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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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Bantu Knots For Curls

*This post contains affiliate links.
Bantu Knots for Curls

I used these little bantu knots for curls recently when my 8 year old requested a curly hair do.

Here’s how to use bantu knots for curls:

  1. Part slightly damp hair into 1-2 inch square sections.
  2. One section at a time, twist the entire strand in one direction over and over until it starts to coil onto itself.
  3. Use *these ouchless pony tailers to secure the knots.
  4. Put *this terry turban on over all the knots overnight.
  5. In the morning, unwrap each knot and gently shake out curls.

*affiliate links

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Get HALF OFF Homeschool Winter Summit Registration

Can we be real for a minute?

Homeschooling is hard. Really hard.

Like there are some days when I don’t know what I was thinking when I committed to doing it. Like there are some days when I don’t think I can make it to graduating all these kids. Maybe not even to May. And sometimes I find myself just trying to hang on until Christmas break.

That’s why the founder of The Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit, a homeschool mom herself who has graduated 4, planned the event to take place every year during the dark months smack in the middle of winter.

Summit Facebook party

And now The Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit is quickly approaching, and I couldn’t be more excited! This is my all time favorite event every year, and here’s why:

  • I get to hang out with homeschool moms who have graduated all their students and are still standing tall.
  • I get to pick the brains of homeschool moms who are a little farther down this road than I am.
  • I get to laugh until I cry with other moms who are going through the same exact season of life I am.
  • I get to hear homeschool moms being real about their struggles, their fears, and their failures.
  • I get to encourage homeschool moms who aren’t quite as far along as I am.
  • I get to pray and sing praises to the Lord with all these beautiful ladies.

Truly, this one weekend is such a breath of fresh air, such an energizing boost, such an encouraging experience on a deep, deep heart level, that I look forward to it all year, knowing that it will give me the vision I need to make it through May.

And now The Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit is having a virtual Facebook party, from 9-10:00pm CST tonight, December 1st, to introduce us to all the speakers (I’m one of them!) and offer one participant HALF OFF your registration! It’s so easy to attend. Just click “going” at the top of the event page, tuck the kiddies into bed, put on your comfiest pajamas, open up your laptop, and jump into the discussion to be entered to win. (For an extra entry, invite your friends.)

See? Easy, peasy, mac and cheesy! Whether already registered, or planning to soon, one participant will get to attend The Summit for HALF PRICE! It might as well be you, right???

And if you don’t win half off, I still have a deal for you. At check, use the discount code “Smockity10” to get $10 off!

I’ll see you at The Summit!

(*I don’t get paid at all for promoting this non-profit ministry. The other team members and I even use our own money to buy door prizes and make casseroles to help feed the speakers. I am just so in love with this ministry that I can’t help sharing it with you!)

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Black Friday Essential Oils Promo

YL Promo Nov. 2015

 

Through November 2015, I am sending every single person who signs up through me for a Young Living Premium Starter Kit a $25 AMAZON GIFT CARD!

This kit comes with 11 of the most popular oils, INCLUDING THIEVES, which you will definitely want to have on hand during these winter months. It also comes with an ultrasonic diffuser for putting the oils into the air. We love using these (we have more than one!) at our bedsides.

I also keep in close contact with all my members, so if you have any questions or concerns about your oils you are able to text me, email me, message me, or call me.

This is the perfect Christmas gift for you or someone you love! Our family uses our oils every single day, and they have been so successful in keeping us healthy that our doctor’s office kicked us out of their database after we hadn’t made an appointment in over 8 months!

If you have been thinking about jumping onto the essential oil train, NOW is the perfect time!

Follow these directions to sign up today! 

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Why a Homeschool Mom of 8 Does CrossFit

CrossFit

Holly and I met online several years ago. We have encouraged each other through 4 (I think) births, care flights, emergency surgeries, prolonged illness, broken bones, marriages, death, and the joys and trials of everyday life.

She, along with only her husband and children recently completely dismantled an old barn on her property that a tornado had destroyed, removed all the nails, and sold the 100 year old wood to a builder, all while caring for her aging parents and 9 children. She is my hero, so I was honored when she asked to interview me about my CrossFit experiences.

CrossFit

 

Here’s an exerpt.

I am 49, stretched out, creaky, slow, tired, and weak.  BUT…I am getting less so!  Slowly I can see and feel that I can run farther, lift more, and last longer than I did the first day.  I am constantly striving to be better.  Isn’t this our goal in all of life?

“Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do:  forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

We are not called to be better than everyone else.  Just better than we were yesterday.

I admit this is sometimes an issue my pride struggles with.  I don’t like to be last or weakest.  Sometimes on certain weight lifting exercises, I have to use the tiny 5 lb metal plates while everyone else has the giant rubber plates on their bars.  But I remind myself that I am not competing with any of them.  I am getting stronger daily.

Hop on over there to read it, and while you’re there, be sure to poke around. Pretty much everything she writes is solid gold.

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Blast From the Past

Screenshot 2015-11-15 19.53.58

One of my Facebook friends recently tagged me in this photo, and it brought back a flood of memories and emotions.

That’s me on the back row, third from the right, rocking the Holly Hobbie shirt. I was shocked to see that I looked pretty much like an average fifth grader, like all the other kids in the class. I didn’t remember myself that way.

You see, this was the year I moved to a new school, and there were a couple of girls who let me know right off that I did not fit in. They were sort of the unofficial leaders of the class, so they let all the other kids know it too, and they reminded everyone regularly so we would all be keenly aware at all times that CONNIE DID NOT FIT IN.

I didn’t wear name brand clothes like they did. My mama shopped at garage sales and resale shops. I didn’t know the songs the other kids sang on the playground. My parents listened to country music, not KVIL, the popular music station.

That last oddity was the most problematic for me that year because it just so happened that the music teacher structured the entirety of her lessons so that each day our class would file in and sit down and she would take song requests to play on the piano so we could all sing along. Well, all except Connie, who did not know “Love Will Keep Us Together” by Captain and Tennille or any other songs played on KVIL. And since the music teacher did not know “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man” by Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn, or any other songs played on WBAP, you can see how this all played right into the CONNIE DID NOT FIT IN scenario, right?

I’m not sure how long I endured the torment of those two girls cajoling everyone else into making fun of me for my lack of Top Ten Pop Song knowledge before I cracked and told my mom about it. She promptly made an appointment for a meeting to speak with the principal and the music teacher and they all agreed that the best solution would be to change the structure of the music class so music would actually be taught (imagine that!) instead of strictly being a song request and sing-along format. (Now you know where I get my “I Need to Speak to the Manager” attitude.)

As I’m sure you can guess, this change made me even more wildly popular among my classmates than I ever was before. The students had to give up their beloved sing-along class, and they would not soon let me forget it.

I spent the rest of that year in misery.

Looking back now, it seems such an insignificant blip on the screen of the entirety of my life so far. I hadn’t even remembered it until the photo appeared on my Facebook timeline. And then it all came back. The enormity of it all. The misery. The embarrassment. The longing to fit in, to be liked.

These days I try to ask myself what God wants me to learn about certain things that weigh heavily on my mind. With this memory that won’t let me go, I imagine God is telling me to remember that 10 year old girls have big feelings. What now, to my adult mind, seems like a rough patch can feel like a whole landslide to a little girl. What is no big deal in an adult’s eyes can seem like the whole world is falling apart in a child’s eyes. That one year in fifth grade is now 1/49th of my life so far, but to that Me Child in the picture it was Everything. It was The Present. It was all that existed.

And now, as I type this out, I know why that Very Hard Year happened for me. It was so I could empathize with and comfort little girls I have living right in my own house. When they have spats with sisters or don’t get invited to the party or when they are the only ones who don’t know how to “whip and nae nae”, instead of minimizing the impact of those things, I can recognize that those are big feelings.

I can listen and nod and hug them close when they tear up telling me about their big hurts that didn’t seem all that big to me before I saw my blast from the past.

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