Author Archives: Sallie

Fun With Lil' Fishys

Fun with Lil’ Fishys Fish Toys

Fun With Lil' Fishys Bath ToysCaroline was excited to get her hands on a whole bunch of Lil’ Fishys. She loves pretty much any toy that is animal related and the fact that these were for playing in the water made them all the more fun!

I received these products for free and I was compensated for my time. All opinions and content is mine. I was not required to post a positive review.

Lil Fishys Fish Toys

We knew for a few weeks that these were coming and Caroline was excited to see them after watching videos about them and checking them out on Amazon. We were amazed when the package arrived. It was huge and full of fun fish toys!

Lil' Fishys come individually or as a fishbowl habitat with two fish

I always know something is well done when David says, “Oh, nice!” That’s what he said when he pulled them apart to put the AAA batteries in them. You can see the screws that don’t fall out! They are purposely made so you can’t lose them. Very nice!

Lil' Fishys run on one or two AAA batteriesCaroline enjoyed decorating the Aquarium Lucky Playset. It comes with a large selection of stickers so she could make it just the way she wanted to for her pet fish.

Putting Lil' Fishys in the fishbowl 2We kept the fishbowl in her bathroom on the counter so she could play with it whenever she wanted and I didn’t have to worry about water in her bedroom.

Putting Lil' Fishys in the fishbowlCaroline also enjoyed playing with them in the tub!

Lil' Fishys Spraying Whaleys and Clownfish in the tubAfter playing with them quite a few times, Caroline determined her favorites were the shark that came in the aquarium and Lucky the Clownfish. She also pointed out that their tails work like an immersion blender when you add bubble bath to a cup of water and use the tail to make bubbles. LOL!

Lil' Fishys Minis package with Lucky the ClownfishMy favorites were the whales that shoot up water – quite high! LOL!

Lil' Fishys Spraying Whaley Orca in packageMaking Bathtime Fun with Bath Toys!

We’ve never had a problem getting Caroline into the bathtub. In fact, we have just the opposite problem that she never wants to get out! But I would guess that these would be a GREAT enticement for the reluctant bather. LOL! The whales squirt water up, the dolphin dives and the shark races around quickly trying to get someone. Little kids would thoroughly enjoy them!

There are lots of fun Lil’ Fishys activities going on right now. You can check out some free coloring pages on their website. You can also follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can enter to win a Lil Fishys Aquarium and a grab bag of Lil Fishy toys! There will be three winners!

 

And if you enjoy Twitter, don’t miss this Twitter party coming up!

Summer-Fun-Twitter-P

How We Ended Up (Almost) Unschoolers

How We Ended Up (Almost) Unschoolers

How We Ended Up (Almost) Unschoolers

Of everything that has happened to me as a parent, perhaps nothing has surprised me and bewildered me more than the fact that we have ended up as (almost) unschoolers. Homeschooling was always on my radar. Unschooling was not.

I have a teaching degree. I was in a specialized program that focused on creating effective learning curriculum. How is it that I could end up basically unschooling my daughter?

In reality, it has been a slow process of me letting go of preconceived ideas, but if I could do it over again we would have fully embraced unschooling from the start. It’s how Caroline has learned best to this point and it would have saved me a lot of grief and angst and money. If you aren’t familiar with our homeschooling and parenting journey, there are zillions of posts that I have written about that under Home Education and Gifted/2e Children. I’m not going to rehash all of those topics again, but look at a bigger picture aspect of how we ended up here.

Along the way, I’ve come to the conclusion that unschooling is often something you grow into as a homeschooling parent. Once you start homeschooling you realize that so much of what kids are asked to do is mindless busywork – even from the best programs. Kids have better things to do with their childhood than spend half a year learning how to multiply when if you wait another year or two they will master it in literally thirty minutes. You can spend a month teaching them to write a five sentence paragraph when they are eight or you can do it in three days when they are ten. And so you begin to realize how much learning can take place without traditional structures.

Train Up a Child

As I mentioned when I wrote about discipling children in Christ outside of traditional church structures, our understanding of the power of unschooling has developed and evolved along with going deeper in our faith. In that post, I shared two videos. I’m going to share one of them again here. Wayne Jacobson is answering a question about what it means to “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). He has an interesting take on this and I encourage you to watch just a couple of minutes from 27:57 to 30:40.

Learning to Live Loved: An Interview with Wayne Jacobsen, Part 1 of 2 from Wayne Jacobsen on Vimeo.

There are a few things he said that resonated loudly with me where my faith and my homeschooling world intersect (which is actually every place).

“Train up a child according to the way that he is and he will not depart from that. It’s not indoctrinating to a kind of standard or ethic, but rather raising a child true to who God has made them to be… It’s not the standardizing of behavior…”

When I listen to this, I think not only of trying to point Caroline to God as her heavenly Father, but also pointing her to God as the Creator of who she is. She is going to relate to God differently than I do because she is a different person. Yes, we want to instruct her on the basics of the Christian faith because we want her to have a framework to understand the Bible, the Holy Spirit, salvation, etc. But I need to be pointing her as an individual to God, not instructing her on a list of acceptable behaviors that will make people at church think she is a good little girl. Sometimes the behaviors that will make people think someone is a good little girl are in direct opposition to who God has created a child to be.

Jacobson describes Sunday Schools as teaching children morality plays that school kids in performance-based stuff. That makes sense to me because school is typically all performance based. That carries over into the traditional church as churches adopt school structures while attempting to help children in their spiritual growth – often in ways that don’t work for indiviudal children who don’t fit the traditional grade level parameters. Christianity ultimately becomes for many children about performance instead of walking with the Creator who made them unique and delightful individuals.

Unschooling, Faith and Relationships

Unschooling is above all about relationships. It has to be. When you unschool you have to be very in tune with what your child is thinking, learning, exploring, etc. so you can support her in those area. Unschooling doesn’t equal neglect which is what people often think when they first hear of it. It’s just the opposite of neglecting your child’s education. It’s being very relational and intentional with your child’s learning. But there is no doubt it looks and feels completely different than performance-based school.

Because unschooling is highly relational, it also fits well with Christian discipleship. As Jacobson explains elsewhere in the video, discipleship works best in close one-on-one relationships. Unschooling is the perfect vehicle for that.

When I was on staff with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, my very favorite part of student ministry was meeting one-on-one with students to encourage them in their walk with Christ. It was never my intention to come in and tell them what they needed to do. I would talk with them, understand where they were on their faith journey, and we would try to devise a plan of something to do together. We might do a Bible study. We might read a book and discuss it. It was always driven by where they were and where they wanted to go or grow in their faith. I was there to encourage and bounce ideas off of. Their journey was their own. I was just someone sent along at that point of the journey to help equip them for the next step.

Discipling my child should be no different. Yes, I am the parent and there are some things I know she needs to learn. But if I am discipling her as the unique individual God has made her to be, our homeschooling journey isn’t going to look like anyone else’s. We’re going to make intensely personal and focused decisions along the way, refine our choices and keep going.

This is part of the reason why I don’t do extensive planning for our homeschooling. How can I? I don’t know what we’ll be interested in next November. I don’t know when I will sense a learning leap coming on and we can learn a bunch of stuff in a short and easy amount of time. I choose to focus on the relationship each day and know that the rest of it will fall into place.

We are (Almost) Unschoolers

So why is the (almost) in the title? We are almost unschoolers because I do require some work from Caroline. We do handwriting and math primarily, but not every day. We’ll do no formal math for quite some time and then we’ll do it for a few weeks. Most of the time when I ask her to do something she picks it up very quickly. I think oftentimes I’m more affirming she has learned something than I am trying to teach her something. I find that fits better with the unschooling model, but also gives me some peace of mind.

I expect how this all happens will change as Caroline grows. At nine and a half, I’m starting to see her take bits of initiative in new ways that lean toward the academic (something she has usually resisted). But I’m in no hurry to push her along. She’s only nine and she has plenty of time to focus on more formal academics in the years ahead if that seems prudent for our family. Will we always be unschoolers? I don’t know. She may surprise me and want to move in another direction at some point. But that will be because it is best for who God created her to be, not because I decided it was what I wanted. It’s her learning and faith journey. I’m here to point her to God, help her understand who she is, and find the best ways to joyfully bring that all together as her gift to the world.

Cultivating Contentment

Cultivating Contentment

Cultivating Contentment

This was originally posted March 29, 2006. I have updated and edited it a bit to share again.

He is a wise man who does not grieve for those things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.
Epictetus

The words content and contentment are only used about a dozen times in the Bible, yet all believers would certainly agree that it is a character quality basic to godly living. One well-known passage regarding contentment is found in Philippians 4 where Paul explains his understanding of contentment:

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV)

Paul Learned Contentment

Twice Paul writes that contentment is learned (vs.11, 12). Contentment doesn’t seem to come naturally to people and this is certainly exacerbated by living in the United States.

Our culture constantly encourages us to crave more – more money, more power, more pleasure, more security. Even Christians who have all of their needs met (and a whole lot more) are not immune to the temptation to constantly look for ways to achieve more, buy more, and experience more. Paul “had it all” before he was called by Jesus. He had an excellent education, a position of power and authority, a good secure life, and a promising future. Paul could truthfully write that he knew what it was to have plenty. He also knew what it meant to be in want as he lost a great deal when he followed the call of Christ. He was beaten, stoned, shipwrecked and went without food, water and sleep more times that we can imagine. And yet, in spite of all these circumstances, he learned contentment. Or, perhaps more accurately, he learned contentment because of these difficult situations.

Paul learned to focus not on what was happening to him and the physical difficulties he faced, but instead the secret of being content (vs. 12). Perhaps Paul reflected on Proverbs 19:23 during times of difficulty: The fear of the LORD leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble. Was Paul untouched by troubles in the physical sense? No, and he had the scars on his body to prove it. But in the midst of everything that happened to him as he shared the gospel, Paul was able to focus on the important things. He feared the LORD which led him to life and enabled him to rest contentedly, untouched spiritually by all of the troubles around him. Paul is very clear as to what makes this possible: I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (vs. 13). Paul knew that to try to be content under his own power would be futile – only the Lord could give him the strength he needed. Paul learned the secret of where contentment can be found – depending on the Lord in all circumstances and resting in His strength.

Money, Material Things and Contentment

It is no coincidence that many of the passages which deal with contentment speak specifically about money and material things. Consider the following:

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.
I Timothy 6:3-10

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”
Hebrews 13:5-6

Contentment means knowing what is really important and ordering our daily living in a way that reflects that. If we are consumed with the things of this world, we will never be content, but rather will always be running after a better home, a flashier car, a more lucrative job, a more attractive spouse. Paul knew that the most important thing in this world was the spread of the gospel so that men and women might be reconciled to God. As long as he had food and clothing, he was content because as long as he had those two things he could get up each morning and proclaim the Gospel to those who were lost. That’s an especially challenging thought. Would I really be content to just have food and clothes and know that God is with me all of the time?

So does being content mean that Christians should be complacent and never try to change circumstances in our lives? No – contentment and complacency are different. Contentment is graciously accepting God’s will for our lives. Complacency is closely related to laziness and indicates an indifference to circumstances in our lives. God doesn’t want us to be indifferent. He is a God of excellence, beauty and pursuing all good things, and He would want us to seek that which is best. But He would have us do it with a spirit of contentment and with a desire to bring Him glory, honor and praise.

Contentment is a Choice

As I’ve learned my contentment lessons over the past several years, one thing has become strikingly clear.

Contentment is a choice and must be cultivated. I must choose to be content, and it is a decision that often needs to be made several times a day.

I must choose to be satisfied with whatever God does in my life, with whatever He gives me or decides in His wisdom to withhold.

To not be content with the life God has given me is to really say I don’t trust Him and that I think I know better than He does what should be happening.

I have also learned that I need to avoid things and people that stir up discontent in my life. Going through the day with a song of thanksgiving on my lips for all that I have been given brings a sense of contentment and peace. Spending the day rehearsing everything that is “wrong” or that I don’t have certainly does nothing to cultivate a spirit of contentment. The choice is mine each day and, sometimes, each hour.

True contentment involves a daily surrendering of ourselves to God. It hinges on our acceptance of His goodness and sovereignty. If we are constantly doubting God and His loving goodness in our lives, it will be impossible for us to be content. If we don’t trust God to lead us and direct our lives, we will always be restless and looking for that one elusive thing that will make us truly happy. One of the greatest joys we can know is the joy of resting in God’s love and watchcare, knowing deep contentment because we have left the worries and concerns of the world in His infinitely capable hands. Without this, contentment in this life is impossible.

Ultimately, truly content people recognize that this life is not all there is. They have eyes that see with an eternal perspective and look beyond the distractions of this world. They understand that complete contentment is yet to come when they are with the Father, but until that time they have learned to wait on the Lord, trusting Him to provide for all their needs, able to rest in His excellent provision in their lives.

Learning Geography with Gardening

Learning Geography with Gardening

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Miracle-Gro Gro-ables. All opinions are 100% mine.

Integrating multiple subjects is a great way to get the most bang for your homeschooling time. Some topics naturally seem to go together – science and math, history and geography, and reading and writing. If I asked you what you could integrate with gardening, I’m sure your first thought would be science and then probably math.

What about integrating gardening and geography? That’s what we’re doing as we continue to work on our Gro-ables Project.

Hardiness Zones in the United States

Understanding hardiness zones is an important part of gardening. This image below from the USDA shows the various zones in the country. Certain plants can only live in certain zones.

2012 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map (USA) 1200

You’ll notice that we live in one of the most diverse states when it comes to hardiness (Michigan). Our location is marked with a smiley face so you can find it. We can drive just a short distance and be in a few different zones. Using hardiness zones will help you, for example, when selecting perennials at a garden store or ordering from a catalog. You have to use plants that work for your zone.

2012-USDA-Plant-Hardiness-Zone-Map-(Michigan)-1200

You also have to know about frost dates.

Frost Dates

The spring frost date is the day in the spring you can normally expect to have the last hard frost that could damage plants. The fall frost date is the first date you could expect to have a killing frost that would harm your plants. These are based on averages, remember, and weather has a mind of its own so things can vary from year to year.

If you look up the frost dates for your area online, you will know exactly when it is safest to plant. Where we live, we are generally safe from frost between May 15 and September 29.

Planting More Gro-ables

Now that we are officially past our last frost date, we’ve been able to get back to more garden planting with Caroline. We’re still in the process of planting our shipment of Gro-ables since many of them require warmer temperatures to be safe. This weekend we were finally ready to plant the herbs. We planted basil, lemon basil, flat leaf parsley and cilantro.

Grow-able seed pods come ready to plant in your container

Caroline did a great job of preparing the potting mix and getting the Gro-able pods ready.

Do not cover the Grow-able seed pod with dirt

The Gro-ables are fun to use with children because they are easy to handle. She’s enjoyed using the pods. She also pointed out that it was nice she could change her mind and easily move the pods around while planting.

Grow-ables planted in a planter

Super easy! Just put the Gro-able in the potting mix so it’s level with the potting mix around it and water! I’m especially looking forward to the parsley.

Grow-ables planted in a planter ready to grow

Next weekend we’ll finish planting the rest of the pods that need warm weather. What are you planting and growing with your kids this spring?

“At Miracle-Gro®, we believe that there’s a lot to learn from even the smallest plants.  So we started The Gro-ables Project: a movement to share the joy of growing herbs and veggies while giving kids truly hands-on learning experiences.  Join us by planting your own Gro-ables, taking part in the activities below and sharing your story!”

Visit Sponsors Site


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Beyond Anything We've Ever Seen - Window Frost

Beyond Anything We’ve Ever Seen – Window Frost

Beyond Anything We've Ever Seen - Window Frost

“Sometimes I am completely perplexed by God’s willingness to humor man…When He wanted to lead the Magi to the Christ Child, He did not lead them by a mark in the sand. He led them through a star because they were star-gazers – then He went beyond anything they had ever seen… (W)hen God wanted to lead the Ephesians to the Savior, He did not lead them through a cloudy pillar. He got their attention through supernatural phenomena, because that’s where they were looking. God wants to be found…He is so gracious to show up right where we are looking – so He can take us beyond anything we’ve ever seen.” Beth Moore, To Live is Christ

After you’ve walked with God for a while, you start to notice that He has unique ways of “speaking” to you as an individual. Obviously God speaks through His Word and no other way of “speaking” will contradict what is written there. But God makes each of us with unique personalities, interests, etc. and I do believe God works through those.

God Speaks Through His Creation

One of the ways that God consistently speaks to me is through creation. Now you have to realize I am not a nature person in the sense of hiking, camping, etc. Just ask my husband who is usually quickly dispatched to take care of the occasional icky bug that invades our home! But I do take a lot of time each day to notice things like the birds, the sky, the stars, the trees, flowers, clouds, etc. Sometimes the beauty of creation is like a gentle reminder that God is there. Other times it seems as though God is shouting at me!

One morning several years ago I opened the mini-blinds in my husband’s office and found one of the most amazing displays of God’s artistry that I have ever had the personal joy of discovering.

Window Frost

The photos below show the window frost patterns that were on the window. (Some people call them fern frost or ice flowers.) To give some perspective, the top half of the double-hung window was approximately 18” x 24”. The photos show the display as you zoom in for a better look.

Window Frost Fern Frost Ice Flowers 1Window Frost Fern Frost Ice Flowers 2Window Frost Fern Frost Ice Flowers closeupWhenever my husband and I see something incredible like this in God’s creation, we praise God for speaking to us in such a personal way.

College Saving Contest Square

Carson-Dellosa College Savings Project Giveaway

College Giveaway PinterestRaise your hand if you have concerns about paying for your child’s college education. (My hand is raised, too.) We’re still years away, but costs have gone up so much that it’s really hard to fathom. So today I’m sharing something that will help a few lucky people out.

Carson-Dellosa, a major educational publisher, is giving away three awards – one for $2,000 and two for $1,000 – to tuck away for your child’s college expenses. This is very straightforward. Pop over to their website, enter your name and email address, and boom! You are entered to try to win.

Good luck! I hope someone who reads my website wins. If you do, make sure you come back and tell me so I can celebrate with you!

This post was sponsored by Carson-Dellosa.

College Saving Contest Square

Printable Planners and Homeschool Planners

Printable Planners and Homeschool Planners

Printable Planners and Homeschool PlannersSo it’s time to get organized? You want to stay on top of the planning and paper work once and for all? Great! I love organizing and I’m totally a paper person. When I couldn’t find a planner that fit my needs, I decided to create my own series of Printable Planners and Homeschool Planners.

There are so many planners available that I bet you’re wondering what makes mine unique? I’m glad you asked! My Printable Planners and Homeschool Planners differ from others in three key ways.

One, they are beautiful and lovely. So many of the printable planners available are funky, loud, or crazy in their design scheme. I purposely chose to make my planners beautiful because I know some women like peaceful and lovely materials to work with.

Two, they are complete. I spent hours researching so I could include as much as possible. This means you don’t have to run around from website to website trying to find this form or that calendar format. These planners at 150 pages and 225 pages are complete.

Three, they are flexible. I’ve provided multiple versions of the most commonly used forms, planning pages, and calendars. You won’t be locked into the same calendar every month. If your life changes, your homeschool plans change or you just need something different… It’s all there. Simply print what you already have right in front of you.

So let’s take a look and see which one you might enjoy working with this year! I’m highlighting three of the four planner designs.

Strawberries…

Strawberry Printable Planner

Vintage Flowers

Pink Flowers Printable Planner

and Aqua and Yellow.

Aqua and Yellow Printable PlannerThere is also Pink Roses in the shop!

I’ve designed both the Printable Planners and the Homeschool Planners to offer a great variety with lots of customizable options. Right now I’m going to highlight my personal favorite and the one I’m currently using – Strawberries. But all of these features are included in each of the four designs!

Some of the great features of these planners you will enjoy include…

A variety of colorful covers so you can choose the one that suits you best.

Strawberry Printable Planner CoverStrawberry Printable Planner Cover PagesAll of the cover designs come with matching spines.

Strawberry Binder SpinesThe spines come in three sizes so you can use the one that works best for your binder needs.

Strawberry Printable Planner Cover and Spines

Strawberry Cover and Spines All of the planners include three different versions of the monthly planner. You can decide if you prefer one page vertical

Strawberry Printable Planner Vertical Calendarone page horizontal

Strawberry Printable Planner Monthly page horizontalor two page vertical.

Strawberry Printable Planner Two Page Monthly CalendarThere are colorful divider pages for each month.

Strawberry Divider - Julythat coordinate with the calendar pages for that month.

Strawberry Divider - AugustThere are several designs used throughout the year.

Strawberry Divider - DecemberEvery planner includes weekly planning pages

Strawberry Weekly Planneras well as daily planning pages in a few different designs

Strawberry Daily Plannerthat will work well if you like to incorporate a bullet type journal in a printable planner!

Strawberry Calendar There are a lot of different kinds of pages such as Daily Gratitude

Strawberry Daily Gratitudeand Prayer and Praise in multiple designs.

Strawberry Prayer and PraiseIf you need the Printable Planner (150 pages) and also homeschool, you can purchase the Homeschool Planner (225 pages) instead. It is the Printable Planner plus a huge addition of homeschool printables. You can see the entire list of everything that is included in the shop.

Strawberry Daily Planner for HomeschoolThe Homeschool Planner is full of great printables, forms, calendars and more. It comes in four different designs, each one perfect for a colorful and lovely year.

Aqua Cover of Printable PlannerSo which planner will you use this year? Choose the perfect one here!

Printable Planners and Homeschool Planners

A Look in My Planner

Two Talent Living in a Ten Talent World

Two Talent Living in a Ten Talent World

Two Talent Living in a Ten Talent WorldOnce upon a time a young woman started a new thing called a blog. She was fascinated by the opportunity to just write and not spend time pitching article ideas to print magazines. She was thrilled she could reach more people with the ideas she had taught and spoken about in various places. As she discussed with her husband what to name her little spot on blogspot, there was one obvious choice – Two Talent Living. This unedited piece was written in February 2005. Although she has wandered through several versions of this blog and used different blog names at times, she was convinced of the truth of it then and she’s even more convinced of it now.

Two Talent Living is the result of personal experience. God has taken me on a life-changing journey over the past nine years. More times than I can count people have encouraged me to share what I have learned. Out of this encouragement came speaking, teaching and writing opportunities. And now this blog.

Why the name Two Talent Living?

One day my husband and I were pondering our callings as individuals and a couple. David had been meditating for several weeks on the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30). We were frustrated with how our lives felt out of sync. David said, “Maybe the problem is that we’re two talent people and we’re trying to live five talent lives.” I immediately responded, “And we’re trying to do it in a ten talent culture.”

It was a significant light bulb moment. We realized that God was calling us to be faithful stewards with what HE had called us to do – and ONLY what He had called us to do. He has given us certain giftings and responsibilities. We need to be faithful with those in such a way that we receive a good return. It is interesting to note that both the servant who received five talents and the servant who received two talents had 100% returns on their investments. Both received the same praise from the master. The servant who had two was not seen as less valuable than the one with five. His faithfulness was recognized and rewarded.

Sadly, there are a lot of people running around trying to be faithful with five talents when God is really only interested in them being faithful with two. So rather than giving 100% to the two talents God has entrusted to them, they are giving far less than 100% (as well as the other three things God really doesn’t want them to be doing in the first place).

We live in a culture that doesn’t think five talents are nearly enough and two are a laughable joke. We are pressured to maximize everything. Stretch ourselves to the limit. Give 150%. Well, no one can give 150% and I don’t believe this is a biblical attitude. A lot of the troubles in our churches and families can be directly attributed to allowing our culture to shape our priorities rather than God’s Word and His purposes. How many people (Christians included) are driven by self-imposed false guilt brought on by listening to the people around us who constantly tell us that we aren’t doing enough? The TTL life is not about being a mediocre person, but the complete person God created you to be. Two Talent Living is about encouraging people to live out their God-given calling, not the unrealistic and often ridiculous expectations of those around us.

So what is your blog going to be about?

In our fast-paced society it is easy to live in reaction mode and never really ponder why we do what we do. It takes a lot of effort and strength of character to go against the flow. It takes courage and perseverance to make choices that are not the prevailing view. People need encouragement to live confidently in the calling God has on their life. Our culture (and even the church) promotes busyness, drivenness, and trying to do things that God has not specifically called us as individuals to do. My hope is to be a supportive friend to others on the journey. Oswald Chambers wrote in My Utmost for His Highest:

“The author who benefits you most is not the one who tells you something you did not know before, but the one who gives expression to the truth that has been dumbly struggling in you for utterance.”

As I have spoken to groups and taught classes on these ideas, I have had numerous people tell me how encouraging it was to have someone tell them these things – ideas they had been thinking about but didn’t know how to fully express or explain to other people. I hope this blog will do the same for you.