Fun in the Son !
When I say the word summer, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Vacation? Swimming? Camping? Family time? Regardless of the specific activity that comes to mind, I would venture to say they all have the same common denominator… ” FUN.”
I would like to challenge you to find fun in the daily tasks. If summer is 25% of our year, does this reflect the percentage of time that we have fun? Find a way to bring the fun year-round.
“This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
Need help bringing the fun inside? Make chores fun! If you turn household chores into a game, the children will forget they are working and will enjoy the game. Here are a couple of ideas for you to try:
- Treasure Hunt Clean Up – When it is time to clean up, tell the children that there are hidden treasures and the only way they will discover them is to clean up the playroom, or their room, etc. (You will have previously hidden, in secret, some small things that your children like; coins, candy, toys, or handmade coupons redeemable for their favorite dessert). You add the fun! Bull’s-Eye – Create a bull’s- eye for your children when teaching them to sweep. Using painters’ tape, mark a target for them on the floor. Tell them to sweep all the crumbs onto the target. This will help them learn to sweep and have fun while doing it.
- For all the year-round homeschool moms, simply announce that when everyone is finished with their schoolwork, we will all go in the backyard and play in the water sprinkler. (Remember those?) The kids will think you have a new invention, and it makes a fun bonus for a strong school day finish.
What about your personal time with the Lord? Is it a chore? Why not make it fun? He is your Lord and Savior. This should be the time of day that you get your cup filled by Him. Get a concordance and do a word study on “JOY”. The Lord loves us and wants us to be happy. Smile, it’s contagious!
“And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord: it shall rejoice in His salvation.” Psalm 35:9
Find one thing every day that brings joy by bringing the fun!
They say good news travels fast, but have you ever thought about how far good news travels?
I must say that until recently, I never did! In my January letter, I shared Jennie Dagerath’s information and her podcast, Four Boys And A Vision. In this podcast, she speaks with Daphne and Andrew Kirk. They are part of a ministry called Generation 2 Generation, where they discuss relevant issues for today, Their Mission: “Reconnecting the generations and preparing them ‘for such a time as this.’”
We shared that podcast because Jennie and her husband serve on the FEAST Board, and I thought that all of you would enjoy the good news of her encouragement and vision. Imagine my shock when I heard that the podcast we shared, deep in the heart of Texas, had been heard by people literally all around the world, being shared in many countries and ultimately with Jennie’s friend whose family is stationed in England. Now that is some good news that has gone the distance!
“As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.” Proverbs 25:25
Good news continues to travel as we have received another podcast by Jennie. During a time when everything seems out of the normal realm, people are being forced to make choices about their children’s education. Many restrictions and regulations have been mandated, courtesy of COVID. Just in time, Jennie discusses schooling at home vs. homeschooling. Now that things are loosening up, many people are conflicted about their options for the coming school year. Projections show that 40% of families do not want to return to their previous school since the mandate to stay home. If you know someone who needs to have their “why” reinforced, or possibly are considering homeschool, Lessons in Lockdown is the podcast they need to hear. Jennie gives inspiration and practical tips to help navigate this season, in relation to the impact on education and families. “Let us, therefore, come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:6
Remember, we at FEAST are always here to help in the homeschool journey. Whether you are inquiring, ready to start, or needing solutions, we are here for you! “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2
I encourage you to take a few minutes and listen to Lessons in Lockdown.
April 2021 – Time to Get In Shape
I always get a renewed desire to “get in shape” once spring is in full bloom. The weather is beautiful, the birds are singing, and it makes me want to be outside. Whether I am walking, gardening, or mowing the grass, I am burning more calories than I would on a normal day. This is a change that can make you feel better. You know there is more to “getting in shape” than exercising and burning calories. Additional things that will help you feel better and accomplish your goals are Wait Training, Strength Training, and Endurance Training.
- Developing “Wait Training” requires courage, patience, obedience, and expectance. We live in an “I want it now” world, and all our media sources have taught us to be impatient and demanding. Make sure you slow down, take some personal time each day with the Lord, in prayer, and in His Word. Plan in pencil and use a big eraser! This will help in every aspect of your life.
- “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 • Building up your “Strength Training” takes time and energy. Mr. Atlas did not earn his title overnight; in fact, it took him years. You need to practice diligently by using challenges as a tool. With this strength, you can exercise meekness, as strength is made perfect in weakness. When you are in your best shape, you will be more likely to finish strong. Leave worry out!
- “…My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness…” II Cor. 12:9 • The final building block is “Endurance Training.” Trials yield the fruit of endurance by overcoming being unpopular, afflictions, hardness and acts of selflessness. As an ambassador for Christ, we will experience the same hatred He did. Remember, He was betrayed by a friend. Learn to identify the training and be a champion for the cause of Christ.
“Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”
After accomplishing all this training and getting in good shape, we can be a better wife, mom, teacher, friend, and more importantly a better Christian. I challenge you to find a training partner for accountability. Strive to be the best “me” you can be. Remember your training as the trials come.
As a Mom, I cannot say that I set out to be a lifelong learner. In fact, as I entered adulthood, I do not think that term had even come on the scene yet. But the older I get, the more I like the concept; because the one thing I do know is that the more I teach, the more I learn.
When I was homeschooling my boys, I re-learned many things. With my oldest, I learned for the second time, and four years later, with my youngest son, I learned them for the third time. I think it is funny how you can learn something, grasp the concept, and think I will remember this forever. And then you go down the road a little bit; it is gone as if it “fell out of your brain.” I do not have a fancy clinical term for this condition, but I am a test specimen that is living proof; it happens. In the book, according to Linda, I think it’s because our days and our lives become full of things, those which are not brought to our mind on a regular basis are lost. For example, I learned the multiplication tables in elementary and with each boy. Now that time has passed, I find myself using fingers as a cheat to do the calculation.
Knowing that we learn by teaching, let’s look at a day in the life of a homeschool Mom: She teaches her children academics. In doing this, she learns how to increase her own education as well as seeing how her children learn. How do they process the information, and what are their take-aways? “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” Philippians 4:9
She shepherds their hearts. This requires a personal investment of her time and energy. She must model behaviors, interactions, and customs. These will reinforce in her, what she is sowing into her children. Her actions will speak louder than her words and both she and her children will be more loving and kinder. “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” Luke 6:45 All the while this homeschool mom is also a help meet to your husband, a daughter/ granddaughter, a sister, a niece, and a friend, just to name a few. If you look at any one of those elements, there is teaching involved for the duration of that “job” or relationship, resulting in learning for her.
In God’s Word, he tells us to “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.” Proverbs 9:9 I just double-checked, and there is no expiration date!
I remember the first time someone asked the adult me, what did you learn today? My internal thought was, what is wrong with you? Fast forward to today where I strive to learn at least one thing a day. I do not set it as a requirement, because I do not need the stress, but it is a great goal.
Love can mean so many different things. Have you ever stopped and thought about all the types of love we have? One of the first loves we know, is the love of a mother. Gentle, caressing, unconditional, just to name a few. Our mothers love us from the beginning, through illness, disobedience, all the while caring physically for us and never tiring of her job.
As we grow older, we encounter many who will “love us” but it is a superficial love more like caring than love. It has a short season and seems to fade. Regardless of our level of reciprocation, their love is simply not the type that lasts a lifetime.
For most of us, the next type of love is “the one”! That special someone with whom we choose to spend our lives. We may just be a couple, we may have a family, but the important thing is that we are doing life together. Caring, compromising and sharing…everything,
So what kind of love do you have? Maybe you not only remember your mother, but now you are a mother. No matter where you are on the spectrum, I challenge you to look around, think of all those who you hold dear. I would venture a guess that they hold you dear as well.
While the world seems to be spinning out of control, think of the ones you love, and the ones who love you. It makes life seem not as frightening. Take comfort in the fact that there is one who sticketh closer than a brother, and that is Jesus Christ. Proverbs 17:17
In this season of love, find the time to reach out to those less fortunate, or maybe alone. Think what a card, flower, or candy bar might mean to them. It does not take a lot of effort to be a blessing, but the impact could be the gift that keeps on giving.
Matthew 22:39 “..Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
I love a New Year! It always feels like a do over to me. A fresh slate to assess the state of my life: my faith, my family and my friends. What if I told you that you could incorporate all three into your life as a homeschool mom. Have you ever played a game like Monopoly and had the “get out of jail free card” or maybe a card game and you had the joker? Isn’t it a great feeling to know that you have a “special pass” that will help you? Well, that pass is called hope. Today I would like to share some with you!
Meet Jennie Dagerath, she and her husband Michael serve on the FEAST board of directors. Jennie Dagerath is veteran homeschool mom of four boys, ages 19-25. Due to the influence of their pastor and some dear friends when they were first married in Texas in 1990, Jennie and her husband Michael decided to homeschool even before they had children. Their primary reason for homeschooling was to encourage a strong family and to ensure their values were both taught and demonstrated on a daily basis to their children. Jennie began her homeschool journey in 1999, while living in Tennessee and continued when the family moved back to Texas in 2008. Their family began participating in Classical Conversations in 2009, and have loved seeing the way the entire program fits together so beautifully with their family goals.
They also serve on the leadership board at their church in San Antonio, where Jennie sings on the worship team. Jennie loves serving as a doula, helping moms during pregnancy, labor and early postpartum days. She also enjoys reading, couponing, studying natural food & medicine, watching HGTV and living in the country with her “farm”ily of chickens, goats, dogs and cats. Above all, Jennie loves being a wife to Michael and mom to her boys (Jonathan, Jeremy, Jeffrey and Josiah). It is her passion and delight to encourage other moms in their homeschool journey to do it all joyfully and for the glory of the Lord.
Recently she was interviewed by Andrew and Daphne Kirk who host the podcast have been friends of our family for about 15 years. She got to know them when they lived in Tennessee because their church was their sponsor church when they would come to the United States. (They are missionaries based in England who travel all over the world.) Whenever they would come into town, Jonathan and Jeremy would take Daphne out for coffee and hear her stories. That little act of connecting with a “real life” missionary has led to a sweet friendship and connection between their families for all these years now. The Dagerath family has traveled with them to Israel a number of times. They asked Jennie to speak on the podcast where the goal was to encourage families to be intentional in the way they are raising their families, which for us (as for many) was a main driver for our continuing on the path of homeschooling. Homeschooling has been such a wonderful, integral part of our parenting and I love to encourage families who are walking a similar path to keep going, keep pressing forward, knowing our labor in the Lord is not in vain!
In addition to serving with Classical Conversations, Jennie and her husband, Michael, serve on the board of directors at FEAST (Family Educators Alliance of South Texas), a homeschool support group in San Antonio.
There is a feeling of overwhelming joy that comes over me this time of year. I love Christmas! This includes Christmas music, which I secretly listen to all year, as now it is playing on the radio and in all the stores. Excitement is in the air, the fact that people seem to be a little nicer; it just all fits together. Although Christmas means different things to individuals and families as we all have our own traditions and favorite things to do, it is the time of year where people seem happy and receptive to smiles and conversation.
The one thing that drives the celebration is the “Reason for the Season,” which for my family is Jesus Christ. We do not worship the tree, the candy cane, or any of the other “traditions” but take this holiday to celebrate the birth of Christ. He was born as a babe in a manger to die on an old rugged cross for the sins of the world, specifically for me.
I pray that this year, if you need a “Reason for the Season” or want to know more about that “Babe in the Manger,” let’s do coffee. Knowing the Babe, who died for your sins, will change your life and your world. It will impact your family, children, and homeschool.
Let’s do coffee or tea to discuss!
Contact me at 210-854-3178 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Merry Christmas to you and yours!
As we enter into the season of thanksgiving, have you begun thinking about the things for which you are thankful? I have had a strong desire for the past several years to try different ways to express my thankfulness while encouraging others to show theirs. I know a couple of years I found myself posting on social media thirty days of gratefulness. It was a chore remembering to post every day, but served as a good reflection on God’s blessings and the things for which I was grateful. One year I wrote out the “Top 10 Reasons to be Thankful”. To be honest, it was a hard list; when you have so many things to be thankful for, picking the “Top 10” was hard. Yet again, it was a great blessing reflecting on the abundance of blessings in my life.
“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.” Colossians 3:17
Why do I encourage others to focus on being thankful? Because we truly have so much for which to be thankful! By sharing things that you are thankful for, you are not bragging, but rather publicly giving God the credit. He is such a good Father! As a parent, I try to be a good mother, but many times I fall short. I am thankful that my Heavenly Father NEVER falls short.
“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?” Matthew 7:11
Even in this, the year of the pandemic, we have had some pretty amazing things happen. What you ask? Here are some things I am choosing to focus on:
- Stop focusing on the negative, find the positive; Homeschooling gained awareness, and many new families are choosing that journey because the schools were not operating as usual.
- Keep looking for the silver lining; It was a time of reconnecting with our children and grandchildren because we were
- Make sure you are enjoying the gifts that come to you each day; We found ourselves enjoying meals together at home, as the restaurants were
Everything we do and all the decisions we are making goes back to us, choosing to be thankful.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:7
May you and your family have a blessed Thanksgiving Holiday!
This might come as a surprise to you, but I really do not enjoy writing. Doesn’t that seem odd since I write a letter to you each month?
It all began years ago, when my husband Dwayne and I went to a THSC Convention. We began going to their conventions as a retreat; we could go and be encouraged by the speakers, and no one required my assistance.
During these years, we met John Erickson, author of the Hank the Cowdog series. This particular year, he had a writer’s curriculum at his booth that he had written. During lunch, our conversation was around the curriculum and writing. He told us, “you know what makes a good writer?” I leaned forward, expecting some profound requirements or skill list, but to my surprise, his answer was, “somebody who’s got something to say.” These words spoke to me, kept me awake at night, and haunted my thoughts during the day. Why? Because I knew that I had “something to say.”
I am a believer of using your life experiences to help others. How can I share my experiences? Well, I could have coffee and conversation with people which I love to do! However, in order to share with a bigger audience, it would require writing things down and sharing with more than one or two at a time. Please know that I am not saying I have all of the answers; I don’t even know all of the questions! But I believe that the Lord has brought me through many trials, valleys and was always faithful to me. A friend once shared that you can only use the words “always” or “never” if you are referring to God. I remember that wisdom every time I use either one of those words.
I guess you are wondering why I am sharing this with you today? It is because sometimes, in the haste of our busy lives, we tend to sell ourselves short, believing that we are not capable of doing certain things. I am here to tell you that you are correct. I could never share these truths with you if it were up to me. Praise the Lord; it is up to Him! Find joy in every victory.
“He hath made everything beautiful in His time;…” Ecclesiastes 3:11a
I challenge you, next time you feel overwhelmed, or gaze upon a project you don’t believe you can accomplish, step out in faith, even if that something is Algebra with your child.
“I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13
Be encouraged, mask or no mask, stay home, or go out, God is still in control!
If we don’t have order, we have chaos. I always had a hard time with order. It was not until my children were older that I figured out that time spent on structuring my homeschool was time well spent. It sure beat the time I had lost as I drifted without a plan.
“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace…” I Corinthians 14:33
Along the same lines, I needed structure in my faith and my walk with the Lord. For many years I attended church and took for granted that I was ok because I attended church regularly. Boy, was I wrong! It was not until I began to study God’s word on my own that the Lord revealed to me His ways, grace, and peace.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
Recently I was studying I Thessalonians 5-22. I hope you will take time to read the passage. I felt so enlightened after I examined these verses. It is one of those things where you have read it a hundred times… and suddenly, as if you are reading it for the first time, it takes on a whole new meaning. Instead of just reading the verses, I saw it as a list of the things I needed to do:
- Don’t render evil for evil
- Follow that which is good
- Rejoice evermore
- Pray without ceasing
- In everything give thanks (This is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you)
- Quench not the spirit
- Despise not prophesying
- Prove all things
- Hold fast to that which is good
- Abstain from all appearance of evil
I realized that I had taken some of these items as suggestions! That was never what God intended. Another thing I realized was that in His Word, God mentions one thing twice: “follow or hold fast to that which is good. I believe the reason it is mentioned twice is for emphasis.
This has become my list to work on, making them a habit, one at a time. I challenge you to find the order, not just in your homeschooling, but in your faith and walk with the Lord. It sure has made my days seem brighter and less stressful. The fact is that it has affected every aspect of my life.
Maybe you will find that order, is in order!
I don’t know how it makes you feel, but every time I hear the word “priority,” it makes me feel like I am about to get in trouble: Either for something I did wrong or did not do at all. I think my biggest hang-up is that sometimes I don’t feel like my priorities are the same as other people’s priorities…
Looking to turn that around, I began to investigate the subject. I started by looking at the definition of the word priority:
|1.||a.||1. the quality or state of being prior|
|2. precedence in date or position of publication —used of tax|
|b.||1. superiority in rank, position, or privilege|
|2. legal precedence in the exercise of rights over the same subject matter|
a preferential rating especially: one that allocates rights to goods and services usually in limited supply that project has top priority
|3.||something given or meriting attention before competing alternatives|
By the mere definition, a priority would be something determined by me or me and my husband
(unless it pertains to a legal matter). So no need to fret over what others think about my priorities.
Moving along, as we plan to launch the school year, keep the important things at the top of the list! Now my important things may not match your important things. This only means we have different priorities. So as you read this, if one of my priorities does not apply to you, substitute your own.
Top Three Priorities:
1. Relationships – It is imperative that I nurture and manage my relationships. They are like gardens; if they are left unattended, they will become overgrown with weeds, which will choke out the good plants. So for me, it starts with my relationship with: God, husband, children, mother, extended and church family, friends, and neighbors.
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.” Matthew 22:37-38
2. Home Management – As homeschool moms, we not only manage our home but our homeschool as well. They can both run like a well-tuned machine if we have a plan and then work our plan. If you need help with a plan, we have just the help you need in the Resource Center. We don’t have to know everything, just know where to go for help. Like our relationships, if our homes are neglected, they will not flourish; rather, they will wither.
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” John 15:5-6
3. Self Care – With all of these things on our plates, it is important for us to stay strong and healthy. This is one I struggled with for years. I categorized “self-care” as something I should not do; it was selfish of me to put myself ahead of others. Boy, was I wrong; and it came with a price. I went through cancer, four surgeries, and years of medication. That would be the pound of cure, sure wish I would have implemented the ounce of prevention. Take care of yourself, make sure you listen to your body; it will communicate with you.
“What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” I Corinthians 6:19-20
When it comes to priorities, the key is balance. If you find yourself unable to keep up with everything, it is ok to ask for help. Reach out to a friend, neighbor, family member, or me! We have many resources here at FEAST, so if there is something you need help with- if you need a sounding board, or a listening ear, feel free Resting in Him, to reach out to us! We are here for you! (210) 342-4674 .
“Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes.” Deuteronomy 12:8
For just a moment, let’s do a little time travel. Come along with me, and we will go all the way back to…my childhood. I remember a day when people were courteous to one another. If people disagreed, they would come together and discuss things while displaying respect for the other person’s viewpoint. They would not always come to an agreement, but if they could not agree, they would agree to disagree without bitterness and hatred.
“Now, the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another
according to Christ Jesus.” Romans 15:5
Now, back to reality, as homeschool families, we are our own group. Yet within this great group, we have smaller groups. I would like to encourage all of us to focus on our commonalities and not our differences. We have a great common denominator as Christians and as homeschoolers.
“And all that believed were together and had all things common;” Acts 2:44
As we stand together on the spectrum, be courteous to those around you, and yes, even those who might be at the other end. Look for me, I will be there too, looking for you. United, we can accomplish more, be stronger and most importantly give all glory and praise to the Lord.
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for the brethren to dwell together in unity!”Psalm 133:1
When I was growing up, I would go with my mom to the grocery store. While we were in line, when the cashier would count out the change, sometimes the customer would say, “keep the change.” I always felt like the cashier was so lucky, it was free money! No one would ever turn it down, and they would always say thank you. The unexpected bonus seemed to make them very happy, so I learned that “change” made people happy.
“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8
As an adult, I came to understand that change is part of life. Once single, I found myself courting, falling in love, and then marrying my sweetheart. Now a wife, the next phase, was becoming a mother, which I did twice. Soon the boys became old enough; we needed to decide about their education, and the change was to go against the norm and home educate our children. Each season of my life was filled with one transformation after another. Many of the changes were good, but not all, as I had originally thought.
“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,” I Corinthians 15:51
Recently, changes have been sanctioned on us all: stay home-work safe, where and when we have permission to go, how many can go with us, what we can do when we get there, how far apart we must be from others, and we must wear a mask. There were businesses closed, schools closed, even churches; however, I noticed, during the chaos, there was a group of people who were not as affected by the changes. This group called homeschoolers were able to continue educating their children, and life seemed to function at a high percentage of normalcy. This showed me that change had different effects on different categories of individuals.
Realizing we could not go to restaurants, the movies or play sports seemed hard at first, but that was when homeschoolers found the real change. The easier lifestyle, with a slower pace, they never expected. Time to spend together, time to do family projects, time to spend together as a family, time to work through issues with your struggling learner, or work ahead with your gifted child, and time to spend with the Savior.
With all these changes, what have you learned? Where did your comfort and peace come from? What is your takeaway? When they press the fast-forward button again, will you go back, or will you “keep the change”?
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19