Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I've got to move it, move it...

I've moved!!

This is the last post you'll see here my friends.  I welcome you to join me in my new location at


All This Crazy Grace has been a long time in coming but it's finally here...

Friday, May 24, 2013

FMF {The View From Down Here}

The Friday is here.  Let's join the fabulous community of women that writes on Fridays for 5 minutes.  Just five, unedited and whole-hearted...the prompt for today:  VIEW


I hope this isn't too depressing for y'all but today the view I have isn't so pretty.  I'm at the bottom of a very large mountain.  I've been at the bottom of this mountain for so long.  and I don't like it.

I want to conquer that mountain.

And just when it looks like I might have finally found the path to conquering...

someone moves the path

or creates a detour

or just yells at me to get off the road.

I'm so tired of it.

The word says that I can speak to the mountain and it will get out of the way.  I've not been too successful at that obviously.

My paltry mountain climbing efforts haven't amounted to much.

I know all the right answers I have a mountain climbing plan and equipment to climb it and I know it will take time, because that mountain didn't grow there over night...

So now what?

That's the view from down here and I'm aware that there is a better perspective but I can't see it at the moment.


I'm linked up at Lisa Jo's where there are probably much more uplifting posts to read!  I would encourage you to go read them.  Thanks for stopping by, don't worry, I'll be in a better frame of mind on another day.

Five Minute Friday

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


"Bread is the perfect vehicle for eating butter!"

This is one of those moments that I should probably be doing something other than writing or sitting at the computer.  The list is long...

* boys haven't quieted down, their light should be off...I should go take care of that
* there are baskets of unfolded laundry and an empty towel cupboard...I should take care of that
* I made a mess in the living room when I hung up the curtains...I should take care of that
* the floor needs sweeping...I should take care of that
* the new blog needs to be worked on if it will ever launch...I should take care of that
* I cut out the new doll orders today...
* there is mending sitting on the table...
* there is a mountain of paper that needs to be sorted...
* there are pictures to hang...
* the paint is still out...
* the lamp needs to be painted on the inside...

The list is long and all that I can think about is this:

"Mom, why is bread so good?"

My almost 17 year old asked me this as he lopped off yet another slice of my homemade bread.  We go through about 12 loaves a week.

The first thing I thought about was that Jesus called himself the bread of life.

Bread is satisfying.

Bread is filling.

Bread is life-giving, it goes down into the hollow legs.

Bread is comforting - our motto when I was on VTI was, "all we need is Jesus, duct tape and toast".

Since I had to go gluten-free I miss my homemade bread...ALOT!

But I still get the bread of life, and He doesn't make my stomach hurt.

Bread is a staple in our diet.  It gets a bad rap but not many of us are willing to live without it.  We live without Jesus all the time.  I need to remember that He is my bread.

He is satisfying.

He fills me up in all the hollow places.

He comforts me.

And He is gluten-free...in fact He will heal me rather than making me sick.

He is my mainstay, the cornerstone of my life.

He is so good.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Risky Business

It's Tuesday. Time to talk about dreaming.  I'm going to be linked up at www.holleygerth.com with a wonderful group of dreamers...

The little girl's eyes sparkled as she saw the pile of presents before her.  That big shiny one looks like it might just be the doll she'd been waiting for.  She rips the paper open and the box says, "Wendy Walking Tall"...she gasps and reaches for it, but first she has to lay aside the deluxe artist's kit that she had in her hands just moments before...

Can you feel the conflict?  The letting go is risky, it's the part that, for me, is the scariest.  What if you lose that which you were holding on to?  What if what you're reaching for falls short of what you had?  What if it is nothing like you really wanted even if it says so right on the box?  Dreaming is risky business.  To hold onto your dream, you're going to have to let go of something else.

These are the risks of the dreamer.  The desire to go toward the dream has to be great enough that we are willing to let go of what we have right now.  And that is so hard.

To live the dream of kids who are following Jesus with their whole heart
                       I will have to allow them to leave the house...perhaps the province....or the country.

To live the dream of writing a book
                       I will have to let go of distractions. (read Debi's post on that it's great!)

To allow my husband to live his dream
                      I had to give up the house we had just purchased a year before and move into the house where he grew up and become a farmer (one of those things I said I'd never do)

To live the dream of homeschooling all of our kids
                     I have to give up fitting in, face misunderstanding and possibly ridicule.  I will have to give up the few hours of quiet I have gotten accustomed to.

Because we can't see what the full result of our actions we have to trust that this move that we're contemplating will be a good one (not unlike Candy Crush....waiting to make a power move, you know what I'm talking about) and not a crash and burn..(you failed to reach the goal!). I'm so glad God doesn't give us messages like that!  No, He says, "I am for you, who can be against you"  He says, "Nothing is impossible with me."  He says, "I will work this out for good, even if it doesn't look like it right now."  He says, "I will restore. I will redeem."

So, dear dreamer, consider the risk, weigh the outcomes but don't let the fear stop you from grabbing hold of the next present...it might be just what you've been waiting for.

Friday, May 17, 2013

FMF: {Song} - Let My Lifesong Sing...

1. Write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Be generous and leave an encouraging comment for the person who linked up before you. That’s the best part about this community.
And if you don’t have a blog, feel free to leave your five minutes of writing as a comment. And we’ll love on you there.
Today’s prompt is:



"Let my lifesong sing to you..."  These are the words to the song I sang with some friends last Sunday.  


"I want to sign Your name to the end of this day, knowing that my heart was true..."

Today God, when I have to go to work instead of being home with my kiddos.  

Today, when my house is a disaster and company is coming tomorrow.

Today, on the day when I celebrate 21 years of saying "I do" to the gift of grace you've given me in Kelly...but I'll maybe see him for 20 minutes or so...

Today, when there is seed going in the ground and he's working hard to provide for us and eating dust for lunch...

Today, when my boy wakes up grumpy because I wouldn't let him play on the computer....

Today, when the 'tooth fairy' has to think up a sneaky way to get the money under the pillow when that little girl is already awake...

Today, when I have to leave the painting of the third coat until tonite when those littles are in bed and the big ones are at youth group with their dad...

As I serve my community at the post office and love my kids from a distance and my husband out in the field...

Let my life still sing to You today...let my heart be true and let Your name be on my lips.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Two Worlds Collide

I'm fulfilling two assignments at a time today.  I signed up to be a blogger for Compassion and this is the first assignment that I'll be doing for them.  And for the last several months I have been part of the God-sized Dream Team with Holley Gerth and about 100 other women...we've been sharing on Tuesdays little bits of this dreamy life we're called to live.

Today these two paths merge.

The GSDT assignment is to write about our favourite non-profit organization and Compassion happens to be mine.  Compassion's assignment is to imagine life as a mother in another country...so here goes.

A few years ago we had the opportunity to visit Compassion International's headquarters in Colorado.  We loved the time they spent with us showing us what they do and how the money we send them every month gets used to make life better for our sponsored child in Ecuador, Jordy.

With Mother's Day already a memory I have been pondering what my life would have been like had God decided to plant me somewhere besides this affluent society I happen to be a part of.

I wouldn't have as many living children as I do.  All of my kids have needed intense medical intervention at some point in their life.  Josiah couldn't get out on his own, there's a possibility that both of us wouldn't have made it left on our own.  Abby would probably be okay. Sam would have died due to the complications associated with his heart condition.  Sasha would have survived birth but probably not the burst appendix.  Elizabeth was premature and required neo-natal care, she, too, probably wouldn't have survived.  I'm certain I would not have considered raising a stranger's child who also had plenty of medical issues and would have succumbed to croup early on.

In my imaginary world I have only one child to care for and that child needs medical attention for heart problems she has recently developed.  But I probably wouldn't be as concerned about that as I would be about making sure she had a good education, food, water, clothing and shelter.  These would be my main concerns.  I no longer have a husband because he, too, died for lack of medical care.  It is common in our village.

Her job would be to collect water from the village well, if there was one.  Together we would try to coax the dirt into growing something that we could eat.  Our entire existence would be one in which we look for and try to find ways to gather food and resources.  She would not have the option of ballet or jazz, piano or guitar.  She could sing, but perhaps she wouldn't feel like singing.

I have dreams for my daughter.  She is smart and beautiful.  She could get out of the cycle we live in.  She could have a store or go to the city and work for someone.  I do not have dreams for myself.  Maybe I did once, but that was long ago.  I can dream for my daughter.

As a mother in poverty I watch carefully over my daughter.  I have been approached more than once to sell her, but I will not do that.  Many daughters have disappeared and never come back.  I know that evil men are making money from the bodies of these young girls.  I watch her carefully, she does not leave my side or go off on her own, it is too dangerous.

There is a school that missionaries have set up in our village, she is safe there during the day and she loves to learn...oh how she loves to learn.  Some foreigners explain to me one day that my daughter has been sponsored.  That means she will be able to continue in school, she will have clothes and food.  Our village will have a clean well.  I am weak with relief.

My daughter teaches me things that she learns in school.  I learn how to make jewelry that I can sell.  She is able to get the medical attention she needs.  My life and my daughter's life are changed because of sponsorship.  We write to the foreigners and try to explain in a few words how thankful we are.  My burden is lifted. My daughter will have a better life than mine and that is all that I want.

Sponsorship does not require that much in our western world.  $41/month is a small percentage of my grocery budget a month.  Less than what I spend on milk per month.  Less than one pair of shoes.  But it does so much.  Consider sponsoring a child today and help make their dreams come true.

Click HERE to help rescue Babies and Mothers from poverty.  Your gift can do so much.  I am linked HERE, see how you, too, can be a Voice For Mothers.

Click HERE to join our GSDT team and links to their favourite non-profit organization.

Help make a difference in the lives of children in need. Now is the time to sponsor a child.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Why We Do This Homeschool Thing...

Why bother with home education?

What is wrong with the public school?

Why would you do this to yourself?

I could never do that...

The decision to home educate our kids has been over 20 years in the making.  The story goes like this...

Way back when I was in University, studying to become a teacher in the college of Education I had to write a paper on the pros and cons of public, private and home education.  At that time I was completely unfamiliar with home education and probably had the same misconceptions that the majority of people do.  However, through my research and the classes I was taking I began to see how individual each of us is as a learner.  All of us have a way in which we learn best. 

I also realized that in order for a student to realize their full learning potential their learning needed to be structured to fit their learning style.  Montessori schools do a great job of this and is the basis of their education system.  I got to sub in a Montessori school for a little while and was so impressed with what I saw there.

In the process of writing that paper I was convinced that home education was a valid option and one that I would consider when I had children of my own.  My husband and I discussed it at length, prayed about it and decided it would definitely be an option sometime in the future.  It would be a long time before we needed to make any decisions about education for our kids.

I remember the day the decision hit us in the face.   I was at the local supermarket and ran into a friend who knew about our desire to home school.  Josiah was in kindergarten at the time.  I remember her looking at me and saying, kinda out of the blue, "So, why aren't you homeschooling yet?  What's stopping you?"  Of course, that got us thinking...and praying.

For the last nine years we have prayed every year over each of our kids to discern what the best mode of education should be for them that year.  Here are some of the ways God has met us in our home-education and public school decisions.

We got his heart back.

When we started home schooling Josiah we noticed that we no longer had his heart.  He was turning away from us, stuffing his disappointments and fears and becoming more withdrawn.  In spending quality and quantities of time with him each day we got it back.  We enjoy a close relationship with our introverted son to this day.  He has home-schooled for 6 years out of the 12 he's been in school so far.  He has chosen to graduate at home and will be starting grade 12 in the fall.

We noticed a learning disability.

We took our second son home when he was starting grade two.  He had had some issues in grade one but according to the teacher all was well.  However, at home he didn't seem to be able to read.  When I looked through his school papers I saw that he hadn't done much of the work and the work that was done had had a lot of 'help'.  We went to see our homeschool coordinator who also happened to be a resource teacher and asked for her help in assessing the issues at hand.  There was a process started that continued on when we moved to the community we now live in with the public school.  It is through the amazing patience of an educational assistant and the work of the resource teacher here that helped him actually learn to read.  In our opinion they were miracle workers.  His only home schooling has been parts of years, not a whole one and he has done really well in the public school system.

She could let her wings spread out and soar.

Our oldest daughter was in a French immersion school and absolutely loved it when we moved.  She was in grade one at the time.  She came into an English-speaking classroom and was actually kind of bored.  She was used to being challenged in ways that she needed to be.  She came home at the start of grade two.  She is a very quick learner and loves doing things at her own pace. She loved studying countries she was interested in and pursuing interests that you might not be able to access in a regular school day. She went back into the public school at the end of grade 5 and we realized, because she was in a combined classroom that she had already completed all the grade 6 requirements.  She was able to move ahead a year with no problems at all.  She stayed in public school for grade 7 and then asked to return home so she could study things that really interest her.

These are some of the benefits we've seen.  We don't really fit into the home school conventions because we aren't hard-core homeschoolers.  We don't fit into the public school community because we aren't 100% committed to that mode of education either.  Who knows, the son who is in the process of determining his education path for next year may end up in a private school, we don't know the answer to that yet.  We do want our children to know that they have choices in how they learn and don't need to be confined to one way of educating themselves.  I pray that they learn they are in charge of their learning and that they continue to love learning like they do now.

I hope that helps to answer some of the questions that we've encountered or perhaps helps you along the way to determining education options for your children.  I'd love to hear your responses!

Monday, May 06, 2013

The Harsh Realities of Living Out a Dream

Last week I told you that we signed some papers and slid that commitment through the slot at the post office.  Those papers were to enroll five of our six kids into Progressive Discover-e, a cyber school that my friend Ann Cook is the principal of who has grown this dream of hers from a seed into the successful government-funded, provincially recognized home-education resource it is today.  We are pretty excited about it.

Ann's dream is allowing us to walk into one of ours...home-educating all of our kids.  But, you say, you only enrolled 5.  Yes, that is true, the jury is still out on number 6 because we and that child are still discerning the best form of education for this next year.  We do that every year.  We don't go into a new school year without going through that process.  We go before the Lord with each child and ask Him what the plan is.  As they get older they join in on that process.

For those of you not familiar with a cyber school...well, I'm not either, we haven't done this before, but I will try to explain it as it has been explained to me, or you can go visit their website and it will probably tell you more...the link is HERE.  The majority of the classes will be online with real teachers at the other end who mark and assign their work.  Art and Phys Ed are my responsibility - we log the hours and activities and submit those.  My job is to supervise their work, their job is to do the work!

I am pretty thrilled with this for a few reasons...
1.  It isn't costing me anything.  The school is government funded.
2.  I don't need to worry about counting credits for my high school students, they will make sure they've got everything they need to graduate according to our provincial guidelines.
3.  I don't need to go through the headache of choosing curriculum...even though it's kind of fun..but not really.
4.  I am not doing the marking, sometimes it is hard to be objective.
5.  There is someone else besides me holding them accountable.
6.  It's a Christian school, so I do not need to be concerned about content that could prove to be objectionable.

And then there are the harsh realities:
1.  My kids will be home all the time (I love them but sometimes it is really nice to see the yellow school bus, especially Monday mornings)
2.  I will have to plan for three meals a day for the whole fam, not just two.  The four of us that have been home this year have a pretty mellow thing going on at lunch time...no longer.
3.  I will have to be disciplined about making a schedule and keeping it - they will each need time online and off, piano lessons, the art and phys ed time logging, etc.  Yes discipline - it could fit in the four-letter word category, but it doesn't.  Do you think maybe God knew this was coming down the pipe when He gave me the 'phrase' for the year, Grace-full Discipline?  I will definitely need a cup full of grace every day!
4.  There will be a togetherness-attitude that will need to be conquered.
5.  There will be lots of bumps to iron out as we learn this new rhythm.
6.  I will need to learn to say no and be kind to myself about things that I think I should be doing but won't have the energy for.
7.  There will be people who don't understand why we would do this to ourselves, like it's a punishment or something...we don't see it that way.
8.  There will be people who will be mad at us for taking our kids out of the school.  Our decision is NOT a reflection of our school.
9.  Some people will get us to try and feel guilty that we're doing this...not sure why this happens, but it has.
10. My kids who have not homeschooled before are going to be in for a shock...they will have to work, contrary to popular thought.
11.  My kids will have MORE chores to do not less.  Not sure who that will be harder on.
12.  It's not going to be easy.
13.  It WILL be alot of work.
14.  We will not enjoy every day.
15.  There will be days when I question my sanity.
16.  There will be days when I will want to send them all away.

And for those who are wondering:
1.  No, we don't hate our public school, in fact, we love our school!  There are great teachers and we have a very positive relationship with them.
2.  No, this doesn't mean we are moving.
3.  No, we may not do this for the rest of our days...like I said before we take it one year at a time.
4.  No, we are not crazy - well, that might be debatable!!

Friday, May 03, 2013

On the Brink of Brave {Five Minute Friday}

This week I signed papers, slipped them into an envelope with a commitment and dropped it in a mail slot.  It's another step on the way to a dream.  This one step has been brewing for over twenty years and we've stuck our toe on the step for about nine years but never stepped fully on...I wasn't that brave.

It's going to be hard and awkward and require more of me than I will be willing to give.  Maybe more than I have.  But we're finally willing to take that risk because we heard the Spirit whisper that it was time, and we were surprised.  It would be easier to just keep a toe on, but I'm wearing this bracelet on my wrist that says, "Dream God-sized dreams".  This thing is risky.
You can get one here...

We risk being misunderstood and judged and money and time and energy and probably things we can't even see right now...but we have a good God who has carried us through and so we're saying yes.

And when I think of brave I have to ponder the mamas that will be teary eyed tonite here in our little town as they push their babies out of the nest on graduation night praying that they've given them wings to fly.  And we know that pushing is just like back in the delivery room and we have to put a brave face on it because they are so excited to launch into a brave new world that is waiting to crush them but they don't see that now and that's a good thing...

I'm planning to put one of those bracelets on the wrists of the girls who've grown up with us as youth pastor's here...I hope they will be inspired to dream and be brave.

So I take my little step that feels so very scary but this step is all about that launch and I pray that the Word will hold me up as I walk on this path and I pray for those mamas because next year it's my turn to be brave...

This post is a part of a wonderfully brave community of writers who take a prompt and write for five minutes without editing and then go encourage each other in their brave pursuits...want to join us?  Come on be brave, write your BRAVE and link up at HERE.

Five Minute Friday

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

A Letter to You...

Dear Dreaming Friend,

I wish you could come curl up on my new-to-me couch in my messy living room, smell the chicken soup bubbling on the stove and rest with me.  I am tired, too.  The days press in hard with kids and schedules and farm and ministry and trying to walk toward my dream.  It seems like way too much most of the time.

In between loads of laundry and vacuuming and getting kids to practice I remind myself that my life is this and it is more.  In my bathroom there is a little wall plaque that says,

 Dare to make that difference. 
 Take that step. Follow that dream.
 - All things are possible with God. Mark 10:27 

It's right across from the 'great white throne' so I'll see it often.

Maybe you haven't even allowed yourself to dream.  Your core fears of failure and rejection wipe you right over into the corner and you don't want to get up.  Don't let the adversary win!!  You were made to dream.

Your dream doesn't have to be big and fancy.  It doesn't have to look like anyone else's dream.  God is really good at getting that dream just the right size for you.

Do I have great wisdom for you?  Maybe just this.
Commence to proceed.
Do it.
Source: Click

I'll be right here dreaming with you, taking little steps forward.


This post is linked up with a bunch of other dreamers over Holley Gerth's.  We're all part of a God-sized Dream Team and our heart's desire is to encourage you.  Come dream with us!!