A Life Well-Lived

While many women of the past century shifted their focus from home and family to career, this woman was very busy….nurturing 11 children, 150 grandchildren, more than 1,000 great-grandchildren and even a few hundred great-great-grands…..over 1,400 in all. And she knew every one of them personally.

As if that wasn’t enough, somehow she found the time to feed the less fortunate:

“Grandma was a God-fearing woman her whole life, and her door was always open to the homeless and poor near the market who were looking for a place to eat,” said the grandchild of Krishevsky, who lived almost all her life near the Mahane Yehuda, Jerusalem’s open-air market.”

Wow….now that’s what I call a legacy!

Losing Control & Liking It

When we choose to take control of our children’s education by homeschooling them, our choice says a lot about us. Many people complain about things but never act; we homeschooling parents actually do something when it comes to making sure our children are educated the way we want them to be.

Of course, I think that’s a good thing. But I have to be honest and admit that (speaking only for myself, of course) being the kind of person who takes the bull by the horns means that I tend to think that I’m in control.

Psychologically, I know I’m not in control of everything, but sometimes my behavior suggests otherwise. Growing up as the oldest of four girls who was often held responsible for the behavior of her sisters probably didn’t help.

To make matters worse, after many years of being a homeschooling parent, I got used to being in charge of so many things: what my family ate, what they wore, what books and curriculum my kids used…..every single day. Then, as my kids left home, I had to learn to let them go, and it wasn’t (and still isn’t) always easy.

Perhaps that’s why the title of this book by Tim Sanford got my attention: Losing Control and Liking It: How to Set Your Teen (and Yourself) Free
The subtitle caught my eye more for the reference to setting myself free than setting my teens free, and that’s what made me buy the book.

It was worth the money. Not only did it encourage me in the process of letting my kids go, but it helped me see that wanting to be in control of anything beyond myself can be a great burden, one I was not created to bear.

This is true not only in my relationships with my teens and adult children, but also with relatives, friends and others. This book speaks to the need for taking responsibility for your own behavior without taking responsibility (or letting someone force it on you) for someone else’s.

The method Sanford, a Christian counselor, recommends to make such distinctions helps with problems such as coworkers who expect you to bail them out on their deadlines as well as teens who blame you because you didn’t wake them up in time to get to an appointment.

Sanford also devotes a section to worry and anxiety, the root causes of many parents’ desire to control their teens and even their adult children. Christian homeschooling parents are especially susceptible to this. We’ve often been told by others in the Christian homeschooling community that if we do our job just the right way, we’ll raise fantastic Christian children. Sanford explains why that’s a) not possible, and b) not our job as parents.

He also touches on the concept of God’s rules: Biblical commands, specific Biblical principles and general Biblical principles. I think a misunderstanding of the distinctions between those three groups is probably at the root of most disagreements between homeschooling families, and has caused some of the discord I’ve seen in homeschool support groups.

It’s interesting that this book was published by Focus on the Family. My husband and I are big fans of Dr. James Dobson’s books on raising children; he’s an advocate for purposeful discipline of young children. But I don’t think he spent a lot of time explaining how to transition from diligent discipline of young children to letting go of teens. Maybe I just missed the book where he did so. But this book is really helpful for that, and I wish I could have read it 15 years ago, before my older kids entered their teens. Sanford’s explanation of parental control vs. parental influence would have been particularly helpful to me back then.

I liked this book so much I read it twice. I didn’t agree with everything in it, but I found a lot of food for thought, and some reassurance, too. It’s an especially helpful book for homeschooling parents.

You can read the first chapter of this book here. But don’t do it just because I suggested it. After all, I’m not responsible for what you choose to do  😉

The Aftermath of Moving

Moving In

Buy at AllPosters.com

It’s good to be back online, even though I have no business doing so since I’m surrounded by boxes and chaos everywhere I look.  But sometimes you just have to take a little break here and there to keep your sanity.

If you’ve ordered a book directly from us, bear with us. The printer isn’t hooked up yet (don’t know where it is but it has to be around here somewhere!) so we can’t print invoices and shipping tickets. We’ll get your order out soon, I promise.

Dd18 begins tech college on Monday, and soon after that I’ll start another year of homeschooling, but this time with only one child, our youngest, ds16. What a strange feeling! I’ve been homeschooling at least two children for so long that I can’t remember what it’s like having only one child to work with!

This year we’re homeschooling in a new place. We loved living in Door County, Wisconsin the past two years. While the area we just moved to is not nearly as scenic (not many places in the Midwest can compare to Door County!), it’s three hours closer to friends and family, including our adult children. So that’s a big plus  🙂

The house we just moved into was built in 1920. It has only ever had two owners. The first was a school teacher who never married. The second is our landlord, and she’s also a school teacher. I think having homeschoolers in this house will be a nice change of pace! It’s a very pretty house with high ceilings, original woodwork and lots of character.

We’ve never lived in a city before and never lived in a historic district, so this is a continuation of our adventure of living in new places, which began when we left suburbia two years ago for life in a vacation town between a bay and one of the Great Lakes. Once we get settled in, I think we’re going to like it here. But we’ll never get settled in if I don’t go back to unpacking boxes, so offline I go……

Thirty Years and Counting….


Today my husband and I celebrate 30 years of marriage  🙂

I don’t know where that time went, or how we got old enough to be married 30 years, because when I look at him, he still looks like my boyfriend. But numbers don’t lie.

For me, it’s been a remarkable time, full of fun and challenges and all sorts of things I never expected. Soon after we began dating, I told him I didn’t want to get serious with a guy because I had big plans to be a reporter in New York City, with my own apartment and a baby blue Chevy Camaro (17-year-olds are nothing if not dreamers!) Instead, I’ve spent the bulk of our marriage as a stay-at-home, work-at-home mom. I’m grateful that it worked out this way.

The odds were against us from the beginning. Firstborns aren’t supposed to marry each other because of their perfectionist tendencies, and supposedly people who marry young don’t have good odds for lasting marriages either. I’ve also read that there’s a pretty high divorce rate among parents of special needs kids.

But statistics mean nothing when it comes to God. He brought us together, and kept us together. There’s really no other explanation.

The past 30 years haven’t always been easy, but there have been far more good times than hard times: watching our kids grow and develop, learn to ride bikes, read and write, dance and play basketball, and later, learn to drive, get jobs, and become independent. Over the course of a few exciting weeks we saw our son graduate from college with honors and marry a nice girl from a Christian family. We pray for happy Christian marriages (if God intends for them to marry) and blessed futures for our daughters, one of whom begins college in a few weeks. And we’re enjoying each sometimes-slow-moving stage of development of our youngest son, who did indeed have Down syndrome and who has brought more joy to our lives than we could ever have imagined.

We look forward to watching our family expand with new family members in the future. Maybe someday someone will call us Grandpa and Grandma. Maybe we’ll even call each other Grandpa and Grandma (grandparents tend to do that, I’ve noticed). But no matter how old we’re allowed to become together, my husband will always be the calm, quiet, stable person in this marriage, my beloved best friend and yes, still my boyfriend.

Thanks, God!

Prayers and Smiles

We have a couple of medical issues in our family lately, plus we’re having trouble finding a house (we’re supposed to be moving in a month!) So please pray for us, if you feel led to do so. (Thanks!)

In the meantime, I’m looking for smiles wherever I can find them. Here’s something that made me smile, and I want to share it with you: