Broken…Do Not Use

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Broken, DO NOT use me.
Have you ever feel this way?

I have. 

Healing from brokenness is not fun.

Psalm 34:18…The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
Pslam 147:3…He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

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There was this beautiful lady in church Sunday. Absolutely the sweetest elderly woman I have ever seen.

At the alter call…our pastor asked anyone that needed prayer to please come. Our prayer team was ready and available.

This sweet lady began to make her way to the front. I noticed she was moving slow and limping a bit. She came from the back of the congregation.

I could tell the walk was tiring and that she was in great pain.

I watched her wrestle back and forth…debating whether or not it was worth it to keep walking the walk.
It was such a struggle.

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But she was determined and made it with perseverance.
When she reached the front she was met with great disappointment when there was no one available to pray with her.

And I saw her break…as she turned and gave up.

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But then everything changed. 

A woman in the front row encouraged her to go back up and she turned around tears streaming down her cheeks.

Our pastor saw her and instantly was available to her.
I have never in my life seen such a release of pain as she fell into his arms.

It was one of the most beautiful moments I have ever been privileged to witness. No one knew her prayer need. No one knew the circumstances but we were all praying over her in that moment. Her pain was ours to bear.

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When she returned to her seat she had peace.
As if a weight had been lifted off her shoulders.

I felt God tell me that I was supposed to continue pray for her.

Absolutely, God!

I felt Him tell me that I should tell her that I was praying for her.

What?

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I want you to know that this sort of thing is completely out of my comfort zone!!!!
I thought, “Surely, God is NOT really asking me to do this, right? I don’t even know her”!!

NOT COMFORTABLE WITH THAT!

Our congregation is very big. The end of our services are like a stampede of cattle. A mass exodus! There was no way I was going to catch sight of her.

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We walked out. I didn’t see her.
We made it across the courtyard. No sight of her.
We talked about where to go to lunch and by then I’d totally forgot about it and put it out of my mind.

We made it all the way to the car.
I was standing there watching my teens debate about who was sitting where…(I hope I’m not the only one whose children fight over who gets to sit in certain seats)…
when I see something out of the corner of my eye.

THERE SHE IS.

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I wrestled back and forth…debating whether or not it was worth it to walk this walk.
It was such a struggle.

And then, casting all cares aside…I decided to

…Trust Him
…Obey Him
…Follow Him

She didn’t know me from Adam, but with much fear and trepidation…I approached her.
“Excuse me, Ma’am”?
“Yes”?
“I just want you to know that I’m praying for you.”

Silence…

“Oh NO”…I thought. “She thinks I’m a crazy person”!!

I had to force myself to look at her because all I really wanted to do was crawl                    in a hole and die!

But, when I met her eyes…I saw tears.

“Thank you”, she said.

…and it was truly one of the most transforming moments of my life.

I realized upon reflection just how applicable her story is to my own walk with Jesus.

Sometimes…it is a struggle.
Sometimes…this walk is downright painful.
Sometimes…it takes great perseverance to follow Him.
But, I am NEVER sorry I made the journey.

It is completely worth it.

Love,
Deborah

Don’t Pull Your Hair Out…(It’ll Leave Bald Spots)…

It is Monday and I definitely feel it.

It’s actually Monday afternoon…and I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.  We are wrapping things up with school for the day, finally.
Middle child is still working on his photography assignment for co-op, but as soon as he’s done…I may literally do a cheer.

Why are Mondays so hard?

About 100 times today…I wanted to pull my hair out.

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The kids did not eagerly engage in homeschooling today. Ugh!
I had to give chore reminders more than I should have. Double Ugh!
My 12 year old’s version of good hygiene is not what I’d call average or even adequate. Good grief!

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But, then I had to remind myself…deep breaths.

None of this was life threatening or all that important.
They are just normal kids.

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So, why does it feel like a BIG DEAL to me?

Why?
Because I am anxious about a lot right now, (sigh).

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We’ve had doctors appointments and surgery preparations. (We recently found out that our son has a heart condition called SVT that needs to be taken care of.)

Yeah…so I guess it is kind of a big deal, huh?

And…I am behind with…everything, it seems. I don’t like that!
Our normal schedule has been rearranged due to life and…I don’t like that, either!

I am overwhelmed.

Do you ever feel that way?

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People say that it’s easiest to pray when things aren’t going your way. They say that we cry out to Jesus when we need the most help.

But, you know what?

I think it’s easiest to pray when things are going great! It’s easiest to cry out to Him when I just want to praise and thank Him.

I have a much harder time praying when things aren’t okay.
When it’s bad.
When I need help.

I’m working on that.

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I just want our son to be okay. I want him to be fine.
But, I take comfort that God already has his story written and that He already knows the outcome.

I also take comfort that Monday is over in a few short hours!
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Thank you for praying for our family!

Deborah

 

When the Storm Comes

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This is a big month for us every year in that both of our boys were born in March.  This year our youngest son turns 12 and our oldest son turns 14.

We have a lot to celebrate and be thankful for in March!!

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The youngest son’s day went without a hitch. He had a great party with all his friends, and had a wonderful time!

The older son’s party was planned, too.  But didn’t happen…which broke my heart.

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Two days before his birthday, we got up as usual and went to our homeschool co-op. It was a normal day. We arrived on time.  We gathered, sang and worshiped together. We went to our classes and the day proceeded just fine. During clean-up time, he approached me, clutching his heart, saying that he was having an episode. We’ve had these episodes before. The doctors have always assured us that they are asthma related and nothing to worry about. His dad and I have been arguing for a year with them that it’s not nothing.

This time it was different. Our son was in a bad way.  A really bad way.

He was white as a sheet.  He was on the verge of passing out and crying from the pain. I got him to the car and headed to the nearest hospital.  When we pulled in, he said he couldn’t feel his arms and was having trouble staying conscious.

There was NO PARKING anywhere.  I could not believe it.  I had to pull up and have his sister get him in the ER while I prayed for a parking spot to show up.

Once I got inside the ER, he was losing feeling in his legs. After that, it’s all a blur.

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I remember that I started yelling. I remember that they were very condescending as they put him in a wheelchair and got him hooked up to a heart machine like we were making it all up.

Until they saw that his heart rate was 280.

Then all hell broke loose.

Staff came out of the woodwork.  They were lifting him onto a gurney and wheeling him off to a room. We were running to keep up.  They got out the largest syringe I’ve ever seen and shot him with it…twice.

They couldn’t find a vein for the IV so they stuck him 5 different times. Blood was just running down him arm.

A nurse stood by with defibrillator paddles…just in case he went into cardiac arrest. What? My world came crashing to a halt.

Pause 

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I would like to tell you that I could feel God’s assurance that my son was going to be okay. That I could hear His voice telling me he was going to be fine.
That He was giving me peace in the middle of this storm.

But, it would be a lie. I felt none of those things.

Nothing they did for him was working. I became acutely aware that this was out of my control. There was nothing I could do. The doctor added another medication to the mix and said that I should pray.  I remember nodding. I remember trying to pray, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t do anything. Nothing happened in my spirit. I was completely frozen.  All I could do was ask God to forgive me and tell Him I trusted Him.

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And…we waited for what seemed like a very long time. In reality, it was probably about an hour.

And…BOOM! The third medication worked. IT WORKED!! He stabilized.

And I swear…time stopped.

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I cannot tell you how unconditionally his father and I love this child. We would do ANYTHING for him. We would switch places with him if we could.

But, he was going to be okay, and I wept.

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He was diagnosed with a heart condition called Supraventricular Tachycardia…SVT. We have already met with the Cardiologist who said that our son will need a procedure to correct the problem.  Apparently, the procedure is done all the time.  It has little to no risk and is out-patient.

We call the Electrophysiologist in the morning.
-Still unsettled and nervous about it.
-Still having trouble talking to God.
-Still trusting Him with all of it, though.

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This hope we have, as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure…-Hebrews 6:19

If you think about it…would you pray for us?

In Christ,

Deborah

Shopping for The Formal

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Our homeschool group has a spring formal every April and this year the theme is Masquerade.

This is the second year for my daughter to attend and the first year for my older son. (My younger son is still too young and swears that he will NEVER want to dance with a girl.) If you have a teen who is shopping for the formal, you know that this is no small task, especially for girls.

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Last year, we found the PERFECT dress right away at the first store we went to.

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We already had the shoes. We bought jewelry, a clutch, and a wrap to match.

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We picked out a fabulous hairstyle and voila…SUCCESS!

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But this year….
IT HAS NOT BEEN EASY!!
Well…I take that back. It was extremely easy for our son.
He found what he was going to wear right away…

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In fact he found 2 options.

But our daughter has not such an easy time of it.
Here are her reasons:

  1. Everything looks the same
  2. A lot of the options are simply inappropriate
  3. Almost everything that is appropriate is over her budget.

She wants something:
short, simple…sophisticated…50’s reminiscent…and absolutely NO BLING.
I don’t think that’s reaching for the moon.  Well maybe a little considering the styles that are out there right now are completely the opposite of that.

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But………………………..
Today we found it!! Yay, us!!
I am so relieved. It was getting down to the wire. The dance is in April. Yikes!!
It is sooooooooooooo cute. Adorable even.
Very 50’s reminiscent and it’s black lace, which will allow her to go completely nuts picking out the bright floral pumps she had envisioned to go with it.

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We are going to have it altered tomorrow so that the sweetheart neckline lays flat.
No cleavage! (It’s one of the many many dress code criteria,) and one that I like.

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Now, we are excited for the upcoming dance!

Sincerely,

Deborah

Art Project- Inspirational Crayon Art

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This is the next art project that I’m doing with my co-op Art class. It is so much fun to make! I will warn you…it is a bit messy and requires some planning and a lot of set up. But, definitely worth your time.

Materials Needed:

  • Canvas (size is up to you)
  • Acrylic Paints (I used white, brown, black, and 2 colors of blue)
  • One Foam brush
  • Paint brushes (a one inch and two small flat edge brushes)
  • Crayons (I used a 24 pack)
  • Hairdryer
  • Cardboard piece (trim width to match canvas with a utility knife) 
  • Double-sided tape
  • Duct or Masking Tape
  • Printed inspirational word in font of choice
  • Black permanent markers (thin and bold line)
  • An HB pencil
  • Tarp or drop cloth (It’s going to get messy) 

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Start by making a wash on your canvas with the white acrylic paint and your foam brush. After your canvas is covered in white, go over it again while it’s wet…adding a tiny bit of watered down color. Apply it with the one inch paintbrush.

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You can use the brush dry to play with textures and color. Let it dry. Here’s how my wash turned out:

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Next, you will take your printed inspirational word and cut it out along the bottom of the words and the top, so that you can trace most of it onto your canvas. Once you get it trace you will color it in with your permanent markers.

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As I colored my word in, I noticed that it wasn’t as dark as I’d hoped. So, I went back over it with the black acrylic paint and the flat edge paintbrushes. Let it dry.

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The next step wasn’t as much fun but very important to the finished result. Grab your cardboard, crayons, double-sided tape, and your duct or masking tape.

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Peel the wrappers off the crayons and break them all into 2 to 3 pieces. Once they are broken, secure them to a piece of cardboard already lined with double-sided tape. Once the crayons are in place, cover them with duct or masking tape. (I used scotch tape. BIG MISTAKE…Use duct or masking tape, please.)

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Now for the fun part! Here’s where the magic happens. Lay your tarp or drop cloth down and grab your hairdryer and put it on the hottest setting. You might need two sets of hands for this part. I did.

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Holding the canvas upright with the cardboard/crayon structure above it…turn on the hairdryer and begin to heat the crayons. Hold the end of your dryer down so that when the wax begins to run onto the canvas.

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Work you way across the top of the canvas, letting the wax fall where it wants to. This is where I learned that scotch tape is NOT the best choice for securing the crayons. Several of the crayons fell from the cardboard onto my canvas. We had to quickly remove them so that our project wasn’t ruined.

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When you have all the color you want from the crayons, turn your hairdryer off, take the cardboard away and let dry. It will dry really fast!

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This is the finished project! It turned out really awesome! I can’t wait to do it with my class this Friday.

Sincerely,

Deborah

Transitioning Into Homeschooling From Public or Private School

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I am so happy that you are reading this post. Maybe you have decided to homeschool or are considering homeschooling your children!

I can honestly tell you that homeschooling is one of the best decisions I have ever made.  Looking back, I remember our first year of homeschooling fondly!  It was truly a blessing to draw our children close and rediscover the joy of being a family.

  • We got reacquainted
  • We experienced milestones that otherwise we would have missed
  • We cuddled and read
  • We made treats
  • We worked on character and relationships
  • We… “de-schooled”.

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Our first year was so much fun… but it also had it’s own set of challenges.  We were adjusting and transitioning from institutional learning to home learning.

Oh yeah…and it didn’t occur to us that Grandparents, extended family, and friends were also adjusting. We realized that in their eyes, we had done something RADICAL!

They asked a lot of questions:
“What made you decide to homeschool?  “Were the children having difficulties at school?”  “Had we lost our mind?”  “What about socialization?”  “Will they ever go to college if you teach them at home?”  “Were we qualified to teach?”

 We tried to answer with patience.  We wanted our family and our friends to know that,“Yes, we were having problems with school Yes, maybe we had lost our minds. Yes, we hope they will go to college if they choose to, but if not…it was okay, and finally… Yes, we would make sure that they were socialized, but…No, not by the world’s standards.” 

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Whew, was I glad when they quit asking questions!

I’m happy to report that after some transition time…our family and friends have become our biggest supporters.

 We faced a transition at home too. I want to reassure you that this is very normal.  After all change isn’t easy!  I’m happy to report that, for us, it has been soooooo worth it. We are forever thankful God has called us to homeschool!

Here are some tips that I hope will encourage you as you begin your homeschooling journey:

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1: Be Relaxed:   Your first several weeks of homeschooling can become very stressful if you let it.  It can be stressful to you, the children, and your husband.  Try to ease into it without having huge expectations, and remember to be patient and flexible.

*This is the time to hug your kids! God has made a way for them to be home with you. Snuggle together on the couch and read to them. If they are older, do some fun things together. Get reacquainted!

2. Be Committed:  Use the first couple months to reconnect as a family first without worrying about the academics.  Encourage dad to get involved.  Take field trips.  Have a picnic.  Let them see that homeschooling is fun.  Help them experience the freedom that homeschooling gives and take the time to discover.

*You are free! Drink it in and thank God for it!

3. Be gentle: This is a transition for everyone.  Praise your children every step of the way, even for little things that may seem insignificant.  They will want to please you because you are… Mom!  However, they may not be sure what to do with this new…Teacher Mom.  They have never seen you in this role before.  Be sensitive as they learn what you will expect of them.

*Make sure they know you and dad are their biggest fans! 

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4.  Be tender:  Consider your children’s feelings.  Acknowledge that they may be experiencing a type of loneliness without a classroom of 25-30 kids.  Some children grieve leaving the public or private school experience for a little while simply because it was their routine.  This will pass.

*They will miss those “school friends” but it isn’t always a good idea to keep those ties. Use lots of discretion here. Those “friends” are probably one of the reasons you pulled them out of school to begin with. Join a homeschool support group and/or co-op to help them (and you) make new friends. 

5.  Be aware: Your children will love the thought of learning with you in their new homeschooling environment, but you may see competition for your attention.  They may need your help learning to share you with their brothers and sisters. Encourage your children to work together and discourage sibling rivalry.

*Find subjects like…Bible, History, Art, and Science that you can all do together so that independent work and face time goes smoother.

6. Be Diligent: It’s easy to focus on the academic part of learning but remember that relationships and character training are equally important…in fact, I think they are MORE important. There are wonderful curricula and books out there that can help you in this, but remember that the Bible is the greatest resource you have. Try starting your day in a family Bible Study, devotion, and prayer time.  My children still tell me that it is the favorite part of their day!  It has also helped them practice kindness and courtesy with each other.

 *A study in Proverbs is a great place to start a family Bible Study.

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7. Be True to Who You Are: You might fall into the trap of looking around and listening to other homeschooling moms too much.  You might feel that you don’t measure up.  Try not to compare yourself or your children to anyone else.  We all homeschool differently.  There isn’t a right way or a wrong way.  Find your groove and embrace it.  All children learn differently and at different levels.  Celebrate that.

*Find your child’s learning style and love language. It will help a lot if you teach the way they learn best.

8. Be Joyful:  Lastly, remember that God has called you to this and He will see you through it. He will equip you with what you need to teach your children.  Take the time to really enjoy your children, after all you know them better than anyone!!!

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*You will fall in love with them all over again as you discover the uniqueness of how God made them.  You will delight in their wit, intelligence, acts of kindness and service, and joy of learning!

My prayer is for you to fill your home with love, and to build a strong relationship with your husband and your children!  I pray that if you do decide to homeschool, that your journey will be richly blessed!

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Sincerely,

Deborah

 

You Gave Them Life So They Could Live It…Didn’t You?

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I don’t know, maybe it’s me, but the undue pressure put on kids by their parents completely suffocates me.

Why do we do this? It’s beyond my comprehension. 

Somehow we get it into our heads that kids must be…nothing less than PERFECT because they are representing us. Newsflash!  It’s never ever going to happen! Kids make mistakes. Heck, parents make mistakes…every day. Why aren’t we celebrating those mistakes? They are huge successes in disguise, or didn’t you know that?

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We are not here to live their life for them. We already had our shot at this. Let’s help them get ready for theirs.

This life is not about sports teams…dance recitals…and academic performance.
It’s not about…beauty…fashion…and trends.
It’s also not about…legalism.

It’s about grace.  Lots and lots of grace.

You know why I think we do this? Because we need them to make US look good to OUR peers, OUR community, and OUR church.

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Legalism is steeped in pride and fear. It’s about making sure our families look and behave a certain way so that those looking in will see good kids, good parents… and good works. But here’s my question…

Shouldn’t they just see Christ?