A House Built on the Rock

I’m so thankful for my husband. He is such an incredible father and loving husband. I’m just so blessed to share each day of our lives through everything. When we were 15 and 16 we choose our life verse, and in all the years that followed we lived out the truth of it…

I love being his wife. I love being a woman. I love being a mother. I am so thankful for my amazing body that carried ten children to term and nurtured them so beautifully.

I’m so thankful for how my husband and I have a completed each other and how we have experienced the true miracle of creating a family. I love his selflessness, and how he gives and gives and gives like it is no sacrifice because his heart and mind are set on eternity.

He is such a giver but as he longs to be more and more like Jesus. He always feels like there is so much more work God has to do in him. I love watching him love our family. I love how he can make wise and logical choices when I’m all emotional and reactive! I love how he trusts my intuition and my vision for our calling. I love how we are a team.

A lot of people feel incomplete, confused, like something is missing. I think it’s that feeling God noticed when he put Adam in the garden of Eden. In all of perfect creation Adam was incomplete. He needed a bride, because in himself he was lacking all the glory of the woman God was about to create. Adam was not complete in himself. Not even with God walking with him in the garden.

God didn’t say, “Oops! I made him incomplete–I’d better add female qualities to his nature so he will be finished.” No, God made a woman to be his perfect fit. He said it is not good for a man to be alone. How kind of God!! And what a beautiful creation God made in his work of art called woman.

As I wake up in my husband’s arms there is a feeling of being perfectly matched. A perfect fit. A completion. We are a work of art. We are not perfect, but we are perfectly designed by our wonderful creator to be one. And from our unity we build a family that has a strong foundation of love, and all the blessings that we both bring together. We are so different–we have different strengths and weaknesses–and I find that where I am weak he has strength and when he is lacking, I am gifted.

Sometimes I wonder how it’s even possible to have such a beautiful unity in this crazy world, yet we do. I think it has a lot to do with my husband’s dedication to praying with me and reading the Bible to me every night before we fall asleep. When we were teens he would always pray for me and read the Bible to me before saying goodbye. It was the sweetest day when we wore our wedding rings and didn’t have to say goodbye, and he began our marriage from the very first night by praying over me and speaking God’s words from the open Bible in his hands.

It will be 25 years in May 2023, and what a beautiful 25 years we have had! I’m so thankful that from our childhood we both pursued the heart of God and were willing to choose to live by faith, not giving in to the lies, confusion or voices of culture. We build this house on the ROCK. Unlike the culture this Rock never changes.

I pray my children know the same joy we know. Most of all I pray all my children surrender to the plans of God declared in His word. May they not be swayed by the voice of the culture, but alert to the voice of the Savior.

Jesus promises that He will bless those who trust and obey and build their lives in His Words.

I pray that they will live life in anticipation of eternity.

I pray that they will intimately know Him, who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think!

Oh the mighty power that is at work in us! Without His power we would never know this beautiful gift of unity, harmony and the grace of life together.

Jesus said everyone who hears His words and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. Then He went on to say everyone who hears His words and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand (Matthew 7:24-26).

If you can’t figure out why your life is a mess, perhaps you are building your life of the sands of cultural confusion instead of the Rock of Jesus. Hear His Words. Put them to practice. It’s never too late to teach the next generation to build on the rock.

Intentional Motherhood: The Fulfillment

Children are the fulfillment of my dream because I have faith that we are raising them to be voices of hope in this crazy world. Sometimes we need courage to trust that we don’t have to give our children the same lifestyle our parents gave us. We can look at what our parents did wrong and be different. My husband grew up with a dad who overcame addictions and was married three times. My husband came from a broken home, and through his trauma he decided to fight for the opposite, by the grace of God. I know in my family the calling is very unique in these modern times. Very few will have what it takes to raise 15 kids, but if it’s your dream, it is possible! If God calls you to, have a big family!

Josh and I love raising children. We have built a really sweet life and joyful marriage. What we have is rare, and people like us should be raising kids, lots of them! And people like us should be the ones adopting! If you have a heart for children don’t be afraid to follow the calling and find ways to fill your life with children who need love, hope and healing. Children are the greatest investment we could ever make in this world. They have the potential to lead this world out of darkness and into the light! But not if the Christians raise their few children to shun the idea of nurturing the future generations, because it’s so stressful or whatever.

Mothers! Show your children what a treasure they are to you! Speak joy! Let them see your delight. My children know that I think they are gifts to planet Earth! Why are we kinda different?

Josh and I read the Bible together (through the Bible in a year) when we were teens. We met when we were 13 and 14. We had a calling on our lives to surrender everything for the high calling of the gospel! We saw over and over that children are called a gift, an honor, and joy. We saw the darkness of the world, growing darker. We felt like we were nearing the end times and had a call upon our marriage to raise up children who would be well prepared to go out into the darkness to be a light for the gospel. We wanted to raise them without fear of evil, but confidence in the power of God to rescue, love, heal, and bring forgiveness to the hurting.

We didn’t just want to raise up kids that would be missionaries and Sunday school teachers or worship leaders – like working in the church is the only Christian calling. We wanted to raise them to be leaders in the Arts, in science, in politics, in social media, in education, entertainment, music, business, and in the gifting of the Holy Spirit to shine like stars in the darkness and to show the way of love, kindness and peace where there is pain.

We considered each of the children to have a unique and precious calling, talent set, and unique individuality that would need to be respected. Each child would grow up to have something to bring into the world to show the glory of the Creator. This is not a common passion I see in very many couples planning their families. But we do know quite a few other families doing the same. And we are eager to teach others from what we have discovered. But unfortunately you just don’t hear it taught in church that it is a high calling and worthy sacrifice to raise up children intentionally for the Kingdom.

And as a teen I sought to choose a husband specifically for his heart for children, Jesus and the Arts. I had a wish list. I knew I wanted a big family, so I didn’t just fall in love with some random cutie–I chose my husband because I saw great qualities of a future father, and I saw his heart for Jesus and his unique pursuits in the Arts and science. I wasn’t lucky, I was intentional. I wasn’t lucky, I was blessed! I wasn’t lucky, I worked hard! I wasn’t lucky, I believed God’s words!

What vision are you passing along to the next generation? Your life is a testimony and witness to our youth. If they become like you, if they listen to you, if they catch your vision — will they bring light into this darkness?

Intentional Motherhood: The Vision

At church this evening my teen daughters were learning about the calling of Mary to bring Jesus into the world. In the discussion after the Bible Study my daughters learned that most of the other girls in their group think that motherhood is a poor choice, not worth the sacrifice to the woman’s body, and having a family is an unrealistic goal in this dark and miserable world.

My daughters tried to share a different perspective but informed about “the real world”. Nothing new here. When I was a teen who wanted to be a “stay at home mom” and an artist with a home-based business, my friends made fun of me, and said motherhood is a waste and it’s stupid to bring children into this horrible world. I longed to have children who would make this world more beautiful.

Having children was no sacrifice at all. It can be a lot of work at times; but from my perspective, giving life was the fulfillment of a beautiful dream. Having each child was like receiving a beautiful chest full of precious treasure every time. After our ten children were born (and for the first time ever our income was more than we needed to survive), we answered the call to adopt five more children. I was not an overwhelmed unhappy mother. I thought of the calling as the biggest privilege!

Adoption wasn’t easy, but after all the gifts God has given me, He was so generous to trust me with even more souls to care for. And though it was really hard, I see such beautiful fruit! These girls in our community have learned a lot in school and social media about life goals. From the outside you see the ideal, picture-perfect suburban life that their parents worked very hard to give them. Others come from broken homes, though they live in picture- perfect neighborhoods. They complain of the darkness and evil in the world, yet live in one of the most prosperous and safe places on this rocky earth! They have the best the world has to offer, and they are stressed and discouraged about the future. (Click here to continue reading.)

Living the Dream

I have been pondering the idea of living one’s dreams and realize that I have been so content everywhere, through everything because my dream is him. And every minute of every day, shared anywhere, through anything is fine with me, because he is with me, loving me, and being mine, and sharing it all, making life, thriving, surviving, struggling, hurting, traveling, serving, staying home or going to Rome–it really doesn’t matter. My dream is fulfilled every morning, waking up together anywhere, because we have this day, by God’s grace, together.

There is no better dream that the one I’m living. After almost 25 years of marriage, I’ve known him for 32 sweet years of my 46, and I can say our love is everything that God created love on this earth to be. The sweetest parable of the love of Jesus Christ with His Bride. Like Ephesians 5 says that marriage should be.

Morning mist and autumn skies

Summer passing in your eyes

I light a fire, and start the coffee brewing

I am up, and you sleep in,

I’ve kissed you twice

And will again

When the coffee’s hot and mine is sweet

With honey, sugar, caramel, chocolate or maple

It doesn’t matter to me, any kind of sweet will do, and I’d even take my coffee black

If I could quickly crawl

back in bed with you.

The children sleep, just eight are here,

The other seven are world travelers now,

Somehow that happened

as our life together graced this globe,

and we are here just staying warm and true

‘Cause every dream I ever had was found

In another morning coffee cup with you.

It means we have another day,

and it tells me of last night,

When you were snuggled by my heart

And I turned out the lights

And you were first to fall asleep

Asking me to bring another blanket

Where did it go,

when we kicked it off last spring?

I kept you warm, I always do,

it’s mutual, it’s loving you,

and living every day like it’s a dream

It isn’t what I thought or what it seems

But every morning coffee that we share

Reminds me that we made it through

the darkest nights, the blood, the hope, the tears,

the baby cries, the sleepless years,

the morning flights, the silly fights,

the love, the loss, the pain.

The seasons change.

We have seen the winter pass from island sand

and I’ve run barefoot through the snow holding your hand,

and it didn’t really matter, come what may,

’cause every morning coffee shared with you

is testimony to another dream come true.

‘Cause every morning coffee that we share

is the story of another night with you.

Read Josh and Sarah’s story here.

Your Husband & Homeschooling

Ladies, just a word of encouragement – Thank each of your husbands today, or this evening, for all he does to support you as a homeschooling mom. Husbands often feel like they are not part of what is happening with homeschooling, and if you are a super busy homeschool mom – well, that can be hard on the marriage.

When I created all the Fun-Schooling books I wanted to provide my family with a method of homeschooling that wouldn’t wear me out. My relationship with my husband is the most important in the family, my whole life is built on my bond with my husband. So don’t be too busy or too focused on being a teacher that you don’t have time and energy for your husband. Homeschooling can make us forget that we are a wife and mom, so be sure to enjoy your role as a wife.

If you are enjoying using Thinking Tree Books – Be sure to show him your appreciation for making it possible to buy the books. Be sure to let him know that the books have not only been a great tool for the kids, but also bring you joy.

If homeschooling is dominating your whole life and you are finding distance in your marriage because of the stress of homeschooling, you may need to change something. You may need to get out of the box. Delight Directed Learning, Fun-Schooling and Un-Schooling can really bring relief and joy into your family.

As you launch into this year’s homeschooling adventure be sure to consider your marriage. Don’t choose a curriculum that is going to sap you dry. Choose a method that allows you to keep your marriage #1. My husband often says “Happy Wife – Happy Life”.

Don’t feel like you are failing your kids if you choose methods that make you, and your kids, and your husband happy. Many people feel like they are not doing “enough” if school isn’t rigorous and stressful. What you may need to do is write down your LONG TERM goals for your marriage, your family and for each child. You can feel good about letting go of anything that is irrelevant to your long term goals. Don’t do anything in your homeschool out of guilt, pride or fear – learning should be joyful.

Let learning be part of life, and enjoy a life of learning together with your family. Amen? Here is a great resource for Dad to get involved:

Unplug!

Last year I did an experiment, and over the weekend, from Friday morning to Monday morning, I deleted Facebook, Instagram and Messenger from my phone–and I learned something. I made a concerted effort to be more present, less distracted. I put first things first. Sometimes I feel like my presence on social media is so “valuable” that I overlook my family’s needs, and even my own need for focus and a deeper prayer life.

It was so refreshing to me to unplug. Have you tried it? How did it go? Post a picture! You didn’t miss ANYTHING while you were offline, I promise. But how much would you have missed this weekend if you had been distracted by that endless newsfeed and the confusing voices of Social Media? Our families need us far more than we need Facebook.

I decided at that time that for the following 2 months I would get offline every weekend and just be more present in my home, with my family, in my marriage and in deeper prayer and devotion. It was so good for my soul to let go.

Here’s a book I published a few years ago to help with such a mission. It’s only $10 – the best $10 you could spend today on your much-deserved self!

Get it here: https://amzn.to/3oXzBmS

Friend, do you need more time to focus on what really matters? Do you need more peace, more strength, more energy, more focus, more devotion and more joy? You can have it all! It’s waiting in the quiet place where you unplug and unwrap all the good gifts your home life has to offer you. Try to unplug one, two or three days in the week. It will be so, so, so good for your body, soul, mind and spirit! It will be so good for your family, for your marriage and for your life work.

When you unplug and refocus you will be in a place to remember your purpose, to reflect on your unique calling, and you will be in a place to treasure the gifts you have been given.

Social Media can be a thief in many ways and we must not let it have access to our hearts and lives in such a way that we become more responsive to our phones than we are to our husbands. Social Media can also give us an unrealistic idea of what we should be as women. Social Media can be a drain and steal words and energy that were meant for your children… instead of the masses. Social Media can be a troubling voice that shouts confusion, presents fake news, sucks us into weird videos, and plants into our minds a diluted vision of reality. Yuck, we must be on guard.

In the same light, Facebook can be a wonderful tool for connection, encouragement and a place where friends can be found, and good things can be discovered and discussed. But we must control it and not let it control us. Use your Social Media for good. Use it to be a voice of blessing, strength, hope, friendship, kindness and light. Use it to share wisdom, ideas and experience. Use it intentionally by going directly to the groups that fill your heart and inspire you in positive ways to be a better and smarter mama.

The point is: BE intentional.

Maybe turn off notifications and tune in to your own heart a little better. Turn off your phone in the evening so you can be focused more on your marriage. Listen to the precious little voices all around your home. So often we wonder why we are struggling so much in our relationships. Is it because we are distracted from investing in them? Let’s not shift the blame and say that we are lonely because of someone else’s addiction to their phone. We get sucked into Social Media at times to push away the loneliness. But is this the best? Change begins with you. Create a place of joy. Invent an atmosphere of fun, peace, learning and even romance. It’s actually up to you, because you can only change yourself and your habits. And you are not alone. We are in this together, as women who are unplugging together to build up our families and to be refreshed.

And after you unplug, return to our Facebook group, and bless the women there with your new ideas and your fresh joy! Share pictures from your weekend off! Show us what you would have missed if you have been scrolling Facebook instead.

This little book is a simple tool to help you change your daily habits, and it has been a blessing to many! I hope it is a blessing to you! Click the image below to get yours!

Taking Risks Together

Written ten years ago, but still as true today

Josh and I have been married more than 14 years, and every day is sweeter than the one before, love grows deeper and joy keeps stirring. Some people think that marriage always gets old and stale as the years go by, that doesn’t have to happen. My mom and dad have been a great example of keeping love alive. Josh and I have seen many of our friends end up with broken marriages, and it is so sad…

Josh has a silly quote “Change your life – not your wife!” He’s famous for this! To keep the excitement and fun in marriage… have an adventure, do something new together, take risks while you still have the energy and time to bounce back if things don’t work out. Learn a new skill together – like sailing, move to the country and back to town, get in over you heads on some crazy dream and hold tight to God and each other. Support each other’s goals, give each other time for refreshment, travel to new places, read books together, get a babysitter, say sorry a lot, start a new business, go on a mission together, ask God for new direction, redecorate the house, go to garage sales together, have a new kid! 🙂

There are lots of things to do together to keep the fun in marriage. The idea is to be on the same team. Some people get dizzy watching our life – they can’t understand why we are always doing new things. But, we are young, in love, energetic, and have lots of ideas and lots of dreams. Our ideas, and ventures may not always be a big success. Sometimes our plans flop, but really – if our marriage comes out stronger, our friendship sweeter, our family closer, and we wake up a little wiser and humbler – it was worth the risk.

Read more of Josh and Sarah’s story here:

You Had Each Other First–Keep Each Other First!

Homeschool Mommy – Don’t forget that you are also a wife! (I know we have a few single moms here too.) We were just having a conversation about the guilt that some of us have experienced in the homeschooling community because we don’t always grind our own wheat, bake our own bread, do desk work for 6 hours, and look like pioneers. I think that it can be a beautiful life to do all that, I used to play pioneers with my children and do the whole classical education thing.

Here is the problem that I had… at the end of the day I was too tired from baking my own bread and arguing with my girls about wearing dresses… to give my husband all the love and cuddles he needed! So, first things first, you know! If what we are doing makes us too tired to be a good lover, we are doing too much.

Your marriage is first. The best thing you can give your children is the example of being an awesome wife who truly respects and adores her husband. Keep your husband happy, and let go of the things that make you tired at the end of the day. Save a bit of yourself for your lover. Give him your best. If you have little ones this may seem impossible… but it’s not. Find out what your husband and children really need and let go of everyone else’s expectations, and people who push academics as the key to success.

Follow the advice of the people you actually want to be like. If you have homeschooling friends who seem to have everything perfect, beware–their marriages are often suffering, and they have forgotten that they have husbands. Don’t trade your marriage in for the appearance of being a perfect homeschooling teacher. You are free to be a lovable wife, that girl that he married. That’s you!