What a fun weekend I had as I shared my first book signing with my friend, Deon Lock Maas! Deon’s brother, Dale, and I graduated from high school together after attending schools in Farmington, Illinois all our lives. Years later, I got to know Deon all over again through her husband, Tom, who was my Toastmasters friend and also a mentor to our son as he went through law school. Tom passed away last year after suffering from brain cancer and I had the privilege of giving a eulogy at his funeral, which was quite an honor for me since Tom was such a highly respected Toastmaster and a good friend to our family.
Deon’s first book, The Beagle and the Brain Tumor, is the story of how their rescue beagle, Hoover, became part of their family as Tom’s health diminished and Deon cared for him at home. In many wonderful ways, Hoover really rescued them! I think you would enjoy reading their story!
On Saturday, Deon premiered her second book called Trouble Met me Half Way: Memories, observations, and youthful indiscretions from one man’s upbringing, 1950-1971. A delightful collection of essays written by Tom that tells about growing up during the 1950s in Milwaukee, Tom’s wit and gift for storytelling shine through in every essay. I heard many of these stories during the years as speeches for our local Toastmasters Club and it is fun to see them in print for others to enjoy as much as we did!
The day was a bit surreal for me, sitting at a table and signing books in my childhood library! When I first walked in the front door and inhaled, that same delightful smell of old wood and old books came flooding back to me! I closed my eyes and I was 8 again, lost in the racks, transported to other worlds.
“When I was a little girl, I loved going to the library. Housed in an old building with wall-to-wall oak bookcases, a cozy fireplace with inviting chairs in front of it, and a 90-year-old librarian named Minta who fascinated me, the library was my home away from home. I could spend hours curled up in one of the old chairs, reading Nancy Drew or books where the heroine was a horse trainer, a nurse, or a flight attendant. I would get so involved in the story lines that I often went through a period of real grieving at the close of the book because I hated to see it end. It was like saying goodbye to old friends and it would break my heart. Sometimes I would just finish the last chapter and go right back to the beginning of a book and start reading all over again! Best of all was when there was a sequel to the book on the shelf just waiting for me to take it home! ~ from The Joy of Relationship Homeschooling
If you haven’t yet gotten your copy of The Joy of Relationship Homeschooling ~ when the one anothers come home, it is available on Amazon in print or Kindle version and will also be available in the new release of the wonderful Rainbow Resource Center Catalog. If you need multiple copies for a book study(Hint: there are questions for reflection and discussion at the end of each chapter) or want an autographed copy, send me a note and I can mail them directly to you! And, if you have read the book, please give me a review on Amazon! I would so appreciate it!!!
“Over the years I have heard the lament of many parents who are struggling with broken relationships with their adult children. I have also witnessed the grief of children who long for the grown-up, peer interaction with their parents they are meant to enjoy. I believe this passage in Hebrews gives us the warnings and admonitions we need to heed if there is to be healing within these relationships, if we are to prevent bitterness from taking root and destroying our lives.
We are told to “pursue peace with all people.” The word used for “peace” in this passage comes from a root word that literally means “the wholeness that you experience when all the essential parts are tied together!” It conveys the completeness of a relationship, the joining together of separate parts. We are to actively work toward bringing about this type of harmony.
However, this pursuit must go hand in hand with holiness. In other words, while this is to be our goal, peace is not to be embraced at all costs; declaring that there are no problems for the sake of a worldly type of unity is really no peace at all. Psalm 85:8-10 tells us that in God’s restoration process, “mercy and truth have met together….righteousness and peace will kiss.” Holiness and righteousness require truthfulness in discerning the problems that caused the broken relationship in the first place. It means we must agree with God as to what sin actually is.” ~ from The Joy of Relationship Homeschooling
“We must call sexual abuse by its real name. Abuse is not limited to just rape or molestation. Here is an official definition from a reputable Christian book on the topic:
“Sexual abuse is any contact or interaction (visual, verbal, or psychological) between a child/adolescent and an adult (or older teen) when the child/adolescent is used for the sexual stimulation of the perpetrator or another person.” (Dan Allender, The Wounded Heart: Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse)
Let’s face it: the term sexual abuse is loaded and ugly. So often people try to mislabel abuse as “inappropriate behavior” or an “indiscretion” or “immorality” to help remove its stigma. But renaming something just confuses the issue at hand and prevents us from dealing with the reality of its dangers. Children and youth who have been damaged by abuse—even if the abuse seems “minor” to us—will often live their lives through the lens of that experience; and frequently make poor relationship and spiritual choices as they mature. They need our help for recovery.” To read the entire article, go here…..
Another great resource for becoming more informed about sexual predators, which is who typically commits sexual abuse of children, is this book, Predators, Pedophiles, Rapists, and Other Sex Offenders by Anna Salter. It is a painful read and if you have experienced sexual abuse, be warned. I would like to see this book in the hands of every parent.
How will you know if your homeschooling has been a success?
Such an important question with multiple answers.
Our own goals have been to raise children who are life-long learners who follow their passions while using the gifts God has given to them, wallowing in joy and happiness along the way! True success, I believe, is obedience to the known, revealed will of God and central to that is using God’s good gifts to each of us for His glory!
The following article challenges us to consider what it really means to be educated and at how success in our homeschooling endeavors should truly be measured. Would love to hear your thoughts.
“The problem is that the indicators society typically uses to measure accomplishment are not very useful for predicting true success in life. Things like grades, test scores, contests, and college admission are only useful for comparing students to standards picked by society.
But if you think about the people in this world who are truly happy, or who have made the greatest contributions to society, you’ll realize that those people did not do what everybody else expected them to do.
They were not conformists, but innovators.
As a four year old, Alexander Graham Bell used to sit in a field to try to hear the wheat grow. He was fascinated by sound and voice. But his father wanted him to learn Latin and Greek so he could go to college and “be successful.” Where was the future in studying sound?
No one could have predicted that someday Alexander would invent the telephone. It had never been done. Fortunately, circumstances allowed Alexander to continue his studies and experiments until he earned the success that only authentic passion can achieve.”
Read the rest of this good article here.
Late night television host, Johnny Carson, used to do a spoof called Carnac the Magnificent where he donned a crazy costume and pretended to foresee the future. Perhaps his insights might be every bit as helpful as the variety of things I am reading these days about the future of the patriarchy moment in homeschooling. I have no sure answers as to where the patriarchs are all headed as, one by one, ministries embracing the basic teachings of patriarchy are tumbling down. But I do see some things that concern me greatly as well as some things I believe speak to the good health of the homeschooling spirit. Here are some of my rambling ideas and, as always, I welcome your thoughts and insights.
As the Common Core agenda continues to be advanced, homeschooling will continue to grow and with this growth comes even more diversity. This means that the profile of the average homeschooler will look even less like the 1980s variety of homeschooler than it does today. Denim jumpers, for the most part, have left the building and along with them the rigid lifestyles many still associate with homeschooling families. Articles like Home Educating Family’s Why I Let My Teens Date open the door to genuine, honest conversations about subjects that have formerly been taboo in Christian homeschooling circles.
The 2009 Homeschool Leadership Summit with its nonsensical manifesto was one of the last ditch efforts to attempt to control homeschooling on the part of the legalistic patriocentrist crowd. Those who embrace the fringe teachings within the homeschool culture will continue in their own distilling process, producing even more potent of an end product that is sure to leave an even more bitter taste in the mouth. There are still a few of those efforts today but, as my husband has often said, trying to organize all homeschoolers to do anything, because we are so naturally independent and stubborn, is like trying to herd cats. It will be even more difficult as homeschooling grows and new voices are heard above the patriocentric mantra. And, may I say, the real manly men are found in this new group!
Watch for this continuing diversity as even more Great Homeschool Conventions are coming to a town near you and local support groups of all flavors continue popping up. A number of years ago R.C. Sproul Jr. lamented the changes in homeschooling; I am excited about them. I see homeschooling coming full-circle and eventually returning to the ideals of the early days when a child’s education was actually about enabling children to pursue and excel at their dreams rather than attempting to upload them with personal preferences in order to fulfill the dreams of a parent’s guru.
Those who have promoted patriarchy, either outright, or by default and have kept silent out of fear, are starting to step up and speak out. They have not all been warmly received and, frankly, the jury is still out on the sincerity of some. Nonetheless, many are now willing to say what they have thought for many years, “Something is not right. This is not what homeschooling is all about!” Applause for the brave ones!
I believe this will naturally make way for more homeschooling moms to share what they have learned and to have genuine ministry to younger moms who want real encouragement rather than obligatory platitudes. Though those men-only folks who put on that 2009 summit and wrote their own manifesto chose to disenfranchise moms, everyone knows that without homeschooling moms, there will be no homeschooling. Gradually, those who plan conventions and organize homeschooling events will realize that moms who have been in the trenches are their greatest secret weapon against burnout and discouragement and will act accordingly.
And moms who are older, don’t think for a single minute that you are not needed and wanted. These younger moms tell me otherwise. Younger moms want to benefit from our years of living life, making mistakes, and finding grace. This was confirmed to me a while back when I was asked by my church to mentor a young woman who told me she asked for “an older woman who had been married for a really long time to the same man.” And how often have I heard the lament of young homeschooling moms who tell me that those of us who are “retired” from actual homeschooling and have moved on to new interests and don’t have time for them are a huge disappointment. This needs to change.
Even though patriarchy is not dead (but is wounded and even limping along in some places) there are those who are jockeying for the reigns of the patriocentric crowd, by one means or another. Scott Brown, current leader and spokesman for the National Center for the Family Integrated Church is currently advertising his internship program for young men, which appears to be amazingly similar to Doug Phillips’ Vision Forum model. If anything, this FIC leader is digging in his heels to further his patriocentric agenda. Stacy McDonald, continuing to promote her own particular paradigm of godly womanhood, is calling for the possible sidelining of the actual word “patriarchy,” but is in favor of holding tightly to the principles. Israel Wayne, whose recent attempts to sound like a kinder, gentler homeschooling leader, have been welcomed, even by some who have spoken out against patriarchy, but I believe he should be held up to greater scrutiny. Wayne’s long personal and family history in the homeschooling movement as well as his gracious and charming demeanor seem to have clouded the judgment of many who are just now saying they should have spoken up earlier against the Vision Forum agenda. But I have to ask, when it comes down to the core teachings of patriarchy, how are Wayne’s views any different that those taught by Phillips? Claiming that even courtship is not biblical, Wayne’s teachings on betrothal should not be overlooked as they place him squarely in the middle of patriocentricity. Are any of these teachings what we want to see promoted as mainstream?
A new, organized, and clearly focused group of former homeschool students, motivated, in part, by the bad fruits of patriocentric homeschooling, have taken up the banner for homeschooling reform, putting the very good ideals at the heart of homeschooling at risk. Their legitimate concerns over some instances of sexual, physical, emotional, and spiritual abuse of children have resulted in their misguided call for state-operated control over all homeschooling and have even extended to their advancement of “homosexual rights” for homeschooled children. Though I have had similar concerns about treatment of all children, homeschooled and otherwise, at the hands of adversarial methods, I do not share the solutions being advanced by this group! Let me encourage you to read through their websites to become aware of their agenda. I believe this group poses possibly the greatest threat to homeschooling freedoms we enjoy today and has largely been inspired by the patriarchy movement.
About 15 months ago, before any of this latest patriarchy nonsense came to light, I wrote a piece entitled Kitty Genovese Christians, encouraging us to be ever vigilant and pro-active when we see wrongs being committed against others and teachings that are counter to the Word of God. Let me encourage you to read it again and then ponder what may be coming our direction in the future. Let’s continue to put patriarchy on trial now and be prepared to do so down the road!
This is my first Mother’s Day having a birthmother’s name and face to put with the picture of her I have carried next to my heart for the past 60 years. Last fall I was able to find her name and her family, though she had already passed away 16 years ago. This week I met some of her family and was blessed to be able to look through pictures and mementoes. My favorite is this one of her pregnant with me, just days before she was taken to Crittenton Home in Peoria. She was only 14. The picture had been saved in a cedar chest along with baby clothes from siblings who had died and other family pictures.
These next two are fun. She managed two of the cafeterias at Bradley University and enjoyed cooking for the students for decades. I plan to make copies of these to hang in my kitchen!
I was a new mother for the fourth time and madly in love with my new, sweet baby. Ben’s big round blue eyes and wisps of blonde hair, as pale as a moonbeam, captivated me right from the start. My first three children had been bottle fed so my experience of nursing both intrigued and terrified me. It also brought into my life a magnified version of one of a mom’s greatest struggles: isolationism.
Following the cues from other mothers, Ben and I slipped out of the pew on Sunday mornings and, quietly and inconspicuously, hid in the assistant pastor’s tiny office on the second floor, the designated “nursing mom’s room.” Week after week for several months this became my “sanctuary,” the muffled sound of the sermon piped into the balcony next door but unintelligible from my corner of the church. I spent the time singing and praying but also longing to share the experience with other believers.
It seemed that I was just coming out of this stage of mothering when my next baby was born, followed a couple years later by another little one and even more months in “solitary confinement.” On most Sundays I wondered why I had bothered to dress and come to church at all! You see, as much as I really loved time alone with each of my babies, I desperately needed the inspiration that corporate worship provides and I really struggled as I tried to put life into perspective in those days.
Of course, those years are now far in the past and were I to do it over again, knowing what I know now, I would have nursed under a blanket, graciously moving the barriers of everyone’s comfort zone! But, now I see this same struggle in the lives of the mamas of my grandbabies and in other mothers who spend all their time caring for the neediness of their young families. I see it on the eager faces of the moms who hurry into the church for their MOPS meetings, anxious, not to have time away from their children, but rather, to be inspired in their relationships with the Lord and in the high calling of motherhood that God has given each of them during this difficult season of life.
I believe there are two reasons why homeschooling moms have put inspiration on their Mother’s Day wish lists, both of them equally important.
The first one is that we need to be inspired in order to grow as we mature as believers in Christ. Hearing the Word preached and reading it for ourselves are both ways that the Lord reaches into our hearts and pours out His grace into our lives. Hymns and songs of praise draw us into worship and stir up gratefulness in our hearts and should be a regular part of each day. Words of encouragement and inspiration found in works of literature, books by authors who take the Word of God seriously, and especially thoughts from other moms who have traveled the path we are on and are genuine in their approach to sharing, are also ways the Lord uses to strengthen us from day to day. Spending time in nature, soaking in the greatness of God’s creation will also create in us a sense of awe toward the God who knit us together in secret yet who cares enough to meet reach down and touch us in so many ways.
We can also be inspired in ways that are not necessarily “spiritual” but that contribute to our own personal growth and that benefit us as wives and moms. I have bookmarked several places online that inspire me as a homemaker every time I visit them. When I need inspiration for cleaning and decorating my home, sewing or hot-gluing something new, or even with ideas for meal planning, I have several blogs and sites that are guaranteed to give me fresh thoughts and motivation. When I want to meditate on a new idea, I have other websites or even books in my personal library that will give me something good to chew on for the day. These are all areas where I desire personal growth and the Lord has graciously provided them for my benefit.
There is also a second important reason why we must stay inspired. Other people, especially our families, are depending upon us to set that example and it is impossible to inspire anyone if we aren’t inspired ourselves!
Homeschooling mom and author, Sallie Clarkson, reminds us that raising children is a ministry and that one of the most crucial aspects of it is to paint a picture for them of God’s mighty presence in their lives, to inspire them to follow and serve Him. She writes:
“When we take the opportunity to expose our children to the glory of God displayed in a rainbow or powerful ocean ways, or a star-studded night sky, we are helping them understand that there is a Being much bigger than themselves who created the universe and holds it together with His power. When we tell them about our answered prayers and those amazing “coincidences” that confirm God’s presence in our lives, we help them realize that God is close and caring and active in our daily circumstances. When we explain the things we have been able to do in the Holy Spirit’s power that we couldn’t accomplish alone, we help them understand how God works and what He can accomplish through us. As we tell them “look” and “observe” we instill the hope that a supernatural being more powerful than we can understand intervenes in time and space to help us and to interact with our lives.
The knowledge of God’s mystery and omnipotence, His active presence and His constant love helps us, and our children, learn to stand before Him with soft, teachable hearts. When we are ready to receive the grace of His power and presence into each moment of our lives, we cannot help but look differently at all our daily activities. When we learn to look and listen and to ponder, our everyday moments can be transformed by the knowledge of a God whose companionship brings us joy, “wind to our wings” and the possibility of a miraculous touch at any moment.” (from The Ministry of Motherhood)
I would encourage you today to purposefully choose to be inspired, first so that you will mature in your faith in Christ, praising Him for the grace He has so freely given you as His daughter and also for the opportunity He has placed in your hands for inspiring your children with that same grace. Today, look for inspiration, even in the ordinary because, as moms, we serve an extraordinary God who wants to give us the best gifts this Mother’s Day, including the gift of inspiration!
(This is an edit of a post from 2009 if this sounds familiar but the truth needed to be shared again today!)