Family Vision — Homeschooling


Deuteronomy 6:4-9

4 Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

We absolutely believe that the best place to teach our children is at home. We are to love the Lord our God with all that we have, we are to teach our children the commandments which God has given us in His holy word. We are to teach them when we sit, walk, lie down and when we rise up. For our family, we believe that the only way we can teach our children diligently is to teach them at home. We believe it’s difficult to do those things if we send our children out of our home to be educated by someone else 8 hours a day.

Before I get too deep into this discussion, I have to first say we come from a family of public educators. In our family, you’re either a nurse or an educator and we have lots of both. Secondly, my husband and I were public schooled and thirdly I think public teachers have very difficult jobs. My goal is not to tell someone why we’re right and they’re wrong in their educational choices, but to tell you why it’s so important to us that it’s become part of our family vision statement.

If our most important goal is that our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren for many generations come to know God, then we should be teaching them as such. My husband and I went to a small public school in Kansas. We were both raised in the church and we went to school with most of the same kids in our youth group, yet the 2 environments were not in unison. We were taught ideas, theories and standards in public school that were contrary to the Christian faith ideas we were being taught at home, Sunday morning and Wednesday night. We were tested and drilled on those ideas, they were presented as fact and were treated as such. When the issue of faith was brought up with was quickly quelled with “separation of church and state” talk or the “I have to teach this to you” argument and it wasn’t discussed. There was no place for reconciliation, no place for harmony.


When our oldest was ready for kindergarten we sent him to a small Christian school that used to operate in our church. It closed half way through the year and we brought him home to learn. We had read the statistics about how homeschoolers did better on tests and academically than their public schooled counterparts. There are several studies from independent sources that support this, and we thought “well that’s good enough for us”. However, through God’s grace He began to show us that homeschooling is more than just teaching our children at home, but it’s an opportunity for discipleship with our children. It’s an opportunity to come along side them and learn together as a family, teach them our family values and give them the best start possible both academically and spiritually.

Discipleship is modeling and teaching Christians, and our children, the precepts of the Bible; mainly prayer, doctrine, Christian living, and worship. We build these concepts into our daily education with our children. We spend time with them discussing how the principles we’re learning in school apply to biblical principles in life. We integrate it into our studies, our lives and our home.

Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” It comes down to goals for your children. What are your goals for when they are old? What kinds of things are you and do you want to train them to do and be? Because what you teach them now will stick around, it will be what they carry with them later. And children will believe what they hear the most often and the loudest. For many those are the messages they get when they’re sitting in a classroom, for some it is the message they receive at home during the school day and for others it’s the message they get watching TV. I assure you though, that they are getting a message.

If you count up the time that is spent in school, let’s say 8 hours a day 5 days a week for 30 weeks a year = 1200 hours of instruction in the public school system per year. Take those 1200 hours x 13 years of school (k-12) means that children are spending just under 16,000 hours under the instruction of someone else (teachers, coaches and peers) other than their parents. That’s 16,000 hours over the course of 18 years that we’re missing the opportunity to disciple them.

If we continue to look at how the rest of the 16 hours a day is spent. The average school aged child gets 9 hours of sleep a day. So now we’re down to 7 hours for the remainder of our time with our children. The average child has between 5 and 7 hours of screen time (computer, TV, phone etc). So that leave about 2 hours per day that the average parent would have to disciple their child if they’re sending them to public school, if that child doesn’t participate in outside activities such as music lessons or sports. It’s difficult to overcome the messages our children are getting with only 2 hours or less a day to disciple our children.

It comes back to what we feel God has called us as parent to teach our children. We have a very serious responsibility to educate the children God has blessed us with. Educating your children is the most important thing you will ever do as a parent. I would encourage you to ask yourself and pray about the following questions:

What are the most important things that you want your children to learn? How do you go about teaching those things? Are you willing to trust that someone else will want your children to learn those same lessons?

Family Vision – Debt Free

I’ve been discussing how our family vision guides the decisions we make for our lives. You can read those posts here. A few years ago our family was in a mess financially. While Kerry and I have always paid our bills on time, our move here to Pueblo had us living outside of our means for a bit. Once we started using credit cards to pay for our groceries we knew we were up a creek without a paddle. We took out a debt consolidation loan (big mistake) and were in over our heads. We had seen some friends of ours posting on Facebook (of all places) about going through Dave Ramey’s Financial Peace University. We took the course online and it changed our lives. You can view Dave’s website here.
As we studied and prayed about the principles we were being taught in the class we began to feel that living debt free was a biblical mandate for our family. The Bible says “The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower becomes the lender’s slave” Proverbs 22:7. The first time Dave quoted this Proverb we looked at each other and said “duh!” It makes total sense that if we’re working to pay bills and lines of credit that we owe to someone else, we’re not really working for ourselves so we can serve Christ, we are slaves to the bank!

We’ve come a long way in paying off some (not all) of our debt. We have several more years to go to climb out of the hole we got ourselves into. We have paid off all of our cars and our credit cards. The only debt we have left is our student loans and the home we still own in Goessel. We didn’t set out to become debt free so that we could become wealthy, we set out to become debt free so that we could truly be free from being slaves to the lenders we borrowed from and so we could serve God.

Matthew 6:20-24 says 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.    22 “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

As a follower of Christ we shouldn’t put anyone or anything above Him. We should be seeking to serve Him, not the debt collectors and companies who hold the loans we take out to buy stuff we don’t need. Think of what we could do as a church if those who were in it were debt free. What kind of income would that free up to give to those in need and to serve others in the name of Christ? Or think about the time we wouldn’t have to work and we would have free to serve.

There are really about 2 main reasons that people go into debt. The first is often the most common, but the one that is least likely to be admitted (especially by those in the church), and that’s greed and discontentment. We are willing to go into debt because we WANT (not need) something. We WANT a new car, we WANT a bigger house, we WANT new furniture, we WANT to keep up with the people in the pew behind us. It’s hard to admit that we’re filled with greed and that we desire things of this world. We have a hard time telling that little 2 year old inside us screaming “Gimme Gimme Gimme!”….No instead of giving in to the WANT. I hate to admit it, but I’ve been guilty of being that 2 year old throwing a temper tantrum because we couldn’t afford the things that I WANTed rather than what I needed. When we were first married I was much more contentious about the things I WANTED. I would take every chance I could to bring up the thing I WANTED to my husband. I would use it as a tool to remind him that we didn’t have as much money as I wanted us to. I would pout about it, I would complain to others about it and I would remind him all.the.time. I wasn’t being content, I was behaving like a 2 year old crying for a toy in the store. Through God’s grace I have “grown up” and out of that stage and things are much more peaceful at home.

I Timothy 6:8 says “If we have food and covering, with these things we shall be content.” It sounds extreme in this world we live in, but are we willing to be content with the food and shelter we have and nothing else? If we’re so worried about getting more stuff it’s almost impossible for us to ever be satisfied with what we have. We’re so worried about working harder to get more more more that we’re willing to become slaves to get it. In a lot of ways, your checkbook says a great deal about what is important to you.

We are reminded again in Matthew 6: 25-34

25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

The second reason that people go into debt is because they’re poor stewards of what God has given them. They fail to make a plan for their money. Instead, they either don’t have a budget or don’t stick to it. Dave Ramsey says “If you don’t tell your money where to go, you’ll wonder where it went.” God blesses us with whatever income and possessions we have. It is our responsibility to be good stewards of those things. We are to spend responsibly, invest responsibly and when necessary exercise self-control when we are presented with a WANT instead of a need.

Wives, I would caution you here to think seriously about presenting your husband with your “needs” and wants. Sometimes we can make do with what we have and save our family a few dollars here and there. Or be wise with where and how you shop. I know a family where the wife never pays attention to sales, prices of food or does comparison shopping. She just buys what she wants (often using the credit card to pay). Her family is not wealthy. Her husband works hard and they are in a large amount of debt. Imagine the stress she could take off her husband’s shoulders if she would work harder to shop wisely when she buys food. Do you really need a new washing machine or bookshelf when you could make do with what you have? I would love to have a new stand mixer with a bigger bowl. But does it work? Yep. Can I use it to mix stuff just like a new one? Yep. Do I harp on my husband about it? Nope. In fact, until he reads this blog I don’t think he’ll even know it’s something I’d *LIKE* to have. There are so many other places we can spend our money wisely than buying a new mixer or whatever it is that I might be *wanting*.  Sometimes we have to be willing to be content with what we have so that we can be better stewards of the blessings God has given us.

It is important for our family to be debt free so that we can be free to serve Christ in whatever capacity He calls us. When we decided for me to quit my job and Kerry to look for full time employment we were and are bound by the debt we still owe. We are thankful for the employment Kerry now has and we know that God will provide for us. BUT…. but the stress of finding a job (or two or three) that would support our family would have been so much less if only we had been good stewards and made wise decisions from the start. We would love someday to have enough money to buy a home in the country and raise our family, but is that our priority and our main reason for working diligently to become debt free? No. Our goal is to be FREE from slavery so that we can be FREE to serve Christ.

30 weeks

There were so many moments in the last year I was sure I would never see 30 weeks of pregnancy again, yet here I am and oh so very thankful. Sometimes when I think about the next 10 weeks it seems like they’ll take forever to go by and other days it seems like the time is flying by.
I have been working through some tough stuff mentally the last few weeks. It’s like a couple weeks ago I realized I was pregnant for the first time this whole pregnancy and I was terrified to be honest. I think I have been waiting so long for the other shoe to fall, to lose this baby too, that I had guarded myself against the possibility that this baby could live and I would actually have a live baby to hold at the end of it all. It caught me off guard. And there were moments where my mind would dream up the highly unlikely, completely unreasonable fears of “what if” with this pregnancy. I would think of all the rare complications, some that I’ve only seen once or twice in my nursing career, that *could* happen and would make me lose the baby. Almost like I was looking for the rare to happen again because it’s happened twice before with Knox and Lily. I am thankful for a midwife friend and several others who I could vent to and talk about this with. Most of all though, I am thankful for the patient. loving Father in Heaven for helping me deal with my fears and give me peace about what is to come. I’m feeling much better this week with what lies ahead.
I suppose that every mother wonders if she’ll be able to make it through labor again. Me included. Especially since, after 3 c-sections with my oldest, this will really be my second non-induced labor. So to a certain extent I do wonder what it will be like, if I will be blessed with a super fast labor and birth like I was last time (I’m so hoping this is the case). I’m doing the things I need to be to get myself ready for that marathon at the end. We ordered our birth supplies a couple of weeks ago and they sit neatly in a box in the corner of our bedroom. I’m not sure Kerry knows where everything is yet, but hopefully he will before we need them. I have “extra hands” on call if we need them, something that was a huge answer to prayer last week.
The only thing I’m struggling with is drinking red raspberry leaf tea. You’re supposed to to help condition the uterus and get it ready for the birth…and I’ve done it with my previous pregnancies, but this time I can barely stomach the stuff. It isn’t “robust” enough for me, I want the strong coffee flavor but it just doesn’t have it. So, for now I’ll choke down what I can, but it isn’t my thing this time. That and eating. Eating is still a challenge for me. Nothing really sounds good, still and when I do have an appetite the baby feels like he’s so high that I run out of room before I really get to enjoy much of what is on my plate. It is what it is I guess, and this is pretty typical for me when I’m pregnant. So I eat because I have to, not necessarily because I want to. I explained it to Kerry like this…it’s like eating every meal with a terrible cold, not being able to taste anything or enjoy what you’re eating. After a while, it’s just “eh” when it’s meal time.
The boys are getting very excited and still ask several times a day “Mommy, how many more weeks?” Zeke is getting anxious to hold the baby and thinks that the baby will want to sleep with him when the baby gets here.
We are excited about the next 10 weeks and the time when baby comes. We pray every day for his safe arrival and easy birth at home. By the way, we don’t have a name yet. We’re talking about it though. 🙂
 BabyFruit Ticker

New Recipe Monday — Mom cheats

This isn’t a “new recipe” per se, but really just a mom cheat to make our budget stretch a little further.
I use beans a lot in our dishes at home, they stretch a dish and add some much needed protein to our diet too. I used to buy canned beans to use in recipes like soups, salads, casseroles and such. I hated throwing those cans away (there isn’t recycling here and you can only save so many tin cans for “homeschool” projects) and I really dislike the “juice” those beans come in. I’d always find myself rinsing them (making them healthier) before using them. Several months ago I thought I’d experiment a bit with dry beans, cooking them and then freezing them for later use. It worked great and the cost savings is wonderful!
I usually buy dry beans in 2lb bags (I’ve found that it’s cheaper to buy the dry beans in the actual Hispanic section of the store…I can get bigger bags at a cheaper cost, often with the same company just Spanish on the bag rather than English). A 2lb bag usually costs around $3.00 (a 15oz can of beans usually costs around $1.00 here). I will dump two bags (4lbs total) in my crockpot and cover the beans with water, a little cumin, garlic powder and onion powder and turn it on high. Keep an eye on it though, you’re going to have to add more water…you want to keep them covered throughout the process. You wouldn’t have to add the spices, but I like the flavor in the beans especially if I decide to use them in a salad. I usually cook the beans all day long, about 8-10 hours, making sure to keep them covered in water.
There are two options here, you can cook your beans until they’re completely done (softer texture), which I usually do because I use them without cooking them again pretty frequently. The other option is to cook them just under-done, if you’re going to cook them before you eat them. I prefer to cool the beans (I just remove the whole crock and put it in the fridge for the next day), you don’t have to but it does make them easier to work with. Once they’re cool, I will rinse them in a colander and bag them in freezer safe bags with 4 cups of beans to a bag (the equivalent to 2 cans). I then freeze these bags and thaw before using. It works great and no one can tell the difference.
From the original 2 bags of dry beans I get around 8 bags of cooked beans, which means about 16 cans of beans total. So essentially for $6.00 I get $16.00 worth of canned beans, without the preservatives and minimize the waste without the cans, and I can often rinse and re-use the bags for my next batch.
So far I’ve used this process with kidney beans (no spices added), black beans and pinto beans and it’s worked beautifully.

Family Vision — Serve Others

In the last couple of weeks I’ve been writing about our family vision. and the most important part of that vision.
Please keep in mind that in the points that I’ll be including in the coming weeks don’t really occur in a particular order. They are what we feel God has lead us to believe is important for our family. I would encourage you as I write about our family vision to pray about and discuss with your spouse what you family vision should be. Be as specific as possible. Don’t just say what you want, but also why and be sure to explain why to your children.
It is our desire for our children and our family members to learn how to serve others. We want them to learn to serve God first, their siblings, us as parents, and those around them.

Image from
Joshua 22:5
5 Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God and walk in all His ways and keep His commandments and hold fast to Him and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
We remind our boys often that we are called to serve God. He sent His son to die on the cross for our sins. His son paid the penalty that we all deserve as a result of our sin. We deserve death and life away from God. God can not bear to be in the presence of sin, He hates it. Nothing we can do will “earn” our way back to Him, there is no way we can ever be good enough. But God loves us. So He sent Jesus to pay the penalty of our sin. Once we believe in Him and trust Him as our savior we are assured eternal life in Heaven with our God. Because of this we should want to serve Him.
Serving God means we are obedient to Him and what He has called us to do. It means that we honor one another, we seek to do God’s will and seek to bring glory Him in all we do. Some ways that we teach our boys to serve God include things like
  • Prayerfully considering decisions when it comes to how we spend our money and our time
  • Seek His will before we agree to do something
  • Give God credit for the blessings, talents and abilities He has given us. They are gifts from God.
I was blessed as a mother to see this in action a year ago in my children. Our AWANA club is sponsoring another club in Nepal. The kids are bringing money to send over to the other club to help support their activities and teaching God’s word. One of my children had been eyeing a book about Legos in the store for several weeks. Every time we would go into the store he would walk past the book, slow down, pick it up and sigh. He didn’t quite have enough money to spend on the book. He was saving his money for that book each week, but then we started our adopt-a-club in AWANA. One morning during our devotions, he said “Mom, I really want that book, but I also want to give to adopt-a-club”. We told him he could give his regular giving money (we ask our boys to divide their commissions into give, save, spend) to the club in Nepal, but he wasn’t quite satisfied. “Mom, I really want that book, but I could give my money ($20.00) to adopt-a-club instead…I don’t know what to do”. I told him to pray for discernment about what God would want him to do and to do what he felt led. He prayed everyday that week for guidance. He chose ultimately to give his saved money to Nepal. He chose to serve God with his money rather than himself. It was a big sacrifice for a little boy, but I was pleased he listened to God’s prompting.
Serving others, especially siblings, requires a lot of humility. Our family’s character definition of humility is “RememberingGod is responsible for our successes and achievements and not being prideful orarrogant in my attitude or behavior.” This is tough, even for adults to master. It means that we have to put our own needs aside for the needs of others. We have to be willing to not be prideful.

I Peter 5:5 says “5 You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.”

We encourage serving others, especially siblings, by having the older and younger boys work together at tasks. When a younger brother is having difficulty completing a task, we ask an older brother to help. They don’t take over, they don’t complete the task alone, but they do it alongside one another. This is beneficial in a number of ways in our family. It teaches us to watch for when someone else needs help, it teaches us to jump in and be ready to help as best we can whenever we can, and it demonstrates team work and cooperation. Often times, the older brother will be able to show the younger an easier or more efficient way to complete a task.
Our 2 youngest serving the family by emptying our dryer
One of the things we often have the boys do is go on recon missions for dirty laundry, lost toys, shoes and whatever else we might be looking for. They go in teams and work together. If a little can’t carry his armful of laundry, the big brother can help by picking it up. They get the job done completely and serve together. They’re not only serving each other, but are also serving our family by helping with the laundry. We have a similar system for putting laundry away. A big and little go together to hang up shirts, often the big brother helping re-hang a shirt if it falls of the hanger but they serve together.
Sometime serving means giving rides in the laundry basket
Many mornings the older boys will help by making a younger brother toast or pouring milk on a little guy’s cereal. It’s not always a huge thing, but it helps keep us humble and helps maintain a servant attitude.
Making toast together
Learning how to serve takes time. We can’t just have one lesson in it during our school day and expect it to take hold. It’s something we have to cultivate every day and every moment we’re together. Teaching your children how to serve can be as simple as helping them learn to hold doors open for those around them. It teaches them to be aware of the needs of others and meet those needs. We do it when we don’t want to, when we’re grumpy and when we’re already frustrated. But…we are called to do it. We do it because God asks us to. And as we serve others, we find that we’re blessed as well.
1 Peter 4: 10-11 As each one hasreceived a special gift, employ it in serving oneanother as good stewards of themanifold grace of God. 11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is todo so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through JesusChrist, to whom belongs theglory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.


If teaching your children how to serve is fairly new to your family, I encourage you to start with small things. Tell them why serving is important. Have them help bring in groceries and then praise them for serving their family. Start by teaching them how to sort laundry into piles, then praise them for helping. Often times I’ll say “I’m so thankful you were willing to serve our family, look how helpful you have been!” or “Wow! Daddy did you see how so and so served our family by doing such and such? I’m so blessed to have someone so helpful!”
Another great way to teach you children to serve, is to serve others yourself. Let your kids see you help others and do things for those around you. Let them go with you or even help make a meal for someone in your church. Tell them that you’re making a meal for this family because they could use a little extra help. When you go out to eat as a family, encourage your children to help you clean the table and floor around where you sat. A family with little kids can make quite a mess. Tell them you’re helping clean up because you  don’t want to make more work for someone else or because you want to make the waitress’s job a little easier. We remind our children to leave a place in better condition than what we found it.
In serving others, we are serving God.

Family Vision — Most important

Last week I talked a bit about how our family has developed a vision. Something we are working towards, something that guides our decisions, something that will help us build a legacy for future generations. I encouraged you to start thinking of your vision for your family. What is your purpose as a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or child? How will you impact your family and the generations you will never meet? What is your vision?

The first thing I would tell you in developing a vision is pray. Pray for God’s wisdom, His guidance and His grace and mercy to fill in the gaps where you fall short.  Make it a habit to pray daily for your family, your children and their spouses (even if your kids are still in diapers…they will grow up someday), pray for your grandchildren and their grandchildren. Start to think and pray for beyond what happens this week or next, pray for your future generations.

For our family, the most important thing we want our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to do is know God and have a relationship with Him. We feel that their coming to know Christ is/should be our first priority. It’s part of the reason we have decided to home school them. We can’t save them, we can’t cajole them into loving God or wanting a relationship with Him. God has to draw them to Himself. It’s a work He does within their hearts…BUT…we can give them the foundation. We can be His tools to plant the seeds, water them, protect them and give them the spiritual food they need to grow. We can’t make our children “sprout” in faith, but we can make sure the soil is ready. It is our number one priority and responsibility as parents. If we succeed in every other area, but fail here it is all for naught.

The first part of our family vision statement reads, we have scriptural references for each point and I will include them as well. :
Every member become a believer saved by gracethrough faith in Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8-10)

Ephesians 2:8-10

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which Godprepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
So if our priority is that our children and future generations is that they come to know God, what does that look like? It’s not enough to go to church every Sunday and send them to VBS every summer. That might be part of it, but it won’t give them fertile soil in which to grow.

We open every day at our house after breakfast by reading our Proverb of the day. There are 31 Proverbs, we read whatever number Proverb corresponds to the day on the calendar. Proverbs is a book of wisdom. We discuss the things we’re learning as we read, we talk about how to discern wise vs foolish, how to pick a wife, how to be obedient. We’ve been doing this for some time, and I assure you it never gets boring. We always learn something, no matter how many times we’ve read it. We have the attitude, and have often said…”if you don’t have time for devotions you don’t have time for much else”.

Something we’ve been doing that is relatively “new” to our day is we’re memorizing scripture together as a family. We usually do a whole chapter over the course of several weeks.  We make up actions to go with the verses so they’re easier to remember. Zeke and Titus sit and recite or do the actions they can remember with us. We usually add a new verse every day. We’ll recite what we already know with the actions, we’ll learn the new verse and come up with actions for that verse and repeat it several times. Then we’ll recite the whole passage again ending with our new verse for the day. When you get towards the end of a chapter, it takes a bit to recited the whole thing twice, but it really helps cement it in your brain.

After our Proverb and memory passage, we study a character trait and it’s definition. We study the same trait everyday during that week reciting the definition and talking about what that character trait looks like. There are lots of lists of character traits out there, some are biblically based and some are not. I made a list for our family that we feel incorporates both behaviors and heart attitudes that we want our children to learn. You can view our list here.

Then we pray as a family. Each member takes turns and prays for whatever is on our heart. We pray for the children we sponsor from World Vision and Compassion International. We pray for our family, our brothers and sometimes our dog.

We end our day usually with Daddy reading from the Bible (we’re currently studying James). We also pray as a family at the close of the day. Some evenings we’ll sing…I can plink out the melody for most hymns and it’s fun to hear the boy’s voices raised in praise.
We’re not perfect and don’t have all the answers. This is what we’ve found works for our family and helps us develop the foundation we desire for our children.

But you know what I think…what happens between the bookend Bible reading to our day is just as important. Between our Bible times we strive to LIVE what we’re learning. We try to incorporate our character traits, our Bible passages and their principles into our everyday life. For example, in Matthew 18 it talks about how to appeal to a brother. When the boys are fighting and they come tattle to mom…rather than jumping right in to solve it…I ask them “how are we to appeal to a brother?” They reply “go to him first and talk to him”…”did you do that”…”no”…”why don’t you try that first and then we’ll see what happens”. 9 times out of 10 I don’t hear another peep about “Mom! So and so did this”. Instead I hear the boys talking about how they are going to solve their problem. We talk about forgiveness and practice it (at lot).

It’s not enough to just throw water and fertilizer on the soil, but we have to work it up, we have to get our hands dirty and feel it. It’s the same with our kids. It’s not enough to just “throw” God’s word at them and hope it sticks…we have to practice it. We have to live it out. It’s not enough to have a family vision…but we have to work for it.

The Best of 2012

I’m a little behind in my reflection of 2012 I guess. I saw this survey a couple of days ago and thought about my answers. Kerry and I were asking each other what our best memory of 2012 was, but it was hard to come up with a big monumental moment or memory. Instead, it was the memories that were built and the lessons learned in the small moments and corners of our lives this past year. The way God revealed Himself to us in moments of despair, feeling lost and scared. But here is my attempt to answer the “best of 2012” list.
The best recipe you couldn’t not make again?
Crazy Chicken. When I first tried this recipe I thought for sure the boys wouldn’t like it, but they ate it up and ask for it regularly. They love it!
The best book you couldn’t put down?
1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp I rarely re-read books, but this is one I’m picking up again as the New Year starts and am reading again. I am also doing the devotional and would love to start the small group study in our church this spring.

Baby Catcher by Peggy Vincent. I’ve read this book before, in fact several times, but I delight in reliving the stories of this midwife and she shares her experiences and the lessons she’s learned.

The best song that you just couldn’t get out of your head?
Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave. I get lost in this song.

The jeans that fit best? (It’s paramount never to wear pants that hurt…)
I don’t wear jeans very often. So I’m going to go with my maternity jeans right now. I’d really rather wear a skirt.
The tool/gizmo/idea that worked best?
I have totally enjoyed my Kindle fire but to be honest, the thing I’ve enjoyed the most since we’ve moved is the pull out cutting board in my kitchen. One of my favorite things ever.
The risk that returned best? (It’s why angels always say it first: “Do not be afraid.” You never start living until you stop fearing.)
Quitting my job before Kerry had found employment to support our family. Without a doubt, turning in my resignation was the scariest but most freeing thing I have felt in a long time. Right up there is the “risk” of trusting God with our family size. We experienced major hurt losing two babies in 6 months this last year, but God used those losses to teach us so much and we risked TRUSTing Him. We find ourselves now 27 weeks pregnant and are thankful for everyday.
The best laugh?
My boys bring so many laughs each day. I can’t narrow down just one, everyday is filled with another quip or comment that has me in stitches.
The best living?
In the moment. For God in everything we do. Our days are sweetest when we spend every day bringing glory to Him.
The best thing you didn’t want to do — but you did anyway? (Happiness comes to them who pursue hard things.)
Move. I was excited for what God had in store for our family, but I didn’t want to leave the family we made in Pueblo. It was tough and it took some adjusting (it still is), but God called and we answered. Here we are and we are blessed.
What was the best habit?
We started the year reading the Proverb of the day as a family. By far this has been a highlight for our family, reading together and praying as a family. It’s been a wonderful blessing.
The best holiday?
Christmas. As my husband said “You can’t celebrate His first coming without being prepared for His second coming.”
The best gift?
The gift of life, both those still living and those who we learned so much through their death. And most of the all the gift of salvation.
The best sacrifice? (The best way to have more is to give more…)
Raising my children. This is where I’m called, I’m supposed to be here, but the selfish side of me wants something different. I have learned that the best sacrifice is to lay down my desires and be obedient to what God has called me to do. In doing so, it turns out I am blessed beyond measure and it ends up not being such a sacrifice after all.

So… what was the Best of Everything 2012?


Many businesses and organizations have a vision statement to help outline their goals and “vision” for the future. I wonder though, do you have a vision for the most important organization you belong to? Your family. What are your goals for your family, your children, or your home? What are you working toward each day? Some parents would say “I want my kids to grow up have a good job and be happy”, but is that really the most important goal (should it be)?

A couple of years ago Kerry and I decided to develop a vision statement for our family. We felt like it was necessary to have a clear direction and spell out where we felt God was leading us. Our family vision helps guide our decisions and remind us of our priorities. We have also used our family vision to explain the “why” question behind what we do and the choices we make for our family and children. In the next few weeks I’ll share a piece of our family vision statement and the scripture that we use to support each point. I’ll share how we try to incorporate it into our learning and everyday life. I would encourage you to begin thinking about what your goals are for your marriage, your family and your children. Is it enough to just want them to be happy and have a good job? And think seriously about how you’re going to accomplish those goals, purpose to clearly define the steps you will take. Pray about them, pray for God’s direction and leading, pray for wisdom.

I would also suggest thinking about your grandchildren, great grandchildren and children you will never meet when developing your goals. How will the choices you make now affect those generations to come after you and what impact  could you have on them?