I try to infuse beauty and creativity into the simple things of life wherever I am, when we have little or much. It’s all about seeing the ordinary and everyday things as opportunities for wonder, spice, faith and shared delight.
In 2010, a realtor came to look at the house we are moving from, she said we need paint over all the murals because people want ordinary houses to imagine their own ordinary lives in.
Some people are talented with paints and pencils, others craft with words, still others are creative in providing memorable experiences. Truly, anyone can make the ordinary extraordinary–because what makes life beautiful are the people, the shared moments and smiles, baby giggles, the love and learning, the music, making and experimenting, time in worship, perhaps some furry cuddles, investing time in doing things together…and maybe a sweet treat or two!
Join us for about 5 minutes with the Brown family on a rainy day over a decade ago. The same things that made life feel magical back then still create the same wonder today!
So often we try to look at what other people are DOING to figure out how to be more like them. We try to find the secrets of their success, blessing and peace by copying them. We wonder why we are doing so much, and don’t see the results of all the “successful” people we try to replicate. What is the problem?
I’m trying to do everything right, but the results are not the same.
It’s okay to learn from the lives of people we admire and want to be more like, but let me explain why doing what they do will never make your life better.
Take Instagram for example. You get lots of ideas of what clever moms are doing, so you squeeze that idea into your already squeezed up day. It only feels like one more thing. Just smashing a new idea on top of the busy life you are already struggling to live, and all you do is feel more stressed.
So how will you ever learn to embrace the same peace and victory these other amazing moms seem to live out so effortlessly. Is it even real?
Yes. It’s real. Those of us who are living the lives that others wish to emulate are really living peaceful and victorious lives. But don’t copy what I do! Why? What I actually do constantly changes and looks totally different from day to day. If you want to experience the victory and success I have, first you must forget about trying to DO things my way.
Who I am, and who I have become, is all wrapped up in WHAT I DON’T DO! It’s not what I do that makes me successful, it all starts with what I am not. It begins with what I say NO to. It is rooted in what I am NOT doing, thinking, watching, trying, eating, listening to, following, and practicing. What makes me who I am is what I’m not. I have had to let go of some many different ideas, beliefs, pressures, time wasters, bad role models, family expectations, requests, and anything that is irrelevant to my calling.
I had to clear away all the distractions, and all the weights to run with endurance the race set before me. Becoming successful, peaceful or victorious begins with a trip to the DUMP. Clear the clutter out of your heart, mind, body, soul, spirit, and get it out of your home, kitchen, fridge, bookshelf and desktop.
Start off empty, clean, and free. Before you think about doing one more thing, consider what you ought to let go of. So as you consider what you want to do in this new school year, change your mindset. Instead of choosing what you want to do this year, make a list of un-resolutions. First decide what you will say no to, and then… Begin again.
Share: What’s on your “Not-To-Do” list this year?
Your “Not-To-Do” list is the list that will bring you so much closer to living the life you envision, for yourself and your family. Choose from these great options to begin planning your “Not-To-Do” list–click the image below to read Linda’s amazing blog post!
My daily prayer requests, you can join me in these prayers for the next 40 days.
Sunday: FAITH in the world. Prayer for Spiritual Leaders, Missionaries, Christian Influencers, Pastors, Teachers, Evangelists, Churches, and for many young people to be called to serve faithfully and have opportunities to become faithful leaders. Blessing, wisdom, power, anointing, fresh filling of God’s Spirit, healing, gifting, purity, cleansing, repentance, truth, focus, and deep humility among those who serve.
Monday: Education/Culture of Childhood: Leaders in Education, Education Reform, Homeschooling movement, Schools, Universities, Student Outreach, Child Development, Ministries that reach children, adoption, orphans, child trafficking, poverty, modern child slavery, children struggling with health, cancer, hospitalized, and for more children to be raised in homes full of grace, peace and love. Blessings, strength, peace, wisdom, revelation, open doors and encouragement for those faithfully serving children in truth and love.
Tuesday: Arts & Entertainment: Jesus Followers to become leaders in the Media, Arts & Entertainment, Music, Film, Social Media, Local, National and International touching lives through the Arts. For Leaders of Arts & Entertainment to be come Jesus Followers and transform their work into a message that brings glory to God. For those faithfully seeking Jesus and His Heart in this field to be blessed with open doors and to be protected from pride, lies, temptation and evil.
Wednesday: Science & Medicine: God’s wisdom, mercy, understanding and faith to be upon leaders in the field of Science, Research, Medicine, Healing. For Spirit led, Biblically sound, faith-filled men and women to become local, national and international leaders in these fields. For blessing upon good, honest, generous and wise leaders who know truth and already serve in this field that they would have the loudest voices and the greatest respect.
Thursday: Family: Families and multigenerational blessing upon the homes in our community, state, nation and world. Beauty for ashes, reconciliation, healing of relationships, strong marriages, faithful holy fathers, joyful mothers, teens who follow Jesus with their hearts, minds, bodies, souls and spirits and love others as they love themselves. Anointing on grandparents to pour God’s wisdom, live, beauty, forgiveness experience, and care into the lives of their children and grandchildren and to have open doors to do so. Young men and women to be faithful to Jesus in their relationships and for phones to become useful tools, and not little gods in their lives, for new marriages built on the rock, new babies, new mentors, open wombs, and healing for infertility, for many successful adoptions, for children to be free from trafficking and foster care to be placed in living families. For kids and teens and family members with deep trauma, abuse and addictions yo be set free and filled with peace. For my children to become leaders in the nations influencing the world through missions, faith, entertainment, music, science, family, government, education, public service, prayer, relationships and revival.
Friday: Community and Public Service: Lands, Nations, Governments, Military, Public Service, Community Leadership, War, Elections, Civil Unrest, Government Leaders, Branches of Government, Laws, Politics and the News industry that tells the stories. Freedom for those in prison unjustly. Just Judges. Truth in leadership. A deep awakening to truth, justice, wisdom, humility, and Faith in the leadership of the nations, states, cities and towns. For leaders to become like Jesus, to know Him, to have revelations of truth, and seek Him first and seek His ways, for those who follow Jesus to rise up and lead nations, states, cities, and towns.
Saturday: Revival: Revival of faith, worship, prayer, repentance, spiritual gifts, humility, holiness, eternal vision and the glory of God upon our homes, churches, neighborhoods, towns, cities, states, nations and most of all our individual hearts. Your Kingdom Come, Your Will be Done on Earth as it is in Heaven! Come quickly Lord Jesus! Amen
Don’t worry about having children write before they are ready. The Thinking Tree spelling books are really good for children who are not ready for writing, they color the words and write the specific words and they also do a lot of drawing. As the books advance some of them give the child an opportunity to do creative writing. If your child is not ready for the writing the BEST BEST BEST thing to do is ask the child what YOU should write for him. When the child sees you writing it stirs something up in their minds and they begin to develop the ability and desire to write.
If I am writing a story for my child (think 3 sentences) and I arrive at a word that I know that they know, I would say, “How do you spell cat?” They giggle and are happy to tell me how to spell. Next I will stop writing when I get to a word that they can write, and just say “Your turn!” and hand them the pencil so they can add a simple word. One nice thing about this method is that the child will try to mimic your letter size and style. Another fun way to get a child writing is to have the child DRAW a small picture of the nouns in the sentence.
If you do get to a place in any of the Thinking Tree Spelling books Or Dyslexia Games where the exercise is too advanced (for example the spaghetti lady causes dread) I would be an example and say, “You don’t want to do the spaghetti lady? That’s GREAT because I WANTED to do that one! Can I PLEASE do your spaghetti lady?”
This advice may go against everything you have learned from being in school yourself. If your child complains that something is too hard or too boring – DARE to do it yourself. Say, “Oh really? Can I give it a try? It looks interesting to me!” But if it is super boring, agree with the child, give it a try, and have fun. It’s okay to say, “You are right this is SOOOO boring. Let’s have a snack, and turn on some music! Don’t you think that music will make this more fun?” Now, if the schoolwork is totally irrelevant, and you are unwilling to do that kind of work yourself, maybe you should pitch it. I know we worry about the money we spent on nice curriculum – so put it on the shelf and tell your children they can use those books to “play school” with their friends or stuffed animals. If you are trying to FLIP to FUN-Schooling and spent all you had on something boring, and it’s not in your budget to buy a homeschooling journal – let me know. I can help you with a PDF version of a journal.
When I was a kid in 1st to 5th grade I HATED spelling tests. I got Ds and Fs on my report card in Spelling. No one knew it was dyslexia. I could not memorize; but when I would take a spelling test I would forever remember the spelling that I came up with on the test – WRONG or RIGHT. I was so emotional while being tested that the negative feelings burned the misspelled word into my brain. I would have 45% correct on the test, and the teachers NEVER worked with me to correct the mistakes. That is why I now create spelling books that work for visual thinkers. I would advise you not to give spelling tests to a dyslexic child. Just look at their creative writing projects when they are 11 years old – and take notes of all the words that they need to learn. If they write, color, trace and say the letters WITH the correct spelling SEVEN times they will remember the correct spelling…by the time they are 14 years old. Most spelling problems do self-correct by age 14 if the child does a lot of reading. That’s why we have just a few spelling books that cover the words that are foundational to learning to spell – AND are commonly confused or misspelled.
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:
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!
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!
Mom-School happens when you remember who you are through your passions, your interests and your needs. You fill a basket with learning tools for yourself, then in your free time you dig into your Mom-School Basket, read a book or watch a tutorial about something you want to learn… instead of watching TV, Netflix, or cruising Facebook.
Mom-School energizes me while the children curiously look into my basket, watch me learn, see me grow… and they discover that I am not just their mom, but a woman with dreams, goals, ideas, needs and desires.
They see me research and join me for an online class, they flip through my Mom-School Journal and see my careful efforts and beautiful handwriting. They see me as someone who is curious, they see me as a detective, an explorer, a creator, a follower, a leader and a friend.
Mom-School is waking up with ideas, and being full of wonder. It’s problem solving and crafting, it’s higher education or a new recipe.
Mom-School is remembering who you are in the midst of the busy season of mothering and holding on to your dreams so your children will be inspired to become who they were created to be, because they are basking in the example of you.
Mom-School is refreshing and calming, and it’s worth your time and mine. Mom-School is empowering to you as a woman and sets the stage for your children to follow your example because you make learning look so delightful.
Over these years Josh and I have traveled to several countries. During our time in each one we would feel called to sing and pray over the land and the people. These books each represent the counties we have traveled to and have committed to intercede for. The Lord had called us, His Bride, His Children, to pray for all the nations, and this is just one little idea for how to do it. Creating a book of prayer and blessings for each place we pray for.
I feel so strongly that these prayers are heard and answered and God is working in the world through the release of our prayers, supplications, decrees, songs and words of blessings over land and people.
God has given the earth to humans, it is ours to care for, protect, and nurture like a garden. Humanity fails and blames God.
But… in fervent prayer for the lands, the nations, the people, the governments, the church, the religious leaders, the sick, the bound, the suffering ones, the lost… we bring forth blessing, light, deliverance, power and healing on earth.
“The heavens belong to the Lord but the EARTH He has given to the children of men.” Psalm 115:16
I want so much to be a good and faithful servant and leader in all the authority God has given me… over my family, and over these places in the Earth where I have a calling and where I have authority to bring the blessings of the Kingdom of God down to Earth. Through prayer God releases power. Power of angel armies, power to bless, power to heal, power to bring deliverance and salvation! Prayer brings light into the darkness.
If you say you are part of God’s family, I just want to encourage you to take your authority in prayer and supplication over your family and over the land you have walked upon to pray… “Your Kingdom Come! Your Will Be Done, on Earth as it is in Heaven!”
Being an active member of the Kingdom of God is a great honor, joy, blessing and a great responsibility. To whom much is given, much is required. Don’t squander your role in your family or your role in God’s family.
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.