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Fulfilling Your Purpose

Fulfilling Your Purpose Smockity Frocks

Periodically I call all the children in to sit around the table, and I tell them I have another “sermon” to preach. They have become so accustomed to this that my 16 year old informed me that I produce one of these “sermons” at about the same rate a chicken lays an egg: approximately every 25 hours.

So, today they all filed in and sat down, resigned to listen silently to whatever was weighing on my mind.

And here’s what was on my mind.

Fulfilling Your Purpose

Whenever you do a thing, ask yourself, “What is the purpose of this thing I am doing?”

When you sweep the floor, is the purpose to exercise your arms? NO! That might be a nice by-product, but the purpose is to end up with a clean floor. If you finish and don’t have a clean floor, it doesn’t matter how much you have moved your arms, YOU DID NOT FULFILL YOUR PURPOSE.

When you go to church, is the purpose to sit by your friends? NO! That is a happy result. The purpose is to WORSHIP GOD. If you leave church and have not worshipped, praised, adored God, YOU DID NOT FULFILL YOUR PURPOSE.

When you load the dishwasher, is the purpose to merely empty the sink of dirty dishes? NO! Everyone will be glad the sink is empty, but the purpose is to have clean dishes when the dishwasher cycle is done. If the dishes were loaded in such a way that it was impossible for them to get clean, YOU DID NOT FULFILL YOUR PURPOSE.

When you do your math, is the purpose to practice your handwriting? NO! The purpose is to become better at solving numerical problems. If your handwriting improves, but you do not practice solving math problems, YOU DID NOT FULFILL YOUR PURPOSE.

When you read the Bible is your purpose to find ammunition to use against your friend who has a habit of cussing? NO! The purpose is to know the will of God FOR YOU. If you close the Bible and do not know God’s will, YOU HAVE NOT FULFILLED YOUR PURPOSE.

Examine why you do what you do. Don’t fool yourself into thinking because you did a thing that you have accomplished your purpose.

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Fort Worth Texas Homeschool Convention ~ {GIVEAWAY}

I am super excited that a huge Texas Homeschool Convention is coming my way! Great Homeschool Conventions is coming to the Fort Worth Convention Center March 17-19, 2016!

Fort-Worth-TX-Homeschool-Convention

AND I’M GIVING AWAY A FAMILY PASS TO THE HOMESCHOOL CONVENTION LOCATION OF YOUR CHOICE! (See details below.)

This event is chock full of amazing speakers, relevant sessions, and a HUGE exhibit hall with over 200 booths with curriculum on hand to touch and feel and flip through.

Some of the sessions available are:

  • Homeschooling 101
  • Special needs homeschooling
  • The how-tos of teaching math,
  • Science,
  • English,
  • Literature,
  • Reading
  • All core subjects are covered
  • Inspirational sessions
  • How to homeschool through hard times
  • Common core awareness
  • Charlotte Mason
  • Classical
  • Hands-on homeschooling
  • AND MORE

Ann Voskamp Great Homeschool Conventions

The keynote speaker is Ann Voskamp, author of *One Thousand Gifts, A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are and one of the top 10 most-read Christian blogs on the web today, A Holy Experience. Ann was named by Christianity Today as one of 50 women most shaping culture and the church today. She will be speaking on “When There Doesn’t Seem Like Enough of You for the Calling: What do you do when there doesn’t seem to be enough time, enough resources, enough of you to make it all happen for your family like you desperately want? What if there was another way? A broken way—that turns about to be a more-than-enough, abundant way?”.

 

And here are a few other speakers I’m excited to meet and to hear speak:

Great Homeschool Conventions Speakers

 

Steve Demme is a former math teacher who has taught at all levels of math in public, private, and Christian schools, Steve is also the author and founder of Math-U-See. He addresses a variety of topics at homeschool conferences to encourage parents in their God-given responsibilities of raising and training their children for His glory.

 

 

Heidi St. John is a popular author and conference speaker, Heidi brings a refreshing mix of information and inspiration to listeners on the radio, in person, and through the written word.

 

 

Dr. Jay Wile has published 30 articles onNuclear Chemistry, Christian Apologetics, Homeschooling, and Creation vs. Evolution in nationally-recognized, peer-reviewed journals, and has 9 books to his credit, most of which belong to the award-winning “Exploring Creation with” series of junior-high and high-school science courses.

 

 

If you can’t make it to the Fort Worth homeschool convention, don’t worry! There are 2 more locations coming up!

I’ll be at the Fort Worth event with my family, and I hope to see you there! Please, let me know if you will be there and we can meet up. I love to connect with my readers!

Now, if you would like to win a family pass to the homeschool convention location of your choice, please comment below and tell me which event you would like the family pass for: Fort Worth, TX, Cincinnati, OH, or Ontario, CA. 

The family pass includes mother, father, children/teens, and grandparents for all three days of the convention. The winner will also receive up to four (4) tickets to each of the special events for that specific convention. Those include:

  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe performance by Friends of the Groom. (all locations)
  • The Willis Clan performance (TX and MW)
  • Ann Voskamp keynote (TX and MW)
  • John Stonestreet keynote (CA)
  • Holocaust survivor, Dr. Inge Auerbacher (MW)
  • Thursday Night Out Comedy with Bob Smiley (TX)
  • Thursday Night Out Comedy with Dennis Regan (CA)

Leave your comment below with the location of your choice to win! 

*This sponsored post contains affiliate links. 

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Adrienne and Mr. Edward Reeves, Chapter One ~ Moving Day

“I’ll be waiting in the car, Mom. Are you almost ready?” Adrienne called anxiously, carrying her backpack to the van loaded with boxes waiting in the driveway. Today was the day she had been waiting for. She was beyond thrilled to finally be moving from the small house in a crowded neighborhood in the country club community where her father worked to a two-story house, her dream house, in the sprawling countryside. There were acres and acres of woods to explore out behind the house and rolling pastures in the front, divided by a half-mile long driveway leading to the house from Rainy Rd, a little country lane twelve miles from town.

The best part of the property they had purchased, in Adrienne’s opinion, was the neighbors. Her parents had been told by the realtor that the neighbors were an elderly couple in their 80’s who had wanted children very much but had never been able to have any. Instead they poured their time and love into their animals. There were 75 or so Spanish cashmere goats, 9 donkeys, 4 cows, and 5 dogs. The house Adrienne’s family had purchased was set on 2 acres in the center of the family farm that Mr. Edward Reeves’ grandparents and parents had farmed before him. Mr. Reeves’ spinster sister had built the house and moved in to spend her final days surrounded by family. Since she had died and none of the younger extended family members were interested in the house it went up for sale in order to pay some debts the family had accumulated. As fate would have it, it was just the type of house Adrienne Hodges’ family had always wanted.

Adrienne could hardly contain her excitement on moving day, but not for the reason her brother and sister thought. They were excited to set up their new rooms. She was excited to meet the neighbors. Or more specifically, the neighbor’s animals.

Her parents had always called her “The Animal Whisperer” because she seemed to have a way with animals. She was the one who brought them the tiny iridescent creature in the palm of her hand that she had found when she was only 7 years old under the hummingbird feeder hanging on their back porch at the “in town house”. Everyone had crowded around her to get their first ever look at a hummingbird up close. Her mother had said quietly, “It’s dying. It must have been too weak to drink from the feeder and it fell to the ground.” But Adrienne had insisted on giving it a little sugar water to see if she could nurse it back to health.

 

 

She let her little sister, Megan, hold the fragile, feathered treasure while she mixed up a tablespoon of water and a little sugar in a saucer. Then she gently held the saucer to the bird’s beak, and, to everyone’s delight, it stuck out its slender, needle-like tongue and began to drink. Cheers went up all around, and as the little thing drank, it seemed to come to life, fluttering its greenish blue wings and looking around with its beady, black eyes.

 

 

Adrienne took the bird and the saucer out to the back porch where she had found them, and as if the bird knew instinctively that she was giving it permission to continue on its journey, it took one last drink, cocked its shining eye toward her, as if to say “Good bye, Soul Friend, and thank you for the sustenance,” it flew away, like a miniature jet. Adrienne was all at once ecstatic and disappointed. She had wished the bird would live, but she had secretly hoped that she would be able to talk her mother into keeping it, maybe in a little box in her room, like she had done with the baby mice she had found, the orphaned week old kittens, and the stray cat from the parking lot of Big Lots. Her mother could never resist her pleadings to nurture the animals she found, and Adrienne always seemed to have a way of bringing them back to health.

And now it appeared to Adrienne that she would be living right next door to a couple who had her same passion for animals. In fact, she would come to know much later, she would be living right in the midst of them, intermingled in their lives, weaving herself in and out of their days, sometimes frequently, sometimes less so, but always welcomed, like sunbeams that filter in through the kitchen window.

When her family pulled into the driveway of their new home, Adrienne could see that Mr. and Mrs. Reeves were out in the pasture feeding the donkeys.

“Look! There they are! The couple you were telling us about! Can I go over there and meet them? Maybe they will let me pet their donkeys!” Adrienne nearly jumped out of the van before it came to a stop in front of the house.

“Be careful. Don’t get in the way, and use your good manners!” her mother called after her. “I hope she won’t bother them. I don’t know whether they are accustomed to dealing with high spirited little girls like her,” Carla Hodges said to her husband. “She’ll be fine, Hon. She’s just excited, that’s all,” he assured her.

Adrienne ran headlong into the pasture, her long brown braids bouncing on her back as she ran, only slowing down briefly to climb over the barbed wire fence.

Mr. and Mrs. Reeves were surprised to see a little girl running toward them, and they stopped the green four wheel farm cart they used to putter around their many acres.

“Hi, I’m Adrienne Hodges. I’m your new neighbor. I’m 10 years old,” she said breathlessly when she got to them. “My family is moving in over there today.” She pointed to the house across the pasture, and her parents waved.

“Well, hello, Adrienne. I am Patricia Reeves and this is my husband, Ed. The realtor told us a nice family would be moving in soon. We’re glad you are here.”

“Can I pet your donkeys?” asked Adrienne shyly as one approached her and stuck his broad velvety nose out toward her hand.

“Of course! This is Pietro. He and Bruno are the friendliest.”

Adrienne scratched Pietro behind the ears and said matter of factly, without the slightest hint of boastfulness, as only a child could, “Animals love me.”

“I can see that,” said Edward Reeves, his faded blue eyes twinkling. “Pietro is a very good judge of character. He is telling me you are a good friend.”

*See Chapter 2 here. 

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When No One Likes Your Child

It’s a tough pill to swallow when no one likes your child, but it’s easy to identify.

When no one likes your child

You see other children happily playing in groups, but when your child tries to join, the mood changes. Maybe the group stops mid-game and moves away as your child approaches. Maybe they openly tell your child he can’t play with them. When no one likes your child it can be devastating to him and to us.

Our first response to this is usually to intervene in the group and tell the children it isn’t nice to exclude anyone, and that they must let everyone play. In this age of frequent anti-bullying messages, it’s easy to think the solution is to force the group to change.

But, does this solve the root problem of a raising a child that no one likes? Does this response help the child identify social cues that others find his behavior off-putting? Does it allow him to grow into an adult who can navigate complex social situations and modify his behavior to be acceptable?

Before I go any further and give you my two cents on this issue, let me assure you I am not talking about your child. I am not talking about any particular child that I know specifically. I am telling you some things I have found beneficial in my own growing up years, in teaching in public schools, and in raising my own eight children for 20+ years.

Let me tell you a story of 6th Grade Me to give a grasp of what I am talking about.

When I was in 6th grade, I was a very bright child who was happy and outgoing. I found myself in a brand new middle school that year, which was slightly unnerving, but I was confident in my abilities to excel in school, so I didn’t worry too much.

Sometime during that fall, I remember realizing that the other students in my Language Arts class despised me. I couldn’t understand why. I was smart. I was cute. I was friendly. What could the problem be?

I don’t know how the conversation came about, but I specifically remember Dee Dee Williams telling me point blank, “No one likes you because you always know all the answers. Why can’t you just let someone else answer sometimes?”

This was the very first time it had dawned on me that my behavior had been obnoxious. I mean, the teacher would ask questions, and I would raise my hand to answer them while everyone else sat idly by. She would call on me, and I would always be right. Every single day. I had never realized that what I was doing was discouraging the other students from even trying to answer, all the while alienating every one of my classmates with my “know it all” posture.

This revelation was painful to me at the time, but it also served as educational. I knew first hand from that time forward that no one likes a know it all. This didn’t mean that I pretended to be dumb or refused to answer questions. It just meant that I modified my behavior to allow others to feel they had a chance to answer also. I left room for others to feel smart and important instead of selfishly taking all of that attention for myself.

This brings me to the point of my post. When no one likes your child or no one lets him play in the group games, instead of rescuing him and demanding that everyone can play, what if you allow him to realize and benefit from cause and effect?

I don’t mean for this to be a cruel exercise in allowing our children to be bullied, and I don’t mean for this to apply to children who have mental challenges that make social situations difficult. I am simply suggesting that we allow our children to understand, as much as they are able, that their behavior has consequences. What if they have genuinely never considered how their actions can be annoying to others? How about asking the following questions to help your child explore what could possibly be going on?

  • “If no one wants to play Freeze Tag with you, is it because you cry whenever you get tagged? No one likes to play with a cry baby.”
  • “If no one wants you on their team, is it because you complain about the way the game goes every time you play? No one likes someone who is always complaining.”
  • “If no one wants to talk to you, is it because you only ever talk about Minecraft? No one likes to talk to someone who hogs all the talking time or only talks about themselves.”

Those are just a few examples of how the conversation might go. I have had conversations like this with my children, and although not easy to hear, I believe each time they were able to understand how their behavior was contributing to the problem.

Let’s face it, we all probably know an adult or two who would have benefitted from this kind of frank honesty years ago, before they became set in their habits of obnoxious, self centered behavior. If you don’t want your children to become set in those habits, now is the time for these difficult conversations. 

It is much easier to help when no one likes your child than it is to try to deal with an adult that is annoying and has practiced that for years.

If you enjoyed this post, see also “10 Signs your Child Might Be Spoiled and What To Do About It.”

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Tip to Promote Good Attitude During Reading Lessons

*This post contains affiliate links. 

Reading lesson smarty tip

I have used *Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons to teach all of my children to read, and I am currently using it on my 8th child.  Same old, trusty book, minus the cover, plus a few scribbled on pages.

I love this book for so many reasons.

  • The lessons are short, usually around 15 minutes long.
  • The book is all you need. There are no worksheets or flashcards involved.
  • The parent part is scripted. Simply read aloud the words in red. No wondering exactly how to present the lesson.
  • The child REALLY CAN read on about second grade level at the end of 100 days.

However, my children don’t always love doing these lessons each day. (They also don’t love doing their chores and going to bed on time.) Because the lessons require the child to sit still, concentrate, and remember and repeat what they hear, there is occasional whining, crying, stalling, and/or complaining. They are children, after all, and they don’t always like to do what they should do.

So, sometime during the teaching of 8 total children to read using this book, I figured out the following tip to promote good attitude during reading lessons.

  1. Line up Smarties in fold of book.
  2. Every time student whines, stalls, complains, refuses to cooperate, etc, Mom mercilessly, and without comment, eats a Smarty.
  3. Student gets all Smarties left at end of lesson.

I am telling you THIS WORKS LIKE MAGIC FAIRY DUST if done consistently.

You’re welcome.

*affiliate link

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Winter Summit 2016 ~ Homeschool Moms’ Retreat

winter summit girls weekend graphic

I just spent another weekend with a few hundred of my friends at the Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit 2016. This is a fantastic, Jesus-centered retreat specifically designed to encourage homeschool moms.

There is really very little talk about homeschooling and absolutely no talk about curriculum, but do you know what there is a HUGE focus on?

GRACE. Rejoicing in the beautiful grace God has given us, extending grace to ourselves when we fail, and offering that same grace to others when they disappoint us.

This retreat will benefit ALL moms who are just looking for someone to encourage them to keep giving it their best shot, and to keep relying on God to give them the strength to do it. Anyone who would like other moms to lock arms with her and say, “We’re in this parenting thing together sister,” would love The Summit.

winter summit dance party

Saturday night dance party

But one of the things that makes it so extra special to me is that this is where my people gather. I know without a doubt that this hotel ballroom will be filled with women just like me who know exactly what it feels like to be a stay at home mom in a one income family who spends all day every day directly responsible for her children’s education.

They know what it is to wonder if they will have to explain again at the family reunion that homeschooling is legal in all 50 states. Or the nervous, deer in the headlights look your child gets when he stalls and stammers upon being asked asked what grade he is in. They know what it is to wonder if you are ruining your child’s chances of getting into college, his future, his life because of your weaknesses and inadequacies.

winter summit blogger skit

Mrs. Homeschool Universe finalists

The whole weekend is chock full of heartfelt praise and worship, hilarious skits, transparent honesty, encouraging sessions, and plenty of advice from moms who have already traveled the road I am still on.

winter summit q&a panel

This picture represents 97 combined years of homeschool wisdom and 23 homeschooled kids whom they have graduated.

GRADUATED! They have completed their homeschool journeys! Can you believe they are all still standing tall and they come to The Summit every year to cheer the rest of us on? THIS IS MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE PART! These ladies take anonymous questions that have been submitted throughout the weekend and they answer even the most difficult ones with honesty and transparency. I am telling you right now that it is SOLID GOLD to have these ladies speak life and encouragement into us bone weary moms who are just trying to get through one more school year without running away from home.

In between the general sessions, delicious food, and skits, there were 12 breakout sessions to choose from during the weekend, so it was easy to tailor the topics to suit different needs.

winter summit bio

I was asked to speak in 2 of those sessions, and I brought along my 15 year old daughter to be a “Summit Server.”

winter summit mother daughter

Cami and me

She had a ball with some of the other daughters running errands, helping ladies find where the restrooms were, and holding babies.

Winter Summit photo booth

Me and Kelly

winter summit bloggers

Kris, Lisa, Heather, and me

Another one of my favorite parts is just getting to hang and laugh with some very dear friends that I have grown to love. When you spend the entire weekend with someone, you never know what you might find out. You could hear that she has met and danced with Jon Bon Jovi, and you might squeal and be very jealous because there was a time that you and Jon shared a very rich history (in your head) and yet he never invited you on stage to dance with him. (No comment on which of the above ladies was the lucky one.)

Wouldn’t you love to grab a few girlfriends and make it a weekend to remember? We would love for you to join us at The Summit next year! Read what these ladies had to say about the weekend below.

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