homeschooling

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We have always taught our sons at home. When we moved to New Orleans, our mission field, we couldn’t afford private school and we didn’t even think about public school.  The decision also coincided with me quitting my part-time job and staying home full-time.  It has been 20 years, we now have two in their Master’s Degree programs, one is a college junior and the other a highschool junior.  I have learned a few things along the way but here are my top five.

1. Your marriage is priority.  More important than curriculum, more important than extra-curricular activities, more important than your children. Children will learn best in an environment where they are secure.  And nothing brings security like a mom and dad loving each other and by God’s grace walking in His direction.

2.  You teach, not the curriculum.  Curriculum is not as important as you think. Initially everyone spends way too much on it.  The fact is you can’t teach everything, that’s why there’s google : ) If money is tight, a library card and a love for learning will get you far.  Instill a love for learning, cover the basics, reading, writing and arithmetic, throw in life learning and discipline and you’ve got the start of a future productive citizen.

3. Don’t fall into the trap of comparing. Every family and home is unique.  Trust me, everyone struggles trying to get it right.  Don’t waste time thinking about how you feel you are failing and falling.  Look up, you can do it.

4. Absolutely make them do chores and don’t feel bad. Children want to feel needed.  They want to be an integral part of the team.  Instilling the idea of teamwork, that it’s not all about them, in turn trains them to be future leaders.

5. Finally, let go.  You’ll know when it’s time.  You can’t keep them home forever and you shouldn’t want too.  Your homeschooling season is just that a season.  You are more than a homeschooling mom.  It has been a wonderful part of my life and I wouldn’t trade it for anything but I am also a daughter of the most High King and he has plenty of other opportunities for me.

As I look to this next school year, I am excited and thankful that this journey is not quite yet over but already other areas of ministry are overlapping and I know that He is preparing me for the next season.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, I will do my best to answer honestly and prayerfully.

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children

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Listened to a young girl praying at VBS yesterday.  Praying that her auntie would be released soon from jail.  That wrecked me.

Our kids (everywhere not just in the inner city) are forced to grow up too soon, seeing more than they should, being disappointed more than they should, malnourished spiritually, emotionally and physically.  Used and abused.  I hate this.

Jesus said “let the little children come to me.” The church needs to say  the same.

crying

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I know it must be hard for the ministers, priests and pastors in Boston right now.  Trying to explain the unexplainable.  The inexcusable.  The unfathomable.  To the hurting.  To those afraid and angry.

One day, awhile back, I was driving one of our pregnant moms to the doctor.  She was miscarrying.  What to say? I was stumped, I prayed and the only thing I could think of to say was, “this sucks.” I went five years to Bible College, had been in the ministry for over 20 years and that was it?  And yet, it was the perfect thing to say to her.

Life is hard. And when our hearts are overwhelmed and there are no words, God says come. Just come.  Say whatever you want, however your want. He understands. He has promised healing for hurts, and hope for hopelessness.

I know this because He has done this for me, and for the mom crying out to Him in my van that day.

The New Modesty Makeover | RELEVANT Magazine

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The New Modesty Makeover | RELEVANT Magazine.

I love this article!

The author is right in saying modesty is a huge and complex topic.  Here are some of my thoughts as a married, older women who has been in ministry for awhile :  )

We pastor an urban church.  Someone once told us we had a “metropolitan church” which was really nice but the truth is we are reaching the poor, the forgotten, the fragile, the lost.   I don’t care how women are dressed when they come to church! Obviously, I hope they are dressed.  And sometimes I wonder if a dress could get any shorter or tighter. But if we reach the heart and teach them they are loved, valued and accepted for who they are, the outward becomes a reflection of the inward.

We use to work with someone who felt women wearing sleeveless outfits was immodest.  I know, right? I dress to please my husband. A little paint, some controlling undergarments, a nice outfit, he’s happy, I’m happy. If I am at a church function having fun in the sun I would wear a t-shirt or sarong over my one piece bathing suit : ) But if I am just with my husband vacationing, I’d wear my sexy one piece bathing suit.  (Sadly after four children, no more bikinis for me.) And I would not have any FB pics posted. Hello.

Then for our homeschooling years, we had the blue jean jumpers.  Which I never had. But I am not going to get started on that.

I also think this conversation needs to include men dressing immodestly.  Especially men in the ministry.

Really, we need grace all the way around.  This will be a topic I’d like to come back too.

Gonna be ruminating on this for a while.

Ok I’m done.

 

friends

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My second son will be moving back to nola when he graduates from Bible College in Springfield, MO.  This kind of surprises me.  My oldest and his wife live in nola and my third is in college in nola and he and the youngest still live at home.  They all like spending time with us.  You’d think after 18 years of pretty much always being home and with me (especially!) 24/7, they’d fly far, far away!

In raising them, we knew that we were the parents, and we set boundaries, expectations,  rules, and were consistent (most of the time) in disciplining.  We all worked hard but we played hard.  We did not try to make them like us, but we apologized if we got something wrong and were quick to restore relationship.

24 years later, our adult children are also our friends and co-workers, making possible a God-called dream to plant a church in the urban center of a great city.  I can’t say enough how blessed I am : )

underwear

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Dear young lady at Wal-Mart with the Victoria Secret white sweatpants.  I am not sure if before leaving your house, you actually took a minute to evaluate your outfit.  I asked my son if he happened to see you and thankfully he did not.  I am not sure I would have liked him noticing your black, distinct underwear.  When I mentioned them, he graciously said maybe you did so on purpose because you might be single and desperate.

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Raising sons is not easy, raising sons to respect women and value them and not look at them as sex objects is getting harder because so many young women are buying into the lie that their worth is tied into them being deemed “sexy.”

I am training my sons that the women that catch their eye have His beauty inside and out, that “sexy” is between a husband and wife, and that one of the greatest gifts God gave man and woman should be unwrapped on the wedding night.

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encourage

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ImageThis is my challenge, to encourage others.  This is probably a good thing for a pastor to do (smile).  One of our mentors, a pastor in his 70’s, said that that is probably the #1 need for people today, to be encouraged.  I might just suck at this a little.  Cause I get wrapped up in to-do lists and thinking ahead to the next thing that I don’t focus on those in front of me.  This I need to do. Now. I want it to be a habit, like breathing. To see the exceptional that is in everyone and letting them know, that I see.  To encourage means to “To inspire with hope, courage, or confidence.” I know I need more hope, courage and confidence. I think I read somewhere that I will reap what I sow (wink).

Thanks Melanie @ www.OnlyABreath.com for the button!