this is a {quiet} sport!

 talking is kept to a minimum
 Ava and I clown around quietly

using bits and pieces to make a forest princess

spying on a quiet spider

and keeping the other eye on a quiet dog



Comfy (but stylish) shoes...check!
Rolling cart...check!
Water bottle and snacks...check!
Notebook, pen, highlighter...check!
Registration forms and directions...check!
Amber necklace to prevent headaches...and Tylenol in case it doesn't work...check!
Willingness to be out of my comfort zone...check!

This past weekend, I went to my fourth homeschool convention. I had already been to one a few months back with my husband (we go annually, just the two of us, as an excuse to get away alone and as a way to take time to re-assess our path for our children's education) so this was a girls-only weekend.

I went with my two friends Barbara and Polly (names have been changed to protect their high-profile identities...*grin*) in a borrowed black Mercedes. It's been AGES since I've been on a road trip with just friends and well, it was awful! Just kidding...it was AWESOME!!!!!!!!

After spending 24/7/365 with my three perfect, cherubic children (Hm-mmmm), getting away with some of my girlfriends was like a pickle when you're pregnant! and yes, I will be using a LOT of exclamation points in this post...it was that fun!!!!!!!

Barbara (a homeschool newbie) booked a delightful little suite for us in a hotel situated at the side of  rushing river with rocky outcroppings and waterfalls, and right down the block from a quaint outdoor shopping mall that just happened to be having a street fair that night. (!!!!) Delightful!!!

Polly and I, being homeschool veterans (well, Polly more so than I) were anxious to make sure that Barbara's first homeschool convention was as, um, informative? as possible.  Between the walks to find yummy restaurants, phone calls from our husbands and children, unsuccessful efforts to find moist chocolate cake, and getting lost on the highway, we managed to exhaust poor Barbara's ears with endless prattle about this speaker and that, and all the wonderful curriculum we have used.

We also did actually ATTEND the convention, spent some money (ack!) and learned some things. God's timing is perfect and allowed Barbara to get some answers to some difficult questions she had about a child with a reading issue and to feel very encouraged and ready to press forward.  Polly was able to attend a session covering the topic of "motivating high-schoolers"... Mwa-HAHAHA! So glad I'm not there yet, but so glad she was there so she can tell me what to do when that day arrives!

As for me, well, let's just say that the Lord did not meet me at the convention itself.

He met me in the lounge area of our suite, in the form of Godly counsel from my friends.
He met me in the hallway of the convention center with the knowledge that NO, I didn't need to attend a particular session because what He was teaching me was far better and perfectly suited to my family.
He met me in the perfect, breezy weather...and in the beauty of the downtown architecture.
He met me in the delicious food, in the pleasant company, and in the respite from caring for others.
He showed up in the public restroom as I watched my friend Barbara ask the cleaning lady if her day was going well and she responded with a surprised smile on her face.
I saw His face in the faces of the children of large families taking care of one another in the rotunda while their parents attended conference sessions.
He whispered words of love and affirmation to my soul as I wandered around the vendor hall realizing (for the first time) that nothing I could buy there would make me a better parent or teacher.

He met me UNconventionally...at the convention.

{If you've never been to your local home educators convention, I would encourage you to try it out! Even if you are NOT a home educator, as long as you are an engaged parent,  you will benefit! There are so many parenting and discipling resources there, and just general support for your job raising up the next generation, it's worth a trip, at least once! And who knows...you may have an unCONVENTIONal meeting of your own!}


Wordless Wednesday


Are You Getting in Your Own Way?

That curious contradiction of "dying to oneself"...

The person inside of you dying so that you can be reborn...

Getting in your own way, stopping yourself from overcoming, achieving, listening, bending, being humbled...

My selfish wants and needs are very often a loud, ugly voice, crowding my thoughts and blocking my ears to the truth

Over the past months, I've been slowly, very slowly dying inside. Rejoice with me over the things I've learned and the new person God is allowing me to become!


My desire to have an easy to feed household has been snuffed in favor of having a healthy household. No longer do I take shortcuts in the kitchen, ignoring possible allergens or sensitivity triggers. We have now been largely grain-free for close to two months, following loosely to the GAPS diet parameters.

The Lord lead me to this place of sacrifice in the kitchen, and my reward is more peaceful children, not clamoring for food every five minutes, more calm, less apt to tantrum over tiny things. I feel amazing, I actually get a hungry feeling (haven't had proper digestion in YEARS) and nearly all my fibromyalgia-type symptoms have vanished. (I will share more on these health issues in our family later.)


My desire to have a just for me work area has changed in favor of having a just for school work area. After struggling with the kids over disrespect and disregard for the seriousness of school, the Lord impressed on my heart the need to completely designate ONE room in the house as a classroom.

Taking apart my dedicated art/sewing table/workspace was like ripping my arm off. Tears flowed, but redemption came. Obedience that requires sacrifice bears delicious fruit!!! We now have a beautiful turquoise table and orange and white chairs in our new classroom and the children sit peacefully around it and do their work, largely without complaint.

{quick note on this: while having a dedicated classroom may improve your personal home educating experience, I'm by no means saying that this is a cure all or surefire way to get your kids to settle down and work! This is just the way obedience in that area looked for our particular family. I'll share more on this later, also}


My desire to "look pretty" upon leaving the house has been replaced by a desire to "look practical" and be on time! I still don't leave the house in pj's or sweats with mismatched shoes but I've left with no or minimal makeup or with just a simple braid or ponytail in my hair in order to place more priority on getting my children out the door peacefully.

This is an area that is difficult for me, due to my extremely low self-esteem and self consciousness over my body size. Over the years I've grown in this area, but my voice inside still kept shouting loud enough that I couldn't really hear what the Lord was trying to gently whisper to my soul...

"You are precious in my sight, you are beautiful in my eyes, you are unique, no one has or will be created like you, so there is NO COMPARISON! Just be, and listen to me...my voice is truth!


My desire to have obedient children so that I could feel gratified and in control has been replaced with a desire to see them turn their hearts toward Jesus at all costs. The cry of my heart to the Lord during discipline issues has changed from "Lord, help ME know what to do here!" to "Lord, help this child to listen to you! Open this child's ears to what you have to say through me!" I can now hear this truth, softly spoken in my heart...

"Discipling and disciplining your children has nothing whatsoever to do with you, you are merely a tool placed in their lives to enable them to learn of Me and hear my voice speaking to their hearts. It doesn't matter if you are being physically or emotionally assaulted by your child, your feelings are not the issue. Their hearts are infinitely more important!"


These all big areas! Big enough to write at least a whole post on each...which I may do at some point.

For now, I'm humbly thankful to my patient Heavenly Father for lovingly and gently leading me on these paths.
This is only the beginning of my adventure in dying but it's a good start...

When I'm tempted to argue with myself, or trip over my own feet, my turquoise table is my ever-present reminder that...

Obedience that requires sacrifice bears good fruit!

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