Want-To, the Key to Learning

This makes me so happy!!! I will spell things all day long for this child.

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She is a strong willed learner, meaning she only learns if and when she wants to or sees a need. This entire school year she has fought me about learning letters. She would either pretend not to know certain ones or refuse to memorize them. I have been so nervous that she would struggle through school, especially since this was still her attitude finishing preschool/first semester of kindergarten.
Since being "out of school for summer" she has been begging me to spell all kinds of things with a little help from the alphabet reference on their preschool table. She pauses a little with a couple letters still but figures them out on her own. She makes menus for plea parties, birthday cards, and lots of random signs right now.
On the way home from camp the other day, Mags ask to finish the last two pages of her chapter before napping. When she had finished u looked back to see Izzie had snagged one of her two books and was flipping page to page. I ask her to put it down and nap to which she responded, "I'm almost finished with this chapter." I LOVE that she is finally developing a love for books and reading!

I am constantly nervous that I'm gonna screw up this educating-my-children thing and then God goes and shows me that He is bigger. I know that statistics, methods, standards, values, quality, quantity, and so on seem to be fluid or set in stone depending on who you ask so being a "homeschool mom" can be stressful. God continues to show me I'm doing exactly what He wants in this season and my children are fearfully and wonderfully made; each in their unique way, specifically designed to show yet another marvolous aspect of Himself.

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House of Mercy

I have been following an amazing women who is chasing after the heart of God. Through her "YESes"  God birthed an so many other yeses and The Mercy House.

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The Mercy House is a series of homes in Kenya that support teen girls who have become pregnant due to being forced into prostitution to support their families.

The Mercy Shop is a "global marketplace". The amazing products sold in this shop are made by empowered women thanks to the Mercy House. Women are engaged through Kenyan maternity homes and employment through "Fair Trade Friday" which is in more than 15 countries all around the world. The artisans who create the items in this shop are some of the most oppressed and impoverished in the world, from Kenya to Ethiopia to refugees relocated to the United States. They are paid more than a fair wage and empowered by purchases.

You're going to be hearing a more about the Mercy House and Fair Trade Friday but if you'd like to go ahead and start shopping the Mercy Shop, subscribe to the box OR earring club, or just getcha a trial box you can. 😉 I'll let ya know what's in MY box real soon.

When you purchase from the Mercy Shop, you are supporting these young mothers and their children. Fair Trade Friday is a monthly subscription club that delivers 3-4 fair trade surprises in your mailbox but there are also one time boxes sold as a great way to try out the club.

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Picking Up All Those “Good Intentions” Laying Around

Embarrassment Post Alert: 

If you're like me, you have lots of sweet, compassionate, Pinterest-worthy ideas for loving others.

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One day I walked through the house picking up and realized what was lying around my house.

Yep, ideas. Great plans. Good intentions.

My house had become home to beautiful intentions. Stuffed full and cluttering my life. The literal clutter was evidence of my heart and what I was trying to fill it with. Desire to serve, ministries with larger visions and great causes, moments of convictions left in a pile of inactivity.

  • Fabric- a gesture of help to make curtains for the local CALL Mall keeping me "involved" with foster care even though I was dragging my feet with what our family has been called to do
  • Bras- shallow proof that I care about those being trafficked across boarders
  • Birthday gifts- fallen attempt to show I had thought about dear friends and family at some point
  • Bagged Ponytail- tradition that has grown lukewarm from initial convictions
  • Thank You Card- supposed thankfulness for a thoughtful mailcarrier
  • Blue Jeans- desire to participate over a year ago in the zero gigers movement
  • Snack Ingredients- plans to treat neighbor-friends for fast approaching summer

This embarrasses me. Don't get me wrong, I know I'm in good company. I have a slew of friends who keep me warm at night as we all chat about our good intentions but I think as Christians we need to steer away from the 2 common extremes: shame and apathy.

SHAME

We're all aware of what we are not calling "mom guilt". Living in a state of disgrace based on society's standards is not what God has called us to. Pinterest is ruining childhood and sanity of mother's across the world. It's not just a sin the housewives of the upper east side deal with, I see us all struggle with keeping up or worrying what others think about our life chooses every community. When we feel like we've failed someone and their expectations we settle on the extreme of Shame. Satan keeps us held hostage in the bondage of guilt and renders us useless.

APATHY

Once we've worked through our "mom guilt" we often run to the other extreme. We feel so overwhelmed and guilty that we go into denial. The "I could never live up to ____" may be true for now but that that is not where God wants us to live either. He has promised to equip us completely. Just because someone else does something better than us, different than we could have even thought to do, grander than we could hope doesn't mean we through in the towel and complain that someone is accomplishing something.

To the mom who make adorable lunches complete with personal notes- more power to ya!

To the mom who barely made the cut off with proof of income to qualify your kids for free lunches- I'm proud of ya!

To the Christian mom with convictions of service and love for your community, state, country, and beyond- YOU CAN DO IT! How do we accomplish these inclines our heart is getting? We don't sit down. We chant, "NOT ON OUR WATCH!"

There are beautiful things going on all around us in this unfathomable adventure Christ has empowered us to be apart of. Get up. Do something.

Loose the shame when you fall short and applaud when you kick apathy aside. Do something.

What are the somethings I'm going to do?

  • Ask mother-in-love for help finishing the curtains
  • Collect friend's bras, add them to my own, and MAIL THEM
  • Stick the birthday gifts in the mailbox with 2 stamps when I can't drag the 4 littles out and pray it gets there
  • Make an appointment to chop my own hair and MAIL the bagged ponytails
  • Stick leftover brownies in the mailbox with the sloppy Thank You Card and breath
  • MAIL the scraps I have
  • Make some ghetto snacks and love the neighbors with a smile

What are the somethings YOU are going to do?

Good intentions laying around
Pick them up off the ground
and DO SOMETHING

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Live OUTSIDE Your Home

A major key to missional living for our homeschooling family of lots of littles is living OUTSIDE our home.

Living OUTSIDE Your Home #missionalliving True LOVE! is messy -1 Peter 48

It could be super easy for our family to isolate ourselves by only attending the valley {our church plant} surrounding ourselves with Christians and then stay within the shelter of our home for the rest of the week, schooling, taking turns grocery shopping alone, pull in the garage and shut the door behind ourselves. BUT what fun would that be? We wouldn't be participating in the amazing adventure God has called us to be a part of. For us, being a visible presence in our neighborhood is a natural part of that adventure. But lets be honest...with four littles, if I don't set myself up for success, I'll never do it. Although spontaneous fun is usually best, sometimes just a few things could make the spontaneous a little more convenient. Here are some of the simple ways we've chosen to live missionally in our neighborhood:

Living OUTSIDE You Home #missionalliving {front porch}Front Porch
We inherited a beautifully manicured lawn when we moved in 2 years ago. I immediately apologized to all the neighbor, explaining that I had a large family to feed and water and the plants wouldn't survive the neglect. As a result, I got friends to dig up nearly 1/2 of the front flowerbed and we extended our front porch for more optimal porch sitting {WITH neighbors}.

Living OUTSIDE Your Home {furniture} #missionallivingFurniture
As an addition to our amazing front porch, we've been slowly adding quality furniture as we found it wicked cheap. We would love to have optimal seating for who ever pops over.

Living OUSIDE Your Home on your driveway #missionallivingDriveway
We want to keep everyone safe while they're playing outside so we always move our vehicles onto the road {sometimes blocking the driveway entrance} and that lets the kids have the entire driveway for chalk, riding toys, or just running. We keeps keys in a bowl so they're fast to find, kids know the routine so they stay near the house while we move them, and they know the boundaries.

Living OUTSIDE You Home with toys #missionallivingToys
We keep inexpensive toys specifically for outside readily available for the kids and their friends so hanging out with friends is quick and easy. We also have have multiple sizes of riding toys so we can share with friends.

Living OUTSIDE You Home #missionalliving {walks}Walks
Although we don't have a sidewalk on our side of the road, we do have an awesome sidewalk all the way up our road! Being out and about our neighborhood allows us to get to know neighbors even as simple as waving hi, getting to see who lives where, and letting them see and get to know us.

Living OUTSIDE Your Home #missionalliving {garage}Cookouts
Having a spot set up with all the basics of a great cookout helps us be ready at the drop of the hat for a cook out with friends. We keep extra food in the deep freeze, cheap drinks in the mini fridge, picnic blanket ready, lawn chairs stacked in the corner, ice chest ready, and snacks in our hospitality desk.

Living OUTSIDE Your Home {block parties} #missionallivingBlock Parties
Block parties are coming about a lot more natural these days. It was fun to hear that so many neighbors have been dreaming of doing "something Just like this for years" and God allowed us to start that for them. There are a thousand different themes you could do but just offering a potluck type dinner and a designated space is really all you need.

I hope this helps you think through living outside your home with a #missionalliving mentality! God has called us to love our neighbors and it doesn't have to be unnaturally hard.

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#mommied Monday: Parking Lot

In honor of Mother's Day, I have been sharing stories that makes me wanna say, "BOOM! You just got Mommied!" because it is a super empower ;) Often we feel like we just got owned by our children in the small battles so we need some encouragement when we don't lose! Sorry this one's late.

#mommied Monday Parking Lot

Our garage feels like it is constantly being “cleaned out”. No joke, I’m sure my neighbors are laughing every other week as I drag all my junk out onto the drive way to sort through, trash, rearrange, and stuff back inside. One of the areas in our garage that has saved me a few headaches is the “parking lot” for all our riding toys. Even Ellie {16 months} knows where to find things and the general idea of “parking” them when we are done.

Supplies you’ll need:

  • cleared floor space next to a wall in the garage
  • tape- I used frog tape {brand of painters tape} but masking or duck tape would work
  • riding toys

Simple Parking Lot Concept:

  • swept, dusted, mopped {if you have to} floor, so the tape will stick- I learned the hard way the 1st time around
  • lay out riding toys in a row {I spaced mine smallest near the door to largest further into the garage}
  • eye-ball the length you’ll need my stretching it out next to each vehicle
  • tear it off
  • stick it down
  • stand back in awe of yourself 😉

*for light-weight toys that roll on a slightly declining surface*
create a parking block behind the vehicle to keep it from rolling into the garage: I used a thin strip of cardboard cut off a box in the trash but used a flat twig or scrap sliver of wood the first time and taped it to the floor under the tape

My kids LOVE that they have their own space in the garage for their vehicles! It’s very clear for them to see where their riding toys fit and can easily put them away {when I don’t pile things behind their parking spaces :/ }

BOOM! #mommied

I hope you all had a GREAT Mother’s Day! I find that, we as mommies, push ourselves to extremes where we either live fake lives because we are constantly feeling less-than in comparison to other moms or announce our failures as if they’re metals we’ve won without an attempt to always improve. May we all recognize our victories and be encouraged to press on in our struggles.

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