Here we are again at the beginning of another school year. I am excited; I love starting things! Fresh notebooks, colorful pens, and the routine of structured learning are needed. Summer was wonderful, but we need some focus back into our days. This year will have a new challenge. We will be covering pre-k through 5th-grade topics - so ABC's through Algebraic thinking. Easy-peasy(also the curriculum base we use) - No pressure!
I am a hot-beverage drinker. There are seasons where it is creamy coffee (yum), black coffee (to prove I am not addicted to unhealthy creamers) or tea (to prove I'm not addicted to caffeine). Then the cycle repeats itself. It is mostly ritualistic, something warm to drink during my process of waking up.
In this wonderful season, while I pry my eyelids open around 7:30, my kids fend for themselves. The older two assist the younger one with his breakfast needs if I'm not up tending to my French press yet. Our go-to breakfasts consist of toast, waffles, bagels, cereal, a piece of fruit or frozen pancakes thawed in the toaster. In the summer they were allowed cartoons or games for a bit, but during the school year, there must be Bible before any devices and devices must be earned as well as utilized for educational purposes first.
Our schooling doesn't usually start until 10 am unless we have some activity planned. From wake up until 10 it is prep time aka chores and self-grooming. After chores, we may go for a walk/bike ride around the neighborhood first.
We use the online curriculum of Easy Peasy or allinonehomeschool.com. This will be my fourth year using her outline (kindergarten and first grade we did scholastic books and more games). I love how I can add or drop things easily. If we have already read a book, we substitute a different one. I can't imagine trying to homeschool without Google. There are so many resources, that it is more about restricting resources to prevent overwhelm.
My youngest is an active little boy, so learning to recognize letters includes beanbags and Nerf guns. A lot of movement is needed. It will be a LeapFrog kind of year for him. We use random printables and crafts to cement learning the alphabet as his interest holds. Naiah might also run off and play super-hero in full costume in between activities while I answer questions about his sisters' assignments.
My hands-on-learner is always asking for crafts. Joining her sister for History and Science will give her plenty of hands-on lapbook assignments. She joins in on some of brother's crafts because she loves them that much! Having siblings work together for various subjects will also free mommy to work with the other unless my input isn't needed. Kei's favorite subject is math, so we also love xtramath.org for tracking her progress. (xtramath is also free!)
I am a huge proponent of independent learning. I try and wait to interject my suggestions until they seem needed. Its okay to let your child puzzle things out; it makes their brains stretch. I love the idea of strewing resources around so they learn without even realizing it. Seeing my kids work through their checklist on their own gives me confidence that they will be self-disciplined to meet accomplishments out in the real world.
My oldest, Dassa, is a grade ahead because of her problem-solving mind. She is an overachiever and makes me look good. Temperamentally, she is very much like me, however, so we are working hard on our communication. Mommy is still learning too! ;) I am learning where my boundaries should be in this new season of three students.
The two girls are signed up for an acrobatics dance class; we are all excited about this new element being added to the routine of our week. Baby boy will get some one-on-one dates with mommy and daddy during their hour of activity, so win-win for everyone!
Last year our schooling went 2+ hours a day, but with the addition of a third student it sometimes pushes to 3ish. We get the essentials done and then break at noon to eat some lunch.
At lunch, we go over our verse of the week (a lot of these are to song!), do calendar time (for the little guy mostly), and practice our languages (Russian, German, Spanish and Sign Language). We are learning a smattering of things just to round us out.
After lunch we finish what we didn't, read a book, play a game or call some friends.
Because our curriculum is primarily based online, we invested in chrome books this year with the touchable screens. We have a bit that is offline as well, including printouts, experiments, lapbooks, board games and reading. The little guy utilizes starfall.com, abcya.com and RosiMosi learning games. He also hops on shapes, letters and numbers, shoots them or tosses them into baskets.
My husband made us a long desk for our living room. This desk allows us all to work in the main area together, holds our printer and provides separate spaces for student projects. It is important to me that I model lifelong learning to my children. I am an author in the midst of several projects, so I am constantly reading, writing or researching too. Homeschooling just means I am keeping my own skills fresh as I assist in their learning process. It is a lot of hands-on in the beginning but it quickly flourishes into self-motivation and owning their responsibility.
Each student is unique. I have three lefties, but that is where the comparison stops. I seem to have an auditory learner, a kinetic learner, and a visual learner. The youngest is still hard to pin down completely; mostly he is just a bundle of indecisive energy.
We focus on attitude and progress over perfectionism. We stress problem-solving and independent thinking. Each year we pray for God's guidance and tweak things to fit the new dynamics. Knowing that we aren't restricted by a set schedule or expensive curriculum allows us all the freedom to adapt and grow. This was key mostly for mommy's personality. I crave change! We do have lists of responsibilities to keep us on task, but if life interrupts, great!
Our mornings are for learning and our afternoons offer opportunities for boredom which leads to creativity and invention. Sometimes we flip-flop this, depending on the time of the year, to enjoy the park with our friends because afternoons in Florida can get too hot! We bring down the Legos (I keep them up for my sanity) or bring out the board games. We also allow some device times when it has been earned; a house doesn't run itself.
Everyone pitches in around here, so pet care, laundry, dishes, cleaning and even some cooking is shared. Our library and park visits are regular. Dad is self-employed so this allows us a lot of flexibility for him to be included in field trips or family days. This also means, we occasionally work nontraditional school hours on Saturday if need be. We work with a flexible routine rather than a strict schedule.
So our typical home-school day, in a nutshell, is learning for a 3ish hour chunk around our other life activities. If Dad gets off early, we play with him and double up the next day. If daily rain showers hinder our play, you might find us in our bathing suits in the backyard anyway.
I love to hear how other's shape their learning environment. Leave a comment on what works in your season at your house!
Be careful what you pray for! I expressed my desire to do more ministry together with my husband and he said to put it in our prayer circles. (See Mark Batterson's Prayer Circle Book) Not too long after writing this desire down I got what I thought was the answer to my prayer. Now I know it was only part of the answer...
The Celebrate Recovery program we started 6 years ago was finally big enough to afford childcare. I am now able to bring our kids and be a part of the program once again. The women loving on my and other's children are beautiful inside and out. They do crafts and my kids love going every Friday! The vulnerability and transparency of Celebrate Recovery is beautiful and addicting (a healthy addiction). I love that our whole family goes together.
A few months later, our church pastor asked my husband if we might be interested in co-sharing on a Sunday. Our pastor was putting together a series on the Song of Solomon and he wanted several couples to each take a section. Our young adult group was studying the Song of Solomon teaching when Josh and I met. Any other topic and I probably would have said no, but the Spirit nudged me. I agreed before I could chicken out.
I am an introvert. My husband speaks all the time, but it's not really my cup of tea. Over the next few weeks I struggled to capture every fearful thought and replace it with faith or worship. Then I found out our Sunday commitment also included a follow up talk during the week where we could go into more depth in a small group. So, not one opportunity to share together, but two!
God is so cool, because He knows what we can handle better than we do. He also knows exactly how to present things - baby steps. He also places people strategically in our life to encourage us. A sweet friend gave me a mug with these verses.
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
They became my mantra the week before we were to speak!
As I tried to sleep God kept speaking to my heart - downloading tidbits. I have to keep a pen and paper near my bed because my mind always gets active late at night. My body is trying to sleep but my spirit is raring to contemplate truth.
As the day grew closer, my mother encouraged me to pray specifically for a big boost of confidence. I didn't want to be overconfident; I just didn't want to puke on stage. Flashbacks from speech class about picturing the audience naked didn't seem right for a church setting. I also thought about walking out without my glasses so everyone was a big blur, but a show and tell lighted candle prop made me decide against that. I did my part by reading through what my husband and I felt God wanted us to say. I told God the rest was up to Him. Help us convey your heart God!
I have been called a crier. I've cried when I am happy, sad, frustrated or angry. Empathy and emotion often overwhelm my throat and I feel frustrated and embarrassed. God has been taking me on a journey of EMBRACE this year. It was the word he gave me in January and I am still learning all that it entails. I felt God saying that I needed to embrace how He has wired me and stop feeling embarrassed about it. Feeling emotion isn't a weakness; it is my super power! If God wants to overwhelm me with His goodness, faithfulness, forgiveness, and love - so be it! And thank you!
The day before we spoke - I prayed that God would speak through me as only he could. I felt very much like Moses -no eloquent tongue here- but I promised to speak through any tears and keep going anyway. I asked everyone for prayer and I knew my husband would rescue me if I got too emotional to speak. He did promise not to rescue me too quickly.
On Sunday morning I felt excited - Like you're strapped into a roller coaster going up to the very first drop kind of excited. What the heck was I thinking! Despite a bug creeping across my foot, I spoke! Probably a little too fast, but I didn't puke AND I DIDN'T CRY!!! This was a first for me. I see now that God was preparing me for this opportunity by speaking in open share each week and facilitating a step study group.
One baby step led to another. I am grateful for the opportunity to stretch my faith. I don't really feel called to a public speaking career, but it is wonderful to know that WITH HIM ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.
Thank you to everyone who prayed for me <3
As I walk on the treadmill my mind wanders a lot. This morning I listened to my devotions and a podcast hoping to focus my mind while moving my body, killing two birds with one stone. Eventually, I realized that my thoughts had drifted to the city of Jericho and all that marching. Gee, I wonder what inspired that...
-How long did it take to walk around the city of Jericho?
-What were they thinking about as they walked around the city silently?
-Did they have to be silent the whole way or just when near Jericho?
-How far was their base camp from Jericho anyway?
-On the seventh day when they had to walk around seven times how hard was it not to whisper to a buddy?
This train of thought inspired me to do some digging.
I normally walk for an hour or about 3 miles to keep the joints lubricated and my sanity intact. My thoughts ramble disjointed and numerous. The city of Jericho with its protective walls is said to have been about 9 acres. Thank you, Google! So math whiz that I am... (haha) I figured out it would take me only about ten minutes to walk around the city itself. Ten minutes of silence is totally doable, but when I found out their base camp was in Gilgal it changed the whole picture. I had to tack on 9 or so miles from Gilgal to Jericho! So add three hours to that ten minutes and that is just one way!
We are talking a 6+ hour walk every day for 6 days and then about 7+ hours on the last day silently before the walls fell down! That is a lot of time to think!
I wonder if they were allowed to talk until Jericho came into sight? Imagine walking with thousands of people around without making any conversation. Eerie! Ten minutes of silently circling Jericho had to have those soldiers imagining what God was going to do... if anything. There had to be at least one doubter in a crowd that big.
Most periods of waiting aren't easy. Our brains fill the silence with worst-case scenarios, doubts, hopes, fear, anxiety, and prayer. Unknowns allow room for God to show off and with Jericho he definitely did. That seventh day is worth waiting for! I know, I know - I wish we could always know the waiting ended after seven days. Unknowns also allow fear to creep in. The end probably won't go in any of the hundred scenarios we run through our minds anyway.
Countless times the end "battle" turns out so much better than I could have hoped. Unforeseen consequences come and bless my socks off. The end result may be great, but the interim is the best place for me. Clinging to faith increases my spiritual muscle. No pain no gain! It also makes a greater testimony to God's glory!
Even when I feel like the end result was more massacre than victory I know I don't walk through it alone. I have learned to trust. Trust is something that is earned and learned through history together. God uses all things together for good. I like to add an eventually to this statement because His timing is not ours. Waiting is often the main point. In the valley, we get to choose to trust. We get to choose our focus. If we recall our history with God rather than our fears - that is our battle to fight. Our battle is in the heart and head! Choose to trust He will take care of the rest and walk with us through it.
In the midst, I feel like I can't make it through, but with His help I will. The waiting is still unpleasant. I mean who likes waiting? Uncertainty is still uncomfortable. Each valley of testing makes my faith grow and my certainty in God's love, protection, sustenance increases step by step.
My last random thoughts were on armor. How much did it psyche out the rulers of Jericho to see a massive army prepared for battle circle them day after day? They had no idea what God was doing. Maybe they were confident in their walls the first day, but some doubt had to be niggling in their mind with each passing day. I don't want to be waiting around unarmed. I want to keep Satan on his toes.
God wants my head protected with the knowledge of my salvation. My heart is safe, behind the breastplate of righteousness, knowing that God approves of me thanks to Jesus' sacrifice. Truth is my support knowing it should be shared in love. I am ready to share the Good news of peace with God wherever I go. I raise the shield of faith to block the arrows of doubt, shame, and fear Satan sends my way. The sword of the Spirit, the word of God, fights for me against the lies of Satan.
Let's keep growing in our waiting by asking questions and digging deeper into the word, so we will be stronger for the next valley. A good march makes the victory all the sweeter.
Summer is ideally a time to relax and try fun things; I think we accomplished that! We had a lot of firsts this summer and a lot of fun! We started off with several trips to an indoor trampoline place with friends to celebrate the end of our homeschool year.
Then, the summer got a lot cooler when Aunt Carolyn and Uncle John brought over a pool for us. Thank you!! The perfect depth for Naiah to start learning to swim and mommy not to worry about drowning, as much. (Yes, I know they can drown in a couple inches of water, so don't email me warnings - I am still vigilant!)
We celebrated some birthdays with family at Chuck E Cheese. Thanks Nini! My kids had never been before and were totally awed by the games and tickets. It felt like a childhood right of passage moment. ;)
1st Summer Camps
Beanie spent a week learning how to pick hooves, wash and brush horses, and ride. She got to try bareback, Western style and English style. She found out posting is harder than it looks. She hopes to continue helping out at the local barn, because she really loves horses despite the hot, sweaty work involved.
Keikei spent a week dancing away. If you know her, you know this is pretty normal for her; the girl never stops moving or talking. She is my bold one. She loved ballet, jazz, lyrical, and yoga. The Under the Sea theme was right up her mermaid-loving alley. I can definitely see more dancing in her future.
We also planned play-dates to water parks with cousins, took advantage of the free kids bowling program with friends, went to the local library events and Daddy even joined us for some free kid movies at the Cobb theater. Summer wouldn't be complete with a lot of ice cream or Italian-ice trips to stay cool.
We had many lazy days too where the kids whined for things to do and I said, Go read a book! Raising extroverts is not always easy for this introvert! I know being bored is important for creativity to flourish, so I occasionally had to restrict media for fear of their brain development. 🤪 I am secretly relieved that homeschool starts again soon because we need the structure. Soak up the fortnight while you can kids, because the countdown has begun. *evil laugh
What did you do this summer? We hope you got to try some fun new things too!
Josh and one of his best friends, Luke, opened the supplies for their new joint venture last weekend. Look at those smiles! It was exciting to be a part of their celebration.
One of the things that got Josh through ten years in the lawn service was listening to hours and hours of podcasts. He listened to everyone from hunters to pastors. In fact, he and Luke talked over a year ago about starting their own podcast. Late night conversations they had while biking together around town will be coming soon in their very own podcast series.
Dream are gifts from the dream giver. A generous donation came in specifically for the purpose of making their dream a reality. Wow!
Many hours of research have gone into this idea. As the equipment arrived, we wives were delighted to get a front row seat to the unwrapping. Laura grabbed her phone and captured those first smiles. Those smiles led to laughter. As the first microphone went live the first question popped, "What do you think we will be doing in ten years?" Eyes lit with joy as an easy conversation started.
As Josh and Luke move forward from the research-and-prayer stage to the production-and-prayer one, we ask for your partnership. Pray for clear direction, lots of Holy-Spirit-moments, and faithful listeners. They hope to have links up soon.
My new venture is actually a repeat venture, but I am very excited about it anyway. Five years ago I went through my first step study. God revealed some suppressed hurts in my life and some unhealthy tendencies toward perfectionism and food.
This is the first time I have been able to facilitate other ladies through the steps and I am very excited to journey through the steps again. It is an incredible privilege to journey with others! Not only does God knit hearts together, but you get to be a front seat witness of their freedom journey.
The beatitudes of Jesus are so key to restoring our relationship with Christ and accepting Him as your higher power unlocks incredible freedom and power. Our faith journey continues on as He continues to shape us in the image of His Son. I am looking forward to seeing what areas in addition to healthy boundaries God will have me working on.
So, as the guys and I start our new ventures we invite those around to join in on the journey: be praying for us, be looking for NAM - the podcast and join us at Celebrate Recovery on Friday nights.
When I first started my blog I struggled to find a name. I finally settled on Misty Megaccino Moments. Megaccino was a nickname that friend gave me in Ukraine a long time ago. I feel called to share my journey so moments felt right, but the misty part came after reading the verse about how we see things hazy as through a glass. After taking a theology class I concluded that the more you get to know God the more you realize you don't know. More answers lead to more question and thus starts a lifetime of seeking.
I don't claim to have all the answers. In fact, I hope it comes across loud and clear that I am a seeker, not a teacher. If you have found something useful or touching in one of my blogs then that is because the Lord saw fit to use it. God's Spirit is the teacher, not me.
I started this blog for a few reasons: one, I wanted a record of things God has done because I have a poor memory. I knew I would need to go back and remind myself of His faithfulness. Two, I wanted my kids to have a chronicle of my life. Rather than an emotionally-charged diary that I wrote in when upset, I chose a public forum that helps me keep a more balanced perspective. And Lastly, I process by writing things out, so it is a therapeutic process.
During a conversation I had this morning, I bemoaned my tendency to cry. I especially hate crying in front of others. It seems I cry when attempting to speak about anything of importance; I hate confrontation, because people matter. I tear up in empathy when anyone else does. Waterworks should dissipate with maturity or time, right? I am still hoping, but this doesn't seem to be the case.
At eleven, emotions choked me as I tried to give my simple testimony at summer camp. In college speech class I read aloud a fictitious story and sobbed like it was true. I had to fight through tears to even finish the assignment because I had gotten too deep into my own story. Crazy! Talk about embarrassing! No doubt I looked like a crazy person which makes my logical brain mad. As a young adult, I co-lead a study about the book Lies Women Believe and balled my way through that. Vulnerability equals tears in my body at least. Ugh... For years I have struggled with this - I see it as a weakness. I feel like it is Satan's attempt to silence me. He likes to keep people isolated instead of openly sharing their faith journeys with each other. Shame and fear like the dark, so the best way to get rid of them is to expose it to the light! Others have tried to convince me that my tears are a strength?... yeah um OK, I still don't see it, but thanks!
Maybe, I am incapable of relating what the Lord had done or is revealing to me without leaking, but at least with writing, no one can see the tears. Haha! Mostly, it is annoying to have the meaning behind your tears be misread. I even cry when I am angry and that is extremely aggravating! Every opportunity of speaking has left me choking through tears. No matter how much I prepare or outline, my emotions of gratitude and freedom overwhelm me. I can think it dry-eyed in my head, but as soon as I break my silence tears flow. I will not be silenced though. If God compels me to speak despite my tears, I must.
So anyways... this morning as I was driving home, I had an epiphany. God spoke deeper meaning into the word MISTY. The moments I am sharing with you all are my misty moments. Here I lay out personal miracles and struggles, both of which have come with tears. Whether the meaning behind the tears is nostalgia, pain or gratitude matters not, God knows. All these years I thought the name originated from the hazy mist of our inability to understand an infinite God, but more deeply it is all the moments God collected my tears in a bottle.
I love that God has layers and he is showing me my own layers. I learn things and then learn them again at a whole-other-level. He takes us deeper in. He didn't take away the original meaning of Misty - that is still a huge revelation in my journey of how big God is! But, he added a deeper meaning of embracing who he created me to be - a woman chronicling her misty moments for whoever he brings to read them. May he be glorified by every tear and every moment!
I love that God has a sense of humor. He is so wise in timing. He knows when we are ready or in need of a revelation. He knows what we can handle and what we can't. I know that is why He enjoys blowing my mind with epiphanies that are personal and perfect in His timing. Haha - well played God!
Have you had an epiphany lately? Share it with me!
This is my current read. After finishing Jen's Of Mess and Moxie book I knew I had to read her previous one. I am only a few pages in but already her witty humor is a huge draw for me. I'll post at the end of the summer with a further review.
Below are two groups of titles. One group I have already read this summer and thoroughly enjoyed. Most are fiction because summer is for chilling, but several nonfiction found their way into my library bag. And boy am I glad they did!
The second group is my current random grab from the library and online, so we shall see how they work out.
From left to right:
My summer started with a tale about connection on a flight, continued through a historical piece on Jewish midwifery, followed by a spiritual visit at an Amish bed and breakfast and - oh how I enjoyed the diversity!
After that, I was introduced to two new-to-me authors. One had me shouting Amen! The other's work astounded me. The internal dialogue was authentic and the spiritual journey was alongside Frank Peretti or Ted Dekker. The last in this group was probably the most beneficial. I know a reread of this book is the only way for it to be fully absorbed, so this one I purchased!
I enjoyed my random library grabs so much! (I have three kids, so I will admit to judging covers and only reading the back of a few of these ahead of time!) I only ended up returning two to the library that I was unable to get into at this time - So yay for the random grab method!! I am a big believer in timing. Sometimes you attempt to read a highly recommended book and nothing resonates, but you read the same book in another season of life and you can't get enough! If it doesn't grab you, don't sweat it - maybe next time!
These are the titles that I random-grabbed this last library visit. The last two were offline. One is a new author to me. Another is second in a series. Two of these are actually the same author but different genres. ;) These should keep me busy for the next week or two, but then I will need some more suggestions.
Another handy tool of busy moms is putting things on hold to pick up at the desk! So,what is on your summer list? Comment below with your suggestions!!
I am a believer in Jesus Christ. I love testimonies of God's love and faithfulness. Being an empathetic person - they get me every time.
One of my favorite verses is Revelation 12:11.
They triumphed over him (Satan)
I love this verse because it reminds me that even a testimony as simple as mine can be used to defeat Satan. Let me clarify what I mean by simple. My story lacks a definitive before and after Christ moment. My story is more one of progression than sudden or radical transformation. There has been a lot of transformation and will continue to have a lot more, but it has been slow and steady, probably because the Lord knows the pace I can handle.
One of my earliest memories, around four, is praying with my mom to accept Jesus. I was raised in a missionary family so from an early age I witnessed countless miracles. We were taught to pray for and expect them. The God I grew to know was and still is magnificent! It amazes me how God cares about the tiniest, most intimate details of our life. Yes, even close parking spots!
My parents did deputation and by age seven my family was living in Zagreb, Croatia but at that time it was Yugoslavia. We simply did life as we learned the language. My parents modeled how to be a friend first before sharing the friend, Jesus.
When the war broke out we briefly stayed in Vienna. My brother had scarlet fever and I learned how God is our healer.
Returning home to Massachusetts we had a year to reconnect with family in the States, raise puppies and build forts in the yard by the parsonage. By opening the doors in hospitality, my parent's made the scripture about entertaining angels without knowing real to me. I know one of our guests was an angel for certain!
From there my family went to Moscow for a two-year assignment. My parent's had met on the Russian floor at Colorado University so this would be an easier assignment at least linguistically speaking. My siblings and I learned Russian by playing in the courtyard with other kids and watched my parents work really hard. They were always being called to translate for everyone involved in the team. After two years we came back to the United States to help family in need of healing. It took us all a while to adjust, but it was a break we all really needed.
At this point in my life, I started to ask harder questions. I wanted to understand God deeper. I was starting to see the difference between loving Jesus and what some people said you had to "do" for Jesus. I needed to know that God wasn't just there for my parents but if He was there for me.
When I brought my doubts to my parents they weren't disappointed or angry in any way, actually, they were quite the opposite. They encouraged me to take all my questions to God and seek out my answers. What I didn't really understand at the time was that they were also doing the same thing in their own lives. (Now, I see this should be a constant in the life of a Jesus follower!) They showed me where David cried out to God, how David wasn't always polite. Despite David's lack of respect or reverence, God didn't strike him down with lightning like he may have deserved.
God wants an authentic relationship with us. I was assured that He was big enough to handle anything I could throw at Him, so I started my own search into what God was really like. This is where I deepened my relationship, from God being my Savior to Him being my Lord.
After a season of helping family back home and some soul searching my parents signed on with a different organization who had us going back and forth to mainly Ukraine for the next few years. My heart fell more deeply in love with the Lord but also with anything Slavic. By the time I graduated high school my heart was set on moving to Ukraine and studying the language. Living in America and doing the 9-5 Monday through Friday desk job literally terrified me. I saved and saved so I could afford to do it. I'm not sure if I would have heard God if He had said no to my plan. I think the majority of my prayers were begging Him to allow me to have the life I wanted. I was also infatuated with a Ukrainian boy at the time, so that didn't help my clarity of thought either.
God is good. He gave me exactly what I asked for and it only took me about three months to determine that it wasn't everything I dreamed it would be. I loved aspects of my life in Kiev. My studies were going well. I had even found a job at another University, but my heart was incredibly homesick. I had always had my family bubble in the midst of a different culture, being completely alone in it was a lot harder. Plus, being on the outside of the US when September 11th happened was terrifying. To hear that America was closed and you are on the outside of it didn't feel good. I wanted to go home.
Once I returned to Massachusetts, I was finally able to see how I hadn't really allowed God much room to speak into the decision. Maybe I had to knock my Slavic idol off the shelf so God could have his spot back, but God was a total gentleman about it. I had been so blinded by what I thought was best instead of trusting Him to know what was best. My family moved to Florida, so I came too. I still find it funny that now I live in Palm Coast where there is a nice sized Russian community and I get to hear Russian every time I am out at Walmart.
So, I struggle with perfectionism. Nope - so not perfect, but wish I was! Sitting still and waiting is also so hard for me. It is tempting to get the plan and rush out and do it on my own. God has given me a good head on my shoulders, so I should use it, right? But not without Him. I am trying to learn how to let God have the lead.
God unexpectedly brought a great guy into my life who helps balance me. I think I do the same for him because God is smart like that. My husband speaks his mind and loves God with great passion. I know being empathetic makes healthy boundaries hard for me to set, so I am thankful for the love and protection of a strong spouse. Makes me feel safe, loved and heard! God is still working on my people-pleasing ways. I not so secretly love that being a counselor keeps my husband sensitive to following the advice that he gives out. Ten years and I still like the guy! Our three kids and I pray for protection over Daddy and discernment from the Holy Spirit for the people he sees. It is important to us that they know they can make a difference even at a young age!
I am grateful for being able to stay home, teach our kids, read lots of books and write some as well. Life is busy, but I know God is directing our days. I am beyond grateful for those in our lives who journey alongside us. We now get to fellowship as a family at Celebrate Recovery every Friday night as well. I love watching and hearing how God is setting his people free, so in obedience, I wanted to write out a bit of my story.
Feel free to share a bit of your walk with Jesus with me in the comments below. I would love to hear it!
A year ago my husband left the security of a job he had worked for over a decade and switched to full-time counseling. Our God is faithful and our trust in his provision has been tested and grown. I am happy to report that not only did God keep our lights on He also helped us pay down debt, pay off cars and increase our giving - so much more than we could have imagined this time last year!
Thank you to the churches that believed in healing this community so much they helped sponsor our kick-off year. Thank you to all the amazing individuals that rallied around us on this decision; your encouragement and support was and is priceless! From prayers, pep talks and living in loving community, we are richly blessed. Your love and prayers relieved a lot of the fear of the unknown.
We did have a few naysayers who were convinced this change was foolish, but God's plans often look like foolishness to those who aren't walking them. Each journey is unique! We hope they have seen God's power and glory through our testimony. The fact that Josh's schedule has been filled strictly by word-of-mouth is a testimony to how God brings His people for healing.
This year has been a faith journey for all of us.
In all honesty, there was some trepidation at first with graduating clients. When a client's hurt, habit or hangup is healed it is time to encourage them to fly. When a lull in clients came we would pray and choose to trust. It is easy to let fear creep in, but we continue to trust God to bring in the clients in His timing. All we can do was be faithful in prayer. The fear is less now a year in and we are learning to take advantage of the lulls for our own rest as a family.
As a wife, I can tell when my husband walks in what kind of day he has had. Counseling is not for the faint of heart. The stories he hears weigh heavy at times. I gratefully watch as the Lord balances his plate of sessions with wins to keep Josh's faith and smile strong. Josh's love for people has grown and his trust in the Spirit's guidance has strengthened. I do my best to cheer him when he is down or send a little one to chatter away the blues, but mostly I feel it is my job to pray for his spiritual protection. Being a light in dark places means needing God's direction and protection. Ask for it!
We all need someone to speak hope into our lives. Jesus loves you and doesn't want to leave you hurting. He has come to heal, restore and set you free. Come visit celebrate recovery on a Friday night and you will learn the steps of healing Jesus left for us in His sermon on the mount.
We have discussed with our children often what Daddy does and why. We try to invite our children into meaningful discussions about life and be examples of loving people like Jesus. They are so excited to be able to attend Celebrate Recovery with us. The Lord has provided some amazing childcare to love on our kids in the back and allow us to be together. We are aware of the fact that they observe way more than we realize, but we trust that having them in the midst will only show them how much God loves His people. As we continue to help those God brings across our path, we strive to remember our children are our first ministry.
We have received so many answers to prayer since instilling family prayer circles. (This is simply a practice of writing out things you need or want and praying faithfully as scripture encourages.) We want to show our kids that God is a God of details and he loves giving good gifts to his children. From horse camp, to dance camp, opportunities for renewing travel as a family and starting new projects or ventures, God has been in it all. It has been a learning curve along the way of placing boundaries to keep God first and our family healthy. Homeschooling has really allowed us to work around Josh's business hours to stay close as a family.
So, at the end of year one, as we step out from some financial support, we have full confidence in the prayer support! God will continue to lead us. He is our Jehovah-Jireh - the only secure place to rest.
Last fall I relaxed in my hammock enjoying the North Carolina mountains, the crisp air, and the golden leaves. There is something serene about untouched nature. It soothes the mind, It instigates a soul reset. Last week,
I felt it again as I sat on the beach not far from my central Florida home. Relishing in the sound of the rough waves as my skin was misted by the spray, I felt that same inner calm. Again, there is something magical about our world.
Even now, as I swing gently in my hammock under the shade of an epic tree my children climb, the promise of summer fills my heart as the warm breezes rock us. My son is napping in the hammock next to me and I feel at peace.
Why am I reluctant to rest? Why this need to fill the silence? Why is Satan so good at sending distractions? Why do we feel required to do more good stuff? Is it because we know that in the quiet God will find us?
This makes us uncomfortable. When we are quiet enough to listen God whispers things for us to work on. His Spirit cuts through the urgent and shows us the significant. Whether it is a pleasant overwhelm of His love for us or a correction we feel in our spirit, it remains uncomfortable because we like to be in charge of our emotions not humbled. Sometimes it means walking alone in our convictions or changing our priorities. We are not all called to the same life - that would be boring.
Whether this season is slow or busy, productive or not - that doesn't matter. God is calling. Relationships are best when we make time and space for them. My devotion time can easily become scheduled, rushed or dutiful. Jesus reveals himself in many ways; He is not strictly found on Sundays, in scripture or worship lyrics. I recognize His Spirit in my neighbor who always seems to be helping others. The cuddles of my children and the kindness of friends who really listen are all extensions of His love which speaks to me. Simple things can be divine appointments - gentle reminders that He cares about every detail of my life, not just what I can do for Him.
My word for this year is Embrace. I am still learning all the ways in which God means that. Embrace the moment is what first came to mind, but He is showing me it is so much more than that. The hard stuff, the challenge, the unknown. Those are harder to embrace, but they develop character. Jesus doesn't need me to rush around; my list of productivity does not impress Him. My faithfulness will never match His, but what He wants is me.
So my summer challenge is to embrace more:
Breezes in the trees
Laughter in the air
Good books to read
Fun projects to create
Glasses of lemonade with condensation trickling off
BBQ's with friends
And most importantly, to learn to look for Him in it all.
Seeing the world blossom is such a key reminder to appreciate life - it is a gift! I want to embrace the whole journey; the good, the bad, the ugly... and the spectacular! I want to praise Him, pray fierce when I should, sing loud and let the tears of gratitude flow, speak of His faithfulness, replace lies with truth and uplift those nearby through words and actions.
When I feel weak I KNOW God is made great. When I fail I TRUST that it will strengthen my grace and add beauty to the testimony of what God is doing in me. Our testimonies are all unique, but God is in them all. May summer be uncomfortably beautiful!
My Current Mantra
Walk humbly with God and do the work at your hands....