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 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
List of Christmas surprises in the last couple of days:
I got some inspiration from friends on Facebook for hanging the snowflakes.
Kelsey did a lot of decorating on her own.
We got a real Christmas tree for the first time in 10 years.
We put lights outside for Christmas for the first time ever!
Gary lost his job today.
BUT we know that God has a plan, and we are still walking in His blessing, no matter how it looks. So we are asking for prayer for direction and open doors again.
Thank you for praying with us.
Please pray in faith, not in fear, because we know that whatever comes out of fear is not of faith. And we know that God honors faith-filled prayers. We show Him that we trust Him when we pray with expectancy that He will answer us.
I will let you know so you can rejoice with us in the wonders that God is going to perform for us in the coming weeks.
Gary said that all of the decorations have lifted his heart and given him hope. He is doing very well in spite of the news he got today. Praise the Lord!
I heard this on the radio on the way home from taking Patrick to work this morning. Driving in Houston and its environs can be stressful, and it used to be really hard on me. I’ve been taking Patrick to work for 3 months now, and I’m finally becoming a little less tense in the crazy traffic. Today on the way home, I was able to listen to Air 1 and just enjoy the music.
When this song came on, I just started to worship the Lord. I didn’t care who was around or what was going on around me. It was a beautiful experience.
So I wanted to share it with you. When I looked it up based on the words I could remember, I couldn’t believe it was by Thousand Foot Krutch! I didn’t know they did any songs that sounded like this. I lean to the softer side of Christian Rock. And their album covers have looked kind of scary to me. But this song is a wonderful worship song. And I listened to a few more of their songs that I liked, too. You learn something new every day.
Speaking of Patrick…
Patrick is doing so well at his job at Family Dollar that the district managers were talking about how great he is with customers and how he always shows up on time and works really hard, and his managers told him about the conference call and what the higher-ups were saying about him. It was so encouraging and heartwarming to hear about his success and that he is thought of so highly by the management. They know his name, and they are expecting big things from him. His managers were proud of him, too. I was bursting with pride and thanksgiving to God for giving Patrick such favor with God and man. I pray for him every time I drop him off at work. He felt like he had a rough start, but things are going great now. And he is showing good character and a strong work ethic. He went in to apply as soon as he turned 18. He actually went in on his birthday and told them he was ready to get his job! And he got it! When they talk about how great he is doing, I tell him to make sure they know that he was homeschooled. He said that he always does. He is representing homeschoolers very well. And I’m so pleased.
He has been working there for 3 months now. He is saving up for a car of his own. He has goals and plans and is being very responsible with the money he is making. I am very proud of the way he is making the transition into adulthood and taking care of his own affairs.
On the way home from work today (he only worked until 1:00 today) he felt the sun and the breeze and decided he wanted to do something outside, so he and I got stuff for a picnic and swept everyone off who was well enough to go to the park for a picnic. Several of us got sick the week of Thanksgiving. Some are still recovering. Everybody went on the picnic today except for Gary, Katie and Kelsey.
It is Dec. 3, but it was about 80 degrees this afternoon. We had some problems with bees and mosquitoes, but we still had a good time. The highlight for some of the kids was feeding the ducks. They mainly did it to lead the ducks away from our table so we could eat in peace, but they ended up having fun feeding the ducks.
So in spite of some sickness, we are blessed and increasing and rejoicing in the Lord.
Look how much Fiona’s hand has grown in 2 years!
Her fingers have grown an inch longer since we made our Thanksgiving Tablecloth 2 years ago while living in York, PA.
Garrett and Fiona make hand turkeys.
Emma and Abby make hand turkeys.
Some of our Thanksgiving decorations
Making turkey cookies
Leaves for our Thanksgiving Tree
Garrett writing what he’s thankful for
Our Thanksgiving Tree – with lights!
What Garrett is thankful for
Our Thanksgiving Feast!
Thank you, Lois!!!
And Thank You, Kelsey Lois!!!
Kelsey made 4 pies, a pumpkin roll, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green beans, corn, stuffing, rolls, and gravy. If it hadn’t been for Kelsey, we wouldn’t have had a Thanksgiving meal. I did the rest of the food, but the older girls were both sick. We had several sickies that day, but we praised the Lord and enjoyed His abundant provision and had a good day anyway.
And that was our Happy Thanksgiving Day!
Throughout November we studied the Pilgrims. We made a lighthearted unit study by reading library books about the Pilgrims and Indians and listening to “The Stories of the Pilgrims” by Jim Hodges. I was on the Launch Team for the audio, so I was blessed to have a copy of it for free. We learned a lot about the Pilgrims through the stories. Each chapter gave historical information in story form and followed the lives of the Pilgrim children from Scrooby, England to the landing in the New World and beyond. It was very interesting and informative.
We watched the Charlie Brown special called “This is America, Charlie Brown: The Mayflower Voyagers”.
We watched “The Mayflower Mouse”.
We watched “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” on Thanksgiving Day.
We made hand turkeys.
We made turkey cookies.
Most of all, we made memories. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!
I guess I’ve never really written on my blog how I feel about whether people should use birth control or use natural family planning or let God decide how many people to put in their family. It is a controversial topic. But since I have used the theme of “sharing our journey”, I will now describe my journey to the understanding and reasoning that I have now about limiting or not limiting family size.
When my husband and I first got married, we were naive about everything but thought we knew everything, like most young newlyweds probably are. We talked about children before we got married, of course. I said that I wanted at least 3 children, since that was what my family had, and I figured that worked out pretty well. Gary said he would like to have an even number (for whatever reason), so we said, ok, we’ll have 4. And that was what I was shooting for. Sort of.
It was never a real concrete decision that I thought I would never change my mind about. It was just a nebulous idea of how our future might go. After all, I knew that I couldn’t predict the future or control it.
I have a tendency to let God lead, and I follow. That means my ideas and opinions have changed about a lot of things. And I have learned about things that I believe the Lord led me to, when I wasn’t even interested at first and had no clue that there was an issue. Many things that our society as a whole accepts, I was led to reject and do the opposite.
The number of children our family was to include was one of those things. I didn’t know that God really cared one way or another about this issue until I started really seeking Him about it after I had Patrick, our third child, and he had some birth defects. I was devastated, of course, but the Lord helped me through the guilt and confusion and fear as I pressed into Him and trusted Him to take care of Patrick and to give us a good quality of life in spite of his “limitations”. I have told Patrick’s story in the posts under the category Patrick’s Testimony.
One of the big questions I took to the Lord was, “Should I have another baby?” We went through some genetic counseling, and the doctor told us that it was probably just a fluke, and the chances of us having another baby with arthrogryposis were very slim.
I still needed to hear something more definite from the Lord about it. So I kept praying. I felt like He told me to talk to a slightly older woman at church who had 5 children, and she seemed to have a good head on her shoulders, and she knew about things that I didn’t know about living a more natural, healthy lifestyle. So I went to her house and asked her how she felt about birth control and the matter of limiting the number of children, etc.
She shared with me about natural family planning. Her husband actually kept a chart of her ovulation, so that they were both involved in making the decision of whether to have another child and when. I highly respect their wisdom and their partnership in praying together and discussing these things and communicating so intimately with each other. They were both open to having another child at the time I talked to them. He was as accepting of the idea as she was.
I took these ideas and meditated on them and ordered a book from Focus on the Family about how to keep track of my fertility. I read the book and learned enough to be able to tell pretty well when I was fertile. I kept praying for God to show me His heart about this whole issue of how many children I was to have.
Soon after I had Patrick and started his therapies and surgeries, etc., I found out I was pregnant with number 4! Patrick was 10 months old when I got pregnant again. I learned some things about the birth control pill that I found troubling. I also learned about the history of birth control and Margaret Sanger and found out that her reasons for pushing birth control were mainly about getting rid of black people. I prayed about birth control. I believe that God revealed to me that it is not His will for His people to use these forms of birth control. Most of them actually destroy an egg that has already been fertilized or keep it from being able to implant after being fertilized. In reality, it is aborting a pregnancy that has already been started. I believe that God causes that life to happen and we don’t have the right to destroy human life, even at that stage.
As I prayed about it more, the Lord led me to the line of reasoning that goes like this. Who makes people? God, of course. Who knows what people should be in each family? God, of course. Who knows how many people should be in each family? Yep, we all know the answer to that. Who should decide how many children we have and which children would be in our family? I came to the conclusion that it was God’s place to decide all of these things, not mine. He knows the future. He has the spirits of new people in heaven that He intends to send to earth, and He knows which of these spirits are supposed to be in my family that He wants to put in my and my husband’s care. He knows these things. My husband and I don’t. When it comes right down to it, number doesn’t matter. The heart of the matter is letting God have His way in our lives.
So what we basically ended up doing is letting God lead this area of our lives, just as we let God lead every other area of our lives.
I believe that God gave us just the right children and that He is pleased with our acceptance of His will for our lives. I could not be happier. I am so glad to have each and every one of my children. I am happy to still have young children side by side with my older children. My older children have learned so many good lessons from helping with their younger siblings. The younger children are so happy to have their older brothers and sisters to play with and learn from. We are proud of our big, happy family. We are close-knit and each of them loves all of their brothers and sisters. Of course we are not perfect. But I believe we have a higher level of family satisfaction than many other families that I have observed.
As I said before, it’s not the number that matters. What matters is obeying God.
God gave me ten children. I feel exceedingly and abundantly blessed to have such a full quiver.
That’s my journey.
I praise the Lord for my full quiver.
We watched this movie on Amazon Instant Video last year, and it was really good.
It is historically accurate, from what I’ve read about Squanto, and for Disney, that’s pretty amazing. We had read a library book right before that called Squanto’s Journey,
and it gave us more information than we had known before, and the movie was very similar and brought the story to life even more.
It costs $2.99 to watch it instantly on Amazon. That worked out well for us. You have access to it for 24 hours from the time you first start watching it. We watched it on our computer. You can watch it on many different devices.
This is from the Amazon website:
Rentals start at $2.99. If you rent, you’ll have 30 days from when you rent to start watching, and once you start watching, most movies have a 24-hour window to finish watching. Once the rental is over, the movie will automatically disappear from Your Video Library.
I haven’t read this book by Eric Metaxas, but it looks like it will be great. I’m definitely going to look for it. It has a strong Christian worldview and shows how God was involved with Squanto’s life in aiding in the founding of our nation.