Modesty, A Change of Heart…..

My parents always made sure that I was never dressed provocatively.  I remember as a little girl my mom dressed me up in dresses A LOT!  I always had a dress for the first day of school, always wore a dress to church, wore dresses regularly to school in elementary school.  As I got older I was not allowed to wear shirts that showed my stomach or shorts and skirts that were too tight.  I would have never made it out of the house wearing all black or skimpy clothing.  My mom was pretty strict and made sure we knew what was acceptable and what was not.

Even with these boundaries set in my home-life growing up, I have struggled with what modesty was my entire life!  My extended family on my mom’s side were very modest in their dress and believe that Christian women should wear dresses/skirts below their knee, and I believe sleeves below the elbow, they do not wear make up, they do not wear jewelry.  I have heard the reasons for this and have searched scripture to back these reasons up many, MANY times in order to figure out for myself if this was what God wanted from my own life.  I came to the conclusion. through many hours of reading and searching the scripture that these specific things were not mandatory from God in order to be a Christian, but, that does not mean that he will not lay these things on your heart eventually to change in your life.

I know in a lot of my posts I’ve written about how some of our reasons for homeschooling have come out of our own experiences with the public school.  I remember as a young girl in elementary school, my mom would pretty me up each morning.  She would braid or curl my hair, put a bow in it, and dress me up with frilly socks, dress shoes and a frilly beautiful dress that she had purchased that fall.  I also remember, after a little while of wearing dresses frequently, begging her every morning to please not make me wear them anymore!!  My mom, thinking I was just being stubborn, would battle with me and of course won in the end but little did she know my struggles at school I had by wearing those dresses.  I’m not really even sure I’ve even told her all about my experience till this day.  I know I kept it quiet then because I wasn’t sure if I would get into trouble.  It started out in my second grade class.  There was a little boy that sat in front of me.  Every day during reading time, when we were supposed to be reading out loud and following along in our books, he would turn around and rub my legs!  I was a very quiet student, and always wanted to please my teacher so my biggest concern was that I was going to get into trouble because I would quietly beg him to stop touching me and leave me alone!!  I remember even getting aggressive with him and kicking his hands away from myself, yet, he continued rubbing my legs every day!  This went on for maybe months before my teacher finally picked up on what he was doing.  Looking back now I’m really not sure how she could have NOT picked up on it sooner with how distracting he was being.  I remember my embarrassment, and the dreaded moment when she called my name as loud as she could and stated in front of the entire class, “IS HE RUBBING YOUR LEGS!!!”  Everyone laughed at me!  I was humiliated!!  He was asked to step into the hallway and everything after that was a blur except for the part where I got home and my mom wanted to know why I didn’t come to her and tell her about it!  I think I just didn’t want to disappoint her to be honest.  Another incident when I wore dresses to school happened even before then, it was my Kindergarten year.  We had assigned seats on the bus, we had to sit BOY, GIRL.  I was stuck between two boys.  Every day on the ride home they would take turns holding me down in the bus seat and trying to kiss me.  I remember being humiliated when I was wearing a dress because it would get so intense they would have me on the floor of the bus sitting on top of me trying to kiss me while I was kicking and punching and refusing to let them near my face!!  Occasionally one of them would get a peck on my cheek and scream “I got one!” and then they would continue the entire bus ride home!  By the time I would get home I was emotionally, and physically drained but I felt ashamed and embarrassed and didn’t want to tell my mom because I didn’t want to make her upset.  And again looking back, how did that bus driver NEVER see a little kindergartner fighting off two boys every day the ENTIRE bus ride home??

These experiences were pretty traumatic for such a young girl, and they shaped the way I looked at modesty.  I’m not sure how old I was when my mom finally gave up her battle with me on wearing pretty dresses to school, but I know that from that point on I never wanted to wear a dress again!  The only dress I ever felt slightly comfortable in was something that went down to my ankles!  And even then it was few and far between when I would wear those.  After going through that I felt very strongly when I had my fist two daughters that modesty for them was keeping their legs covered by pants.  That was the BEST way to keep them dressed modest while protecting them from anything uncomfortable.  I also did not want a man to be able to pick up my infant and be able to feel under her dress easily.  So while they were little Modesty was keeping them inaccessible.

See after going through a divorce 11 years ago, and for a short time being married to a man whose eyes and head would turn anytime a woman was showing cleavage, or wearing something revealing, I began to realize why we should keep our bodies covered!  I think it is wonderful that some women have worked so hard to be fit, and have beautiful bodies and are so self-confident and proud of their bodies!  However, you stick your body in front of my husband with a tiny shirt that hardly covers your chest and we are going to have some words!  I realize that it is not the other woman’s fault what a man thinks in his mind or where a man lays his eyes, however, for me, it’s women having respect for each other enough to understand that tempting someones husband will only cause pain and heartache for his wife.  After realizing this through my own experiences, I stopped wearing things that I felt would draw attention to my body in that way.  The last thing I would ever have wanted to do would be to hurt a woman who may be already be having other issues she is dealing with in her marriage!  Nor would I want my children to do the same!  With this in mind I began to understand that every male is, or will be someone’s husband.  Just because he isn’t married yet, doesn’t mean that God does not have a woman that is getting ready for that man.  If my girls were to tempt a boy who one day would be someone else’s husband, it is just as bad as tempting a man who is already married!  God has asked us in his word to not tempt our brothers, and sisters in Christ, and it is my hearts desire to see that our family obey God’s word- especially with regard to this area.

 

For the last five years, I have been wrestling with God on the subject of Modesty for my girls.  I’ve felt like he has laid it on my heart to examine my beliefs of the way I dress them and re-evaluate.  I’ve entertained this thought for the last five maybe even seven years but have always thrown it out and put it out of my mind!

A few months ago I came across a blog post by Large Families on Purpose talking about why they wear dresses. Long story short, it talked about how when you put on a pair of jeans, the way that they are made the lines and creases pull the eye straight to the crotch or bottom of the person wearing the jeans.  Because of this they felt that Jeans were not appropriate for their girls to wear.  My husband and I both read this together and it was the first time that my heart began to understand a reason besides, “because that is how Christians should dress.”  It actually was starting to make sense to me.  However my husband and I both, quickly went back to the fact that God is more interested in our hearts than what we are wearing!

A few weeks later, our family visited a new church.  What I felt there that morning was totally unexpected!!  We loved the church, the worship was amazing, the pastor was great, but the entire service my mind was stuck on the fact that every one of the youth that was standing up front was wearing skinny jeans!  It was like God hit me right upside my forehead and was like “LOOK!!”  Two months ago, if I was not pregnant, I would have probably entertained wearing skinny jeans myself, however this particular morning for the first time, I saw them through different eyes.  I realized that those jeans accentuated every area on those sweet innocent kids that I did not want people looking at on my children!  It bothered me SO much in fact that that is all I talked about on the way home to my husband was how we may want to re-evaluate what is modest for our children.

When we got home that Sunday, one of our daughters was wearing a jean skirt, and the other a regular pair of every day jeans.  While trying to explain to my husband why I all the sudden had a change of heart about our girls wearing jeans, I turned them around side by side and pointed out how the jeans cling to the back of my daughters thighs and her bottom pops out without even really meaning too!  It is just the way that they make girls jeans!  However, wearing a skirt falls off the top of the bottom and leaves everything else covered.  My husband also, for the first time was able to agree that this was going to be more of an issue with jeans as they grew older and it would be better for them to wear skirts, especially in public in order to remain modest. I don’t believe, in my entire walk with the Lord have I ever felt hit so hard with a conviction that I have been trying to dismiss out of my life (for good reason) for so long!!

Now here is the disclaimer!  At this time, and after going through this I realize that God can change our hearts on anything at any time so this could change later as well, I do not feel uncomfortable with my smaller girls (4 and under) wearing jeans, just my 7 and 8 year old.  I also do not feel uncomfortable with any of them (at this time) wearing shorts, because the shorts that we have at the moment, fall off their backsides and do not cling underneath accentuating their body parts.  I also do not feel uncomfortable with them wearing jeans at home.  I do not feel we need to be super strict about this area right now, I feel we can be liberal with it while using it as a teaching opportunity for modesty for the older girls.  I do not feel the need to throw out all their jeans right now and change them to skirts.  I feel this will happen eventually over time and I want it to also be something that THEY want to do because they feel it is better to be covered and save themselves for their future husbands than to accentuate themselves for everyone else.  After talking to my older girls about this they were EXCITED that they were going to be able to wear dresses more!  They LOVE wearing dresses.  Of course, they will have some type of shorts underneath for my own peace of mind, and also for their own comfort.

I also do not feel this is for everyone, or that if you do not dress this way you are not a Christian because I do strongly believe that God looks at your heart and not what we wear.  I also believe that he convicts different people of different things at different times in their lives to challenge their faith, and strengthen their walk with Him.   This area for me is a TRUE challenge.

While I feel I can let go a bit and start walking in this direction of modesty with the way we dress our girls, I am going to have to have a little more conviction from the Lord in order to do it myself.  I feel very uncomfortable still at the moment with wearing dresses myself, and have often prayed and told the Lord, “I’ll make you a deal, when I lose all my baby weight I will start wearing dresses more!”  I realize that I set the example for my children and I desire to do that, however, I am going to need more prayer and help from the Lord with my own issues on wearing more dresses in the future and I intend to work on that!

Again, I realize this is a controversial issue and most people will not agree with my mindset on this, and that is perfectly okay.  Please understand that I do not think anything differently of anyone because they wear pants at ALL!!  This is just something that we feel, that Lord has purposely laid on our hearts at this particular time to change in our own family- over time!

So those of you who already have gone through this stage in your life, please keep me in your prayers as I personally struggle with this change in my own heart.

My desire is just that my girls will have self-respect, and not have to go looking for the attention of a man with their bodies, but that they will seek the attention of a husband because of their love for the Lord.

 

 

 

Advertisements

A Thief in the night….or…Broad Daylight I Should Say…..

We started out today excited to take out first adventure later this week in our new van, our first family trip!  Today was the day we prepped and so we decided to run some errands this afternoon in preparation.  One of the stops we had to make was to my Mother-in-Laws house because we were borrowing her cooler.  She was at work but she knew we were going over there and we had a key.  We pulled in the driveway and I stayed in the van with the kids (keep in mind we are in our huge, white, dark tinted windows, extended body, 15 passenger van).  He was gone about 15 minutes and came back, unable to find what he was looking for.  We got to the stop sign and I looked to my left and there was a cop car pulling into the neighborhood.  The cop turned his entire head around to get a good look at us and I thought that was strange.  I noticed in my mirror that he flipped around halfway down the street so I told Nathan I thought he was going to pull me over.  I went through a check list in my head, I stopped at the stop sign, was going the speed limit, plates aren’t expired, van had inspection up to date….what in the world could he pull me over for???  Sure enough his lights came on, he passed the car behind me and pulled behind our van.  I pulled to the side and Pumpkin started crying once she saw the lights reflecting in the car…..

Image

 

Then before we knew it there were THREE police cars  and they were blocking off the street in BOTH directions!!!

Image

 

We were surprised!!  Little did we know that one of the neighbors thought we were robbing the house!!  So I guess when the cops pulled us over they were expecting  this……

Image

But instead they got this……..

Image(Yes that is pumpkin over my shoulder photo bombing us!)
Just a dad, and a mom with no make up, running errands!!  So sorry to take all the excitement out of their day, but we thought it was a little exciting!!  haha!

Maybe we need to invest in getting a decal on the side of the van or something so that we aren’t mistaken for Robbers anymore….

(Home Alone)

Then again, maybe not 🙂

 

 

Money Saving Tips Series Post #2

So now that we’ve addressed saving with Kids, the next thing I’m on to is Food savings.  I had several messages after my last post asking about couponing and wondering how or if I save anything that way.  Well the answer to that question can be complicated.  A few years back I tried all the “extreme couponing” craze.  It was very difficult, and in the end I felt like I wasted more time and money than I saved!  Sure you have savings in the long run- but for households like ours who needs savings NOW, not in a month, it just didn’t work out for us.  Not to mention- who really has space for all that storage!!   So these are our tips on saving on food…

Coupons:  Again, I like to do things that are practical with my time and money.  If it is going to take up my day that I can spend with my kids and family- I don’t like it!!  So I try to make this simple.  No we do not save A LOT of money on coupons.  Probably the MOST I’ve saved is 20-50.00 per trip- depending on what I buy and how much time I’ve spent looking for coupons for those items.  I always go through the Sunday paper and I only clip out the coupons for things I KNOW we buy.  I do not save things because they look like they will be a great deal etc because by doing that- I’m spending more money to buy that item!  I also throw away what we do not use and do not save them like most couponers because I can’t stand paper clutter!  I also sign up on Coupons.com and go to there a few times a week to print coupons that I know we will use.  If there is a good one on there- like this week they have almond milk-I will go back daily and print that one coupon because you can print it several times that week until your limit is up.  I also go on Target.com and check out their coupons.  You can stack coupons- meaning- I get a coupon for coffee from the newspaper that says “Manufacturer” on it for 1.00 off.  Then I see another coupon that says “target coupon” for the same coffee for $1.00 off, i can use BOTH coupons for the one item.  So store coupon + manufacturer coupon= more savings!  Also- Target has the Cartwheel app.  They have percentages off certain items where you just have them scan the barcode off your phone and it gives you a percentage off.  This week they had 5% off baby formula!!  There is also another app I use…It is called “Checkout 51”  it was free, each week they have certain items that if you purchase at the grocery store they will give you money back for those items.  You just take a photo of your receipt and upload it to your phone.  It’s super easy!  I do not go out of my way to buy what is on the list but if I happen to buy something on the list that is a plus!  

MEAL PLAN:  I have learned that it is VITAL to our budget to have a meal plan.  This includes ALL meals- Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.  This will keep you from impulse shopping and will also help you to stick to your budget.  We keep a running list on a whiteboard on our fridge during the week when we run out of things so that I can incorporate them into our meal plan list for the week.   Having a meal plan makes also makes it harder to order out when you already have a plan for dinner.  

ONE DINNER ONLY:  We do not cater to our children at dinner time, lunch time or breakfast.  What we make is what they eat or they will just opt out of that meal.   I refuse to make different food for each child because that not only wastes money, but my time!  Making our kids eat the same dinner as everyone else helps to expand their food likes, helps them to be thankful for the food they have, and eliminates whining because they don’t like something.  Our kids have learned that mom works very hard to make them good meals each night and it is disrespectful and hurtful when they complain and do not want to eat them.  Our rule is, you eat your dinner or you go to bed- not very often do they opt for bedtime!  I do not force them to eat everything on their plate and if they really do not like something they must at least taste it and have a few bites before they decide it is not worth eating.  We do have a child who is allergic to apples, and Chicken.  We do not make Chicken for the whole family and then give her something different- our entire family avoids those foods as well because we don’t want her to feel left out.  

COSTCO/SAMS: We do purchase certain items at these wholesale places.  We are members of Costco and we feel it is very cost effective to buy our veggies, fruits, nuts, Rice, Quinoa, Cheese, Meat and spices at Costco instead of at the grocery store.  I can buy a huge thing of grapes at costco, put half in the fridge and half in the freezer for the same price I get one little bag at walmart!  I like to stock up on meats and freeze them when we have a little extra to spend.  NOT everything there is worth buying so make sure you keep an eye on prices cause you can overspend there quickly!!

BREAD: This one I have NOT started doing yet, but it is on my list.  We go through SO MUCH BREAD!!  We can easily go through 5-6 loaves a week if not more!  My plan is to start making and freezing our bread because it is a lot cheaper to buy flour and the ingredients for bread making than it is to buy that many loaves of bread a week- not to mention it is way easier to pull bread out of your own freezer or pantry than to have to run to the store a few times a week!!

Well this is all the tips I can think of right now, so please feel free to send questions or comments and I will address them!!  More tips coming soon!!!

Money Saving Tips Series: Post #1

People message me a lot asking me “how do you afford to have all those kids, what do you do to save money?”  I have a cycle I go through where I am really great at doing little things here and there to save money for our family and then chaos hits and I have to cut out things from our life that are not just money saving but time saving!  I end up going back to having to spend money to save time and sanity!  I’m coming back into a place where I can spend more time and effort on saving money here and there and thought I would share those tips with you over the next few posts or so.  We have gone on a TIGHT budget since moving into the new house and every penny has to be accounted for in order to make things work for us.  Like I’ve said before, we are not on any government assistance so we have to be wise with what God has allowed for our family and trust that HE will supply all our needs and try our best to be good stewards with what he has given us.  We have the desire to be debt free, however that will take us several years to actually accomplish.  So for now we are just going to do the best we can to start the steps for that process.

The first thing we’ve done is set up a budget.  I went online and checked out Dave Ramsey’s website.  In order to save money, I signed up for the free trial for his online budgeting.  I did it for a few days then canceled because I felt that I could successfully set up something even better in Excel to track our spending in…and I did!  I did get some great tips from his website for setting up a budget!  Such as “Every penny needs to have a name!”  I had a tough time with this at first because we tend to run into a lot of unexpected expenses during the week and I have to purchase things, medications, or co-pays at doctors visits that I did not anticipate.  However, I’ve learned that I need to allow a category for these items!

Once we set up our budget we began!  The first month we held to it loosely because we wanted to see where all our money was going and if there was anywhere that we could tighten the reigns a bit.  This gave us a good idea of things we could start looking at in order to save.  We do not use credit cards to purchase items unless it is a complete emergency- which the last time we had to do that was when we were first married over 9 years ago.  So most of our saving tips in this series are not going to be the typical “cut back on spending” because to be honest- we are not huge spenders anyways!  We actually only “shop” for things that we don’t need ONCE a year at Christmas time.  The rest of the year it is only necessities!

So, since we have so many children, I will start by how we save money regarding them!

Clothes:   We believe that God supplies all our needs.  We have lots of hand-me-downs and we make sure to keep everything from each child that we would be able to re-use.  We have boxes of clothes in the attic!  Because we have so many children and floor space is more important than clothes space- we do not use dressers and we limit how many outfits at a time we have out.  This not only gives us more space, but it also aids in not having a tremendous amount of laundry to wash all the time!  We limit each child to about 10 outfits in the summer and 7-8 in the winter.  We then have a 3 drawer bin for each child stacked on top of each other in the laundry room with their names on them.  Once they have soiled an outfit to where I do not want them to wear it anymore, we then get rid of it or use it for material for sewing projects (depending on how badly it is soiled), and pull another outfit down out of the attic.  Jeans with holes get put into my sewing box for me to cut off and make into a skirt in order to not have to buy more bottoms.  Shorts can also be turned into a skirt when they are worn, by adding material to the bottom.  Usually the only child we fall short in the clothing category for is our oldest, Pumpkin, and when that happens we begin to pray that God will supply our needs and usually within a few weeks we have friends offering us cloths that they are getting rid of!  God has always come through in that area!  So, needless to say, we do not buy clothes often.  We also do not have to have clothes often because they do not go to public school and are not too worried about fitting in or the new trends, etc.  Some days we just do school in our pajamas!! 🙂

Diapers:  This is another area I go back and forth with.  When we buy diapers it costs us about 150.00 a month for 2 kids full-time and one kid at night time.  This is why cloth diapering is a HUGE money saver, especially for mulitiple kids.  There are so many new cloth diapers out there now that are so easy to use and just as easy to take care of as a disposable diaper that it really is silly NOT to cloth diaper (for us) and save that extra money!  This is another thing in my time saving cycle that I will cut out over time.  When the laundry gets backed up and I haven’t been able to keep up with it like normal- I don’t like stinky diapers sitting waiting to be washed so we will go back to buying diapers for a time.  However by cloth diapering you will have an initial investment of maybe 150-200.00 and the rest is history!  We will save 1800.00 per year right now, if we stick to cloth diapering!  WE DO NOT cloth diaper at night time, so we do always keep around a bag of diapers just for that purpose.  That decision is also to save our sanity of getting up in the middle of the night and changing bedsheets and diapers all night long!  But 3 disposable diapers per day vs. 12 per day is a huge savings!

WIPES:  what parent does not use wipes for EVERYTHING!!  For us it would cost us about 26.00 a month.  It’s not HUGE savings, but it is savings!  In order to save on wipes, we make our own.  Most of the stuff we use to make the wipes such as: Lavender Oil, Coconut Oil, Baby wash,  we have on hand already because we use it for other things, so we spend nothing on buying those things.  We do spend about $3.72 on a double roll of bounty paper towels.  and then we cut them in half.  This comes out to about $0.01 per wipe, where if we bought our wipes we would be paying about $0.02 per wipe.  Where the savings really comes into play is the amount of wipes you have to use!  The wipes that I make I can change a diaper with ONE wipe whereas the wipes we buy I usually go through about anywhere from 4-8 Maybe even 10 depending on the mess at times.  So again, not HUGE savings but still enough to count!!  It would be at least  $18.75 a month in savings, if not more!    If you want to save even more in this area, making your own cloth wipes is a great place to start as well.  This will be my NEXT project!!

This is all for my money saving tips today.  But I will be posting many more over the next few days/weeks so keep an eye out!!

Kicked out of the Homeschool Prom…..

So I just want to preface this post by saying that if your children are in public school, please do not take this post the wrong way.  I have absolutely no issue with anyone who has made the choice to utilize public schools for their children.  As parents we all make what we feel is the right choice for our children and there is nothing wrong with anyone choosing public over private, or public over homeschooling.  In our case we have very specific reasons why we homeschool our children; as I explain some of these reasons, I just do not want anyone to take them to mean it is a universal expectation.  I am not grouping all public school kids into a group and saying that they are all alike, but more taking from our own experiences (my husband and I’s) of being public and private school kids.  So, please keep this in mind when reading.

We’ve chosen to homeschool our children for the number one reason that we believe that God has given us these children to train them up, and teach them the way of the Lord.  We do not believe that by putting them in the care of the public school system for most of their lives will allow us to train them up the way that they should be trained.  We feel that if they attended public school for most of their lives, we would be trying to “undo” what has been ingrained into them.  The public schools of today are not what they used to be; there are governmental directives, ideological clashes, Naturalism indoctrination, and even some curriculum which attempts to rewrite history.  Through homeschooling we can provide them with a safe learning environment where the world, not just a school room, is their classroom!  We will also be able to have a better relationship with them as they grow into teenagers; they will be able to learn about important life-stage concepts from us rather than the wrong sources, such as friends and peers who may not always have great intentions.  Some may think that this is being too overprotective of our children; maybe it is, however, I know that there will never come a day when I regret homeschooling them.  

For years, homeschoolers have struggled to be removed from the misunderstanding eyes of the public and afforded the opportunity to train their children in peace.  Every day I come across articles about children being taken away from their home because they are homeschoolers.  It ends in legal battles, or the government trying to change laws so that homeschoolers must have home visits in order to make sure they are not being abused.  I hate to break it to them, but there are public school kids who are seen daily by teachers, friends, guidance counselors, and bus drivers who are being abused and no one knows!  Abuse can happen to children in public, private, or homeschool.  Since when is it the government’s duty to invade your home and private life to make sure you are a good parent?  All homeschoolers want is to be out of the spotlight and left alone by the government so they can teach their children the way they see fit.  They do not ask for any special treatment; they spend more money each year on curriculum for their children to learn, on top of paying more public school taxes for their children, who do not attend, than what a public school student would pay in fees each year.  We homeschool because we want to be able to instill our own morals and values in our children and not the world’s pseudomores and values.  So yes, we have some strict standards.  

As a homeschooler, you are not ENTITLED to a prom, or a graduation ceremony, or any of the special things that public school kids do.  In many cases, even public school children must pay prom fees and meet other qualifications for prom attendance.  HOWEVER, out of the goodness of their hearts, parents of homeschoolers have come together to throw “Homeschool Proms” and “Homeschool Graduations” in order to give their children a little fun, something to look forward to, and a memory to look back upon.  These events, because they are homeschooling events, and because most homeschool families do adhere to stricter standards, are followed up by guidelines for dress and behavior for the event.  Guidelines about trips and other events are not a new idea for most homeschoolers; they understand what they mean, and what the consequences are if they disregard them.  Not all homeschool families are religious-based, however MOST homeschool families (religious or not) can find common ground on their standards they hold for their children.  Homeschoolers usually have a great relationship with both mom and dad; through homeschooling, it allows both parents to be involved in activities and schooling.  We, ourselves, do a lot of activities as a family and it is not just “mom” doing all the work.  If my children ever go to a homeschool prom, both my husband and I will more than likely be chaperones; my children will not be allowed to wear a dress that is above KNEE length (especially if dancing), and dancing will be tasteful or else we will be going home!  

Richmond, Virginia has had quite the media attention this week about a teen homeschooler who was kicked out of the “Homeschool prom.” ( you can read the article Here). First, I want to say, there were MANY, people who were kicked out of school dances and proms when I was in public school and not one of them was on the news!  I don’t quite understand why this situation is making headlines nationwide, and I’m not sure why all the sudden the world believes anything a teenager says without proper corroboration.  I know that when I was a teenager it took God moving a mountain for an adult to take me seriously, let alone broadcast my “story” nationwide!  Since when did the tables turn to where teenagers do not have to follow the rules, and if they are reprimanded for not doing so or being disrespectful for it, they are praised with fame?! 

The homeschool prom was held in a CHURCH!  When you call up a church to try and plan a wedding they will tell you their policies on weddings.  Some churches will not allow dancing or alcohol at weddings; some will allow dancing but only to Christian Music; some are just really lax about things like that.  It all depends on that individual church’s beliefs and policies.  I’m sure the church they were in held beliefs on that subject, and in order to hold the homeschool prom in their location, they were more than likely given stipulations that they as a homeschool group had to abide by. From what I’ve read these rules were given out before the prom and there were parents who made sure that they were obeyed- as there are at ANY PUBLIC SCHOOL dance, or prom.  There are always rules; are they slightly different or very different- that doesn’t matter.  All schools and school activities have policies and rules.  Is this news to the media?

For three days, all I have been doing is reading, and re-reading blog posts about this night.  I read Clare’s initial post about her experience at the homeschool prom, and to be honest my first impression was: “Here is a teenage girl, who is dressed up beautifully and completely full of herself!  She believes that every doorway she walks through, every man from 16 to 50 is watching her every move and lusting after her!  This is not a TYPICAL homeschooler!”  How could she know that anyone is lusting after her?  If there were any looks, maybe she took the looks of shock the wrong way?  This is a girl who obviously is attention-starved, and is crying out for her parents attention!  She gloats about flipping off the adults at the prom, and cursing at them when leaving, yet, she claims she did nothing wrong.  Throughout all the media attention and the blog posts by other by-standards, I have not heard her parents mentioned ONE TIME!  Where are her parents!?  Every single time I have seen a child or teenager in the news the parents are always standing behind them and involved in the situation.  Did the media ever consider there is a reason the parents didn’t want to go on the record?  Are her parents standing behind her?  I think their absence speaks for itself.  

This media storm over a teenager’s failure to comply with rules (such as keeping her dress pulled down while dancing provocatively) has only fueled her ego and affirmed that rules do not apply to her.  It has taken the homeschool community and disparaged everyone who is in it- religious and or non-religious.  It has given the world the ridiculous view that homeschool dads are nothing but perverts when they really are probably some of the most involved, present, devoted fathers that this world has ever seen!  In a room filled with beautifully dressed young women, how is it that every one of these dad’s could pick out JUST Clare and decide to lust after her (so she says)?  Since when do chaperones close their eyes and not do their job watching to make sure the students are abiding by the rules?  Obviously she was drawing some type of attention to herself in order to be asked to leave!  If she were merely “swaying” as she says, and abiding by the rules, would that draw any attention?  In order to be noticed in a room full of other students- what was she doing to draw attention to herself?!  Dads of homeschoolers are protective of their children, and if they were looking at her because she was drawing attention to herself, it was because they probably didn’t want their own children seeing the way she was acting!  I know if my husband was there, he would have been the FIRST person down on that floor telling her she needed to leave because he would not have wanted our children to look at her and think it was okay to dance or act that way (and thereby break the rules).  How dare she claim that any of these dads wanted her, or were lusting after her!  Yet again I ask, WHERE ARE HER PARENTS?!  Also just to clarify, She was NOT the only person kicked out as she claimed, there were EIGHT other students who were also asked to leave that night!  Proper journalism requires proper research; this fact alone should have made every respectable journalist and media outlet presented with the story think twice about believing or running her story.  

From what I know about the situation, it seems to me Clare may not have been a true homeschooler.  It seems like maybe she was homeschooled because she had some trouble in school and her parents took her out; maybe it was a decision she made that she wanted to be homeschooled?  But whatever the reason- there is no possible way she was homeschooled her entire life.  If so, she would have held a greater respect for the homeschool community, her homeschool peers, and their parents, because that is just what homeschoolers do!  Not only is it a disappointment that Clare would go so far with this situation, it is also a great disappointment that the media has failed!  They took a teenager’s rant of a blog post and never once did they search for others who were there to see if her story lined up!  They took the word of her boyfriend and sister, and failed the public by not attempting to report both sides of the story!!  Here is an analogy for the media’s reaction.  Do you think a judge would listen to the character testimony (or any testimony of a criminal act) of the accomplices or co-conspirators of a person on trial?  Would a jury accept it as corroboration that the person standing trial is telling the truth?  Is there any motive to tell the truth, or more likely a motive to just “back up” your friend?   …. Here are two blogs that I’ve come across that have another story to tell besides Clare’s side: Dad’s Are Not the Problem  and Victimization or Twisted Narrative.    I hope those of you who are reading this will take into consideration both sides of the story even though the media did not.  

And to Clare, I say this:  I have been your age wanting that attention!  Wanting to feel as though the whole room is watching me and I am important.  The problem is that this media storm you have created may seem like a great idea right now, but the ramifications it will have on you in the future with employers will not be pretty.  No one wants to hire someone who thinks they are above the rules, who thinks that they know more than an authority figure, who gloats about cursing someone out and flipping them off.  You will look back on this in a few years and you will feel ashamed at your actions because that is how life is.  We all look back and see how silly we acted about things; we wish we could go back and fix it, but it’s too late.  I just pray that you find an amazing husband who makes you feel beautiful, important, and wanted every day of your life so that you do not have to go on feeling as though you need to seek attention in this manner. Life is not always fair; in fact, life isn’t about being fair… life is about serving others, not others serving you!   

 

.

 

 

  

 

Getting back to the heart of parenting….

I’ve found myself these last few months in a new season with the Lord.  I’ve been hearing him speak to me a lot over things that I would have never imagined myself changing in my life (that will be another post though).  I know I posted a bit about this in my last time but I felt the need to elaborate a little more.  

In the last month or two, life has been so busy for me.  I’m finishing up a class this week and then that will be it for me until next year after the baby is born.  I’ve been excited to finish my class because it was just not a great time to take a class right now for me.  Because I had withdrew from my courses last Spring, I had to retake them this Spring or risk losing money on them.  It was near impossible for me to not take classes this semester- and it was not great timing!  Moving into a home in September where we didn’t get to start unpacking until January and then starting classed in January, has made things so chaotic.  I feel if I can get just ONE room in the house cleaned each day (although it is a mess the next) I have accomplished something!  I’m now starting to come out of that super business (a little) and by the end of this week will finally be able to focus all my energy on our home and children and husband!  
I’ve felt in the last few months a sense of loneliness being a stay at home mom.  It started to lose it’s luster, and I began to lose sight of why I wanted to homeschool and stay at home in the first place.  God has put me in a season of loneliness.  Most people around me who I’ve either just started to get to know, and was excited about the potential friendships that could be, or people who I have made friends with are  moving away!  I can count 6 families in my life that are moving by the end of the summer!  Because of the business of the last few months I’ve not found a lot of time for socializing and when I do have a few minutes, no one is around.  I found myself asking the Lord, “what is the purpose of this Lord?”  “why do you want me to be lonely right now?”  For weeks I’ve prayed this and then the other day a song came on the radio by Sidewalk Prophets called, “Keep making me.”  The lyrics said:

Make me lonely
So I can be Yours
‘Til I want no one
More than You, Lord
‘Cause in the darkness
I know You will hold me
Make me lonely

Til You are my one desire
‘Til You are my one true love
‘Til You are my breath, my everything
Lord, please keep making me

 

This song really spoke to my heart and helped me to see that being lonely isn’t always a bad thing!  Sometimes God just wants to clear the playing field to give you more time to focus on the things that are most important in your life.  I’ve realized recently that my priorities have not been as strict and in line as I used to make them in my life and have been thinking that I need to remedy that.  Without other distractions it will allow me to refocus and really work on those areas that I’ve been wanting to work on.    

I did get invited last night to see the movie “God’s not dead” with a few friends which was nice!  While I essentially knew  the story of the movie I was really excited to watch it since I have been taking a philosophy class myself recently.  It was really interesting to me to be able to see someone use each of the arguments that I’ve been learning in my class to defend the existence of God.  At the end of the movie (trying not to give spoilers here) the boy had just no idea how many lives that he changed, and touched just by defending the existence of God.  There were people standing all around him that knew what he did for them, but he didn’t know what he had done for them.  As I watched that part of the movie I began praying, “Lord that’s what I want, I want to do something huge like that for you!  I want to change people’s lives so that they will follow you and love you!  Being in ministry isn’t something we are part of right now but maybe you can open a door?”  I felt his still small voice speak to my heart, ” I have given you many children- not just any children- but children who are chosen!  You are to pour into their lives, and when you are empty from pouring I will fill you up again, if you just ask! I have turned water into wine and I can fill up your cup when you are dry.  Through your children, you will change lives, inspire others who you have no idea you have touched, encourage other women, break generational curses and lead more lives to Jesus Christ.  This is the most important ministry I could have given you!

While it has been on my heart for a few weeks that I need to think of my children as my ministry, hearing it in those words brings a whole new light to it.  Sometimes it gets so hard working toward molding these little people into Godly women, especially when the clay is constantly cracking and you have to keep going OVER and OVER the same thing trying to smooth it out!  It’s so hard to see past that crack and what the finished product will be later!  I think that is one of the hardest things about parenting.  It’s time for me to go back to the heart of what I wanted my parenting to be like in the beginning, to what I wanted homeschooling to be like, instead of just working to get to the next day!  I have to strive each day to make sure that it is in the front of my mind that I am not just “a stay at home mom” but I am a warrior, a survivor in the middle of a huge mission field, fighting a spiritual battle daily!  The only thing that is going to help me to accomplish my goal is to keep the Lord at the front of my mind and only rely on HIM and not myself!   

 

Apples to Apples….

I saw a post the other day a friend of mine posted on facebook and I could have written the whole thing myself.  I didn’t comment on it at the time because it made me think about my own life and how similar things were in my life compared to hers.  It’s been a little less than a month since she posted that update and I still can’t get it out of my mind!  I think it is so easy to feel as though I am the only mother in the world who is having troubles with my children or struggles with keeping up with my life.  I begin to feel guilty, selfish and worn down.  I look around my house at the unfolded piles of laundry on my couch, the piles of dishes, and the mix of shoes and toys laying next to the back door and think to myself, “I’ve failed!”  Walking through the grocery store I see “that mom” with her three perfectly behaved children, quietly following her through the store. obeying her every command; their hair neatly brushed and braided, faces clean and clothes neatly ironed.  I flash to my children;  hair used to be braided (before they crawled under the beds trying to find their other shoes) and now it is half in and half out, peanut butter all over their faces (because handing them each a sandwich once they are in their car seats is the fastest way to get them to buckle up and get on the road before lunch time), and even though they are separated into different rows in the van they kick the back of the others car seat and irritate them till they are BOTH yelling at each other.  After the 3rd time of saying “LEAVE HER ALONE” I just turn up the radio as loud as I can until we can get to our destination!!  Yes we all have days like this!  Weeks like this!!  Sometimes MONTHS like this!!

We all went out yesterday for the first time together in the new van.  We were able to have some lunch together at Cici’s.  While we were there I met a lovely homeschool mom with three children who stopped by our table to compliment us on how well behaved our children were and even asked if we gave parenting classes!  lol   She really just caught us at a good time because we are human and our children do not always behave that well!  But I began to think about myself and how when I had 4 kids, I would look at my friends who had 6 children and think, “I wish they would just go home with me for ONE day and show me how to do everything!”  Now that we are expecting baby 7, I realize that having more children does NOT mean you have it all together (and that is by no means why I wanted a large family).

As my friend said in her facebook post, having a lot of children means sitting on the sidelines a lot and saying no to a lot of things you want to do.  After our 4th child, I believe that was our biggest transition.  That was when we went from being an average family to a Large family!  We also were transitioning from being young and in our 20’s with lots of energy, to being worn out and in our 30’s with lots of night-time feedings.  During that time in my life I remember God bringing to mind a woman in my old church who gave a testimony once.  She said that she was struggling because she loved singing in the praise team at church, however; she had to give it up because it was running into her time with her children and other family issues.  She said the Lord helped her realize that it was okay to give that ministry up for right now because for that season her ministry was her children!  It was her season to pour into her own children, minister to her own family, teach her children about the Lord and guide them as they grew up to be amazing men of God.  He also reminded her that that was ALSO a SHORT season and to enjoy it and cherish every moment!

I relate so much to sitting on the sidelines.  When we first started homeschooling I thought it was awesome that there was so many homeschooling families in our area and that we could do so many homeschool activities!!  As we got involved and had more and more children- our activities decreased little by little.  Last year I realized, it had been over a year since we did any activities!!  I mentioned to another homeschool mom how guilty I felt about it and she said, “You know, homeschooling is just that– HOME….SCHOOLING.  It doesn’t mean you have to run your child all over the state!”  I felt a huge burden lifted after that!  I also found myself just trying to “get through the day!”  When I have classes that I’m taking at night, I realize that I begin to get very goal oriented.  “Okay today we are going to get this done….and then we are going to clean this!!”  I end up cleaning and organizing all day long and at the end of the day realize, I’ve just been trying to get through the day, finish what I was doing and get the kids to bed before I pass out going up the steps!

This last month I’ve realized that my focus has been more on getting things done, then taking time to spend with my children.  I can spend all day with them and at the end of the day feel like I haven’t spend any time with them.  I have to remind myself often to cherish the young years, don’t just try to “get through them because things will be easier when they are older,” I have to really stop myself and make a conscious effort to have a real in-depth conversation with each of my children throughout the day.  It is so easy to get caught up in, “did you do your chores?”  “Did you finish your math work?”  “go take a shower”  “let the dog outside”  and not stop to say, “so has your relationship with Jesus been?  Has the Lord given you any dreams recently? Are you struggling with anything that you need me to pray for you about?”  or just sitting down and doing a craft together and talking!  My children love to hear about when I was younger!!  I’ve been trying to make a conscious effort to spend time with each child talking together daily even if it is only 10 minutes and about a favorite blanket that I have neglected to wash for over a week!

These children are my ministry and only for a season!   I may miss out on events I wish I was invited to, or wish I could go to, or just having ME time to do what I want for once instead of trying to come up with another craft that I might be able to make some extra cash by selling in order to pay for homeschool books, but it is worth every second!!  I know when it is over i will miss it, I will wish for just ONE MINUTE of those hard times back!  I want to enjoy every second of this ministry God has trusted to me!!  Comparing our life to others, my mothering capabilities, the fact that that mom gets to have alone time DAILY but I don’t, doesn’t do anything for us moms because WE all, whether we have one child or twenty, try our best, and have the SAME daily struggles!!  We are just comparing Apples to Apples!  We are all the same struggling one day at a time to do the best for our children, and guide them down the path to be the best adult they can be.

Pour all you have into this season even when you feel you can’t do anymore….Ask the Lord for strength,and guidance daily to be the mom your kids need, not the mom that YOU THINK that they need!!