Archives for Homeschool

The Most Important Book in Our Home

We read to our kids out of books like Berenstain Bears, Dr. Seuss and Thomas the Tank Engine, but do we regularly open God’s Word to our children?

This common, all-time best seller—the Bible—isn’t just a book; it is a powerful tool for parents and children. Hebrews 4:12 declares this truth, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit…discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” 

We may have multiple Bibles in our homes, but are we using them?

A well-known Christian psychologist and author was vulnerably sharing how he used to set up an overhead projector at home to do lengthy Bible studies with his young children. He stopped when he realized he was on the devil’s side! His academic approach was turning his boys off to God.

I think the best way to equip our families spiritually is to make the Bible and prayer a way of life. Be consistent, but don’t try so hard that it becomes mechanical and binding, bringing death instead of life.



Model a lifestyle of living the Biblical principles you’re reading about, and loving God above all else. Realize there are seasons in life. Every season brings change. The methods that have worked for me are many and varied and have been practiced in the appropriate season. They include:

  1. Bible time around the breakfast table with Mom reading Proverbs aloud from The Living Bible and inviting input and practical application from two, three, and four-year olds.
  2. Bible time using the One-Year Bible for Kids or the adult One-Year Bible, keeping sticker charts and celebrating the year’s grand achievement with a dinner party and special friends.
  3. Bible time reading mountains of colorful and exciting Bible stories for children. Day after day after day of cozy time, snuggling with Mommy or Daddy before naptime, bedtime, or anytime.
  4. Private Bible time one-on-one with Mom when one child just seemed to be in a season when he needed more personal direction and attention.

Find what fits your brood, your mood, and your season. Formal Bible studies with accompanying manuals weren’t my style, but they may be yours. Morning or after lunch have been our chunky Bible reading times, but you might be nocturnal. The vital ingredient is consistency.

Over the years our boys also enjoyed lots of supplemental Bible stuff at bedtime. I’ve found a variety of different, fun, and humorous tapes of Bible stories to play after tucking them in. I’ve added to this audios with the Word being read aloud, as well as sung in worship. Those minutes before your children drift into sleep are a great time for capturing their attention with God’s Word.

In every form and fashion, I have attempted to get the Word into my kids. Some methods have been seamless and alive; while others have been very dry. We can be confident that whether our Bible and prayer times have been “heavenly,” or “not-so-heavenly,” they are never wasted according to Isaiah 55:11 in which we are reminded, “My Word that goes out from my mouth . . . will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” 

Your Two-Minute Takeaway 

  1. Ponder this: we can love and feed and clothe and nurture our children; we can do a lot, but we can’t humanely give them everything they need. The Message version of Matthew 4:4 reminds us that It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth. 
  2. The seeds we plant and nurture in our gardens this spring will surely sprout and emerge as the mature plants the DNA in that seed determine. The exact same goes for the spiritual seeds we plant in our children! All the Bible reading and sharing and living builds strength of fiber in our children’s souls that will bear fruit for a lifetime. The scriptures that have been implanted will revisit them throughout their lifetimes, encouraging, warning, strengthening them.
  3. You may feel ‘unqualified’ but there is no such thing in this department! Just humble yourself and begin! Reading children’s Bible books to your kids and grands is no different than reading a Mother Goose story book except that with the Bible, you get lasting dividends. I’ve been deeply impacted by the simple stories from these books and my faith has been strengthened as I’ve read to my own kids.

Want MORE? I’d love to be a voice of encouragement on your parenting journey! Grab my FREE gift: 7 Simple Steps to Raising Happy Kids Who Persevere (while building team spirit in YOUR home) by clicking HERE.

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Mommy, when you can’t see beyond the mess…Let ME be your eyes.

After 34 years of parenting, I’ve put on a lot of miles in my journey as a mom. I’m now one of those people you young parents scratch your head and ponder…an empty nester.

Yes, I’ve crossed to that mysterious other side; that faraway place you longingly contemplate through the fog of your overwhelm, perhaps while stepping on sharp toys in the middle of the night, or when your toddler dropped your smart phone in the toilet.


Young mama you can’t see right now from where I am because the mess is too big and the noise is too loud and the tedium dizzying and the toilets are filthy and it’s 7:00 am and you’re out of half n’ half *&%!!! And to go get half n’ half you’d have to GAH get dressed, double gah get two toddlers dressed and in their car seats GAHHHH and then you’d have to do it 3 more times by the time you’re home with your purchase – just for half n half??!

And since you aren’t that amazing 5 a.m. yoga mom,  you all look homeless which would make you so stressed while everyone stares at you in Kroger feeling sorry for your kids, the half n’ half would curdle in your stomach anyway. And if by some chance you primped everyone, by that time you wouldn’t want coffee anyway. You’d want LUNCH and you certainly can’t afford to eat lunch out on your husband’s meager salary.

And you’re mad at HIM; that guy you pick up after, sleep with, the utility patrol who comes home after a long day and can’t walk through the room without a helpful suggestion or another request and you really don’t have a whole lot to look forward to – ok story time at the library is pretty decent but the girls with the always-helpful grandma are out shopping til they drop.

As you peer out at it all through tired eyes, it can be hard to see clearly.

BUT I CAN SEE past your present circumstances.

Ain’t nothing better than what’s in front of you RIGHT NOW RIGHT HERE TODAY. I know because if you choose to skip over this inconvenient truth, you will have already lost the game.

Everything in you wants to RUN on many days.
Everything around you tells you “just do it.”
Every media outlet screams at you that your bad a$$ beautiful self has SO MUCH TO GIVE THIS WORLD – YOU CAN BE ANYTHING….and there’s always some free government program with their hands out, just waiting to take your kid.

And you think about it so much that it’s working its way into your soul….that holy place where you make good decisions or bad decisions.

Because there is a target on your back and the goal is to take you out of your little one’s lives for most of their waking hours.
Because there are powers-that-be that KNOW YOUR SUPER POWERS AS A MOM. Yes, YOU. Flawed, uncertain, fearful YOU: the perfectly imperfect mother God gave to YOUR kids because He knows who you are and how capable you are!

These enemies are cunning.

They hide behind your messes and shame you.
They lurk on social media and whisper in your ear…”who ARE you anyway?? Get a life.”

They compare you with others until you’re convinced you are a LOSER; a dumpy out-of-shape ‘housewife’ – that dirty word of the 21st century.

The narrative goes something like this: ‘girl you are better than a nanny, a maid, a cook, a mistress to your demanding not-so-helpful man, you are A WINNER WHO SHOULD BE STRUTTIN HER STUFF out there somewhere before you’re old and gray and washed up.

But I know better
I know the truth
I know what’s coming
I know who your kids are and who they are to become.

Because I’ve crossed to the other side and it’s a beautiful, even miraculous place.
My ROI (Return On Investment) as a Momma far exceeds anything my 401K could have offered me from the perfect government job I quit when my firstborn arrived 33 years ago.

Here’s a peek into my everyday world as an empty nester mom of five sons…

One son recently emailed me to say, “Momma, you gave us boys a conscience.” (401K you say??)

Another son stood in my dirty kitchen last week and declared, “Momma you’re the most empowered woman I know.” (I gave up some great benefits with that government job, you say??)

Another son came over for lunch as I wanted to encourage him about something and he spent most of the time preaching the power of ME, his momma, what I have to offer the world and how I need to go about getting it out there. (I could’ve driven new cars with all that extra money, you say??)

Another son called to check up on me because he had me on his heart and talked at length with me, sharing his wisdom. (how many Nordstrom clothes could I have afforded with that job??)

I woke to a text from another son with an offer of $500 not because I’m poor but because he saw something he thought I could benefit from and he didn’t want me to ignore it because it cost money. (wow the vacations I could have paid for with that job, you say??)

And that’s just a tiny little itty bitty sliver of my midlife mom world…

Girls, I want to shout it from the mountain tops! Popular culture and feminism tried to rob me of the most precious gifts awaiting me as an adult woman! Dream big and take action today! God will meet you.

If you enjoyed the read, there’s more! I’d love to be a voice of encouragement along your journey.

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Why Summer ‘School’ is for Every Kid!

Here in the USA the natives are restless in schools across the nation as they wrap up their studies this month and anticipate a lengthy summer break from the monotony of classroom routine.

How we define ‘school’ and ‘education’ is no small thing because our beliefs will determine a heck of a lot about our lives, our children’s lives and our future, separately and together.

Most of us, understandably, have a conventional view of schooling. We’ve watched it modeled, we’ve lived it for decades, thus we became it. It simply is. 

Typically children go by big yellow bus or carpool to institutional settings where they sit in desks in classrooms with peers, line up to go to the bathroom, water fountain, lunch room, and playground then line up to go back to desks for hours and hours with a few variables. Then these kids go home to do homework, play on the computer, maybe play outside if there’s time, sleep and wake up the next day and do it all over again with the occasional holiday, sick day or field trip thrown into the mix.

This was my experience while growing up minus the computer while adding significant time playing outdoors, riding bikes, climbing trees, exploring the neighborhood – because that’s what we did every single day for hours after school, being unencumbered by the copious amounts of homework required of kids these days.

When I had children, I used to believe they were empty buckets needing to be filled with all the necessary information and knowledge determined by an unidentified expert somewhere. As I endeavored to home educate my sons (another story for another time) I nervously eyeballed the ‘scope and sequence’ timelines I would come across, fearing I’d miss a major building block in their education, thus crippling them for life. 

My worries were unfounded.

I’ve come to understand that children are born brilliant and educating a child is simply tapping into the genius already there by nurturing it with the necessary components for growth. God fills in the gaps of the ‘scope and sequence’ organically as we do our part to attend to our little human; loving, training and providing nourishment.

It’s as if mind-blowing seeds of GENIUS are locked within every single child and it’s up to us to unlock that ‘seed-potential’ lying dormant in that kid by providing the necessary components for this ‘human plant’ to thrive, not unlike gardening. Whether it be tomatoes, marigolds, cucumbers or melons we’re tending to out in the backyard, the principles remain the same. When we nurture these seedlings in healthy, rich soil, with fresh air, fertilizer, water, protection from the elements and destructive enemies in their many forms, while providing appropriately-measured boundaries so as to avoid root bound conditions, or watering carefully to avoid root rot, we will be amazed and even ecstatic to see the hearty, miraculous fruit that emerges from our humble efforts.

Children are exactly the same. As I spend time with my grandchildren, these principles are underscored and highlighted for I feel as though I’m homeschooling all over again, just engaging with them, because learning comes so naturally to children. Their hunger for knowledge and understanding – to know what, why, how, where and when – is so God-given that if our radar is on we will see that real, valuable education is happening constantly, even on summer ‘break’ when you think they’re simply playing.

As I interacted with my grandchildren this week, we participated, unintentionally in so much learning – we sang songs, built Legos, named our letters and counted while we played on the swings, colored and drew, investigated the horses next door, the airplanes in the sky, the irritating crows and seagulls.


We chased butterflies, ducks and bees…

…caught a frog then gently led him back to freedom.

We entertained old and new friends, showing hospitality and love, and stopped along the way to reiterate our “please” and “thank-yous” and “I’m sorry’s” and our “yes, Nana’s.”


My granddaughter chose to read to us for over an hour, suddenly left and re-entered the room in her Laura Ingall’s Wilder costume and in-character we interacted about her new teaching job at the one-room schoolhouse and how the kids were behaving – no joke – it’s like our curriculum just rolls on and on and on…

Suddenly she was inspired to create some fresh-squeezed juice drinks for her parents, decorated with fresh fruit.

She interjected little bits of wisdom along the way about how we should train the puppy and what little sister can or cannot do. We prayed, we talked about creation, and we snuggled.

Perhaps I’m stating the obvious, but this holistic approach to life IS AN AMAZING EDUCATION and develops the entire person: mind, body and spirit setting their wet cement according to our values. I’m excited to be able to participate in the informal education of my grands a lot this summer (click here to read my recent post), and I can only imagine what we shall discover together even as their intellect is stirred and our bond is deepened – what a privilege to be available for them in this season.

My heart beats to see all of our children and grandchildren unchained from the stifling menu of staid, conventional order as they learn. I believe the classroom should consist of wide open spaces where they are encouraged to find their unique expression within the freeing parameters of their parents values -this is a curriculum that never fails in its effectiveness. Let’s make every effort to help them grow organically this summer, running toward their destiny!

Your Two-Minute Takeaway

  1. Ponder for a moment how you have defined ‘education’ and ‘schooling.’ After reading this post, are there some tweaks you’d like to make in your definition and approach with the children in your life? Jot down those thots quickly so as to capture them while they’re highlighted in your mind.
  2. Be prepared for all the kids in your life to suggest you ‘watch a movie together, play with Snapchat, look at videos and pics on your phone, play a computer or digital game’, because they will! And be prepared to cheerfully offer a better alternative! Make every effort to keep electronic amusements to a minimum so that your time together is maximized to be meaningful even if it’s simply working together in the kitchen. It’s real life and real life MATTERS!
  3. Be determined to ignore your smartphone and laptop as much as is humanly possible. Yes I snap pics and vids when I’m with my children and grandchildren, but most of the time we’re together, I work to keep my phone silenced and out of sight. Most of us are addicted to our devices in some way, and we must recognize the need for change.

Want MORE? I’d love to be a voice of encouragement on your parenting journey! Grab my FREE gift: 7 Simple Steps to Raising Happy Kids Who Persevere (while building team spirit in YOUR home) by clicking HERE. 

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5 Pivotal Truth Bombs to Drop on Your Kids Before They Meet Their ‘Soulmate’

Here in the USA, gittin’ hitched is averaging $25,000 – 30,000 dollars per celebration.


Great pains are obviously being taken to plan the Big Day, but judging by the dismal outcome of too many of these pricey unions, many of the kids marrying aren’t prepared for life after the ceremony. 


Building a life that stands the test over time isn’t luck and unicorns. It’s real, raw and often rugged. We must dispel popular culture’s pretty little lies about fairytale futures. Here’s a good start:

1. Marriage is a marathon. A very long, tiring, and at times, soul-crushing race. A race indicates a lengthy stretch of rough road that leads to a glorious finish line. Most modern humans I talk to want a finish-line relational experience every single day, with full make-up, goosebumps and a photo shoot.

Sans sweat. 

We’ve all heard the phrase, if not vowed it ourselves, “for better or for worse.” In real life, there’s a whole lot of ‘worse’ you’re gonna experience along with the better in this marriage thing. Yes, the ‘better’ is priceless, but it only comes with the daily investment of long suffering, hard work and compromise over the long haul. 

Nora Ephron, screenwriter of blockbuster romcoms Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, and Harry Met Sally said “most people learned their beliefs about love from my movies.” Even she knew, after 3 marriages of her own, the reality vs. fantasy of romantic love.

And while we’re on the topic, ‘conscious uncoupling’ is a sentimental fallacy created by a bazillionaire Hollywood Hamptons ditz who is not in touch with the true spirit of marriage which has it’s roots in the term ‘covenant.’ Look it up, it’s brutal. More brutal however is divorce, which, in the words of my good friend, a divorced mother of four, is, “a death that never dies.”

2. Family is Complex. It’s a multi-generational conglomeration. A household of foreigners, ofttimes speaking different languages, trying to live together in harmony. Close families are not created by accident. It takes large amounts of grace extended to build a strong family.

How is it that the one family member you want to kill on Monday, saves your life on Thursday? Am I right? And you think your job is hard, but you’re a piece of work, too, even though you may not be in touch with it. We’re all like diamonds, many faceted, all having sides to us we cannot see. We see our good side; our family members see our not-so-good side. And we love each other through it all.

This is the mystery of family. This is the truth of covenant relationship. The staying power of staying when you often feel like fleeing. So much of the magic of life is simply not quitting!

3. Mothers. Are. Priceless. They cannot be rented or bought. The ‘I wanna nanny’ mantra parroted by so much of the Gen X young mama population is a worldly idea created by Hollywood starlets who are out of touch with reality and will one day, all-too-soon be found old, wrinkled, washed up and alone on the shores of Santa Monica beach. And for the rest of us overtaxed serfs of the world, surrendering our children to full time daycare centers and systemized, confining public education from age zero-18 will generally not produce the specimen of human being that our heart longs to raise. 

Do your job today, Mama, with all you have to give, and you will rest well on your pillow 20 years from today when your children are impacting the whole wide world with the heart and soul YOU gave them.

4. Fathers have super powers! The smear campaign against men over the past several decades has impacted our culture in an enormous way, redefining manhood and casting suspicion upon men who dare to display strength and leadership in most any context. Meanwhile, strong women are cheered on.

Men are not the weak, bumbling idiots media has portrayed them to be, nor are they the arseholes they’re often implied to be. The trickle down effect of this narrative has infused poison into family life where it seems to me that many men have become tentative about their role, defaulting to their very capable and dominating wives, which often leads to chaos, confusion and ultimately the breakdown of the family. 

(Conversely, ask most any single woman what she’s actually looking for in a man, and it’s not weakness. #scratchingmyhead)

After parenting for 33 years, I know the power of having a strong man at the helm of our family. Gregory is the steel beam holding up our dynasty – invisible at times, but more necessary than could possibly be imagined. We would be lost without him. Moms can do a lot, but they can’t take the place of a father.

5. Money Has Never Made a Human Heart Happy. All of creation chases the dollar bill and what do most of them have to show for it? More debt, distress and brokenness. Most double income families are spending 1/3 more than they bring in each month. Fact. The more you have, the more you spend. It’s a tireless backwards cycle, leading to chronic stress that destroys families. The love of money is still the root of all evil. Don’t love anything that can’t love you back. 

The plumb line your children measure their lives against will determine how strong, straight, tall and for how long the building stands. Let’s help them form their measuring stick with truth, not Madison Avenue myths.

Your Two-Minute Takeaway

  1. Take a moment to ponder all that your child is taking in through media, magazines, Netflix, movies and social media. What’s the life message he or she is regularly imbibing through all this input? Are you happy with this? Is there anything you’d like to adjust?
  2. Your kids are formed and fashioned by the 5 people closest to them. Are you happy with the friends they hang out with and the social extracurricular activities they’re involved in? Is there anything eating at you about their relationships? Does something need adjusting?
  3. You should be the primary force shaping your children. Is there any oxygen left in your week to spend quality time with your children, just poking around at thrift stores, walking the dog together, cooking or crafting or shooting hoops? If you don’t plan these things, they’ll never happen. Make a plan!


If you enjoyed the read, there’s more! I’d love to be a voice of encouragement along your journey.

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Building a Strong Foundation in Your Child: the Magic is in the Details

I’m convinced that the fundamental and distinctive characteristics and qualities of an individual – call it their moral and spiritual DNA, is formed by what is taught and trained, ingrained in them day-by-day over years and years. This process creates the very essence of their lives, the vital foundation from which future life decisions originate.

We humans like to compartmentalize everything. But life is holistic.* Everything’s connected.

For instance, our kid gets acne so we buy the cadillac of zit creams and slather it to remedy the crisis. But in actuality did you know that skin issues are most often a symptom of what lies beneath in the gut, the foundation of a healthy body?!

This revelation as it applies to our physical health is truly revolutionary – but it’s just as powerful in our parenting.

The value of a solid, healthy foundation really cannot be exaggerated. It’s essential to a solid life. It’s the result of a consistent, faithful presence doing what needs to be done over the course of someone’s life development.

Find any individual having a positive impact in the world, look over their shoulder and it’s likely you’ll see a dedicated parent or parental figure who invested a lot into their foundation. It’s precisely what made the person who the person is.

A mother and a father have such power. Super powers in fact, but the most important people on the planet are ofttimes hidden and underestimated, and eclipsed by the myths of popular culture.

Historically, many mothers dismiss their influence as inconsequential. They imagine vainly that they’re flunkie moms, glorified maids, dull nannies.

They don’t comprehend that their daily multitudinous tasks for their family’s benefit are setting the mold for their children. They reckon, “if women can have it all, why on earth would I not hire out all the unimportant tasks to someone less gifted?” But very little is unimportant in the scope of parenting.


It’s easy for parents to overlook the fact that the most important moment of their lives is always **NOW**!

Yes, everything matters because this is a holistic, comprehensive approach to developing a human being.

  • the organic green smoothie you’re blending
  •  the chore chart you’re making
  • the book you’re reading aloud
  • the iPhone you’re denying
  • the attitude you’re correcting
  • the big screen television that’s not running
  • the thank you note you’re requiring
  • the bed you’re making
  • the prayer you’re praying
  • the credit cards you’re shredding
  • the marriage vows you’re honoring
  • the political discussion you’re broaching
  • the foster child you’re nurturing
  • the meal you’re delivering to the elderly neighbor
  • the gossip you aren’t tolerating at the dinner table…is all working in synergy to produce a combined effect in your child that is greater than the sum of their separate effects to build a healthy, whole, stable individual who will in turn, build a healthy, whole, stable society with their influence on the world around them.

You are developing a culture in which your child is eternally influenced through all their five senses, soul and spirit.

Children do not primarily need the benefits of a mother bringing home an additional paycheck, but the entire household needs the influence of a mother in the home in these formative years.

We have only to scan the news headlines to see life after broken life, fool after fool, train wreck after train wreck of lives coming undone.
Unstable people without a clue.
Their foundations weren’t laid properly.
They are sorely lacking in substance.
It’s not a speech they need – too late for that.
Rehab may help. But it’s iffy.
It was the tireless, unending, laborious, exhausting, discipline and discipleship of a mother and father that was foisted off on others who didn’t have what it takes to get the job done in a youngster’s life.

Dr. Caroline Leaf, cognitive neuroscientist and best selling author confirms this principle in her book, Who Switched Off My Brain. “Childhood is a particularly crucial time for the brain because neural sculpting is at its lifetime high. Many of our abilities, tendencies, talents and reactions are hardwired in childhood and set a mental stage for adulthood.

Herein lies the root of the corruption of public morals in our day. Character is developed over time and it’s what makes the world go round. It’s what determines decisions and divorces and successes and failures, monies made, stolen and given. Character drives the course of history, the condition of nations, cities, villages, communities and neighborhoods.

The dominant, constant force in that kid’s life is going to constantly dominate in his life.
It’s really quite simple.
Who’s imparting to your children-reminding, hugging, instructing, mentoring, training, re-training, repeat?
It’s all so clear.
This is easy.
This is too easy to miss when so many have their hands outstretched to take this responsibility from you.

It’s about developing values and conscience and conviction and perceptions and judgments and discernment both intentionally and ‘accidentally’ in a human being who will, in turn, touch so many other human beings for better or worse.

Your Two-Minute Takeaway

  1. What specific, helpful thoughts came to mind as you read this post? Write these thoughts down, as they are the revelation you will be inspired by into the future so that you can be aware and take appropriate action for positive change as you build a healthy foundation in your home, for the benefit of your children.
  2. Look at the big picture of your family’s weekly and monthly schedules and evaluate what really needs to change. Are you so busy and distracted that you are missing so much of ‘The NOW!’ of daily life? I’ve been there and I understand. It could be time for a course correction. Pray and ask for wisdom to bring practical change to your weekly, monthly and quarterly schedule.

*Holistic: characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.

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Cut Through the Noise: What Do YOU See In Your Little One?

I have to ask, how are we assessing our kids? A proper assessment assures us we’re on the right track as we aim our children toward their destinies.

When my sons were growing up, most schools administered broad assessment tests once toward the end of the year, while report cards went out quarterly. I never put a lot of stock in what the S.A.T., C.A.T or the I.T.B.S said about my kids. They always tested acceptably on these, but the scores didn’t carry a lot of weight with me.

In our home, their progress was monitored daily and their character assessed relentlessly; those were the tests I was concerned about. I didn’t care if they’d read every book that Nietzsche or Darwin had written and memorized it backwards. It didn’t matter if they’d been invited to honors classes. At the end of the day, from my perspective all that stuff was meaningless if there wasn’t character, integrity, and world-changing purpose in their lives.

I found it necessary to continually resist the standards set by popular culture as they related to my five sons. Often the world’s perspective was diametrically opposed to how I viewed true success for my boys.

If my children didn’t possess prized qualities of distinction like perseverance, respect for authority, quick obedience, faithfulness, and a solid work ethic, then what kind of impact could they possibly have in our world?

If they didn’t display active compassion to the hurting, and think outside of the tiny box of their own personal happiness, then in actuality, no matter what the test scores told me, I would have failed to produce a successful man.

John Taylor Gatto, former public school educator and prolific author, had this to say about the children he taught for three decades in the public system:

“The children I teach are indifferent to the adult world. The children I teach have almost no curiosity. The children I teach are cruel to each other; they lack compassion for misfortune; they laugh at weakness; they have contempt for people whose need for help shows too plainly. The children I teach are dependent, passive, and timid in the presence of new challenges.” *

This assessment is troubling. How many educated children of our day would be similar? That is a specimen you and I don’t want to produce. A person who is highly educated, but without character, is an educated idiot. God knows there are more than enough of them populating the earth as it is. Many of them teach at our universities.

Don’t hear what I’m not saying. Education is important. In fact, it’s so important to me that I labored long and hard educating my children for over 20 years. I took their life preparation very seriously, but all my eggs weren’t in the academic basket.

This world’s system of assessing our children is based on their good looks, athletic prowess, personal charisma, academic standing, fine arts talent, and so on. This information is collected and used to compare our kids with others their age. Comparisons are often destructive and can prove to be a death knell to us and our children. And although a child may excel in any or all of these categories, he may still greatly lack true substance in his life.

Sadly enough, grandparents, educators, and adult friends aren’t always a good litmus test either. Depending on what their basis for evaluation is, they might be out in left field in their assessment of your child.

I’m not endorsing lone-ranger parents with an independent spirit, but I am saying the buck stops with you. You have to own the responsibility of knowing your child, assessing your child through the lens of your values, gathering wisdom from those you deeply respect and applying it appropriately to your unique situation.

This isn’t a one-size-fits-all microwave-speed method of child rearing, because, trust me, you don’t want a one-size-fits-all microwave-speed method for your little miracle who is as unique and set apart as his or her own fingerprint indicates.

*Gatto, John T. Dumbing Us Down (Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1992), pp. 30–32.

If you enjoyed the read, there’s more! I’d love to be a voice of encouragement along your journey.

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So the Stock Market is Tanking – Here’s Where to Realize Your Greatest ROI

The U.S. stock market is experiencing extreme volatility in recent weeks due to the Coronavirus pandemic across the globe, shrinking individuals’ investment portfolios ‘overnight.’

This has been especially painful, since record-breaking stock market growth had become the norm since the day Donald J. Trump was elected President of the United States in 2016.

Anyone who’s put their money in stocks, knows the market can’t be trusted. Ups and downs are cyclical and to be expected, but we all prefer the booming bull market to a sinking bear market.

Successful investing is a marathon, not a sprint. The tortoise wins, not the hare.

Living here in the Seattle area over the past 20 years, where Bill Gates and Paul Allen began their little startup called Microsoft, I often hear folks wistfully reflect, “if only I’d invested 35 years ago, I’d be a millionaire.”


But I CAN say, with absolute confidence:

“Your kids are the new Microsoft – buy stock in them!”

You’ve heard of the magic of compound interest? The genuine interest you show in your kids today will compound magically just the same, but with returns far more valuable. If you consistently make deposits into that relationship ‘account’ over time, 20 and 30 years down the line when you need loyal comrades and friends the most, you’ll have them.

Now that my sons are grown, I’m experiencing the remarkable and satisfying fruit of the investment I made by faith in them, day-by-day, over three plus decades. They are my dearest friends, confidants, neighbors, helpers, and encouragers.
Last week is a perfect example.

I was having a daaaaay :(( after incurring a sucker punch perfectly designed by the devil to abort my mission.


I walked around like a zombie, going through the motions of my decidedly demoted existence doing only those things I do on auto-pilot; tidying, walking the track, listening to an audio book, praying, fighting tears, trying to muster my emotional resources and regain my inner balance. Been there?? I figured.

I trudged through the market selecting groceries at a snail’s pace, loading and unloading, with no relief in sight. I reheated leftovers and, (what else??) ate chocolate and drank wine until I was too tired to watch another mind-numbing segment of my current Amazon Prime series. I collapsed into bed with a heavy heart.

A few sleepless hours later, I grabbed my iPhone and ambled quietly into the kitchen so as not to wake hubby, determined to somehow brave this new day with intention. I glanced at my screen: 5:21 a.m.






A text was waiting from one of my sons.

I was on his heart at midnight; he wanted me to know how much he loves me, that he thinks I’m awesome, he’s praying for me and if I need anything he’s always there for me.

He had no idea what my day had contained. I try not to burden my kids with negative crap.

It’s not the first such message, act of kindness or show of support my sons have sent me this week, month, or year. I’m wrapped in so much love, care and prayer from my adult children, I hang my head in shame at particular moments for complaining about any single thing in my life.

I wanna grab them tight and tell them a thousand times how much I love them. They are such treasures to me and to my husband – such incredible, diverse multi-faceted human beings with incomprehensible value.

Watching them grow into men; husbands, fathers, leaders and entrepreneurs – makes me want to hold them even tighter, as my pleasure in them is mixed with fear for them as we live in uncertain times filled with so many challenges…and yet I’m reminded that in every generation there were significant concerns specific to the timeline in history.

I’m confident they are men fit for the times we’re living in, and I’m on the edge of my seat, watching as this nail biter of life’s journey takes place for each of them as they venture out into the world.

I know firsthand, the investments you’re making in your children today, will return to you and the world around you in more ways than you can possibly imagine.

The character you develop in them by your example and training, is going to benefit you and so many others, years from now and perhaps you haven’t even considered it. Invest well while you have the opportunity – what a privilege to change the world through the humble call of parenting.

Your Two-Minute Takeaway 

  1. Investing a slice of your hard-earned dollars is NO joke. Even if you can spare a meager sum each month, contact a reputable company and get your money working for you. TIME FLIES! You’ll be surprised at what’s possible if you simply invest what you can over time.
  2. YOU are a bad ass parent who is longing for MORE! Otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this. Consider the ways you can practically ‘budget’ your allotted time in order to set aside a reasonable, quality portion out of your 168 hours per week to spend with your kids.
  3. Here are some ideas: Choose a book to read aloud at bedtime and plan three nights (or more if you have the grace) per week you can commit to reading one chapter before ‘lights out.’
  4. The other nights that work for you, lay in bed next to them for a few minutes and ask them about the best part of their day-what they’re looking forward to-if anything is burdening them…whatever convo works for you and your kids.
  5. Make a date – one a month – to take each child out on their own for a meal, errands ending in ice cream, even a walk with the dog. Nothing beats one-on-one with Daddy/Mommy.
  6. Turn off smartphones and landlines during dinner or as long as is humanly possible until the kids are put to bed.
  7. Limit electronics as babysitters – this is so easy to lean on, but can quickly consume far more time than we’re aware of.
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Gardening a Child’s Life: harvesting the sweetest fruit on the planet!

My daughter-in-law has always had a passion for gardening. This year she’s gone all out, studying, planning and growing what’s termed a square foot garden in multiple raised boxes built by her hubby. 

The more I reflect on raising my five children and the parenting role I’ve played, the more it reminds me of gardening.

According to statistics, many of you reading this article love nothing more than to have your hands in the dirt, working away in your landscaped beds of bushes and flowers or fruit and vegetable gardens. Time flies as you plan, purchase, dig, and plant your living plot of ground, envisioning the possibilities of beautiful blossoms and luscious fruit. You carefully place protective shields to safeguard against critters and frost so your ‘babies’ will be safe when unattended. Laying in bed at night, you worry that perhaps the storm that’s predicted might beat too hard upon your tender shoots, and you breathe out a prayer, yes, even for your treasured vines and veggies.

Day-by-day care is demanded; watering can’t be left for ‘whenever.’ Weeds are sneaky and relentless. Flowers are fragile – each requires a particular approach. Time will be your friend . . . and foe. Miracle-Gro can support your best efforts, but no magic exists to fast-forward your progress. Asparagus takes five long years to yield a harvest, tomatoes appear in mere months. At times, you feel your work never ends, and yet, it’s the work you love most!

Parenting parallels each of these principles, wouldn’t you agree? To be perfectly honest, I’m no green thumb. As much as I love the smell of soil and  the satisfaction of fresh cut flowers, I just don’t have much interest in applying myself to gardening the earth, but I’m passionate about gardening the next generation – those eternal souls with inestimable potential who will tower over us like giant oaks one day soon.

I believe it’s up to us parents to garden our children’s lives in such a way that they, too, flourish like a productive field. They should yield abundant fruit and ample provision to share with the masses, becoming a blessing to the world around them. How do we cultivate and work this organic land of our children’s lives, realizing the possibility residing within them? 

I don’t know about you, but at our house we’ve had to continually hoe, fertilize, and prune our living plants. At times, intent upon going their own way, they had to be pulled taut for a season, snug against the standard of our values, just like a young tree staked and bound with thick rubber cord. The attention it takes to nurture these ‘saplings’ is all-consuming. Their neglect is unforgiving.

How many parents give long, hard thought, year after year, to their winter bulbs, spring seedlings, and summer harvests, but give such little consideration to nurturing the garden of their children’s hearts? Proverbs 29:15b sadly reminds us, “. . . a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.” How many youngsters, left to themselves, never had their soil carefully tended or their multiple and diverse weeds addressed? What we overlook today in our offspring will surely produce a crop we’re forced to deal with later. That little seed of stubbornness and rebellion we repeatedly ignore, will grow and multiply if left long enough. The end result will be an unmanageable teenager who was left unrestrained and ‘had his way’ as a preschooler.

This reminds me of a blackberry vine, common to our region in the Pacific Northwest. Seemingly innocent and laden with tiny blossoms and prized fruit, it cunningly begins to work its way into and around anything within its proximity. Before long, our city government is found spending loads of taxpayer money to destroy these prolific, thorn-covered, resistant, weed ropes which have become intolerable nuisances to our yards, streets, and parks. No matter how cute and sweet they once were, they’ve become a nightmare. Children in their growing-up years have the same potential if left to themselves. How much public money is spent in our cities nationwide to manage the transgressions of our youth?

When I look upon the condition of multitudes of adults today, I grieve over the harmful character flaws which have overtaken these human gardens: laziness, self-indulgence, moodiness, self-centeredness, stinginess, addictions, unhealthy eating patterns, and more. Each of these vices had a root that could have been addressed so many years ago.

Work your land while time is on your side. When children are young and flexible like tender shoots, it’s relatively easy to stake those vines and adjust their growth pattern. But when we ignore their offenses, saying, “They’re just kids,” “Boys will be boys,” or “It’s child’s play,” we fail to see their faults as a snare, a deadly pattern which we are encouraging and actually training into our young plantings. Proverbs 19:18 urges us to, “discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death.” How detrimental these flaws will become to our children if left to flourish! If only we could see the end result from our patterns of parenting, rather than live for the moment. 

Weeding in our homes may be left undone because it’s hard, unpleasant work, and weeds are persistent. This human gardening requires exhaustive patience and face-to-face interaction if we’re going to see valuable character qualities blossom and sweet fruit borne. We must engage until harvest. At season’s end, one can wish for something they failed to nurture, but to no avail. “I’m longing for fresh corn, oh I want corn,” they say, but did they plant corn? “No,” is the reply. “There wasn’t time.” Then there will be no corn.

I went past the field of the sluggard, past the vineyard of the man who lacks judgment; thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds,” Pro. 24:30-31

My daughter in-law is already harvesting a bounty of beautiful organic produce. It’s been exhilarating for her to see the sprouts become viable, edible ingredients for her families’ dinner menu!

Their project’s value is multiplied because it’s a family affair, with their young children learning and participating in the process as well. Observing their garden grow is a beautiful phenomenon not just for their family, but for all of us who visit and experience it as well! Their hard work is paying off and is a blessing to so many. 

Isn’t this our desire for our ‘human gardens’ as well? We all long to raise healthy, hearty youngsters who will impact the world around them. Our hard work will pay off and our children will be a blessing – even a beautiful phenomenon – if we faithfully attend to these, our miraculous human plants.

Want MORE? Grab my FREE gift: 7 Simple Steps to Raising Happy Kids Who Persevere (while building team spirit in YOUR home) by clicking HERE. 

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The Beautiful Life of a Cage-free Organic Kid

How do I describe the emotion I feel when I look at this picture?

An innocent little angel girl living in the cocoon of her parents love and protection, being home educated, stimulated by everything that is good…engaged in social interaction with intelligent adults – the most important people in her life – all day, every day.

This is real life.

Hours spent in nature, literature, art, music, cooking, puppy training, and whatever creative pursuits tickle her fancy at the moment.

Time, precious carefree time to Just. Be. A. Kid.

No restrictive institutional boundaries.

The purity that shines from her eyes never tainted by the bullying of classmates who don’t know better.

Taught to believe there is a higher power, a living God, a perfect Father, a miracle maker who loves her unconditionally. Always believing there is a POSSIBILITY! as she reflects on the stories told of her mother’s healing, her little Sissy’s miraculous conception and birth and so many more answers to prayer.

Always supported by her uncles, aunts and two sets of grandparents who adore her, pray for her, have special dates with her and remind her of her Savior’s love and faithfulness.

A little girl who is taught to serve others first and care for the poor, the hurting, the handicapped and lost. A girl who doesn’t notice the color of someone’s skin as she relates to the humans around her.

How precious, how powerful, how priceless is her life’s organic journey?!

And to think that as parents we have the privilege to choose what path, what course, we set for our youngsters.

What will it be?

Thank you for reading, I’m truly honored. If you’d like to read more, subscribe for my updates and grab my TRANSFORMATIVE freebie, 7 Steps to Cure an Unhappy Kid and Revolutionize Your Home Life by clicking HERE. 

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Want to Build a Solid, Successful Kid? Here’s a Non-Negotiable…

We hear a lot about emotional intelligence these days. It’s defined as:

‘the ability to use and manage your emotions – your FEELINGS – in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, overcome challenges and diffuse conflict.’

This emotional strength helps us to form healthier relationships, achieve greater success at work and lead a more fulfilling life.

Emotional intelligence steadies the ship.

Feelings are so incredibly tangible, so seemingly ‘real’ to us as humans – Spock wasn’t hindered by such frivolity – but we modern Americans will stake our life on them.

Feelings can be extreme.

I don’t trust in my feelings because feelings are emotions and emotions are flexible, fallible, constantly changing, driven by diet, hormones, weather, emails and texts and circumstances beyond our control and within our control.

And yet, it seems to me that so many are raising their children by feelings, training them by their feelings, encouraging them to live by their feelings. And the fruit of this lifestyle is regrettable.

Sad? Buy something.
Bored? Watch something. Or play something electronic.
Angry? Act it out by throwing things, shouting, shooting off an email wrought with all your petty, selfish, angry tirades or a text for quicker satisfaction.
Depressed? Eat something. Treat yo’self.
Tired? Don’t show up.
Don’t commit.
Don’t follow through.
Don’t do what you don’t feel like doing…carry this into adulthood and marriage and there you have chaos and confusion.
Brokenness and devastation.

I believe ‘feelings’ are perhaps the worst guiding force in life.

If we make our decisions based on feelings, live our daily lives based on feelings, we are sure to stumble, to falter – to be unfaithful to important commitments, because feelings lie.

Emotional intelligence is new terminology in my vocabulary bank, but as I reflect upon our pattern of life in the Mira home, the following were some ‘lifestyle exercises’ that helped to build this necessary emotional muscle in our five boys in their growing-up years.

This ‘grit’ is serving our sons well as they pursue their dreams, achieve their goals, and follow through on their commitments, rain or shine.

  • As a rule, my boys were not raised to live according to their feelings and emotions. It was a luxury I knew we all couldn’t afford.
  • They had to get out of bed on time and read their Bibles and write in their journals even if they didn’t feel like it.
  • They had chore charts to complete every day; didn’t matter if they felt like it. If they performed their chores ineptly they re-did them with a happy heart, even if that ticked them off.
  • They spoke appropriately to their parents whether they felt like it or not. (Yes, they could express their contrary opinions, just in a respectful way.)
  • They did their bookwork before they played.
  • They ate the foods they didn’t feel like eating and learned to like pretty much everything.
  • They were kind to each other when it was the last thing they felt like being…or there were immediate consequences.
  • They shook hands and looked adults in the eye when they felt like hiding in a corner.
  • They weren’t allowed to throw crying tantrums and express out-of-control fits of rage.
  • They answered elders with “yes, sir” and “yes, ma’am” even if the adult didn’t deserve their respect.
  • They wrote thank-you notes in longhand for gifts and kindnesses they received. Probably the last thing a kid ‘feels’ like doing.

I, too, held myself accountable as Mom, refusing to allow moodiness, depression, anger and other fleeting emotions to rule my spirit, thus, our home. I recognized the importance of not giving in to the emotions that would have liked to dominate my home with a black cloud.

It was the little things like this, day-by-day, that built healthy habits that not only serve my adult sons well today, but serve their clients, employers, wives, children, and the society they live in.

Want to read more? Grab my free e-book HERE until the end of the month. 

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