This week our homeschool co-op started up.  I found myself talking to a couple of young moms who are just starting to homeschool.  One of them started homeschooling because of Covid.  The other one heard a definite call from God to homeschool.  I started homeschooling because of my husband.  He had ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) as a child–and school felt like a prison to him.  It was becoming increasingly clear that our oldest son had ADHD, and we decided to homeschool because of this.

I found myself telling these young moms some of our story—I think because I hoped to allay some of their future trials with homeschooling–although honestly–my parents and probably yours–tried to teach us from the wisdom of their experiences–and I have found that I usually learn from my own experiences not others.

However, in case any parents– are reading this—this is what I wish I could tell them–this is what I wish they could learn from my own experiences:

  1.  Homeschooling is a calling, and God will make it very clear if He is calling you–if you are open to considering it.  (So many moms have told me– “I could never do that”–  In other words–even if God was calling them to homeschool, they would not hear His call. )  Some of us fall into this calling by circumstances–like Covid–or in our case–a medical condition of our child that was best served by teaching at home.   However when my oldest was going into 5th grade, I decided to put him in public school.  God told me very clearly not to do this.  My son had 2 years of being bullied and lost a lot of ground scholastically because I decided to ignore what God was clearly communicating.  Just as a good parent will call out to their child, when the child is entering the street when a car is coming–so God was calling out to me—but I chose not to obey.
  1.  God may call you to homeschool some of your children and not homeschool others, or not homeschool at all.

A few of my children–when they were in the older grades of High School, went to public school.  God made it very clear to all of us that this was the correct decision for them.  My second son wanted to go to public High School because he wanted to reach other students for Jesus.  He wanted to run with the track and cross country team.  A few weeks into the fall term–our third son was killed as he was riding his bike.  Our second son had his cross country team to support him during this time.  They wore t-shirts and plastic bracelets in memory of my third son.  They loved on my second son.  Again–God made it clear to our spirits–before this son went to High School–that this was the right decision for him at this time.

  1.  If God is calling you to homeschool, He will strengthen you, even if you feel inadequate.  I have been homeschooling for over 25 years–and I still feel inadequate–I still wonder if I am going to ruin my child–and not prepare her well for her  future.  In fact, most homeschooling moms that I know, are plagued by the same doubts and fears.   I am only homeschooling one child right now–and guess what–it is not easy.  It has never been easy.  No calling from God will ever be easy.
  1.  God does not expect perfection from us, but He does want us to be honest—He wants us to be honest when we are at the end of our ropes and need help.  He wants to be honest, when we react in anger to our children and ask for forgiveness from Him and from them.  He wants us to be honest with other moms–and not act like we have it all together–because we are afraid of what they’ll think about us if they know how not altogether we really are.
  1.  The fifth and last thing I would suggest to those who are prayerfully considering homeschooling or are homeschooling, but are not in a support group—is to join a homeschool co-op.  

The first few years I homeschooled I had a best friend, (Becki Crain) who homeschooled.  Becki had been a school teacher before she homeschooled.  She taught me so much.  Then Becki died.  I did not have a support group.  So I joined a group.  Wow!!  There is so much power in joining with others!  First, my kids loved it!!  Second, other parents have abilities in different areas than my husband or I have.  It is and was wonderful to have my children learn from others who are teaching them from their strengths.

It was not easy finding this group.  This was before the internet.  However—if God is calling you to homeschool–He will also equip you to this task–and if a support group is what you need–God will provide one for you, be it one other person—or a huge group.

I guess the main idea from all these points–is that the burden of parenting–or homeschooling is not on me, and it is not on you—the burden is on God.  This is what God means when He tells us to abide in Him, for apart from Him we can do nothing. (John 15)

It is also what He means when He says that we can do mighty things, but if we don’t do these things in love, it means nothing. (1 Corinthians 13)

I hope that the thought of the burden being on God–and not you–will encourage you!!  It does me. 🙂

Christmas Smells

This is the time of year our family does a lot of Christmas baking, and with Christmas baking comes Christmas smells!   Recently, my daughter and I got into our car, and the whole car was filled with Christmas smells—of carmel, and chocolate and ginger, cinnamon and cloves!

We carried the smells with us—they surrounded us and clung to us, as we had been surrounded by them in our baking.

I told my daughter that it reminded me of a verse in the Bible

For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;   2 Cor 2:15

When I was a freshman in college, there was a young woman that lived on my floor, who had a huge smile on her face, she was always so happy—and she really irritated me.   I could not stand being around her.   I found myself wanting to slap that smile off her face.  I thought, “No one can be that happy, she must be faking.” 

Then my roommate—my best friend at college—talked with her and another girl, and understood how to have a relationship with God from talking with them.  Spoiler Alert–that other girl would become one of my bridesmaids at my wedding–and remains one of my best friends.

Suddenly, my roommate really began irritating me as well.  I avoided being around her.  I would snap at her about silly things.

These people were the fragrance of Christ to me—but I was headed away from God, not to HIm—and they really irritated me.

Then after snapping at my roommate, about a silly thing, she looked at me and said, “you know Katie, I’m not perfect, I’m just forgiven.”  

Oh how I wanted that–I wanted to be forgiven.   

I share this story–because maybe in the process of being the fragrance of Christ—someone is snapping at you, someone is irritated by you.   Just keep walking close to Jesus, and who knows—you may say something—something so simple—but so profound–that it makes an eternal difference.

May you be encouraged!!  May you keep giving off all those Christmas smells!!



Access—to the powers that be—very few of us have it–or do we?

When my husband and I were first married, I observed that whenever he would call his dad, (his dad owned his own law firm in Boston, MA), his calls were put right through—-every single time.

However, when we visited the law office, I heard his assistants take message after message, and very few people got right through to my father-in-law.

My mom is a pretty popular gal–and she has many friends, and so much family.  This past year, she has been battling cancer.  I have noticed that whenever one of my siblings or myself wants to spend time with her—she has all the time in the world for us—-we are a part of her inner circle.  However, she tires easily, and so limits her time spent with others.

So what is my point here?   My point is that in the same way that my husband had immediate access to his dad, and I have access to my mom, because we are their children—whoever is a child of God–has access to Him as well.

Scripture tells us—that whoever receives Jesus–to them He gives the right to become children of God.  Scripture also tells us that God adopts us as His children, and He goes further than that–placing His Spirit into our very beings–making us new creatures in Him.  We now are partakers in His very nature!

The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God. Romans 8:16.  

We are God’s kids!!  We have access to Him.  If we call out to Him–we get right through.  He is never too busy for us.  

Aren’t those amazing thoughts to dwell upon?  He will never stop fighting for us, even when we can’t fight for ourselves.   God is our Dad!!!   Think about that!!  The One who created the heavens and the earth, has created new lives within us, and calls us His Own!!

May those thoughts encourage us today!!

Riley Clemmons – Fighting For Me (Piano Version)

God is on The Throne

Election Day 2022 has come and gone in the States.  Depending on who one was rooting for, and what proposals one was wanting to pass, or not pass—this is either a banner day, or a day of depression.

For me, in my State, it is a day of depression.  As I was mourning—a song came to my mind—I have no doubt that God Himself, reminded me of the words from this song—and so now, I share it with you all—-God is on the Throne….. 

We The Kingdom – God Is On The Throne (Live From Franni’s House)

Just sink yourself into these words:

God is on the throne

He reigns forevermore

Just think about it

Just think about it

Why should I worry

Why should I fear

Why should I run

When Jesus is here

I’m safe in His arms

Safe in His heart

Nothing can take me away from His love

God is on the throne

He reigns forevermore

Just think about it

Just think about it

God is always good

He loves like a father should

Just think about it

Just think about it

When I am anxious

When I’m afraid

I find strength when I call on His Name

I’m safe in His arms

Safe in His heart

Nothing can take me away from His love

He’s the King of power

The King of kings

He is the Lord over everything

To Him be the glory, the honor and praise

Forever and ever, amen always

Hallelujah, He reigns

Hallelujah, He saves

Hallelujah, always

He’s never gonna let me down

Now, this encourages me!!  May you be encouraged as well!!

Grace transforms

God, I’m on my knees again 

God, I’m begging please again 

I need You 

Oh, I need You  

Walking down these desert roads 

Water for my thirsty soul 

I need You 

Oh, I need You  

Your forgiveness 

Is like sweet, sweet honey 

On my lips 

Like the sound of a symphony 

To my ears 

Like Holy water on my skin  

Dead man walking, slave to sin 

I wanna know about being born again 

I need You 

Oh, God, I need You  

So, take me to the riverside 

Take me under, baptize 

I need You 

Oh, God, I need You  

I don’t wanna abuse Your grace 

God, I need it every day 

It’s the only thing that ever really 

Makes me wanna change  

Oh, it’s like Holy water on my skin 

Yeah, it’s like Holy water on my skin

I just had to lead with the lyrics to this song, Holy Water, by We The Kingdom.

They just encapsulate so much of my heart and soul—the utter need for God, His grace–and how, His grace is the only thing that makes me want to change.

I mean–I have been down the desert road—and I never want to be on that road again—and I think many of you know what I’m talking about.  It’s the road that says, if you do this, this and then this–then maybe you’ll be accepted and loved by God.   It’s the road of striving to reach God, by doing good things, and somehow always falling short.

God did not wait for us to be perfect—but He came to us.  He sent Jesus.  Jesus demonstrated the love and grace of God, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  

G  R  A  C  E     God’s    Riches   At  Christ’s   Expense.       G  R  A  C  E      

One of the leaders of We the Kingdom was an addict—and he shares that this song was written from that place–of calling out to God–and God responding with grace and forgiveness.

My husband and I both come from backgrounds where people have struggled with addiction. There is a reason why one of the 12 steps said that surrendering to God, and letting Him give one the strength and comfort to overcome is so necessary to being free from addictions. Grace is the only thing that makes us want to change.

So—enjoy this Song!!  May God’s grace and forgiveness flood our souls.   May we be encouraged and transformed!! 

We The Kingdom – Holy Water (Live Album Release Concert)

We may never pass this way again…

I have been spending this week with my mom. I am well aware of how rare these times are– to take time out of our lives and spend it with each other.  This is a time I want to savor, to remember, to hide in my heart. 

When I was growing up, I was the 4th child out of six children, so the times I got to be alone with my parents, are very precious to me.  I’d like to share some of these treasures with you.

My senior year of High School, I ate lunch with my mom, every weekday.  This was the year, I left school after having 3 classes, went home to eat lunch and then went to my job.  My mom came home from her job every day at lunch time, and we shared a meal with each other. We chatted and ate.  I had time with my mom by myself—an unheard of event for me!! I think this time helped prepare me for going away to college the following year.

 I also treasure, my mom and dad coming to Wisconsin, where I was on staff with Cru, and spending the week with me.  I remember cleaning my apartment thoroughly before they came, and my roommate joking that my parents needed to come visit more often.   I made the mistake of taking my parents to Madison Wisconsin on Halloween.  It was pretty wild—people were acting strangely, and dressed in wild and creepy outfits—there was a strange spirit in the air.  My Dad was a tough policeman—and even he was a bit freaked out by what we saw and sensed.  Yet, I’m so glad to have had that time with them—those memories with them.  I was glad to have had an adventure with them, and to have my big strong Dad with my mom and I during that adventure.

Another time, I treasured was my time with my mom and dad in California.  I was in California for the summer because of my job, but they came out, because their nephew, my cousin, had been in a car accident, and was in a coma.  They came to offer support to my Aunt and Uncle, and their family.  They also spent time with me.  We went to Disney Land and my parents kept offering to get me, every kind of food available.  I joked with them, and said, “Wow, usually I’m happy to have all the attention—but now I’m kind of wishing for some siblings—as I can’t eat one more thing.”  This was a golden time with my parents in the midst of some dark, and turbulent seas.   I learned then, that golden times often come when we least expect it.  They are special gifts to us from God to point us to the overarching gift of life despite the trials and heartache.  In fact, we appreciate them even more because of the contrast.

3 years later, I came home to prepare for my wedding, and my mom and I drove together to every bridal shop in our state.  (That might be a slight exaggeration-but not by much.)   I had seen the dress I wanted in a bridal magazine.  When I called the designer’s shop, they told me it was sold out.  I did not know how much the dress was—and thought I probably couldn’t have afforded it anyway—but something about that dress called to me.   We finally went to a bridal shop, that I had not wanted to go to—as the dresses there were very expensive and I was on a budget.   Anyway, I ended up finding the dress of my dreams –the dress I called about–there—on a clearance rack–totally within my budget!! What a gift from God!!  It was wonderful to share that moment with my mom. 

These are just a few treasured memories among so, so many memories.  What I have learned from my parents, is that time spent with people I love really, really matters.   It matters to spend time with my loved ones.   Relationships take time.  They are built on moments.  Moments taken—build our trust in one another, and allow us to share our hearts with each other. Those relationships can help us on this road of life we are all on.

So let me encourage you to make time, find time, grasp the time to spend with your loved ones—and treasure those moments in your heart–for we may never pass this way again!!       May you be encouraged!!

**The picture at the top is of my mom and her Grandfather. 🙂

The Christmas Gift

When I was a little girl, my mom handed me the big Sears catalog, and told me to circle the doll I wanted Santa to bring me for Christmas.  So, I took time looking through all the pages, and circled the doll I wanted.  Lo and behold, that exact doll was given to me on Christmas day.  It was amazing!!   I still have that doll—she is pretty old, and has lost all her hair, and one of her eyes is a bit lazy—but she has been dressed and rocked by myself, my daughters and now my granddaughters.

When my boys were much younger, they wanted the latest gaming system for video games.  They did not even dream they would receive it—so when they opened that system for Christmas—there was leaping and yelling and screams of delight.  It was delightful to behold their excitement!!

My girls had gifts that they were especially excited about—gifts that were difficult for their parents to find—gifts that we searched for—for months—like the Baby Alive doll that for some reason was the hot doll that season—and the only thing for which our little girl asked.

Gifts—they can represent so much—the knowledge that the giver of the gift thinks the receiver is loved, belongs, is valuable.

At Christmas time we celebrate God’s gift to us:  Jesus.  Jesus, the Immanuel—God is with us—came to earth, to give us the gift of a relationship with God, which according to John 17:3 is eternal life.

Jesus—the visual image of the invisible God—demonstrates God’s love to us;  demonstrates God’s sacrificial love to us—for Jesus laid down His life for us—to give us life—life eternally and life abundantly.

“For by grace, you have been saved by grace, and it is not of yourselves, it is a gift of God…..”  Ephesians 2:8

….the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.  Romans 6:23

Eternal life is this….Knowing God and Jesus Christ, whom He has sent.  Jn 17:3

This is what it is all about—Jesus came to give us a relationship with God.   It is a GIFT—that means we just need to accept the gift.  That’s it—we just need to accept the gift.

When I was a little girl, I opened my present of the doll, and received it joyfully.

My sons received the gift of the gaming system—with great jubilation. 

Our daughters received their gifts with the assurance that their parents loved them.

God has given us the gift of a relationship with Him.   Each person has been given this gift—“for God so loved the World, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever receives Him, will have everlasting life.” John 3:16   Each person, is apart of this world—therefore, God has given the gift of His Son to each person.

“And the witness is this, God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son, has the life….”  1 John 5:11-12

If you have received the gift of Jesus, you have also received the gift of eternal life.

How can you receive this gift?   This gift is received by faith—faith is trusting God.  Prayer is a way to express one’s faith.  Here is a suggested prayer:

Lord Jesus, I need you.  Thank you for coming to this earth.  Thank you for dying for my sins and giving me a relationship with You.  Please come into my life, be my Savior and my Lord.  Amen.

If you expressed your faith and asked Jesus to come into your life—Jesus did come in!!  He never lies.  You don’t need to keep asking Him in, as He tells us in Hebrews 13:5 that He will never leave us or desert us. You received eternal life—a relationship with God that has no end.

Rejoice—this gift never grows old—never breaks down—and bestows upon you all the privileges of being a child of the Living and Holy God!!   If you want to learn more about growing in this relationship with God, you can click on this link.    Merry Christmas Everyone—this is what it is all about—That God loved us so much that He sent His Son!!  This is worth celebrating!!!!

So Be Encouraged!!