20 Homeschooling Articles {Round Up}

Several of you asked that I post all of my homeschooling articles in one place. Here you are. Happy Homeschooling!

20 Homeschooling Articles


Five Questions Every Homeschooling Mom Should Ask Before Choosing Curriculum

SomeOur Favorite Homeschool Resources/Tools Series :Part I, Part II, Part III

Good Advice On Home Education

The Early Years of Home School

Favorite Friends In the Early Years

Being Scared to Death Of Homeschooling

God Is Bigger Than Our Educational Choices

Grace For the Homeschool Mom

Homeschooling {or not} During Times of Crisis

One Reason I Love Homeschooling

Fun Things For Homeschool

A Little Trick I’ve Learned Through Homeschooling

We Censor Our Kids’ Books {And a trick that makes it easy}

Hey, What Are You Looking At?

Charlotte Mason on Taking our Kids Outdoors

Limitations Make Children Creative

Advice on Education from Across Party Lines

Summer: The Perfect Time to Start Nature Study

Adding Watercolor To Your Nature Study

An Example of Charlotte Mason Narration


Hello? Hello? Yes, I’m still here.

Hey guys. It’s been a while since I’ve written and I feel like I’m out of the blogging loop lately. We just got two of our kids back to college, we’re getting ready for school, caring for sweet Little B,  and we’re gearing up for house renovations.



I was talking to a friend about how many transitions we’ve had in the past five years. I’ve realized that I get emotionally tired during transition times and that being self aware is not one of my strengths.  I’m super intuitive when it comes to caring for everyone else, but not when it comes to me. (Case in point: I was getting read for a dinner party last week when I realized that I had a headache. It was 5 pm and I hadn’t eaten all day. That.) Sometimes you need to plan for self-care.  Physically, I need to plan rest. Emotionally, I need solitude, even for just an hour. And spiritually, I need to take in God’s Word in slow, careful amounts, meditating and ruminating over the truths in them. I really appreciated this article 10 Ways To Overcome Spiritual Weariness.


And although transitions are hard for me, it’s really exciting to see how God goes before, directs, and helps our hearts at these times. And can I just say that Peter is amazing during these times? He’s so wise about what needs to be done, what should be let go, what is primary vs. the peripheral. I’m so thankful for him!

Sometimes I really start to question what God is doing and if this is all going to work out in the end, and lately, everything that God has been pointing me to in my devotions, readings, and sermons can be boiled down to these 3 things:

1. The destination is not for me to choose. I go along for the ride and trust God.

2. The outcomes are not as important as faithfulness along the journey.

3. Sin is a daily companion that must be crushed. To overlook it in our own lives is to actually sow a crop that we don’t want to flourish.

I’ve been seriously overwhelmed by the news lately. Have you? It feels hopeless, doesn’t it? I recently read that nearly 400 pastors were “outed” in this Ashley Madison leak and can I just say that it is God’s mercy on them that they were exposed? And it was God’s watch care over His church that allowed such disgrace to be addressed?

And while we’re all wondering how these people could possibly be serving God and living such a double life, let’s remember our own propensity to sin and fear the consequences of it all the more.

I talked to my kids a little about it and explained that the fear of God is supposed to be our motivation not to sin. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” But honestly, because we can’t see God, sometimes we don’t respect him as we should. I told them that oftentimes, when I am tempted to sin, I think about the affect it would have on their father or them. I try to think about the look in their eyes. And then I came across this piece by Sarah Mae, What I Know About Cheating and Consequences, which expressed my thoughts exactly (and more beautifully than I could.)

This world is broken, and eternity looks better and better every day, doesn’t it? Key take-a-way from the nightly news? People need the Lord in a desperate way!

I tend to freeze up when I hear horrible news. OR I clean like a mad woman. I don’t know why. Does anyone else do this? Because I tend to be an Idealist, the enormity of the mess of this world makes me want to give up, which of course is crazy.

We can’t do everything but we can do something.

You can start right where you are, small. Start with you. Make sure your life is a life of integrity. Is your public life a true mirror of your private life? (Ask your family. They’ll tell you.) If not, this is the very definition of hypocrisy.

This article, The importance of What We Do In Secret is helpful. Then, be a light wherever you are. Do good, be kind, promote righteousness, and share the gospel.

What about you? Does the news make you want to shut down?

It’s been fun keeping up with your pictures on Instagram and Facebook and seeing what you’ve been up to. And I’m really enjoying Periscope right now. (I’m I’m @joyfilleddays if you want to find me.) Scopes I like: MacKenzie @BOLDturquoise and BoldTurquoise.com, @JessAConnolly from Naptime Diaries and of course, my friend, Ruth from Gracelaced.com @gracelaced.

What have you been reading and loving right now?

Happy end of the summer, you guys! Enjoy your weekend!

Thoughts on being scared to death of homeschooling, and thoughts on the thoroughly educated child

I’m entering my 17th year of homeschooling.

If you’ve read here for more than two minutes you know I favor the Charlotte Mason method, have an artsy/crafty bent, emphasize music and poetry, read a lot, and tend to be rather eclectic.

What you might not know is that I feel totally unqualified to do this job.

I’m not musical. I was an average student. I didn’t like to read. I’ve not mastered higher math or science, so how could I ever teach it!?

(I am artsy and that’s about it.)


I’ve always known that I could not give my children the kind of education they need.

This has been the cause of a lot of fear in my life. I love my kids and didn’t want them to suffer because their mom was a bumbling idiot who thought she could do a better job than an actual teacher. I’ve always realized that if I messed this homeschool gig up, my kids would be the one to suffer in the long run. No pressure there.

I decided early on that the best course of action would be to attend a local homeschooling conference. For me, it was overwhelming and seemed to confirm what I already knew–“I’m not cut out for this.” Walking the aisles, eyes scanning the mounds of curriculum (too many choices!) I literally feel dizzy.  I was afraid that someone might try to strike up a conversation with me about what curriculum I’ve been using, and recognize me as the homeschooling fraud of a mom that I felt like.

I didn’t benefit from a homeschooling conference, but I did greatly benefit from an experienced lady at our local support group, Debbie. She listened and gave feedback. She encouraged me although she had a gazillion other things to do. She talked to me about all of the different ways people homeschool. She just gave me courage.

As I took each step, I also learned another truth: God had gone before me and was there to help me each step of the way. He was walking my homeschooling journey with me. He knew before the foundations of the earth that I’d be doing this job that I felt totally unqualified to do and that half the time I thought I’d lose my sanity performing. (You’re with your kids 24/7, ya’ll. That can be oh-so-good and bad.)

When I asked for guidance, He gave it. When I seemed lost, He helped me find my way through the advice of a friend or by information on the internet.

I learned that knowing my own limits as a teacher and understanding my personality mattered tremendously because I couldn’t be someone who I was not. And learning the personality of each child was crucial to understanding their learning style.

I devoured For the Children’s Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School and A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on The Gentle Art of Learning and Educating the WholeHearted Child  and realized that I was drawn mostly to the Charlotte Mason method.

I connected with Charlotte Mason’s respectful ideas about children:

  • that they are not creatures to be molded/created but were already born a person;
  • that adults should not abuse power or use fear/manipulation to make a child learn; (all I can think about is Mr. Gradgrind in Dickens’ Hard Times!)
  • that the mind of a child thrives on quality knowledge.

I appreciated that she taught that children should be kept clean, taught good manners, never demeaned (this during Victorian England when children were to be seen and not heard).

In short, children are capable and deserve respect. You don’t teach them how to learn—they already have that capacity. You provide excellent resources.

I realized that I don’t have to be an expert on anything to read my children excellent books and to expose them to the lofty ideas and beautiful language of people more intelligent than I.

I try to lead a “beautiful life” (cultured) with my kids. Much of this comes by adding music, art, literature, and details to our surroundings during the day. For instance, I might add flowers or a candle to our school room. I display the artwork of one or two artists per month on my fridge to familiarize them with that artist’s style. We read the poetry of one or two famous poets per month.We bake and craft.  We take nature walks to enjoy the creation. We have tea and cookies in the late afternoon in the fall/winter. We enjoy local produce and do seasonal excursions. These are all things that anyone can do. I’m trying to raise kids who notice and appreciate little things because education is more than taking in information.

To be truly educated, you have to care about how you fit into the grand scheme of life. Knowledge has to change you for the better and move you to action. You have to appreciate beauty simply for the love of it. You have to be curious about the inner workings of that concept you don’t quite grasp.

A truly educated person cannot be indifferent to the suffering of others no matter how “insignificant” they are on the social scale. I don’t care how much my kids know book-wise if it doesn’t cause them to be better neighbors. 

I think as a society we’re satisfied with a shoddy definition of education. As moms, we have to make sure that we don’t confuse taking in information with being educated or advancing through school with understanding knowledge.

We need to see our kids as whole people–education being a small part of who they are.

They need to know that they were created for a relationship with God and that outside of that relationship, nothing else makes sense. Their minds need to be informed and infused with the mind of Christ.

As I enter another year, I am confronted yet again with my own lack: lack of expertise, energy, and knowledge. And I know that though homeschooling can be lonely, I am not alone; God has gone before me and will be with me (and you!) as we start this new year.




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For the mom who had a rough day

For the mom who had a rough day, who didn’t live up to her ideals, who blew it with her kids, who wasn’t what she should have been, who acted like the mother she vowed she’d never be,

bad dayFor the wife who is discouraged and lonely, hopes dashed, carrying more than your weight of the load, wondering how you ended up here instead of happily- ever-after,

For the college aged girl who is struggling to figure out life, who can’t change her circumstances, who is just beginning her journey but is already afraid, can’t see light at the end of the tunnel, wondering if life is supposed to be this hard,

For anyone who is feeling the weight of discouragement,  the tension between the hurt you are feeling and the joy that you know you should have, I want to offer some hope that has helped me when discouragement seems to be the emotion of the day, week, month.

I know it seems that discouragement puts you in limbo, but it actually can serve a purpose. Discouragement can be a catalyst to drive you to God. 

Here are a few things that have helped me:

1. See where you’re stuck. Often it’s on the wrong things.

My thoughts are “sticky” and often get stuck on the negative instead of thinking Truth. Satan sends condemning thoughts:

You’re house is such a mess. You’ve failed your kids. You’re so fat. You’ll never have it together. 

Sometimes discouraging thoughts come from within: This will never change. She’ll always be a problem person. He’ll never change.

Grace says that I am not the sum total of what I did on my worst day. I am whole in Christ.

If I can change my situation in a godly way, then of course I should. But if I can’t, I need to make a choice. I can dwell on the negative and continue to spiral downward or I can take action and lasso my rouge thoughts. Take your thoughts to scripture and see if they line up with truth.

2. You Live Grounded.

Just like a boat has an anchor that keeps it from going adrift when storms come and the tides change, we need to be anchored in the truth about what we know about God. Grounded in grace, attached to the Vine, abiding in Him.


I’ve found this to be true especially in times of discouragement. Trials come, waves crash, and the water can be choking, but no matter how crazy the storm gets, we can only drift so far because we are secure in Christ.


Although my life may seem to be shifting out of control when I’m anchored in God’s word and my communion with Him is strong and focused, the storm almost doesn’t matter.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea: Though the waters thereof roar and be troubles, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.” Ps. 46: 1-3

3.  Live With Expectant Hope

Even when things are unplanned and unpleasant and I feel the weight of the disappointment, I have hope. Like the Psalmist in Psalm 42 who laments his problems, but then reminds himself “Why are thou cast down, O my soul, and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God. For I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.”, we, too can lament our problems, but then realize that we also have hope.

Our primary hope is God.

We pursue many things feverishly. The psalmist said that he pursued God and desired God like a thirsty deer after the chase of the hunt pants for cold water.

Our trials can drive us to thirst for God or to despair.

In “down” times, I have to ask myself, “Why are you so sad? What’s been taken from you that you love so much?” In other words, “Sarah, what are you hoping in? Why are you living like God is dead and not on the throne?”

What’s the remedy for my cast down soul? Hope in God alone. 

When everything else has been stripped away,

When the thing you worked your whole life for crumbles before your eyes,

When the worst thing you can imagine becomes your reality,

you will still have God and He can never be taken from you.

This life is a moment, but my relationship with God is for eternity, so whether I feel like it or not, I must hope in God alone.

4. Re-train and renew your mind to remember the truth.

We are inundated with media and messages and they can really weigh on our soul without us even knowing it. The nightly news, the politics on Facebook, wars, killing, the inhumanity and cruelty we see on a daily basis can really discourage us. Negativity breeds negativity in the mind. We need to be super careful what we feed it.

This is why meditating on scripture is crucial for me. I can’t read the Word and walk away from it, because it won’t “stick” in my mind. I have to put it in front of my face. My friend Joy writes a verse on her hand so she can see it while she works. Do what you have to do to remember God’s word.



5. Walk with hopeful expectation.

Even though things are not what I expected right now, I can have confidence in God. I know that God is with me, and is working this situation out for my good and His glory. Maybe I won’t get relief from my circumstances, but God is making me holy in the process of submitting to His will. He’s breaking my stubbornness and selfishness, showing me that my self-reliance was really living like an orphan when I had loving Heavenly Father. Not one detail of my life is out of control or overlooked. 

I know we live in a feelings oriented culture where if you do something when you don’t feel like it, it’s termed unauthentic or hypocritical.

But the Christian is reminded to “train yourself to godliness.” 1 Tim. 4:7b

Just like I don’t always feel like washing my dishes or saving money or dieting, I do it because it’s right. And,

whether I feel like living under the authority of the Word of God or not on a particular day, I train myself to do it because it’s right.

In times of trouble, seek God’s face.

When we can’t change our circumstances we should seek to change our attitude.

Hang in there, friend. Your God is bigger than this and He won’t fail you.

Your God-ordained Job for Today

“What does God want me to do?” or “What is God’s will for my life?”

These are two common questions women ask. They flounder: “I feel like I should be doing more…maybe I’m missing the boat somewhere.”


Have you ever felt this way?

I’ve come to believe that most women struggle with “God’s will” because they are comparing their life to others.

This mindset is especially tempting when we forget that God values what He calls us to do, whether we think it’s significant or not. 

Cleaning the house, changing diapers, making meals, running errands, caring for the sick–these unimpressive, mundane tasks bring glory to God when we do them with a heart towards Him.

We look around and compare our life to that woman over there who is thin, beautiful, rich, has a doting husband, cooperative kids, never-ending energy, and always has it all together.

We believe that we need to be remarkable and the comparison begins:

  • The younger mother whose days are full of caring for young children feels guilty for not getting out and visiting the sick more.
  • The daughter who is caring for an elderly parent and barely gets out of the house longs to start a ministry of encouragement to younger moms.
  • The financially struggling woman wonders if she should be entertaining more.
  • The single mom feels guilty that she can’t cart her kids around to every activity because of her hectic work schedule.
  • The older woman feels guilty that her arthritis won’t allow her to be out and about serving others like she once did.

Here’s the thing: Wherever you are today, the most remarkable thing you can do is to do good and serve the people right in front of you now, because the truth is that there are not many who are willing to embrace the mundane and obscure for the glory of God. So if this is where you find yourself, take heart and jump in:

  • If you find yourself with kids today, serve them.
  • If you are with your husband all day, encourage him.
  • If you are caring for the sick, do it with cheerfulness.
  • If you come face to face with a cashier, bless her.
  • If you have any human interaction, represent Christ well.

Be the hands and feet of Christ right where you are.

Don’t wish you were doing something “more”–more important, more visible, more life-changing. The lie of “more” is a trap that keeps you from joyfully serving what you believe to be “less.”

The most remarkable women I know are the ones who don’t care who sees or applauds or appreciates—they just live a faithful life every step of the way, no matter where the path leads.

Where do you find yourself today? Do you believe that God ordains all of your days? What’s on your agenda today? No matter how un-glamorous, be faithful and diligent to God right there.

What resources do you have? Are they meager? Use them anyway. If you have a teapot, use it. If you only have the gift of gab, use your words to bless someone else. If you have social media, make it a blessing.

Be so busy doing the will of God and serving others that you don’t have time to notice what others are doing.


Don’t Put All Your Eggs into One Basket

We’re reading through Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands and we’re working on chapters 4-6 this week.

Last week, my friend Lisa brought me eggs, and I found myself recalling this farm-y saying over and over again: “Don’t put all your eggs into one basket.”

photo (3)

And as I read Instruments, I kept thinking of that “one basket” and realized that when we love or serve anything other than God, we’re putting all our eggs into one basket, and it’s the wrong one at that! I envision Ma Ingalls gathering her eggs and putting them carefully into a basket to sell in town. Now imagine that her basket has no bottom to it and consequently, can never be filled.  Yet, she keeps dropping the eggs in over and over again as though eventually with enough energy, persistence, or creativity, the basket will somehow fill.

We do the same thing when we place our hope for happiness in things that weren’t meant to and can never deliver hope.

I’d just be happy if…

If only I had this…

Things will be better when…

That one thing. That one thing that can never deliver.

It might be a good thing that your heart dwells on for just a little too long.

It no longer becomes a “nice to have” but morphs into an “I must have” or else. Your fist tightens and your heart clings a little too tightly. An expectation, a demand, my ideal version of my life.

You hand craft this little idol in your heart and you now set out to worship it. You come to believe that you can’t live without it or you’ll never he happy. You make “provisions for the flesh” to accommodate it. You spend time and money on it. You get mad when someone else has it. You wake up thinking about it and go to bed dreaming about it.

“What our heart clings to and confides in is what we truly worship.”

We all worship. The question is who or what are we worshiping.

I think we often use God and others to get what we want. Let that sink in. Instead of loving God and others first and best, we use them to accomodate our own ends. We wouldn’t actually say that, so we re-name the terms to make it more palatable, but the end result is the same. We use God and people in our idol-serving, mini-kingdom-building endeavors.

We want to reign supreme, so we live life independently of God. We resist the authority in our life. We war with anyone who doesn’t see life on our terms. Life as an idolater is unhappy and hard, and when we are conflict we tend to blame others when our problems are really the fruit of our own idolatry. We’ve sown a harvest and now we are reaping it.

“All human desire must be held in submission to a greater purpose, the desires of God for His kingdom.” Instruments, pg. 85

God has a plan for our lives. He is going to use us for His kingdom purposes. I think the biggest lesson to learn from these chapters is that God will not use someone who is sinning to get what he/she wants. In fact, God will continue to make your life hard and resist you.

“The goal of God’s grace is his own glory, as he calls out and purifies a people that belongs to him alone. When he owns their hearts unchallenged, these people will be eager to do what is good in His eyes…His jealousy for our hearts is not a threat, but our ONE TRUE HOPE. Our God is eternally unwilling to share our hearts.” pg 85

I hope as you read, that you are encouraged to change as the Holy Spirit leads you and to do what is right regardless of what others around you are doing. Don’t wait for your husband to change before you change. Don’t wait for that prickly person to straighten up before you do what is right. You are responsible for you and God wants all of your heart now.

This is a wonderfully challenging and convicting book and one that will be life changing if we are meek enough to receive instruction. Let me know what you’ve learned so far in the comments or in the FB group.

Happy reading.

Some Lesser Known Lessons From Elisabeth Elliot {pt 2}

Yesterday I shared some of my notes from lectures by Elisabeth Elliot. Today I’ll share a few more words that may bless you from her life.

elisabeth elliot 1

From Let Me Be A Woman

This love of which I speak is slow to lose patience…it looks for a way of being constructive.
Love is not possessive.
Love is not anxious to impress nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own ideas.
Love has good manners and does not pursue selfish advantage.
Love is not touchy.
Love does not keep account of evil or gloat over the wickedness of other people. On the contrary, it is glad with all good men when truth prevails.
Love knows no limits to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything.
It is, in fact, the one thing that stands when all else has fallen.


elisabeth-and-kidsFrom Quest for Love

“Does it make sense to pray for guidance about the future if we are not obeying in the thing that lies before us today? How many momentous events in Scripture depended on one person’s seemingly small act of obedience! Rest assured: Do what God tells you to do now, and, depend upon it, you will be shown what to do next.” 


This quote has been taped to my fridge so many times during the years. It was such a help to me during my early motherhood years!

“This job has been given to me to do. Therefore, it is a gift. Therefore, it is a privilege. Therefore, it is an offering I may make to God. Therefore, it is to be done gladly, if it is done for Him. Here, not somewhere else, I may learn God’s way. In this job, not in some other, God looks for faithfulness.”


From Keep A Quiet Heart

Why is God doing this to me? When I am tempted to ask that question, it loses its power when I remember that this Lord, into whose strong hands I long ago committed my life, is engineering a universe of unimaginable proportions and complexity… yet He makes note of the smallest seed and the tiniest sparrow. He is not too busy to keep records of even my falling hair. Yet in our darkness we suppose that He has overlooked us. He hasn’t.


From Keep A Quiet Heart on Jesus sleeping through the storm

He slept in the calm assurance that His father was in control. His was a quiet heart. We see him move serenely through all the events of His life–when He was reviled, He did not revile in return…Jesus in the unbroken intimacy of His Father’s love kept a quiet heart.

Purity of heart is to will one thing. The Son willed only one thing: the will of His Father. That’s what He came to earth to do. Nothing else. One whose aim is as pure as that can have a completely quiet heart, knowing what the psalmist knew: “Lord, You have assigned me my portion and my cup, and have made my lot secure.” (Ps. 16:5) I know of no greater simplifier for all of life. Whatever happens is assigned.


A quiet heart is content with what God gives. It is enough. All is grace.


What do we really want in life? Sometimes I have the chance to ask this question to high school students…I am surprised how few have a ready answer. Oh, they come up with quite a long list of things, but is there one thing above all others that they desire?

“One thing have I desired of the Lord,” said David, “This is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life…”

In the parable of the sower, Jesus tells us that the seed which is choked by thorns has fallen into a heart full of the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desire for other things.


An Empty Chalise, Lecture

If we are true servants, we won’t make a fuss about the fact that that’s not my job.

“Let thy love abound in our hearts and sweetly and powerfully constrain us to all faithful and cheerful obedience.”

Mary was a shining example of servanthood. She was a child, really, and she loved God. Jesus said, John 14, a clue to what it means to love God…if you love me, do what I say.” The singing and the talking and the praying about loving God does not come close to obedience. The only valid test of our love for God is our obedience.

“We love because he first loved us.” and it was his love for God that was shown in His obedience. (Jesus) “The world must be shown that I love the father and will do exactly what He says.” And that is still true. The world must be shown that we love the Father and will do exactly what He says.

Mary’s response to the angel…she was troubled…but she was a girl who knew how to keep her poise, but the words, “The Lord is with you.” The angel said, “You have found favor with God. You will be with child, you will name him Jesus…His kingdom will never end.”

What are the limits to our love? The Lord says, “If you love me, do what I say.” Can you search your heart and see what the Lord is telling you to do that you are evading? Are you consciously disobeying? If we are to be made proper servants, proper servants, we surrender all our rights.The servant is at someone elses orders. He has no agenda of his own.

So, ask, Lord, What are the limits of my love?

Am I supposed to love that woman in the church who makes things so hard for everyone, or that woman on the committee, that difficult person…difficult spouse.

Do we love enough? True love is always sacrificial.

“Behold the handmaiden of the Lord.” Let it happen as you say it should.

Mary said, “Yes, Lord.”

Betty Stam: “Anything you say, Lord. I give up all my own plans and purposes and accept (receive with both hands) thy will for my life.”

When people ask me about finding the will of God in life, I tell them that my experience has been that if we are obedient in this present moment, this one day–because we have no guarantees of tomorrow– that tomorrow’s guidance will be perfectly clear when tomorrow comes.

“In acceptance lieth peace.”  Amy Charmichael. Obedience is the proof of love.


The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances.



Lesser Known Lessons From Elisabeth Elliot

Like many women, my life is better for having read and heard the teachings of Elisabeth Elliot.

elisabeth elliot

I appreciated her gracious, no-nonsense approach to teaching, perhaps because I am from New England where emotions tend to take a back seat to common sense.

She spoke truth and didn’t apologize for God’s Word, and she didn’t conform God’s word to the whims of the women she spoke to.

elisabeth elliot

I have to admit that she was one of the only women that I actually enjoyed hearing speak. (I have a hand full, and she topped the list.) She practiced what she preached, and her experience from her own authentic walk with God gave her credibility. She challenged her listeners to get to know God in an era where everyone was trying to find themselves to be fulfilled. She didn’t care if her message was popular or not because she lived for the approval of One and encouraged us to do the same.

There are many tributes to Elisabeth this week, all sharing her wonderful quotes. Today I want to share some of my personal notes from lectures I listened to over the years. Hopefully they will bless you as much as they’ve blessed me.


From a Contest of Wills, lecture

Are we accepting the will of God? Are we prepared humbly, and gratefully and faithfully to receive his will and say “Not my will be done, but Thine.” 

He knows better than we do. He is a loving Father and he knows what’s good for us. I hear mothers talk about having a “strong willed child.” My question is, “What kind of Strength is it?” Is it strong enough to pit His will against yours?

Jesus in his agony in the garden said, If it be possible let this cup pass from me. But if it is not possible nevertheless not my will, but thine be done…and that is strength of will.

{A strong willed child} does not have strength of will… it is just stubbornness. Everyone of us is born a rebel.

A contest of wills. We will never have a quiet heart until we bring our own will into harmony of that of God. There will always be conflict and anger….One of the reasons I wrote, Keep a Quiet Heart, is because I don’t seem to meet many women who have a quiet heart.

Whose agenda are you accepting? Have you decided that you are angry with God, because He has not conformed His will to yours? What pride and presumption. Presumption is defined this way: audacity, insolence, arrogance, effrontery, shameless boldness…presumption.

If God is my heavenly father and laid down his life for me, isn’t is reasonable to assume that he knows a whole lot better than I do what’s good for me? Angry at God? Our heavenly father wants nothing but the best for any of us.

God is in control, and I am not at the mercy of {circumstances.} So I can keep a quiet heart.

Whose agenda? God’s or mine?

God knows what you need and also when you need it.

When He withholds that one thing we believe will make us happy, we’d do well to remember his promise, that he’ll meet all our needs.

I get so many anguished letters from women and they feel that God is withholding that one thing in the whole world that would make them happy…

Whose agenda? A contest of wills. Is it my will or His? My God shall supply all your needs. And if you don’t have it, you don’t need it today.


A Quiet Heart Means Confidence in God, lecture

How can we quiet our hearts before the Lord?

Lord, give to me a quiet heart, that does not ask to understand, but confidence steps forward in the darkness, guided by thy hand.

We live in a world of noise. So where can we find quietness? Quite often it’s hard to find physical quietness, but it is always possible to have a quiet heart.

Where does it begin? It comes from a long, steady, sustained gaze at God himself. The life of Jesus. Jesus lived a very busy life…people plucked at his sleeves, asking for things, arguing with him, believing him, disbelieving him, interrupting his prayer times. Jesus had a quiet heart because he only did one thing, the same thing that you and I have to do…the will of the Father.

When I keep that in mind, it completely changes the look of things. My life, my heart, it changes my home and how I do things.

That doesn’t mean that I forsake the laundry or peeling the onions for soup.

Our inner eye is directed toward God.

I am doing the laundry for God.

I am peeling the onion for God.

Everything in my life is an offering…my body, life, heart, emotions, time, work, possessions, sufferings, joy, work, is an offering to God and that gives me a quiet heart.


Glad Surrender, lecture

Contentment is a command. My mother used to say “Behave yourselves.” Contentment is really taking yourself by the scruff of the neck and behaving yourself when you are feeling discontent about anything. It’s being still. “Be still, my soul, the Lord is on thy side, bear patiently the cross of grief and pain.”

We often confuse meekness with weakness. Meekness is teach-ability. Are you teachable? Or are you only selectively teachable? Sometimes God assigns to us very strange counselors, but we aren’t meek enough to receive it from THAT person.

From my favorite devotional that has been around for a hundred years, Daily Strength for Daily Needs by Mary W. Tileston

If we wished to gain contentment, we might try such rules as these:—

1. Allow thyself to complain of nothing, not even of the weather.

2. Never picture thyself to thyself under any circumstances in which thou art not.

3. Never compare thine own lot with that of another.

4. Never allow thyself to dwell on the wish that this or that had been, or were, otherwise than it was, or is. God Almighty loves thee better and more wisely than thou dost thyself.

5. Never dwell on the morrow. Remember that it is God’s, not thine. The heaviest part of sorrow often is to look forward to it. “The Lord will provide.”

E. B. Pusey.

Heb. 13:5, “Be content with such things as you have.” That’s a command. We are to trust that God does know what He is doing. We have a Father who is faithful, fortress, friend, and helper. Do you believe that? That’s truth. You can’t possibly be contented without trusting that God does know what He’d doing…

Psalm 16:5 is one of my life verses. “Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup and have made my my lot secure.” Isn’t that a calm, peaceful sense that we have when we realize that God has assigned us our life, lot, and portion…


Continued tomorrow.

What are your favorite lesser known lessons from Elisabeth? Please share with us in the comments or on FB.

Things You’ll Love

This week Hope and I have been sick with colds. We’re both on antibiotics now and are on the mend. Yay for modern medicine!


We watched Paddington as a family and it was really sweet and funny.  We also got a pre-screening link to view Beyond The Mask and loved it.

SOO, {ducking and bracing} I rarely LOVE Christian films for whatever reason (acting is weak, humor is corny, low budget, all of the above, I don’t know. Don’t hate!) but I will watch them because the messages are usually wholesome. This was NOT the case with Beyond The Mask. The filming was right up there with the best movies I’ve seen and the acting was wonderful! It was full of action and romance that wasn’t trashy, and there was no foul language. Highly recommend!

I spent some time reading At Home with Madame Chic and am really enjoying it. I love the detail that Jennifer Scott puts into life. I also love that she lives her life with high standards regardless of what anyone else is doing around her. We only get one life to live. We might as well live it well!

Some days I was so sick that all I could do was listen to an audio book. By the way, if you’ve never tried Audible you can get two free audio books right now by signing up for their free trial. You’re welcome.

Some favorite reads around the web this week:

Why venting your emotions is the worst choice. Just so much common sense here.

The Small, Happy Life “We don’t all have to shine.”

How are you doing today? Insightful article by Anne about the questions we ask when people are grieving. I agree with Anne that the question should be, “How are you doing right now.”

In Defense of Doing Nothing. A Stanford dean tells us why we should let our kids just live during the summers.

Things have been slow around the blog lately. We all know that life happens and blogs go cold. We’ve been in the midst of carefree hospitality and setting priorities so that we aren’t so busy “serving” that we actually forget about God.

DID I MENTION THAT MY SISTER IS COMING HOME IN FIVE DAYS? We were just together in May, but we love having all the kids together for a few weeks each summer. YAY!!


What have you been reading and loving this week? Let me know in the comments section here or on FB. I hope you are all bronchitis-free and enjoying this lovely summer.

*post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Mothering in the Moments


I was discouraged.

I was standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes one day when my kids were small. Their noises were a blur in the back ground. I stared, eyes glazed over and mind a million miles away, out the picture window into the back yard. I was looking at the pond but not really seeing it. Warm water was running over my hands and then a trickle of cold. I noticed. I looked down and noticed what I was doing and felt the cold water and it brought me joy.

Seems dumb to remember the cold water, but it was really at that moment that I noticed it and in that moment that I felt present.



For those of you who’ve never experienced discouragement, let me tell you that some days can seem flat and for lack of a better word, “unfeeling.”  Numb. You hardly recognize pain or joy. You’re too overwhelmed to notice. You just rush and do the next thing. Like an assembly line, you do the work over and over again until you do it mindlessly.

You are productive but not present.

You feed your kids, but it’s all efficient instead of nurturing and relational.

You clean your house but it’s all form and function instead of praise and thanksgiving.

You go about your schedule, never missing a beat, and all the while you are actually missing everything.

You don’t notice your daughter’s excitement when her bubble blows up big and she cups it in her hand un-popped. She tries to catch your eye, but you don’t see.

You miss your son’s slumped shoulders, a sign that he’s discouraged.

You miss real relationship because you half-answer the kid’s questions instead of really engaging them.

Have you been there, too, in this stint called motherhood?

I wonder if we get discouraged because we don’t know what we are doing, or how it will all turn out, and we fear we are investing our lives into a pursuit with no guarantees.

I don’t know much but I do know this: mothering that is not done in the present is a waste of time, energy, and LIFE. It’s thankless and devoid of thanksgiving.

How you live your days is how you live your very life.

When you mother in the moment you notice, and feel, and discuss, and teach, and enjoy. (This is where grandparents excel!)

I really think that every mom can be a good mom and increase her own joy

if she would just be all there in the mundane mothering moments.

I know it’s hard and seems tiring.

I’ve done it both ways and my kids are older now, but  having come out the other side, I think it’s MORE tiring and draining to not be all there.

Mothering in the moment looks like

  • noticing the birds singing outside enough to mention it to your kids.
  • pointing out the beautiful cloud patterns outside your window.
  • being happy just to share in the happiness of others. To have the mindset that all goodness is a reason for happiness and I can be totally happy to share in your joy because I saw “goodness” and goodness is a gift whether it was my possession or blessing or not.
  • taking interest in what interests your child
  • looking them in the eyes when they talk to you
  • talking to them. Relationship, relationship, relationship.
  • teaching them to notice. Really notice life around them.

Peter used to ask me the same question every night: “What did you do today?” He honestly wanted to know. I used to answer with generalities:

“Oh, we did school.”

“I took the kids to Suzuki lessons.”

“Went to the park.”

The truth is that many days I felt like what I did was hardly worth mentioning. The moments felt insignificant and I was tired, like I was on a treadmill that was always moving but never progressing anywhere.

But mothering in the moment changes your perspective. It takes you off the treadmill and plants you firmly in a time, a place, a moment.

In the moment you can notice the ducks, clouds, warm sun. You notice the smell of the freshly cut grass.  You taste and enjoy the ice cream.

You don’t just acquire, you possess. You don’t just do, you enjoy. You don’t just plan, you partake.

In short, you notice and appreciate and give thanks to God for these mundane moments that you can never recover and can never relive..

Are you in the middle of the mundane today? Notice the moments. Do one thing at a time. It will increase your joy!