What are we really doing here…

I recently listened to a two part podcast by Andrew Pudewa of the Institute for Excellence in Writing titled “What Are We Really Doing Here”  while I enjoyed the podcast it has got me asking, “What am I really doing here?”

As I enter into my 6th year of homeschooling I find myself thinking more about where we are going and the journey versus what we are going to accomplish this year.  A few weeks ago I set August 15th, 2016 as our school start date. At the time it seemed like just another date on the calendar but this morning when my alarm went off at 6:30 a.m. I realized that date carried more weight than I originally intended for it to, this morning it felt heavy.  As I willed myself out of bed earlier than I normally do I knew today was different.

Today I was reminded that I am working towards building a cathedral. By getting out of bed today and getting myself ready to greet my kiddos on our first day of school I invested in something eternal and holy.  6 years ago, if you would of told me I would be a cathedral builder or that  homeschooling is a holy and sacred work I probably would of shrugged my shoulders and nodded my head in agreement… but I wouldn’t of truly understood. But today, when I think about those things I am aware that something sacred is happening around my kitchen table and for that I stand in awe of God who called me to this work and the souls He has entrusted to me.


As I watch these souls grow and mature I am learning to see what is truly important. While learning to read, sharing wonderful stories, exploring God’s creation and engaging in meaningful conversation are good and necessary they are not the most important thing.  A few weeks ago while reading Timothy Keller’s Songs of Jesus I was struck by this verse in the NIV,

Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name, Psalm 86:11

This verse encapsulates what is important. As we started our school year we made this our prayer, that we would learn the way of the Lord, that we would rely on His faithfulness, that our hearts would not be divided but wholly focused on God and His glory and that we would learn what it means to fear His name.  It is to this end that I endeavor to build cathedrals while serving and worshipping the Lord.



Homeschooling is Discipleship

Why is it that we get so lost in the math lessons and the spelling lists that academics trump relationships? Why do we forget that God called us to keep our kids at home so that we could share our lives with one another and invest in our children? We are so busy checking boxes that we rarely slow down long enough to look our precious children in the face, to look into their trusting eyes and see into their hearts. After the first day of our local homeschool convention I walked away exhorted, admonished and encouraged.

One of the main verses that the Lord impressed upon my heart while listening to various speakers was this verse…


Talk about a gut check. If a student (i.e. my children), when they are fully trained (i.e. leave my care and authority), are to be like their teacher (i.e. me) that can be a very scary thought. I was reminded today about the necessity of pursuing God with all MY heart, mind, soul and strength. The reminder was loud and clear, this isn’t about academics, it is about relationships. About discipleship. About taking my children along side me as I seek to know God and make Him known in my life. It has very little to do with math and penmanship and everything to do with loving God and loving others.

Friends, this is hard. I love my children with a fierceness that runs deep, however, at times I just go through the motions in the name of productivity. When I think about this verse and the implications that arise, I am reminded of the broken and weak vessel that I am. I am incapable in my own strength of being worthy to be called teacher. Yet I know this is exactly where God wants me to be.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

God has called me not to depend on myself, my creativity, or my ability to lay out a plan but to trust in the power of Christ. I am called to rest in the truth that it is He who began a good work in my life and the lives of my children will complete it. I believe trusting and resting means prioritizing discipleship over productivity and relationships over results. This means setting aside worry about academic endeavors and seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and letting God fill in gaps. To do these things I must be pursuing the kingdom through the means of grace. I am reminded of one of my very favorite quotes,

“The only way to keep a broken vessel full is to keep the faucet running.” – D.L. Moody

The imagery of a clay pot that is broken yet usable only if the water is continually running is one I can relate to.  This has been true in my own life, when I am weak He is strong. That is my prayer as I prepare for the upcoming year that God would be made known through my weakness and that I can be a teacher worthy of imitation so that I can say to my children, “follow me as I follow Christ.”

Focus & Align: Rule of 6

I found myself at the beginning of the year sinking. Sinking into the trap of not doing anything well because I was trying to do everything. I knew some things needed to get cut but I couldn’t decide what! I needed a lifeline. Sarah Mackenzie of the Read Aloud Revival helped pull me out of the pit with her Focus and Align class that is apart of the Read Aloud Revival Membership.  This Master’s Class was all about focusing in on what you want to accomplish in your school days and creating a filter to run things through when something has to go or be added.  My filter is a little more philosophical and less practical but it helped me to see what I truly wanted out of our home education experience. One thing I came to realize is that we needed to spend more time together cultivating relationships versus more time cracking open the books.  Since I am preparing for the next school year this rule of six is helping me navigate what fills our days, our minds, and our souls. My prayer is that this is how we are defined as a family.

This is what we do because it is who we are, we are

pursuers of truth by learning to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. We are wonder chasers by learning and doing things that point us to God. We are beauty seekers by rightly ordering our affections so that we can see the beauty of the Lord. We cultivate goodness by setting aside sin and running toward Jesus. We are servants by learning to love our neighbor as our self and we love unconditionally by remembering that we love because Jesus first loved us. 

To see others thoughts from the masters class search the hashtag #RARruleof6 on Instagram and Facebook!

If you are considering how to go deep instead of wide in your curriculum choices I would recommend watching Christopher Perrin’s Youtube video on Multum non Multa which is Latin for Much not Many.


Homeschool Week 9 Wrap Up


Lord, how manifold are your works!
    In wisdom have you made them all;
    the earth is full of your creatures.

Psalm 104:24

Week 9 marked our 6 week break from CC and while I knew I didn’t want to take it completely off I wanted to use it differently than our “regular” weeks.  Primarily I wanted it to be lighter and spent exploring outside.  I just finished listening to a biography about George Washington Carver titled George Washington Carver: From Slave to Scientist. The story of this mans life moved me to tears on more than one occasion. He *FOUGHT* to overcome so many odds to become educated but yet remained so incredibly humbled.  Two reasons I believe he remained so humble was because of his faith in God and his constant contact with his creation. After listening to the biography I am more convinced than ever that we need to spend more time outdoors and learning about God’s creation. That being said, that is what we did.

We visited Prairie State Park with friends one day. You can read a full post about that here. 


We visited our local park and enjoyed exploring close to home. I was truly amazed at the diversity we encountered as we slowed down long enough to really look at things.


We also took some time to explore our very own back yard! We have a garden spider who is hanging out with her egg cases outside our window. We have watched her eat a few bugs and are lamenting the reality that in a few weeks she will die with the first frost. However we are hopeful that her babies will survive and hatch in the spring. I noticed another garden spider on the play set as I was mowing this week. Also a walking stick but it disappeared by the time I made it back with my camera. The squirrels this time of year are really serious about their nut scavenging. Ulysses, the squirrel in the tree, was NOT happy I was taking his picture. If your not familiar with Ulysses the squirrel you should check out  Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo. (We listened to the audiobook from our library, great listen!) We have also had a nest in the ground. I am leaning towards a yellow jacket nest but not completely sure. I am in the process of eradicating the stinging insects but I do find the whole “nest in the ground” thing completely fascinating.


We wrapped up the week painting. I am no artist, though I wish I were. However I enjoy creating memories (and getting better about relishing the messes) with my kiddos. I enjoyed a slower week and am thankful I got to spend it with blessings!

Linking up with Homegrown Learners Collage Friday. 


Nature Hike | Prairie State Park Mindenmines, MO


//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsam endeavoring to get my children outside more and when a friend of mine mentioned traveling an hour or so north to visit Prairie State Park I JUMPED on the idea. I have driven through the park on a couple of occasions but never actually stopped or hiked around. Upon arrival we stopped at the Nature Center which was really interactive and pretty neat. We could have spent more time reading and learning about the prairie and bison but we were ready to eat some lunch and *hunt* some bison.  Many of the bison were corralled for yearly health check ups. We saw one lone bison on the prairie and stirred up a few elk on our hike but the prairie itself did not disappoint.



I was amazed at beauty and diversity of the prairie. The park ranger shared how every season brings a new allurement to the prairie. We may have to venture back every season to see God’s handiwork on display.  As we hiked along the Gayfeather Trail I could not help but consider what life must have been like for the pioneers who came to “tame” the land. I gained a new understanding of what is meant by the “rolling prairie” as what I once saw a few steps before vanished in the blink of an eye. As we crested one of the highest ridges of the park my mind was ushered to a previous century where smoked, from the near by indian village, lined the horizon and the wagon train left a well worn path and unmarked grave stones in it’s wake. My soul ached at the thought of the beauty of what once was and in a sense of what has been lost.  I was quickly comforted by the sounds of my children and their friends enjoying the prairie, tramping through the vastness of the tall grass and witnessing the diversity of the creator and His wonderful works.    

Fighting Back Mondays | Finding Beauty & Showing Grace on the Hard Days


What is it about a Monday? When you hear someone utter the word Monday it is almost thought of as a curse word. Something one should not speak of.  The thing about Monday’s is that one occurs every 7 days. You would think we would be prepared for Monday as we know it it coming however, it sneaks up on us like a thief in the night and steals our joy and our maybe even our faith. (Or so it seems because of how we act!)

Maybe your like a very good friend of mine and LOVE Mondays because it is a big fat reset button for the week. If you are, I am so very thankful for you. You encourage people like me to think about it as a fresh start.  But if your like me and Monday is a struggle because you are still hanging onto Sunday, you need to know there is hope to overcome the doldrums that come along with Monday. Don’t get me wrong.

Not all Mondays are bad, actually mostly they are good. Filled with laughter, good books, and mundane moments. However, when that “typical Monday” arises it is fierce and rolls in with a vengeance. This past Monday was a “typical Monday” after a day of dealing with whining, bickering, bad attitudes (mine included), slothfulness, and just a general blah sort of day I was ready to throw in the towel. We had covered the gamut of “love one another, put on kindness, be patient, be gentle, etc” and I was done, tapping out, crying uncle, turning in my pink slip, done. D-O-N-E. Done.  Knowing God’s mercies are new every morning it was bedtime and I was looking forward to Tuesday.

When I sat down to read the word that night I opened my Bible to Colossians 3:12-17 and was confronted with the living and active word of God. I was convicted of my sin and called to repent.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,  bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.


On this “typical Monday” I had forgotten who God is and who He has called me to be. To fight back Mondays, or any day for that matter, I need to remember who God is and who He has called me to be. I need to remember I am a chosen one, I am to be holy, and I am loved. I need to have a compassionate heart, be kind, be humble, be meek, and have patience. I need to bear with my children, I need to forgive them as Christ Jesus has forgiven me. I need to walk in love (remember love is is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant  or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things) knowing that through the love of Christ there is harmony and the peace of Christ can rule and reign in my life.  This will cause me to be thankful. When I let the word of God dwell in me I can teach and admonish with wisdom, encourage with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs which will cause me (hopefully us) to overflow with thankfulness. 

I can do these things because of what God has done in my life through Christ.  At the end of the day I realized I threw my faith out the window the minute the bickering started. I began looking to my solutions not God’s. I pulled out my best parenting techniques rather than resting in the grace of God and extending that same grace to my children.

Fighting back Mondays means looking to Jesus the author and perfector of my faith and resting in His good work.

Fighting back Mondays means having a compassionate heart. 

Fighting back Mondays means being kind.

Fighting back Mondays means being humble.

Fighting back Mondays means being meek.

Fighting back Mondays means being patient. 

Fighting back Mondays means bearing with one another. 

Fighting back Mondays means forgiving one another. 

Fighting back Mondays means walking in love. 

Fighting back Mondays means letting the peace of Christ rule.

Fighting back Mondays means being saturated with God’s word so that it overflows into my days. 

Fighting back Mondays means being thankful. 


Friends, there is beauty in the battle, join me in fighting back Mondays!

Linking up to Intentional at Home Thursdays @ Creative Home Keeper.//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Homeschool Week 6 Wrap Up

Week 6 recap, bullet point style:


  • The week started with both Miss K and myself feeling under the weather. Not a great way to kick off Monday.
  • We had a great week 4 at our local Classical Conversations Community day. You can see Mr. J showing off his Usborne Big Book of Machines during presentation.
  • Miss E likes to hang out with my in the afternoon during Essentials while my younger two are playing with friends.
  • Mr. J started soccer this week. In typical boy fashion he loved playing goalie and getting hit with the ball.
  • We created an egg crate review game this week to review our CC work. I am enjoying having two children in CC and working with them together at home. It has been fun to see both kids review one another and both know the same things.
  • Miss K and I started working through our study of Colossians. I talked a little bit about what we are doing in my post about the book Women of the Word.


  • After spending a few days stuck inside we took a nature walk in a wooded area behind our house. We enjoyed looking at the trees, climbing a few and bringing back a few specimens to do some leaf rubbings and learning a little about local trees.
    • I am wanting to make nature study a more regular activity in our homeschool. Do you take nature walks? How do you implement nature walks in your homeschool?

It is hard to believe we are about to start week 7 of our school year. I am thankful for the opportunity to learn alongside my kiddos and to be the person who gets to point them to Jesus as we learn how to love God and one another.

Thankful for the opportunity to link up with Collage Friday @ Homegrown Learners & Weekly Wrap Up @ Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers. If you are stopping by from the link up, please say hello!