Navigating the Rapids

Navigating the Rapids
Last week my family enjoyed a "staycation" while we hosted some family friends from a couple of states away. This gave us the wonderful opportunity to plan for some activities we may not have prioritized had we not been planning this visit for a few months!

One of our grand adventures (well, probably THE biggest adventure) was going whitewater rafting. While Ted and I had been before, none of our children had, and they were eager and a bit nervous about the new experience. We left the house bright and early to drive the 95 miles and make our 8:30am arrival time. We chose a half-day tour, opting to go before lunch in order to beat the heat.

We couldn't have asked for better weather! It was so beautiful, with a nice breeze and lovely blue skies. (This was a day before we had a tornado watch...! In Colorado!!!) Our guide was enthusiastic and shared plenty of corny jokes as we made our way down the river. Our raft brought up the rear of our 3-boat entourage, which was perfect for splashing our friends, who were in the raft just ahead of us. We enjoyed a series of Class II and III rapids, which were very fun but definitely left all of us wanting MORE! Unfortunately, kids under age 14 were not allowed on the more intense part of the river, but I think everyone had a great time anyway.

In between the rapids, we enjoyed the beautiful scenery of the Arkansas River as it snaked its way toward the Royal Gorge. Seanin (our 9yo son) was deeply disappointed that the whole ride wasn't whitewater rapids! And that made me contemplate a little life lesson...

We all have "rapids" in our lives: exciting, thrilling adventures and high points that leave us invigorated and energized.

Sometimes those rapids take a turn and become dangerous, even injurious.

We need a loving, all-knowing guide who will travel with us through the good, the bad, the fun, and the difficult times of life. Jesus is that guide...or at least, He is for me. Are you navigating life with a Guide? Or are you trying to steer the boat and avoid the rocks all on your own?

And another aspect to this little life lesson: what do we do in between the rapids? Do we chafe and moan, wishing life could be one big adventure? Or do we look around and notice the beauty of where we are? Not just our physical environment, but also the spiritual beauty of resting, waiting, traveling at God's pace instead of running ahead?

Just some thoughts from our Journey Quest adventure!
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Faith + Passions in Action

Faith + Passions in Action
My son Tobin and I are headed to Ethiopia for a mission trip next week! 

Yes...this is a bit out of the blue. 🤣 As of Memorial Day, I didn't even know this event would be on our June calendar! Isn't God amazing?!

We have an incredible opportunity to join some missionary friends whom we have supported since the very beginning of their missionary career. We will get to be involved with their digital strategies team and see up close some of the work our friend does to support Christians in Africa with technology to help share the gospel, even being a part of evangelizing through digital means ourselves. I'm so excited to learn more about this! 

Another amazing opportunity we have is to be present at the premiere of the Jesus film for two people groups who will be learning about Jesus in their heart language for the first time ever! Teaching God's Word is a passion of mine...I can't even put into words how grateful I am for the chance to see the transformative power of the gospel in action. ✝️

You know...we wrapped up my 6-week Be Rooted program the day I learned about this trip. I'm in awe at how God used the very material I wrote and taught to Christian homeschool mamas to encourage and prepare MY OWN HEART for this adventure.

Being deeply rooted in Jesus.
Living out our purpose.
Exploring possibilities.
Pursuing our passions.

All of these topics are part of the discipleship & coaching program God led me to write and present this spring...and here I am, humbly and gratefully receiving this immense opportunity to pursue passions the Lord wrote on my heart YEARS ago!!

Oh, friend! Are you rooted in Jesus?? Do you know him personally, and are you living out your God-given purpose? I yearn for others to walk in this freedom and joy! Reach out if you aren't...I'd be honored to chat more with you about this.

And stay tuned for our Adventures in Africa!!! ✈️

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One of Those Days...!

One of Those Days...!
How is your homeschool day going?! Recently I had a flashback to this moment in time, 12 years ago, when an adorable little toddler managed to make a ginormous mess just as our day was supposed to be starting. (I'm pleased to say that this now-teenager takes responsibility for putting away his cereal dish and spoon in the dishwasher and putting the CLOSED box of Cheerios back on the cereal shelf!)

As a homeschool mom of 9...I get it.

The exhaustion. 
The mess. 
The chaos. 
Yes, also those incredibly sweet moments, opportunities to be with our babies and speak into their lives. But...

It's hard. 
It's never-ending. 
It can be lonely & frustrating, amazing & maddening, funny & overwhelming...all in the span of 20 minutes!

For a homeschool mom, everything in life is so intertwined. For homeschoolers, life IS school. School IS life. It can be difficult to separate yourself from everything happening in rapid succession on a daily basis.

But you know what? I believe that if GOD has called you to this, He has more than equipped you! And I'm rooting for you and your family! I've been in the trenches, ready to throw in the towel and send my children to the nearest building that remotely resembled a school. 

But by God's grace, I'm proof that it's not only possible to homeschool from diapers to diploma... just might become your greatest PASSION and PURPOSE! 

(At least for a season!) IS your homeschool day going?! 
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Being Rooted in Our Homeschool

Being Rooted in Our Homeschool
In my last post, I was recounting the story of how I nearly quit homeschooling. The trauma our family had undergone just about did me in.

In the time since those moments of absolute, utter desperation, I’ve been asking the Lord not only what He wants me to do, but also who He wants me to be. I’ve taken time for personal growth and deliberately put myself under godly mentors who have helped me see my blind spots–and also my passions and strengths–so I can move forward into the next season of life with bold and godly confidence.

The burning question was this: What exactly should our homeschool look like when I deal with seemingly endless constraints, weaknesses, and limitations?

During this time of seeking God's guidance, I kept coming back to tree imagery. I see it all through Scripture. I see it in my wooded backyard. Nowadays, even my screen saver keeps popping up beautiful photos of trees!

As a visual learner, I’ve matched some phrases to tree parts to help me wrap my brain around what I believe is my calling as a homeschool mama. This helps me see the big picture of what we're doing in our homeschool much more clearly. Perhaps it will help you as well, or maybe it will inspire you to create your own visual based on what God is pressing on your heart.

Deeply Rooted
I, my marriage, our family, and our homeschool are all deeply rooted in Christ. We hold His Word in highest regard, believing it to be the description of His great rescue plan for sinners. We stand strong on His foundation of truth.

Faithfully Focused
In a world of distractions that target our fleshly desires and weaknesses, we choose to pursue purposeful, meaningful activities to help us live out God’s principles in our specific circumstances. This helps us continually grow spiritually.

Intentionally Connected
We believe our relationships with Christ and the people He has put in our lives are our highest priority. We choose, therefore, to live in authentic community, encouraging and being encouraged by others. 

Boldly Courageous
In this cultural moment, where “truth has stumbled in the streets” (Isaiah 59:14), we commit to speaking truth in love. With our priority being to seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness, we know living for the eternal rather than the temporal is a must.

Mama, I pray this is helpful to you! If you are not feeling rooted...focused...connected...courageous...might I suggest something? I believe it would be so valuable to get some objective input. I know it was for me! Let's set up a chat and see what God will do in our short time together!

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Family Matters

Family Matters
In this “Be Rooted” series, we’ve already delved into the ideas of being rooted in our individual relationships with Jesus as well as being rooted in our marriages. This week let’s “branch out” (pun intended! 😉) to see how this concept of growing deep roots affects our families.

No doubt, family matters can be complicated these days. The family unit itself is under attack like never before. I believe this is so in part because of God’s intention for families from the very beginning, so of course Satan seeks to steal, kill, and destroy God’s good purposes (John 10:10).

So how can we overcome today’s tendency toward busy-ness? The pull away from spiritual matters and toward earthly pursuits? The constant push from culture to divide generations?

It’s been said that the way kids spell LOVE is T-I-M-E. Just as we must intentionally nurture our marriage relationship by devoting time to our spouses, so also we must work hard to direct our family time so that it bears fruit and points our hearts and minds to things that will last.

There is so much we could discuss on this topic! I’ll just put a few thoughts about TIME with our kids here, and I’d love to hear your thoughts as well.

Everything builds on our foundation of Jesus Christ! As we spend time with the Lord ourselves (and ideally as a couple), more and more of our lives will be consumed by our desire to worship him and live out his purposes. Our children need to see what this all-important relationship looks like in daily life. Do we act as if our worship of God and service to him is something to be checked off our calendars? Do we view attending church or saying prayers just something we need to do? Or do we truly love Jesus, abide in him, seek him earnestly? Our kids can tell whether our actions match our words! (Have you ever found the Holy Spirit speaking directly to you through your own offspring?!) Parents are given the deep responsibility of teaching our children about the Lord (which is a good incentive to make sure we are deeply rooted ourselves). We’ll delve more deeply into Deuteronomy 6 in the next post when we talk about homeschooling, but regardless of how your children are educated, if you are a Christian parent, ultimately YOU are the one commanded to keep God’s words in your hearts and impress them on your children.

Our family time with God will look different during different seasons of our lives. I’ve had to wrestle with that over the years. Our family devotions are not always what I’d want them to be–and yet, as chaotic as life can be with kids of various ages, it is still Ted’s and my responsibility to raise these precious children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. And so we press on, using whatever tools and time we have available!

I remember hearing once that parents should listen to their children when they talk about “small stuff” (such as their latest LEGO creation or what happened on the playground), because if we don’t listen to the “small things,” our kids won’t come to us with the “big things” as they get older. In a child’s mind, EVERYTHING is a “big thing!” While it can get tedious to listen to a 23-minute recount of the thrilling Minecraft world my son has been building, it’s important to him…and therefore worthy of at least some of my time and energy!

If you’ve parented teenagers, you probably know this already: their time to talk is usually when adults are dead exhausted! But I wouldn’t trade those late-night conversations for anything. And now that we have young adults who have left the nest, I will literally drop everything I’m doing when they call so I can give them my full attention. Our kids need us, even as they sprout their own wings and take off! It looks different in each stage, of course, but the common thread is making time to talk with our kids. This includes one-on-one time as well as family discussions.

In my early years of parenting, I wanted to be a “fun mom.” I had visions of all kinds of activities I’d do with my kids as they grew older. But the reality is, I’ve learned I’m not naturally a “fun” person! Efficient and organized, YES. Spontaneous and fun, NOT SO MUCH! While I love to laugh, I find that I can often be too serious, so I’ve had to be intentional about finding ways to incorporate more joy and fun into my life. Kids are SO great at this! Over the years I’ve learned to let go of a lot of things (like housecleaning, lol) in order to embrace the loud, messy chaos of living and interacting with these little people God has given us. I’m having a lot more fun in these later years of parenting because I’ve learned to not take life–or myself–so seriously.

Along with fun, I would encourage parents to make time to intentionally shape your family dynamics. What do you want your family to be characterized by? What are some little habits or rituals you can incorporate into your life together that can not only be fun, but also meaningful? “Fun” doesn’t always mean unimportant silliness!

Regardless of how you choose to spend time with your family, one thing is certain: you will look back one day and realize just how true it is that “the days are long, but the years are short.” Praise God for giving us this precious time with our children!

What are some ways your family enjoys spending time together? How do you make time for God as a family? Share your ideas and tips with us!

Would you like to dive more deeply into the idea of being rooted? Check out my free 7-day mini "Be Rooted" Bible study!

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