Monday, March 23, 2020

Free Homeschooling Resources



For the past four years, I’ve had the privilege to be a Homeschool Mom to my girls. You see back in 2010, the Lord called me to lay down my own ideas about traditional school for my future children and be willing to embrace homeschooling. Click here to read more about our Homeschool Testimony.

Honestly, it’s taken some trial and error for me to get my bearings, but after sometime we’ve finally settled into a good homeschool routine. We’ve had hiccups along the way, but I’m learning to be a better teacher everyday. In just a matter of days, COVID-19 has changed our lives in so many ways. Closing schools, restaurants, movie theaters, parks, and launching us into a season of Social Distancing. I can’t even imagine how most of you feel, as your own children are now home with you full-time for an undisclosed amount of time leaving you responsible to ensure they continue to receive an education.

Is anyone feeling overwhelmed yet?

All that to say, I’m praying for you. For God to give you patience and grace as you try to find a new normal for your family during this time. You are not alone. Don’t forget to keep things simple. You’re not required to do fancy Pinterest projects each day, especially if it doesn’t bring you joy and overwhelms you. Try to focus on the essentials and anything else you can work on with your kids is incredible.

Below I have complied a list of free homeschooling resources, which I hope will help as you teach your children at home. There are fun story times from Space, art tutorials, exercise, legos, worship, and more. If you have other online resources which you’re using right now, please leave me a comment so other parents can use it as well.
.....


FREE HOMESCHOOL RESOURCES LIST

{Art}
1. Art Hub for Kids This link will take you to Rob's website, full of video art lessons. He also has a YouTube channel full of art tutorial videos which we does with his kids.

2. Directed Drawing Videos This link takes you to a collection of Directed Drawing Videos where they teach you how to draw a variety of things such as butterflies, Santa Claus, polar bears, flowers, and more.

3. Free Disney Coloring Pages This link takes you directly to a list of "Classic Disney Coloring Pages". If you want Minnie Mouse coloring pages, just click the link and scroll until you find your favorite picture.

4. Lunch Doodles with Mo Williems When you click the link, it will take you to Episode 1 of “Lunch Doodles with Mo Williems” on YouTube. We are huge fans of the "Elephant & Piggie" books written by Mo Willems and our girls can't wait to learn how to draw different pictures from Mo himself.


{Exercise}
1. 10 Online Exercise Classes for Kids This link includes 10 online exercise and yoga classes for kids as a way to move their body while they're home.

2. Kids Workout This link takes you to a 25 minute exercise routine program for kids and parents. It's a great option to help burn off some of your kids energy each day.


{Reading}
1. Free Audible Books This link takes you to an article with links which will allow you to listen to some of the free stories for kids, which Audible is offering as a Coronavirus has closed schools.

2. Josh Gad Reading Kids Books Josh Gad, the voice of Olaf, is reading books to kids online every night of the Cornoavirus quarentine.

3. Read Aloud Revival Sarah Mackenzie's website has so many free book lists to help you determine the best books to read aloud to your family. She also has a Read Aloud Revival podcast with special guests and tips about making read alouds a priority in your home.

4. Storyline Online This is a free children's literacy resource featuring the world's best storytellers reading books aloud. Each video includes an activity guide with lessons for K-5 students to do at home.

5. Story Time from Space This is an awesome resource where astronauts read bedtime stories to kids from the Space Station.


{Other}
1. COVID-19 Break Packets This link takes you to a Google drive full of packets for grades from Pre-K to 8th grade, which are full of math, reading comprehension, and more.

2. Keep Learning at Home Free Online Resources This link takes you to a collection of ten links for at home learning resources such as, PBS, ABC mouse, and more.

3. Legos This link take you to the Lego 30 Days of Play Challenge for kids. There is a different Lego challenge for kids to complete each day. I can't wait to use this with my girls.

4. Seeds Family Worship This resources is amazing, especially for families who are trying to do church at home. They have worship songs for kids, which you can use as memory verses throughout the week. My family uses a lot of Seeds Family Worship during our Bible time.

5. Scholastic This link take you to Scholastic's website to help parents teach their kids at home. Day by day projects to keep kids reading, thinking, and growing.

6. Sonlight This link takes you to all kinds of free resources for families whose children are home as a result of Covid-19. They have book lists, games, and physical activity ideas.

7. Virtual Field Trips When you click the link, you will discover links to 10 virtual field trips which your children can participate in from the safety of your own home. The San Diego Zoo, the moon, and the Great Wall of China to name a few.

{Science}
1. The Good and The Beautiful This homeschool curriculum has a lot of free resources. Their Marine Biology science unit is free for you to download and print out at your convenience.


Monday, March 16, 2020

10 Self Care Ideas



Recently, I've been overwhelmed by the Coronavirus chaos taking place all around the world. Can anyone else relate? While so many of us are practicing social distancing, I thought it would be a great time to share with you how you can take care of yourself during this difficult time.

During times of stress and suffering, I put myself on the back burner in order to care for my immediate family. I wear so many different hats throughout the day, it's hard to make time to take care of myself, because it feels selfish and Christians aren't supposed to be selfish. Isn't it more loving, if I just focus on my family?

Thankfully, over the years God has shown me, the only real way I can love my family is to take care of myself. Sometimes I do this better than others! I hope these ideas will encourage you to begin to take care of yourself.


10 Self Care Ideas 

1. Reading my Bible 
Each and everyday, I make an effort to come into God's presence, because it is essential in my effort to daily take care of myself. I read my Bible, pray, worship, and memorize scripture. I'm a Mom of five little girls, so I never do this "perfectly". Most of the time, I'm squeezing in my Bible reading before breakfast while my twins watch Cocomelon on YouTube. I step away for a few minutes to be strengthened by God for the day ahead. Then, I listen to  The Bible Recap Bible Reading plan and podcast, while I work on unloading the dishwasher and making breakfast. The Bible Recap has been such an encouragement to me as I work to read/listen to the whole Bible this year.


2. Journaling 
I am a writer, who loves journaling. I've enjoyed journaling since I was a little girl. There are two ways I journal. First, I journal my prayers to the Lord starting with "Dear Jesus" and then pouring out my heart. Next, I journal what happened throughout the day and how I'm feeling. Trying to give myself space to process my feelings on paper. It helps me to be able to process my feelings when I see them on paper. It also helps me to unload my worries and fears before the Lord and physically leaving them with Him in my journal.


3. Listening to Podcasts 
I didn't grow up listening to a lot of audiobooks. Honestly, it took me awhile to be able to really like podcasts. However, now I have found some of my favorite podcasts, I just love them. They've become part of my daily routine. It's nice to be able to listen to podcasts as I walk around the house doing laundry, cooking, or cleaning. It helps me to be able to take a break from my kids and join in on some adult conversation about anything and everything!! Some of my favorite podcasts are...The Popcast with Knox and Jamie, The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey, The Next Right Thing, Business Wars, American Elections: Wicked Game, The Bible Binge, The Bible Recap, and so many more!!


4. Date Night with Jon 
For a season, going on dates with my husband was rare, because my twins were young and we were living in Hong Kong. We went back to our roots, when we were newly married without any extra money and focused on some at home dates. Now we've settled into our new home, we've been trying to have a date night at least once a month and it's been wonderful! So nice to get out and have a break with my favorite person on the planet. It won't always look the same, but it's important to make date night a priority!


5. Eating Healthy 
If I'm not making healthy food choices, how will I ever have the energy to care for my family? Eating healthy feels selfish. However, during times of crisis, quarantine, and social distancing, it’s more important than ever to take care of yourself. With food shortages throughout the country, you may not be able to only eat healthy foods depending on what’s available at your store, but try your best!!


6. Going for Walks/Moving Your Body
It’s important for me to get out of the house and let me kids walk around the neighborhood for at least 30 minutes each day. It’s critical for my sanity and theirs. Maybe you don’t have a neighborhood
to walk around, if so try to make time to move your body for at least 30 minutes a day. There are tons of free workout videos on YouTube, so there’s no excuse for not getting up and moving your body.


7. Drinking Water 
This is also a struggle for me. I live up at altitude and need more water than the average person. So, I have a water bottle, which is just mine and I refill it throughout the day to make sure I’m drinking as much water as I can. I also have an app on my phone, which lets me log how much water I have consumed throughout the day. This is so helpful, because I can easily forget how much water I’ve had it I don’t write it down or keep track of it.


8. Reading or Listening to Books 
I love books. However, being a busy Mom of 5, I don’t always have time to sit down and read books like I want to each day. On top of that, I wasn’t very good art listening to books either. Over the past few years, I’ve learned to listen to books from the library. I’ve listened to all kinds of audiobooks and I love it, because I can work on dishes or cleaning while I listen to a good book. It took time to get used to listening to books, but it’s so worth it now! You should give it a try.


9. Watching shows on Netflix 
Honestly, not many of us can be out and about right now. As a result, I'm so thankful for Netflix and other streaming services which let me relax and watch good shows or movies after my girls have gone to sleep. I try not to do this all day long, but it helps to relax and unwind at the end of each day by watching a good show. What are some of your favorite shows or movies right now?


10. Choose a Fun Hobby
My final self care idea is to choose a fun hobby such as coloring, building puzzles, knitting, cooking, sewing, scrapbooking, baking,  or anything else which you find fulfilling. In our family, I we work on puzzles together. I also have a bunch of adult coloring books, which I enjoy coloring in when I'm feeling stressed or anxious.


Now it's your turn. What self care ideas work best for you?


Monday, March 2, 2020

Remembering Eden Grace



Last week, I started a new Write the Word journal called, “The Garden: Nourish Your Soul” by, Cultivate What Matters. On the second day, the passage was Genesis 2:8-9 which says,

“And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” 
- Genesis 2:8-9 ESV

These verses reminded me of my sweet baby, Eden Grace, whom I miscarried back in 2013. I can’t believe it’s already been 7 years. In honor of my precious little one, I would like to share Eden’s story with you. I wrote this story several years ago, but I hope it brings you encouragement and glorifies God who is always with us.

On February 27th, 2013, the week after Feminar, our local women's conference in East Texas, I had a miscarriage.

The Lord was gracious to me. At Feminar, He gave me a word of encouragement, which strengthened me throughout this hard time. During Feminar and even on the day that I lost our baby, the Lord asked me over and over again, "Do you trust me?" I'm thankful, I was able to put my trust in the Lord and to see Him take care of me on one of our darkest days. To our delight, exactly 10 months after my miscarriage, we welcomed our second daughter Sophie Joye into the world!!

She’s truly my rainbow baby!!

For years after my miscarriage, I felt like we should name the baby, we lost. In 2015, we finally settled on a name for our sweet baby, Eden Grace. Eden means place of pleasure or delight and Grace means grace. I love this name, because it reminds me even though we never got to meet our baby on Earth, he/she is waiting for us in Heaven! I can’t wait for the day that we can be reunited with our sweet Eden Grace.

In February 2017, I experienced a time of sorrow and really missing our baby, Eden Grace. As always, Feminar rolled around, right when I was missing Eden Grace the most!! To my surprise, on Friday evening, the Lord used Kasey Van Norman to speak right to my heart. It was amazing and only a God-thing when Kasey started talking about the Garden of EDEN and how God put eternity in man's hearts from Ecclesiastes 3:11. Then, Kasey said that our mission in life is to get back to paradise and that Eden is written into our hearts. I couldn't believe what I was hearing!!

Let me try to put the pieces together for you. I miscarried a baby that we named, Eden Grace. Now when I was missing my baby most, God was using the speaker at Feminar to remind me that God has given me Eden, not to make me sad. However, He gave us this baby so that our hearts will always long to be in Heaven with God and our baby!! God has literally put Eden in our hearts!!

WOW!!

I'm so thankful that the Lord met me in the middle of my time of sorrow and gave me a word of hope that will encourage me for many years to come!! God is in the business of taking our sorrow and transforming it into joy!! For my birthday in 2017, Jon got me this beautiful necklace as a way to always remember our sweet baby. I'm so thankful for this necklace it will always remind me of how God has used Eden Grace to teach me about His great love for me.

Praying for all of you who have lost a baby, may God wrap His arms around you and meet you in your sorrow.




“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” 
- Ecclesiastes‬ ‭‪3:11‬‬ ‭ESV‬‬


Friday, February 28, 2020

6 Things I Learned This Winter



I’m so excited to take part in “What I Learned” hosted every quarter by, Emily P Freeman: an author, podcaster, and co-founder of Hope*Writers an online community for writers. Honestly, winter was crazy for me and my family, because we just moved into our new home in Colorado. Thankfully, we were able to get our stuff unpacked quickly. However, it takes time to settle in after a big move. Ever since the New Year began, we've been honing in on a good routine for our family, which has given us time to work on homeschool while my twins are napping.


6 Things I Learned This Winter


1. Photoshoots in the snow with small children aren’t ideal. 
For Christmas, my brother-in-law, Josh, and his girlfriend, Katya, came to visit for for holidays. We were so excited, because Josh’s plan was to propose while he was in town!! Josh told Katya the plan was to take family photos, which was just a cover for the surprise engagement. The morning of the proposal it was really snowing outside, so we all got bundled up and headed to do our photoshoot. Honestly, it was freezing cold and in most of our family pictures my poor girls aren’t very crying and upset. We were happy to be there for Josh and Katya, but I won’t be doing another winter photoshoot anytime soon.


2. I can’t listen to true crime podcasts when I’m home alone. 
Every week, I listen to The Popcast with Knox McCoy and Jamie B Golden. Back in January, they released an episode called, “True Crime in Pop Culture”. They recommended lots of different true crime podcasts, books, and tv shows. I started listening to true crime podcasts before when we lived in Hong Kong, so I was excited to have some new true crime recommendations from Knox and Jamie. So, I downloaded some new episodes and starting listening. It’s safe to say, I listened to way too many true crime episodes, because by the end of the night I was scared and couldn’t go to sleep. From then on, I’ll decided to limit my true crime podcasts to when my husband’s home, so I’m not scared to death!!


3. “Let’s Take the Long Way Home” by, Gail Caldwell is a MUST READ. 
During one of my Hope*Writers Tuesday Teachings, Marion Roach Smith taught us about writing memoirs. She also recommended some of her favorite memoirs one of them being, “Let’s Take the Long Way Home” by, Gail Caldwell. I was so thrilled to find this book on Hoopla and started listening right away. I couldn’t put it down and listened to the whole book in just one day!! The way Gail shares about her friendship with Caroline Knapp is incredible. I gave it five stars on my Goodreads and can’t wait to read Caroline’s known memoir called, “Drinking: A Love Story”.


4. Taking care of myself, by making my writing a priority again. 
Last year, I joined Hope*Writers to gain support from a writing community as I write my very first book. It’s an exciting time and my girls can’t wait for my book to be finished, so they can buy it. They’re so funny. I’m thankful to be able to make my writing a priority again as I write on my blog, email my girls, and write in my book. I am a writer and I’m thankful to God for helping me to remember who I am.


5. Don’t question Colorado’s ability to produce snow. 
Recently, my family moved to Colorado. In the first week, we snowed for four days straight. I love snow! Honestly, I was excited to have so much snow which welcomed us to our new home. Then, things seemed to taper off and we didn’t have as much snow as I thought we would in the coming months. We didn’t even have a white Christmas. What’s the deal? So I started thinking to myself, “Come on Colorado can’t you do better than that?” In just a matter of weeks, I’ve learned I should never mock Colorado, because in February we have had record snow fall and for over two weeks. My bad!! I will do my best to not question you again. #snowfordays


6. The stomach bug sucks. 
We’ve had an unwanted visitor the past week, the stomach bug. I did not invite him into our home, but he came to visit and wreak havoc upon our lives anyway. Everyone was sick, no one was spared. Each time I thought it was over, I cleaned and sanitized everything praying this would be it for us. Only to be woken up at 1 am to find, someone else was throwing up again. So many sleepless nights and caring for my girls allowed them to “share” the stomach bug with me, my husband, and my sister-in-law. I tried my best not to get mad, but there comes a point when you’re just over it. Praying for healing for my sister-in-law Hannah and that this stomach bug would leave our home, never to return again.


Now it’s your turn, what did you learn this Winter?



Monday, February 17, 2020

My Love for Hong Kong and China

My precious family in Hong Kong (Februrary 2019)



Back in August 2018, my family of seven sold all of our belongings and followed God’s call on our life to live in Hong Kong, while my husband flew for Hong Kong Airlines. Jon and I have always had a deep love for Asia, specifically China, as we have had many family and friends who lived in Hong Kong and China over the years. To this day, many of them are still living in these countries. Even though, we're already back in the states, my heart in heavy for our loved ones in Hong Kong and China during the current Coronavirus outbreak. We get updates from them daily and try our best to encourage them, even when life feels overwhelming for them.

They told us, China was going to implement a revised method to track people infected by the Coronavirus. On February 12, the day the new method started, China reported 14,840 new coronavirus cases, which was a massive jump from previous reports. In total, there are currently 60,390 confirmed cases worldwide, including 1,370 fatalities. Thankfully, this new tracking method has allowed China to have a better picture of how many people are infected. Click the link to continue to track the Coronavirus.


SHARING DR. LI WEN LIANG'S FINAL WORDS
Last week, I read these “Final words from Dr. Li Wen Liang” and I think it's important to share his story in his own words with you. Honestly, I’m so thankful for Dr. Li Wen Liang!! Praising God for his goodness in Dr. Li Wen Liang’s life even as he faced death, leaving Wuhan, and his family. After you finish reading it, I’ll remind you of a few ways to continue to pray for the people around the world begin impacted by the Coronavirus. It's going to be a long road for them. They will need our support and encouragement over the weeks and months as they ride out the aftermath of this outbreak. They need us now more than ever.


.....

All across China, people are talking about Dr Li Wen Liang. He was the doctor who discovered the novel coronavirus and in the early morning of 7 Feb, 2.58am, he was promoted into glory and went home to be with our Father in heaven. 

Back in December last year, he was arrested for being a whistle blower 'spreading rumors' about a mysterious pneumonia like virus. This morning we found out he was infact a fellow brother in Christ. Our hearts are deeply moved by his sacrificial choice to spread awareness about the virus despite the risks he faced, especially to his reputation and to his own health. 
He continued to care for patients up until he was infected himself. What a legacy to leave behind of what it means to be like Jesus to those hurting in a time of crisis. 
He chose to be an example of Immanuel, 'God with us' to the people of Wuhan. 
Can you imagine the joy he must have felt as he entered into eternity and heard the words, "Well done, my good and faithful servant"? 

So today, please pray for his family, especially his wife who is also infected and 8 months pregnant with their second child. May God heal them supernaturally n give them grace, peace, strength and comfort during this time.

Dr Li Wen Liang penned a deeply touching Chinese poem below of how he would miss his family, his beloved Wuhan n quoted 2 Tim 4:7-8 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
#jiayouwuhan

"The Hero Who Told The Truth"

Here is a captivating, heart-touching Chinese poem I've tried to translate into English. It was written in memory of Mr Li Wen Liang, a Christian doctor and whistleblower who died from the coronavirus himself after being punished for issuing the first warning about the deadly coronavirus outbreak. 

我不想當英雄。
我還有爹娘,
還有孩子,
還有懷孕臨產的妻,
還有許多的病人在病房。
盡管正直換不來善良,
盡管䢛途迷茫,
可還是要繼續進行,
誰讓我選擇了這國這家,
多少委屈,
等打完這仗,
垂淚如雨仰天遠望。
"I don't want to be a hero.
I still have my parents,
And my children,
And my pregnant wife who's about to give birth,
And many of my patients in the ward.
Though my integrity cannot be exchanged for the goodness of others,
Despite my loss and confusion,
I should proceed anyway.
Who let me choose this country and this family?
How many grievances do I have?
When this battle is over,
I will look up to the sky,
With tears like rain."

我不想當英雄。
只是做為醫生,
我不能眼看著這不明的病毒,
傷害著我的同行。
還有那多無辜的人們,
他們盡管已奄奄一息,
可眼睛裏總望著我,
帶著生命的希望。
"I don't want to be a hero.
But as a doctor,
I cannot just see this unknown virus
Hurting my peers
And so many innocent people.
Though they are dying,
They are always looking at me in their eyes,
With their hope of life."

誰成想我競死了!
我的靈魂分明在天上,
望著那張白色的病床,
床上分明是我的軀體,
軀體上還是那熟悉的臉龐。
我的父親母親在哪?
還有我親愛的妻子,
那當年我苦苦追求的姑娘。
“Who would have ever realised that I was going to die?
My soul is in heaven,
Looking at the white bed,
On which lies my own body,
With the same familiar face.
Where are my parents?
And my dear wife,
The lady I once had a hard time chasing?"

天上有一道光!
那光的盡頭是人們時常說起的天堂。
我寧願不去哪裏,
我寧願回到武漢我的家鄉。
那裏有我新買的房子,
每月還要還貸的賬。
我怎能舍得,
我怎能舍得!
沒有兒子的爹娘,
該有多麽悲傷;
沒有了丈夫的寶貝,
該如何面對這未來的滄桑。
"There is a light in the sky!
At the end of that light is the heaven that people often talk about.
But I'd rather not go there.
I'd rather go back to my hometown in Wuhan.
I have my new house there,
For which I still have to pay off the loan every month.
How can I give up?
How can I give up?
For my parents without their son,
How sad must it be?
For my sweetheart without her husband, 
How can she face the vicissitudes in her future?"

我分明死了。
我看見他們把我的軀殼,
裝進一個袋子。
在袋子的近傍
有許多死去的同胞,
象我一樣,
在黎明時分,
被推進火的爐堂。
"I am already gone.
I see them taking my body,
Putting it into a bag,
With which lie many compatriots
Gone like me,
Being pushed into the fire in the hearth
At dawn."

再見了,難舍的親人。
永別了,武漢我的故鄉。
但願你們在災難過後,
還記得曾經有人,
努力地讓你們盡早知道真相。
但願你們在災難過後,
學會正直,
不再讓善良的人們,
遭受著無盡的恐懼,
和無奈的悲傷。
"Goodbye, my dear ones.
Farewell, Wuhan, my hometown.
Hopefully, after the disaster,
You'll remember someone once
Tried to let you know the truth as soon as possible.
Hopefully, after the disaster,
You'll learn what it means to be righteous.
No more good people
Should suffer from endless fear,
And helpless sadness."

“那美好的仗我已經打完了,
應行的路我已行盡了,
當守的道我守住了。 
從此以後,
有公義的冠冕為我留存。”
《聖經》提摩太後書4.7
"I have fought the good fight. 
I have finished the race.
I have kept the faith.
Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness."

2 Timothy 4:7, Holy Bible

.....


PRAYER REQUETS
Please join me in prayer.

1. Pray for Dr. Li Wen Liang’s wife who is 8 months pregnant and also infected with the Coronavirus. May God heal them supernaturally and give them grace, peace, strength and comfort during this time.

2. Pray for believers in Hong Kong and China, who are there during this tumultuous time. Ask God to help them be a light to the Hong Kong and Chinese people, even on days when they’re overwhelmed and discouraged.

3. Pray for doctors, nurses, and all medical professionals to have divine wisdom to know how to care for their patients.

4. Pray this virus passes quickly and lets the Chinese people get back to life as usual.

5. Pray, God would be glorified in all of this, because He loves the Hong Kong and Chinese people and have not forgotten them.




"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." - 2 Timothy 4:7


Monday, February 10, 2020

Overcoming My Fears



I hate blood. It makes me queasy and sick to my stomach. In the past, I’ve even passed out at the sight of blood. I’m not kidding!

Back in September 2008, Jon and I were living in East Texas, while my husband attended college at LeTourneau University. Unfortunately, he needed to have his wisdom teeth removed and I was the person there to care for him following his oral surgery. Thankfully, the surgery was very successful. Following the procedure, the nurse explained to me I needed to have Jon’s prescriptions filled at the pharmacy. She also stressed the importance of changing the gauze in Jon’s mouth every hour, so they didn’t get infected. I loaded my very groggy husband into our silver Chevy Nova car and drove to Walmart to fill all of his prescriptions.

It was a hot day, so I left Jon in the car and quickly ran inside to have the prescriptions filled. They told me it would be a little while, so I headed back to the car to check on Jon, because it was almost time to change out the gauze.

I got back into the driver’s seat and looked at Jon trying to figure out the best way to reach the gauze in his mouth. I decided to get out of the car and walked around to the passenger seat where I could have a better angle to see inside Jon’s mouth. I sat down next to Jon and was immediately overwhelmed by the sight of blood in his mouth. I turned white as a sheet.

Even in Jon’s haziness, he knew something was wrong. My sweet husband, tried his best to communicate with me and urge me to get into the backseat of the car. I shut the passenger door and got into the backseat of the car. As soon as I sat down, I passed out.

Jon rubbed my leg to let me know he loved me and assure me, I wasn’t alone. When I came to, I was so confused and couldn’t figure out why we were in the Walmart parking lot.

I called my precious friend, Janet, and she came to our rescue! She drove down to meet us at Walmart, helped change Jon’s gauze, and make sure I had all the prescriptions we needed. I’m so thankful for her willingness to love on us in this amazing way.

My aversion to blood is still very strong today.

I know it might sound silly, but I’ve been nervous for the day when our girls start to lose their teeth. I just get queasy thinking about pulling out their teeth. As a result, for the past year or so, I have refused to pull any teeth out of my daughter, Olivia’s mouth.

Last Thursday morning, Olivia’s fourth tooth was ready to come out. Unfortunately, my husband was gone and I was the only one home to help pull out her tooth. GREAT!! Honestly, I was nervous and starting to freak out just a little. I needed moral support and someone to coach me through this, so after getting Jon’s voicemail, I called my Mom.

My Mom told me how to pull out Olivia’s tooth, then reassured me I could do this and everything would be okay. Olivia held the phone while I got ready to pull out her tooth. She was so brave. Her tooth came out and I immediately began to cry and hug Olivia, because I had done it. I was so thankful for my Mom’s unending love and support.




I’m so thankful for these women God has put in my life to love on my in weakness!! These were truly humbling experiences, but constant reminders, God’s power is made perfect in my weakness!!



Tuesday, February 4, 2020

2019-20 Homeschool Curriculum Choices



Honestly, our homeschool year has been crazy! Last year, we moved and traveled quite a bit making it hard to find time to do homeschool. We’ve done our best with what we had as we lived out of our suitcases for months on end. Finally, God answered our prayers and brought together our housing situation, which allowed us to move to Colorado last October. I’m so excited, because since January we’ve finally gotten settled and into a good school routine.

On top of everything else, I have 19 month old twin girls and they’re very busy!! As a result, it is challenging to do our book work while they’re awake. For now, I wait until the twins nap time, so I can work on the big girls language arts, phonics, math, handwriting, and science.

I’m so proud of Olivia, Sophie, and Matilda!! They’ve worked so hard this school year, even as we lived out of our suitcases the girls worked hard each day to get their schoolwork finished. I appreciate their flexibility as we have tried to figure out what will work best for our family this year. I love them so much!!


EVERYONE TOGETHER

Bible, Memory Verse, History, Read-Alouds: Sonlight Core C
Write the Word for Kids: Cultivate What Matters Write the Word for Kids: Fruit of the Spirit Journal
Science: Exploring Creation with Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day
.....


2ND GRADE: Olivia 
Language Arts: The Good and the Beautiful Language Arts Level 2
Handwriting: The Good and the Beautiful Handwriting Workbook Level 2
Math: Math-U-See Gamma
Readers: Sonlight Grade 3 Readers
.....


1ST GRADE: Sophie
Language Arts: The Good and the Beautiful Language Arts Level 1
Handwriting: The Good and the Beautiful Handwriting Workbook Level 1
Math: Math-U-See Beta
Readers: Sonlight Grade 1 & 2 Readers
.....


PREK: Matilda
Phonics: Sing, Spell, Read, & Write “All Aboard” and “On Track”
Handwriting: Handwriting Without Tears: My First School Book
Math: Math-U-See Primer
Read-Alouds: Sonlight Preschool Read-Aloud Books
.....


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
For more information, here are the links to the homeschool curriculum we are using this school year. Sonlight 

The Good & The Beautiful

Rainbow Resource 

Cultivate What Matters

Thursday, January 30, 2020

What's Your God Story?



“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” - Colossians‬ ‭3:16-17‬ ‭ESV‬‬ 

In so many ways, it’s been a very emotional week with the helicopter crash, an earthquake, the coronavirus, an impeachment trial, and so much more. If I watch the news for too long, I can easily become depressed and overwhelmed. Can I let you in on a little secret!?

In Jon’s family, whenever life gets tough and we’re really discouraged, we play a game called, “I remember when...”. The point of the game is to take turns, filling in the blank and finishing the sentence by sharing about a time in your life when you remember God’s goodness and faithfulness. You can share something about your own life or choose to share a story about someone else in our family to help jog their memory.

Honestly, it’s so encouraging to be reminded about God’s love for each of us!! That being said, I want us to take turns and share "remember whens" and stir up thankfulness in one another.

I’ll go first.

I remember when...my Mom was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. On top of everything else, my family was scheduled to move to Hong Kong in one week. As if I didn’t have enough on my plate already. I didn’t understand how I could leave my Mom, never knowing if I would see her again.

My heart was torn.

As I prayed and poured out my heart to the Lord, He assured me, my Mom wouldn’t be alone, because my brothers and sisters would help her in my absence. So in faith, we left our home in East Texas and moved to Hong Kong.

Ultimately, God was so good and faithful to provide for my Mom!! The Lord took care of her when I couldn’t. As I was on the other side of the world, God comforted me when I was homesick and missing my family. He graciously brought healing to my Mom, who is now in remission and I’m praying God continues to be glorified through my Mom's story. Praise the Lord!!

"Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!" 
- 1 Chronicles 16:34 ESV

Alright now it’s your turn...
What’s your God story? How have you seen God’s goodness and faithfulness manifested in your life?

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

God's Comfort in Tragedy


I’m a pilot’s wife. Honestly, this week's helicopter crash is one of my worst nightmares and what I fear each time my husband leaves for work. As a result, the news of Kobe Bryant’s tragic death has left me more shaken than I expected. In the days following any type of airplane crash, I get nervous and filled with worry about what might happen to my own husband. I realize this is a very unhealthy default mode, but sometimes I can't help myself. As a result, I would like to take some time to remind all of us about the comfort God offers to all people during times of affliction.

Yesterday, I was holding back tears as my husband left for work and secretly scared he may never come home. Silently, I prayed and begged God to protect the love of my life and allow him to safely return to us.  

While Jon’s gone, I try my best to cling to Jesus. This is just a proper Christian Sunday school response, but the only thing that has worked for me while my love is gone. I spend time with Jesus in a variety of ways. Usually, I make time to read or listen to my Bible, recite scripture, and continue to pray for my husband. I must rely on God, because otherwise I drive myself crazy with worry, anxiety, fear, “what ifs” and unfortunately I can even become very angry.

As a busy Mom of five, I've been participating in "The Bible Recap with Tara-Leigh Cobble" plan on the Bible app. Everyday I listen to the particular scripture and then finish by listening to a corresponding podcast, put out by "The Bible Recap". This is one of the first Bible reading plans I've been able to stick to, because I'm listening to it as I was dishes or make lunch. It's made such a difference in the few weeks, I've been listening to my Bible.

Also, one of my favorite Bible verses to recite during hard times is Psalm 34:18. Just for some context, let's start in verse 17.

“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.”
- Psalm 34:17-20 [NIV] 

What an incredible picture of God’s goodness to us, even when our lives are broken and shattered God is with us. Even when it feels like it's all too much and we might die under the weight of it all, we must remember these truths. The Lord will deliver us and not one of our bones will be broken under the weight of our crushing circumstances. I’m so thankful for this reminder!!

Thank you God for never leaving us alone and that we don’t need to have it all together before we can come to You. No matter what’s going on in your life, don’t forget to run to Jesus.

Finally, my heart is just broken for the loss of Kobe and Gianna Bryant; John, Keri, and Alyssa Altobelli; Christina Mauser; Ara Zobayan; and Payton and Sarah Chester. I will continue to pray for their families and friends as they mourn the loss of their most precious loved ones. Click here to learn more about all the helicopter accident victims. 

For anyone in need of a little more help as you process the loss of a loved one. Click the link to check out Emily P Freeman podcast called, “85: Hold Space When Someone Dies”.

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