how we’re teaching our kids to live in fear (and why you should find a better way)

My twins are absolutely terrified of ‘stinky’ bugs.  No exaggeration. I’m sure it has nothing at all to do with those times when they were just learning to crawl and unknowingly picked one of the little lovelies up and popped it in their mouths.  Crunch.  Yum.  <Gag>.

Or there was that time I boiled one in our pot of morning oats.  Oh, that was something we’re not likely to forget anytime soon.

Now you might imagine my little guys seeing a stinky bug and running the other direction.  You would be totally under-imagining this whole thing.


Let me give you a for example.  Yesterday afternoon they were playing a game nobody else understood and it involved shimmying through that narrow space between the couch and the wall.  Giggles ensued and it was a grand time for all.  Or at least for those two. Until the stinky bug came on the scene, that is.

We all knew the exact moment it happened.  In fact, I’m pretty sure the neighbors two blocks away knew the exact moment it happened.  There was shrieking and flailing and stomping and tears and one of them very nearly passed out from holding his breath. I kid you not.

Now, I’m going to let you in on a little secret.  I’d rather you not tell anyone because it will shatter my reputation.  Either that, or it’ll validate it.  Okay, here goes…

I laughed.

We all laughed.  It was terrible and horrible and heartbreaking and yet every last one of us struggled not to let them see us snicker.  It wasn’t because we didn’t care.  And it wasn’t because we don’t love them beyond reason or that we don’t truly desire their happiness. It was because it was so ridiculous and we all knew it even if they didn’t.

Stinky bugs are gross.  They’re dreadful little monsters who make their home where they’re not wanted.  They make me gag and they provoke my husband into doing the most adorable dance when he thinks one may be crawling on him and can think of nothing but getting it off.  Even so, it’s kind of silly to put all your energy into fearing something that really isn’t out to hurt you.

And yet, isn’t that exactly what most of us do?  Even those of us older than two?

We worry about not having enough money and how we’re going to make more.

We worry about not having a decent car and what we’re going to do if it dies on us.

We worry about what’s going to happen if they outlaw homeschooling.

We worry about our kids making a scene in church and causing people to think less of us.

We worry about not being skinny enough or pretty enough or smart enough.

We worry we’re not doing our Bible study right.

We worry our prayers are eloquent enough.

We worry the food in the pantry won’t last until payday.

We worry the neighbor is annoyed by our kids playing in the yard using their outside voices.

We worry we’ll lose someone we love and be left with that hole.

I could go on and on and never exhaust this list. We fear things that haven’t happened.  Things that likely won’t happen.

Yes, any or all of these things could happen.  But fearing  the could happens only steals our joy from all the is happening moments in life. And how ridiculous is that?

It’s seriously ridiculous and I know first hand because I’m the queen of senseless, wasteful worry and fear.  I taught my little boys to fear with such voracity.  They just took their lesson and applied it to stinky bugs.

But now I hear His voice, gently but firmly, instructing me to give them a new lesson.  One that involves trust and rest and peace and hope.  One that leaves no room for worry because it remembers any pain we experience here in this life, no matter how deep, can not hurt us for long.  We have an eternity stretched out endlessly before us and these beautiful, terrible, amazing and heartbreaking days are only a blip on the radar.

Don’t let stinky bugs steal your joy in the here and now.




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Notes to Self: Fourth Edition


1.  If you keep your house clean every single day of your life but one, you’ll find unannounced guests on your doorstep on that very day.  You’ll try to brush off the state of upheaval that has taken over your home and assure the unannounced guests that you’re normally very clean and tidy.  But when they just look at you with that special look that very clearly says they aren’t buying it, you’ll suddenly remember these same guests appeared on your doorstep on that other day when you failed to clean.  So there you have it…you’ve kept your house reasonably presentable on every single day of your life but two and the same unannounced guests appeared both days.   The problem is not you it is them.


2.  If you hand your toddler a small sack of trash and tell him to go throw it “out” do not expect it to end up in the trash can.  He’ll hear the word out and and it sounds nothing at all like trash can.  Naturally, he’ll pry open the front door and he’ll give that sack a good throw, just as you’ve instructed him to.  Of course, you won’t realize he’s done this until the UPS man knocks on the door and you answer to find him standing in a scattering of debris.  Listen closely:  Do not try to explain.  UPS men are notorious for being in a hurry.  He doesn’t care about your trash so stop bothering him already!


3.  If you think you are home alone and that it’s safe to sing and dance with abandon while you clean the kitchen, you will almost certainly find that someone has sneaked back into the house and is watching.  You’ll be so lost in the moment that at first you won’t notice.  But when you throw your head back and really belt out that high note in your pathetic voice that doesn’t hit high notes, you’ll hear the laughter.  You’ll die a little inside but don’t let them know it.  If things get really dicey you may just have to remind them they inherited your terrifying voice and then you can stand back and watch as the color drains from their face.


4.  Cinnamon and cayenne are not interchangeable in a dessert recipe.  Don’t ask.


5.  Your child may know her multiplication tables inside and out but if a random stranger decides to test out the math skills of your homeschool-er she will suddenly lose all grasp of even the simplest addition problems.  Don’t panic.  According to new educational standards, as long as she can explain her wrong answer she isn’t really wrong.  Whew!


6.  If you beg and plead your teenager to go running with you, even resorting to ribbing him about being too wimpy to lace up his shoes and hit the pavement, you’d better be able to make it more than 100 yards before you twist your knee.  Seriously, this is no joking matter.  He will walk the remainder of the 4 mile route with you but he will not do so without reminding you that you’re getting older and you need to go easy on yourself.


7.  It was okay to talk to yourself when you were a kid.  Nobody thought twice about it.  At this stage in your life, however, that is no longer the case.  If you must do it, whisper.


8.  In this age of extreme social media you can pretty much count on the most unflattering pictures of yourself making the rounds.  Worse still is when someone tags you in them so all the world knows, without a doubt, that it’s you.  Be informed…there is an untag button for a reason.  Use with abandon. :)


9.  Two things there is never enough of in a house where children reside:  Noise and dirt.  Are you now wondering what else I lie about?


10.  Your days may be filled with dishes, laundry, sticky floors and so many questions that your head spins you into bed at night but when your posse of kids scrambles for the spots on and around you during family worship, you’ll remember why you do it in the first place.  And you’ll decide it isn’t so bad, after all!



Did you miss the previous editions?  Click for the FIRST, SECOND and THIRD




Making the Mom Thing Happen

Ask the Wemmicks

Today I’m joining a group of terrific ladies as we each answer the following question in our own thoughts and from our unique life experiences.  You’ll find the links to the other answers at the bottom of the post.


How do I teach each child their lessons AND cook 3 nutritious meals a day AND nurse the baby AND keep everyone in clean clothes AND keep the dust bunnies at bay, all on very little sleep?! Did I mention that right now I’m only teaching 3 out of my 6 and we are focusing just on phonics and math?


First of all, you need to grab that boatload of expectations and give it a good kick.  You are human and ONE human at that.  You cannot be everything to everybody while managing everything everywhere.  Period.


I wasn’t born with a cape on and I doubt you were either.  No problem.  He never intended for us to have superpowers.  He handles what we can’t and only asks that we handle what we can.

The key to managing a day in the crazy-busy life of a mom is to prioritize.

  • What must be done?
  • What would be nice to get done?
  • What will be just fine if it doesn’t get done?

Start with prayer and quiet time.  Get up a little early but make it happen.  You can’t handle the crush of the day in His strength if you haven’t gone out to gather it.

Nursing the baby and feeding the kids must happen but the meals don’t have to be elaborate.  They don’t even always have to be hot.  A mom with all young kids is in survival mode whether we want to admit it or not.  We hang by a thread and hope it doesn’t snap.

What, you thought you were the only one?  Oh friend, you are not and never have been.

The schooling must happen but doesn’t have to be stressful.  In fact, it shouldn’t be.  Don’t try to recreate a classroom experience.  Give them life experience.  Cover the basics and then get your hands dirty.  Work together and play together.  Don’t just read about history…create it.

If you swipe at the dust today it’ll be back tomorrow.  Teach your children to pick up and put away.  Hold them accountable and you’ll find your house suddenly isn’t quite as messy.  I shared in this post how we keep our home tidy but when I had all little ones I was far more involved in every task.  Responsibility precedes honor…they must be given the first before they’ll attain the latter.

The best way to get it all done is to stop focusing on a to-do list.  It’s to realize that sometimes not everything is going to happen as you planned.  Let’s be real, if everything happens as you planned it you should probably get out of bed.  That only happens in a really good dream.

Smile at your children.  Read to them and play with them.  Go for lazy walks and talk about nothing.  Keep school light and stress-free and they’ll learn to love learning.

Walk through life with them rather than just prodding them along.  It’s so much more enjoyable, and much easier to handle, when you don’t strap that heavy burden of unattainable expectations to your back…or theirs!

Want to hear how the other ladies answered this reader’s question?  Follow the links below to catch up with the Wemmicks…

Cindy Dyer — Get Along Home

Natalie Klejwa — Visionary Womanhood

Kelly Crawford — Generation Cedar

Marcia Wilwerding — eHomebody

Bambi Moore — In the Nursery of the Nation

Terry Cover — A Mom’s Many Lessons




How to Love Your Boys Up Proper



I’ve got five boys and not one of them is alike.  Honestly.  They are the strangest creatures I’ve ever met and I find myself confused and conflicted more often than not.  You see, I’m a girl.  A girl that happens to be their mother but that still doesn’t give me much of an edge when dealing with the mystifying behaviors of the toddler, adolescent and teen male species.  Color me clueless and it would be the perfect hue.

In spite of all that, I’m going to offer you a few ideas for showering those amazing boys with all the love they didn’t even know they were craving!


Join me over at Raising Hearty Boys to read the rest of this article…




Back to Homeschool {over $1000} Prize Package Giveaway

Back To Homeschool Giveaway!

It’s that time of year. New school years are starting for public schools. For those who homeschool, your school might have started a month ago. Or you might not ever stop – you just keep going. :)

It doesn’t matter what point of the school year you are at, new items are always exciting whether it be new curriculum or a new planner or some random thing that helps your day run more smoothly! Of course, there is something better than new things for your homeschool – new things that are completely FREE! To help kick off the unofficial start of the new school year we’re hosting a huge giveaway full of great prizes to benefit someone’s homeschool!

There are multiple companies out there who serve the homeschooling community. We’ve lined up a number of great companies who have graciously offered to be a part of this outstanding giveaway. Prizes include a 16 GB White iPad mini, $50 gift certificates to various homeschool companies, the Deborah & Co. online clothing store, Lilla Rose hair accessories, Cowgirl Dirt Makeup, and more! We wanted to bless a homeschooling family and also pamper the homeschooling mama who works so hard at not only raising her children but also educating them! For a complete listing of all the prizes one family will receive, look below!

(Affiliate Links Included)

For The Family

iPad Mini

A 16 GB white iPad Mini! You can purchase a lot of wonderful learning apps which can enhance your homeschooler’s education. ($329 Value)

mini ipad case

Bodhi Black Mini iPad Case ($50 Value)

Paper Dolls

Noble Rose Press Complete Collection of beautifully illustrated historic paper dolls, and a sweet, wholesome coloring book for children. ($85 Value)

Teach Them Diligently Homeschool Convention 2014

Teach Them Diligently Family Pass to your choice of one of four different locations! An amazing homeschool convention that will bless and encourage your family. ($50 Value)


A $50 Gift Card to Mardel Christian and Education Book Store!

Light of Faith

$50 Gift Card to Light of Faith, a wonderful homeschool store owned by a very sweet family!

queen homeschool

$50 Gift Card to Queen Homeschool Supplies, an outstanding resource for Charlotte Mason curriculum!

homeschool in the woods

$50 Credit to Home School In The Woods Publishing, a store that sells lapbooks, timelines, and more!


$40 Downloadable MP3 files of Mystery of History Volume 1. Through downloadable MP3 files, you can listen to the professionally recorded stories through the voice of the author, Linda Lacour Hobar. With accompanying text in hand, you can read right along with the author as she breathes life into the stories.


T-Tapp DVD program for Mom and Children to do together! Includes TappCore and TappCore 2. These workouts include short movements that are great for quick workouts. Thanks to The Encouraging Home Blog for Donating these. ($30 Value)


Making Vegetables Book by Shoshanna Easling, owner of The Bulk Herb Store. Beautiful pictures, loaded full of information on gardening with seeds and building greenhouses. Perfect for the gardner in your family. ($19.95 Value)

ABC's For Godly Children Banner1

The ABC’s for Godly Children Curriculum is a comprehensive, Bible eCurriculum centered around teaching children ages 4-10 about the God they serve and how to have a heart like His. PDF Download. ($14 Value)

For The Mother

Deborah & Co Button $50 Gift Card to Deborah & Co., an online clothing company that offers women’s maternity, and girl’s clothing. Custom hem lengths and fabric selections available!

Lilla Rose Flexi Clips

$50 of select products at Lilla Rose. Consultant will pick select items and mail them to you. Flexi Clips that actually work to hold up all your hair, in a beautiful way! Seven different sizes for varying hair textures and lengths.

Sew a Fine Seam

$50 to Sew A Fine Seam, a sweet Etsy Store that has beautiful items, such as the ruffled scarf above. She is also willing to let you apply your $50 towards custom sewing. Jill blogs at Sew A Fine Seam blog, which I love to visit when I have a few extra minutes. Her photos are gorgeous and I love reading about the projects she does!

Clementine Embroidery

$45 to Clementine Patterns, embroidery patterns and complete kits for making beautiful pictures to grace the walls of your home.


$45 to Breezy Tulip’s Studio – the most amazing watercolor paintings that are sweet and centered around the home life. Also Breezy sells chalk art collection of scripture verses. Beautiful artwork for the walls of your home.


Stress Away Roll On from Young Living Oils. Homeschooling is hard work and brings stressful moments. Stress Away Essential Oil is excellent at relieving some of those anxious feelings that stress can bring. ($33.00 Value)


$25 Gift Card to Cowgirl Dirt – natural, almost all Organic Mineral Makeup and more! Outstanding makeup that is gentle on the skin, but lasts all day!

To enter, use the rafflecopter below. The list is long due to how many companies and bloggers are involved. Grab a cup of herbal tea and take a few minutes to enter! You can always come back and finish up later.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Homeschooling Day by Day: NOW AVAILABLE

If you’ve ever wished for a homeschooling manual- or better yet, a mentor- I think you’ll love Homeschooling Day by Day!



Buy the ebook for just $4.99 $2.00 on sale! {Buy Now}

This ebook is the collaborate work of eleven mothers who, like you, are in the trenches raising and educating their children at home.


{Read the author profiles here}


“If you are considering homeschooling or are a veteran of 20 years, if you’re excited about the upcoming school year or fearful and dreading it, this book will speak to and encourage you!” -Gena Mayo, I Choose Joy!


Throughout the forty chapters of Homeschooling Day by Day, you’ll read about


homeschooling methods,


learning styles,


homeschooling kids with learning disabilities,


homeschooling teenagers, preschoolers, and how to juggle multiple ages,


dealing with insecurity and criticism as a homeschool mom,


how to handle bad attitudes, expectations,


hands on help for lesson planning, keeping up with housework, meals, and so much more!


{Take a peek at the Table of Contents!}


Homeschooling Day by Day is an outpouring of Godly encouragement that will sustain you on the dry and weary days.”

- Jamerrill Stewart, Holy Spirit Led Homeschooling


If you’re a homeschool mom in need of a little inspiration, or if you’ve ever considered homeschooling but aren’t quite sure you can do it, Homeschooling Day by Day will encourage and empower you!




You can purchase Homeschooling Day by Day for your Kindle or home computer for just $4.99 $2.00 while the sale lasts!



eBook.button {Buy Now]


{Buy Now]




Look for an “in print” version to be released on Amazon very soon!

Become an affiliate.