Filed in Changed By Love, Journey | Post by Penney

  • 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.

    P.M.D.

  • York, Pennsylvania 2011

    SONY DSC

    Katy, Texas 2012

    Hi, I’m Penney Douglas. I have been married to my precious husband for 24 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

    I glean a lot of useful information and teaching from Marilyn Howshall and Barbie Poling at www.LOLACHE.com. You can become a member of LOLACHE and get access to everything they offer or you can go to their blog and read their wonderful posts about their Lifestyle of Learning testimonies.

    I was really impressed by this blog post today. So I asked Barbie for permission to share some of it here. The whole blog post is here:

    http://lolache.com/LOLblog/what-is-necessary/

    “Gal 5:24-26 “Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good – crucified. Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.”

    This phrase really stuck out to me, “mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities” I was remembering how my life was before I learned how to be led by the Spirit. It really was mindless. It wasn’t that I didn’t have any thoughts. It’s that I didn’t spend much time thinking about the way we were living our lives. The schedule of our church activities along with the schedule of our school-at-home activities made it so that I didn’t have to think much about what we were going to do in a day. It was mindless. I used to say, “my life ran itself.”
    It was mindless because I whole-heartedly embraced what I saw everyone else doing – I was following along with what “others called ‘necessities’.” I thought it was necessary to be involved in everything happening at our church. I thought it was necessary to follow grade-level, subject-divided curriculum in order to educate my children. I thought it was necessary to provide my children with peers for friends. I mindlessly followed these things that seemed to me to be necessary simply because everyone else thought they were necessary.”

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    Many of the things on the list of “necessities” that Barbie mentioned in the post are things that I used to consider “necessities”, too. Needless to say, I think a lot differently now. The Lord has led me into a whole new way of thinking and “doing homeschool”. I sometimes feel a little pressure from other people to do things like everybody else does them. Even from Christians – sometimes even from other homeschoolers!!! But I keep doing what the Lord leads me to do through the Holy Spirit. It’s funny. Well, not really. It sometimes stings a little. People always want you to do what they are doing. If you are doing something different, they act like you are judging them and thinking that you are better than they are. What I do has nothing to do with what anybody else is doing. I share here what is working for us because I want to encourage people to listen to what the Spirit is saying. The Lord knows what is best for each family, for each child, for each member of the family. If I obey the Lord, then I know that He is pleased, and that is all that He requires of me.

    One thing that I share with new homeschoolers is that if you are too rigid you will probably not enjoy homeschooling, and I can guarantee that your children will not enjoy it. There is a balance between doing things just because they have to be done and doing things that are so interesting to you that they are fun. We need to do some of each. But the totality of our homeschool activities should not be drudgery and things that are difficult or uninteresting to us. We can use educational things that are fun as rewards for putting in some time doing things we don’t enjoy as much. We can take breaks when things are not working. We can change curriculum or not use curriculum at all. There are lots of options. I am relaxed, and my kids are not stressed. They are learning a lot. They are very smart. This is how the Lord has led me to homeschool. I have homeschooled my older kids all the way through. I still have young children, and I plan to continue homeschooling them all the way through, too. If you try to do too much or compare what you are doing with others, you will probably end up burnt out, discouraged, and may end up quitting. I will never consider quitting unless the Lord tells me I have to. But we need to do what the Lord tells us to do, and we need to do it in a way that is sustainable.

    In the near future, my oldest son Shawn and I are planning to write a blog post called, “Come On, Homeschoolers, Get Outside of the Box!” We want to encourage homeschoolers to think differently from the world and especially from the public school system. God is raising up a mighty army. We need to be His people, not people just like everybody else. Our goals and desires should be different from the goals of the world or the culture around us. I’m excited to have Shawn collaborate with me. Be watching for this blog post. It’s going to be good. Get ready to think deeply, because Shawn is a philosopher.

    You can read more of Barbie’s post at http://lolache.com/LOLblog/what-is-necessary/. I encourage you to read this post and all of the other posts on LOLACHE’s blog. They are teaching a message that I think we all need to hear.

    I was inspired to think about this topic through the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival that is happening here this week.

    My overarching philosophy is “Values are caught more than they are taught”, so my first thought about this is that parents model reverence for God, and then children automatically revere and honor God, too. It may not always turn out that way, but I believe this is generally what happens.

    One way that I have modeled reverence for God is that I speak about Him with reverence. I never take His name in vain and don’t allow that kind of language in our entertainment. Whenever I speak about God I talk about how great and holy and loving He is. I often speak about the wonderful things He has done for us.

    Whenever we study Science, I usually say something about how awesome God is as our Creator and the Creator of all things. When we study the universe, we are awed by how majestic and omnipotent God is. We see the stars and how far away they are, the planets and how enormous and diverse they are, the galaxies and how beautiful and magnificent they are, and we are filled with reverence and wonder. Then we study the microscopic world and are overwhelmed with God’s attention to detail and the care He takes to give intricacy to forms of life that we can’t even see with the naked eye. All of this inspires reverence for God, our Creator, the Creator of all things.

    When we study the Bible, I emphasize God’s mighty acts and steadfast love. We have studied the major Bible stories and Bible characters and God always shows His power and omnipotence and omniscience through the events that are recorded in these stories in Scripture. He does miracles. He delivers His people. He speaks to the people who will listen to Him. He is active and interested in the affairs of men and nations. His purposes unfold. History itself is His Story!

    I worship God and honor Him through singing and bowing before Him and raising my hands to Him. We sing worship songs together and individually with CD’s, or other forms of media. We sing to Him a capella or accompanied by Anna on her guitar. We spontaneously sing to Him when our hearts well up with gratitude to Him. I try to maintain a worshipful attitude in our home. This is not always possible because of video games or other entertainment that some members of the family are engaged in throughout the day, but for the most part, I try to do things myself that are God-centered because those are the things that I enjoy the most. I am not trying to act all holy, but in this day and age, I believe that the closer we can stay to God, the better prepared we will be for the things that are coming.

    We have family prayer time every day. We bring our petitions to Him. We thank Him for what He has done. We praise Him for who He is. We pray for others. Sometimes we share a devotional reading or a family-building teaching during this time. We sometimes reminisce about the miraculous things He has done for us in the past. Our children see both of their parents deferring to God as the leader of our family and the Provider and Protector that we depend on to meet all of our needs. We say The Lord’s Prayer together at this time, too.

    This is a true and honest account of the ways that I have tried to instill reverence for God in the hearts of my children.

    To me, actions speak louder than words, and when our children observe our reverent attitude toward God, they adopt that attitude themselves.

    Charlotte Mason spoke of the dangers of children developing an image of God as an Almighty Being watching from a distance, unconcerned about the affairs of man. Or another false idea of God standing by waiting to punish disobedience. But I believe that the personal approach we take to our relationship with God prevents these ideas from forming in the minds and hearts of our children. But at the same time, they develop the proper respect and reverence for Him as their Creator and Father in Heaven.

    Since moving to Texas, I have learned that taking pictures of Texas Bluebonnets every Spring is a Texas Tradition. So I decided we needed to do that this year. We are second year Texans, so we should act like it! So I asked some people who know about such things where to find Bluebonnets. They told me to head toward San Antonio on I-10, and I should find some. So we loaded up the van and started driving west. Gary is never very comfortable with just driving without a specific destination, but he was a good sport. We drove a long way. We passed some grassy hillsides that had lots of Bluebonnets, but they were right next to the highway, and I didn’t feel it would be safe to stop along the side of the road and let my little ones wander around on a hillside so close to a busy highway.

    We kept driving, and I could tell that Gary was getting tired, so I said we might as well go to the one hillside we saw. We turned around and drove a ways when I saw a flat stretch of grass with a lot of Bluebonnets and an access road that we could park the van on while we looked at the flowers. So I asked Gary to take us over to the access road. He got off the highway, and then I saw a sign for Stephen F. Austin State Park. I said we should just go to the park and see if they had some Bluebonnets. So we headed for the park.

    On the way there, we saw this quaint white church with a steeple reaching up to the sky, and out in front of it (or back of it really) was a whole field of Bluebonnets and other wildflowers – orange ones, pink ones, purple ones. I got excited. “That’s the place. That’s perfect!”

     

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    So we turned into the parking lot and parked our van, and Gary took our picture on the steps.

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    Then we attacked the Bluebonnets!

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    We knew we weren’t allowed to pick the Bluebonnets, but we hadn’t heard anything about the Indian Paintbrushes or other wildflowers, so I let the kids pick all of them that they wanted.

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    We found many more flowers than just the Bluebonnets. There were Indian Paintbrushes. They were very prominent.

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    Entireleaf Indian paintbrush, Texas paintbrush

    Castilleja indivisa

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    Texas Bluebonnets

    Lupinus Texensis

    But there were also lots of pretty purple and pink flowers.

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    Drummond’s Phlox

    Phlox drummondii Hook

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    I still haven’t been able to identify this white flower.

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    Gary and Katie preferred to watch from a safe distance. Something about spiders and snakes – and ants!

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    Fearless Emma ran through the field barefoot!

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    We did see quite a few anthills, but that’s to be expected here in Texas. We just watched where we stepped. Some of us did anyway.

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    We just enjoyed being out in the great outdoors where we could breathe fresh air and run around free. Emma wanted to climb a tree and was disappointed that none of them had branches that she could reach.

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    I just savored our time out in nature.

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    Garrett got to practice his photography skills. All of the pictures with the time stamp were taken by him. He did a great job. He seems to have a good eye. Many of his pictures were better than mine! His time stamp was off, though. It is only March of 2014, but his camera said it was January of 2015! I said that Garrett was somewhere in the future and he was taking pictures of Bluebonnets better than his Mama! A hat tip to Kim Clement’s song, “You’re Somewhere in the Future”.

    Here are some of my favorite shots of the Bluebonnets.

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    We loved our adventure with the Texas Tradition of photographing Texas Bluebonnets. It makes us feel like real Texans now.

    Now all we have to do is get us all cowboy boots and hats.

    And train ourselves to say, “Howdy y’all!”

    Ya’ll come back now, hear?

    Gary and I were honored to take part in this song. Gary did the production and collage for the video and the guitar picking for the audio, and I got to sing some back-up. What fun!

    We hope you enjoy this song and will worship along with us.