officially in the making. I am tightening up the afternoons, getting back to my 2 loads per day laundry routine, and cleaning up the messy paper work! 

Now what about those thoughts? What about the guilt?  What's my plan there? Not quite as easy of a fix.

Truthfully, I have to leave it at the feet of Jesus...  all of it.... including my incredibly perfect plans.  Let me bring you into my prayer closet, and expose my real life stuff. Each and every day... and then again, several times throughout the day... I'm crying out, "Lord, I messed up again!"... "Lord, I can't do this!"... "Lord, You have to help me!" ... "Lord! Lord! Lord!" Are you hearing me? I'm living a life of continuous pressing, persevering... and PRAYING! Oddly enough, there's no room for my prideful perfection. 

It's more clear to me now than ever before... that no matter what season of motherhood I'm in, the outer circumstances are working in me a greater good! Truth is, you don't have to be a homeschooling mom to experience readjustment, laundry piles, and mom guilt.  All of this outside pressure is designed to point us to our Maker.  And I must ask, how's that progress report looking?

Humbled. Grateful. Learning in this season. 

80 days down... 100 to go... We're going to press on!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

And Along Came Homeschooling...

We have decided to homeschool our children... all of them... starrrrtinnnngggg NOW!

I'm so excited about it, and I want to tell the world! (Which I'm doing... kinda cool, eh?) Now with homeschooling still a bit taboo, I want to not only share our decision, but also answer all questions, dispel all myths, relieve all fears, and leave everyone feeling warm and fuzzy on the inside, with a spirit of acceptance!

Too much? Absolutely. In fact, I actually have to tell myself: Give it up, pup. Not gonna happen. But what I can do is solicit your prayers!

Here goes... I am the product of a K-12 public school education. I earned a degree from a state university. I landed my dream job as an elementary music teacher in a public school system, only walking away to become a stay at home mom. And since being a SAHM, my oldest 3 kids have experienced, you guessed, a public school education. I don't fear public school. I fully embrace it... with all the kinks and quirks it has to offer. It's not perfect... but I'm not intimidated or influenced by its imperfections. Simply put, the decision to homeschool has nothing to do with "public school".

So what gives?

We are homeschooling out of... obedience. We believe that this is what we are called to do, for our family, in this season.

I must be honest and say that amid all the excitement, that I'm a bit SCARED! Seriously. Can I really do this? Can I successfully tackle the job of homeschooling all of our children... and do it well? After all, I am consistently inconsistent, the queen of procrastination, a target for distraction, and what's worse is that I am notorious for starting a project and not seeing it through to completion... which, in and of itself, is probably my biggest fear: Will I have the discipline to sustain????

I began drowning in a pool of insecurities.


I tell you what, it wasn't too long before I had to just get over myself! I truly believe that the Lord is faithful to equip me to do the things that He has called me to do.  I was reminded of my original response when I felt the Lord leading me to homeschooling...  "Lord, if you give me the grace, I will do it."  The Lord then so graciously brought back to mind the conversation with my husband, when I nervously said, "Hey, I'm thinking about homeschooling..." To which Ken replied, "Good. That's what I have always wanted you to do." Wow. The leading of the Lord... the affirmation of my husband... Yes, the Lord is doing His perfect work. He calmed my spirit.

And it's in the comfort of God's grace, that I find strength to do the seemingly impossible. Homeschooling is not about me. It's not about who I will impress, or how smart my children will prove to be. No! Homeschooling provides me with yet another opportunity to glorify the Lord! And the weaknesses that are so magnified in me, are the very things that will keep me humble and dependent on the Lord. 

That's why I believe this is a calling. That's why the choice to homeschool has nothing to do with public school. That's why I make no attempts to convince the world around me, and why there isn't a specified time frame. Please understand, homeschooling doesn't make me holy... any more than public school made me a pagan. Instead, I am convinced that my life is about walking in obedience to whatever it is that God has called me to do... For His glory!

Let your light so shine before me, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. 
~Matthew 5:16

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Journey Continues...

So here it is.  We're packing.  Moving.  Relocating.  Once again.  Only this time, the 440 mile trip is back to where we first began.  That's right.  We're moving to the place I call HOME...

My emotions are all over the place.  Disbelief.  Excitement.  Sadness.  Elation.  A readiness to go. A pressing desire to stay.  Shortness of breath.  Yes, at times I find it hard to breathe.  Are we really moving back home?  My goodness, we are. This was not in the plan.  This is beyond my wildest dreams! This is not the right time. I have so much going on here!  Back and forth, the thoughts have been flying in my mind.  And then to my surprise... Endless tears.

I would have never imagined crying this much.  Crying daily.

More of my full testimony to come.

For now, I will share that my tears are full of sadness... as I think about the friends I'll soon be leaving.  My tears are full of brokenness... as I bow my head in recognition that God had to break me down, down to the point of total surrender... as a wife, a mother, and a daughter of the King.... only to rebuild... so that His purpose may be revealed.   My tears are full of expectation... as I think about God's plans that are yet unseen.

Sadness.  Brokenness.  Expectation.

It goes beyond where we live. It encompasses how we live.  And I am learning that God wants to ultimately press us into holiness, that we may bring Him glory where ever we live!

On to the next chapter.  For our journey continues...

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Confession of Obsession...

Okay, where do I begin?

Perhaps with a quick confession.

I have an obsession.

With my phone.

It is so easy for me to be with my children, and have my head down, eyes squinted tight, fingers locked in... on my phone.  I hear the notification sounds from a far... the pop, the buzz, the ring... text messages, social media, email... and I respond instantly.  Often times, hushing my children so that I may communicate with someone else. I'm a classic case for the phone addicted mom, who is slowly clicking her child's life away.

Now apparently, I'm not the first. Hey, I've read the articles.  I've watched the videos. I've seen the special reports. And everyone is warning against such obsession. Challenges are being made, calling for citizens to "unplug" from the over-stimulated society.  Phones are being put down. Social media accounts are deactivated... Yes, people are dealing with the fruit of the issue!

But for me, it's still juuuuust a tad different. A little deeper.

God is calling me to deal with its root. You see, the phone is not a sinful object. The issue is with me. Why am I so obsessed with my phone?!

I had to sit down and actually answer that question. On paper. And here's what I discovered:
  • Communication
  • Affirmation
  • Entertainment
  • Escape 
My flesh naturally desires to be satisfied with these things.  My phone feeds the desires. Yet, like a greedy monster, the desires are never satisfied. And I'm always longing for more. Therefore I reach ... for my phone.

Now get this - these are not sinful desires. (And keep in mind, the phone is not a sinful object.) In fact, I think the need to communicate, feel loved, laugh, and simply have fun are very indicative of my personality! That's just kinda who I am. The problem is that I have replaced a legitimate desire with something that cannot satisfy me fully. I've diverted my attention. I've become distracted. I've created a god.

You could have never told me that I would become one of these phone-crazed people. I would have never believed you if you said I would be the one waking up and grabbing my phone first... or falling asleep with it in the bed... or going back to the house just to get it for a 2-minute trip... NO!! Not me!!! 

So how did I get here? Very simply... I crossed some personal boundaries.  Boundaries that I initially saw as necessary, (knowing my bend toward social butterfly mania!!) Boundaries that were designed to keep me in control. But somewhere along the line, I made a compromise. And before I knew it... yup... my phone was in my bed!!! (EEEEEK!!!)

Now let's rewind to 2010... when I got my first smart phone:

1. No phone (socially) before 10am
2. No phone (socially) on Wednesday or Sunday

To put this in some perspective, at the time I was teaching Wednesday Night Teen Bible Study, and ministering in music during Sunday morning worship. I wanted to ensure that there was nothing to distract me (unnecessarily) on these 2 days. And notice, I'm talking about personal boundaries, not Biblical mandates. I'm not sure where I veered off first... Perhaps checking Facebook early one Monday morning... or logging on right after worship service on Sunday afternoon.  Maybe I saw it as no big deal to meander my Newsfeed during Thursday choir rehearsal... or just plug in while outside on the playground with my kids. I truly don't know. But what I do know is that one compromise lead to another. And to my shame, the result is an obsession. 

Obsession... with anything... makes that thing... a god.

See, that's why this whole issue means more to me than a simple 40-day "phone fast".  Whether I want to admit it or not... no matter how much I dress it up... or make it sound pretty... at the end of the day, my phone is ruling my life. I have made this thing a god!!

Now allow me to take a quick rabbit trail. Anything... anything... anything... that is put before Almighty God... is an idol god. Material possessions, the "gotta have its", body image, sex, money, people, career, education, even ministry... you name it! If it rules, it is a god.  And we must constantly examine ourselves, if we want to be effective for the kingdom.

Though the list is endless, I am going to give you a few that can sneak in there, and can be especially dangerous in the life of a mother... (or at least this mother!) 
  1. Feelings... Whenever I operate according to my feelings, and I allow my emotions to rule me, as opposed to the truth of God's Word... then my feelings become god. 
  2. Children... Whenever I put the needs of my children before my God-ordained marriage, making my children more important than my husband, then my children become god (This is particularly tricky when it comes to meeting the needs of young children. However, let me tell you, keeping my husband first has provided pure blessing!)
  3. Food... Whenever I run to the kitchen (or to my private snack stash!) to satisfy a particular feeling (usually that of stress, anxiety, fear, or frustration)... then my food becomes god.
I'll stop there. Because if you're like me, with the Holy Spirit living within you, He will show you whatever it is He wants you to see! 

Now what?

For some, drastic measures need to take place - especially if there is sin involved. For others, a modification of some sort may be in order. Again, allow the work of the Holy Spirit to freely reveal what it is you are to do. Otherwise, the danger is that you and I will continue to mindlessly drift... from one thing to the next.. perhaps replacing one ill-fit god with yet another... seeking to be satisfied, yet never fulfilled.

For me, the goal (in this case) is not to eliminate, but rather to learn how to carefully operate.   Very simply, I must return to the safety measures that were in place, which carefully guarded my time. Then I must be intentional about pursuing my love relationship with Jesus. For the more I'm with Him, the more I will desire Him.  I must sit at His feet. (Oh.... to just linger in His presence!) Then, will I be satisfied... and thirst no more.

Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
~Exodus 34:14