Tag Archives: motherhood

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.
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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.

For such a time as this.

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I usually write just for myself. It’s my time in the morning to get clarity. The kids are sleeping. The house is dark. I actually can barely see the keys. I make plenty of mistakes, but I do it for myself. I enjoy it. Today not so much. Today my heart is a mixed load of sadness and blessings. Today some very important people in my eldest sons life are moving. Don’t get me wrong they have a great opportunity. God opened a door and I think it’s great. Sometimes someone elses blessing can become your trial..in a good, bad sort of way?

The first time my son came to the teen group Daniel was unsure and hurt. His once happy full of life self had been defeated and we were unsure if we should even let him go. Mr. B took Daniel in and made him feel right at home( a choice he may have regretted:O) Daniel would come home from teen group every Wed. and discuss the lesson in the car. He’d ask what we thought. He was totally engaged. He never felt like a teenager was to be silenced or at any moment was going to be rebellious, because we all know that’s what teenagers are. Mr. B talked to Daniel like a human being. Like he was important. If there was anything in this world he could not miss it was the teen group. It wasn’t because of the teens, it was because of Mr. B.

The one thing I appreciated about Mr. B is his willingness to allow the kids to question. To ask those hard things every teen struggles with. He did not shoot them down as heretics or unchristian. It was okay to just say I don’t know. He laughed and smiled and the teens loved him. He didn’t prove he was a man by strength or outward things, but by love and an inward love for God. He did not pretend to be who he was not.

I know Daniel was challenged intellectually. He looked for the loophole. He never just accepts the Christian answer. He always will challenge. Mr. B allowed(most) of his challenges.(If he allowed all, they would be there all night, Daniel can Talk. Haha) That led Daniel to a deeper study of God. Had he quieted that in him. It would have turned him away.

His wife Sarah gave just as much as he did. She was always baking and doing things for the teens. The teens became part of their family. I know Daniel felt awful because he wanted to say something to you publicly on Sunday. So this is his forum. I’ve seen his struggles. I know the real truth. I know how spiritually broken he really was when we came to you guys. I also know the tears he cried when he found out you were leaving. Daniel is not ashamed to cry. I want you to know that you have impacted lives here. My prayer is that you go and impact more Daniels. Thank you from a grateful mom. Thank you for showing my son, The Savior.

Go outside and play.

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My husband and I had a visit to the ER yesterday. We knew this one was coming . It was only a matter of time. When you encourage your kids to “get off their butts and live”( that means go outside) . Something is going to happen. If something is going to happen it’s going to happen to Joel.

Winter all around has been extremely frigid. I don’t mind snow. I don’t mind cold. I do mind temps. below 20 degrees. It has been brutal. The kids go out for ten minutes and they come right back in ,of course that leads to the most ridiculous fighting you have ever heard. If it’s not a fight, they make one up. Thank God for winter activities (indoors.) Anyway usually when one of our children pulls a really dumb stunt, we the parents get scrutinized. You know it’s better to allow your child to sit and eat chips while playing Grand Theft Auto ,than let them climb a tree. ( I don’t recommend jumping off bridges into snow piles, on frozen ponds. BAD IDEA). I was pleasantly surprised yesterday.

I walked into the room and the doctor told me his name. I took a deep breath. My husband was still parking the car. He said, “so Joel how did you hurt your foot?” Joel’s smile is infectious. It makes me smile. He says, “I jumped off a bridge”. The doctor looks at me. I smile. It’s a nervous habit. I know he’s picturing the George Washington Bridge,George_Washington_Bridge_NY but really it’s just a little bridge on a country road. So Joel tells him he was jumping in the snow with friends. He’s the only one who hurts his foot.The doctor says,(with kind eyes) “Well I am sorry your foot is hurt but kids should be outside in the snow. We see a lot of kids who play outside regularly. That’s how it should be. Let’s get an X-ray.” His foot ended up being broken in two places. He’s pretty tough when it comes to things like falling from trees, being chased by bulls, making a goal running full speed on a 95 degree day . Joel just has endurance. If he can’t walk. He broke it.

I think back to a conversation and a video. We were watching this :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYw4meRWGd4
Joel watched this and said “I want to be the first one to break his record.” Thinking about that now I don’t know if he was serious or not, but I’m thinking I might be on a first name basis with the ER doctors. It’s going to be a long 8 weeks. Long enough for him to finally sit and take the photography class I tried to get him to take. Yes, that means no pictures hanging upside down from trees, or in the middle of the swamp, but I’m sure he can find something to film on crutches…..Joel Barker 2014 029

All credit goes to Joel. Who sees beauty in everything.

Dislxiu

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I wonder if when a person hits the “post” button they have actually let those words filter through their brain. Are people so desperate for recognition that they have let the whole world know that they are clearly superior intellectually or can they just let it slip?( which I clearly am not) I see the posts everyday. People telling other people the different types of there’s. People telling others how and when to use commas.( what a badge of honor. Thank you so much!!!) The person let’s you know that they have the awful burden to notice every grammar mistake on a sign at a grocery store. People seriously we all know auto correct messes up half of what we say and others are human errors. Then I’ll see one that grabs my heart because I have taught one his whole life. The spelling errors are all over the place. People will tear this one up. I think to myself how did he slip through the cracks?
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I know how people slip through because I just heard another story. My husband was talking to someone Who said the first key words” “I hate reading”. He actually has been through college and is now in a good paying job. Your thinking so he hates reading.He has a job, the worst you can say is that? He was asking my husband” how do you spell..this, and this.?” My husband finally started asking questions. He struggled all through school. Spelling was not his best subject. He hated reading. Of course the public school assigns you remedial reading because obviously when you already can’t read you should read more? It’s the same old broken system that has never worked. He got pushed through. He found a way . To get where he is today he had to struggle , work twice as hard and rely on friends. His teachers thought he was dumb. His word problems in math looked like hieroglyphics. No one knew to call it dyslexia.
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With the introduction of the Common Core and all of its assessments I can’t imagine a dyslexic student in the public school. The race to the top initiative is leaving people behind. Students like this. I guess though the public school is set up that way. That is why we homeschool. My son is not going to be left behind while others race to the top. The President may have sounded good with his eloquent speech but his children get their education paid for. Most dyslexic students need very expensive tutoring. The intervention required in the public school is usually not adequate. Most parents turn to private tutoring. I myself love it when homeschoolers say “let the children educate themselves.” I’m sure that will work very well for my son who is dyslexic. There is an element of independence, but to completely allow unmonitored schooling is hogwash.

I used to really worry that we were not doing the right thing. Progress was slow. My son was struggling so bad. Every dyslexia specialist has a different technique they prefer and it’s crazy trying to discern what works best for your child. I was told by someone who was an expert that certain things we were doing would not work. Only their program worked. Their program was thousands! We were already spending that much. We just slowly plodded along because our son liked what he was doing and fought us on the experts program. Guess what? We are seeing tremendous progress. The new spelling curriculum we got has also helped. It’s slow, tedious, repetitive. He actually loves it. He’s gone up a grade level in reading and comprehension. I’m more excited about the comprehension part. He actually is reading the King James Bible with his Dad every night ( if you have ever seen a King James Bible, please clap with me now).I also love, love the immersion narration from Kindle . It’s an option with some of their books and replaces the robotic like reading my son HATED. He would not even bother trying to read along with those TERRIBLE narrations. He was last heard reading along with Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer on some adventure. Who would have thought that possible? In case you are wondering about my title. He spelled that.He will never be “cured” of dyslexia. He is always going to have an element of struggle.He most likely will be a poor speller his whole life. Aside from his dyslexia I’m more proud of him for something else. I told him about this korean pastor who started this box in Korea so that people could come and bring orphans. The people came they dropped babies off in the box and the Pastor and his wife took care of them. My son said to me” Mom when I grow up I want to go there and adopt those children and help that Pastor. Why doesn’t anyone want those babies? I was telling him about the Pastor and the good he was doing, he was focused on the need of the children to have parents. That’s my son. Always seeing the hurt in others. Struggles only become a handicap if you let them.
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Here.

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It’s cold here in northwestern PA. . I know Polar Vortex, as if this is a sci-fi movie. Please. It’s cold. We feel it. Some of my chickens died and my Linemen husband is frozen when he actually comes home. This cold does go right through to your bones.The bleakness of winter can consume you if you let it. My kids of course are driving me crazy. If we don’t get above 1 degree soon I am seriously going to reevaluate my mental health. We’ve acquired a talking Amazon Parrot , conure, kitten and a dog since I last posted. I don’t have enough chaos in here, I’m opting for an indoor zoo! So I haven’t posted in over a year. I wasn’t able to sit at my computer. I have these disks that seem to pop like popcorn. This is the third time it has happened to me. I thought for sure I was done. I don’t know if you have ever experienced nerve pain, but it is not like anything I can describe.It is relentless and pursuing. I could not escape it. I did finally get surgery. I am not a fan of chiropractors and please refrain from telling me how wonderful they are for you. So I know this is not like my usual posts. I want you to know that God does hear the prayers of the Homeschooling Mom. He heard me say” God I can’t do this. If you don’t help me I quit. I am sending these kids to the public school and I just give up. The pain is too much( and it was)”. My friends forgot me, some family thought I was addicted to the pain meds( I don’t know why, they didn’t help much) . I told Him in no uncertain terms that I was done with Him and with everyone. Now if you don’t know God you will say” some God you have there” I know . You see this is not the worst thing I have ever been through, Maybe as far as pain level, but not the worst thing. He did help me through this and compensated for the lack of schooling I was not able to do. My kids are so much better now. I could just weep to think of it.I ditched my old schooling. I have so much better results now. I have more help for my dyslexic son. God used this time when I could not even sit, to do some great things in my kids lives. I have come out of this thing called suffering so much better. You see when you suffer no-one can go through this with you. You have no companion. It is not meant to be shared. I am not out of pain and probably never will be. I’m okay with that. I’ll be okay, someday. It has been awful. It has been painful and hard. Lonely nights. One thing I can say is trite things like this” You have not suffered as much as Job or as much as….” are just so ridiculous. So glad I have a great God who does reach down in my pain, because I have suffered as much as ME. He made me and knows my pain. My Creator fashioned me. No matter where I am. In a lonely dark place( which I have been before).no pitHe’s been there for me. This lesson isn’t learned breezing through life. It’s learned on the road less traveled. God knows our pain. No matter how deep the pit. Take heart. Homeschooling can be hard. I know. I’ve weathered the storms, the comments, the scrutiny, the struggles. They’re worth it. Don’t give up. I’m not perfect. I’ve been unorganized, my house messy, freaked out, lost my patience, lost my mind, please don’t ever think that you have lost your God. He’s here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQnBvUiAGsI#!

Memories…………

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dogwood
I drove by a dogwood tree today. The beautiful flowers blew in the spring breeze. Immediately I was taken back to my childhood. The small Dogwood in our front yard. I waited every year for it to bloom. It was a bright spot in my hard life. Joel and I were coming back from the dentist. We were chatting and enjoying one on one time. It’s always nice to just get alone with one of my children. I thought about the memory of the Dogwood and how it brought me back. It reminded me that memories are being made every day. I can choose to be a part of them or I can be a distant memory in my children’s lives. Time tends to erase memories. In an instant though a smell, or a sight can bring them flooding back. I want to be part of those memories in my kids life. Every silly giggle and exciting event. I don’t want to be the Mom on Facebook posting ABOUT my kids. I want to be the mom who INVESTED in her kids. Even while I home educate the balance of Mom and teacher is carefully weighed. Some days I feel like all I do is scold. I hate that. Todays dogwood reminded me that my kids need me to be their Mom, not just the scolding teacher. It’s the silliest moments that create the most memories. Sometimes I get caught in the trap of DOING. The more I do, the more social activities the more friends I allow, that will create great memories for my kids. You know what? My kids always remember the quality time together, like taking a walk yesterday. silly spring memories 016 A Huge black snake came slithering out of the swamp in front of us. We all froze. I gasped( hey you would too if you saw it.) Gasping has a funny effect on my Australian Shepherd Cooper. He went on the attack. He started flinging that creepy beast back and forth. The kids were yelling, I was gasping( causing the dog to attack more) Now the kids are spazing and everyone is worried about Cooper. Cooper turned out fine and that black devil was dead. Guess what my kids have been retelling all day! They are not remembering the latest movie or a toy recently purchased, nope they are reacting the drama of yesterday. I could have said no lets not walk, I’d rather________________, but the sun was shining and my children were asking. I don’t want to be a distant memory. I want to be part of the whole picture.I was encouraged that my kids don’t think I’m the scolding teacher I feel like. Cheyenne made me this picture. In her mind I am a smiling happy mom.(good thing she can’t see how I feel on the inside, some days I feel like such a failure) silly spring memories 010
God gave these kids to ME. It’s my responsibility and joy to join in the adventure and raise them. Now Monday when I am freaking out because the house is a mess, or they are lagging on school, I might have a different opinion. Today I’m enjoying these gifts and being thankful for every drama filled minute. At least when this ride is over I can say I invested my all and am part of the memory. Memories are being made every day. Are you part of them?to-be-in-your-childrens-memories

Are you a Reducer?

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We all know Reducers. To reduce means this:
re·duce
/riˈd(y)o͞os/
Verb
Make smaller or less in amount, degree, or size: “the need to reduce costs”; “a reduced risk of coronary disease”.
Become smaller or less in size, amount, or degree.
Synonyms
diminish – decrease – lessen – abate – lower

You know that particular someone who you cringe when they come near. The are the ones who without a doubt will say something negative to “help” you in someway. In casual conversation they have to tell you(for your benefit of course) that your child has committed an infraction. They will put down your goals. Put down your kids. Put down you. All in the name of “help”. Yet they are older or more experienced. They are the leaders. A scenario like this just happened to me. In casual conversation I was talking about one of my children. Smiling, I said a positive. The reducer said in counter,” Yes and your other child was doing such and such.” I blinked . As if I already don’t know how my children behave. I mean it’s not like I spend all day watching their lives play out before me.Here’s what I learned about reducers. They don’t have all the answers! In pointing out the flaws of your life they miss the bright sign pointing at themselves. We are always spouting the Bible verse “thou shalt not judge”. I think we also miss the overwhelming evidence of God telling us to encourage each other, to edify, to uplift.
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A reducer expects you to discipline your child on their behalf. DON’T DO IT! Throw away the “help” of the reducer.NEVER discipline your child for what others think. This is performance based parenting and Christians are so guilty of it. My kids were given to me by God. They were born sinners, just like me. They are not spiritual, they are little conformists. Do I expect my kids to always perform for me? Are they robots programmed by a master controller? No, they are kids with personalities and a will of their own. I can train my kids to do right, but in the end I cannot make them. A reducer will only see the negative. This particular reducer practically ran to tell me about my childs misbehavior.( which I already knew via a tattling sibling) Am I saying never to listen to correction? No . I don’t listen to those I know have an ulterior motive in informing me how “bad” my kids are. Trust me I already know the areas they need to work on. I am already working on them. The truth is this reducer makes me sigh every time they come near. I think it’s a “my kids are better than yours.” Here’s what they fail to see. I’m not in competition. I’m trying to please ONE and I don’t live my life based on the opinions of others. I decided to use this for good. I am consciously aware of how I treat others. There are some times I want to say something( and thankfully people can’t read minds) but I always think” do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Do I like being reduced? Do I like this person coming to me informing me of every flaw in my life?( in the name of I am more godly than you)I’m sure this reducer walks away very proud that they helped me grow. Yes, thank you for showing me that I NEVER want to be the one reducing people down to size.
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“Life is so urgent it necessitates living slow.”Ann Voskamp

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I watched the sun rise this morning. All the colors rose slowly until they met in one burst of brightness. It felt like an eternity. I was sitting there alone doing what people call devotions. It didn’t feel like devotion , it felt like wonder. God was speaking to me. I’m always in a hurry. It might be just my natural inclination or being raised in CT. I’m not sure. Most times I don’t even know why the hurry. It’s just. hurry to get school done, hurry to prepare supper, hurry to church. It’s so exhausting. I am not in a position to hurry right now. I guess God is trying to slow me down. You could say I wrestled with God. I hate admitting that I’m in pain, so here it is. I’m in pain. I read this morning. “Life is not an Emergency. Life is brief and is fleeting but it is not an Emergency.” Ann Voskamp I think of yesterday. The moments I want to take time to remember. All of us standing behind Joel praying he finally beats the boss on Timez attack. He had tried 32 times. We all feel his pain. Failure is not an option for him. He finally got those last three facts. We all cheered. I could have missed that moment. I had so much to do. In this moment I decided to stop. I joined in the struggle. It felt like my victory. Dyslexia has many aspects to it. Memory is really affected by it. Sequencing, memorizing steps in math, all affected. I know that the Dyslexia movement keeps saying it’s a gift. I wonder if they ask a child who has it. In hind sight one can always say it was a gift, but in the struggle, sometimes all you see is the struggle. I told my husband yesterday as we watched Joel build a fort in the front yard ” you would never know he is the same kid who took 32 times to beat a level on his Timez attack. He is happy, confident hammering away( with my husbands tools he is sure to lose.) I know why he built it in the front yard and not on the rest of our 60 acres. He wanted his dad to come home and see his fort. He was super proud. Today I just wanted to remember the moment. Each tiny, little moment. Haste makes waste people say. I know why, we are in such a hurry to get to the next moment we miss the magic of the one we are in.
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Gotta go. I’m missing the sunshine and many magical moments.
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What if I don’t feel like home educating?

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It’s one of those days. I don’t like complaining. You wont find me updating my Facebook status. I don’t tell my husband. I wont even call my family. The pain of my back and my nerve have taken over. I don’t feel like home educating. My kids don’t know. I just wake up. The pains there. I say “not today.” This started for me when my youngest was five months. Now here I am with two back surgeries. In a world where surgery is sociably unacceptable, where the chiropractor seems to be “god”. What do I do? I have no substitute teacher. I could be the super mom and push through the pain. My kids know this mom. She’s not fun. Isn’t that what we Christians do though. God gave me these kids to raise. This is my job. I need to raise them. I mean if I don’t do algebra today my children will be ruined for life. I have been through every scenario where I guilted myself into pushing past the pain. I have become the super “godly” mom to keep educating. God has reminded me lately though that even our Lord got tired. That it really is okay to take a day off. I admit it is hard for me. I have to just let it all go. For people like moms that’s nearly impossible. We are the givers. We do the doing. To let others help. That is where the struggle comes. You may not have a back problem. What if your brain is just fried. Oh man, I have been there. I have been where I can’t think. You know like Winnie the Pooh, think, think, think.Winnie the Pooh I’m just done. I want out. Other moms tend to “help” here too. They will say things like “oh I just love home schooling” You know and your thinking, really because right now I’d like to be in Costa Rica! Don’t worry Homeschooling moms can lie too! Don’t compare yourselves to their lie. Everyone has their days. I don’t NEED to home educate. God has chosen to have me home educate. I can’t tell you the days I have pleaded for my nerve pain to go away. I have a pain management regime I follow, but some days there isn’t enough I can do. I just don’t feel like doing my job. Do you know what God does for me? It comes in the form of a phone call. One of my best friends in the whole world. My husbands grandma. She’ll call. I say “Hi Grandma.”
Thinking I am giving nothing away she’s “Barb what’s wrong.?”UGH, I am trying to make her life easier and she picks up on it every time. We share back pain so she knows. We pray for each other. God knows your needs. Sometimes He is like the calm before the springtime. Yesterday the birds were singing. Joel said” Mom I can’t believe those birds are singing.” I stopped and listened. He would notice.It started snowing yesterday. It was just like God saying,” Don’t get discouraged spring really is going to come.” Spring will come for you. Just take a day off. Listen for God . Do something fun with your kids. Maybe read to them, bake cookie.Most of all, LAUGH. Be the mom, not the teacher. I know it gets hard. I don’t always feel like home educating. I don’t today. Don’t waste the time you have with regret. God gave this time you have to use wisely. Life will not fall apart in one day. When you don’t feel like home educating. Take a day off. Be just a mom, a happy, carefree SMILING mom. 085

11 For,lo,the winter is past,the rain is over and gone;
12 The flowers appear on the earth ;the time of the singing of the birds is come…..
Song of Solomon 2:11,12
Spring is Coming. You will begin again. God gives new beginnings. If I can begin anew even in my pain, so can you!