Homeschool Encouragement

Are you ready to quit? Don’t do it!

I will rescue you from homeschool burnout!

I will be your Homeschool Coach.

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The Marriage Garden

This is the first post in the series of Garden Posts I promised you.

This post was written by my daughter.

She is a very gifted writer. She is 22 years old. I hope you enjoy this post and that the Lord speaks to you through it. May you be blessed in your marriage today.

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Gardens are meant to be tended every day. If you leave it for others or allow nature to take its course, when next you walk those familiar pathways, you will find that things are not as you remember them. Flowers that you once knew as well as your own children change and either wither or grow so that you no longer recognize them, becoming lost in a tangle of weeds and other plants.

In a world where the common belief seems to be that all things are relative and vows that were once taken with the utmost gravity, intended as a lifelong commitment, are now taken with only today in mind with no thought towards tomorrow, it is at this time that we should draw from the ancient wisdom of the garden. Experienced gardeners will tell you, “Miss one day of watering and you will spend the rest of the week making it up.” While this may only be true for more delicate flowers, the principle is one to bear in mind and attempt to apply to one’s everyday life. A relationship is many things, but one thing to which it is often related is a flowering plant. While not all flowers require the same amount of sunshine, water, or trimming, at some point, especially during the fragile beginning of their life, a plant must be carefully guarded and observed. While still a tender sprout, it is easy to see why one must be vigilant so that nothing treads upon it. But when the plant nears its maturity, one usually begins to lower their guard, believing that the flower has grown strong enough to be left on its own, unaided. Other hobbies begin to feel important again, tasks that were once at the back of our minds slide to the forefront, we allow ourselves to become busy. Our garden no longer takes precedence in our hearts and is left to fend for itself. Know that wherever there is life, there will be those who seek to either protect it, or prey upon it.

When a woman is joined to her husband, the two must take their relationship and replant it in a new flowerbed. This is the start of their garden. When a flower is uprooted and replanted in a new garden, it must be watched closely for any signs of trauma or discomfort as it struggles to adjust to its new surroundings. Patience and love are required during this crucial stage. One cannot allow themselves to be distracted by other things, for it is at this time that adjustments must be made to accommodate the fragile plant. If the soil is too dry, or the wind is too strong, or the soil does not offer the proper nutrition, one must be willing to make whatever sacrifices are needed to keep their flower healthy and growing. When a man and wife come together, they are both equally responsible for tending this garden and keeping the many trees and flowers therein healthy and strong. Over time, many lose the initial excitement of owning a garden and let their interests drift toward other things, forgetting the responsibility they accepted when they planted that first flower. If you return to a garden that is in ruins, sometimes the best thing to do is simply uproot the dead plants and replant new ones. Do not abandon your garden simply because it is no longer as beautiful as you remember it. Take care of it, nurse it back to health, even if only one flower of hope remains. You planted the garden together and it is your shared responsibility. No matter the trials or distractions that caused you to drift from it in the first place, when you return, do so with the intent to heal whatever has withered in your absence. You cannot expect fruit from a plant that has not been tended throughout its season.

Gardens!

garden red tulips

garden with waterfall

I started to write a post about how we need to get back to the garden. As I read, pondered, considered and prayed about this, I got confused and overwhelmed!

Too many things are compared to gardens for me to cover in one post.

So I will be writing a series of articles about gardens.

I hope you will come back and see what the Lord is revealing about gardens to many of His people in these days and why gardens are such a powerful metaphor of so many aspects of a person’s – especially a believer’s – life.

Men at Home

Men at Work Home!!!

Hey dads!

Do you realize that God has put you in an important role in your family?

You are charged with more than just being the breadwinner – as important as that is.

The Lord really has a greater job for you than the job that you do to support your family financially.

You are needed by your wife and children! They need your love, your attention, your teaching, feedback and input into their lives.

You probably work hard all day. It is very commendable to be a good provider for your family. And it does take a lot of energy and mental power.

But God has also given you the job of being the spiritual leader of your home.

Here is what the Lord says in His word in regards to the role of a man in his family.

For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”

Genesis 18:19

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Ephesians 6:4

If this is news to you, you should pray about it and ask the Lord what you need to do to step into this important role that God has established for you.

Your children need you to teach them about God and His ways so that they will be established in the truth and have an anchor for their souls.

Someday you will answer to God for how you handled this serious task.

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Read Aloud Revival

FAMILY READ ALOUD

We read books together as a family. This has been a great way to bond together. Otherwise, we may never gather together. Our group is made up of 12 very independent, distinct individuals. Can anybody relate?

As our children have gotten older, it has become more difficult to get everybody together.

At the time of this writing, I am actively homeschooling my youngest 6 children.

The oldest children are grown up. They are seeking their own paths for the future.

What a tough transition this has been for them and for me, their mother.

But I am still committed to reading aloud to my children.

I read three books to my six youngest children during Advent.

I Saw Three Ships by Elizabeth Goudge

Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp

Ishtar’s Odyssey by Arnold Ytreeide

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We are also reading The Green Ember by S. D. Smith. The kids are really enjoying it. Even the boys!

And I found a new author, Elizabeth Goudge, and started reading The Bird in the Tree and Pilgrim’s Inn by her. I loved them! I knew Shawn, my oldest, would love them, too. So I asked him if he would like to read them with me, as in I would read them aloud to him. He agreed, and we have been reading them together. It is so enjoyable to both of us to enjoy these wonderful books together. What a heartwarming, pleasant way to spend time together, enjoying the characters, the words, the story, all of these things TOGETHER!

I found out about these last several books from my newest favorite source of good books to read aloud. The Read-Aloud Revival podcast by Sarah Mackenzie. She blogs at Amongst Lovely Things and you can find the podcast in the links at the top of her page.

Her purpose statement is to build your family culture around books.

I am in complete agreement with that purpose.

She has a membership site that is awesome! I highly recommend signing up for it. There is a fee of $9.95 until 1/6/16. After that, the price will go up.

But the podcast is free.

At least make sure you go listen to her podcasts. I’m sure it will cause a Read-Aloud Revival in your home, like it has in mine. I am excited about reading aloud again.

And that has made a difference in the unity of our family. It’s important. At least, give it a try.

If you only have young children, read picture books to them. She has a podcast about that.

If you have older kids, read something you can all sink your teeth into.

Try it! It’s fun! And it’s good for all of you.