I know I’m not alone when I say readjusting to real life after a great vacation is tricky business. Going from the Florida coast back to Indiana has been less than glamorous. In less than 24 hours we traded palm trees and white sand for broken mowers and the discovery of hornets living in my daughter’s bedroom wall. *shudder*
Though things could certainly be worse, all this ridiculousness has left me with a need to be encouraged. Thankfully I have great family and friends to keep my eyes pointed toward Jesus when things aren’t going according to plan. I also have the encouragement of several blogs I read. That’s what I hope to leave you with today–encouragement, not only from my words, but from being introduced to another blog, which is always full of hope.
I recently wrote a guest blog post for an inspirational blogger named Karen Friday. She and her husband pastor a church in Tennessee and have been in ministry for over thirty years. It’s an honor to be featured on her blog (Karen Girl Friday), so today I’m going to link you to my blog post on her site. Check out “Empowered Kids — Everyday Life with the Holy Spirit” and then browse her other posts too, and I promise you’ll leave encouraged!
We have just begun our 7th year of homeschooling. That sounds like madness to me. Honestly, I still feel like a newbie in many ways, though I’m currently teaching a 6th grader, a 4th/5th grader (yes, that’s one kid), and a 2nd grader.
Whether you’re a brand new homeschooler or an old pro (or don’t homeschool at all, but know someone who might benefit from this info), I want to share three ways to rock your homechool this year. (I’ll keep it brief, I know your me-time is precious!!)
1. Adjust your attitude.
Yep, your attitude
– it’s contagious. Kids will have bad attitudes that come and go, but trust me
when I say your attitude will set the
tone for the entire day. (No pressure, right?) Maybe this isn’t news to you,
but I learned it the hard way.
When my kids were younger, I was so overwhelmed with life I
went through a period where I was perpetually grumpy. And guess what. So were my
kids. When I came out of my brain fog long enough to realize this was the case
and take action to improve my mood, the differences in my kids were night and
So set your alarm 15 minutes earlier, spend time in prayer
focusing on what matters, and embrace the day with a smile. Start the morning
with your kids doing or watching something silly together so you can begin the
day laughing before anyone has a chance to get grumpy.
2. Don’t give your checklist power over you.
I used to be the worst offender of all when it came to this.
I would plan our day and when things went off course (as they always do), I
would get frustrated because we didn’t “get through” everything.
Here’s a secret, so listen carefully: you don’t have to “get
through” everything! (You may want to read that last line again…)
Whether homeschooled or public schooled, your kids will never be taught everything in school! Take some of the pressure off yourself and rest assured – any remaining gaps get filled in as they grow up. Teaching our kids is a big responsibility, yes, but stressing about it does way more harm than good.
3. Remember your ultimate goal.
Write it on a post-it, tape it to your mirror, and re-read it as you brush your hair. My main goal is to instill in my children a love of learning. Yours may be different. And honestly, I went through quite a few of our homeschooling years being ruled and frustrated by my checklist, which resulted in the exact opposite of my goal. Now I’m fighting to undo the damage and teach my kids that learning is actually a wonderful, fun thing. Don’t make my mistakes. Stay grounded by remembering your main goal in all of this homeschooling craziness.
I truly believe: if you make sure you have a good, positive attitude, you’re willing to put down your checklist without stress or guilt, and you remember the purpose of all this in the first place, you can have an amazing year with your precious kiddos. It’s all a mental balancing act, but you can do it.
I have to remember all of these things every day too, and
sometimes I fail. But the next day I try again, and you can too. Kids are
resilient and God’s grace has got us covered. Just keep trying, giving your
days (and your kids) to God, one day at a time. You got this.
(Real Quick…When I began this blog a year ago, I decided I would NOT write about parenting. Or homeschooling. I figured it would be doomed to become white noise against the backdrop of the thousands of other blogs on the same topics. Turns out parenting and homeschooling are pretty significant pieces of my life though — who knew? 😉 And so… the times, they are a changin’. Though my focus may shift more toward parenting and homeschooling, the underlying theme will remain: “Inspire. Ignite. Power Up.” That is what I hope you’ll feel through my posts, no matter the topic.)
I’d love for you to share your thoughts or questions in the comments below! I also welcome any ideas of parenting or homeschooling topics you’d be interested in reading more about! Thanks for reading! 🙂
One last thing — if you need support as you teach your kids (8 and up) how to embrace a living faith of their own, please check out my book, “Power Up,” which was released by Elk Lake Publishing Inc. earlier this year!I wrote it exactly for people like you and me, who want nothing more than for their kids to fall in love with Jesus. See more below.
Me to my three kids last Monday: “If we get your rooms
sorted and deep cleaned this week, we’ll go to the beach on Friday!”
Me to my kids Thursday afternoon, after witnessing much hard
work but still no completed rooms and noticing the kids moping, assuming they
wouldn’t get to go to the beach: “If you keep working hard and do your best,
we’ll go to the beach tomorrow even if it’s not finished yet.”
Cue a much less stressed-out home for the rest of Thursday
as I secretly hi-five myself.
Do you ever set goals for yourself, only to get discouraged when things shift course and your goal can’t be reached as intended? As a homeschool mom, I do this all the time. I tell myself things like:
“My youngest will memorize her addition and subtraction
facts by so-and-so date.” (What if she doesn’t? Or what if she does but learns
to hate math for the rest of her life?)
“My oldest will finish her writing program by the end of the
semester.” (What if she does, but she’s just going through the motions, not
actually learning? What if she starts to hate writing?)
The best laid plans of
mice and men often go awry. –Robert Burns
I think Mr. Burns was on to something.
Here’s the thing I’ve been learning lately:
and learning over completion.
When we prioritize completing a specific goal, we pile on the pressure and make the journey to the end more grueling than it should be, and then feel awful if we never do actually obtain our goal.
When we prioritize progress or learning, we’re generally more motivated to embrace the journey, no matter where we ultimately end up.
For instance, ask any high schooler what they want to be
when they grow up and you’ll likely hear “a millionaire.” Played out in
reality, however, how likely is it? Not very. They might even work long hours
at a job they hate, advancing and advancing some more, edging ever closer to
their monetary goal and wasting their days away in pursuit of their goal.
Perhaps a healthier goal would be more along the lines of, “find
a satisfying job, work hard, and move up in the business as often as
opportunities allow until I’m financially stable.”
Do you see the difference?
Which type of goal setter are you? Do you set big, specific goals, only to be disappointed when life turns a corner and the end result isn’t what you were hoping? (And life always turns a corner, am I right?)
Or do you set the type of goals where you can feel satisfied
with yourself and the journey you’ve taken, even if things veer off course from
time to time?
Really it’s just a collection of moments, hours, and days that make up our lifetime. Are we spending those hours living a life we can be satisfied with, even proud of? Or are we dissatisfied as we go through our days, with our eyes so glued to the prize that we’ve forgotten to live the life that’s in front of us?
Whatever your approach to the future, I encourage you to do
a little self-reflection to make sure you’re on a healthy track moving forward.
Consider these quick questions:
Am I stressed all the
time? If so, why?
Am I trusting God with
my future or am I only trusting myself?
Will I feel like a
failure if (fill in the blank) doesn’t happen?
God wants to pour his peace over us as he leads us through our days. Are we letting him?
Maybe God has
given you big, divine goals. Go after them without putting your self-worth on the
Maybe he’s asking you to go a little easier on yourself in
order to accomplish the deeds he has planned for you in the everyday (which
maybe you keep missing because of your laser focus on what you’ve deemed most important).
The point is, don’t miss the forest for the trees. Take a deep breath and embrace the moment, hour, and day you’ve been given. Take off the pressure you’ve put on yourself and feel the lightness that it brings.
Being driven is a good thing, as long as your drive is submitted to God’s plan for your life. And oh, does he ever have a plan for your life. A good one. In his goodness you can rest assured.
What has been your
experience? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. Also, feel free to drop
a suggestion for future blog post topics! Thanks for reading and have an
“Give your anxieties to God.” “Let Jesus carry you.” “Let the Holy Spirit’s peace cover you.”
All messages I’ve been focused on all month as I’ve been marketing my book, Power Up. All important truths, yes?
But then camp.
Camp, you ask?
My two oldest kids are heading to church camp soon and I recently spent several days FULL of anxiety over my two sweet, innocent homeschool kiddos heading into a world of other kids (strangers who have been exposed to who knows what all) without me there to guide them.
I was about ready to pack up my family and move to an unoccupied mountain where I wouldn’t have to worry about my kids being exposed to this world full of awfulness ever again.
My wheels wouldn’t stop spinning as I thought and over-thought some more, my head filled with lies about the safety (or lack thereof) of my children.
It didn’t take me long to realize how wrong and misguided my focus was. I knew in my head that God would be with them (and me), and I knew my thought patterns were unhealthy, but still. Sometimes it’s hard to change, am I right?
Well, after spending more time in prayer and with Jesus (which I hadn’t been doing enough of and it showed), my thoughts began to shift.
What if, instead of all the horrible scenarios playing out as I had feared – what if their lives changed for the better? Imagine that! What if their relationship with God was ignited and challenged and they developed lifelong friendships? What if separation from their family was just what they needed to be stretched and ultimately learn the joy of letting God take care of them? What if they had exciting adventures and experiences that they could look back on and maybe someday tell their children about?
I’m finally (thank goodness) at a place where I’m genuinely excited for them to go and experience a week of camp.
Clearly, this isn’t just about camp. What’s going on in YOUR life right now that has your wheels spinning and spinning, only digging you deeper into the mud? Where do your thoughts need to shift from “expecting the worst” to seeing the ways God could use the situation in positive ways?
It’s not an easy shift to make, so I challenge you this week to spend more time in prayer. More time deliberately being thankful and speaking aloud the truths of God’s word. Ask God to bring about the change in your mind that you feel you can’t accomplish alone. Seek out a Christian counselor if you’re not seeing any light at the end of the tunnel. Have hope.
And don’t forget this promise from Joshua 1:9:
“This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Lord, I pray for each person reading this, that you would ease the burden in our minds right now. This world is full of burdens and brokenness, but it is also full of goodness and hope. Holy Spirit, bring your hope and truth to replace the lies in our minds. Let us find joy in the middle of trials and laughter in the middle of our storms. Be our joy, peace, and truth. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Book update: Power Up has been released for about a month now and I’ve gotten some great feedback! I honestly believe this is a book that every grade school aged kid could benefit from. I’ve also gotten great feedback from adults who have told me it opened their eyes to some new ideas. If you know of anyone who might benefit from it, would you help me spread the word? Honestly, this marketing thing is tough, so I appreciate all the help I can get. 🙂 Thanks for following on this journey with me!
This week, a dear friend I met on Twitter (yes, I discovered it is possible to meet dear friends on Twitter!) featured an interview with me on her blog. The interview focuses on the Holy Spirit and also covers some info you may not know about me, as well as my writing journey, and hopes and prayers for my new book, Power Up.
In place of a new post, please hop over to Melissa McLaughlin’s blog, Truthful Grace, to check out the interview! (Or find it at https://melissamclaughlin.org/ ). And while you’re there, peruse her other super-inspiring posts and consider signing up to receive her blog updates. She’s truly one of the kindness, most genuine, Jesus-loving souls around; you won’t regret it. 🙂
Praying that this week the Lord gives you a supernatural sense of peace, encouragement, hope, and vision. And in case you need this reminder from Jeremiah 29:11… “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future…”