I'm a redeemed child of God and the momma to four vivacious daughters. I'm passionate about finding hidden blessings in the trials of life, living it out in an honest and open way, while encouraging those around me to believe in better.

3 Sep

homeschool 101

So … how’s it going you want to know?  Well … in a few words, a lot more difficult than I’d anticipated {duh!}, but at the same time … my heart is happy.

Taylor officially started on her courses on Tuesday.  She’s doing a complete online {Christian} homeschooling program.  Everything she does is online.  Her tutorials, “books,” tests, quizzes, homework, writing assignments … they’re all done online and submitted directly online.  Seems easy enough, right?  I touted that I would “just be keeping her on task.”  Yeah.

Fortunately, there is a suggested planner-type thing that lays out her coursework for the quarter, but seriously, it’s a lot more than I anticipated making sure that we’re staying on course.  Taylor’s been great, though, at finishing her assignments and even working ahead to the next day.

I think the hardest part is that my time isn’t my time anymore.  In my mind, she would be doing her schoolwork and I would be doing my work.  Instead it goes a little something like this, “mom, I need help … mom, my printer isn’t working … mom, i don’t understand this … mom, what’s for lunch … mom, can you spend some time with me … mom, whatcha doing?”

But that’s the sacrifice I signed up for … and honestly … bring it on!

I found a great Christian homeschooling planner and the following popped out at me the other day {reasons why a mom chose to home school}:

Parents need not deprogram or reteach values the child hears for seven hours a day.
They have the child’s full attention at any time of the day and can give him full
attention; he is not absorbing two different value systems daily.

There were other things mentioned that speak to having all your children home and how the family unit bonds in that … makes me kinda wanna home school all the girls!  Anyway.  What I mention here is exactly why I’ve got Taylor at home with me.

She’s doing devotion daily {something that I’ve let slip with her}.  I was able to tell her yesterday how proud I am of her … “why?” she asked … and I was able to list out five things that made me proud.  She’s been riding during the day.  She applied for a volunteer position at a local pet store.  We’re able to have lunch together and talk.

I know there’s sacrifice involved … I knew that going in … and I know we’ve got lots of adjusting and figuring out our way … but ultimately, at this moment … my heart couldn’t be happier.  And I’ve got a strong feeling … hers either.

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Posted in homeschooling, parenting, taylor

24 Aug

miracles {tuesdays unwrapped}

My word will not return to me until it accomplishes what I intended.
Isaiah 55:11

Some people were hoping my teaser last week meant that CJ has been saved … I’m sorry to report that’s not the case … yet!  I still believe that he will be … unfortunately, I have to be patient and wait for God’s timing on that one.

But … I am happy to report that CJ has agreed to letting me homeschool Taylor.  I even think he’s a little excited about it!  If you know CJ, and the relationship he has with Taylor … you know this is a miracle!

We had an appointment with Taylor’s counselor to talk about homeschooling her.  CJ was.not on board.  I won’t bore you with all the ugly details, but one quote from him was, “let’s understand here that Taylor isn’t a girl with special needs.”  To which the counselor replied, “no, but she is a special girl with needs.”  {loved that!}.

Again … I won’t go into all the ugly details, but to nutshell it … CJ thinks Taylor gets whatever Taylor wants, that she’s manipulative, spoiled, coddled, and the list goes on.  So he fights tooth & nail {where did that saying ever come from!?} to go the opposite direction to make sure she doesn’t get what she wants.

CJ and I see a counselor ourselves, so we called an emergency meeting with her.  I listed all my reasons for wanting to homeschool Taylor.  He gave all his reasons why we shouldn’t.  The counselor, of course, stated we both had valid reasons and that one of us would have to give.  Her exact words were, “one of you is going to have to love the other enough to sacrifice your wishes.”  I spoke up and said that I absolutely love CJ enough that I would forgo homeschooling her.  But what hurts most is knowing my husband doesn’t feel the same way.  He said nothing.  And that was the end of our session.

And it was date night.  Never schedule a counselor appointment on date night.

We spent the first half of dinner not speaking.

Then we talked.  CJ agreed that I know Taylor best and he would do his best to “accept” homeschooling.  I told him I need more than that because {based on our history}, I didn’t want him to end up resenting me or Taylor.  We talked and talked.  He asked if there was something he could do to show me he would really try.  I asked him to read two books.  The first, “Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters.”  He read it in 4 days.  As he was reading, I was praying that God would open his heart.  He did.

CJ even bought a book on his own, “Homeschoolers’ College Admissions Handbook.”  Again, if you knew us, our family dynamics and our history … you’d understand how huge that is!

{CJ & Taylor :: 2001}

I think this might be the last photo of them I have together like this.  It breaks my heart to know that Taylor has experienced this loss {their relationship} as well.  But … I suppose that’s another post.

Anyway.  I wanted to share that my goal for Taylor this year go beyond her academics.  My goal is to educate her heart.  And I truly believe CJ is beginning to understand how important this is and how it just may be a new beginning for Taylor … for all of us really.

CJ works mostly from home and cherishes the time he and I have together.  He’s made many mentions of us “starting a new life once Taylor leaves for school {college}.”  And yeah … that’s another whole post.  But I wanted to share that, to show how having her home for homeschooling is sacrificing on so many levels of our family life.


I would like to share some changes in CJ since we’ve met.  When we met, he was pretty much agnostic … almost to the point of being an atheist.  Granted … I wasn’t anywhere near in my faith as I am today.  That said, I’d like to list out where he’s at today:

  • He talks about sin, and what’s right or wrong … almost quoting the bible and having a higher standard for Christians.  He’s very much aware of what behavior should be expected from Christians.
  • He made mention of God the other day … and then corrected himself and said, “I mean your God.  I guess it would be my higher power.”
  • He’s starting to volunteer to pray every once and a while at mealtime.
  • He made a point of making sure that we said a prayer for Ariel before she died.  And the next day, made a point of getting me {I stayed in the house with Piper} to come outside and say a prayer before her burial.

Keep praying for us … I know God has BIG plans for our family!

This post is linked up with Emily at Chatting at the Sky

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Posted in curt, faith, homeschooling, prayers, tuesdays unwrapped

17 Aug

no child left behind {tuesdays unwrapped}

My sweet girl.  This is Taylor starting 2nd grade … yesterday eight years ago.  Life was simple then … easier.  Small worries, small hurts, small fears.

But she grew.

And now we have big worries, big hurts, and big fears.

Taylor had been in the same school since kindergarten, but in 8th grade she started having problems.  It’s a long post, but you can read more about it here.  Her freshman year, we decided to send her to a new school and you can read about that here.  And while she liked her new school, she definitely had her ups and downs.  Overall, she had an okay year and made a couple of new friends.

So why have I decided to homeschool her?  So many thoughts and emotions, that I’m actually going to put this into two posts.  Today’ll be about Taylor and why I feel it’s best for her.  Next week’ll be about CJ and how God is in the miracle business.

Bottom line :: I want to offer Taylor the chance to succeed.  And I don’t think that can happen {for her} in a regular school environment.

Another bottom line :: It’s so important to understand who your children are and meet them there.  I’m not jumping on a homeschooling bandwagon here.  I’m just recognizing that Taylor needs more and I want to give her that opportunity.

Academically, Taylor didn’t have a super great year … in fact, I don’t think she got over 2.0 until the 4th quarter.  In March we had her go through a series of tests with a counselor.  We found she has ADD and some minor learning disabilities … one of which is an auditory issue.  In a classroom environment, she has a hard time hearing and processing information … given her ADD issues on top of that, she’s got some challenges in a standard classroom.

Socially, Taylor doesn’t have much self-esteem, she’s not super outgoing and quite honestly, has a hard time making friends.  No one was mean and bullying her … but they didn’t go out of their way to include her either.  And seriously, not the end of the world and something she could definitely get through and deal with.

But when her counselor met with me in May and asked me to, “think outside of the box in educating Taylor.”  Because she’s currently, “just getting by.”  It really spoke to my heart.  Actually, it tore my heart apart.

What I’ve learned is that girls are quick to believe bad things about themselves.  Seriously … think about us as women … when someone compliments you, do you say “thank you” or do you shrug it off and end up saying something negative about yourself?

Anyway … when young girls think negative things about themselves and say these negative things, they become strongholds in their lives.  Taylor has many, many, many negative strongholds she believes about herself … and while she’s sitting in a classroom 8 hours a day hearing from teachers, “You could do better if you tried.  You need to apply yourself more.  You just need to get motivated.”  And then socially, she’s “feeling” no one wants to be her friend …

These strongholds grip her even more.

My goal for this year?  Through intentional parenting, prayer, faith, encouragement, and love … we are going to break these strongholds.  Of course we’ll educate her too and I strongly believe she’ll start seeing success in her academics, which in turn will help feed and change the way she views herself.

Children are not a one size fits all.  And I just can’t stress enough, how important it is to know each one of them as individuals.  Open your eyes, your ears, your heart … to understand what each of them need as individuals.

Parenting takes sacrifice.  Love is sacrifice.  This isn’t going to be easy … for any of us, Taylor included.  But I love my girl enough that I don’t want to look back someday knowing, that because I couldn’t make a hard decision, a sacrifice, a risk … that I ended up leaving a child behind.

This post is linked up with Emily at Chatting at the Sky

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Posted in homeschooling, parenting, taylor, tuesdays unwrapped

12 Aug

a bit of random

Lenses for your phone?!  Holy coolness!  Check it out … is it my birthday yet?

Update on my results
I’ve heard back from 2 doctors.  The NYC doc confirmed I do have MS and that if I want to continue my treatment in NY, he’ll refer me to a good specialist who would put me on a good treatment program.  I also heard back from the Chicago doc {who undiagnosed me}, doesn’t believe the report … he doesn’t think it’s correct.  And that I should see him in December for more blood work and another MRI.  I’ll just be keeping my thoughts on that whole sitch to myself.  But yeah.  I won’t be seeing him again.

I haven’t heard back from our neurologist friend.  And I have an appointment with my original MS doc {who diagnosed me} next week.  It’s just my regular follow-up appt. that I made before any of this craziness started and I never canceled.  So I’m planning on going, talking to him, bringing my report and explaining what I’ve been doing the last few months and see what his thoughts are.  I’ll keep you posted!

I’ll share more on this next week … but yeah … just added it as a category on my blog.  Oy!

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Posted in homeschooling, multiple sclerosis, photography, random