Getting Ready for the Next Chapter

Eighteen years ago, we started on a journey I never expected to be on. In the next couple of weeks, this chapter of my life will be coming to an end.

When we started homeschooling our children back in 1999, we were brand new Christians. I was trying to navigate so many new things. Learning to be a stay-at-home mom, learning basic Bible stories, and learning how to be our children's teacher. There were many days I was in way over my head. There were many days I just wanted to quit. There were even a couple of days that I packed the kids in the car while we were all in tears and I would drive to the parking lot of the local public school. I really didn't think we would ever make it this far.

In the beginning of our homeschool journey, I was really impressed with what some other homeschool students were achieving. I had high expectations of what I thought my children could do. I was determined that they were going to do so much more that I had achieved in my own schooling.

Thankfully, God had another plan.

The longer I homeschooled our children, the more I realized I had the definition of what it means to be a successful homeschool graduate all wrong. And this can go for the graduate of any type of school really.

In the beginning, I believed a successful homeschool graduate would enter prestigious colleges and earn high level degrees, then go on to high paying careers.

But now?

I believe the most successful homeschool graduates are those who have a love for learning and love God.

Since we were new Christians at the beginning of our homeschool journey, I spent a lot of time with our children learning how to study the Bible myself. We worked our way through many Kay Arthur Discover for Yourself children Bible studies. God was teaching me during this time, just as much as I was teaching our kids.

We spent many days learning together. Subjects that I never enjoyed in school became some of my new favorites.

And the more time I spent with my children, the more I realized that He has a better plan for them than I ever could imagine.

In just a few short weeks, my time as a homeschool mom will be ending. Amazing to me since I never, ever wanted to be a stay-at-home, homeschool mom in the first place!

my family

Looking back, there are definitely things I would have done different. But overall, I am so proud of my kids and I am so thankful for the many opportunities and experiences we have had together.

Looking forward, I pray that God gives me many more opportunities to create lasting memories with my children as they follow the path God has set before them.

 

 

Book List for Compassion Sponsors

Over the past five and a half years, books on my reading list have changed quite a bit. I have always loved to read, but the topic of global poverty and the injustices of this world have made their way into my list of books that I now read on a regular basis. It all started when I became more involved as a Compassion International volunteer.

The first book I read in this area was "Too Small to Ignore" by Wess Stafford. At the time I read this book, Wess Stafford was still the CEO and President of Compassion International. The book shares a lot of his childhood growing up in Africa as a child of missionary parents. Wess is a champion to millions of children around the world, and this book shares his heart for children. He encourages adults to invest in children, be available for them, and love them.

Since reading that book, I have read many others that encourage me to continue being an advocate for Compassion children.

Book List for Compassion Sponsors

Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World by Kristen Welch
  • The 4/14 Window by Luis Bush
  • When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert
  • Mission Drift by Peter Greer and Chris Horst
  • Small Matters by Greg Nettle and Jimmy Mellado
  • One Million Arrows by Julie Ferwerda
  • Just a Minute by Wess Stafford
  • The Locust Effect by Gary Haugen

What books have you read on this topic that you would add to this list?

What I Have Been Reading

This year, I decided to tackle some of the books that I have acquired and haven't read yet. The hard thing is, that I am continually seeing new books coming out that I also want to read. For someone who loves books and reading, this is a constant struggle for me. I thought about not adding any new books to my stack of books to be read this year, but that would be like not eating...ever!

At the beginning of the year, I did make a list of thirteen physical books that I own, and sixteen books on my Kindle that I have set a goal to read. To date, I have finished reading seven books on that list, as well as a couple of books I borrowed from the library and five new books I purchased this year. 

I really wanted to work my way through some of the books on my Kindle this year. I kind of forget that they are there, which is why I made the list. Many of those books I downloaded for free or was able to purchase for just a couple of dollars. But when I feel like reading, my Kindle is usually the last thing I pick up for reading. So far, I have stopped reading two books on my Kindle from my list this year. I think I got a little too crazy with downloading some of those free books to my Kindle when they have been available.

What I Have Been Reading

When I am traveling, I still like to bring a physical book. There is something about holding a book, actually turning the pages. And if it is a non-fiction book, I love to be able to underline passages that I want to slow down and read over again.

One book that I read recently that I just absolutely loved is 'Love Lives Here' by Maria Goff. Some things I underlined in this book:

  • "God stretches each of our lives before us like a canvas. He hand us the brushes and the paint and asks us to make our lives look like our unique version of His love. Pick your own colors, not someone else's. He only creates originals, not copies, and expects no less from us."
  • " We all don't need to do big things, but we can do equally important small things."
  • "We're not our platforms or our positions, we're His people."
  • "The lessons we're learning never really end because all of us are still growing, changing, and becoming better versions of ourselves."

The tag line for this book is: 'Finding what you need in a world telling you what you want'

Don't you just wish we had all the time in the world to listen to His voice instead of what the world is telling us?

What have you been reading lately?

All About Me

Are you a new Compassion sponsor? Or have you added a new sponsored child to your family?

One of the first letters we receive from our Compassion sponsored children is an "All About Me" page where they share some of their favorite things. I loved receiving Emerson's first letter this past week. Emerson is our newest Compassion child. We added him to our Compassion family when I was in El Salvador in February. I didn't have a chance to meet him while I was there, but I am looking forward to getting to know him through letter writing.

Emerson from El Salvador

In his letter he shared that his favorite game is soccer, his favorite food is beef and chicken, and his favorite color is blue.

So I thought, what if I create a page sharing some of my favorite things to send to him?

Using Canva, I created this page to send to Emerson:

All About Me page

The page was fairly easy to create. I chose a background and selected a color that I liked. Then I started adding boxes and changed the opacity so the boxes ended up being a light blue. Next, I added photos and text to the boxes with some of my favorite things. Then I saved the creation as a jpeg which makes it easy to add to an online Compassion letter.

When you write a letter or send a card to your sponsored child, you can upload a full page 'photo' like this to your letter or card. 

Our sponsored children want to know more about us and what are lives are like where we live. I sure hope Emerson enjoys learning some of these things about me.

What have you shared with your sponsored child lately?

Sending Hope

You have been thinking about your Compassion child.

It has been a while since you received your last letter...and it has been quite a few months since you wrote your last letter.

You know you should write, but sometimes you just are not sure what to write.

Corresponding with a child growing up in extreme poverty is not like sending a text to a family member.

Corresponding with a child growing up in extreme poverty is not like commenting on a friend's Facebook post.

Corresponding with a child growing up in extreme poverty is not for what I get out of it.

Corresponding with a child growing up in extreme poverty is hard to do.

But corresponding with a child growing up in extreme poverty is an important part of building a relationship with that child.

When you find yourself at a loss for words when writing to your sponsored child, remember that all we really need to do is send them encouraging words.

Share a Bible verse.

Send a photo.

Click on this link to add this verse image to your next letter

Click on this link to add this verse image to your next letter

Tell the child that you love them.

Tell the child that God loves them.

It really is this simple to send hope.

What will you write in your next letter?