The Courage of Fathers

Production (4)“There are many different kinds of bravery. There’s the bravery of thinking of others before one’s self. Now, your father has never brandished a sword nor fired a pistol, thank heavens. But he has made many sacrifices for his family, and put away many dreams.  

Michael: Where did he put them?

Mrs. Darling: He put them in a drawer. And sometimes, late at night, we take them out and admire them. But it gets harder and harder to close the drawer… He does. And that is why he is brave.” ― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

My father lived a relatively quiet life. Worked, fixed things around the house, went to church, took the family on occasional vacations. He lived out his dreams through books. He met my mom while riding horses in Philadephia’s Fairmount Park. Once he became a family man, he rode with the likes of Zane Grey and Louis L’ Amour. I still remember the first time my parents came out to see us in  Wyoming. I was driving them to Rock Springs, which was about 45 minutes’ drive through high desert terrain. He was impressed that his baby girl could navigate through that barren land on a regular basis, just to do some grocery shopping. As he sat next to me, he took in the whole scope from horizon to horizon–sage brush, open range, wild horses–all the glorious “nothing” (as some people call it). Like a kid in a candy shop, he exclaimed, “Isn’t this neat?” For a week or so, he got to live his dream.

I came across a quote by J.M. Barrie earlier today, and that is what got the whole thought process flowing for this post:

“We are all failures–at least, the best of us are.”

My husband (who has always been one of my favorite authors) wrote today:

“We stigmatize failure, but really, if the deed or investment was a noble and righteous thing, at least he who failed, TRIED. Most will not risk it all. Most will not sacrifice at all. So go easy when someone “crashes and burns”, they may have invested everything, and therefore just lost everything. Peter actually got out of the boat. The other disciples had opportunity, but Peter got out. He failed, but he tried.”

What courage it takes to be a leader, a husband, a father. To “fall seven times and get back up.” So much riding upon their example and performance. Regularly they are called upon to “step out”, while their children watch to see how it’s done. I takes courage. It requires putting dreams in drawers. It mandates a daunting measure of self-denial. But, when all is said and done, and they stand before the sole Onlooker who truly understands and remembers how staggering this weight of responsibility has been for a pile of dust to bear…there will be, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”I have no doubt.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

Homeschooling High School-Part 3

We are on the brink of it. Our two older kids have graduated from our homeschool, and now begins the on-ramp for graduating our youngest. She is currently finishing 8th grade, and today I put together a rough plan for the next four years. She has interests in art and veterinary science, so there are a few things included to help her investigate those subjects.

Spring 2020 and High School Overview

It doesn’t have to cost a bundle, either.

My cost is $25 a month for Power Homeschool.

My subscription to is a benefit of working for the company (but it’s still CRAZY affordable at under $9/month for the whole family, with our current special, and includes my record keeping, our quarterly magazine, planners, SO MUCH–ask me about it!).  I’ll use some videos like Mr. D’s Geometry and Drive Thru History to round out our math and history classes.

Typing Club is free (I like it…used it for Michael).

The New Answers books (1-4) are free right here.

I got a complete copy of WriteShop on Ebay for $15 I think.

We use the library and free books on Kindle for reading.

Driver’s Ed (with high school credit) is $19.95 one-time fee, when we are ready for it.

Add in paper, pencils, a few sundry supplies that I buy in bulk at Walmart’s back-to-school sales.

Homeschooling does not have to break the bank!

If you find the idea of homeschooling high school daunting, a couple favorite resources of mine are the It’s Not That Hard to Homeschool High School Facebook group, and all that Lee Binz has to offer at The HomeScholarsite (really, go look!).

Comment if I can help! And keep an eye out here for an announcement about an incredible, free online event coming up very soon!

What You Have Seen in Me…

vastnessoftheheavensSomeone asked today, what scripture has been on my heart this week. Well, I’ve been thinking about what I’m thinking. How I’m thinking. How I’m modeling how to think to our kids.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.  Philippians 4:8,9

I’ve been accustomed to hearing lessons from verse 8, but we can be bad about removing verses from their context in an effort to stress a main idea. It’s important to run our thoughts through that 4:8 “sieve”, but today I’m seeing an admonition for me as a parent when I view this truth in tandem with verse 9. Verse 8 is designed to alter how I think and line it up with God’s thinking. His thoughts are not our thoughts, so this is one of those continual game-on challenges for us.

But then I consider the next idea. Paul, who, incidentally was writing this “joyful letter” from prison, invites the readers in Philippi to follow his example. What they’ve heard and seen through his testimony, he encourages them to practice for themselves.

So I ask myself–how am I thinking? When I consider the threats, frustrations, inconveniences, and concerns of our current situation in this world…are my thoughts making it through the sieve? Are they dark, fraught with worry, full of fear? It will translate into the climate of my home. I will model that for our kids. I will unconsciously be inviting them to practice the same behavior.  Convicting.

As I navigate this life, my spiritual GPS is continually “recalculating”. Some of the things that have helped me:

  • Good music
  • Keeping a mental thankfulness list…writing it down can help, too. A grateful heart is a powerful tool in adversity.
  • Embracing my smallness and reveling in God’s bigness. The world would teach us to reverse that order. Even if I can’t get out in nature, I can still “consider the heavens” via online tools. Oceans which extend their watery, wonderful depths from horizon to horizon, towering peaks crammed full of evergreen boughs reaching ever-heavenward, the broad expanse of stars which follow their courses according to His voice…all so healthful in bringing needed perspective.
  • Reading great books that get my mind to contemplate ideas beyond toilet paper, quarantines, and closures.
  • Prayer. This little book has been priceless through the years in reordering my mind and teaching me how to worship.

I’ve said for years that one of the biggest blessings of homeschooling is not teaching our kids what to think and regurgitate on paper for a test and a grade…but teaching our kids how to think, evaluate, discern, choose rightly as life skills. I’m still building those skills. Are you?

Peace While Wading Through a Sea of Opinions

There is only one way, and God has comforted me with it yet again today. Only one way to find quiet in your heart when you feel censured by others. Read on, friend.

I’ve been a homeschooling mom for over 20 years. I have chronic health issues. I’ve helped our kids navigate through learning disabilities. I wasn’t married until I was 30. I had our last child when I was 45. I’ve been a pastor’s wife, and in a place of leadership at a large, Christian institution. I’ve got a child with a life-threatening illness that has no cure (yet).  Believe me, I’ve been the topic of conversation amongst whisperers and have received many pieces of unsolicited advice.


Here’s the thing. People can be wrong. The heart is deceitful, and our perception is largely myopic (read: up-close). God knows it all, with no “spin” on it–only truth. The Bible says there is safety in a multitude of counselors (so please don’t misunderstand me to be saying you need to be a Lone Ranger Christian)–but one thing you’d better be sure of in those who offer you insight: check it against the unfailing truth of the Word of God. Always, always, always.

Whether advice or opinions are offered because we asked for it, or because someone felt the need to “share”…always place those words alongside scripture. Do the same with your own attitude when you feel you’ve been misunderstood or judged unfairly. God can speak through donkeys…and He may be doing it again. 😉 So if those words come from a source you feel has no “right” to speak up, still ask God if there is any truth in them. And ask Him to help you be honest and objective. If there is, then get it squared away with Him. Then rest.

Open your Bible. Follow the directives of Psalm 119–teach me, lead me, search me, instruct me, guide me. Allow these experiences to build spiritual muscle which makes you strong, instead of building up callouses, which only makes you hard.

That’s all.


Do You Know Who You Are? (Part 1)

Do you know who you are_
A prominent theme in recent movies I’ve seen concerns identity. Moana’s grandmother asks her, “Do you know who you are?” People are searching…they want to know what makes them matter? Some give up asking in futility and take their own lives out of their resulting sense of hopelessness.

This theme is also prominent in “Overcomer”, which was our family’s collective video gift this Christmas. A main character asks this probing question: “Who are you?”  He posits that if a person claims to know the Lord, then the first identifier on their list should be, “I am a Christian.”

See, all other identities we may claim–or hope will provide a sense of significance for us–are subject to change. A job, a relationship, an accomplishment, a title…they are all fleeting. The “15 minutes of fame” comes and goes. Everything is really quite fragile, whether we realize it or not.

But–what if you could know who you are…that you matter, you belong? What if that knowledge could be secure and unchanging?  That’s what happens when you claim the identity of Christ to define you. I love this graphic. 
We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love.
We can possess this for our own when we trust Christ as Savior. Contrary to popular belief, we are not children of God automatically by being born into this world. We need to belong to Him by being adopted into His family. He extends that invitation to us, and we need to receive it.
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