Mondays hate me, so I quit

Tomorrow-is-MondayMondays hate me. They do. I am thoroughly convinced that Monday is a living, breathing thing destined to make homeschooling a nightmare for me. As each of the first 6 Mondays of the school year ended, I was looking for the hidden cameras in my house. I really shouldn’t complain. Nothing really terrible happened…just life with four boys and a puppy, and my always patient and loving reactions. Not. Thank God for no cameras. Oh, a small recap, you ask?

I seem to remember the one morning where I had just finished washing the kitchen floor from a puppy accident, while attempting to do math with two of the children, when another one ran up behind me and with a kiss on the back of my head said something about the bathroom. That something I found out about an hour later when the 5 year old decided that flushing the clogged toilet over and over would fix it, and then his brother helped him by using the entire linen closet to sop up the water. Don’t you just love doing laundry?

Or there was that time that the teenager dropped an advil tablet on the floor and the puppy decided to eat it right up. Bet you didn’t know that it’s toxic to dogs, huh? I kind of thought that the hydrogen peroxide that I had to turkey baster down her throat to make her throw up was, too, but apparently it saved her very expensive purebred little life. Of course this happens when I’m supposed to be out the door in 15 minutes. (Apparently, having a dog again is good for the family. I’ll have to get back to you on that one.)

Add on everyone waking up overtired from the weekends, to bad attitudes, to the laundry still sitting in the washing machine from like…last Thursday, to it being my hubby’s longest day so reinforcements were not coming, it was not a recipe for success. And success was the goal for this certain letter type, list addict, task orientated girl.

My calendar is organized.

My school planner is planned.

My to do list is freshly updated.

And it was becoming more important than the people I was doing it all for. I was putting my list and my need to accomplish it all before the relationships in my life. My reactions to normal life stuff was showing it. And this was not who I wanted to be…definitely not what I wanted for this school year.

A friend introduced me to this book, Teaching From Rest, and there are some amazing nuggets in there….the things YOU KNOW, but FORGOT THAT YOU KNOW. Like…

Surrender my idea of an ideal day…

…or relationship, situation, experience…..

and give it to the Lord, trusting Him with the outcome

The being and becoming needs to come before the doing and checking off

…being in the moment, undistracted and focused on the people in my life

Do less to do it well

…simplify, simplify, simplify so that what I do choose to do can be done with excellence

Whose “well done” am I working for?

…work, serve for the praise of God, not man

It’s not about being “successful”…God is looking for our faithfulness

…to keep going, keep at it, persevere through it all

Every task, each assignment is an offering of love to God

…no matter how small or insignificant it seems

And most importantly, put relationships before anything else. This one. I mean, this is why I decided to homeschool in the first place…my children’s hearts.


So, I decided to quit. I quit Mondays.

Practically speaking, I redid the planners to make Monday an easier day, I emptied the calendar of any Monday appointments, I got up earlier and I let go of my start time a whole half hour. Listen, small steps, my friend. 🙂  And peace reigned in my home. No, everything did not go perfectly. The computer crashed, I got sick, the puppy…well, let’s just leave that unsaid. This is all just… life. I still have my lists, my planner, and my beloved calendar, but I put them back where they belong. I saw an immediate difference in my children and remembered the amazing gift I have in being able to stay home and school them.

My thing is the homeschooling, but I think those little reminders apply to anything we start putting in the “doing and checking off” list as being more important than the “being and becoming.” I know I’ll need to be reminded of this very often…at least every Sunday night.


Brave mamas needed

ocean_waves_ventura_california_usa_20120704Oh, the stories. There were so many that I have been just letting them sit, pondering them in my heart, letting them inspire me. When I first got home from the mom’s conference I went to, I couldn’t figure out which part I loved the most. I had three days in a row with 4 dear friends, the other mamas of this blog, time away from the craziness of home to rest and recharge, delicious food, wonderful worship and music, so many gifts given to us that filled our swag bags many times over, and amazing teaching from God’s word. But, when I really looked back over the weekend, I realized it was the stories shared that impacted me the greatest, touching my heart and challenging me in a way I wasn’t quite prepared for.

You see, starting this blog was not an easy thing for me to do. Even if my mom and my bff were the only ones who ever read it, it is still a really scary thing to put my thoughts, feelings, and stories out there! (and they know all my stories!) Telling my stuff gives the chance for someone to judge me or criticize me. But, as I sat listening to the speakers at the conference, I was in awe of their courage, their authenticity, and transparency as they told of heartbreak and rejoicing, in small events and life changing ones. I recognized myself in their words, drawing hope from those who had gone before me on similar roads I travel, and inspiration from stories so very different than my own. I saw that the real power came in the fact that they shared openly and honestly about their struggles and how God had brought them through.

I want to be brave like that. I love the song, You Make Me Brave, by Bethel Music. My poor children are forced to listen to it over and over. Just to have the courage to step out of the boat, out into the waves, and open up my heart and life to others, even with the fear.  After all, that’s where Jesus is.

Brave to do whatever Jesus is asking us to do. It doesn’t have to be awe inspiring to other people. Every one of us have different paths, different stories, different seasons. Right now I am a stay at home, homeschool mama with four boys. This is a very challenging (and awe inspiring) adventure for me, one that requires me to lean ever so far out of the boat and reach for HIS hand every day, so that I would be able to get out and walk with Him.

And so, I was challenged anew. I had been sitting kinda quiet on our blog…questioning if I really had anything worthwhile to share. So, I’m officially inviting some of you to hop on out of the safe boat with me. Will you share your stuff with me? Let’s see what He can do with some brave mamas and their stories.IMAG2773

God Provided

In Joshua 4, God told the Israelites to put twelve stones near the bank of the Jordan River as a sign for future generations to remember that God made a dry path in the river for them to cross to the other side just to show his power.

I have always wanted to start a “Faithfulness Book” where I would write down stories of how God provided for us, restored us after repentance, fulfilled the desires of our hearts, and many other ways God has been faithful to our family. Then my husband and I, our children, and even their children could read the stories of how God showed his power in our lives. I even bought a cute notebook but have yet to make an entry.

I invite you to read this first draft of what would be the first few entries on God’s provision.

When our marriage almost ended, we racked up a pretty big amount of debt. We spent years trying to pay off each one. After awhile, we had one debt left, a big credit card debt that had gone to a collection agency. Our dear friends decided to give us an enormous Christmas gift by paying it off for us! After we picked up our jaws off the floor, we praised God with tears in our eyes. It was the last consequence and constant reminder from that dark time in our marriage, so when it was no longer hanging over our heads, we were so relieved!

Once our phone was about to be turned off because we couldn’t pay the bill. Only two people knew that we were behind on the payment. We found out the debt was either erased or paid off anonymously.

After our van broke down, someone lent us their car for the whole summer! When we replaced our van, the car broke down. We didn’t have money for a second car, so the man made us a deal. We could buy the car we used all summer if we paid him $50 a month until our tax return came, then we could pay the rest of the money.

Once our cat got outside and got hurt enough to go to the emergency animal hospital overnight. They couldn’t find anything wrong other than a hurt stomach, so they gave him a pain medicine patch and sent us home with a $900 vet bill. We didn’t know how we were going to pay that. The next week, we had people over for dinner and worship. When they left, there was $1000 in cash on our counter rolled up in a note that said, “from God.”

Our friends, who had a family of 5, invited our family of 5 to live with them for almost a whole year! The goal was to save money by not having utility bills so we could pay off debt and possibly buy a house. Who does that?! We learned how to be less selfish and learned a lot about ourselves as well as how to find ways to be givers like they were.

My parents own a duplex in our city, but for a number of years they lived in a different state. For many years, they let us stay in one of the apartments rent free and then at a very discounted rate.

For a season, my husband had a job that didn’t pay very much, so I took on two part time jobs as well as teaching weekly piano lessons and homeschooling our kids. Money shouldn’t have added up to cover all we needed, but somehow we always had enough and never went hungry.

At the moment, we are going through another opportunity for God to step in and show his provision in our lives. He is faithful, and though this is hard, we see many ways he is already providing. I needed to write this blog entry so I could visit my own “stones” and be reminded of God’s faithfulness to provide for us in the past. He has been faithful, and he will be again.

What stories would be in your Faithfulness Book? I invite you to go buy a cute notebook and start to journal all he has done for you. Then when you find yourself walking through a valley, you can go back and remember how God’s goodness and faithfulness in the past prove that you can trust him with your present.


“The lions may grow weak and hungry,

Grapes On Arbor Closeup

…but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” Psalm 34:10


Promise in a Rainbow

 I was driving my son out of town early this morning for an event, my mind swirling with all the things I wanted to accomplish while I was waiting for him to finish. He was furiously trying to finish his work that was due…in the car…on the way. We won’t discuss where he gets this from. However, in his defense, pressure does bring out the best work in some people. Just sayin’.

I don’t know about you, but when the list starts going through my mind, that overwhelmed feeling starts, then all the issues of life roll on in…maybe some of you know the drill. As I was driving along the thruway, I looked up and saw just the beginning of a rainbow.  Soon, the clouds moved and the entire sky was filled with a complete rainbow. The sun was brightly shining behind us, rain droplets creating a beautiful sun shower, and the rainbow filling my entire view, reminding me of God’s symbol of His promises. His promises, His words, they are true. They are true in the sunshine and they are true in the rain.  It doesn’t matter what my circumstances say or what people say. It only matters what God says. As the clouds once again rolled in and blocked my view, it was ok because I  knew the rainbow was still there even though I couldn’t see it, just like His word, His promises, His presence. Still there even when storm clouds of life try to block it out. He is always faithful.

And please don’t judge me for taking a picture while I was driving. I did, after all, have a 14 old available to grab the wheel. 🙂

You’re my Dream Come True – Addendum

I posted this on Facebook when Joel was around 5 months old.

old dreams

Unpacking old dreams. Sometimes you have to let go of your dreams for a season, only to find the reality of them will come later. I gave away baby clothes YEARS ago. Now I get to unpack some of those same clothes with my dream-come-true baby sitting near by.

You’re My Dream Come True

  1. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

Ephesians 3:20-21

Tonight as I was rocking my 1 1/2 year old, I made up a little song that said, “You’re my dream come true, and I love you.” Let me tell you about that dream.

Six years ago, back when my daughter was two, I remember being content with our family for the moment, knowing we weren’t finished growing it yet. When she turned three, I was itching to have a baby, and each year after that the baby bug would bite harder.

Shortly after we bought our 4 bedroom house, my husband, Will and I had “the baby” conversation. I wanted to fill that fourth bedroom and reminded him that we dreamed of four kids when we were engaged. He reminded me that we didn’t plan to have our first 3 children in less than 3 years. That was such a hard, chaotic time, that he couldn’t ever picture starting over, not even with one baby.

Will was in a job he didn’t like, he was depressed, and felt like he was barely able to survive. He had stopped dreaming and lost all sense of vision for himself and our family. He was actually rather upset with me for holding on to this dream of baby number 4, and was even bitter that I, being a stay-at-home-mom, was able to live out one of my very big dreams, when he could barely keep treading water. We had a fight about changes that should or shouldn’t happen in our family and ended up compromising for a season in order to keep the peace between us. I remember running to my friend, Claire (a fellow 5 mama) for prayer and to have a good cry.

A few months after this Will lost his job. (I’ll write a post about God’s provision during that time at a later date.) During the weeks Will had no work, God gave him rest, vision, and helped him to dream again.

A few months later, I timidly asked Will to seek God about why he didn’t want to have another child. My desire was getting so strong it was almost heartbreaking. I was praying God would take it away if it wasn’t from him, or change Will’s heart if it was. I wanted to be on the same page as my God and my husband.

That same day, my sweet husband sent me a text that basically said, “I’m sorry that every time you have tried to bring up the baby discussion I have shot you down. I realize I have hurt your heart. I will take my feelings to God and see what he says.”

God showed Will that his reason for not wanting more children was based on fear. Will told God, “How would I ever agree to have another baby when I can barely provide for the ones you’ve given us already?” God said, “What you’re really saying is that you don’t trust me. Haven’t you seen that I am your provider? Whether you’ve had a good job or not, your family hasn’t been in lack. You don’t want another child because you don’t trust me.” My husband chose to deal with that. He decided that saying yes to baby number 4 was a great idea! In fact, after I got pregnant, he said, “I’m never saying no again. Let’s have another baby after this one so they can be playmates!”  I said, “Who are you, and what have you done with my husband?? Would you please slow down? Let’s have this baby before we talk about more children.” What a total heart change! Praise be to God!

I remember at my baby shower, Claire gave me a card that said she had been praying for my heart’s desire to be realized since that day I came running to her for prayer. She was rejoicing with me that our fourth baby was finally on his way! I cried when I read the card, floored by God’s faithfulness.

Our fourth baby, Joel, was born at the end of 2013. During his first year, there were many times I would look at him and just be in awe that my dream had become a reality. I know God has big plans for his life, and I’ll always say that the great story of his life started with my God-given dream.

When Joel was 9 months old, we found out we were expecting baby number 5! Daniel is the “immeasurably more than we could ask for or ever imagine,” our very loved baby that we didn’t even dream of until Joel was on his way.

Meet my Dream Come True, and my Immeasurably More:

micah and evan


How do I Surrender?

I was hoping to write something light hearted and funny; this is my first blog post, and I didn’t want to be all depressing and heavy! Alas, I couldn’t do it. I don’t feel light hearted, I don’t feel like I am much fun, and I don’t know how to shake off the blues. I know and proclaim all the Christian cliches…..”This is a season,” “Let go and let God,” etc., etc. But how?

I am a wife of an ambitious husband and mother of 6 healthy children, we have food in the fridge and a roof over our heads….I should be grateful. I should be happy, I should embrace moments, I should be present…..I should but I’m not. I have cried; I have tried to be numb; I try to go through the motions; I can’t. I am tired, emotionally tired, spiritually tired, physically tired, and it is not how I want to live. I feel overwhelmed in my mind, in my heart, and it shows on my face as anger and discontentment.

I try to read the right books, the right articles, the right blogs! I have tried to talk to my husband, my friends. I have tried to talk to God.

All I hear in my heart is the word surrender…but what is that?? How do I surrender? I am in the midst of nursing, homeschooling, housework, being a wife, and being a mother, not to mention trying to keep everyone fed and somewhat clean. How do I begin to surrender? Can I surrender? Did I take on too much? Am I trying to do too much? Do I have too many children? Should I just send them to school? All these questions swirl in my mind, and I cannot seem to get a handle on even my thoughts.

I have cried and cried, and my prayers have become “Lord, I don’t know what to do,” and he continues to say, “Surrender.” Does that mean give up? Throw my arms up? Wave the white flag?

What does surrendering look like? What does it mean? Why do I have to? Do I have the courage to give everything to you Lord?

I am just beginning to look at what surrender means from a biblical stand point and this is what I have found so far.

There are many instances and examples of surrender in the bible but as a start I took this one:

Surrender yourself to the Lord, and patiently wait for Him. Psalm 37:7 (GWT) In the ESV it says “Be still before the Lord.” In the KJV “Rest in the Lord.”

I know there is so much more, and I am sure books and books have been written on the subject, so by no means am I an expert.

But for right now, as a busy mama who feels sleep deprived and at her wits’ end. God is telling me to be still, to rest. Not give up, but to hold onto him. I NEED to surrender, I need to devote myself to him.

God is telling me to understand that I cannot have a self-centered vision of my life. I need to have a God given vision. He gave me my husband, he gave me my children, he has called us to home school, and he has made a mother. I cannot wave the white flag and become a prisoner of war. I fight the battle by resting in Him! I cannot win by trying and fighting harder. WHAT!! God wants me to be still and take a nap?

What about the laundry, the crumbs, the endless to do list?

I close my eyes and try to imagine Jesus saying to me “Come, Deborah, I know you have labored and are heavy laden. I will give you rest. Take my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your soul. My yoke, Deborah, is easy and my burdens are light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

To surrender, to draw close to Jesus, to go to him, is to take his burdens. I want to choose to be gentle and lowly. Jesus has given me the freedom and privilege to surrender to him daily. Why did I think surrendering would be harder than relying on my own strength?

I still have my never ending, forever growing to do list, but I feel less burdened because I have surrendered. I have let go of my self-centered expectations and I am holding onto the burdens of Jesus.

Am I the only one? Do any of you feel overwhelmed with all that life brings? Even the great things? Have you thought surrendering means giving up yourself?









Changed Forever

IMG_2340Today I am reminded of the song, “I Will Never Be.”  The song writer shares how they are changed after receiving Christ as their Savior.  This speaks to me as I realize that I respond differently to things now than before I was a Christian.

For example, God has taken away fear. I used to be unsure and fearful about life.  Transitions were difficult and I clung to my family and friends. I liked things to stay the same. Now that I have Christ, I have started on a journey to embrace every day including all the NEW things that come. Maybe even the challenges.  🙂  Stepping out in faith is easy now since I know that I am held by my creator.

Another example is that now I see others as more important than myself.  My future is secure, but is theirs?  I long to teach, hug, pray with, and embrace others who are hurting and longing for peace.  I find myself praying for ambulances as they advance toward the scene of an accident.  I pray willingly for the man on the beach who struggles with alcohol and drugs.  His name is Michael. We pray together that God would meet him where he’s at, and that he would see Jesus.  Living on Virginia Beach in the summer and on various beaches in Florida in the winter can be lonely!  I pray that Michael meets other followers of Christ that will tell him that he is never alone.

These examples are just a few of the changes that can occur in a relationship with Christ.  Life is never the same again, that’s for sure!  Would you consider embracing a life in Christ and be changed today?

Mom Quilt

Sometimes I get overwhelmed with the amount of needs around me. So many good causes to give to, injustices to fight against, that I wonder if my little part amounts to anything. I long to step out of my own world to make a difference in the wider world around me.  Awhile back I started to follow the blog of Kirsten Welch and Mercy House Kenya, along with reading her book (which is awesome, by the way). There was a call put out for mom stories to be compiled into a book which would be sold to benefit Mercy House. 100% of the proceeds to go to building a well for these precious young mamas and their babies, plus helping the community around them! I could definitely put myself behind this project, so I submitted a chapter and was so very honored to have it selected to be included in the book.

The chapter is very precious to me, written about my loss, and the hope and healing I have found. It is my hope that other women who have lost will find a bit of themselves in my story. As I read many of the other stories in The Mom Quilt, I found parts of myself in their stories as well, a true weaving of the hearts of mothers together. And as we ourselves are blessed by this amazing book, we are indeed reaching out to the wider world of mamas, as we support and give to this Mercy House project together.

Purchase The Mom Quilt