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Category Archives: homeschooling

While I Have Been Quiet… Joy Dare #134-146

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I am behind and need to do a marathon of Joy posting. Life has gotten more complicated around here now that SweetHeart is potty training and TenderHeart has allergy shots twice a week (a 30 minute drive away). This is combined with the usual homeschooling, tumbling lessons for TrueHeart, karate for TenderHeart, orthodontist appointments for both of them, and little BraveHeart who is awake and wanting me… all.the.time.

I shared yesterday with a friend that in a matter of just a few minutes, SweetHeart had pulled a tomato paste can out of the cabinet on her face which made me forget that I had put my sourdough starter in the oven just to warm it (and I cooked it!) and I panicked and stepped backwards in the puddle of pee in the kitchen floor (because SweetHeart was traumatized by the can in the face and wet herself) and it somehow wicked halfway up my sweatpants…. and then BraveHeart hurled a feeding’s worth of spit up aimed perfectly down my v-neck and into my underclothes. I guess he wanted it to go back where it came from.

Even when I don’t know whether to cry or laugh, I am overwhelmed with how blessed I am and how important this job is that the Lord has entrusted me with and called me to do. I am equally moved by the realization that I am HERE to do it.

I really struggled with fear the past few days. I began having the same bronchitis-like symptoms that started two years ago and resulted in the diagnosis of my rare lung disease. I didn’t tell anyone, not even Cowboy, that I called my pulmonologist and had a chest xray done, and I waited for two seemingly endless days and nights for the results. The thought of going back on 60 mg of prednisone a day made me want to weep and I knew the long-term prognosis was considerably worse if the lung disease ever flares again. I kept talking to the Lord about my fears, but it was a struggle to lay them down. I wish I could say I claimed victory in that area, but I didn’t.

And then they called me yesterday morning to say my chest x-ray was clear.

Unless you have been close to death and struggled to get oxygen, suffocating even though you were breathing, I don’t think I can fully explain what it is like to fear doing it again… or the relief of knowing I don’t have to. I am sure there are many other circumstances which could relate in your life, but these are mine.

Much of my gratitude this week centers around this grace from His hand…

134. A clear lung x-ray.

135. Every day I wake up feels like an “extra” day I didn’t think I would have two years ago.

136. Oxygen and the tiny little alveoli which do the miracle of exchanging it. Your creation is amazing.

137. BraveHeart…that You gave him to us even with all the doctors saying it probably wouldn’t happen because of my thyroid cancer and shouldn’t happen because of my lung disease. Yet, they are still clear. Your plan is best.

138. Your goodness, which would have been just as good if my lungs had been filled again with the fiber matrix that suffocates. Your goodness is not dependent on my circumstances, because again, Your plan is best.

139. The day this week when TrueHeart and TenderHeart spent two full hours after finishing their required lessons researching, rehearsing and performing all the details of the Japanese Tea Ceremony…. just because they wanted to. TrueHeart’s study this year of the Eastern Hemisphere has really been fascinating, and the blessing of being able to be with them as they learn… even when it is hard… is wonderful!

140. Cowboy’s Grandma Beulah, after a heart attack-pneumonia-kidney infection diagnosis, was alert and knew us last night… and said, “I love you, Corrie.” How she has impacted my life since I was a baby!

141. Finally perfecting the 100% whole wheat sourdough loaf of bread. You know how many times I have attempted it and how many “bricks” I had to throw out to the chickens in the process. I knew there had to be a way out there, and You listened to me pray about bread- of all things. Thank You.

142. Two more verses memorized in The Romans Project. This discipline is changing me.

143. An unexpected and unanimous response from our secret health plan group encouraging me to write a definitive guide to my plan for Kindle. There are many details I haven’t included in my blog, and I’m going to need Your help to organize it all and complete the project. Of course, I always need Your help!

144. That all my pants are suddenly loose and I can feel the changes in my body. Thank you for granting health and a way to pursue it.

145. A kindred spirit and friend who lives far away but is able to stay in almost constant contact with me through texting. I miss her so, and feel so lonely sometimes for a friend like her…here.

146. Our duck is setting! Cowboy’s Daddy and Cowboy’s brother built a beautiful duck house for her, and she has been laying eggs in it for weeks. She pulled her feathers out and surrounded her eggs with them, and is now nestled down over them to help them become. These kinds of Your miracles always amaze me.

Corrie Mims

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A Weary Gasping for Grace… Joy Dare #52-59

I woke up weary today. 

Yesterday was a beast and TrueHeart needs toothpaste, not the usual kind but the Optic White she says and TenderHeart hates this two-day-old gluten free diet and wants Raisin Bran and SweetHeart fell out of the kitchen chair and bumped her head and BraveHeart just won’t stop crying and sleep and Cowboy whispered an I miss you without words and I am still counting graces but need to stop bouncing baby to write them and I need more time to work my business and connect with all the Hearts and cook the meals and clean the dirty and… I am failing them all and I feel it and I can’t seem to get ahead of it to fix it and…

I am tired. 

And yet, my obstacles have different names but are the same as yours and I was reminded today that there can be no excuses for our inward rant as we are called to listen and love. 

Ann Voskamp writes to me (just to me, it always seems)…

Knowing every interruption is a call from your Master — is liberation.

When you named Him your Lord, you gave Him right to your life on His time: Every interruption is a new work order from God.

 

I pause and whisper sorry and please forgive and gasp for grace. 

This life is Yours, Holy Lord. You breathed it, blessed it, brought it to Yours and I must stop trying to wrestle it back into my simple, unskilled hands.  My time is not mine.  It is Yours. 

Today, I choose to live in obedience… each interruption, each need… a direct request from You to stop my agenda and follow Yours.  I do so in faith, believing You will bless all You have called me to do as I am faithful with the time You graciously give. 

I am frail and so very, very prone to selfishness and pride and all the other sins of my flesh.  Teach me Your way, O Lord. 

It is always, always better.

52. A trade of beds thanks to Cowboy’s parents and Julie and Frank and new room not for king but for princess and prince to slumber between.

53. Snuggling with TenderHeart yesterday to learn of Nero and Marcus Aurelius and the Lobi in Burkina Faso and his tenderness and compassion for those who don’t know You.

54.  Your patience and grace to help me teach Algebra I to TrueHeart who does not love it as I do but has submitted to the discipline of learning anyway. 

55.  The amazing blessings You gave in the short few hours I was able to work yesterday and how You prove Your faithfulness every.single.moment.

56. The energetic and real class of third and fourth graders who taught me as I taught them last night at church and reminded me how childlike faith looks and feels.

57. That these interruptions are opportunities and Your grace is enough and Your Spirit lives in me to help me obey.

58.  The e-mail from Stan and how he always knows just what to say when he doesn’t have a clue what is going on in my heart and how his love shown in words so often soothes weary rawness. 

59.  The few minutes on knees and full of weary tears and how You answered then and how You are still answering… now. 

Thank You for these, this grace.

Corrie Mims

 

 

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Joy Dare #32-36

Thank You, Joy-Giver, for…

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32.  BraveHeart’s wonderful check-up at the doctor today.  I finally have a grower of a baby!  He is 10 lbs, 50th percentile… 90th percentile in height. 

33. Conviction of sin.  I’m really thankful for it.  It is the reminder that Your Spirit is still very much at work in my heart. 

34.  Mama’s country-style steak, rutabagas, cabbage… and dinner with family!

35.  An e-mail from an old and dear friend who is experiencing your grace and wanted me to weigh in on Your blessing!

36. A sweet, sweet phone call with TrueHeart and TenderHeart across the miles.  Sunday can’t get here fast enough for this Mama.

 

 

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Take a Week-Long Family Vacation by Saving Only $50 per Month!

Our view from our balcony- Beautiful!

Our view from our balcony- Beautiful!

Yes, it really is possible!  I know, because I did it last week.  You may be thinking you don’t have $50 per month to put away in savings, but if you take a hard look at your bank statement, you are likely to find places where you COULD if you WANTED to… Are you a Starbucks fan at around $5 per specialty drink?  Do you drink at least 10 of those drinks every month?  Or, do you swing through the drive through for lunch several times a month, and could choose to pack your lunch instead?

You get the idea.  I will list the framework here as to how we did it, and you can add to this with tips of your own!

1.  Travel out of season to “less touristy” destinations.  We went to North Myrtle Beach (which is around an hour and a half drive for us) in September.  It was perfect weather- water still warm, temperatures in the 80’s, less crowds and traffic.  We don’t like Myrtle Beach itself because it is so crowded and not as family oriented.  However, the beaches next to it- think Garden City, Surfside, North Myrtle, and Cherry Grove- are very family oriented and you won’t have to slide anyone over on the beach to find your own spot on the sand!  It helps that we homeschool and are able to take advantage of the off-season, of course, but if you have preschoolers or year-round-schoolers, this is likely still an option for you as well.

My girls enjoying the sand and sea!

My girls enjoying the sand and sea!

2.  Remove the middle man.  We used www.HomeAway.com this time, but there are other similar reputable sites where vacation rentals are offered directly by the owners and there are no realty mark-ups.  The reputable sites will remind you to call the owners directly and not to give credit card information until you have confirmed they are real people!  Home Away has many rentals which accept PayPal as payment, a much safer option in my opinion, and it also allows payments to be broken down into two or three installments without penalty.  Be sure to read the fine print as well as any additional fees which may be added.  We were able to find a 3-bedroom place for $600 which included the cleaning fees, linens, towels, fully furnished kitchen, beach chairs and toys… and it was located on the waterfront with a gorgeous balcony view and a swimming pool!  Amazing.  Yes, you will have to spend some time looking through your options and contacting the owners for info, but it is well worth the money you can save simply with a little research.

3.  Take another family with you.  It is more fun this way, and splitting the cost of the rental is not so bad either!  Our kids had so much fun playing with their cousins, and we didn’t have to deal with the “I’m bored and lonely” or “He’s annoying me” issues we sometimes encounter when we are at home.  They always had someone else to play with and made memories they will cherish for the rest of their lives.  As we were checking out, the children were already talking about next year and how they MUST vacation together again!

(Side note:  I asked my kids if they would rather have their own beds and we could go with just our family or if they would rather invite their cousins, even though the younger boys would need to sleep on the floor in sleeping bags… and I was pleasantly surprised when they unanimously and quickly voted to have their friends/cousins there and forfeit a comfy room of their own!  I was even more pleasantly surprised when they did not regret their decision- My son said sleeping on the floor was one of his favorite memories of the trip!  Go figure.)

4.  Vacation where the fun is FREE.  We had a pool, the ocean, and the sand.  Really, could we have needed anything else?  My sister-in-law and brother-in-law did take the kids to play miniature golf one day and had a coupon for $1.50 off per person, but we were still well within our budget for spending for the week.  If you know you want to do some touristy things, plan ahead and search for the coupons!  The local chamber of commerce will usually mail coupons to you with a visitor’s guide for free if you will contact them!

My boy boogie boarding the day away!

My boy boogie boarding the day away!

5.  Take more food, less clothes.  No, I am not encouraging you to go naked, but choose a rental with a washer and dryer and wash a load of clothes a day.  It isn’t hard and will leave you more room to pack groceries!  Plan your menus in advance with the other family who is joining you, and take charge of half of the week’s menus and let the other family take charge of the other half.  Make your grocery list, not forgetting easy breakfasts, lunches, and snacks, and shop at Aldi (or somewhere similar) a few days before you leave.  For $150, I bought everything we needed for my half of the week of menus, plus some!  I took a cooler and insulated bags with the frozen/refrigerated items and avoided the horrible prices of a tourist trap grocery store… while saving valuable time I did not want to spend grocery shopping on vacation.  Yes, you will still find you need to run to the grocery store a couple of times for more milk, bread, etc. but it will be far less expensive and draining if you shop and take everything you can with you as you go!  If you live too far away to haul frozen/refrigerated items, find an Aldi in a quiet town on your route that is closer and shop there.

Frugal Vacation Meals

Eating frugal vacation meals!

5.  Plan your entertainment.  Rent Redbox or Netflix movies if your rental has a DVD player.  Visit your local library and load up on books for the entire family.  Shop the dollar store for sand toys (or kitchen items which work better than sand toys), travel journals, arts and crafts projects and the like.  Keep your eye out all year long for these things as they go on clearance and place a vacation storage box under your bed to stash things as you find them throughout the year.

If you do all of this, you should still have some money left over for miscellaneous items like sunscreen and boogie boards, and of course you must plan for the gas to get there!  If your budget is especially tight, keep this in mind and choose a more local vacation instead of a cross-country one.  Remember, children don’t need all the extras during vacation the tourist traps would like for you to believe…such as water parks, amusement rides, and expensive restaurants.  They want to make memories with the people they love (you!) and enjoy a break from the routine.  Not only that, but by traveling in a frugal way, you will teach them to be careful with their own money and to invest in people… not stuff.

My very happy toddler dances to the ocean.

My very happy toddler dances to the ocean.

If you find these ideas helpful or have any of your own frugal travel tips to add, leave a comment here or on my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/returning-you-to-your-life.  I would love to hear from you!

 

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2012 in homemaking, homeschooling, Uncategorized

 

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Join My Family on an Adventure of Learning and Faith!

I would like to invite all families to join us on this adventure in learning and faith!  Beginning, September 25, 2012, Far East Broadcasting Company (FEBC) along with Sonlight homeschool curriculum will post a new video each Tuesday morning for 6 weeks.  You and your family will learn about 4 Far East countries and help raise money to provide radios so that people can hear the gospel in their own language for the VERY FIRST TIME!

Phoenix Phaxx, a 13-year-old homeschooler, will guide your family on this exciting journey through Russia, Cambodia, Indonesia, and South Korea.  You will learn about the dominant religions in these countries as well as the details of daily life for the people who live there.

Over 2.7 billion people have never heard of the freedom and new life they can have through Jesus Christ!  Far East Broadcasting Company broadcasts the gospel through radio, internet and mobile devices in 50 countries and 130 languages, over 700 hours per day– and receives over 1 million listener responses to these broadcasts every year.  This is your chance to help put radios in the hands of families in extremely remote regions of the world so they can hear the Gospel!

Sonlight’s goal is to reach a potential 250,000 people and they are MATCHING dollar for dollar the contributions given up to $150,000… which means together we can raise $300,000 and place 10,000 new wind-up portable radios in the hands of those desperate for the Truth!  Will you join us?

There is a deadline to register so you can receive your Pocket Guide before the product launch.  This is a great idea for Sunday School classes and church groups and individual families alike.  Every $30 is one radio… and each radio has the potential to change many lives for eternity.  Register at http://www.phoenixphaxx.com no later than this coming Friday, September 14th!

If you register, please come back and comment here to let me know, and then again when the 6 weeks are over to give an update on the number of radios you were able to share… How exciting to make a difference together as families!  Let’s encourage one another in good deeds!

“…and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25 (NASB)

Corrie Mims

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2012 in home eternal, homeschooling

 

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A Homeschool Moment: The Blue Grotto

Blue Grotto“I will tell you,” he said, “what all philosophers know. To search for the truth is always an adventure– and there is always beauty in the truth itself.

To have knowledge and understanding, to know the truth about things, that can be as exciting and beautiful as this blue cavern, this blue grotto.”

–Herre Nordstrom in Red Sails to Capri, by Ann Weil

Today, I finished reading Red Sails to Capri to my 9-year-old son.  With our homeschool curriculum (see post about that here), he has plenty to read on his own, but we have a “read-aloud” selection assigned every day as well.  I enjoy the snuggles and the reading almost equally.  My favorite thing about reading a great book together with my oldest son in a comfy chair in the homeschool setting, though?

The lack of hindrance.

We are free!  We take as long as we need to talk about the book, to stop and reflect on the words and the meaning. And we do it together.  Just my sweet boy and I.  All the while, he rubs my arm and places his cheek against my shoulder, his legs thrown across mine. Halfway through our reading for today, he stops me and says,

“Mom, you’re so warm.  I love you.”

If I ever wondered why I homeschool, there was certainly not a single doubt in my mind in that moment.

And then, because we wanted to and not because it was a required assignment, we researched the REAL Blue Grotto of Capri together- looked at pictures and oohed and aahed at the glowing blue waters off the coast of Italy.  We brought the learning to life, from historical fiction to nonfiction, and we took the journey together… my boy and I.

Herre Nordstrom would be so very proud.

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2012 in homeschooling

 

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Our Homeschool Curriculum

Sonlight Homeschool Curriculum

I get asked often which homeschool curriculum we have chosen as a family, and why we chose it.  It is such a personal decision that I sometimes don’t know exactly how to respond.  I don’t feel that the curriculum we chose is for everyone but I do know that it is the very best choice for US.

Having given this disclaimer, I will share with you today our curriculum choice and the reasons we chose it for The Pleasant Farm Academy (the name of our little homeschool).  We use Sonlight and have used it for the past few years.  It is, most importantly to us, a Christ honoring curriculum with a missions focus.  It is literature based, meaning history and science and literature are taught with great, well-written books on the subjects instead of “textbooks.”

I have always been an avid reader, and I read to my children even while they were in the womb.  They do enjoy reading now (the almost 12 year old and 9 year old, that is), but they have never been as excited about reading as I am.  Even so, the books from Sonlight have captured their minds and hearts and have truly made learning fun for them.  For us, this isn’t something you can place a price tag on, and isn’t an area we are willing to compromise in.

Daughter homeschooling with Sonlight

As a planner and teacher, the instructor’s guides that come with their curriculum have been invaluable and have saved me hours of endless lesson planning!  Everything comes together in one box when you order a core, with all the lesson plans and all the books needed for the year.  Are there cheaper ways to do this?  Yes.  But, they are also much more labor intensive.

Sometimes, the library will have some of the books, but they may or may not be checked in when you need them.  Sometimes, you can buy used cores on ebay or at swaps, but if you have more than one child who will use the curriculum over the next several years- buying it new and knowing you have everything you need is worth the investment (for us).  Sonlight also allows monthly interest-free payments (3, 6, or 9 month plans depending on when you order for the year).

Son and Baby Girl Homeschooling with Sonlight

These are the biggest reasons we love Sonlight, but I would have to give you personal and detailed examples of what my children have learned and how they discuss regularly their desire to learn and “do school” for you to fully understand what this curriculum has done for us as a family.  One recent example: We started school this year on August 1st, three whole weeks before the public schools in our area will begin.  Even so, for weeks before we started, my kids were BEGGING for us to start early!  Have you ever even heard of such a thing?

You can learn more about Sonlight and read their articles on reasons to use and not to use their curriculum by clicking here:  Sonlight Homeschool Curriculum

P.S. As a disclaimer, I will tell you that by clicking on the link, it will put my referral code into the link so that I will receive points if you place an order.  Also, it will give you $5 off your $50 purchase!  However, if you don’t want to give me points, I don’t mind.  Just type http://www.Sonlight.com into your browser instead and order it that way.  I am not writing this to get the points- but because I want you to have the chance to discover a truly excellent curriculum and investigate further if it may or may not be the right choice for your homeschool!  We will continue to use Sonlight with or without any referral points 🙂  Happy homeschooling!

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2012 in homeschooling

 

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