Family Feature Friday: Caitlin Fitch

This is the first post of an exciting regular feature I’ll be doing here at Redeeming the Days Blog. On Fridays, I’ll be featuring a foster, adoptive, or support family. There are so many families who are following God’s calling in adoptive and foster care, and I am so thankful for them. I hope that these posts can be a bright light for all of us that the body of Christ is not only still there, but we are active in glorifying God in the area of orphan care.

Feature Family Friday:  Get a glimpse into the life of a real family fostering, Fridays at Redeeming the Days.

Feature Family Friday: Get a glimpse into the life of a real family fostering, Fridays at Redeeming the Days.

For my first post, I’m so happy to have had the opportunity to interview my good friend, Caitlin Fitch. I met Caitlin in our CALL training back in September of 2014. Of course, the first day, everyone is just kind of checking out everyone else…well…that’s what I was doing anyway. When I saw Caitlin, I was really confused. She was young, beautiful, and by herself. I didn’t know what she was doing there, but I knew that I wanted to find out. Over the course of the training, I realized that Caitlin was a single young lady there because she has a serious love for Jesus and a passion for hurting children. She was training to be a single foster parent.

Caitlin is one of those people who walks into a room and lights it up. Her humor and kindness is unmistakable. You know that it is Jesus shining through her. I am so excited to get to feature her journey today, and I hope that you will enjoy reading about this courageous young woman!

Feature Family Friday:  Get a real life glimpse into the life of a foster family...Fridays on Redeeming the Days.

Feature Family Friday: Get a real life glimpse into the life of a foster family…Fridays on Redeeming the Days.

Caitlin lives with her “fur baby” Tate in Central Arkansas. When I asked her if she was foster only, adopt only, or foster-to-adopt, she replied,

“Foster, completely willing to adopt. Despite the lies Satan tries to tell me…that no one will ever want to marry me if I adopt. All that is a load of bunk, God has a plan. A bigger plan. And I’m ready for it!”

{Can you see why I love this lady?}

  • When and why did you make the decision to foster?

“You know, I always knew adoption was in my future. I was raised in a home that had a huge heart for orphan care. Last March, I went to Peru on a mission trip and the Lord stirred my heart up all over again. When I got home, I asked the question ‘Why can I not do this? What do I have to wait on?’ and just clear as day, I heard God say, ‘When have I ever asked you to have all your stuff together before you follow me?’ and just like that I signed up for the informational meeting.”

  • How many placements have you had in your home so far?

“Two, a 3 year old boy from February 26th-March 17th, and two girls now from April 1st-current.”

  • What has been the hardest part about fostering? “I feel like that is such a hard question to answer. I would say the emotional toll and grieving you do on behalf of these kids has to be the hardest-everything from the losses in their life, the relationship between you and DHS and how much more you want people to care for your kid, the looks you get from people, all of it…it’s just hard emotionally.”
  • What has been the best/most rewarding part about fostering?
  • “I spent a week in the hospital at the beginning of July with my foster baby. During that week her sibling had to be away from me and stay with several different foster homes. The day my friend brought her home to me I watched out the window for her and when I saw her get out of the car, I opened the front door…she started running towards me…crying and screaming, ‘Mommy!! Mommy!! Mommy!!’ It was just too much for my heart to handle. Knowing I am something to this little bug is worth everything.”

When I asked Caitlin what advice she would give to others considering fostering or adoption, she had some great nuggets of truth. She said that when you are considering this big step, you have to identify and put aside every selfish thought. You have to put aside the fears of getting attached, loving them, and letting them go, and you have to listen to the tiny voice in your heart that says that it is all going to be okay. I think that is great advice. When you are thinking about adopting or fostering, there will be one million voices in your mind telling you NOT to do it. But the only voice that matters is God’s. What does HE want you to do? Do you trust HIM to take care of everything else?

Although single foster parenting might not be something that you’ve heard of before, it’s actually something that is very much needed. Many foster children enter the system due to abuse, most of the time, at the hands of a live-in male in the home. Because of single foster moms like Caitlin, these children are given time to heal and learn to trust again.

I have been watching Caitlin care for her “babies” now since February, and I’m so blessed by her heart. She has had a couple of stays in the hospital now with sick kiddos, and she treats them no differently than I treat mine. She stays by their side, worries about them, holds their little hands, kisses their cheek, and wipes their tears. And then, sometimes, she hands them back to Mom and Dad. And then, she trusts God in a whole different way.

This is the process that foster parents everywhere go through. It’s recklessly loving a child, investing all you have in them, crying for them and with them, and then sometimes, giving them up and trusting in God’s plan for them. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. Would you join me in praying for Caitlin right now?

Father, I thank you so much for Caitlin.

Thank you for her heart, for her passion for hurting children.

Thank you for calling her to this incredible work.

Thank you for equipping her.

God, we ask that you give her patience, compassion, and strength for the days ahead multiplied exponentially to care for these sweet children.

We ask that you complete the work that you began in her. We ask that you hold her future in your hand, and we give you the praise and the glory for the fruit in her life. Thank you, Father.

In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

**This is the first in a regular series of Feature Family Friday posts. If your family fosters, has adopted, or offers support for orphan care in some way and you would like to tell your story, I want to help! Please e-mail me at deanadwood@yahoo.com **

To learn more about foster care or adoption in Arkansas, click on the links below:

The CALL
Project Zero

Quiet Time Journal Page for Kids {free printable}

A free printable to guide your child through their own individual quiet time.

A free printable to guide your child through their own individual quiet time.

For the past three years, my kids and I have met each morning in the living room for Bible Time. And we have loved every minute of it. Over the past three years, our time has grown from 10 minutes a day to an hour simply because we really do love it. This year, while I still plan to do a group Bible Time, I am going to be requiring my boys to do an individual Quiet Time for the first time. With the girls at school, there’s actually a good chance that the “quiet” part can actually happen this year!

I think that establishing a Quiet Time routine is an essential practice for the Christian life, so I’d love for my boys to get started early. I plan on easing into this, probably having a Quiet Time one day per week, and then growing it to a daily practice slowly as we go. I wanted my boys to have something to guide their time with the Lord, so I made this little printable for them, and I wanted to share it with you too.

The idea behind the printable is to forget about complete sentences and proper grammar, and just get the thoughts down, so I’d encourage you to go through the page with your child the first few times and model this. For reluctant writers, I would recommend one word phrases…just enough to recall their memory later. There’s also extra space on the page for artwork, doodling, and extra notes-all of which I feel are important for children (and us grown-ups too!).

I’m so glad to be able to share this printable with you! I’d love for you to share it with your friends as well. I’ll give you all an update on how our quiet time is going in a few weeks!

Just click on the link below for your very own copy!

Kids Quiet Time Journal Page pdf

When There’s Not Enough Mom to Go Around

When There Isn't Enough Mom to Go Around

When There Isn’t Enough Mom to Go Around

Today, I took my sweet 5 year old to enroll her in public school kindergarten. The new, somewhat last-minute plan for the year is for Lydia to go to Preschool, Hannah to go to Kindergarten, and my boys to homeschool. There are a million reasons why we made this decision, but in all honesty, it really boils down to the fact that at this season in our life, there’s just not enough of me to go around.

This is not an easy pill for this Type-A homeschool mom (who likes to think she is SuperMom!) to handle. I can’t stand not being able to do all that life throws at me-and all that I throw at myself. And, I’m not too keen on watching my girls walk away from me with backpacks and lunchboxes in hand this year. It’s not the picture I had envisioned when we began homeschooling three years ago. Please don’t get me wrong…I’m not anti-public school. On the contrary, I am thankful for our public schools. The part I struggle with is what I can’t do. So, I’m trying to take my own advice that I always give other moms. (Have you ever noticed that it’s hard to take your own advice??) As a reminder to myself, I am listing the advice I give here. Maybe it will bring comfort to you today too.

*It’s okay. Whatever the decision you make, however the situation presents itself…it’s okay. Public school or homeschool, medicine or no medicine, cloth diapers or disposable, formula or breastfed, work or stay home…well, you get the idea. If you have prayed about these decisions and you have peace about it in your heart, then it’s okay. These decisions alone aren’t going to make a perfect child nor will they destroy a child.

*What’s right for one child may not be right for another. Yeah…wouldn’t it be easier if every one of our kids was exactly the same? Well…I guess that depends on the temperament of your first child, huh? But they aren’t. They are each unique, each with different personalities. Hannah is thrilled about going to school. She couldn’t be happier. When I told Isaac, his first response was sheer terror followed by, “I’m not going am I??” That kid would stay with his mama forever…and just for the record, I’m okay with it! So, yeah, every child is different.

* What’s right one year may not be right the next. Tim and I have ALWAYS said that homeschooling for us was year to year, and our kids know that too. Each year, we pray about it, and see where God leads us. Now, in all honesty…I didn’t expect to be acting on that bold statement so soon, and especially with my babies! But, as I told my kids today, “That’s part of the fun of being in the Wood family…you just never know what God will lead us to next.”

*You’re not a failure. The phrase that has come out of my mouth so easily and so genuinely to so many other mothers seems to get hung up in my own mind. Why is that? Failure is not a mother who prays for her children daily. Failure is not a mother who considers every decision carefully. Failure is not a mother who loves her children. So, I will rest in that.

*You can’t expect to do everything. It’s okay to hand some things over sometimes. It’s okay to not be in control of everything. It’s okay to let others carry the load with you.

What flows out of my mouth when I’m encouraging others seems like old honey oozing out of my fingers today as I type. It’s not easy to take the advice that you dish out is it? The truth is that Hannah will excel this year in school…that’s just her personality. She will probably love everything about it. Lydia may not love it, but she needs it. She needs the structure that I cannot give her right now. James needs a year at home to mature and to be grafted into the family. And Isaac needs a year to focus on his relationship with James under the comfortable umbrella of homeschool. I need a year to breathe a little bit more freely.  It is my hope and my prayer that this time next year, I will look back and be able to see all these things coming to complete fruition. And then, next year, we’ll pray about it, seek the Lord’s guidance, and do it all over again!

To all my blog readers….I’ll still be blogging regularly. In fact, I hope to blog through my boys’ Sonlight Core D year. I also have a kid’s bible freebie coming your way soon. Thanks for reading.

Young Women & Self-Image Part 3: Beauty

 

Young Women & Self-Image Logo

“Isn’t it beautiful, Mom?”

I looked down to find my sweet, five-year-old daughter proudly holding up two pieces of oddly cut, glued together pieces of paper. No less than 20 googley eyes were scattered about, and the purple disappearing glue…well, let’s just say the purple only disappears when you use a thin layer. But she was so proud. “It’s lovely!” I exclaimed, “Would you like for me to hang it up?” I asked. “Yes, please,” she beamed. She had created this masterpiece with her own hands and to her, it was absolutely perfect. You see, no one has ever told her that her artwork was not perfect. No one has ever critiqued her creativity, so all that she knew was the beauty of her work coming to fruition.

Our definition of beauty today is so tainted. Our definition of beauty is one of conformity. The sad thing is that one day, my sweet Hannah’s artwork will be critiqued. Someone will tell her that what she made isn’t good enough. That it should be more like everyone else’s artwork. And she will probably listen to them. And her artwork will begin to look more and more like everyone else’s art. While there is some beauty to that in art, there is also a sadness and a loss…a loss of her as an individual and what she was created to bring to the world. We tend to believe that art is only beautiful if it’s similar to something we’ve seen before.

Doesn’t that also remind you of the way we view our own beauty? If we don’t look like (insert celebrity), we don’t see ourselves as beautiful? Why do we do this to ourselves?? Do we not realize how much God put into creating us?

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.

-Psalm 139:13

When I think about God creating me so carefully in my mother’s womb…every last detail with perfect precision…down to the color of my eyes, the prominence of my chin, the birthmark on my shoulder, the slit in my eyelids….why, oh why, am I so critical of His creation?

On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?

-Romans 9:20-21

I don’t believe that God creates any of us to be ugly. I believe that just like my precious Hannah, he views each of his creations as absolutely beautiful. With that in mind, maybe it’s OUR perception of beauty that is the problem, rather than the reality of our bodies.

Whose definition of beauty do you want for your life?

Whose definition of beauty do you want for your life?

So let’s think back for a moment…if you struggle with your perception of your beauty…who told you that you were not beautiful? Either directly or indirectly? Why does this person/people have so much influence in your life that they can convince you that God’s handiwork in your life isn’t good enough?

I’ll never forget the moment…it’s one of those “core memories” that I think will stay with me forever… I had just given birth to my third child, Lydia, and in my opinion, I was at my worst physical appearance. Not only was I heavier than I had ever been before, but I was also wearing sweatshirts and yoga pants on a daily basis, my hair was thrown up most of the time, and I only wore make-up to cover the enormous bags under my eyes from the lack of sleep. I felt so ugly. One evening, I was at church doing my usual thing…watching the kiddos playing outside…when a woman who I viewed as just beautiful came up beside me and we began talking. I can’t remember the conversation exactly, but I remember the phrase that struck me…she said, “Yeah, but you’re just so tall and beautiful, Deana. I’m nothing like you.” I think my jaw hung open for a good 30 seconds. I couldn’t even continue the conversation. Here’s this woman, who I held in my mind as beautiful…telling me that she was insecure, and thought that I was so tall and beautiful. What an epiphany moment for me.

That’s the moment that I realized that we ALL struggle with this. We ALL think someone else is better, prettier, cuter…and you know what it is? It’s just a way to take our eyes off of our real mission, which is glorifying God. This is the big roadblock that Satan sets in front of women of all ages to keep us from building meaningful relationships with each other that lead to sharing the gospel.  

So it really boils down to this: whose definition of beauty do you want for your life? God’s definition or the world’s? If you want God’s definition, you’ll experience freedom in this area. If you want the world’s definition, you’ll forever live in bondage to others’ perception of you.

God created you with HIS OWN HANDS. He knitted you together HIMSELF. There is no one else in this world that is exactly like you. THAT, my friends, is beauty, and guess what? You have it.

This is Part 3 in a series on Self-Image.  To see the first two posts, click the links below:

Part 1: Perfection

Part 2: Acceptance

I hope you will join me later this week for part four.

Young Women and Self-Image Part 2: Acceptance

“I’m bad and that’s good.

I will never be good and that’s not bad.

There’s no one I’d rather be than me.”

-Wreck-It-Ralph

“Bad Guy Affirmation”

I really loved this moment in Wreck-It-Ralph when Ralph finally said the “Bad Guy Affirmation” and meant it. If you’ve seen the movie, you know that Ralph played the “villain” in the Fix-It-Felix video arcade game. He felt really sad about that most of the time…after all, he was actually a pretty big-hearted teddy bear type who just got the bad end of the deal…but finally, at the end of the movie, he came to this realization that he was who he was made to be….and that’s okay. It didn’t mean that he was worthless or unwanted. He had finally found peace in himself.

Young Women and Self-Image

In my previous post, we talked about how we aren’t perfect. We aren’t good. No good can come from us until we are redeemed by believing in the work of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection and allowing that truth to transform us from the inside out. This is a hard truth for us. It’s uncomfortable. I told you in my last post that in this part, we would be talking about keeping in check the thoughts that plague our minds daily…the thoughts that constantly pop up saying, You aren’t good enough…If you were just a little thinner…If you were just a little more blonde…If you were just….

Like everything else in life, we practice godliness. Notice that I didn’t say practice for perfection…but we do practice these things for growth and maturity in Christ Jesus. I want to make it clear that I’m not presenting these things as a quick “Five Steps to Confidence and You’ll Love Your Body”. Nope, these things take time. Like I said before…it’s a process. But, if you practice these things, you will grow, and you will begin setting your mind more on God and less on your perceived shortcomings. Let’s begin with scripture:

When your mind is set on God, it’s hard to be critical of His creation.

When your mind is set on God, it’s hard to be critical of His creation.

“If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.”

-John 15:19

  1. You are not of this world, so the world will hate you. They will pick you apart. Have you ever noticed that rarely does anyone ever over-criticize a non-Christian celebrity? That’s because those people are of this world, so the world loves them. It seems as though the people who speak out the most against Christianity are the people that the world cheers for the loudest. This is no surprise, by the way. God knew that would happen and he told us that in His word (John 15:19). But as a Christian, you have to remember that this world is not your home. You were chosen out of this world to be different. Your mind is set on eternity (and always remember that this life is a mere speck of time on the timeline of eternity). The world will hate you because of what you stand for, what you believe in, and because of what you have in the Lord (the fruit of the Spirit, Gal 5:22). It won’t always feel good to you, but knowing that truth makes all the difference in being prepared to handle it.

 

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

-Romans 12:2

  1. Do not conform to this world. This is quite possibly the hardest part, because this requires a complete rejection of the world and everything the world stands for. Don’t fall for the world’s definition of beauty. (That’s Part 3!) We are called to be different, to be set apart, to be holy. As we grow in our knowledge and love of the Lord, we are transformed. But if we continue filling our minds with worldly things, it will be difficult for us to truly allow God’s work to be done in our lives. Things like having a bad self-image will tie us down and cause us to take our eyes off of what God wants to do through us. If you look like the world, (i.e. if you look like everyone else around you, including your clothes, your actions, and your speech), you are conforming to the world’s standards, not God’s and you can expect to never be happy with yourself. Pray about how God wants YOU to present yourself. Don’t set your standard by everyone else.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” -Matthew 6:25-26

  1. Practice Contentment. Yeah, you didn’t know that contentment was something else you had to practice huh? We practice the disciplines of godliness, because they don’t come to us naturally. Practice being content with yourself. Practice not worrying about what you will wear. For one week, commit to wearing only two outfits. Simply the practice of not thinking about what you will wear will begin to take your focus off of materialism and on to God’s transforming work on your life. Another great thing to do is every morning when you look in the mirror, say a few nice things about yourself in place of the criticisms you used to say. It might not be easy to find at first, but it will get easier the more you practice it. One of my favorite things to do is to stick post-it notes with scripture on my mirrors. That way, I can think about scripture and work on memorizing scripture while I get ready. When your mind is set on God, it’s hard to be critical of His creation.

4.  Get your mind under control. If you are anything like me, your mind can go from zero to a hundred in 2 seconds flat. You can start with, “What is that on my face?” and within five minutes, you’ve decided that you’re too tall, too big, too clumsy, too frumpy, and too freckly. See how fast your mind can run amuck? But we don’t have to live with an out-of-control mind. We are told to bring our mind into obedience to what GOD says about us.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. -2 Cor 10:5

This was one of the first verses I ever intentionally memorized. I chose this verse because it helped me to train my mind. I realized that I was in control of my mind, not the other way around. It was my job to decide what I would dwell on, and it was my job to stop any thought that set itself up against what the Word of God says about me. So, what do you do when those thoughts come up? Replace them! Stop the bad thought, and replace it with a righteous thought. The Bible says, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on Earth.” (Col. 3:2) So begin to practice being in control of your thoughts.

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” -1 Timothy 6:6-7

5.  Accept you for you and celebrate that.

I am reminded of a true story of an amazing missionary, named Amy Carmichael. She spent much of her young life wishing for blue eyes because she thought that her soft, brown eyes were so boring and common. She just knew that she would be prettier with blue eyes, so she prayed one night for blue eyes. She awoke the next morning only to find that her eyes were still brown. What a disappointment! Her mother explained to her that God must have a special purpose for saying “no” to her genuine request for blue eyes. Amy grew up to become a missionary to India. She worked diligently to free little girls from the temple, where they were kept as “sacrifices to the gods”. Horrible things happened to the little girls in the name of their Hindu religion. In order to enter the temple to free the little girls, she needed to look Indian, so she would stain her skin with coffee, and her brown eyes were a perfect fit for her disguise. Blue eyes would never have worked. God had a plan in the way he made Amy, down to the color of her eyes. He made her intentionally, knowing the future He had for her. He made each of us that way too. Our story may not be as clear as Amy’s, but it’s there. That’s why we need to accept our imperfections (as we perceive them) and celebrate how God made us…as individuals for His glory and His purposes.

So in a way, we can be like Wreck-It-Ralph, and take our whole self, and just be exactly who we were created by God to be, funny looking toes, noses and all. I think that we can actually use Wreck-It-Ralph’s mantra ourselves with a few tweaks. In fact, I might just put it on a post-it note for my mirror!

“I’m not perfect and that’s good

I’ll never be perfect and that’s not bad.

There’s no one I’d rather be than me.”

So, today and every day, be who you were made to be, and then be okay with it!

In the next part of our series, I’ll be tackling the topic of beauty.  What does it mean to be beautiful?  How to we define beauty?  I hope you can come back next time.

Click here to read Part 1: Perfection

Click here to read Part 3: Beauty

Young Women & Self-Image, Part 1: Perfection

Young Women and Self-Image

“You are perfect just the way you are.”

I twisted in my chair just the slightest bit as I heard that phrase for what seemed like the hundredth time. I plastered a sweet smile on my face, nodded my head ever so slightly with encouragement, but all the while, inside, I was squirming with disbelief. “Perfect just the way you are” just didn’t set well with my 12 year old self. It didn’t set well with my 15 or 16 or 17-year-old self either. And to be quite honest, it still doesn’t set well with my 31-year old self. I will tell you one thing…it has never seemed like I’m perfect. After all, I could point out at least 25 flaws in myself within a matter of minutes. Now, before going any further, I understand that this phrase came from well-meaning people who genuinely loved me…but I think that we are at a point in our culture where well-meaning phrases that lack substance no longer have a place with our youth. Despite what it may seem…the youth of today are truth-seekers. So let me begin my series on self-image right here, with the hardest truth of all, the truth that we must all swallow at one point or another:

You are not perfect. Neither am I. Every single one of us is fallen.

But fallen and worthless are worlds apart.

The story of our fall goes back to the very beginning. You know the spot…right there in the Garden of Eden. When God created man and woman, they were perfect. Absolutely perfect. We can be sure of that, because in Genesis 2:25, the bible says, “And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.” In my book, that says perfection…to be able to walk around naked with absolutely no shame. Life was great for Adam and Eve, but then sin came into the world. And sin said, (my own interpretation) “You’re not good enough. In fact, you won’t be good enough until you eat that fruit over there on that tree.” Sound familiar yet?

Yeah, me too…so guess what? Adam and Eve gave up perfection because they were searching for something better. Read that last sentence one more time…How much sense does that truly make? Zero. And since that very moment in time, perfection ceased to exist. Our bodies were no longer perfect. Our bodies were flawed. In fact, Adam and Eve were suddenly so flawed that they were ashamed of their nakedness and God had to kill an animal to cover them. (Genesis 3:21)

You are not perfect.  Neither am I.  Every single one of us is fallen.  But fallen and worthless are worlds apart.

You are not perfect. Neither am I. Every single one of us is fallen. But fallen and worthless are worlds apart.

Fast forward to today…our bodies are still imperfect because of sin. And I think it’s harder today than it has ever been before to accept our bodies in this fallen state. We live in the age of Photoshop where all flaws can be gone in one brushstroke. People spend crazy amounts of time getting the perfect selfie to post. Magazines may as well draw the pictures of the celebrities rather than take a photo. There are thousands of people who make a living out of sharing their opinion about who’s too fat, who’s too skinny, who wore what best, and who has the best hair.

But this is where we have a choice…

You see, there is a difference for those of us who know the Lord as our Savior. A BIG difference. Though we are fallen, though we live in this tent of flaws here and there, we are redeemed. There are several definitions of redemption, but my favorite definition, in regards to our topic here, is “the action of buying one’s freedom.” Did you read that? Do you want to say it out loud? Go ahead….I’ll wait…

Seriously…Jesus’ death and resurrection bought our freedom from the bondage of sin. Remember what we talked about earlier with Adam and Eve-when sin said, “You’re not good enough. In fact, you won’t be good enough until you eat that fruit over there on that tree.” It’s so easy to read this part of the story and say, “Why did they do that?! Didn’t they know they were perfect??” But we do that all the time too don’t we? Satan whispers in our ear the same things…maybe with a slightly different ending … “…in fact, you won’t be good enough until you lose some weight/get a nose job/wear name brand clothes/etc.” And again and again, we choose to believe the lies that we aren’t good enough…because we are in bondage to sin. Yes, you, my sweet friend, have redemption from all that.

But if I’m redeemed from all that, then why do I still hear it?

Because life is a process of gaining godly wisdom-sometimes through difficult struggles, and if God made all your problems disappear immediately, would you learn anything from that? Would you have anything to share with others from that?

So, now you know. You know the hard truth that you aren’t perfect and neither am I or anyone else on this great big earth. But imperfect does not equal worthlessness. You also know that you, through your belief in Jesus Christ, have been redeemed from the lies that affect you every single day. Now, you just have to learn to deal with the thoughts. We will talk about that in Part 2 of this series. Would you pray with me before we end this part of our series?

Father, thank you for creating me. Thank you for the truth of redemption…freedom from the bondage of lies. Father, I may not be perfect, but I was created for a purpose-to glorify you. Help me to tune out the lies that I’ve been redeemed from…help me to see the purpose you have me here for.

 

This is part 1 in a 5 part series I’m writing for young women. I hope you can come back in the coming days to read the rest of the series.

Click here for Part 2: Acceptance

Click here for Part 3: Beauty

Our Curriculum 2015-2016

This is always one of my favorite posts of the year. The curriculum post. I wrote this past weekend about how I’m practically a curriculum-tester…remember? Yeah, it’s true. I love curriculum. I get the same rush from new curriculum that I get when I see all the pens, pencils, and backpacks out at Wal-Mart every summer. It makes me happy. I’m nerdy that way.

This year, I have a fourth grader, a third grader, a kindergartner, a pre-k kiddo, and a partridge in a pear tree….wait….more like a finch in a half-dead tree? Not the same effect huh? Okay, okay, on with the post!  Here are our curriculum choices for the 2015-2016 school year:

THIRD & FOURTH GRADE

My boys will be doing things pretty much together, and I’ll simply be tailoring things to their individual needs. Of course, once again this year, we will be using our absolute favorite, Sonlight. We did the first half of Core D last year (American History) and we will finish up that core this year. I have really enjoyed taking two years to complete this core because we have had the opportunity to expand each topic through projects and extra activities. It’s been really fun. Click here for my Pinterest board on Sonlight Core D to check out all our extension ideas for this year (and last year too!). We’ll be using Sonlight for our Reading & Literature, History and Science.

Our Curriculum Choices for 2015-2016

Our Curriculum Choices for 2015-2016

For Math, we will be using Right Start Math. After two and a half years of struggling in Math, I am so happy to say that after half a semester with RSM, Isaac happily claims that his favorite subject is Math…along with history, reading, and science. I am tickled pink about it! We love RSM because it’s hands-on, activity-driven, and the workpages aren’t too intense for my reluctant writers. With Isaac, we will be finishing up Level C and moving to Level D. With James, we will be starting Level C.

A great Math option for your homeschool curriculum.

A great Math option for your homeschool curriculum.

Last year was the first year that I actually felt really good about writing. I finally felt that we had hit a groove, and I knew what worked. However, I still feel like I am missing a lot of the mechanics and grammar of the writing process. So, I’m really excited to be trying out Here to Help Learning’s writing program. My kids and I have already checked out the first lesson, and my oldest son has officially declared that it “might be kinda cool”. That’s 9-year-old code for, “Wow Mom, that’s amazing! I can’t wait to start this writing curriculum!”

Penmanship….I feel like this is where the gloomy music begins playing in the background. Do you hear it too? This is the one subject where my oldest son absolutely rares up and starts bucking. The child hates to physically write. We realized last year that he had a pretty significant fine motor delay, so we worked with a therapist all through the year last year, and made significant improvements in his writing. I’m encouraged with the progress we made last year. In that line of thinking, I’ve decided to go with a therapy-approved cursive curriculum this year. The big thing that attracted me was that the practice pages were minimal, so it shouldn’t be overwhelming. Also, there is actually a method to the way the swoops and loops are taught. It’s called Handwriting Helps for Kids, and I’m optimistic about our Handwriting time this year **smiles**

What are you using for Penmanship this year?

What are you using for Penmanship this year?

KINDERGARTEN AND PRE-K

Again, we will be using Sonlight Core A for my girls this year (big surprise huh?) for reading, history, language, and science. I will be supplementing with Bob Books (just because she loves them so much) and we will continue using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. I really like that book, and so far, it’s done a great job getting our girl on an early start to reading. Click here for my Pinterest board on extension ideas for Sonlight Core A.

Our Curriculum Choices for 2015-2016

Our Curriculum Choices for 2015-2016

For Math, we will be using Right Start Math Level A. We started this last year, and the girls just ate it up! They loved the card games and the activities, and who can beat the Yellow is the Sun song?

For Handwriting, we will be using Handwriting Helps for Kids manuscript for my kinder girl and pre-writing level for my pre-k girl. Again, I’m excited about this program, and I think it will be a good fit for us.

What are you using for Penmanship this year?

What are you using for Penmanship this year?

As far as Bible goes, I’m looking for a little deeper study for my older ones without losing my littles, and I’m considering the Picture Smart Bible. What are your thoughts on this? Any experience?  What do you use?