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This Is Why!

We all have bad days! We all have those days where we want to give in to our inner child with screaming and returning to bed. 

Yesterday was one of those for me. It had been brewing for weeks with kids crying every school day and then me being sick last week. It ran over with a kid lying first thing in the morning. (Lying is a struggle for one of my kids.) I LOST it! I got angry! I wanted to throw in the towel and return to bed, but I have responsibilities on Mondays. I tutor a class at my Classical Conversations Community so I had no choice. I left my “in trouble” kid at home with Desi where he could think about his actions because, honestly, I couldn’t handle him. I needed some space. 

I left the house to go pour into our CC Community’s kids feeling like a complete failure. Mercy in regards to our sin nature isn’t one of my natural giftings. The tendency to raise my voice is one of my natural tendencies.  It should be obvious by now that those two things shouldn’t manifest themselves in a mom with 4 young kids at home. 

I was berating myself for losing it and for not having solved this “lying” issue yet (2.5 years now). I was rethinking homeschooling. I began to think maybe I was overcommited (tutoring at CC, directing Awanas, serving at church, homeschooling, baking). I was feeling pretty yucky. 

My devotion email was late getting to me so I only had time to pop it open right before I started teaching my class. Of course it was just what God needed to say to me:

2 Corinthians 12:10

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

God’s voice spoke! Surrendering it all to Him I claimed my glorious weakness and became strong in Him. I don’t need to fix this “lying” issue…it is God’s to fix in His child. I can pray and modify how I approach it, but ultimately God will deal with His child’s heart. As for my lack of  mercy…I just needed that simple reminder of how flawed I am and how perfectly God loves me. When I REST in Him, He shines through me. My patience is long. My voice is soft. My spirit exudes joy. My parenting is tender. It rubs off on everyone in my house. 

So by the time I got home 4 hours later I was ready to give this kid and myself a fresh start. We took a walk, both deciding we would just be silent for awhile and let God speak to us. When we did talk he took my hand as we walked and discussed how we can do better from here on out. 

If you are like me your failings will come back front and center as you will feel guilty. Stop right there with that…it is really just Satan. God forgives and forgets. He makes us new. Satan attempts to destroy our spirits with guilt. So no I am not going to feel bad. I am learning. I am imperfect and God is made strong in my weakness!

My day moved forward more positively. As I was baking Chicken Cordon Blue for dinner my youngest (4) decorated my house with his creations. Oh they are simple and silly, but he says, “Mommy i just love you so much. You are the best Mommy ever.”


And this, ladies and gentleman, is why I have crazy looking decorations all over the house…to remind me of the precious hearts around me who love me unconditionally…just like God does. 

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The Prodigal

Back in February, I shared with you our heartache over our daughter. Read the post here: Minus One at Home

We  had to demonstrate tough love. Let me tell you that this was HARD and it broke us, but we knew we had no other choice. 

As she moved out, we began praying that God would change her heart, heal her, grow her, break her if needed, and that our love for her would grow. Let me tell you…you cannot be angry at someone when you are genuinely praying for them. What a gift!

I kept tabs on this child of ours by stalking her twitter feed. Oh it saddened me to see where she was spiritually but I could at least see that she was alive. (Side Note: Thank God my parents didnt have social media when I was being a pill!) 

So we continued with no contact until the end of June. One evening she randomly texted us a quite genuine apology. She said she didn’t expect us to forgive her. Silly girl!!!! These two parents couldn’t say “You are forgiven,” fast enough!!!  

We began the process of just communicating regularly since she was in a different state.  It felt good to be able to tell her I love her and to just have normal conversation. 

I could see the process of change beginning. She started attending church. She started trying to figure her life out. I saw her conversation on social media change. 

Life wasn’t easy for our girl. It rarely is!

A big part of Desi’s struggle is because she has wanted and craved a relationship with her mom where communcation is open, where acceptance abounds, and where honesty exists. I think my girl hoped that this could happen.  Her hope didnt come to fruition. 

Eventually the conversation turned to, “Why would God allow me to be going through this?”

I gently reminded her that she stepped out of God’s will and is suffering the logical consequences. I also reminded her that God is a merciful and gracious God of second chances and that the trial isn’t the goal…the goal is how she comes out of it…the lessons she learns through it. 

As she began exploring her future and deciding on the path she would take, it became clear that her father was uniquely qualified to help her attain her goals. (We will share those at a later date.)

As this began to fall in place, her relationship with her mom deteriorated to a point where her mom refused to even speak with her or try to work out their differneces. (Much of their differences simply rests on her mother’s intense hatred of us and inability to understand Desi’s relationship with God. It is kind of a “choose me or them” attitude…in her world there cannot be relationships with both parents.)

Desi was stressed and trying to work through this. All to no avail. Her mom refused to talk and wanted her to move out.  Desi’s future plans didn’t include her living with her mom for much longer anyways but time ran out. Desi gathered her things and moved out…to her car. 

Life just got a lot harder!

Her dad and I helped her work through some possibilities and in the end she decided that coming to our home would be best. It will just be a temporary stepping stone on the path to her goal. But it will be a safe, supportive, loving place to rest while she gets her future in order. 

I’m so incredibly excited to hold my girl again…in just another hour. 

And just like the story of the Prodigal Son that Jesus told we will celebrate her return…because she was lost and is found. 

More than the story of my prodigal child returning is the God Story. 

God worked in my heart.  When she left I never envisioned welcoming her home. God healed my brokenness, my hurt, and filled me with incredible love for my only girl. I actually miss her like crazy!

God changed her…opened her eyes. For as long as I have known her she has jumped through hoops to get her mom to love her like she needs. This has created a lot of drama for her and she has made a lot of unhealthy decisions in order to please her mom. 

I got this text the other day from Desi:

It just hurts because I wish things were different. And honestly I long for the relationship I have with you, with my mom… I want that. But God knew,after all…he placed you in my life for a reason… Even though at the beginning I was very resentful towards you (for no reason) He knew I would need you. You’re the mother I need in my life no matter what life threw at us. I am very grateful for you, Faith. Just thinking about this now- God just threw at me another perfect reason I have you in my life today. 

Yes I cried happy tears! I have been praying for Desi’s mom for years. How much easier it would have been on my girl for her mom to be the mom we all need! I never needed to be Desi’s mom or her everything. All I needed to be was what God asked me to be…the gap-filler and to love her like Jesus loves her. But I am her mom and she is my daughter. We will continue to pray and maybe one day she will have 2 moms (maybe even a 3rd when she marries)!

Another positive from what started as a bad situation is Desi realizes she cannot live her life to please her mom…instead she must live her life to please God alone. To hear her say she realizes there isn’t anything more she can do to work on their relationship and that their relationship is best from afar is sad. Oh but to then hear her say she is just praying to love her mom where she is…well that is just beautiful. 

God is good! He has answered our prayers and brought our girl home whole in both spirit and body!

So after 223 days, I am going to celebrate this return and enjoy loving on my girl for the next little season in life. May it be rich and restorative! 

Luke 15:32

But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.

Homeschooling is for the kids right?

We have finished our first two weeks of school…WHEW! This year is definitely going more smoothly than last year did. Perhaps it is because we arent moving in the middle of the year? That was chaotic to say the least!

Maybe it is because we have a dedicated space that forces me to be at the school table with them. Our classroom is in our basement so I also am not distracted by the household stuff. We have our classroom all set up with everything we need. We have a place to hang our work to show Daddy. We save the things we are proud of and then choose one item to put into our yearly “permanently save” file each week. 

Maybe it is our routine. They eat, get dressed, brush teeth, do chores, and then hang out on the couch until the appointed time. We started getting up at 7 am and being on the couch by 8 am, but it wasn’t happening. I was doing a lot of drill sergeant yelling and they were doing 10 burpees if they were late. They win (and I do since I’m not yelling)…we are now just starting school around 8:30-9:00 am.  The boys are good helpers. Daily they make their own beds. Each boy has a specific daily chore that he has “perfected”. Marcus wipes down their bathroom countertop/sinks and puts a fresh towel out. Bryan cleans the guest bathroom toilet seat, etc and the sink with clorox wipes and empties that bathroom trash. Gabriel cleans their toilet and empties the trash from their bathroom and the master bath. Grayson wipes every doorknob in the house. They all do their own laundry (including folding). They also have a day to empty the dishwasher. They help by dusting the entire house from top to bottom on cleaning day. They then check off their accomplishments to earn their weekly commisions. If they forget they don’t get paid. As I said…they are good helpers. Can anyone say “good husband material some day!” 

So once all that mess is done we start our day. We now all have our God time together. We used to do it individually in our rooms but this is better. We meet on the couch and I read a chapter from my Bible while they follow along in theirs. Then we do our own devotionals followed by prayer time for each other and friends/family. This has been hugely beneficial and it helps them to have me model it daily. Secret benefit is to me…Mommy gets to read more than a quick devotional email while she brushes her teeth. My in depth time conversation time with Jesus happens on my runs. 

Then we head down to our classroom. We start our day by tracing or drawing maps while we listen to “The Story of the World”. Next we review the information we need to memorize for Classical Conversations. Finally we start math, reading, phonics, spelling and handwriting. 

We have been able to finish every day by lunchtime (12-12:30). So the afternoons are left open. Most days we do “rest time” (reading in beds), play, I do household chores and start baking any orders I have, run errands, and then we go to Taekwondo at 4. Marcus, Bryan, and Gabriel tested for and earned their white belts this week. Grayson is young and doesnt know enough yet. Look at his face…he wasnt happy about not earning his belt. 

So to my point…homeschooling is for the kids, right? Well…this year is challenging their Mommy. I would consider myself to be a well-educated and highly capable adult, but I am learning a lot right along with them. 

Classical Conversations requires them to memorize new facts from 7 areas (Timeline: 165 points in time, history sentences, math, english grammar, latin, geography, and science) weekly. Get this…they actually do it quite easily! I am learning new things right along with them. For example: I do not recall ever learning about Charlemagne or William the Conqueror. I also do not recall most of the more than basic geography of the world. Yeah I know the continents and the relative location of most of the major counties but that’s about it. (Sorry to any of my teachers who did teach this…I must have chunked it out of my brain to make room for something I deemed useful at the time.)  

Bryan and Marcus are learning to write in cursive for the first time… ummm… yeah I haven’t written more than my signature in probaly 30 years. So I am “learning” to write neatly in cursive all over again. The boys are doing fantastic and like it way better than printing. 

Also…Taekwondo is requiring me to learn things to help them. Never thought I would count in Korean!

We start Awanas in another week so there will be more memory work then. Please let all the verses be ones I know!!!!!

So this Momma is busily cramming her brain full and it is tired. This is why my kids seem exhausted. It is a lot! In a good way of course!

I’ve decided that homeschooling might not just be for the kids… 

With this I am so glad I am only baking 1-2 orders a week. Last night I baked “outside of my shell” with this turtle cake. This accomplishment feels good!

If you don’t follow Faithfully Sweet Treats head on over and like my facebook page: Faithfully Sweet Treats

Proverbs 9:9

Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.

Firsts!

Today was a glorious day of firsts!

We started our school year. Daddy was able to be home and pray over all of us before we began this grand adventure today so it was pretty  cool. We homeschool but have decided to add Classical Conversations to our curriculum. BEST decision ever!! The kids and I love it. 

Today was our first “community day”.  I am a tutor.  (Which means I lead/teach a class.)  My class has six 8-10 year olds. Let me just say it was an amazing experience and I loved it! I got kid compliments like, “Your class is WAY better than regular school,” and “You are fun!” So my goals were achieved. My learners were fully engaged and loving learning. The most exciting thing…I got to weave God into EVERYTHING I taught…I got to point every detail back to the Creator of the Universe. Just plain awesomeness! 

The boys are filled with information and are recounting their days with so much detail. Note: this has never been the case. In the past they could barely tell me anything about their day. 

Tomorrow we will have our first day of school at home in our basement “school zone”. We have a cozy lil spot with fun lighting and all. School will start at 8 with family Bible study. Then we will listen to stories as we trace CC Maps. Next we will work on our week’s grammar/memory work. Finally we will do reading, math, phonics, spelling, and handwriting. 

I should mention that The Brown Academy of Excellence has excellent ratings. It boasts a 100% graduation rate and an individualized education plan. Students have daily access to a gourmet kitchen that provides 3 meals and 2-3 snacks a day. The chef uses organic ingredients and grass fed beef. Better still…the students have access to a personal baker. Students engage in activities such as biking and hiking on a regular basis. Students are highly responsible with a host of chores that prepare them to be successful adults. They are also far beyond their public school cohorts in academics. 

Our other new item is that all four boys started Taekwando today. I think it is a “hit” also! We are excited about the many benefits that the boys will get such as physical fitness, focus, discipline, etc. Since it is impossible to do everything we gave the boys a choice of some sports and a trampoline or a year of Taekwando. They chose Taekwando. If they continue to express interest then we will continue to attend Taekwando. 

Summer Time!

Summer is in full swing at the Brown house. We have been really busy. 

My momma visited from May 9th thru June 12th. We drove across the country to Ohio to visit my dad’s side of the family. We stopped in Branson, MO, for a few days. The boys rode their first big roller coasters. 

Baseball season has begun. We have three different teams. Bryan and Gabriel play tball on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Marcus practices on Mondays and has games on Saturdays. Notice the mountains in the background as they play ball…seriously…can it get any better than that!!!


We are also in the midst of swim lessons…2 hours a day…4 days a week for 2 weeks. Grayson (3) is swimming now…he cant raise his head to take a breath without sinking but he can do a swim/crawl thing that gets him from point a to point b.  Gabriel (5) is learning to turn his head to the side during his freestyle. His arms are coming fully out of the water and he doesnt look like he is about to drown now. Bryan (5) and Marcus (7) are working on perfecting their strokes and are looking good in the water. 

On my side…I am running a lot of mileage early in the morning (5-5:30am). Guess what!!! In Colorado I have to wear sunscreen at 5am or I actually burn 😂

I also am starting to get as busy as I want to get baking (2-3 small orders or one big one a week). 

The biggest news…we bought a house here in Colorado. We closed last Friday and get to move in mid-July. We spent a lot of time praying that God would lead us to a home where we could really love on and be Jesus to our neighbors. I guess this one is it. I got that “ahhhhh” feeling when I walked in and they accepted our offer over all the others. God moved lots of pieces to make every thing work out smoothly. Our current landlord let us out of our lease early, we found tenants to replace us, and my realtor will now manage his property for him. We have four weeks until we move but I have us mostly packed. Might be a wee bit anxious to move!!!!


So life is good…busy…and fun! God has been good to us and is allowing us a sweet period atop the mountain (literally).

Lamentations 3:22-25 

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,to the one who seeks him.

Homeschooling Surprises

  Moving can create some chaos in terms of school. Fortunately we homeschool so it isn’t a huge deal that we missed almost a month of school in October. 

In Texas we did a co-op that was awesome on Mondays and Thursdays. Texas has zero regulations on homeschooling. I didn’t have to report that we were homeschooling, report attendance, or report progress. We just did our thing without interference. 

When we got to Colorado I began searching for a homeschool group or co-op like we had in Texas. Much to my dismay and surprise I couldn’t find one. Then I started seeing that Colorado has some requirements that made me think, “I’m not liking this…”

Homeschool families in Colorado must tell the local school district 14 days before they begin homeschooling. They must teach specific subjects; keep attendance showing a minimum of 4 hrs per day for 172 days; do a standardized test every other year starting in 3rd grade AND make a minimum score or pay a professional evaluator to evaluate your children; and send grades, assessment results, immunizations, and attendance to the school district yearly. 

My first thought was that my privacy feels violated. Who is the government to try to regulate how I teach my kids? (I do get that there are people who don’t do what they should, but that isn’t us.) 

Then…the whole testing focus is a HUGE reason we homeschool. I love the fact that we can learn in so much more of a fun way and cut out the busy work. We don’t have to wait on everyone else to finish. We aren’t held down by the kids who aren’t at our reading level or worried when we are slow getting a concept. We can take breaks when we want. We aren’t getting in a car half asleep, shoving food down quickly, spending 6-8 hours at school, and then spending our evenings doing homework.  

As I began to freak out, I discovered a little loop hole…I could enroll in a Non-Public Independent School and completely avoid the public school district. SCORE! There are still some things I have to report yearly, but I’d much rather report to a group of like-minded families than a school district that is losing money because I choose not to send my kids to them. 

Now that we were enrolled in an Independent school, I needed to figure out the non-existent co-op issue. As I looked I realized Charter schools are HUGE in Colorado and almost every one had a homeschool program. What…Homeschool programs at the school district funded charter schools??!!! Seemed kindof counter intuitive…

Some of these programs taught every subject 1-2 days per week and even provided the textbooks. These were obviously not in line with my philosophy of homeschooling from a Biblical viewpoint. So they were immediately ruled out. 

Then I found a charter school program that only enriched in Science and Spanish. That sounded much more like what I was interested in. After talking to the director, I felt confident that this program had like minded families in attendance and that the instruction would meet the needs of our family. So we enrolled. This year we go on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11-2:30.  What is different is that it is free (as they get money for the kids attendance from the state), certified teachers instruct, and there is zero expectation for me to help or volunteer. The boys love it and I am pleased with what they are learning and with their teachers. 

For next year I have made some big decisions…

First, we will homeschool year round. Why? Well kids lose so much of what they learned in the time that we take off in the summer. I also find that I get tired of teaching. I find that after 4 days during the week, the 5th day is usually not a very exuberant effort on my part. (I’d rather be having pure fun with them!) I also find that I crave a break every 3-4 weeks or so. So we are going to go year round with a 4 day max week and shorter, more frequent breaks. 

Second, we are changing curriculums…from Horizons to Abeka. Lots of factors there but Abeka seems more cohesive and it just looks like a better fit for us. Our homeschool operates like a regular classroom…we sit in our assigned seats, raise our hands, have a routine, do independent work after we learn a concept, etc. I suppose this is because I was a teacher and I don’t want the weird homeschool kids who dont know how to function in the real world. It is important to me that they understand how social norms work and can be successful in a learning situation outside of our home (aka college).  We have a lot of fun, but our motto is:

WE WORK, WE PLAY, WE REST!

Work is school and chores. Play is play (and PE). Rest is quiet reading time…when our brains grow and our bodies recover.

Finally, our enrichment program will be from 9:30-2:30 on Tuesday and Thursdays next year. Everyone but Grayson will attend. (Then the next year Grayson will start and I will have 2 days to myself…seems like a dream!) They will do a rotating elective, creative writing, science, and spanish. 

Yes homeschooling is different here but so far it seems to be working out nicely. 

Deuteronomy 6:5-8

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Tell Your Heart To Beat Again

 This month is the month dedicated to hearts…both our physical and emotional hearts. All around me are the reminders. I created a bunch of little red hats for babies in the hospital to emphasize heart health. My church has a sermon series on the heart. It was Valentines Day. My husband works with hearts. There are heart songs out. See…lots of heart reminders. 

This month has been one of heart break…as a parent having to exercise tough love with a child…knowing you are doing what is necessary and the only option left, but hurting as you do it. 

It is heart breaking to call the police on a child…to hear the police explain that an arrest might be made if the situation isn’t corrected. It is hard to listen as they explain if your child is cooperative they will just issue a summons…if not, they will take to your child to jail.  

Colorado vs Texas Difference Side Note: I’m telling you the Douglas County Sheriff is SERIOUS about theft and fraud. They had the situation resolved in under 2 hours. Believe me this NEVER would have even been addressed in San Antonio.

It is heart breaking to hear one child tear down others because they dont share blood. Especially since they are unable to even comprehend the situation due to their age.  All of my children are chosen…meaning I have chosen to love each of them. All of my children are deserving of every bit of love they’ve been given and will continue to be given. No one child…confused and wayward or not…is more valuable than another. Niel feels the same way. Those who believe blood makes a family are sorely mistaken. A family is a not about a bond of blood, but a bond of love…a promise and commitment to love. 

It is heart breaking that so many in this world think to lift themselves up by stepping on others. It really only hurts their own souls. When will people really understand this concept? Probably the majority of our world will never get that real power isn’t about lifting yourself on the backs of others…it’s about lifting up everyone around you. 

I heard a Christian artist, Danny Gokey, explain his song “Tell Your Heart To Beat Again” like this: God has healed our hearts…but we have to come into agreement with God. We have to silence the voice of the enemy. Sometimes everything that can be done has been done and the time has come that it’s up to you to allow God to work. 

So as this crazy chapter in our lives is being closed, my prayer is that God continues to chase after and bring our child back into a real relationship with Him…that she’ll tell her heart to beat again. 

I pray that my heart will heal and continue to beat with love for the world around me. I pray that this particular spirtual battle for the heart of our child will be won not just in eternity but also here on earth in this lifetime. 

Proverbs 4:23

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:11‬ ‭

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

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