Sunday, November 9, 2014

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

A while back I posted about putting my kids into public school after homeschooling for 5 1/2 years.   I had my reasons, as you can read about in that post.

We decided to wait until the new year began so that they could start fresh.  I thought it was the answer that I was looking for.  I knew I would have to go to work and I thought it would help me. It would give me a babysitter for 8 hours so I could work and my kids would learn the things that they needed.

Then school started.  My oldest loved it.  The other two... not so much.

When we were homeschooling our kids, we had the freedom to teach what ever we wanted. The kids could ask questions about anything and we could find the answers together.  We had lots of time read beautiful literature and talk about what we learned.  My kids could spend hours playing music on their guitars, they loved being outside in nature exploring and observing what was around them, and they could create artwork without having a time limit. We raise rabbits, and they were able to be involved in that, too.  They were involved in planting and harvesting our vegetable garden. The kids absorbed it all and learned so much.

 At school, life was pushed into the box of what "they" wanted my kids learn.  My kids were expected to sit for 8 hours a day while a teacher taught them about life.  Instead of experiencing the life cycle of plants by watching them grow in our garden, they saw it on a piece of paper.  Instead of counting real money in their hands, they counted it on a piece of paper.  Instead of learning about the moon and stars from sitting outside observing them and talking about it, they saw a picture of it on a piece of paper because they had to be in bed in time to get up for school the next morning.  Instead of learning songs about the multiplication facts, they had a piece of paper.

I know what you are thinking.  Why don't you do all of these things after school, or on the weekends?

Well, this was our schedule:

6:00 Wake up
7:00 Catch the bus
8:00 School Starts
4:00 Get home-start homework
5:00 Play outside if homework is done(it happened occasionally)
6:00 Eat supper
6:30 Clean up
7:00 Finish homework if needed or read (or watch a show on tv)
8:00 Take bath
9:00 Go to bed

If your kids are in school, this may seem normal to you, but to me it seems like prison for a young kid, especially the ones who are right brained, creative thinkers like two of mine are.  During the week they hardly had time to play outside.  During school, they got about 15 minutes of recess.  On the weekends they were so worn out from the week that they didn't want to do any of the fun stuff that they did when they were home.  They did play outside some, but it just wasn't the same.  When kids get a lot of time to play, they engage their imagination.  This is so important in their development.  Imagination helps them process what they are learning.

I have heard so many people say that home school kids have no chance to become socialized, but I don't understand how public school actually gives kids a chance to socialize.  Teachers yell at the class to be quiet all day.  They have 15 minutes to play outside, and part of that is walking in a quiet, straight line to and from the playground.  At lunch they are not allowed to speak.  They must eat in silence.  They are expected to sit still and be quiet all day.  Where is all this social time that everyone says homeschool kids are missing out on? Also, to expand on this social issue, if anyone has ever been around homeschooled kids, they will see that socialization is not an issue.  In every homeschool group I have ever been a part of, the kids were healthy and vibrant.   Not a single one was withdrawn and awkward like the picture that people paint of homeschooled kids. Also, every child that I have experienced that has been schooled at home has a great relationship with their parents.  They have an entirely different view of adults.  Kids in school are treated much like prisoners and the teachers their wardens, controlling every minute of their day.  Kids at home have more of a partnership with their parents.  Even the most strict of parents have the respect of their children, and have a deeper relationship than is able to be experienced when kids are in school 8 hours of the day.

I agree that occasionally there are those parents that don't do what they need to do when homeschooling their kids.  Those same kids would probably be neglected or abused if they were in school, too.  In school and out, unfourtunately there are bad parents, and homeschooling doesn't create bad parents.  Bad parents are just bad parents.   From my experience, a majority of homeschool families are very healthy and do the things they need for their kids.  The neglectful families are the vast minority. Most people school their kids at home so that they can give their children a better life, not to avoid responsibility.

People have asked me if I feel that I can give my kids everything they need by schooling them at home.  Do traditionally schooled kids get everything they need? Do teachers cover everything in every textbook every year? Are there no school kids who fall through the cracks? Do schools instill a love of learning? I may miss out teaching my kids something, but they may miss out on something in school, too.  However, I can create a love of learning in my kids that is much too often missed in public school.  That alone is worth keeping my kids home.  Since they have been home, we have studied Pterodactyls, lunar halos, clouds, direction (NESW), Sacagawea, Lewis and Clark, among other things. We have done math with games on the computer and in books. Spelling, grammar, vocabulary, and reading have been meaningfully studied with literature. My kids have not rolled their eyes or resisted anything because it is what they want.  They love it.  When my parents came for a visit, my 6 yo told my mom details of what we have been studying.  When he was in school, when we would ask him what he was learning, all we would get would be a shrug and "I don't know."

My oldest is still in school.  It is her choice.  She is a left brain thinker and thrives in a school environment.  She is also older and can sit quietly for 8 hours without a problem. She has the attention span for a long school day.  As long as she in enjoying it, I will support her decision even though I miss having her at home.  And for you doubters, I have to brag a little.  When she took her last round of tests, my girl that was homeschooled for the previous 5 1/2 years tested higher than almost all of her peers who have been in public school their whole lives.  Her reading comprehension is at an 11th grade level.  She is in 7th. She made all A's and one B on her first report card.  She was invited into the Beta Club.   She has 270 AR points in reading, and there is only one girl in the whole school with more.  Most of the other kids have 0-10.  So I think I have been doing something right!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

What if...

The other day I was scrolling through my Face Book feed and I saw a meme of a woman holding a Gucci purse and an iPhone. In the picture, the woman was looking into her purse searching for something.   The caption read, "I just hate when I can't find my Food Stamps."  I read it, then kept scrolling through my feed without giving it a thought.  Then later, for some reason, it popped up in my head and I started thinking about it.  I understand what it is saying.  Sure, there are tons of people who abuse the system.  But then, there are the people who really need and rely on Food Stamps to feed their family.

I started thinking about who this woman was. I know she is fictional, but I just let my mind wander into different scenarios that could have taken place.

  What if she just signed a two year contract on her iPhone when her husband suddenly had a heart attack and wasn't able to go back to work.  She can't afford to keep it, but she can't afford the termination fee, either.

What if the woman in the meme was sexually abused and suddenly had a mental breakdown and now can't work, but still somehow has to feed her six kids.

What if the lady in the picture has had her Gucci purse for ten years in a closet and only brought it out because she wanted to feel special.

What if the Gucci purse isn't even real and she got from a guy on the street who sold it to her for $3.

What if the iPhone is a hand-me-down from Uncle Bob, and it's disconnected so she can only use it with Wifi.

What if her husband had suddenly passed away, leaving her with three kids and a dog, and a huge house note that suddenly seems impossible to pay, but no life insurance.  

What if her husband harmed himself serving our country overseas and the government refused to pay for his treatment. What if she works full time, but because he is disabled and can't work, now they can't even pay their house note and their electric bill on one income.

What if she and her husband both work full time, but still can't afford rent anywhere in the city in which they life.  They have two kids who they hardly see because they are working so much, but they still are just scraping by.

What if she had seven kids at home and her hard working husband suddenly lost his job because of layoffs. He has been searching for jobs for months, but can't find anything.

What if no matter how hard she tries, she just can't find a job.

What if she is a married student and her life was perfect, but then her husband left her for what seems like no reason.  She is so devastated that she fails her classes and can barely get out of bed, much less get a job.

What if she was too proud to go apply for help, and held onto the hope that her husband would be able to go back to work for too long and finally after seeing her kids go hungry, humbled herself and filled out the application, even though she used to be the kind of person to make fun of people who used food stamps.

What if she stays up all night crying because of her situation.

What if that woman is you? What if your perfect life suddenly fell apart and you only had $30 a week after rent and bills on which you had to feed your 2. 5 kids, your husband, and yourself, and somehow put gas in the tank so you and your husband can make it to work.

Things happen in life that we can't control.  Not everyone who uses Food Stamps abuses the system.    Sometimes they actually need them.  I know, I am one of them.  Some of these scenarios I have been through, some of them are variations of situations that I have seen people close to me go through.  I thought I was immune to hard times, until I went through them.  I never thought I would be someone who uses Food Stamps, I thought I was above it.  I thought I could work hard and life would always be good... until it wasn't and it was spinning out of control.  My life has been hard, and it still is,  but I am glad I have gone through what I have because it has made me a stronger person.  It has brought me closer to God, and that is something I wouldn't trade for any amount of money in the world.

Praise God for every blessing in your life.  Pray for the woman ahead of you in line at the grocery store who has a Food Stamp card. Smile at her instead of getting impatient and stamping your foot. Your prayers and your sweet smile could make a difference in her stressful day.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Walking on Water

This morning I read the passage in Matthew 14 where Peter walks on water.  With everything that is going on in my life right now I can really relate to Peter in this passage.  I have really been seeking God to heal my husband, and in a recent post I revealed my discouragement about the matter, relating my doubt to Thomas when he doubted whether Jesus had returned.  This realization made me get to the heart of the matter.  I have a lot of fear and trust issues.   I have a hard time just trusting God that He has everything under control.  I am afraid that if I am not in control of my life everything is just going to fall apart.  I have a hard time giving things over to Him.  When I pray, it is more like me giving orders instead of asking God what He wants to do in my life.

I need to have the courage of Peter and step out of the boat.

My pastor, Erik Hill, has said a couple times in different sermons that so many people focus on the fact that Peter fell into the water because he didn't have the courage to stand, but they are missing the fact that Peter was the only disciple brave enough to even step out of the boat.  Many people overlook the fact that there were 11 more men who were sitting tightly in their seat and were scared when they saw Jesus walking on water.  They actually thought Jesus was a ghost and were frightened.  Peter stepped out of the boat.  And walked!!  

Peter called out to Jesus.  It was Peter who initiated this walking on water encounter, not Jesus.  Peter asked Jesus to call him, and Jesus gladly responded.  Just like Thomas asked to see the scars on Jesus' hands and feet.  It is up to us to ask Jesus to see Him move.  Then we must walk. We walk and keep our eyes on Him.  Peter was not standing on a solid foundation.  He was standing on water.  His faith was not in the water, it was in Jesus.  For a few minutes it was Jesus holding him up, not the water.  There is absolutely nothing in water that can hold up a human.  I don't know how He did it, but Jesus walked on water and allowed Peter to do it, too.  I can understand Jesus walking on water.  As it says in John, Jesus was with God when the world was created.  Jesus made that water at the beginning of time, and if He wanted it to hold Him up, He could do it.  But then, Peter did it.  That baffles me.  It would be just like you or me walking on water.  Jesus wants us to walk on water.  I my never actually place my foot out of a boat and literally walk on water, but in this passage I learn that Jesus' abilities were not just for Him alone.  He came to share what He had, and if I call out to Him, He will respond.  In my circumstance, if I ask Him for something, He will answer me and call me out to come to Him.  It is up to me to get out of the boat.  

Peter sank.  I know, it didn't last long for Peter.  If I had a storm raging around me with huge waves, I would probably sink too! Peter could have trusted Jesus and walked all the way to meet him where He was, but it was a stinkin' scary storm! When Peter fell, he called out to Jesus and He was right there to pick him up out of the water.  Life is hard! Right now I feel like I am sinking with huge waves all around me.  Just when I feel one part of my life is under control, something else goes haywire.  I kind of feel like the guy at the circus who balances all the spinning plates on poles.  Just when one plate is spinning nicely, another one starts to waver and he has to go run to it to make sure it doesn't come crashing down.  It can be a little overwhelming at times.  Sometimes my attitude is not a perfect picture of love, joy, and peace, to say the least.  Right now in the midst of my storm, I am calling out to Jesus to save me from the waves.  This story is so encouraging to me at this moment in my life, because it tells me that Jesus is right there to pick me up.  He is here holding out his hand to me to lift me up to him.  He didn't make Peter swim back to the boat to teach him a lesson in humility, Jesus lifted Peter back up to walk back to the boat together.  That gives me so much hope.  Jesus won't leave me alone in the water to fend for myself.  He will lift me up and help me back into the safety of the boat.  This is not a story of Peter's shortcoming, but a story of Jesus' goodness and faithfulness.  If you feel like you are sinking and the waves are all around you, lift up your arms to Jesus and He is right there for you, always.  

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Random Thoughts

I thought I would touch base with you because I have been a little out of touch lately.  Things in life are not always perfect and I have had some personal things that I needed to attend to, so my blog unfortunately had to be placed on the back burner for a while.  The things I have been through the past few weeks have been difficult to go through, and although I can't share the details of what that was, I can tell you that God has really moved in my life and in my situation. I can really see God answering prayers that I have been bringing to Him daily.  If there is something in your life that seems impossible, I can tell you that if you pray God will hear you.

I have a couple of random thoughts today.  I don't really have a nicely planned theme for this blog post, just some thoughts from my day.

Today at church, there were two things that spoke to me and I want to share them.  We had a guest speaker and something he said really jumped out at me.  He was comparing satan's attacks in our daily lives to a lion.  What he said was that a lion roars to stun his prey so that they are paralyzed with fear and he can attack.  I started to think about this and we really live so much of our lives paralyzed with fear because of lies that satan whispers to us.  Then my mind began to wander and I tried to figure out what animal or creature could represent God in this analogy.  The lion is the king of the animals, right? So what is God in this scenario? A T-rex? A dragon? God is bigger than satan, so what is an animal that could paralize him? Then I realized that there is no animal that could compare.  God is the creator the lion and is the king of the universe.  To him a lion is an ant, a speck.  There is no comparison.  Once we realize that as Christians, we have the fullness of God living inside of us, we can come to the realization that when satan comes around to try to roar at us, there is no reason to be afraid.  Satan is nothing but an ant that must flee when we resist him.  God said it and satan has no choice.  Don't let him keep you paralyzed, but live in the freedom of Christ!

Another thing that jumped out at me in church this morning was something my pastor said after the speaker was finished.  He spoke for a moment about Thomas in the Bible.  We all know him as "Doubting Thomas," but today, Pastor Erik had a fresh perspective about this man.  Thomas may have doubted, but he was real about his unbelief.  He didn't try to pretend to go along with the other disciples and say he believed when he really didn't.  He had to see Jesus with his own eyes.  When Pastor Erik said this, I realized that I need to see Jesus move in my life in the area of healing.  I need to see healing in my family.  I need to see it with my own eyes.  I believe that Jesus can and will heal people still today, but I have been discouraged because I haven't seen it with my own eyes.  I need to get real about my discouragement and just ask Jesus to move in healing in my family.  I don't always have all the answers.  I used to think that I did, but I am learning that the closer I get to Jesus, that I really know nothing.

What is something that Jesus is showing you in your life?

Sunday, May 4, 2014

To Those Who Have Ever Been Hurt by the Church

In America today, the Christian church as a whole has acted horribly to those who do not normally attend.  It seems that if you do not fit into what the church deems acceptable, most American churches do not accept you, and even go as far as to insult and condemn people. A while back, the pastor at my church, Grace Community, mentioned something that really challenged me. He challenged our church to apologize on behalf of the church to those in our lives who have ever been hurt by the church.

I really took this to heart because I have been on the other side of this equation myself.  I have been hurt and neglected, so I began to try to figure out how I could apologize to people. I really struggled with how to go about it.  I mean, how do you really bring this up in a conversation? So, I decided to write about it because I am not that great of a speaker.  So, here goes:

I am sorry.

I am sorry if I have ever hurt you personally.  I am sorry if anyone who calls themselves a Christian has ever hurt you.  As a Christian, I am truly very sorry that people in the church have mistreated you.  I am actually appalled at the way people who are not Christians have been treated by those who are.

I honestly think that Jesus himself would not like the way that the church as a whole has treated those on the "outside."  When he was here on this earth, he was the hardest on the Jewish leaders, and I think he would do the same thing in our churches today. He would be hanging out with gay men and lesbians who have been left out of church to let them know that He accepts them and loves them abundantly.  He would reach out to strippers, pimps, and prostitutes to let them know how absolutely precious they are to Him.  He would go out and give food to the homeless and just sit and spend time with them to let them know that even though they don't have a cent, they are valuable to Him.  He would accept everyone who doesn't feel comfortable walking into America's church.  He would welcome people of any race and religion, laughing and crying with them as they experience life together.  There are the rare few Christians who do these things, but for the most part, the church has been very neglectful of these things.  Myself included.  I don't always reach out to others when I should.  I am so sorry.

Take a look at our token verse, you know, the one every good Christian and/ or wrestling fan knows: John 3:16.

God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son.  Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life.  

That verse is not just for church members who pay their tithes and warm a seat once a week for an hour.  It says anyone, and I truly believe that it really means anyone. If you are human than this verse applies to you.

Now take a look at the following verse:  God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world.  He sent his Son to save the world through him.  

You can argue with me if you would like, but I believe that it is not the job of the church to judge you.  As Christians, it is our job to love you.  If you have experienced anything other than love, then in my opinion, you have just experienced empty religion.  Religion judges.  Jesus loves.

Please accept my apology.

Friday, April 25, 2014

To Those Who Don't Like Christians...

I started working on this a couple of weeks ago and had a hard time actually finishing.  For the past couple of days, God has really put it on my heart to finish this post.

I don't blame you for not liking Christians.  I get it, I really do.  Probably more than you realize.  I know I am always talking about Bible verses, Jesus, and living a Christian life, but I haven't always been like this.  There was a time when I didn't even really want to step foot into a church.  In the past, I have been hurt and neglected by the church, and if my faith was based on the way the people in the church have treated me, I would be an atheist.

When I was a young girl, I survived a period of sexual abuse.  I didn't tell anyone when it happened, and this caused me to build up walls and push people away.  I had friends, but I never let people get really close to me.   I don't really have a lot of memories from my childhood.   Because of the trauma, my mind split my memories and locked up a lot of them so that I could cope with life.  I remember school more than I remember home life because that is how my brain decided to protect me from dealing with the hurtful memories.  The abuse didn't happen at home, but for some reason, I shut out any memory that could possibly remind me of the pain that I went through.

As I grew and became a teenager, most of my friends were making plans for life.  I was just trying to survive each day. They all seemed to know exactly what they wanted to do after they graduated from high school. Because of the past abuse, I just wanted to slip into a coma until a time when I thought life would be easier, and wake up with a new, perfect life.  So, I was like a walking zombie, just sleepwalking through life hoping that some day it would get easier.  However, it didn't.  Life just continued to get harder to deal with. I was going to a Baptist church and I had a lot of Christian friends.  I had a lot of fun with them and I felt close to them.

I went to college because it was the next step that I was expected to take.  I had made good grades in high school and received a scholarship to Louisiana College.  I had now idea what I wanted to major in or what I even wanted to do with my life.  I felt like I was wandering around aimlessly.  I am so thankful now that I never really got into drugs or drinking.  It was just something that I never really liked.  I felt that if I lost control of my cognitive functions that I was opening myself up to be abused all over again.  What I was doing, however, was not living, I was just scraping by.

I seemed to have it all: a scholarship to a good college, a brand new car, a great family who supported me, "good" Christian friends. But, I was miserable.  I didn't see the point to anything that I was doing.  I started to dress strangely and shaved the hair off my head with a pair of clippers.  I started to fail my college classes.  I went back home to visit, and all of my friends from my Baptist church that I hung out didn't want anything to do with me because I looked weird.  I didn't fit in with the image that the church deemed "acceptable." I was struggling, and I felt so alone.  When I went back to the church after my extreme style change, I felt as though the church had turned its back on me.  I needed a friend, but instead of opening its arms to me and comforting me, no one would talk to me.

I met and fell in love with the man who would become my husband.  I dropped out of college to my parent's disapproval and got married.  I went to beauty school, not because I really wanted to, but because I didn't know what else to do with my life.  I liked the creative aspects of hairstyling, but hated beauty school itself.  I didn't really want to be a hairstylist, but I stuck with it because I was afraid of failing at anything else that I wanted to do.  Years went by and I felt like I could never get myself together.  I felt like I was digging myself deeper and deeper into a hole and couldn't get out.  I was still just getting by in life, like a zombie.  I was technically alive, but not really living.  Working in a salon, I made a lot of money and seemed successful.  Just like before, I appeared to have it all together, but inside I felt empty.  I actually tried different churches and have visited many over the years.  I just never felt like I fit in.  I was always an outsider, I went because I kept hoping that things would get better.

There is so much more that I could tell about, but for the sake of time, I will skip ahead.  I got to a point where I couldn't cope anymore.  I was attending a church that was around the corner from my house.  The only reason I went was because my kids had friends there and they loved the huge indoor playground.  I would try to pray and felt like my words were just bouncing off of the wall.  I would try to read the Bible, but I couldn't focus.  By this time, I had two kids and was working full time.  I was depressed.  My husband and I were not getting along and were fighting all of the time. I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders.  I didn't know how I could go on.  Then, I found out I was pregnant.  I felt stretched past my limit.  I went on as long as I could until after my son was born. Something inside snapped and I gave up.  I started showing up later and later to work and couldn't keep up with house work.  I wanted to sleep all of the time and give up on life.  I tried as hard as I could to keep up with things, but I couldn't.  I made horrible mistakes and neglected my kids during this time.  I took care of their basic needs, but I just couldn't give any more than that.

One day I was taking a shower to get ready to go to a funeral for a friend who had passed away, and out of nowhere I felt Jesus whisper to my heart to start facing my past so that I could heal from the abuse.  I was afraid to face that area of my life.  I had buried that part of my life so deep that I didn't even acknowledge it anymore.  Soon after that, I was lying on my bed, unable to get up because I was depressed.  I was crying because I felt like my life was in shambles.  At that moment, I felt Jesus put his arms around me.  I could physically feel His presence.  He told me to give Him all of my troubles.  I did.  I felt like I was taking all of my hurts and troubles and wadding them up in a huge ball and throwing them away into a trash can that Jesus was holding.  I had pretty much been in church in all my life, and had never experienced anything like this before.  This was not religion, this was real.  After this, I started seeking out other people who had real experienced like I had.  I met others who didn't view Jesus as a religion, who actually had a real relationship with Him.  I eventually did find whole churches that were focused on a relationship instead of the religious aspects of Christianity.  I realized that too many churches are just Christian social clubs instead of places where people can truly worship Jesus with their lives.

 Soon after I gave Jesus my hurts and troubles,  I went on a retreat with my church that a friend invited me to.  During this retreat, I was allowed to share in a safe way with someone about my past hurts and decided right then to start going to counseling.  I learned healthy coping skills and began a journey of healing.  It has been a long, hard road to where I am now, but ever since I let Jesus take over, I have had so much peace and joy.  I have watched Him rebuild my life into His picture of what it should be, which is so much more beautiful than what I was able to create on my own.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

God Can Heal Marriages: Christi and Robbie's Story

This week I have decided to do something a little different.  When Joey and I were separated, I had a conversation with a girl named Christi who attends The Healing Place in Shreveport.  Her story really gave me hope that God could heal my own marriage.  God has put in on my heart lately to start sharing the stories of everyday people who have experienced God in a mighty way.  I have talked a little bit about what God has done in my marriage, but we are not the only marriage He has healed.  Here is Christi's story: 

Growing up as a child, my parents were in and out of church. However, my grandparents took us to church a lot when my parents wouldn’t.  My grandparents were the foundation for our family.  Also growing up my father was verbally abusive.  When I became old enough to take myself to church, it became my hiding place from my dysfunctional family.  Even though my family was dysfunctional I still knew I was loved by them but didn’t always feel safe.  I prayed something as a teenager that I really didn’t realize and God reminded me of this as adult.  I saw these people come to our church who had these incredible testimonies. I didn’t really see living in a dysfunctional family as being a testimony.  But I prayed and asked God to give me a testimony and that he gave me.

I met the man of my dreams at the beginning of 2002 and was engaged by the end of 2002.  We got married in June 2003.  I thought we had a perfect marriage and in 2004 we discovered that we were expecting our first little boy.  We were super excited.  Several years later my perfect little marriage would be ripped apart by infidelity.  

In 2010, my husband and I had separated because of infidelity and addiction to pornography that had gone on for years in our marriage.  I was finished…DONE…Tired of being hurt… There was literally no hope, nothing to save, and nothing to try and work out.  I had a 6 week old baby and a 5 year old to care for so I had to put a bandaid on this open wound that really needed surgery and stitches.  Me and my two boys moved in with my mom.

Months had passed after our separation and the Lord began to bring Robbie to a place of hitting rock bottom.  During this time of separation I had found a new desire for a relationship with God.  I literally had nothing.  I would spend hours on my face before God because I needed his provision…I had no job because I was a stay at home mom before we separated and I needed answers cause I didn’t understand why God was allowing this to happen.  I needed to know how God could let this happen and why he had left me.  I felt disserted and abandoned by God.  My identity was so wrapped up in being a mom and a wife that I had no idea who I really was.  So when everything in life was questioned my identity was also questioned.

For months I continued to keep a bandaid on this wound until finally it was so infected that something had to be done.  I needed to know if God existed because I felt disserted and abandoned by God.  I wasn’t getting the answers that I was searching for so I felt that he had forgotten about me.  Robbie called me one day (He was living in Dallas and me and the boys were living in East Texas) to ask me if I had made up my mind about the divorce.  I was a little taken back because I had made up my mind.  I was kinda like, Are you kidding me?!?!  Our marriage was over! Why would I even entertain the thought of restoring our marriage!! I hung up the phone that day irritated at him even more.  The next several days he called and asked the same question.  The third day he asked me I agreed to something that I really didn’t think would end up the way it did.  Before I got off the phone I told him that I would put the divorce on hold till I got a clear word from the Lord to proceed or not with the divorce.  I desired for God’s will to be evident in my life but I was still struggling with it all.  Somehow down deep I knew that God would agree with me to divorce him and move on.

Several weeks later he went on this thing called Quest with Fellowship of the Sword (  When he came back I could tell a change that had taken place.  During this time he was still living in Dallas and the boys and I were living in East Texas, almost 4 hours away from each other.  He knew he had to do something to try and rebuild what he had tore down.  He started driving back and forth almost on a daily basis in order to rebuild his family.  

Several more months passed and I had an opportunity to go on my very own quest.  It was a time where 23 women from different backgrounds, denominations, and all different walks of life came together independently.  It was a time literally in the wilderness with no distractions, no cell phones, no tv, no screaming kids, nothing but you questing after the Father’s heart and discovering who we were in Christ.  Up until this point I had been a Christian for most of my life and was in ministry as a youth pastors’ wife for so many years but there was so much I didn’t understand.  There was something missing.  I didn’t know who I was. My identity had been wrapped up in my marriage and who I was in my husband that when my relationship came tumbling down I literally didn’t know who I was anymore.  The purpose of me going on this quest was because I needed to hear from God.  It had been 9 months since that conversation with my husband and I needed to hear a clear word to divorce or rebuild our marriage.

During my quest I spent hours upon hours on my face praying and searching for answers.  I needed the clearest word I had ever had from the Lord.  I needed something physical that I could see. I’m a visual person and sometimes hard headed.  I didn’t want any doubts in my mind of God’s answer.  I wanted to know without a doubt in my mind as to if I needed to continue with divorce or to try to allow the Lord to mend my relationship with my husband… One of the days we spent the entire day fasting in the wilderness.  We were literally sent out into the wilderness on a 500 acre ranch with a backpack full of Gatorade, Bible, notebook, and pen.  All day God spoke to me in different ways but by the end of the day I was exhausted and a little frustrated cause I still hadn’t heard an answer to my ultimate question.  God worked on me and really took off layers of a hard heart.  Was I supposed to try to work on my marriage or was I supposed to move on with just my two boys as a single mom?  

All week I had worked on my heart of hurt and worked on things that needed to be dealt with.  Specific things beyond the pain from my husband that had not been dealt with for years.  As I walked back to the ranch house I was praying about the answer that I needed.  I asked God to show me that He was still there and that he hadn’t left me through all of this.  I needed to know that he still loved me and that I was still his daughter.  I stopped to rest for a few minutes and looked down to the gravel road where I saw a rock that was literally in the shape of a heart.  I dug it out of the ground and picked it up.  On the side that was exposed looked like a heart but the inside part was deformed and didn’t look like a heart.  God spoke so loud and clear almost as if he were standing in front of me.  He said, “Christi you’ve worked on your heart this week, you came with literally a broken heart that I have pieced back together.  You’ve sought me and you have found me!!  You’ve allowed me to do surgery on your heart and stitch it back together in order for it to heal properly.”  He said that “You came with a heart that was in a million pieces but I’ve put it back together and gave you a whole heart that has been made new.  If you turn it over those things are still there and they are still ugly and still apart of your past.  Your heart was made whole by ME not by your husband or your boys like you’ve tried to fill for a long time.  Now that I’ve given you a whole heart you can take it back and give to your husband.  I can’t promise that the healing process will be easy but I will be there with you every step of the way.”   

I was completely blown away by God’s word to me.  It was exactly what I needed to hear.  When I got home, Robbie and I sat down together and discussed what our next steps were.  I gave him this heart that I had found and told him what God had spoken to me.  He began to weep.  He shared with me and showed me in his journal that when he was on his quest (8 months prior) he prayed that God would give him something physical that would show His love for him.  God showed him a puddle of water that was in the shape of a heart but didn’t give him anything tangible that he could take with him until God had mended my heart.  

Sometimes God calls us or allows us to go through things that aren’t easy and that are hurtful because He wants the opportunity to work and he desires to draw others to him through his willing servants.  Sometimes that hurt can be caused by ourselves such as sin, or caused by others as in my situation or even unforgiveness which can cause a life of miserable chaos.  I feel like God has allowed Robbie and I to go through what we’ve gone through to do this very thing…To have a voice and to allow it to be heard for healing to take place in other people lives.  Let this be an offer of hope to your hopeless situation.  We stand before you today with a whole relationship with God, and a whole and healed marriage.  God is good and only through Him all things are possible!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Our Easter

My last two posts were about focusing on Jesus during Easter time.  Yep, I have become that person. It's funny how much I have changed in the past couple of years.  I used to think that people who made a big deal about Jesus during the holidays were just lame and need to get over themselves and enjoy the holiday.  That was before I met Jesus personally.  I knew all about Him, but I was about as close to him as I was the Easter Bunny or Santa Clause.  He was a nice story and I just thought he would shower me with blessings if I was good enough, like Santa, right? But once I realized that my idea of Jesus was so wrong, I began to break down those ideas to allow Him to teach me the truth.  Anyway, I could go on and on about that, but what I really want to do was talk about our Easter Sunday.

We had a great weekend with our family.  I am so blessed to have married into a huge family and we always have a good time when we get together. Our family has a lot of birthdays so we basically spent the day having birthday parties and grilling hamburgers.  There are a lot of kids in our extended family, so gatherings are always a lot of fun.  I had my nephew over to spend the night with my little man and my older girls spent the night with their girl cousins. Then Sunday, my parents came to church with us and we went out to eat together.

This weekend I realized how much I love the festivities of Easter.  I have been in this battle with myself over what traditions to change and what to keep.  My Grandmother "Meme" (pronounced Mimi, not like the little pictures), used to love holidays, too, and I think I get it from her.  My desire to change our traditions are not so that we can just sit around and have no fun and be "religious" while everyone else enjoys their holiday.  I just want to change our habits and frame of mind when going into any holiday.  Binging on candy and focusing on what each one gets for themselves is not healthy in a spiritual sense, and also in a very practical sense.  So, instead of all the Easter candy I usually purchase, I bought the kids each a book.  They loved the books more than all the candy! My struggling reader got an activity book that gave simple directions about what to draw and I think she read more yesterday than she has all week! I still gave them a few little candy treats, just not as much as I usually do, for spiritual reasons, but also to teach the kids healthy habits. My husband has a family history of heart disease so I feed our family as healthy as our meager budget allows, but I think everyone needs a spurge every now and then.

We did dye Easter eggs because it's just fun! The kids look forward to hunting for Easter eggs, and I really do too! That is one tradition that we will keep. The past couple of years I have begun a new tradition that I really love: reading about Jesus in the Bible.  I read the chapters about the death, burial, and resurrection, then we talk about it together.  I feel that it is so important that kids know about Jesus and what He did for us.

 I also want to begin a tradition of serving.  There is a nursing home down the street from us full of elderly people who are just so hungry for attention.  It is my goal that for every holiday, we go visit them and just sit for a minute and talk to each one in their room.  I want to take the focus off of what we will get and think about how we can give of ourselves. Our nation has such a "fast food" mentality.  Place an order for what you want, then get it as soon as possible or throw a fit.  I feel that our holidays have become a time of placing orders for what we want. The focus of most holidays is about getting stuff.  I want my kids to think about someone else besides themselves for a change.  Ok, that's about all I wanted to say.  I feel like this post is kind of random, but I felt that I should follow up with what we did because of the last two posts. I am learning how to incorporate Jesus into everyday life instead of just talking about Him once or twice a week. I feel that it is important to talk about that.  I would love to hear comments, questions, ideas... anything you want to say!

Friday, April 18, 2014

What do you mean, "No Bunnies"?

Alright, I know the bunny post may have been a little strange to some of you... No Easter Bunny? How could I do without the Easter Bunny? For me, it's not really about the bunny itself.  It goes deeper than that.  I love bunnies.  They are really cute and soft.  What I don't like is the idea of the Easter Bunny being the focus of the holiday.  The more I get to know Jesus and get closer to Him, the more I want to remove everything that distracts from Him.  Like I said in my last post, it's not about legalistic rules about how to celebrate a holiday.  It's about falling in love with Jesus so much that nothing else matters.

I mean, really falling in love with Him, not just saying that you love Jesus.  I have become obsessed.  I am in love more than I have ever been in love with anyone or anything else.  Before I fell in love with Him, I remember how it felt to tell someone Jesus loved them.  It just seemed wrong.  The words felt like sandpaper on the way out.  I thought I meant it.  I knew it was a good thing to love Jesus, but I had a hard time talking about Him.  One way I figured out there was more to Christianity was that I realized that I had a hard time talking about Him.  I didn't know why, but I just couldn't say His name to people.  I could talk about God all day long, but I could not talk about Jesus.

When Columbine happened, and there were kids that were killed because they admitted to being a Christian, I truly couldn't say at that time I would have done the same thing.  That was another clue that something was wrong. It took years of trying to earn God's love, and getting to a point where I could no longer go on, before I cried out for Him and he truly saved me.  I hesitate to use the word "saved" because many Christians use that word too often and don't mean it.  Jesus really, actually saved my life and changed me from the inside out.

I like to think of myself as a "recovering Baptist." I know people who have been delivered from drugs or alcohol.  I was delivered from religion.  Now, don't get me wrong, I have met Baptists who truly have had a relationship with Jesus, but as for myself, I was a dead Baptist.  It was really a spirit of religion I was delivered from, its just more fun to say "recovering Baptist." I was so hard headed, too.  It took a lot for Jesus to shake me up to a point where I began to let go of what I thought was true and started to see Him for who He really is.  I know there are still habits that He is helping me get away from, but all I know is that ever since I met Him in a real way, I have never been the same.  Do you feel like you need a deeper relationship with Him? Ask Him to show you the truth.  He is so good, He will open your eyes to who He really is.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

No More Bunnies

With Easter Sunday, coming up I have been thinking a lot about what Jesus had to go through.   I want to mention again that I believe Christians should talk about it all year, not just at Easter time, but I think it is good to have a day set where we give Jesus special honor.  Each year that goes by, I really want less and less to celebrate the holiday in the way my family has traditionally celebrated, with baskets, candy, and a chocolate bunny.  I feel that it is disrespectful to Jesus. For a Christian to celebrate in the same way as a non-Christian just seems wrong to me.  If you are not a Christian, I have no problem with you celebrating any way you want.  I don't want to get legalistic and create rules about how to celebrate Easter, but for someone who has given their life to Jesus, to celebrate the weekend He went to hell and rose again by eating chocolate bunnies doesn't rest well in my heart.  I think that each person must really search their heart and pray about this for themselves.  I really struggle with it because my family has always looked forward to a basket of goodies, so in the past years I have given in to this tradition. I need to figure out a new way to celebrate.

I have been reading the passages of the death and resurrection to my kids and it really has gotten to me in the past few days.  Mark 14-16 is what I read to them, but basically if you read the last 3-4 books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, you will get the story.  

In one of those strange God coincidences, yesterday when I read to my kids, we really focused on His prayer in the garden before he was arrested.  Then, at church last night, the pastor talked about that very thing.  There are so many aspects of the entire story that he could have mentioned last night, so for him to mention that, I believe, really shows that God wanted to emphasize that part of the story.  Jesus was a man.  He was God and he was man. When Jesus prayed, he asked God if there was any other way to do what needed to be done.  He agonized about what was about to happen.  He prayed for God to take this burden from him, yet still yielded to God's plan.  I would have been terrified to go through what he went through.  I had an anxiety attack before I went into the O.R. for the C-section of my youngest child.  I knew what was coming and I was scared.  That was just for the birth of my child.  I didn't have to be tortured and beaten like Jesus was. I can't imagine what Jesus must have been going through before he was arrested and the night began to unfold.  Jesus had emotions.  He loved to visit his friends and have fun feasts, he got sad when his friend Lazarus died, he had compassion for those who were sick and hurting.  He must have been so scared.  

Today when I was reading chapters 15-16, I realized something. Jesus probably wasn't afraid of being beaten and killed.  I think it was horrible what He went through, but he suffered through all of that silently.  The only time he cried out is when he was separated from the Father.  

34 At three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” This means “My God, my God, why have you deserted me?”Mark 15:34

My personal belief is that Jesus was terrified because he knew he would have to spend time away from the Father.  He would have to go into hell by himself and battle the real enemy.  The horrible things that the Roman guards did were nothing compared to what he would have to experience in the two days after his death.  He had to feel the weight of every sin that was ever committed in the world and he took the punishment for each and every one.  That is why Jesus cried out in the garden for God to find a different way to save us.  But there was no other way.  Jesus let himself be the sacrifice to cleanse us from a lifetime of sin.  

Don't let his death be for nothing! Live your life to honor His death and the time he spent in HELL for YOU and ME. Don't be ashamed to talk about what He has done in your life. 

I know this is a really heavy blog post.  It has been really heavy on my heart and I think it needed to be talked about.  I really would like to hear your thoughts on this topic.  Share something that Jesus has done for you personally in your life.  Honor Him! I also would like to hear ideas for Easter traditions that point to Jesus instead of the Easter Bunny.  Ok, its your turn: GO!

Monday, April 14, 2014


Several years ago, my marriage was not a beautiful picture.  In fact, lots of arguments, followed by weeks of extended silent treatments, were the norm for my life. I could see a layer of tension settle like dust after each fight.  We were in an unhealthy cycle of pretending everything was ok for a few weeks, then we would plunge right back into the fighting, and then the silence again.  I felt like my life was out of control.  The weight of the stress made me feel like I had the entire earth on my shoulders.  Just to walk across the street took so much effort because of the toll that this lifestyle was taking on me.  So I prayed a simple prayer, "Help." That was the entire prayer. I had learned lots of fancy prayers in my lifetime, but those really didn't make a difference in my life.  It was all I could do just to get that one word out of my lips, but it was enough. 

I was lying on my bed crying and feeling hopeless when I prayed that prayer.  God whispered to my heart that things would get better.  He put his arms around me and told me to give Him all of my troubles.   So, I did.  I felt the weight lift off of my shoulders and I had a picture in my mind of Jesus standing above me with a huge trash can just throwing it all away.  Then I felt his arms around me.  I felt peace for the first time in years.  

Things didn't get better right away, but I held on to the promise God had whispered to me that things would get better.  I knew it just as much as I know right now that I am sitting on a couch holding my laptop.  It was real, I had no doubt.  

    Now faith is the substance 
of things hoped for, 
the evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1

You may have heard this verse before.  I had heard it many times before, but when I went through this experience, this verse became very real to me.  Faith as substance is a hard concept to grasp.  Something that has substance in the natural world is usually something that you can touch or see. You can hold it, measure it, or examine it.  Faith is something that you can't see or touch.  Faith is kind of like a feeling, but so much more than that.  

Faith is knowing something is true no matter what the circumstances around you are telling you.  It isn't just hope, it is the solid evidence that is created when God himself speaks to you.  It is the substance of things hoped for.  Just like the evidence in a trial is something the jury can see with their own eyes, faith gives your spirit eyes too see what God has said to be true. 

I can hope for rain,  but I don't really know if it is going to rain. The 6 o'clock news can tell me that there is a 60% chance that it could rain. But I will not know for sure until I feel rain drops on my face, or see them from my window.  Faith is more than just hope alone.  It is the evidence that what you hoped will come to pass.  

I waited for about three years for God's promise to come to pass in my life.  I was able to wait because I had evidence that what I hoped for (a better marriage) was going to happen because God told me.  Christian faith begins when you learn how to see God's truth instead of your circumstance.  One way to see God's truth is to hear it whispered to your heart like I did when I prayed.  But that is not the only way; you can read about God's promises in the Bible, or by talking to someone that you know has a good relationship with Jesus.  What it all comes down to is trusting Him with your life.  Let it all go, into His hands, and He will give you peace.  Have faith that God will always do what he says he will do. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Violent Love

First of all, some of you need to get your mind out of the gutter... I know that to some, the title may imply something inappropriate, but this post is not about some strange fantasy, so just forget about that! But since the title brought you here to read this post, stay right here, I want to talk to you about something for a minute.

I woke up this morning with something on my mind and I have been thinking about it all morning as I went about getting ready for the day.  I don't know if I will even be able to write my thoughts in words, as they were mostly images on the movie screen of my brain.  

I have been reading a book about martyrs that have given their life for their faith and that has really been getting to me... deep.  Thinking about what they went through for their faith and what they sacrificed has just really shaken me.  It makes me feel so guilty for complaining for anything in my life.  They were put into prison, beaten, sacrificed, burned to death, be-headed, stoned to death.  All so that other people can know the love of Christ.  

That's not something I have really heard much about in church.  What I have been taught most of my life is how to be a good girl.  But if you read the Bible, really read it and study it, following God is not just about being good.  Many people think of the Bible as a sweet story book, but it isn't a fairy tale.  If you compare it to any storybook, the Old Testament is really more like Grimm's fairy tales. Except that this is not fiction, but a historical account of the nation of Israel.   It is very beautiful, but can also be very violent.  There are stories about rape, entire cities being slaughtered, many many wars, murder, the list goes on.  So, where am I going with this? I feel that most of what I have been taught is something that is just not real.  Or, at least not the whole picture.  That is why so many people reject church.  So many churches are just not real.  Many churches choose the happy verses and leave out anything negative. 

 It reminds me of watching an episode of Barney.  I can't stand watching Barney.   I know this is a strange example, but I have little kids so I think about this stuff, lol.  I love watching Sesame Street with my kids, and one day I was wondering why I liked one show so much and despise the other.  Then I realized, its because Sesame Street has happy characters and grumpy characters. You have sweet happy Elmo, but you also have Oscar the grouch.  Sometimes they are sad and experience emotions other than just being happy. Seeing all different emotions makes them more loveable because we have different emotions.  Barney is just happy all the time and it is hard to swallow. The Bible is not Barney or Sesame Street, but it is a very small example of the difference between too much happy and something that mirrors real life.  People need something real, the good and the bad. 

 There are so many good things about God, He is perfect, but when we ignore the things of the Bible that are not as pretty we are missing half of the picture.  People don't really like to talk about Jesus dying on the cross because it isn't pretty.  We talk about it at Easter because that is the appropriate time to talk about it, but then for the rest of the year, we don't think about it.  Not really, if you are honest with yourself.  It's not fun to think about.  I know speaking for myself,  I don't like to think about it.  I don't like violence.  I don't like blood.  So, I think about it once a year during Easter like a good Christian girl and forget it the rest of the year.  

But for some reason this was on my mind this morning: 

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities

Just that part of the verse kept going through my head all morning.  So I looked it up on and read a little more, then a little more.  The whole chapter where this is found is really good, but I really like these surrounding verses: 

Isaiah 53:4-6

New International Version (NIV)
Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions, (sins)
    he was crushed for our iniquities;(sins)
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.
God loves us passionately, but it isn't always pretty.  Jesus went through a very violent death because he loves us so wholly and so completely.  Nails were hammered into his hands and he was beaten terribly. He was made fun of during the beatings.  He was treated so very badly that is hard to really  realize what he went through.  I have never been through anything even close to what he went through.  

In the Old Testament, wars were fought because God promised land to the Israelites.  They had to fight for their promise.  It wasn't easy and it wasn't pretty.  In life, we go through hard times and it's not always pretty, but God promises to love you and give you peace.  We aren't always perfect.  Like it says in v6 above, we ALL like sheep have gone astray.  All of our sins put him on a cross.  He died because of us.  

God is good and he always fights for the good of those who love him.  Time after time in the Bible, God sent his angels to fight battles for his people.  There may be a lot of violence, but behind that passion and violence is a God who loves you and is willing to fight for you.  He never harms a hair on the head of those who love Him.  He is fighting FOR us.  It is the people who are opposing and oppressing His people that God always opposes and attacks.  I think when we really think about this and meditate on how deep His love is for you, it will stir you soul.  It will change you from deep within.  

    John 3:16
    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Why I Stopped Homeschooling and Put My Kids Into School

  I couldn't sleep so I thought I would write out my thoughts just to keep them from rolling around uncontrollably.  (It may help, anyways)  I don't usually write about personal matters on my blog, but I just needed to get all of this out and didn't really know where else to do it.  

The girls did their placement testing for school this week and we got the results yesterday.  My oldest is 11 and is supposed to be in 6th grade.  She is reading at an 8th grade level! Yay! I was so proud of her.  She was a little behind in math, though. We decided to go ahead and place her in 6th grade math and utilize the amazing tutoring program that they have in place at the Middle School.  They have two math lab classes for struggling math students and tutoring before and after school.  So with all that help, she should catch up in no time.  My second oldest did good in math, but is a little behind in reading, which I already kind of knew would happen.  We decided that since most of the subjects require reading, to keep her home the rest of the year.  Since I have two  in school, I can work with her one on one and get her caught up and hopefully she will be caught up for next school year.  

I was thinking about our four years of homeschooling and everything that has happened with our family and I am glad that my kids know anything at all with everything that we have gone through.  One year into homeschooling my husband had a heart attack and was home recovering for about 6 month afterwards. About a year later he went for a checkup and discovered that the blockages in his heart gotten much much worse, so ended he up getting a quintuple bypass surgery.   A few months after the surgery I had a baby.  Not long after that hubby went into a rehabilitation program.  Then we split up and the kids and I moved to north Louisiana and he moved to a small town in the center of the state.  We met almost every weekend in a town in the middle to let a kid or two go visit him for a week, alternating between the three oldest kids. The baby was still breastfeeding and I wasn't ready to part with her.   After doing this for  almost a year, God began to heal our marriage and our family.  When we first split up, I thought we were going to get a divorce, but God didn't let that happen.  He brought us back together.  So the kids and I moved to live with their Papa.  I am amazed that we are not only back together as a family, but we are really doing good! God has made it better than it was before all of this happened.  

I am not telling you all this to make excuses.  I take full responsibility for my kids education.  I did the best I could do under the circumstances.  I know there are people who are thinking that I should have put the kids into school a long time ago with all this that has happened to our family.  When Papa's heart attack first happened, we couldn't look into the future and know that all this was going to happen, so I thought that it would just blow over and we would get caught up again, but then the next thing happened, then the next… the problems just didn't stop coming.  And I am going to say something that you may disagree with and I am ok with that.  I believe that there are things in life that are more important than academics.  Now, before you completely bash my head in, let me explain.  I know that you must know someone who is so completely intelligent, but you find yourself saying about them, "He is so smart, but he just can't get his act together." Or, "She did so good in school, but now that she graduated, she just can't live in the real world." or "he is the smartest dumb person I know," you know, something along those lines.  People can have a lot of knowledge, but don't know what to do with it and it really does them no good.  You can have the knowledge of a brain surgeon, but if you don't know how to handle everyday life, you may end up flipping burgers at McDonalds.  I feel that I have grounded my kids in the word of God, I have taught them coping skills to get through extremely hard situations in life. I have been there for them to cry on my shoulder when Papa wasn't there.  They know that bad things can happen, and that life goes on and you just do the best that you can, and that will go so much farther in real life than knowing algebra.
Math can always be learned, but a broken spirit is hard to mend.  

There is also a group of people who are thinking that I should not put my kids in school and keep homeschooling.  I am still a huge fan of homeschooling.  I love it.  Even with all the bad things that have happened, I loved homeschooling.  But as a wife and a mother, I have been pushed and stretched to the very edge of my sanity and I need a break! Lol!  I really tried to search out every avenue, and there are absolutely no homeschooling groups that I can find. We live in a small town that is just not a homeschool friendly town. And there is just not much to do here.   After 8 months of the kids being cooped up in the house with Joey and I, having no friends and nothing to do, we decided it was best for the mental health of our entire family to enroll our kids into school.   At first I fought it, but finally I realized that is really is the best thing for us right now.  And now I am looking forward to having a break.  I need it.  I feel that one reason that God brought us to the slow pace of Winnfield is so that we can just rest.  Our whole family needs to recuperate from the stress of the past 3 years.  I am looking forward to sending my kids to school and being able to just breathe for a while without having to worry about being solely responsible for my kids education.   

We are beginning a new chapter in our family and I can't wait to see what God has for us.  Hint: He told me it was going to be awesome!