Author Archives: Barb Barker

About Barb Barker

Homeschooling mom of 4 children( two with Dyslexia). Wife of Dan, my love for 118 years. Live on 60 acres in NW PA. I love Ron Paul and I'm a Christian! Never wanted kids and never wanted to homeschool!! So here I am, Four kids and a Farm!

If you can’t go Big, please don’t go home.

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I was scrolling through Facebook yesterday. A meme came up that I stopped to think about. ” Go Big or go home”.

I woke up today after a terrible night of nerve pain. I took a big sigh. Not again. I have to do this again. The dance between what I think I can do and what my pain allows me to do. I can’t go big. If I do. Tomorrow will suffer.

So what if you can’t go big? Should you really go home?

One of my daughters is very unsure in front of people. She hates attention, she relishes in anonymity, she shakes when all eyes are on her. I have another daughter who loves the lime light. She has her own YouTube channel. She wants to live large. My daughter who is unsure expressed an interest in the kickball league our Youth Pastor and some town folks started. I signed the forms. One of my sons reminded her that they wanted to win. She said, ” I know” but later came and told me she wasn’t going to join. We both talked her back into it. I said just try it once. “Mom I’m not good at sports, I don’t want to be the reason we lose”. I told her give it one time. If she hated it , then she didn’t have to try. She came home that night and said she didn’t do terrible but when she went to kick the ball she was shaking. She said,” I hate when the whole field is staring at you waiting for you to kick the ball, I don’t think I’m going to do it again”.  I know you think. oh see homeschool. Nope. That’s just her. It’s perfectly okay to be in the background and live a quiet small life. Wanna know how I know? I went to Public school and private school my whole life. I still hate when I walk in a room and everyone is looking at me. I immediately find an inconspicuous place to hide. I might do it with my back straight, a smile on my face and head up, but I do it.

So should my daughter never have tried kickball? I mean if you knew her, you’d know she suffers from some autoimmune that they think is lupus. She has had seizures and the heat makes her crumble. She probably isn’t going to be your star athlete. So what if my daughters big, is that she stood there at the home base, shaking, taking a deep breath ready to kick the ball? You might look in and think, “ugh who let her on this team”? But she was thinking, “Oh God I hate this, I’m so scared. “That was her big.

I’ve homeschooled now for 12 years. My oldest will be a senior and this homeschool journey has not been a picture for the latest homeschool magazine or cover of a curriculum. It probably would look more like 6 people on a rollercoaster, holding on for dear life. We’ve had snake issues( I killed 276 snakes when we first moved here. I thought my husband moved me to the Amazon) ,seizures,( one where my husband had to revive my daughter with CPR. I was so scared) My husbands plant closed down, he had to switch jobs , redo lineman training and the test while he had C-diff( I thought he was going to die) dyslexia( the shame and struggle are no jokes) Gastroparesis( that’s 2 years of vomiting) And I had 5 surgeries through all of that, the last one leaving my leg numb and in such nerve pain I LITERALLY( that word is for my husband) could amputate it if phantom pain didn’t exist.( yes I tried chiro, Physical therapy and any other natural remedy you could imagine and no your special drink isn’t going to rejuvenate my discs, so please stop telling me that). Let me tell you this. There were days I couldn’t get up and go big. All I had was the very little left in me. I’d get up and sit on the couch with my kids. We’d watch some PBS and school would look like me trying to teach my kids in such pain .I wanted to die. One time they switched my meds and I fell asleep at the kitchen table. I cried and cried when they woke me up. How could this be my life?

What you saw on social media was me taking my kids to soccer, The Cleveland Clinic,drama, horseback riding,track,Cross country,Wrestling,the beach, museums,hiking, planetariums,special science camps and every other thing you could envision. You saw my kids swimming at the lake, my pond that looks like a Hawaiian vacation, our 4 wheelers, dirt bikes and amazing garden, maple syrup and farming. You didn’t see me waking up in the morning and saying, “God I’m so scared. I can’t do this.” You didn’t see me call my husbands Grandma and say, “grandma I want to quit. This is so hard”. Because it was. Nothing I did was big.I do not like the lime light. I do not care if my blog has followers or not( I don’t think I have all the answers for everyone so I’m not sure I’d be the fountain of wisdom) I never really went big. I had a friend who wanted me to write a book. I was pushed to not be mediocre. But the truth is, I am mediocre. And I am really okay with that.

My big is me waking up with a sigh and saying” God not again”.

But one thing I learned from my mom is not to “Go Home’. Not to quit. She worked in horrible factories for us. My brother and sister and I would never be here if she hadn’t worked thankless hours where her dumb kids called her fighting everyday. I watched her pick up the dryer and move it to fix it. I watched her try to fix the furnace, her car and anything that broke in our house. I watched her fight and fail a lot. Our life was not always good. We lived in a tiny house in Sandy Hook but my mom never , ever went home. She never quit on us.

I know for a fact that if I had never watched her “Big” I certainly would have “gone home”. I would have quit on these amazing children that God gave me( even though I didn’t want kids) My mom doesn’t have a grand home, a million dollars in the bank or even a home. She has something worth more than all the luxuries in this world. Our eternal gratitude. She never went home.

So please listen to me. In a world of self made everything. Where being a genius or famous is everyone’s ultimate goal, if you can’t go big, if all you can give is a deep sigh and a scared try, please don’t “go home”. Please keep going. There are others watching you. Not everyone will be the star, the actor, the singer but we need to see that what you and I are, is enough. Being mediocre is enough. Especially if that’s all you have to give. And if that’s all you have to give, maybe just maybe, that’s all your supposed to give. That’s your Big.courage doesn't always roar

 

 

Let me know if there is anything I can do for you

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My daughter laid on our couch lifeless. I stood at the end weeping silently begging God to wake her up. My 8 year old daughter repeated in a sob” mom she’s dead isn’t she”. My husband whipped her onto the floor and began CPR he said in a quick breath ” call 911. I did. The man on the phone asked me all of the things he was supposed to, name address, what happened, then he said how many stairs? I said, “What? I don’t know ,she landed on her rear. She had a seizure, she’s not breathing.” My husband continued to work, to beg, to plead. “Wake up, please wake up.” I think my whole world went in pause mode. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t breath . I just did not want this to be happening. After 6-7 minutes she finally started breathing. I hung up with 911 and laid on her and cried. I got up and called my sister. I couldn’t even breath. I answered the phone in a sob. “Oh my God Heather, Sierra just stopped breathing, She was dead. Dan just did CPR. I’m so scared.” That horrible day will be forever engraved in my mind. I haven’t even been able to talk about it much. This happened last year. I just know I was so close to losing my daughter and my heart has forever changed.

So please do me the favor of putting yourself in that scene. The scene where your daughters life hangs in the balance. You are watching your spouse do everything he can to save your child while you helplessly try to make sense of it. While you try to comfort your other daughter. While the only thing left to do is howl before the throne of God and beg Him to save your daughter. Now imagine someone saying to you” let me know if there is anything I can do for you”. Christians we are better than this.

What was I supposed to say? What do I need? Honestly I couldn’t tell you then, but now when i think about it, I needed to know I wasn’t going to be afraid all alone. I needed to know the Christians and Spiritual leaders in my life would show up for my kids. I had one amazing family take my other kids, pick them up from wrestling and be with them. I went to the Hospital that night and cried. They kept her over night and every time she coughed, sneezed, or moved I thought she was dying. I needed someone to enter into my grief. My sister n law called me that night. She just started weeping. I needed that. I needed to know I wasn’t weak or faithless for falling apart.
In the following days I was so afraid to let her out of my sight. My youngest daughter was afraid she was going to die in the night. They both slept in our room. I waited for someone to show up, no one did.
Fast forward to this summer. I had to get a severe back surgery. My last 3 discs had collapsed and my spine shifted forward. I had nerve pain that most days sent me to the edge of the abyss and back. I was terrified. They were going to put screws and rods in my back to fix my spine. This was my 5th surgery. I woke up from surgery with my right leg unable to move. I was so scared. Again I heard from the people who should love, pray and show up the most” let us know if there is anything we can do for you”. What do I say? Do I say I’m scared? Do I tell them I’m terrified of being crippled? Do I say please come pray with my kids, show them you care? I had a friend of ours come visit, no he’s not a Christian yet he came. My husband stayed in Cleveland all week. I had a drain in my spine and my right leg was completely numb all the way to the tips of my toes. If we are like sheep, I can’t imagine a shepherd saying to his flock” hey let me know what you need”. I’m sure the sheep would answer,” well that grass looks a little better over there, or “hey I fell in a ditch today could you help me.” I think you’d hear the frantic bleating and cries from the terrified sheep.
What did I need after my surgery? I needed to know that all this suffering had a reason. I needed someone to come talk to me and tell me they were praying. I needed my kids to know that Christians cared about their mom and would stand in the gap for her.
Am I being selfish? I mean they brought me meals right? Listen we are supposed to be God’s people and if God’s people can’t show up for the hurting then what in the world are we here for? Jesus is for the weak and hurting. We should be for the weak and hurting. Do you know how hard it’s been to recover from that? I did not get my leg back as I hoped. They say It “could” come back. They also say I should not have nerve pain.Yet I wake up to pain and go to sleep to pain. I spent many nights alone before our Savior asking questions that may never have an answer here on this earth.
Dear Christians if you know someone going through a trial, a surgery, a death, whatever it may be, please show up for them. They might just want to talk. Maybe send a an encouraging book. Asking the hurting what they need seems a little ignorant. If you see a hungry, homeless man will you say” hey let me know if you need anything”? I hope you’d feed him.
Luke 10:30-37

30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.

31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.

33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,

34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?

37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

That’s all hurting people are saying. Please show mercy. Do not post get well wishes, Do not ask what you can do. If you see a need, fill it. Go rescue that hurting sheep bleating in the wilderness, it can be a lonely, scary place. They need you.
sierra-at-the-hospital

I was once like you

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Dear Mamas. I too remember the moments of sleepless nights, sticky kisses. late night feedings and brain fogged days. I remember having my littles ones in car-seats and lugging a suitcase of supplies everywhere I went. I remember training my children to sit in church and obey, making them eat those darn green beans ( only to have him barf them up all over the Pastors dinner table.).  I remember my adventure loving boys running in the rain and rolling in the mud. I remember Winnie the Pooh, Thomas the Tank Engine and Dora the Explore ad nauseum.I was once like you. I thought I had the ticket to parenting. I read the Pearls book .

Then my littles started to grow up.

Now my oldest is 16 and I’ve discovered what hormones are and how they turn my muddy, sticky , once little man into a ball of contradictions.

I know right now you look at me with my teens and think,”What is she doing?”I’ve heard your comments. I know what you say to the man-boy. I have a word of advice for you.

Don’t criticize those you aren’t emotionally invested in.

I’ve spent 16 years training my children. I’ve cried, prayed, laughed and loved them. I’ve spent thousands on food and clothing. I’ve spent countless hours building bridges and tying heart-strings. I don’t recall you being there. Maybe I missed something?  Think of all the hate speech coming out of the political world, is it helping change people? Is it making people rethink their lives? No it’s creating greater division then we already have. Negativity breeds negativity. If you don’t love those you are criticizing, they will know and in turn they will not respect you. You then just become another unrelatable person trying to judge what you don’t understand. Love =time spent. Have you spent time with these kids?

Judgement is better received when coming from a place of love rather than criticism. 

My children know I love them. My children know I am their biggest fan. When I correct my children the know I do it from a place of love. They know this because I have spent 16 years making sure they know. I have sat in tree stands at 5:00 am hunting in 20 degree weather when one was going through a difficult time.I stood my ground against those that belittled him . I cheered them on in soccer, cross-country, track and field  wrestling, public speaking, horse back riding and life. Were you there cheering too? I spent worried nights up with seizures. Were you there? Were you there when my daughter stopped breathing from a Tonic Clonic seizure? Were you there as two frantic parents tried to bring life back into the precious little 11-year-old? Did you sob with me? Did you hold the barf bucket of my 7-year-old as she vomited for a year? Did you worry about the test results? Did you weep with my dyslexic son as he felt shame because of his school? Did you have that lump in your throat when he overcame his fear and finally joined wrestling?  Were you up nights talking to my teens about life ,girls, and God? Did you have your heart ripped out when your son lost a good friend over a girl? Love spends time. it’s not about me. it’s about them. So when I tell my children words of wisdom they know I worked hard to show them I love them and want their best. Do you want their best or are you glad they are failing?

Don’t assume anything.            

I know you think I’m lenient. You think I’d never let him get away with that. Why isn’t she saying something? How could she let him have that cell phone in church? I can’t believe he questioned the Pastor,teacher, police officer, political leader. Did you see what he posted on FB? Can you believe she let her children have Snap Chat, Instagram, a phone a tablet.Does she even monitor them? The answer to all of those is , YES. You see I don’t like being embarrassed. Do you? I just decided to follow the Bible and Do unto others as I would have them do unto me. I know ,I know what  a thought. What an outrageous idea. Yeah, I think so too. I am never going to publicly humiliate my children. I also will never discipline my kids because you think I should. Remember I gave my self to these kids. I have tied the heart-strings and you better believe I’m leaving a bridge for them in case they ever get lost. This mama is leaving the light on! My kids will always be able to come back home.Just because you don’t see me discipline my kids don’t ever assume I’m not doing it. I love my kids.

 I am not worried about how my kids make me look ,I am worried about their hearts.

“And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.” Job 1:5  

You see my kids are definitely gonna embarrass me. I count on it. They are going to lose their way. I’m going to cry myself to sleep. I’m going to hold onto my Savior and plead for their souls. I lost my way too. We all have. Most importantly, I don’t want my kids to curse God in their hearts. I know you look at them like rebellious teens. You think they need a good talking to and a reprimand. I’d ground that kid for that. Everyone always has good advice for other peoples’ kids. What you can’t see is my child’s heart. Neither can I, therefore please be careful the way you criticize. I want my kids to serve a Great God. I don’t want them to curse God in their hearts. I know some of you think because you are the deacon, Pastor or family with a ton of kids it grants you the right to pass judgement. I know you try to teach me. When you speak to my kids it’s really about teaching me. I sure need help. This parenting thing is hard. I messed it up. I start over but you know what My husband and I together decide what’s best for our family. I’m pretty sure we will answer for our kids someday. Make sure you are prepared to answer for yours. Let me give you a helpful life lesson. Mind your own business. You have enough to worry about. trust me. Your family needs those heart-strings tied and those memories made. I’m working on my children’s hearts. You work on yours.

parenting GPS

This is the most important one of all

 Love covers a multitude of sins.  

Do you know this is something that every successful marriage has? It’s called grace. Please show some. Love my kids. I could use your love, your prayers. Save your judgement for the prayer closet. Get on your knees and bring those kids before an All knowing, Ever Wise Savior. I want your prayers. I want your love. I don’t know anyone who has ever changed by negative criticism. Love sure does cover a multitude of sins. Please overlook their mistakes and foolish teenage drama. Please love them. This generation will never stay in church or with God if you just condemn them. They need love. Please believe in them. Everyone needs to know that they have someone rooting for them. Be that person.

This video is for all the children who got lost on the way.

 

Tuesday never came

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I’m up typing tonight because the last picture I saw before I tried to go bed was a picture of my friend Bonnie laying on her husbands chest. It’s the last time she will ever sleep next to him on this earth. He took his last breath on Tuesday. Bonnie is sleeping by Adams casket.The image gutted me. It reminded me how fragile life is. How time is so precious, how eternity really is more important than we think.Sikoras Bonnie is a homeschooling mom of 4. She and Adam had one of those fairytale marriages. They seriously made you jealous. Soul mates, best friends, lovers. They loved each other, they loved their kids and they loved Jesus. Bonnie said this in her post on Facebook,

This has been a time I wish I could wake up from. I want to go back and relive Monday over and over, so Tuesday never comes…but this would be my plan not Gods plan! His plan is better than mine! I fully trust that God will make something beautiful out of this. I’m broken and I hurt. I hurt for me but I hurt for our 4 children who are hurting. I know I don’t need to tell anyone how great Adam was. I was lucky to be his bride. He loved me, he did everything for me and with me. I have no regrets leading up to this horrible nightmare. We have lots of hard days ahead of us but I will continue to give God the glory! I also pray that someone will read this and see how fragile this life is. Adams life was gone in a second but I have no doubts where he is now. Tomorrow is not the day to repent and get right with God, The time is now! We don’t know what tomorrow will bring

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Adam was very healthy. he ran, ate organic, he looked healthy. Daily I watch FB posts for Plexus, Essential oils, Thrive, It Works and a host other wellness products. Posts against gluten, for organic, I myself advocate Low carb, high Fat. We often preach that Jesus is coming back. We say no man knows the hour, yet we fail to say that, that’s true to the sinner, the back slider,the saved, the healthy, the marathon runner, the organic vegan. Jesus is coming back and in fact He came back for Adam. For some of you Tuesday is never going to come. You only have THIS day. This day to know that Jesus Christ died for your sins, that the Bible says all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Our sin has separated us from a Holy God. One thing Adam knew is that Jesus died for His sins and that His sins were forgiven. Adam did not have to worry about Tuesday. He had prepared his soul. He had put his faith in Jesus Christ and trusted Him as Savior. His children get to say “my Dad knew God”. He was ready to meet his Maker.

I have watched posts about zombies, health, children, politics. I wonder tonight how many are thinking of eternity? We always think we have one more minute, one more hour , one more month, one more year. We never think Tuesday will never come for us. We view life in light of the right now. We brag on the glass of wine we just had that we must tell our friends about, the latest phone we purchased, the designer purse we are loving. Homeschoolers brag on the accomplishments of their children, life goes on and on. Nobody stops to think today I could cross the threshold into eternity. Some think this life is all there is. Some believe in more, some just ignore it hoping maybe to avoid it altogether, others are thinking all the”good” they do will out outweigh the bad and God will let them in. I’ve had friends give me every excuse you could conjure up as to why they don’t believe. One doesn’t do organized anything. (But Unions are okay)
I know someone right now who will say if your God is real and He is so good why would he take that man from his wife and 4 kids, why when they were so in love and so happy? It’s the same hurling accusation,“if you are really the Christ get down off that cross”. Something I learned a long time ago is an atheist only believes in God when he wants to blame Him for something bad, but don’t ever give Him credit for good. Human beings lash out at authority, we hate to be controlled. We would never want a God who made us slaves, or robots. We want our free will. When sin entered the world and so death, all kinds of evil have happened, murders, rapes famine etc. We shake our fist at God and say how dare you, how could you! You don’t love us! Why aren’t you helping! But we choose. We want our free will. Yet it seems we also want a genie in a bottle and life just does not work like that. If we want free will and want to sin and reject Christ we cannot expect Him to interfere in the natural progression of our choice. It does not mean God loved Adam any less. But death happens to all of us. Adam was ready.
It’s gut wrenching that it was earlier than anyone would have expected .Saying to Bonnie you will see him again someday is nice, but honestly it falls so short, she wants him here. Everytime I think about it, I sob. I have 4 kids and I homeschool. I can put myself in her shoes and feel empathy. I have cried and prayed for her precious kids and Bonnie’s broken heart. Bonnie loves Jesus, but she’s gonna need so much prayer after all the funeral and stuff dies down. That’s when it really gets hard. The new normal starts. We live our lives and she has to try to live hers. God has placed Bonnie directly on my tear ducts. I really am so burdened for her. She can trust that God will hold her hand and allow her to lay on His chest at night. God will heal her broken heart. Jesus wept when his friend Lazarus died and Jesus cares about Bonnie and the kids. But Bonnie has a request.

Bonnie said her prayer is that some soul would come to Christ through Adams death. So I wrote this in hopes that you would share it. That you would tell your neighbors and friends and warn them that Jesus is coming back. That their Tuesday may never come. Jesus came back for Adam. Please make sure you are ready when he comes for you.
This is a great link to help you know if you are ready http://markcahill.org/<<<<<<<<<<<PRESS THIS LINK!!
SHARE AWAY!

Just Make your Beds

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I woke up today and the first thing I did is make my bed. It seems so trivial, but for me it has been a huge motivational factor. Homeschooling is hard. Anyone who tells you otherwise is totally lying. I never sugar coat this way of life. Being responsible for the education of my children is a huge undertaking. I went to school to become a teacher, ironically they taught me how to be a teacher but not how to educate. I can make pretty bulletin boards and whip up lesson plans, visuals, psht piece of cake. Educating the individual has been a whole different ball game!

I thought homeschooling was going to be cake. I mean who better to teach my kids than me, the woman who knows them best. I forgot one small thing. Life.

Yep, there is something called life that gets in the way of every day. Sometimes it strolls along nicely, other times it comes crashing down like a tsunami. I cant stop it.

Life has brought many trials to our homeschooling days. About 2 years ago life through me a huge curve ball. My nerve pain in my leg Once again reared it’s ugly head. At the same time some horrible memories from my past plagued my nights. I got heart palpitations, sunk into a deep depression and just about gave up. I couldn’t bare the thought of another surgery, another problem. My dyslexic son was struggling in school, my other son was struggling in life, my daughter was having seizures and I just could not take one more thing! Somehow, by the Grace of God( and trust me thats not a cliche) We plunged on. Friends bailed on me, people talked about the medications I had to take for my pain and over all, I was sinking into a black hole with no feeling of returning.

After my last surgery I had had enough. Enough pain, enough not being able to clean my house, enough of fair weather friends. I decided no matter how hard my day was or how much pain I was in, I was going to get up and make my bed. So I started. Everyday, no matter what, I made my bed.cinderella

I know, I know, seems so insignificant, but for me it was huge. It meant despite my pain, despite the fact that My whole way of life changed, I accomplished something. After a month of making my bed I tackled my house. It was a Sat. one year after my surgery. I put on some music, told my husband I’d rather stay home than go visit his friend and I cleaned. It was such a victory for me!

I had a well meaning relative scowl when I told her this. I mean how could I not have pushed past the pain? Just suck it up and do it. How could I not sit through Sunday School and church, I could always stand up. Sounds like such simple advice, yet the truth is I had decided for the sake of these precious hearts and minds God gave me, I was going to heal. That meant taking an hour, EVERY SINGLE DAY, no matter what to lay on a heating pad and get off my feet. I did not care if people thought I was lazy or criticized me, I knew and still know pushing past pain will never be a reality. If it hurts I stop. That also meant not caring what the church folks thought in regards to church attendance. I mean if leaders stay home to put their children to bed, I’m pretty sure I can stay home to heal.

So now with the help of modifying my homeschool ,I am a new person. I will always have pain, I may even always have certain things that trigger depression and horrible nightmares( just as an FYI this is not called acting like a victim, and neither is talking about it, it’s called healing) but I’m going to start by making my bed. One small step at a time.

I hope this can encourage some of you moms who just want to quit. I know how hard it can be. Don’t quit. It’s just a season. Sometimes the season drags on, but just find one thing you can do and pretty soon one will become two and so on. Please, share, like or comment. I’d so appreciate it!

I found this video on Navy Seals. I’m not a proponent of war( unless defending our country), but I couldn’t believe his illustrations on making your bed. Pretty amazing!

One more thing. If you’d like to know about one of the Homeschool Curriculums I am using(that totally saved my sanity!) click the banner at the top!^^^^Thanks for stopping by!

Super mom is dead.

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Super mom is dead.

I sat in my daughters horseback riding lesson, up in the upper viewing area. I sat there with another homeschool mom. We chatted for a while, it’s nice to have someone to talk to. I was reading a book on my iPad and she was going through her grocery list, recipes and printed ingredients list. I glanced over and sighed. I wish I could be like that, but really it’s just not going to happen. Not in this lifetime, nope. I started letting my mind go down the rabbit hole, you know the one. perfect homeschool mom, perfect organized house, perfect super intelligent kids. I looked at my daughter through the window she sat taller, smiled at me, I smiled back her grin was really infectious. I looked over at my friend asking her husband if he liked a certain recipe. My husband was driving my other daughter to soccer and well I don’t even think we ate. Sigh. I also forgot my daughters homework, well I didn’t, she did. The truth is she has a slight dyslexia and well her working memory is well not working for her. I chatted a little more and found out that this other homeschooling mom has 2 daughters with Dyslexia, and well she struggled with the same things I did. she just was a little more organized than me. We chatted and laughed about our circumstances and funny thing, I really didn’t care if she had all her recipes and lists. I know what my family likes. I can cook well and most days what’s a recipe?Mom

The next day I was on Facebook or fakebook, however you choose to view it. I was being informed by people I actually know and respect that if I didn’t take a particular health drink, wellness product, diet supplement ,(whatever) I was categorized as a supplement snob.I also have heard that I’m apparently supposed to be a super mom. naps are not okay and we need this wonderful , amazing , product for energy.( Where in the world did we ever get the idea that we were not supposed to be tired?? )Seriously.( disclaimer; I know people are trying to be healthy and um  make money, I’m all for it. But I am not for highschool pressure and bandwagon advertising. I’m for sustainable health that can be grown, not bought.If this particular health choice is for you, have at it. But please stay off my news feed with your sales pitches. Thanks) I mean is this highschool where we pressure moms ( who in my opinion are already under so much pressure) to purchase products?  It brought me back to one day at my high school, Nonnewaug in Woodbury Ct. I was not the kind of person to follow fashions, fads or people. I was very much just me. Save your brand names for someone who actually cares, I don’t. I’ve seen people in designer jeans punch the lights out of a sweet overweight boy and I’ve seen dept. store clothing on a skinny nerd protect that same boy from the popular bully. Clearly clothes don’t make the person. Anyway I’m in the bathroom and this popular, designer girl says to me,” Oh hey I love your shirt. Did you get this at”( totally forget where) I actually had bought this shirt after work, at the mall, but there was something in me that just could not tell her that. So I looked her right in the eye and said” Actually I got this at Kmart, On Sale.” She got really red and said, “oh um”, and walked out. I washed my hands with a special smirk on my face. So here I am on Facebook and I have absolutely NO desire to follow diet fads or homeschool fads or any such thing. I’m me. That’s it. If I like something on Facebook and my whole world didn’t like it, I like it. I don’t wait for someone I know to like it. God made me an individual. That means I’m gonna like, do and be things others completely disagree with. I will not follow the herd. I actually do not care if people talk about my blog , my choice in music or how I raise my children. I just can only do the thing God called me to do, and that means being me. (Which surprisingly is really difficult to do).

So I ignore the sales pitches on Facebook, I disregard how to organize your home in 10 easy steps. I drink my delicious coffee and smile. When I’m tired, I allow myself time to unwind, read, sleep, whatever I have to do to rejuvenate. There was a once upon a time where I felt guilty for it. I mean I’m a Christian and a homeschooling mom. I’m supposed to work harder than everyone. I’m supposed to farm, teach, clean , drive, love, be the perfect mom, wife and believer. I nearly killed myself.( and i am serious, depression, nerve pain which i still have forever, along with my mind which betrays me. bad stuff) So now that I have 4 back surgeries under my ,um belt? I decided that I definitely did not fit the qualifications for supermom. I fit the qualifications for Barb, who gets tired during the day, who absolutely loves super heroes( like cute ones LOL) who loves Ron Paul, Joel Salatin and thinks very Libertarian. Who loves Tom Woods but wishes my mind could think like him. I love my kids, but honestly this homeschooling is hard and there are days I’d ship them off to Narnia. They can drive me right to the brink of crazy and back.( I think my husband wonders if I came back) I love my husband and we have a great relationship. I don’t post mushy , I love my husband posts. Honestly we are not like that. We laugh, zing each other, yell at each other and we both accept the days of exhaustion that consume us and fall in our beds mumbling about how tired we are LOL. I don’t need people to think we are perfect or my kids are perfect. They aren’t. We are all undone right? I’m also someone who cannot tolerate heat, like the overwhelming kind. It makes me freak out and think about things I usually don’t even think about. I hate to hear about suffering of any kind, it gives me a terror or sense of dread I could never explain. I will always speak out about anyone who abuses children and I don’t care if they were your favorite Christian celebrity,rock star or President. That doesn’t make me bitter, unforgiving and helpless,  that makes me passionate and mad as heck that people abuse power and trust. Please don’t tell me how to heal or forgive with idioms or preaching videos. I honestly don’t need them. I function( most days) just fine The past is the past until it steps on the heels of the present. Then I have to refocus and regroup. Yes that is hard, yes it messes with my mind and yes i have to fight for everything I’m worth.There is no magic wand to erase the feeling of dread, of complete utter terror. It’s not going to go away. (where are the MIB when you need them?) So here’s me. A bit of a mess, A bit crazy and a whole lot sarcastic. I am not a super mom. I don’t need a super pill. I have A Super God. He’s always been sufficient, even when I’m not. Be you. Living for everyone else is just exhausting!super god

The girl with the black hair.

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I’m writing to the girl with the black hair. I know you felt so out-of-place today. I mean I know you listen to us say things like we ought to love our neighbor and reach the lost. You heard it in church. We told you we want you to come as you are, today you did, and it wasn’t good enough. You asked me before why your mom didn’t want you ” I mean I wasn’t a bad baby Mrs. Barker, why didn’t my birth mom want me? What you don’t know is I held back my tears and my hatred for your real mom. I know I’m supposed to love her, but she is so selfish and I just can’t imagine a mom keeping some children and abusing others.I wasn’t abandoned by my mother and I can only imagine what that feels like. So girl with the black hair, I wish I could say she was having a hard life or she didn’t have money, but honestly she was selfish and cruel, no child deserves to be abused. No child. I don’t care if you cried all night, spit in her coffee or said I hate you( which you didn’t) No child, None.
So now you have come to us, the people of God, and you want to be loved, accepted ,you want to know we want you. I’m sorry girl with the black hair that you have come to us and we want you to be like us. I’m sorry that we say come as you are, but we mean come as WE are. I m sorry that even though I take the time to love you and have you over, that I too fail you. I know you are so desperate for that feeling of acceptance and sometimes it’s all I can to tolerate my four kids. I don’t know why we can’t love the unlovely. I don’t know why we say we want to reach people and then we nit pick the very people we are trying to reach. I know what you feel like, girl with the black hair. I used to be you.
I came to Christ at the age of 14. I didn’t know the Christian lingo, the terms, the proper dress or the proper etiquette in church. I was just so happy to finally be loved by God. My soul was so empty and I was finally in a place where I was loved. Then one day I was out with my sister. We were shopping and I was wearing black jeans and a t-shirt. I walked into a store and saw a church member. Man I was so excited. I never saw church members outside of church. I smiled real big and held the door for her. Then my heart sunk. This woman whom I absolutely looked up to, looked me up, then down, then put her nose up in the air and walked right away as if she did not know me. I was devastated. If that women only knew. If she only knew how broken and fragile I really was. How I craved acceptance. What she knew though was she was taught certain things. The number one was to shun what she did not understand. Yeah it’s just ignorance and I too can be so guilty of it. God brought me back to him after that day. I Left for quite a while but He showed me what He was really like and that He in fact did love the unlovely. He .Loved. Me.
So here I am in all my honesty. People suck. They do.
Jesus holding girl
But our God is in the dark places. He is in the cry of a child forsaken by her mother. He is in the heart of a child so desperate for love, even in a church that only cares about not soiling their little blessings with the likes of you. What they don’t know is it will be someone like You who will reach the world. It was someone like you that JESUS died for. The ground at the foot of the cross is equal. We are all sinners before a Holy God. There is NONE righteous, no, not one!!! God is not a respector of persons girl with the black hair, but people suck, and we are.
You see He was broken for us, isn’t that what The Lord Supper is about? Remembering his bruised broken body, His beatings .He was bruised for our iniquities. His body was broken. Yet girl with the black hair, He tried to reach the world. He did not stay in His perfect Sunday best, in His perfect Sunday church. He did not stay away from the likes of you. He went to the publican and sinner. I think some of us want to keep them off our pews. Wouldn’t want the unchurched to spoil our perfect little blessings. He was broken for YOU though, so I think , no I know he wants you there. Bring your stuffed animal, even if they tell you otherwise(in fact sit next to the homeschooler who brought her doll and look them right in the eye and dare them to say something). I will fight for you, He fought for me. He pulled me out of the miry clay, He continues to pull me out of the darkness. So girl with the black hair, He knows your name. Even if they didn’t.(Psht.) He knows your name and HE wants you there. Come as you are but don’t ever leave the way you came. Let HIM change you on the inside, and when you look at them smile knowing He sought you out and loves you. Let them have their judgement. When you stand before that loving Savior, naked and complete, none of it will matter.
You. Are. Loved.

People

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She posted again. her fantastic recipe for homemade laundry soap. I just bought my Arm-n-Hammer from the grocery store. Well, at least I used a coupon? Scrolling through Facebook another friend was telling me how to home-school. If I even dare consider Common Core I must be a communist or something. The handwriting program I have for my son is Common Core aligned. “Heil Hitler? Another mom posted on modesty as my daughter ran by in her bathing suit to swim in our pond. Oops cross that off the list. I also must make Kombucha, If not I am not the Homesteading mama. I am a failure. Oh and sleepovers are completely sin. Any mother even considering it is worldly and asking for trouble. Sorry kids, I failed that one too. I guess ministering to those girls was a mistake? Teaching them to pray, to shower, to love. allowing them to have fun without judgement. Psht, what a terrible idea.I just got my scores back from the standardized testing my kids took. I have now allowed them to be data mined in the system. What a complete ignorant socialist I am. My unsaved friend told me yesterday another Christian won’t let her 17 year teen over because she is not a “true blooded Christian”. ( she meant saved) . I guess I’m not either, I allowed my son over. She’s been at my house chatting, laughing, talking about family, struggles and God.

Friends whatever happened to caring about people?

My husband taught me this the other day. We have a neighbor who is a Vietnam Vet. He is gruff. He will talk of Dem.O.Crats,( pronounce each syllable, it sounds more disgusting) women and possibly a various ethnic person. He has one eye. You can’t tell because He has a glass one. He smokes and swears. He is also very alone and will NEVER talk about Vietnam. He changes the subject and gets that faraway look. He’s worked in factories and hard construction. He has asbestosis  in his lungs. He tends to come over when my husband is working on a project or we have company. He talks and talks. My husband came in and said “Barb when did life get like this? I looked at him. He said, “so and so was over and I was getting really agitated. I wanted to get that building done. He was driving me crazy. All of a sudden I just realized. Who cares? There is nothing more important than people. When did people stop being the main thing?”

Friends people ARE the main thing.

I know, especially in the home-school community we think making our own laundry soap, resisting common core, remaining separate, all of those things they are the main thing, But when you stand before that all-wise, ever-loving Creator, do you think he will care if you made homemade laundry soap? I mean honestly okay you milked your goats and it’s hormone free. But he called, and he needed to talk. So your children were on that schedule and you had to put them to bed instead of coming to church. But she was struggling with the diagnosis she just received.You weren’t there and she gave up, most likely not stepping foot in our church again. How about you were so busy making that utopia, you did not know your child was struggling with porn. It’s happened.woman-consoling-her-friend

Life is not supposed to be this hard. Cherish the seconds. Take advantage of the cup of coffee. Talk of our Savior at the Beach. Invite that dirty family over for supper. Love on those two unruly girls at church. Show them the Dad they should see in you. Not a man who only concentrates on rules and order. Learn to love. Learn to put people first. I will warn you. You will get hurt. They will abuse your love. I know. In light of eternity, it’s so worth it.

We have made Homeschooling. homesteading, and homemaking our idol. We have forgotten Jesus when he said, “John 13:34 – A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” Be the person who is like this,

Jude 1:22-24

22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:

23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

Friend it’s about them. Not our perfect, little obedient homeschooling families, it’s about people. I might add that your kids matter, laundry soap might make your clothes clean but it does not tie heart-strings or cause sticky kisses and hugs from your son.

For Christmas our gruff neighbor gave money for Christmas, for my kids. He said we have always been good to him and he wanted to help. ( What he did not know was we had taken a huge pay cut so my husband could get closer to home, we were struggling with doctor bills and having trouble with our mortgage. We had been agonizing over Christmas.)

I was making dinner the other day. my son came in from visiting a friend. He walked over to me and hugged me. He said,” Thank You Mom”. I said for what? Knowing my 15-year-old teen usually wants something. He said for teaching me my faith is not blind. I was able to talk to so and so about God. You taught me to defend my beliefs with or without the Bible. I just wanted to say Thank You. I never appreciated it until now.” What he will never know is that every night I pray for my kids and ask God to forgive me for failing them. This meant more than any A or academic achievement. People matter. If he learned nothing else, at least he learned this.Helping-Hand

Hannah Forgotten

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Can you imagine it? Dropping off your young child at the Prophets house. I mean this is the child you cuddled, held at night when his cries pierced the silence. This is the child you nursed at your bosom, and  the child that made you feel whole again. For this child you prayed. All the hope wrapped up in this boy. So much potential. Watching him grow, listening to his giggles full of life. The running, happy son, so full of life.

Woman-Praying

I think it’s probably the hardest scenario for me to read. How did she do it? She must have been some woman. I think I’d never stop the ache, the longing for sticky kisses and soul melting hugs. How do you ever get over it?

Friends we have forgotten about Hannah.

I remember when My first son was born. I told the Lord that He had all of me and I promised I’d give my son to Him. Somewhere along the way I forgot about the job God gave to me. My kids do not belong to me. God gave me a job to do for a little while. I should be working myself out of a job. 

But God I have to protect my kids, I have to micromanage their lives, and at all costs I need to make sure the family unit is together, no one breaks the family, it is first.

I don’t really think like this, but that’s what has happened. I mean I teach my kids about this Living Savior and I trust Him with my salvation, but then I become fearful. If I really believed what I say I do, wouldn’t Christ be sufficient? Why do I, you,we grab on for dear life and don’t let go?

Recently in a Home school group the discussion of the infamous Duggar scandal created like 43 different posts with a zillion comments and opinions back and forth. OBVIOUSLY if you read my blog at all, I am not in favor of the perpetrator . How can I? Anyway I was kind of appalled at the Christians saying what Josh Duggar did was “just a mistake“, “teenage Curiosity”, and “no big deal”.  I thought Lord don’t you say,

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

James 1:14temptation-apple-and-snake

I just shook my head. Then I just thought, “but that can’t be it. Is there more?”

I think there is.

I think we have made our children our idols. (I know inflammatory words in the home school community)  What if we have forgotten Hannah? I mean I think what those moms were getting so defensive about was the fact that he could have been their son. They could be suffering public humiliation. They could have been the ones to decide if they should call the police and put their Dear son in prison, thus ruining his life and the image of their family. I totally get it. I have four children and I cried almost every night after my daughter told me she did not feel safe while having seizures. I mean what an awful feeling for a 6-year-old to say. How could I help her?

The only problem is we don’t get to decide what constitutes justice. If someone breaks the law in a way that harms another human being, then for the sake of others in society we should definitely go to drastic measures. That might mean you feel like a traitor and turn in that boy who once gave you sticky kisses and soul melting hugs. The boy whose first smile lit up your world. I don’t think that is easy. I think it is the most devastating choice a Mom or Dad could make. How do you turn in your own flesh and blood?

I don’t know.

I do know what it feels like to have the same reoccurring nightmare of a two-legged panther, who steals you away. I scream and scream. The back light collects moths and night insects. My brother has his tackle box on the picnic table, he can’t hear me. My neighbor is in his yard and my voice is gone unheard. I’m so scared because he’s heading for the basement. I know what that means and I claw at him I scream and scream and wake up thanking God that this time it’s not for real. I know what it’s like to have to shower after a family campfire because the smell makes my heart race reminding me of a 16 year old I’d rather forget.. I know what it feels like to not trust people, to know when that “spidey sense” goes off and you stay away from certain individuals. I have extra special warning system for abusers. I know what it’s like to have my husband morph into a monster after spending the best day in the world with him. I know what it’s like to be on the other end.

So what of Hannah? Do we trust that what we taught our kids will keep them? Do we give our kids to God and say no matter what I will do right, or do we decide based on appearances  embarrassment to the family, and the fear of losing our children?

How can we  say we are called to a” higher standard”  then forget the suffering and hurting. How can we make excuses for sinful behavior?

Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.

Proverbs 20:11

How can we sit in sermons and hear how our children belong to God and,  “AMEN!” when Hannah prays to give the child to God, then when God asks us to do the same, we( bow at our man-made idols) keep our children to ourselves out of fear?( I realize at this point you may be saying” There is nothing wrong with protecting my kids from the world”,. or There is nothing wrong with defending my kids). No there is not, but we have long since left the protecting from the world and created a very introverted lifestyle. It is no longer about reaching this world, it is about keeping our little world.It is about how many children we have and the image we want to keep. It is all about us.We think love is holding on, but really that is not love. It is fear.

The two are not compatible. Perfect love casts out fear. We live as if what God says He does not mean. We are so afraid one day with Grandparents ,who have different standards, will poison our kids. (Forgetting that our parents once raised us, deserve to be respected and a part of our children’s lives), We think that going to church instead of sticking to a schedule, a nap routine, will hinder our kids for life( Forgetting the Bible says not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together). We think that going to the church fellowship ONCE a month and eating with the church family will forever shatter our kids healthy eating.( Forgetting that their are hurting souls who just might need us there).We are so fearful for our children that we won’t even allow the other children in church or neighborhood to play with them, thinking they will be corrupted(Forgetting that we are to be light to the world and maybe they need to see and know your family to see a real Christian home) When did it become about us and ours. Whatever happened to them and theirs? 

I can think of no better thing then for my son to hear the voice of God.This is what Hannah paved the way for when she gave up Samuel.

I mean I definitely have failed my kids. Who REALLY does their best? We ALL could do more. I know that when my kids talk to their friends about Christ, invite friends to church, when they come to me with their failings and we get it right, when my kids are mad about what makes God mad, it makes me think of the day I gave them to God. I think of the hard moment of opening my hands and saying” here God, they are yours”. It’s kind of the defining moment when you realize you can do everything right and they STILL could choose to go a different way, maybe even a way that goes against God.

Let’s give our children an authentic life, built on love and not fear. Teaching them to do what’s best for those who are suffering, for the lost and dying world, for the child who does not know unconditional love, who never had a dad, who wants more than anything to have a real home. This world needs us so bad. Please remember, “you are not your own, you are bought with a price. Therefore glorify God..”.. Glorify God in your home, but don’t make your home your idol.

For this child I prayed and well for this child, I. Let. Go. 

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Don’t forget Hannah.

Authenticity

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I allowed myself to be hurt today. My son told me something someone said about me. It really dug down deep. I love this person. I’ve had them at my house. I’ve fed them, taken them places,  I’ve laughed, teased, and treated them as my own. I’ve prayed for them. They told another teen they don’t like me. My son said ” mom I know sometimes I don’t act like I should, sometimes I act different in front of people. Mom this person, the change in front of others is unbelievable. “ My hurt went from hurt, to broken. Friends what are we teaching our children? 

I have watched children shovel sidewalks, open doors, pass plates, take out the church garbage and all because a parent glared at them and gave that” we are important in this church, you’d better perform, people expect it look.” All in the name of having an ordered home and being a ” godly “leader.

Don’t even tell me I’m wrong. I’m dead on. 

These children are learning how to become a chameleon. They change colors, or fronts depending on who they are around. The teen years are already so hard. People rage against Christians. I know I’m 39 and I have people on facebook who say the cruelest things about Christians. We are not allowed to believe. We are parasites.

My children are not perfect. I know their struggles. I am very open and honest with them. They know mine. They also know the thing I hate the most in this world is a fake. I want Authenticity.

Don’t tell me you are godly because you are a Pastor, Deacon, or Sunday school teacher. I know some of you, and I know your kids. Please be authentic. Your children watch how you treat them at home ,and then how you act at church or in front of the Pastor. They see right through you.

They will not serve a God who is Authentic. They will be great actors. Trust me, we don’t need more actors. That’s why the church is in this mess. 

I am starting this journey on Authenticity. If my children forsake God it won’t be because my Christianity isn’t real, it will be because they chose the world and now are the enemy of God. 

Stop being a liar. Be authentic. Our world needs you.