Motherhood…

serendipity fwf word

I was looking for motherhood.  I had been longing for it for years.  I wanted nothing more than to be a mom to some little girl or boy and I wanted to have this amazing family.  My husband and I had been doing all the things you do to try to get pregnant.  Seeing specialists, taking tests, having procedures done and taking lots of hormones.

It seemed to be a lost cause.  I had been taking hormones for more than 2 years and we were getting into dangerous territory.  Any more time on the medication could lead to complications for me and possibly cancer down the road.  We didn’t want to take that chance.  If God’s answer was no, then it was no and we didn’t want to risk my life trying to do what God didn’t want us to.

Well after failed IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) and all the above mentioned trials we decided that this final month (March 2004) would be the last month we use hormones and if it didn’t work we would move forward with a life without kids or we would look into adoption.

I remember clearly that my heart was downcast and sad at the prospect of never having my own child and sad that I wouldn’t be giving my man a child of his own.  I was getting ready to call in my final prescription when I decided to take one more pregnancy test.  I knew Mark would be frustrated with me for taking one for no reason but I couldn’t help myself.  Why order new medication if I was pregnant right?  It was expensive stuff!

After taking the test all I could say was that I was in a state of shock.  I sat dumbfounded looking at the stick and remember clearly whispering these words, “There’s a line, there’s never been a line…”  I slowly walked out to the other room to show my man and his words were exactly the same.  Both of us in disbelief.  We had just had this serious conversation about not trying anymore and now there is this line.

Considering we were in such a state of shock and that the test couldn’t possibly be right, I took another test from another box and found the results to be the same.  I was amazed, excited and worried all at the same time.  What if the tests were wrong??? The only thing to do was buy another test and take another one.  Saturday night after church we went and bought another test from a different store and took it home.  And just like a big smile from God it showed the same results.

True serendipity through and through.  We longed for this little life, but after many years and trials had lost all belief, all hope it would happen, and had absolutely no expectation what-so-ever that God would honor us with such a gift.  God is so good.  He waits until it will mean the most and then gives the best presents we could ever want.  Our Muppin is such a perfect fit to our little family too.  We are truly The Three Amigos!

Don’t forget that when you least expect it, God will deliver to you a serendipitous moment you will never forget.

charis a

This was written from a prompt from Free Write Friday.  The topic was decided by the photo at the top of the page, Serendipity!  To join the writing prompt click the button below and it will take you to Free Write Friday’s page.

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Lead Your Family Like Jesus

I am so excited to get to read the new book by Tricia Goyer, Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges, Lead Your Family Like Jesus!

To find out more about the book and the authors go to their website, Lead Your Family Like Jesus.  There you can find out about the book as well as take a Free Parent Ego Assessment.  Very eye opening!  There is also a great resource page with videos and downloads.

If you like what see you can pre-order the book and receive a free bundle of downloadable resources just for you!  All you have to do is click the picture above to pre-order!

Keep your eyes open in March for a review of this book right here!

REALITY Blog Award!!!

Maleko’s Art so graciously bestowed the REALITY Blog Award to Grace Unveiled on December 2, 2012.

Thanks!!!

Grace Unveiled graciously accepts this most coveted of blog awards, not to take anything away from the other awards.  But with every award there is the fine print so now let’s take a moment to examine the criteria for acceptance.

Grace Unveiled is. . .

Real: And the stories, the reviews, the writings, the photography and the devotionals are all from my real life…

Energizing: Is here to spread hope and show God’s love to all that pass this way and to show the world that being a stay-at-home, homeschooling wife has a lot more responsibility, fun and a much higher calling that sitting in front of a TV eating popcorn… 😉

Amazing: Sends you away knowing that God has your back, loves you and will never leave you behind…

Lovely: Is committed to sharing what is beautiful about God in our everyday lives…

Inspiring: What is more inspiring than grace?  That is what we live, life inside a grace-filled home…

Touching: Has been hurt too, and the Lord has been faithful throughout and because of that sometimes it can get deep…

Yippee: God is good, all the time…. all the time!!!

With every award comes RULES!

1.) Show appreciation of the blogger who nominated you and link back to them in your post. DONE!
2.) Add the award logo to your blog. DONE!
3.) Share 7 things about yourself. SEE BELOW!
3.) Nominate 5 – 10 or more bloggers you admire. SEE BELOW!
4.) Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know. CHECK YOUR BLOG! WATCH FOR A TWEET!
5.) Optional questions. (I am not sure on this one, lucky you!)

7 “tidbits of trivia” about me:

  • Loyal – Never give up
  • Broken & Redeemed – God always makes what has been broken stronger when redeemed
  • Tender & loving – I feel things deeply, love deeply, hurt deeply, laugh deeply,
  • Adventurous – love the wilderness
  • Caring – People mean something and their pain is real, even if not to you
  • Honest – Even if it hurts, but always in love
  • Thankful – Without my God, I would be broken beyond repair, without my husband I would be lost in the dark, without my daughter I would have never found joy… thankful!

Grace Unveiled bestows the Reality Blog Award to:

Cheryl @ Burning Fire Shut Up In My Bones

Kellie @ Kellie Elmore

Kelly @ The Nourishing Home

The Chicks @ The Homeschool Chicks

Heather @ Sprittibee

Lead Your Family Like Jesus

tricia goyer launch teamI am so excited!  I absolutely love Tricia Goyer and her writings.  She has some amazing books out there, fiction and non-fiction.

Lead Your Family Like Jesus:  Powerful Parenting Principles from the Creator of Families is Tricia’s new book  that will be coming out in a couple months.  I am so excited that I get to be part of her launch team and read this book soon.  If you don’t know much about it you can click on the picture and it will link you to the book so you can take a look at it and even pre-buy it.

Ken Blanchard wrote the amazing book Lead Like Jesus.  Tricia, Ken and Phil Hodges all worked together using the same principles in Ken’s book and have come up with this amazing new tool for parenting.  I for one and excited to get to read all that God has shown them.  Look for my new review of this book coming soon.

What is your favorite parenting book?  What was the best thing you took from that book that you feel is a life saver for your family?

A great way to connect with your kids!

In today’s day and age it is very easy to lose connection with our kids.  Alarmingly, it happening at younger and younger ages.  God has put this on my heart and I have thought about it a lot.  I have a 8 year old daughter and the thought that we may someday be separated by silence is heart wrenching and quite frankly it scares me.

So, with that thought and much prayer I set out to come up with a way to keep us connected in some small way.  Something that would strengthen the bond we already have and I think it is a fun one at that.  Can you see me smiling?!

Journaling!  Now, to some this may originally sound boring.  I know some people do not like to journal for many different reasons but hear me out.  This is not just any journal it is something that will be fun for both you and your kids.  It will also give your kids a way to say the things they would never say out loud!

If you do this set out to make something special.  You could choose to go and buy a journal.  If you did make it fun by making it a date and pick something out together that really speaks to the heart of your child.  My daughter is super crafty and creative.  UNLIKE ME!  I am not.  So I decided that I would create her journal even though it would be a challenge for me.  I made it for a couple reasons.  First I needed cheep, we are on a budget like many families and sometimes you have to do with what you have.   A novel concept anymore I know but a good one none-the-less.  And second because I knew it would mean a lot to her and that is what mattered most.

mommy charis 6

So here is what I did, first I took a small notebook I had and since I didn’t want that white paper on the front that looks so boring I decided to add a cardboard front too it using rubber cement.  I forgot how stinky that stuff was!

After bonding the cover over the original I decided to put a name on it so Muppin would know what it was to be used for.  It was a journal for us so I put our names on it.  She helped me decide where the flowers and hearts went and decided when we were done drawing.  She had an incredible time doing this but still didn’t know what it was going to be used for, it was a surprise!

Before I put the cover on and before she knew what I was up to I wrote a note inside the journal.  The note started out, “My dearest Muppin! I love you so much…” and went on to explain what this journal was for and why I was doing it and then finally how to use it (we will get to that in a moment).

I can’t explain to you the excitement in my daughters eyes when she read the words on those pages.  You could see that she was feeling really loved and cherished.  She was feeling like she was super important and that she was going to be heard and really listened to.  Now she is only  8 but being heard and understood is still important to her.

My heart soared with excitement knowing that she was going to be sharing with me and I with her all the things that are important too us.  We were on our way to strengthening our bond we already have, making it unbreakable.

As for the practical use of the journal here is how you use it.  You give it to your child and after you read to them, do their devotionals, cuddle or talk… you know, all those bedtime things we do together?!!  When those are done and you have kissed them good night it is their time to write.  See, a lot has happened in their little day and this helps them get it off their chest.  They can write about what happened with friends, what happened with you, the family or the dog.  They can also write about what has upset them, made them happy or things that confuse them.  They can ask questions about God, boys, friends, or your family relationships.

Most importantly when there is something that is too difficult to say out loud, they can write it here and not fear what will happen.  It gives them a sense of release and the sense of an open door.  They know they will be listened too.  Now when they go to sleep they put it on their side table, dresser or book shelf and go off to slumber land.  The next morning it is up to you to go get it, take it to a private place and read it.

The most important thing you will need to remember I believe was something the Holy Spirit really wanted me to convey and it is this… never act shocked, shaken, angry or freaked out over what you read!!!  I repeat, remain calm no matter what!  Or you have lost them.  This must always be and remain a safe place remember?!

Once you are done reading what they have written you then write back to them, answering all their questions, giving them advice kindly, and most of all telling them how much you love them no matter what they let you know.

I have told my daughter that I might come talk to her about some things once in a while, but that it will always be out of love.  And if it doesn’t sound like I am being loving she has my permission to tell me so.

Her heart was so filled with excitement.  She is ready to communicate and to connect.  This will be a lot of fluff for a while I am sure.  She is only 8 you know.   But as she gets older, and this tradition continues… How much more valuable will this be?

I would love to see your thoughts on this… and pictures of yours.  Share your blog links and pictures and how things are working out for you.  Most of all… may your relationships with your kids always be blessed!

mommy charis 5

School With a View!

school with a viewSchool has gone much smoother since we moved Muppin’s desk in front of the window!  She now has school with a view!  Instead of dark rooms lit with light-bulbs (it is dark in the Pacific Northwest when it is the rainy season) she now gets natural light and she gets to stare out at our beautiful yard and watch birds, our dog and the weather!  She has several acres of country to look at and even though there is a lot to see, she is more eager to do her work and will do it for a longer period.  She adores seeing God’s beauty while she learns.

Who knew all one needed to do was give a child beauty to help them learn!?  Oh, I guess Charlotte Mason and John Holt might have.. hehe…

If your kids are having trouble learning or staying focused try something like it yourself.  Her desk may now be in the kitchen which is not the most attractive place for it, but most definitely the best place.

To Homeschool or Not to Homeschool! (part 2)

Yesterday I wrote about how we came to the point where we felt we needed to do something different than school.  During the time of wondering how I could possibly help my daughter I was pouring my heart out to someone and they mentioned homeschooling.  I must admit when I first heard her speak of homeschooling fear overcame me.  “I am not qualified to teach daughter… I don’t even know how to start… My daughter would drive me crazy or I would drive her crazy… What in the world will happen to my daughter if I choose to do it?.. Won’t my daughter be scarred for life?..”  On and on the fear-filled questions went.  And I must also admit that those questions still come from time to time.

But as I researched the subject, literally spending hundreds of hours going to dozens of blogs, dozens of websites that were for and against homeschooling, and dozens of curriculum websites, not to mention speaking to people in person, I have found that everyone who makes this decision goes through the same kind of stress and worries when trying to come up with the right decision for their child and family.  That was a comfort.  What has been more comfort are the statistics I have found while doing my research.

Homeschooling with a View!

Homeschooling with a View!

If you look at the education aspect alone, homeschoolers test much higher on average than traditional school kids.  They transition into the non-school world much better and high ranked colleges are now recruiting homeschoolers because they work better on their own, have more original ideas and are more self-motivated.  They know how to learn and love it.  That was enough to get me to thinking more earnestly.

Then the next thing that I researched was how it would affect my family and its dynamics.  Would we get closer or would it drive a wedge between us.  That was exciting to read about as well because blog after blog, story after story, book after book all I found was that the bond between children and parents and siblings was strengthened and sealed on a deeper level than ever before.  It was a lifestyle, not just school.   I wanted that too!

Then there was the social aspect.  I have been asked many times, “How do you socialize your kids?”  Asking as if I have my daughter locked in the closet until it is time for school then shove her back in there after it is over.  Most homeschoolers are very social and very active, quite a bit more than the normal family.  And their activities revolve around kids of all ages as well as adults and people of all different lifestyle backgrounds.  In regular school, kids are stuck in a class of kids all the same age from the same area of town… homeschooling seemed to be better at teaching your child how to communicate and have fun in all kinds of situations (unless you of course locked them in the closet all day except when homeschooling).  😉

My daughter has learned how to play nice not only with kids her own age but older kids and younger ones.  She has learned how to have fun with seniors and adults of all ages.  She has helped feed the poor and do other kind things for people.  Not saying that kids in school don’t learn these things as well, just that homeschoolers do too and it can often be the focus.

When I started to see all the opportunities and possibilities, far more than I could share here, I started to get excited… very excited!  It wasn’t how I ever expected to feel when the word homeschooling was ever mentioned.

During this whole time we asked the Lord to weigh in on the subject.  Because without His leading where would we be? We knew that if we listen to God, researched wisely, made no rash decisions that we would be able to come to the right decision for our family.  God knows what is best for us, and He will guide our every path during this decision.  God has also given us very strong command 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.  It is our responsibility to make sure our kids learn, even and especially if they go to public school.  Homeschooling puts that responsibility square in your lap, and that can be a very good thing for our kids.

We have been homeschooling for just over a year now.  It was the best decision we ever made.  Our daughter is flourishing in school, she loves it!  She has friends, family and faith to fill her life.  And she can play in the snow all she wants, because I am the teacher and when I say schools over, it is!  Even if it is only 10:00am  😉

If you are thinking of homeschooling, remember that other people’s experiences are vital.  Research is a must.

Knowing your family is imperative.  But if you do not consult the Lord through it all, then you are flying by the seat of your pants.  You may end up doing the right thing, but not without a lot of stress, heartache and bumps that could have been avoided along the way.  I pray you are able to make the right decision for your family with God’s help.  If I can ever answer any questions I am more than happy to do my best.

Thank you for listening to our story.  God bless and have a wonderful New Year!!!