Welcome to my world!
I hope you’ll stay.
Since Father’s love changed me
I have something to say.
The One who loves me,
See, He also loves you
The things He’s done for me
He will do for you, too.
So come with me
As I follow the Lamb
Wherever He goes.
My life’s in His hand.
I trust Him and follow Him
No matter the cost.
Without His great love for me
I would be lost.
The words that you find here
I hope will breathe life.
In each day and moment
You’ll find His delight.
For surely His love for you
Is greater than you know.
Come with me now
To His presence we’ll go.
York, Pennsylvania 2011
Katy, Texas 2012
Hi, I’m Penney Douglas. I have been married to my precious husband for 25 years. We have been exceedingly and abundantly blessed with 10 children. They all belong to me and my husband. And to think that I was afraid I would never get married! I got a late start, but I guess late bloomers can blossom profusely once they get started.
I blog for several reasons. I like to keep a record of what we’re doing in our homeschooling and share ideas for other homeschoolers or moms who like to work and play with their kids. I try to encourage families to keep Christ first in their homes so they can be all that they were made to be. I want to help others to draw closer to God. I hope to glorify God and give Him praise for all that He does for us.
I am constantly learning, changing and growing. Sometimes I feel like a beginner even though I’ve been a Christian since I was 4 years old and I’ve been homeschooling for about 15 years. And I’ve been living for __ years (long enough!).
But the Lord has been faithful to keep me and my family on an upward climb drawing nearer to Him in spite of our weaknesses and mistakes.
He has led us on a crooked path across the United States and back and then some. (From Ohio to Kansas City to Arizona to Colorado, back to Kansas City to Illinois to Pennsylvania and now to Texas!) We are still looking for that place to call home. We hope to find it before the oldest chicks are ready to fly from the nest! But our desire is that they land somewhere near us even when that time comes.
We are believing God for miracles of provision. We have already seen many. We suffered the loss of our home almost 7 years ago. Now we live in a big, fancy house, and my husband is making more money than ever before. But the money is beside the point. What God did in each of our hearts, convincing us of His reality and His love for us, is worth more than all of the houses or money in the world. But now He has enabled us to help others in need, and we are grateful for the opportunity to bless others.
Our children are truly gifts from God. They learn from us and teach us so much. I would never have known even a fraction of how much God loves me if I had never had the opportunity to be a mother to my precious children. They are teaching me even more as they grow in wisdom and understanding and we share together what the Lord is teaching us.
Family was God’s idea. Marriage was His idea. God has good ideas. His ideas work.
He wants our families to be training grounds for children (and adults) to learn His ways and right ways of relating to God and to people. We learn how to die to ourselves when others are dependent on us, and when we have to learn to get along with the people around us in order to experience peace and harmony. The rough edges are rubbed off as we care enough to be honest with each other and humble ourselves to receive correction even from those younger than ourselves.
God created us because He wanted a family. That’s more than a trite saying. He created us in His image so that He could have sons and daughters that would look like Him, act like Him and love Him. He wanted to be a father.
He created you so He could love you. Receive His love for you. Let Him be your Daddy.
I’m participating in the Ultimate Blog Party 2012 at 5 Minutes for Mom. The second post on this page tells more about me and why I write this blog. If you’re a homeschooler, please read this first post and do whatever you can to preserve our homeschool freedom in this nation.
I would like to challenge new homeschoolers to carry the torch of homeschooling without government interference. Please learn the history of homeschooling in the United States. Find out about what happens in other countries when people desire to teach their children at home so that they can impart their values to their children.
See this story, for example. In most countries, they are persecuted and their children are taken away from them or forcibly taken to public school.
We have the freedom to homeschool in every state in the United States – now. But it didn’t used to be that way. Chris Klicka and the wonderful people at HSLDA helped the early homeschool pioneers to fight to make it legal. Before that, people in the U.S. who felt that God was calling them to teach their children at home were treated just like those people in other countries are treated now. They were persecuted by truant officers. They were even thrown in jail. They had their children taken away from them. They had Children’s Services called on them. They had to hide in their homes and never go out during school hours, or they would get “caught” homeschooling. This was in the 1980′s and ’90′s. It wasn’t that long ago.
There are books that tell some of these stories of the hard-fought battle to make homeschooling legal in America. One of these is Homeschool Heroes by Chris Klicka. There are interviews with early pioneers that tell of the harrowing experiences of being taken to court and threatened with jail time if they continued to educate their children at home. One that I know of is at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/watchtalk/2009/09/01/cultivating-your-childs-potential. This is an interview that Diana Waring did with Zan Tyler, who began homeschooling long before it was cool or accepted. The Lord led her into homeschooling and led her through the fire of legal battles and real threats to her freedom. Her stories are amazing and hard for us to believe in the atmosphere we live in now with the acceptance of homeschooling that we enjoy.
But there are threats to our freedom to homeschool in the way that we feel led of the Lord. Many times there has been legislation brought up to try to regulate homeschooling. This has happened in state governments and even in the federal government. The homeschoolers of my generation knew that we were the beneficiaries of great sacrifice and work by the generation before us. Our local support groups and state organizations made sure that we knew that homeschooling is a privilege to be cherished. They told us to guard that freedom and not to be fooled by any attempts of the establishment to infringe upon our rights or to curtail them in any way.
There have been several attempts to force homeschool parents to get a teaching certificate. Education falls under the auspices of state government, so the rules vary from state to state. Each of us needs to watch our state governments and see what legislation they are considering regarding our right to homeschool freely without any government interference. Each homeschool family should join HSLDA and keep track of legislation and threats to our freedom and cases where freedom is already being challenged by public schools and legislators. We all need to stand together.
Please be vigilant about this precious right that we have and don’t hand anything to your local school district that is not required by the law of your state. Be careful and cherish homeschooling as the gift of God that it is.
I linked this post at the BIG Family Friday Link Up at Holy Spirit-Led Homeschooling
Abby and Emma are excited about Abby’s dedication. We dedicate all of our babies to the Lord. But with all of the moving around we did during the last 5 years (her whole life), we never got settled at any church long enough to do it with Abby. So I decided to have her dedicated at our church that we’ve found that we really like, New Life Church in Houston, even though she is already 5 years old, almost 6.
I found this dress at Goodwill. I got accessories to go with it at Walmart.
After church, we went home and Kelsey continued to prepare the treats for her birthday party.
She made all of the treats based on video games that the kids have all played. These cupcakes are based on Starcraft. They have minerals on top of them, like the ones they mine in the game.
These are gas geysers from Starcraft.
These are Piranha Plants from Mario Brothers.
This is the kind of cake that the friends in Animal Crossing give to each other for their birthdays.
These stars are from Mario Brothers.
We had quite a spread!
Protoman is ready to party!
Yum, can we eat yet?
It’s finally time to start the party. And she’s on the phone.
Any day now…
Morgan is cool.
Grandma and Grandpa are ready for this party to start.
Abby is on a sugar high.
We were all amazed at all of the things that Kelsey made. We all took pictures of them.
We surprised Kelsey with the thing she wanted most of all. The Limited Edition Legend of Zelda Wii U. She was very excited. She screamed!!! You can watch her reaction here:
Marriage can be hard at times. A wise woman once gave me some good advice. She told me to pray down blessings on my husband’s head even when I felt like killing him.
I have remembered this advice many times when things have gotten – dicey.
No, I’ve never really considered killing him, but I have gotten pretty frustrated with him.
And there have been times that I just had to leave the room because I couldn’t stand being in the same room with him.
I never thought it could get to that point.
We have been through so much together. We made it through 4 years of unemployment with no income, 2 miscarriages, foreclosure, so much stress and anxiety that it almost caused each of us to have a nervous breakdown and then bankruptcy.
We survived all of that. Then the tension relaxed some. God changed everything for us. We found ourselves with $20,000 in savings (provided supernaturally), a job that paid more than we had ever made, and a nicer house than we had ever lived in. The pressure of poverty was relieved.
Even though things were better financially, and we felt more secure than we had been before, my husband’s faith had been damaged by all that we went through. He no longer knew what God might do next. He stopped trusting Him, talking to Him and studying His word.
He got mad at God, and I got mad at him.
I wanted him to be the high priest, the spiritual head of our family. And he was doubting everything he ever believed about God. Not a good situation.
When we hit Texas two years ago, we were reunited as a family (after a year’s separation because his job took him to another state), but our hearts were far from united.
I hate to admit it, but I did not have my usual amount of patience with him. When he said or did anything that I found insulting, offensive or insensitive, I left no holds barred. I told him what I thought about his insensitivity or impatience or anger or whatever fault I found with his behavior. That was a new thing, and he seemed rather surprised but not too perturbed by it. I think he was too numb to care. Or he was too stressed out to notice. He didn’t seem the least bit affected by it, and that made me even madder! Nothing I said was penetrating his consciousness, and it felt like he didn’t take anything I said seriously, so I started to lose hope that anything was ever going to get any better.
I have never felt as alone or hopeless about the future of our marriage or our relationship as I did then.
One day I was at the library (surprise, surprise), and I happened to be in the aisle that had books on marriage. I wasn’t particularly interested in reading about marriage. I was in the sulking stage of not caring since he didn’t seem to care. Honestly, I didn’t FEEL much of anything about him or about our marriage. I think I was looking for “Wild at Heart” by John Eldredge. I wanted it for Patrick. My eyes fell on another book written by John Eldredge called “Love and War”. He wrote it with his wife, Stasi.
It looked kind of interesting, and for some reason I felt compelled to check it out. Incidentally, I had just bought and read “Experiencing Father’s Embrace” by Jack Frost. I saw some parallels between Jack’s life experiences and anger and relationship problems and those I was observing in Gary. I asked Gary to read the book. I was completely surprised when he agreed to.
I halfheartedly started to read “Love and War” which was subtitled “Finding the Marriage You’ve Dreamed Of”. I read through most of the book and started to feel a little bit of desire to work on my relationship with Gary. I was at least convicted about all of the yelling I had been doing and the short fuse I was exhibiting for my children to see. Then I got to the last part of the book, and I started reading about spiritual warfare and how to fight the enemy when he is trying to mess with your relationship. BAM! That hit me between the eyes. I had forgotten about spiritual warfare.
I started to bind the enemy that was trying to destroy my marriage. I started to see some changes in Gary. He had been talking to a woman at work who said that her husband was a lot like Gary. The things that she said confirmed the things I had been saying to him. She wanted to meet me, and she wanted Gary to meet her husband. So one night we went to visit them. From our conversations with them, we came away with more desire and motivation to work on our relationship than we had before. We started to work together and talk about changes we needed to make.
I see some ADHD tendencies and behaviors in Gary. Things that have hindered communication and have been magnified since we came back together after being apart for a year.
He started to acknowledge some things and try to change his angry reactions and impatient, impulsive tendencies.
I also started attending a marriage class at church just to have something to do while I waited for Anna while she had worship team practice. What a coincidence, huh? We watched the movie “Fireproof” and started praying for our marriages. We started reading “The Love Dare”. I asked Gary to read it, too, and he said he would. I was shocked! One night he brought me flowers! Things are much better between us now. They have been steadily improving.
I also read the book, “Keep Your Love On”, by Danny Silk. It helped me to start seeing some things that I definitely needed to improve in, especially concerning communication.
But the thing that has been coming to me lately is that even at the worst, I really had no right to even think about giving up on our marriage. I should have been keeping at the front of my mind that I made a commitment before God and family and friends that we would stay together until death parts us. I had made a covenant with God, and that is never to be taken lightly. I repent of the thoughts I had and the low value I placed on that covenant I made with God and with Gary.
In the movie “Fireproof” they talk about the difference between a contract and a covenant. In a contract, one person agrees to do something as long as the other person does what they have agreed to do. But a covenant is different. In a covenant, each person vows to do what they say they are going to do, no matter what the other person does. In the movie, they use the illustration of a salt and pepper shaker that are glued together with super glue. Nothing can tear them apart without damaging the salt shaker or pepper shaker or both. Marriage is a covenant, not a contract. And the covenant is between the man and his wife and God. So it is more binding, and more sacred, than a contract.
So I should have been thinking about the covenant I made with God, even when I was not too crazy about Gary.
Now I’m able to pray for him while he sleeps. I pray with genuine love in my heart again. I pray with him while he’s awake. I’m not so impatient with his impatience or inconsiderate, impulsive behaviors anymore. I pray down blessings on his head.
The Lord gets all the glory, because I, in my own strength and my own love, was ready to throw in the towel. God led me along the path back to “felt” love for my husband.
If things are dicey between you and your spouse, remember the covenant you made with them and with God and ask God to help you get back to your first love. It may take a while, and there may be several steps along the way, but I am sure that He will lead you back to a relationship that is honoring to Him and is edifying to you and your spouse.
Hold onto your covenant.
Proverbs 5:18 Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice with the wife of your youth.
Malachi 2:14 Yet you say, “For what reason?” Because the Lord has been witness Between you and the wife of your youth, With whom you have dealt treacherously; Yet she is your companion And your wife by covenant.
Malachi 2:15 But did He not make them one, Having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.
What God has joined together let no man put asunder.
Matthew 19:6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
Remember your vows. Even when it’s hard to remember them.
Hold on tight to what is right. He will carry you through.