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
I found these neat Thanksgiving printables at The Crafty Classroom.
I printed them out and can’t wait to use them this Thursday for our Thanksgiving table. It would be good to laminate them, but my laminator is still in a box. I’m going to tape the place mats to our old place mats that are shaped like turkeys.
The place cards have a conversation starting question or task for them to do, such as “Tell a silly story about yourself.” or “What are you thankful for?”.
We are getting pretty excited about Thanksgiving around here.
We have read “‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving”.
It was really funny. We all enjoyed it.
We also read “Thanksgiving at the Tappletons”.
It was also really funny.
Some other good books to read in the days leading up to Thanksgiving:
Thanksgiving Day at Our House Kelsey’s favorite. She reads this to the younger kids every Thanksgiving.
Thelonius Turkey Lives Kelsey likes this story and the recipe at the end for Sweet Potato Casserole. There’s another recipe in it, too, for Thelonius’ Feather Cookies.
The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh – enough information to be interesting, story about the Hopkins family, but easy enough for younger readers to read. This is a chapter book and covers the main topics of the Pilgrims, Indians and the First Thanksgiving.
Pete the Cat and the First Thanksgiving This is a lift-the-flap book. I haven’t actually read it yet, but I like Pete the Cat’s other books, so I assume I will like this one, too.
The Story of the Pilgrims Introduction to the story for younger children.
If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 Informative, makes kids think about what it must have been like to be a Pilgrim.
Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks Helps younger children understand why celebrate Thanksgiving – so we can give thanks! To God, for those of us who believe in Him. And to have a thankful attitude, in general.
The Pilgrims’ First Thanksgiving Good for ages 4-8, tells what it was like for Pilgrims in terms children can relate to, but describes hardships in a way they can handle.
Squanto’s Journey – lots of information about the details of Squanto’s life.
Sarah Morton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl – uses actual photographs of a 10 year old girl in period dress who reenacts Pilgrim life at reconstructed Plimoth Plantation.
Samuel Eaton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy Same format as Sarah Morton’s Day, but for boys!
Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving by Eric Metaxas – well-researched, historically accurate.
Another fun book to read is A Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin. The price for this at Amazon is ridiculous. I would get it at the library if it’s available. There are no copies available in our library system here. It is a very popular book. Here’s a summary of the story:
“Every year Grandmother invited a guest for Thanksgiving dinner and allowed Maggie to do the same. “Ask someone poor or lonely,” she always said. Thanksgiving was Grandmother’s favorite day of the year. The cooking was done and her famous cranberry bread was cooling on a wooden board. But she wasn’t happy to find out Maggie had invited the unsavory Mr. Whiskers to dinner. Would her secret cranberry bread recipe be safe with him in the house? After a long absence this delightful 1971 classic is back. So is Grandmother’s secret recipe!” The recipe is included at the end of the book.
Here is a fun way to learn more about Thanksgiving. A project pack from Hands of a Child for only $3.00. I recommend the lapbook ebook download or the Note Pack, which is like a lapbook but made to just put in a notebook instead of cutting little booklets. Students write information which is provided in the research guide.
Thanksgiving Curriculum from Hands of a Child
And no Thanksgiving celebration would be complete without A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving!
This cupcake idea would be fun to do to go along with the movie. This idea is on my Pinterest page and comes from here.
And here’s the story of the First Thanksgiving told by the Peanuts gang. Click on the YouTube button so it will go automatically from one clip to the next.
Relationships take a lot of work. More work than many people think. More work than many are willing to invest.
Whether it be the relationship between a husband and wife, mother and daughter, father and son, or any other combination you can permutate, there are dynamics, personalities, human foibles, differing viewpoints and mindsets that can make it difficult or impossible for some people to relate well to each other.
Misunderstandings are all too prevalent.
In his book, “Keep Your Love On”, Danny Silk identifies many of the dynamics that cause relationship problems.
With chapters like:
Powerful People, Powerful Relationships
Turn Your Love On
The Battle Between Fear and Love
Building Healthy Relationships
Communication: Exchanging the Truth Inside
Communicating in Conflict
Did You Learn to Love?
plus many more
You will learn about connection, communication and boundaries.
One thing we have to realize is that the goal of a relationship is either connection or disconnection.
We get to decide a lot of things. You’ve probably heard it said that love is a decision. We must practice unconditional acceptance and unconditional love. We learn not to control the other person while at the same time, we don’t accept their negative behavior.
We tell them, “No matter what you do, I am going to pursue the goal of connection with you.”
Danny observes that people who feel powerless will try to gain power by manipulating or controlling those around them.
All through the book, he presents scenarios that happen as people attempt to get their needs met by others instead of keeping the attitude that they should be powerful people who are here to help others. “A powerful person’s choice to love will stand no matter what the other person says or does.”
Another principle we all need to internalize is that the purpose of communication is to understand the other, not convince the other to agree with you.
These principles help us to realize that we are not at odds with each other, but we are on the same team.
1. The goal of a relationship is connection.
2. The purpose of communication is to understand each other, not convince the other to agree with us.
Danny has this to say about setting Boundaries:
“If you don’t prioritize your relationship with God, then your God Spot will end up with a human being in it.”
“Keeping God in your God Spot keeps you connected to the Holy Spirit’s incredible resources of wisdom and understanding to define your relational priorities and boundaries. He’s going to show you who you’re supposed to be, with whom you are supposed to be connecting, and how to build and protect those connections. He’s also the Spirit of power, love and self-control who enables you to follow through on your “yes” to these relationships.”
I have been putting many of these principles into practice since reading this book. I am reading it again to get it down deeper into my heart.
I feel that it has really helped me to improve my relationship and communication skills.
I feel so strongly about it that I have bought three more copies of this book, and I want to give these away to three of my readers. This giveaway will end November 28, 2014, the day after Thanksgiving.
How to win the giveaway:
Just leave a comment answering this question:
1. How do you keep your love light burning when your spouse is acting unloving?
Or this question:
2. Do you think a wife should confront her husband when his behavior is hurting his relationships?
I will read the comments, but I will just number the comments and choose a random number to give the books to. Please leave your email address so I can get a hold of the winners.
I wrote a similar post about marriage here based on things I gleaned from this book, KYLO.
Please read this post to get some more insights into ways to improve your marriage relationship.
I linked this post with the Wise Woman Builds Her Home link-up
Freedom is a good thing. We Douglases really value freedom. We are very independent and are glad to live in a country that allows more freedoms than so many other countries do.
We celebrate Freedom on more occasions than just the 4th of July. We have a day we call Freedom Day, which happens to fall on or near Halloween. We have chosen to celebrate Freedom on that day instead of the traditional things that are celebrated on that day.
The one thing our celebration has in common with the traditional celebration is — CANDY!!!
On or near October 31st, I buy lots of candy, and I make up lists of questions for each child, based on what they’ve been learning in homeschool.
Then I ask each one a question, and when they get the right answer they get to choose 2 pieces of candy.
Sometimes it moves kind of slowly, but they entertain each other between their questions, so they all really like it. They know the pay-off for their patience is going to be very sweet, so it helps them to wait their turn.
In this way, we can review what we have been learning and do some narration and earn candy all at the same time. Works for me! The kids look forward to this every year. When they hear others start talking about Halloween, they start asking me when Freedom Day is.
We went to Blessington Farms that same day, and Garrett tied into our theme of Freedom by doing the Statue of Liberty pose in one of our pictures.
On Freedom Day we celebrate Freedom of Religion, Freedom to homeschool, Freedom of Speech, and Freedom in Christ.
Which leads me to the second part of this post…
Did you know this was going to be a two-part post?
I’m throwing in this second part for free. dom.
Have you ever thought about what Freedom in Christ is?
What are we free from when we are in Christ?
Well, one thing we are free from is sin. When we make Jesus Lord of our lives, we are no longer slaves to sin.
We may still sin, but it is really our choice. We have power over sin if we ask the Lord to help us not to sin anymore, and we access the power of the Holy Spirit to help us.
Another thing we are free from is satan’s dominion over us. He cannot make us do anything.
If we don’t enforce our freedom, the devil knows ways to keep us in bondage.
He uses things like generational curses, generational sins, things that our ancestors participated in and pronounced on their descendants to cause problems in our lives just because they have never been specifically broken over us. These things are some of the demonic strongholds spoken of in II Corinthians 10:4 –
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,”
When Gary and I went away for our anniversary last weekend, I knew that I was supposed to help him get freedom from some things that the enemy was still using to keep him in bondage. There were some things he was doing, things he was thinking, mindsets, and attitudes that I knew were not really the way Gary was supposed to be.
These things were damaging his relationships with members of our family.
I knew that he couldn’t see them himself.
So I prayed about our anniversary trip the whole week before we went. I found a Bed and Breakfast not far from home. It was in a peaceful, country setting. The room I chose had a living room portion, too, with a nice couch, chair, recliner and coffee table. So we were able to sit and relax and talk about what was going on.
I brought some things to his attention. When I mentioned specific things he said or did, he told me he didn’t remember them. As we kept talking and praying about these things, I realized that there was demonic interference that was causing him to do and say things. He said that a shroud came down over his head sometimes and he would puzzle about something, he was kept preoccupied with trying to figure something out and it would last a while, and then when he came back to attention everybody would be acting strange, like something bad had just happened, and he didn’t know what it was.
Here’s how he described it:
“Like a shroud – a panicked feeling to resolve what was before me or else – not just one thing but several, and it created an unreal amount of pressure, feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and just impending doom and condemnation. I got used to it – just figured it was just me trying to solve the world’s problems.”
I would later tell him he did this or that, but he didn’t remember those things. When he described it that way, I realized that I had been talking to and dealing with a demon at times, thinking it was Gary, and I was getting really mad at Gary when I should have been mad at the devil.
After we realized who the enemy was and what he had been doing, we prayed about how he got in and what right he had to stay in Gary’s life and control him like that. We knew that it had to do with a familiar spirit passed down through his family line. We believe it was from a great uncle that was a shaman of the Cherokee.
Gary wrote down the list of behaviors, mindsets and attitudes and repented of them, came out of agreement with them, and commanded spirits associated with them to leave. Then he told the familiar spirit to leave, all of this in Jesus’ name.
After a while, he started laughing. He felt a change. He felt lighter. He felt free.
He started treating me different after that. I haven’t felt so loved and cherished in a long time!
Yes, indeed, Freedom is a good thing.
Kelsey wanted to go to a Pumpkin Patch. What Kelsey wants, Kelsey gets. Nah, not really. I really wanted to take the kids somewhere fun, too, so I did a search and found a couple of farms in the area that had pumpkin patches. One of them looked like it had lots of fun stuff without being too terribly expensive or too crowded, especially during the weekend after Halloween. So we went to Blessington Farms to check out the pumpkins and the rest of the attractions.
We were pleasantly surprised at the amount of fun things there were to do there.
We had to pay $10/person to get in, but we didn’t have to pay for any of the rides or anything once we were in.
The big slide was a lot of fun.
Garrett came down laying down.
Abby came down slightly sideways.
Garrett on his back again. I think it slowed him down a little bit and made him feel a little safer.
Safer, that is, until Kelsey came down and almost ran into him!
Here Garrett tried it sitting up.
He tried it on his belly and almost crashed into the side. Abby was standing right there, but she was too busy looking up at the top to be of any help to him.
Kelsey on her belly.
Kelsey at the bottom after a fun slide down on her belly. Abby went down lots of times, too, but I couldn’t really see what I was taking pictures of. I just had to point and shoot because the sun made it impossible to see what was on my camera screen. So the pictures I tried to take of Abby didn’t turn out too well.
Emma was with Gary on the other side of the hill, going down the slide there, so I didn’t get any pictures of her.
The little girls really liked the big sandpile, but we had lots of other things to explore, so they didn’t get much time to play in the sand.
We went through the petting farm.
The camels were 6 months old. I thought it was very nice of them to smile for the camera!
There were goats that were tiny.
They were so cute!
Nobody was afraid to pet them. One guy picked one of them up and carried it over to his son so he could pet it.
There were chicks.
My kids can’t wait until we can have our own baby chicks.
Garrett and Abby and Scooby rode on the pedal bikes.
Kelsey got in on the pedal bike action.
We finally found the pumpkin patch! But it had already been pretty well picked.
We were able to get some nice pictures with the few pumpkins that were left.
Garrett tried his hand at lassoing a steer.
Then we rode the barrel train.
The little girls rode in cows. And so did I. I rode in a cow behind them. It was so much fun! Riding on that barrel train was the most fun I’ve had in a long time. I threw my hands up in the air and yelled, “Wooh” just like on a roller coaster.
Kelsey and the twins brought up the rear.
The twins were the caboose.
The little girls were having a lot of fun. Almost as much fun as their mama.
And the sun goes down on the barrel train.
The next weekend, Gary and I wanted to celebrate our 26th anniversary. So I looked for a Bed and Breakfast in the area. To my great surprise, I found a FARM that was also a Bed and Breakfast that was only about 12 minutes from our house. It’s called Honey Farm.
And on that farm there was a cat. E – I – E – I – O!
There were also 2 llamas, a pony and a donkey named Rufus. They told me that the pony is the boss.
This is the back porch of the main house. There is a screened-in porch where you can sit away from the mosquitoes if everybody remembers to keep the screen door closed.
Side view of the main house.
Front view of the main house. Great front porch!
This is the door to our cozy love nest.
We had a bathroom inside. We did not have to use the outhouse in the picture.
And this is where I spent the majority of my time. I slept most of the time! I think I was fighting something off.
But it was very beautiful and comfortable and quiet and peaceful.
And the breakfasts were terrific. We had wonderful hosts who met our every need.
Gary and I had a wonderful time. It was the perfect place for our getaway. God really blessed us during our time together, and we both came away refreshed and rejuvenated. A lot happened for us spiritually, but I will write about that in another post in the future.