This guy…….

This guy is amazing….. 

…. he is the creator of “tuckin’ time” and makes sure the boys are tucked into their blanket ‘burritos’ each night. Tuckin’ time finishes off with prayer time when he patiently listens to the sweet prayers of his boys.

…. he is an encourager. He has not tired of cheering me on as I have worked at losing weight. He pitches in and wraps candy, washes dishes, folds laundry, cook part of dinner…. whatever it takes to help get the job done.

…. he is a teacher. He helps teach young ladies how to care for their cars, because dads aren’t always around and a girl needs to know how to fix the basics.

…. he is pretty much MacGyver. Richard Dean Anderson and his team of writers have NOTHING on this guy. If you can describe it, he can draw and build it. If you need it written, he is a published author. Bubble gum and baling wire fixes are his specialty, and he minors in crisis management…. making sure we all have an exit plan.

….he has been known to resemble Batman. Send out a distress signal? He will answer and meet you at the mall, at the grocery store, or the side of a freeway… and he will get your rig back on the road.

….he is a leader. Not a shouter of orders but a servant leader. He will never ask you to do it, unless he is willing to do it with you. He is a military guy so if you will allow me to elaborate this way: metaphorically speaking, he leads this family into battle, not from his horse…. but with his boots on the ground…. putting in the hard work with us. He has our back in the middle of the fire-fight, and we have his….

I love this guy…

PS…. Happy Birthday, babe.


The struggle to …. wait: and be of good courage

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.  ~Psalms 27:14

But what if I am tired of waiting? Shouldn’t there be a time limit to this sort of thing? How long do I have to wait???????

Sounds like an adult version of “Are we there yet?”, doesn’t it.

These are the questions that I wrestle with. I feel like Jacob wrestling with God on this issue. I would so love for the Lord to show me WHY we have the struggles we have right now. I often think that if He could just lay it out there…. so I could understand….. then, I would be able to endure it better.  But that isn’t the way God works, is it? It is the not knowing that builds my faith; teaches me to trust

There are days that I hate money. I hate the fact that we need it to survive on this planet. I long for a life long past where gardens flourished, eggs were collected and your meat supply lived in your back yard. Days when you could pay for dental visits with a few chickens and a month’s worth of egg deliveries.

I hate that if you need money, you have to have it for anyone to loan any to you. I hate being so poor you have to chose between putting gas in the tank or paying the garbage, water or electric bill. I hate that people no longer value hard work, they value a piece of paper with some letters on it more.

Yet, God says to wait.

In my heart I ask, why? Wait for what? We are trying, Lord. We are actively looking for work…. We take every opportunity you provide. We serve, we attend church faithfully, we do our best to do the tasks you provide for us to do…. we help the people you have given to us to love….
We have applied for re-training funds…. and been denied… twice.
We have turned in thousands upon thousands of applications over the course of 3 years…. only to be under- or over-qualified for every single position.                                                                                            We have tried to revamp the resume…. twice.

We have been told, “You’re hired. Soon as we get the contract, you are our guy!” Only to never hear from them again.                          
We have tried to apply for pizza delivery jobs….. only to be told our cars are “too old” to be used as delivery vehicles.
We have applied to fast food jobs….. just to be told “I can’t hire you, you will leave here as soon as a job in your field opens up.”

I am trying to wait. Waiting is hard!

Some days I feel like waiting on the Lord takes more courage than I contain. I am not strong enough for this. Which is rather funny to me, because people think that I am pretty strong. Newsflash: I am not. Being the wife of someone who has been “un-employed” is tough. I see the looks from people, the looks that say, “Well, you should just go get a job.”  …. oh how I wish it was that easy. I have a job., I have 4 or 5 of them. I am a wife and mother – first and foremost. That is job one. Job two is editing and writing for other homeschoolers. Job three is helping someone run their local farmers market. Job four  is doing some internet marketing for a local company. Job five is babysitting work. Where do I fit another job?  I would get a job that has me working nights, but then when would I sleep?
All these jobs that I have, have a strange effect on my husband. He never says it out-loud, but in his spirit I see it…. it creates in him a feeling of inadequacy.  He desires to be the bread winner and I believe that desire in his heart is given to him by God, but for some reason, God is saying wait. I have to be strong and not let my worries show…. not let my frustrations escape…. not let my own discouragement flourish.  When I am weak and it surfaces, it sucks the life out of my husband. I see him ache and hurt…. he feels like he is the cause of my pain. He isn’t. It is just my own weakness.
I don’t blame him. I see how hard he tries. I see him sweating under hot cars, driving to far away places to make deals and sell the things we can, sweating in the shop to build the things he needs to build.
It is weird to see people actually resent you asking them to pray for your husband to find a job…. I mean they have been praying for 3 and 1/2 years, they start to wonder what is wrong with someone that they can’t get a job….. any  job.  Then they start to ask…. “well, hasn’t he tried McDonalds?” It takes an amazing amount of restraint not to choke people when they say things like that…..

The reality: I don’t like waiting.

Wait on the Lord: Be of good courage…. He will strengthen you.

I know that much of my ramblings here today have seemed pessimistic… please read it as I intend it…. sometimes I need the catharsis of words, I need to let them roll of my fingers and out of my brain. If left swirling there, the discouragement builds, tears become the way of the day, and I start to long for escape. For as much as the thoughts above are the things that I wrestle with God over, I do see his faithfulness. I do see his care. I know that we are provided for.

This month’s testimony of praise…. 
Rent is due, no shock there, it is due every month.  The shocker is usually the WAY it gets paid. About the 15th of every month I start to sweat the rent payment.  I scramble and save every penny to make sure that we are going to be close enough.  This month I had a small wad of cash…. and some of the weirdest checks….  One was from Bank of America…. they sent us 12 dollars that apparently were from some account that we closed over 4 years ago…  Another one was from a bank we had used that paid out dividend rewards for purchases. When that bank closed, they told us that all our earned dividend income was just gone, we would never see it.  Last month a check for 132 dollars came from them. It was our dividends. That cash, those checks…. and the child support payments, we had 28 dollar MORE than we needed to pay rent.
Praise God.
It is these testimonies….. these unexplainable arrival of checks. The ability to have made a rent payment for 3 years without a steady job, these are the things that strengthen my heart.

Sometimes God lays our family on people’s hearts and we get gift cards or other things…. and those things are a great encouragement.  It lets us know that He hears our prayers and the details of our lives are not insignificant to Him, by moving others to help.

So, even though I am very bad at waiting…. we will continue to wait. Even though I don’t feel strong or courageous…. I will wait. I will watch for evidence of His mercy and grace….  and I will praise him for all the things, big and small, that he does for us each day.



What, me Worry?

I know that worry isn’t a poplar subject. In fact, in Christian circles, worry is a dirty word, a sin, a thing to be avoided at all cost! So join me if you wish, as I process what God is teaching me about worry.

Yesterday our sermon was on worry. I sat in the pew and said to myself, “Julie, you can half listen to this one….You don’t really worry about much.” I know that never happens to any of you, so you all can probably half read my post. Maybe the realization I had about worry will grip you half way through too.

So what is worry? In church or at a ladies breakfast the very mention of it will earn you some, “Oh girl, you worried? You know worry is a sin, right?” type looks.  Those looks make us feel ashamed of our worries, so we start to call them by more acceptable names. Ever used any of these words to explain your feelings?

“ Oh, I am just so concerned about ….”, “It just made me a little anxious.”, “It was agonizing!”, “Sally just overthinks things….”, “I just get so worked up..”, “I’m just mulling it over.”, “Don’t stew about it, Phil.”, “I am just a little stressed out over…..”, “I am not going to lose sleep over it.”

Everyone of those underlined words are synonyms or words that mean the SAME as worry. They are the safe words we use to describe something, that as Christ-followers, we know we should not do.

Worry is caused by a noisy soul.  A soul that wants things, and they don’t have to be “bad” things that we want.  A soul that likes to know what is going to happen. A soul that doesn’t like to be surprised. A soul that wants to be in control. A soul that is fighting God every step of the way. A soul that is intently focused on the here and the now. Are you starting to see yourself as a worrier?  I was, wait, I am.

Worry, anxiety, fretting, concern, stewing….. comes from these root reasons….

….. It happens when we have thoughts about the possibility of not getting something we want or need here on earth. For me, this looks like: “Will there be enough money to pay rent?” Money is a big deal for our family right now.  With three years of unemployment, funds are tight. If side jobs don’t happen. There is no money. I can share testimony after testimony of God’s provision, and how we have not yet missed a rent payment, but this question is at the back of my mind.  … every. single. month.

….. It happens when you have distressing thoughts about the possibility of losing something that you want or need here on earth. For me this looks like: “Will we lose the house?” I am not going to lie, I wonder often if families can be called to a life of homelessness. You see, the need we have for a roof over our head, is not a bad thing. It is not a sin to desire a house to sleep in. Each month I wonder, ponder, mull over, for some length of time, what I will need to sell, how we will all sleep in the suburban. I do not want to lose my house. About here in the sermon, I was starting to get real uncomfortable in my seat…..

…..It happens when you have disquieting and perhaps preoccupying thoughts about something you DO NOT want or need to happen in your day-to-day life. No one wants to be robbed.  No one wants to lose a child. No one wants to lose a parent. No one wants to be unemployed. No one wants to be homeless. There are so many things that happen in this world that are not good, and we do not want to have a single one of them happen to us or our families.  I didn’t want my dad to die.  I don’t want my kids to live far away. If we let them these thoughts can become paralyzing and keep us from doing the work we need to each day.

I leave you with a few statistics. 

    • 40% of the things we worry about, are never going to happen.
    • 30% of the things we worry about are things from our past.
    • 20% of the things we worry about come from other people, places or things.
    • 10% of our worries are about health issues.
    • 8% of our worries are things that are based in reality.

Worry. It is real.  We all do it. We may call it by different names… but we all do it. Maybe by the time I am in heaven I will have figured out how to do it less, how to trust more… And maybe, just maybe, the next time I hear a sermon on worry, I won’t think I can half-listen…. I will know I need to be all ears!

More on the topic of worry…. coming soon.


D is for devotion

de·vo·tion (noun) : a feeling of strong love or loyalty : the quality of being devoted : the use of time, money, energy, etc., for a particular purpose

My dear children,

What are you devoted to? What holds your hearts, your loyalty? What is first on your mind, in your hearts and on your lips?

Maybe in this season of your life your devotion is directed to a someone. A young man or woman who has caught your eye and stolen your heart. Perhaps it is your children, my grandchildren, who are the object of your devotion. Your family is a good place to exercise devotion.

My prayer for you all is that your one true devotion will be to the Lord. That He would capture your heart like no other. I long to hear that each of you are so lost in the Lord that your family needs to seek Him to find you.

I promise you, my children, that a life devoted to the Lord will reap benefits beyond measure. Your marriage will be stronger, your love will be more abundant, and the peace you will have when the world around you seems to be in chaos…….. is worth every moment spent in pursuit of a passionate, devoted life to Him.

~love, mom.


Just because…..

I am gonna brag on someone for a bit.  Why?  Well, because this is my blog, and I can…. and every once in a while I just feel like bragging up on people who are important to me. Sisters in the faith need to build each other up…. so, here I go.

This lady here is one of a kind. She is a dreamer, encourager, and lover of Jesus. She also happens to be my boss.  ( And no, this is not an attempt to butter her up for a raise…lol) Today is her birthday and this is just my version of a card.

Before she was ever my boss I thought she was pretty cool.  She published this magazine that I had stumbled onto… the articles encouraged me.  They recharged my passion to homeschool, especially on those day where you are ready to flag down the public school bus and hand them a few more kids.

She dreams up stuff to bless homeschoolers with, gathers a team of people, gets them excited about her vision and leads the charge as everyone pulls together to make it happen. No one shares the same office.  Most of us have never seen our coworkers, yet we function as a great big family. She keeps her finger on the pulse of 4 + different divisions….  homeschools…. travels with toddlers…. and manages to keep a really good sized family fed and watered. If you look up multi-tasking in the dictionary, I am quite sure her picture is there.

She is a lover of Jesus. This is the quality that I admire in her most. Her family stuff, and work stuff, and life stuff….. have been a wee bit crazy at times…. and no matter what the circumstance…. she displays grace and lifts praise to God for who He is. Her faith is deep.  Her heart full of worship. Her words full of encouragement.

She is real.  Just so you guys don’t start to think that she is a glowing tower of perfection…..  she will be the first to admit…. that snuggles come before dishes and dust bunnies probably breed in the quiet spaces under the couch….  but sometimes that is just the way life is. Love counts for way more than a swept floor, perfectly folded laundry and sparkly plates.

So dear boss-of-mine, my prayer for you today, on your birthday is that you continue to grow in God’s grace, to seek his wisdom for your life…. and that you have many, many more years as the chief snuggler of all your babies and one day grandbabies. I praise God for the woman He has created in you.

Happy Birthday.


Asia: The Peoples and History, a review

* the following post is a review of a book. I have received no compensation for reviewing this book, just an electronic copy, used for the purpose of this review*


Book:  Asia: The Peoples and History

Genre: Curriculum

Situational Uses: Home Bible Study, Sunday School, Children’s Church, Homeschool

Author: Bonnie Rose Hudson


E-Book available at: The Old Schoolhouse Magazine  for $6.95

Kindle Version available at: for $6.95

Print version is coming soon!

We used this book as a family devotional.  Each week, we broke from our usual family time and we would read a story and answer  the discussion questions from Asia: The Peoples and History.  My husband and I want our boys to have an understanding of other peoples and cultures. Life is so different when you live outside of the United States. We want them to know that not all the world has three or four Bibles to read or church buildings to meet in each week. Living in other cultures can be very difficult.

We are involved with a mid-week children’s ministry with our church and have been studying the missionary journeys of Paul in Acts. Our study of Asia: The Peoples and History helped us see that the need for the gospel hasn’t changed since the time of Paul. People today still need to know about Jesus.

Bonnie Rose Hudson uses vivid imagery to help your children experience what people in Asia experience each day. You will learn a bit more about the history of each country you study. There are also activities to help reinforce learning about each country and answer keys are included.

This book has studies on the following countries: Laos, Bangladesh, Napal, China, Iran, and Vietnam. If you were to follow a weekly study program the book would cover sixteen weeks worth of lessons.

My boys (ages 11 and 7) enjoyed the stories and activities each week.  They were always a little sad when a story ended, they wanted to hear more about the characters! My husband and I enjoyed listening to the boys answer the discussion questions. It was exciting to hear how they are growing and interpreting the world around them.  I think the best part for me, was hearing how they incorporated these lessons into their prayers.  With each new country we heard them include requests with their nightly prayers. It is a blessing to hear your child pray for people and places that need the Lord.

I encourage families to think about purchasing this book as a devotional study. It is a fantastic way to help your children learn about the people of Asia.

As a family, we decided to offer up a list of countries for Ms. Hudson’s next book.  We were thinking we would like to know more about the people and believers in the Philippines, Japan, Afghanistan, Cambodia, India, Kazakhstan, and North and South Korea.  What countries would you like to know more about? 


Pre-Sale! $4.95!

This sale is only good from 2/17/2014 until 02/23/14

Remember a few weeks ago when I told you I would be reviewing a book for one of my friends? Well, my review will post next week…..  but I wanted to let you know about the Pre-Sale. The book is available now and for a few dollars less than its regular price.

$4.95 is a bargain for this great study on Asia.

We have been using this book as a family devotional and it has been a wonderful trip through Asia.  If you are looking for a great little family study this book might just be for you.  You can click on the picture and be taken directly to the purchase page.



I don’t receive any compensation for reviewing this product.  I am just excited to share something a dear friend of mine wrote.  Thanks for reading all the way to the end of the post.


The first step

My journey began with an e-book…

I told you I was impatient to read all about it, so the point, click, read version sated my instant gratification need…..I loaded it on to my kindle and parked on the couch to see what I could learn.

About 4 chapters in….  my head started to feel like it might explode from all the information. It was the best headache of my life….. as I read, things I new about food were confirmed…

I knew we needed healthy fats in our diet….. This is why I could never get behind all the low fat – no fat way of eating.  Besides, I like butter….butter is good.

I also “knew” that many of the carbs I was eating were quick carbs, ones my body was choosing to view as simple sugars…. and I knew that those types of carbs were not doing my body any favors.  (evidenced by my hypoglycemic crashes)

As I read on, I found out I would be able to have the best of both worlds.  Butter and bacon and also carbs that my body could take the time to digest without turning them into fat layer number three.

I started with the very next meal…. That night I ate my first “S” meal.  It was satisfying. (hence the “S” title) It was Steak and broccoli with a salad and my broccoli had butter…. it was so good!

I love eating this way.  I feel so much better.  I no longer have a bloated belly… I have energy.  I have an endless variety of foods that I can eat…. as long as I keep my meals with fats, separate from my meals with carbs.

I started eating the Trim Healthy Mama way November 1st. I didn’t feel deprived over Thanksgiving…. or over Christmas.  This month, the scale shows I have lost 35 lbs. I have lost inches too…. I was a size 18 (should have been a 20) in pants.  I am now a loose 16…. and some 14′s fit.  Never in my life has the scale moved in this direction. Ok, once…. when I never ate anything… and I was maybe 24.

If you have struggled in the past with losing weight…

If you feel like to have to only eat certain foods to lose weight….

If you feel like you are fasting to lose weight…..

Please consider buying this book and just reading it.  The information in the first three sections apply to every human on the planet. You don’t have to be a Mama to change the way you eat…. and eat your way to a healthier self.

Find out more at




An Upcoming Review

I am excited to share with you something that a very dear friend of mine wrote.


I will be using this book with the boys in the weeks to come and you can learn more about it by going to Bonnie’s website.

The book is available February 24, 2014. Sign up here to receive information on pre-orders, discounts, and all the information on where you can purchase a copy.




the ah-ha photo


Somewhere in October….  my son snapped a photo of me.  Later that night as I was scrolling through the photos he took from his pint sized vantage point I saw myself, just like my children do.

I was fat.

Now before you write to me and tell me that I shouldn’t be so mean to myself.  I say those words, not to be hateful, but to be truthful.  I was always the skinny girl.  I could eat what I wanted, when I wanted. I never really gained a bunch of weight.  I was active in sports as I grew up and this helped keep me trim.  So inside my head lived this skinny girl.  Even at 40 she was there.  She was keeping me from seeing what was really on the outside.  In my head I still thought I was skinny.

I could get up and down off of the floor with relative ease.  I could still run and chase the boys…. I could help my husband lift and move things that most women couldn’t.  I still thought I was skinny, because if I was fat, I would have trouble with all those things.

That night, as I sat in a rented beach house listening to the waves crashing on the shore below, the realization that the skinny girl in my head was a liar ………  became a motivator for change.

…… because, without a doubt I was fat.

I needed to be honest with that number on the scale.  It read 250 lbs and it was climbing…… I was adding chins and rolls to places there should be one or none.  I had to get serious about this or I would hover at 250 or keep growing.  Neither one of those options sounded remotely acceptable.

When we arrived home from vacation I went to look for a book that a few of my online friends had used and were seeing some success with.  It is called A Trim Healthy Mama.
I ordered the e-book because I was impatient to start reading and see what this was all about.

Little did I know that it would be the first day the skinny girl stopped lying, and started cheering…….

Each week I will share a bit more of my journey with Trim Healthy Mama.

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