Miscarriage – You’re Not Alone

I hung up the phone and crumpled to the floor. Tears streaked all blotchy and lungs gasped fighting for one more stale breath.

Eleven years.

But the semblance of having a baby ripped right out from the inside still leaves its ache.

It was the first time in our marriage that we had to walk through loss so personal.

I was eight weeks when I miscarried. And I grappled with what it felt like to never be able to hold the first babe enwrapped in my womb.

There were days, weeks, months when I wondered if I’d ever be able to see past the heart-wrenching sorrow. Or to really smile.

I had lost my baby – no matter how tinyand the tears seemed to never end.

And how does one feel so lonely when so many others have had to bury their babies?

Yet somehow, as I fell deep in my grief, I kept living and moving and breathing.

And I never did drown with God near to me.

I felt His strength and I felt His peace to keep going even when it hurt to breathe.

For I couldn’t go back, couldn’t erase the pain and the trembling, the words that there is no baby.

But God came in the beautiful ugly. As God comes to us in all moments.

baby ultrasound

In empty wombs and death aching – a newborn’s cries and love unending.

In a husband who ached for my suffering. In pain-filled moments of faith defining. In God’s grace poured out in a second offering.

Showing me He is still good. And miraculously uses my heart-ache for His glory.

our baby

Today I weep for the eleven years and the wonder that will last a lifetime.

And my half a dozen kids, all sing-song talking, bounce off and on their chairs, eyes glistening. And they wonder if anyone’s birthday is today.

And I just can’t get the words out about that first little one, such a precious part of me.

But I smile and breathe it in through tears.

This surrendering each day, each baby, each child, each heart-break, each moment to Him – all for His glory.

How about you, dear friends? Are you deep in pain? Wondering how God could use your heart-break or loss for His glory? I know the days can be difficult as we walk through this journey of life, loss, joy, and pain. And I’d be honored to pray for you along the way.

School At Our House (Curriculum 2014-2015)

This schooling at home.

It’s so much like other motherhood feats.

There’s having everyone in the house all day long with piles of books stacked high in the way of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and little ones under foot while attempting a Science experiment. There’s an English book that needs to be shared two ways and everyone running in to dance to the music.

There’s reading stories of ancient heroes and learning the loops of each cursive letter – with snuggles on couches and taking a deep breath when hearing the fifth incorrect word in the first sentence of reading. And there’s broken pencils and no erasers and a wrinkled brow trying to figure out that math problem.

There’s paint in a whirl and glue on the table and maps to be drawn and hymns to be learned from. There’s Scripture to be memorized and poetry to hear, push-ups to struggle through and sisters and brothers that can’t seem to keep quiet. There’s frustration loud and joy so beautiful. There’s wondering if I can keep doing this – and thanksgiving that there are so very many things that I won’t miss.

But above all – there’s finding God’s hand in it all. Minds and hearts finding what it means to know God and to walk in His ways {even during schooling… and even for (especially for) this mama}. And trusting that as God has called our family to teach these precious ones at home, He will continue to equip us.

So here’s a glimpse at those stacked up books that I know God will use in minds and hearts in each and every day-of-schooling-at-home strung together…

Preschool 2014-2015

Oh, these precious girls that beg to have school-time with this mama – I love them so much. How fun it is to watch them pull out their schoolbooks each day with a smile, knowing that the next half-hour or so will be spent pouring truth into their hearts. This will be my fourth… fifth? time going through Heart of Dakota’s Little Hands to Heaven,” and while each time I contemplate using something else, I keep coming back to this preschool curriculum. It’s short and sweet and is all laid out for me, and it focuses little hearts on God – love it! And seeing it again through their little eyes? Priceless!

Pre-Kindergarten/Preschool Curriculum – Little Hands to Heaven (includes a light introduction to reading, writing, math, gross and fine motor skills, and much more)

Bible – The New Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes

Devotions – Big Thoughts for Little People

Music – The Singing Bible

first grade 2014-2015

And this guy is loving first grade! Each time I ask him, he tells me a different part is his favorite. We started Heart of Dakota’s Little Hearts for His Glory at the end of his kindergarten year, and are glad to be continuing it for first grade. It’s this gentle approach to HIS-story with Christ wrapped throughout our days and lots of fun mixed in.

First Grade Curriculum – Little Hearts for His Glory

History (& Bible) – Family Time Bible, History for Little Pilgrims, History Stories for Children

Storytime – Storytime set of favorite Burgess tales (He LOVES these!!!)

Math – Singapore Primary Mathematics 1A & 1B (With hands-on activities written in HOD’s “Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory”)

Music – Hide ‘Em In Your Heart

Devotions – Devotions for the Children’s Hour

Science – The World God Made (along with Science discoveries in “Little Hearts”)

Fine-Motor Skills – Going on Eagerly and Just Thinking and Choosing (These just get pulled out to work on if he’s looking for something to do while I’m doing school with the others.)

Phonics, Reading, Handwriting, & Spelling – Logic of English Foundations (This is new for us, and we’re absolutely LOVING it!!! It is perfect for my active boy that hit a wall in “The Reading Lesson” – or maybe it was me hitting a wall?? It’s also been really helpful with his handwriting – he no longer baulks at printing letters. Love! I honestly can’t say enough good things about it.)

third grade 2014-2015

Sweet Kayla is already captivated by the beautiful overview of world history – with Biblical stories perfectly woven throughout – in Heart of Dakota’s “Preparing Hearts for His Glory.” I can already see what an incredible third grade year this is going to be for her. Reading about God’s incredible story through these books has already impacted our hearts and minds in deep, beautiful ways.

Third Grade Curriculum – Preparing Hearts for His Glory

History – Grandpa’s Box: Retelling the Biblical Story of Redemption, A Child’s History of the World, Life in the Great Ice Age, Hero Tales, Draw and Write Through History: Creation Through Jonah, and many more! (Kayla really likes to draw, so “Draw and Write Through History” is perfect for her. And she’s thoroughly enjoying the stories from “Grandpa’s Box” – I am too!)

Storytime – The True Story of Noah’s Ark, Tirzah, Classic Treasury of Aesop’s Fables, Triumph for Flavius, Fountain of Life, Viking Quest I: Raiders of the Sea, Door in the Wall, The Wonderful Winter, The Family Under the Bridge, Twenty and Ten (Love these books so much and how they correspond with the history!)

Science – One Small Square: Arctic Square, Cactus Desert & Coral Reef, The Great Dinosaur Mystery and the Bible, Find the Constellations, Columbus, Who Was Leonardo Davinci?, Pasteur’s Fight Against Microbes, Albert Einstein Young Thinker (Right now Kayla’s loving the One Small Square Books because they have animals in them. She loves all things animal. We’ll see how she likes the other books. These also correspond loosely with the History.)

Reading – Drawn Into the Heart of Reading with a mixture of Level 2 & 3 books.

English – Rod and Staff’s Beginning Wisely: English 3, and dictation, poetry, and writing prompts in “Preparing”

Music (& Bible Memory)Lead Me to the Rock by Kelly Crawford

Math – Math Lessons for a Living Education: Book 3 (We are really liking this math so far! It’s such a gentle “living” approach to math. Kayla loves the stories that help her to see where math fits into everyday life. And the copy-work, narrations, and extra projects I never thought of to use with math, but they work. :) See more about why we decided to switch below.)

fourth grade 2014-2015

And these two beautiful girls – that once wore pigtails and taught me that I actually could educate my children at home – are really, really liking the ancient history and the captivating stories and the sweet independence found in Heart of Dakota’s “Creation to Christ.” Just when we thought the next guide couldn’t possibly be as good as the last, we’re pulled into the beauty of the ebb and flow of a new year, a new time period – and after just one month I’m reminded of what I love so much about Heart of Dakota. These fourth graders that are both so diligent and good learners, are off to a wonderful year.

Fourth Grade Curriculum – Hearts for Him Through Time: Creation to Christ

History – The Story of the Ancient World, Ancient Greece: Streams of History, Ancient Rome: Streams of History, What in the World? Vol. 1 – Ancient Civilizations and the Bible, Draw and Write Through History: Greece and Rome (as well as history projects, timeline entries, notebooking pages, narrations, and more written in the “Creation to Christ” guide)

Geography – A Child’s Geography Vol. 2: Explore the Holy Land

Bible Study/Quiet Time – The Illustrated Family Bible, Genesis Finding Our Roots

Music -  The Bible Study in Stereo: Philippians 2

Storytime – History Read Aloud booksDinosaurs of Eden. The Golden Bull, Boy of the Pyramids: A Mystery of Ancient Egypt, Jashub’s Journal, God King, Archimedes and the Door of Science, Cleopatra, City: The Story of Roman Planning and Construction, Traveling the Way, The Accidental Voyage: Discovering Hymns of the Early Centuries (So far we are really enjoying these books that give a glimpse into what life was like during ancient times. We’ve had some wonderful discussions turning our hearts to the one true God.)

Science – Apologia’s Exploring Creation With Zoology 3: Land Animals of the Sixth Day, Birds of the Air, Plant Life in Field and Garden, Exploring the History of Medicine, Galen and the Gateway to Medicine, An Illustrated Adventure in Human Anatomy (“Land Animals of the Sixth Day” has been a huge hit with these animal lovers!)

Reading – Drawn Into the Heart of Reading and Level 4/5 Girl Interest books

English (grammar) – Rod and Staff’s Building With Diligence: English 4, and dictation, copy-work and poetry study in the “Creation to Christ” guide (Rod and Staff is working well, but we’re always happy to be done with it for the day. ;) I’m looking into a few other options, but at this point it’s just easier to stick with what we have and is scheduled throughout the week.)

Writing – Igniting Your Writing and Write With the Best (“Write With the Best” is scheduled, but I’ve decided to do a little of both. I’m also looking into a few other options as I wish grammar and writing were combined more, and at this point I’d just like them to enjoy writing.)

Art – Watercolor paintings to go along with the poetry study (This is one of my girls’ very favorite parts, and their paintings are beautiful!)

Math – Math Lessons for a Living Education: Book 4 (Right now the site which shows wonderful samples of these books is under construction. Hopefully I’ll be able to link there soon.)

We’ve had many days filled with tears over math until we started using “Math Lessons for a Living Education!” In the past we used Singapore’s Primary Math, and while there are so, so many things I like about Singapore, we clearly needed a change. My girls could do the work, but struggled to commit their math facts to memory – winding up with brain overload and tears on an almost daily basis.

I love how a friend described it to me “Think about trying to remember a phone number, it is easier if you already know the area code, because then there is less stuff to try to hold onto. Sometimes your working memory gets over taxed. Think about a time that you are trying to cook a new recipe and suddenly four small people have questions that need to be asked NOW. It isn’t that the recipe is too hard, or the questions unanswerable, sometimes you want to scream because your brain overloads handling them all at the same time.”

This explained our situation exactly, mixed in with some frustrations on my part about the lack of clarity in presenting and teaching math. I now believe the tears came as a bit of a coping mechanism from all of us being overwhelmed with it all.

So, I began evaluating what we really needed for this new year. Thinking about it, I realized I don’t want tears!!! I don’t mind if my kids never love math or even if they’re ever really good at math – but I don’t want them to always be overwhelmed and end up hating math. I also realized I wanted them to see how math fits into our everyday lives and why it’s important to know math in the first place. With that, I wanted to help them build up their math fact memories, so that the difficult concepts aren’t quite so difficult. And I knew I wanted something that wasn’t all drill and that wasn’t too teacher intensive, as I just don’t have an hour each day per kid to spend on math.

And in a very round-about way I stumbled upon, “Math Lessons for a Living Education.” Is it perfect? No. It’s from a much lesser known publisher and there are a number of typos, and the physical books just aren’t as high quality. But, the material is perfect for my girls right now. They love the stories and seeing how math fits into everyday life, and they love the short but impactful lessons that are boosting their confidence in working with numbers. And I’m loving that there have been NO tears over math so far this year. :)

Oh, what challenges and joys as we school our children at home!

Have a blessed week whether you’re a mom who’s been called by God to teach your kids at home, or a mom who bravely sends your kids to school each day, or a mom wondering if and when and why and how you could ever homeschool.

When Marveling at the Days Behind (Back to School Pictures 2014-2015)

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Sometimes you don’t know where you’ve been until you turn around and marvel at the moments turned days and years behind you. At how half a dozen kids in just as many years would grow in a blink. At how the reading about history while nursing a babe and the tears and furrowed brow over […]

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Sometimes There are No Words

Ellianas-baptism.jpg

It’s been two days and I’ve still got this giant lump in my throat and joyful tears in my eyes every single time I think of it. Who would’ve known that it would be like this? – That this man I’ve loved and made babies with would get the honor of holding our daughters now […]

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It’s a Beautiful Birthday Day!

the birthday girl

Did you realize the way I held you just a little bit longer last night? How I smiled instead of sighed when your excitement kept bubbling up and over and out of your room again and again as the clock ticked into the late night hours? And how all day I’ve tried to go slow, […]

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1 Peter – Bible Studies and Family {Bible} Times

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A summer’s worth of days spent soaking up the imperishable hope and the divine grace of our great God, and I know my heart won’t ever be the same. It’s been this sweet treasure found in moments carved out and tucked in between picnics and pillow forts and that mountain of laundry. And though the […]

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When Your Love Looks Boring to the World

What love looks like

How do you know what love looks like? The black and white screen rolls love as a crazy romantic race through traffic. Cars and semi-trucks screech to a halt as a mad dash is made for a final chance at love. And a kiss that tilts worlds is seen at the top of a high […]

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True Grace of God – Final Greetings (1 Peter-Week 12)

1 Peter Week 12 - Our Family for His Glory

Here we are, friends – the final week of our 1 Peter study. And I can’t help but feel the tears trickling down my cheeks and the sweet smile on my lips. For we have sought to grow closer to our God, and have spent many battled for moments and hours and days growing in […]

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When Even Kids Deal With Depression and Anxiety

When Even Kids Deal With Depression and Anxiety

So there are storms that blow fierce, And depression that creeps through cracks. There are bullies and frizzy hair and sisters that make your little eight year old heart bust right open. And there are parents that leave and best friends that betray. And who would have thought that the pain would go so much […]

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God’s Mighty Hand (1 Peter-Week11)

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It’s just about the end of this letter, and I can’t tell you what a joy it has been to soak in Truth of all He is and does. And my heart has been stirred, creating in me a desire to emulate Him, and to live for Him each day. And this week – it […]

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