Does Your Marriage Ever Feel Out of Balance? Here’s 1 Simple Way to Bring it Back into Rhythm

We were on our way to visit my parents in Arkansas. All five of us were loaded in the van, suitcases stacked high in the back, pillows on the floor, happy to finally be on the road. However, when we hit 60 mph the van started making a loud noise, followed by a more than usual vibration.

Adam silenced the conversation and had me place my foot at different spots on the floor board trying to pinpoint where it was coming from. It seemed to coordinate with the tire rotations.

About 30 minutes later the sound and noise was still there, so we looked up a tire shop in the area and pulled in. Hopefully our tires were just out of balance and we’d be back on the road in no time.

As we carefully pulled in the shop (Adam does that better than me!), the music was blaring Green Day, It’s something unpredictable but in the end it’s right. I hope you have the time of your life…

I’m walking down memory lane in my head and quietly mouthing the words to myself, when my son interrupts – Didn’t Tim Hawkins sing that song?

My reminiscent bubble popped as reality sank back in. “Probably,” I responded with a smile. “Let’s see!” I say as I take out my phone to ask trusty Google if Tim Hawkins remade the popular song.

A few minutes later, his theory was confirmed and we shook the car laughing so hard.

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“I’m Just Listening For My Name”

In an old Cosby TV show, Clair Huxtable is sporadically speaking Spanish to a colleague, while Cliff Huxtable stands off to the side, staring at them, because he doesn’t understand what’s being said. The two banter back and forth while Cliff’s face contorts into half a dozen classic Bill Cosby expressions. When the Spanish speaking pair looks back at Cliff he responds, “I’m just listening for my name!” That’s the one thing he understands and can respond to in a paragraph of fast flying foreign words.

This past month has been like a blur of fast flying foreign words. It’s been a series of packing and unpacking suitcases, preparing and speaking sessions, and eating lunch when I can. Between a Kenyan ladies conference, a Hutto Bible ladies retreat and my cousin’s wedding, I have spoken in a microphone more in the pat 45 days than in my entire life!

So many times after we return from Kenya, my heart is on fire with passionate future dreams. I usually hit the ground running in a flurry of activity, praying for clarity and trying to attain to the vision, before I wear a hole in the carpet.

Except all that changed about two years ago when God told us to “go home” from Kenya. We weren’t sure if we’d ever go back – not because anything bad happened but because it felt like the same cherubim and flaming sword God placed to guard the Garden of Eden from being re-entered was also guarding us against returning west.

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How to Help Someone Suffering From Depression

I used to think I wasn’t the type that struggled with depression. During some deep personal struggles, I remember thinking I’m so glad I don’t struggle with depression, for this would be a really dark time.

Normally I would describe myself as an upbeat, passionate person who thinks deeply, sees life realistically and bustles about with high energy.

But as I look back over my 36 years on this earth, I see some mountain top experiences paired with some equally low valley seasons that were longer and darker than I gave them credit for. It’s hard to understand life as you walk it forward. It’s not until you look back that events make sense, yet time and circumstances don’t often allow you the luxury of looking back and reflecting.

Since my grandfather passed away, and even right after he took a dramatic turn for the worse, I have struggled off and on with this darkness.

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What Does 2017 Hold?

Dorothy was right…there is no place like home. We left for Arkansas on Christmas Day, visiting my parents and celebrating Christmas in Silver Dollar City and didn’t return home until New Year’s Eve. I actually want to unpack my suitcases, restock my kitchen and vacuum up the dirt tracked in on my floors. I’m even ready to think about school starting back up and I’m soooo thankful to sleep in my bed, with all my pillows next to my husband!

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Ringing in the New Year causes me to be nostalgic. (OK, really anything can cause me to be nostalgic, but especially when the calendar turns January 1st.) I think back to highlights and unfortunately low lights of 2016 and recall the lessons God taught me through them. Then I try to peer through the misty windows towards what’s ahead in 2017. I know God doesn’t see time like I do, so I try to align myself to His timetable.

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An Arrival to Remember

It’s November 29. The Christmas season is upon us, ready or not.

I love the Christmas lights hug on my tree. I love the lights that glow in the streets at dark. I love the smell of Wassail in my kitchen and hot chocolate stained cups in my sink. I love hearing O Come Let Us Adore Him on the radio and feeling my favorite sweater on my skin. I love being with my friends and family, sharing gifts and catching up on life.

But with all the ads and commercials on screens everywhere about how to make this Christmas unforgettable, it’s hard to keep my focus on the reason for the season – the birth of a Savior.

Last year I shared a post about what advent looks like for us. After starting and feeling guilty for never finishing advent calendars over the years, I came up with this simple idea and it has helped me stay focused on my Savior during the holidays.

I wanted to re-share this with you today and hope that you will join me in leading our children to focus and anticipate the arrival of Christ this Christmas! For that is what Advent really means.

To see last year’s post, click HERE.

Or, click the links below

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And if you haven’t  noticed, I’ve done some rearranging on my site! You can take a look at my home page, or my homeschool resources or projects page and I hope you’ll come back for ideas about living life creative.

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Hope Does Not Disappoint

Today I just want to share a verse with you. I hope you won’t just skim over the words but will actually unpack what it says and pray for God to show you how to apply them.

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This past week I went to the Holocaust Museum in Dallas, Texas with my oldest son. The stories of that time period is what I thought about when I read the word suffering. I think of people like Corrie Ten Boom who endured suffering beyond what I can imagine. In her story, The Hiding Place, I see a beautiful example of suffering that produced perseverance, character and hope.

Corrie and her sister prayed for the guards and soldiers that mistreated them. They gave thanks for the lice in their barrack because they were able to read the Word of God without the guards coming in. They endured beatings, food rations, and the death of family members. In the end, Corrie tells the story of how she forgave those who persecuted her. I see her as a person who truly rejoiced in her sufferings because she had hope in God that He “has poured out his love into [her] heart by the Holy Spirit.”

Her story inspires me because I don’t like suffering. In fact, I try to avoid it at all cost. But God doesn’t always choose to take the suffering away from me because through it I am refined and He is glorified.

My Papa is famous for a firm handshake. In fact, even now he could still crush my hand. He has hands the size of the Hulk and has made men cower down for as long as I can remember. People always wonder what he did to have hands so strong. He didn’t just wake up one day with strong hands. He used his hands all the time. He was a master wood worker and used those hands to hold heavy materials and operate equipment.

He remembered people by their handshake and it bothered him when someone gave him a wet noodle handshake. That is exactly the image that comes to mind when I think of rejoicing in suffering. Without sufferings I’m like a wet noodle handshake that no one wants to handle. Through difficulties and hardships, that handshake is made firm so that anyone who shakes my hand afterwards remembers the strength that came from it.

I’ve shared over the past 30 days of my hardships in homeschooling. They are nothing when compared to the atrocities of the Holocaust, but they have been difficulties for me. I believe that through those, God is developing my perseverance, which grows my character and solidifies my hope in Him.

Are you facing struggles today? Will you choose to rejoice in them and allow God to strengthen you through them?

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This post is part of a series called 31 stories of hope for every homeschooler. To see the entire series, click HERE.

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The Greatest Gift You Can Give Your Kids

I knew there was something bugging my 7-year old son as soon as we got in the car.

“So how was it while we were gone?” I asked my two kids as they buckled themselves in.

“Great!” my daughter replied.

“OK” said Zach, and gazed out the window.

Mackenzie enthusiastically shared the details of movies, swimming and other fun things they did with grandparents and friends while Adam and I were away celebrating our 17th anniversary.

However, Zach remained quiet and shared only vague details.

By the next day a dark cloud settled over my little guy’s mind, darkening his usually cheerful mood and dampening the air of the house.

 

After dinner, he withdrew to his room while Mackenzie and I cleaned up the dishes. A few minutes later, our dish washing routine was interrupted with screams like someone had seen a ghost. Zach came running into the living room, flailing his arms and screaming.

While he was playing in his room, he heard something in his brother’s closet. Since his brother wasn’t home, he wondered what it could be. When he walked over to the door to look inside, the dog dashed out the closet, scaring him to death.

But what my momma eyes saw as his daddy pulled him close was a little boy haunted by fear. And not just of the dog making noises in the closet. There was something deeper. And I wanted to pull it out.

So I invited him to join me on our overstuffed bean bag chair in our newly remodeled room. It was our favorite place to relax and Zach curled his little body next to mine.

“I feel like there’s something bothering you that you need to talk about,” I said.

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What Are You Storing in the Corner of Your Mind?

What would it look like if we lived life in a round room? A round room has no corners. No corners means there’s no place to hide. Everything must be brought out to the center of the room and dealt with. When you know what you’re dealing with, it’s much easier to fix, before it grows too big.

But it’s easier to hide things in the corner, isn’t it? It’s easier to cover up cracks in the floor with a rug, and line the attic with boxed up items we don’t want to sift through right now.

But what happens when we stuff, cover up and put off dealing with issues until later?

Hidden away in the dark corner of our mind is where Satan holds us captive to the things we’ve covered up or not dealt with. He condemns us for each one and whispers that we can never be forgiven for them, for they are too awful.

It’s like what Scar said to Simba on The Lion KingAnd what would your mother think if she knew your little secret? No, run away Simba! Run away and never return.

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Will You Trust Me?

Jogging down the back roads behind my house with hay bales dotting the horizon, I felt the Lord ask me to write my story. Actually, I had already written it in the pages of my journal, but He was saying it’s time to compile it – all of it.

The words of this story frequently came like labor pains at midnight, hard and fast and impossible to sleep through.

Get up! The Lord would nudge me. Write it down!

I would fight against the prompting for two hours usually, and then finally accept the fact that words being birthed don’t care what time it is.

As I ran that summer morning, I couldn’t out run the voice of the Lord telling me that this story would one day be a published book.

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Emerging from the Cocoon

One year ago today, my feet stepped back onto American soil after spending one month in Kenya, I wrote in my journal. I took a deep breath, and let my head rest back on my pillow, remembering the journey and how good it felt to be home. It felt like yesterday. No, it felt like three years ago!

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It was after that trip that my life completely changed.

So much change happened all of a sudden that I don’t even want to retrace it, yet here I am writing about it.

This change rocked me to my core. It put me flat on my back and knocked the breath out of me.

First sadness set in, then grief, which turned to anxiety and finally depression.

Before last year, I’d not had a personal encounter with those words. Sadness. Grief. Anxiety. Depression. I knew what they meant and I knew people who struggled with them, but they were not feelings I lived with. Sure, I’ve had a bad day or an off week, but eventually the clouds would part in my world and the sun would shine again.

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