encouragement, Faith, God's Beauty, Homeschooling, Loss, My Walk, Parenting, Relationships, Wisdom

Father’s Day and Healing

Three days ago we scattered my father’s ashes in the Puget Sound. A place he’d always loved. The week leading up to the memorial was rough and emotions ran high with everyone. I wanted nothing more than to forget about the whole thing and keep my father’s ashes on my shelf, because as soon as they were removed from their place of honor, lonliness enveloped me. He’d been there since February, a constant companion in my home. It was time to let him go, but I wasn’t sure I was ready.

At the approximate time the sun would have been setting, had the rain not decided to join our tears, we said a final goodbye to the man who had taught us so many things. There was laughter amidst the inappropriate humor my father was so used to from my sister Rae, and me. As she shared her memories, it occured to me that my father was a wonderfully flawed person. He swore, he drank, he was selfish, and was always impatient. I realized much of my personality came from him. Many of my strengths and many of my weaknesses were nurtured and ingrained at his knee. My father made many mistakes in his life, but one thing he did that wasn’t a mistake, was loving his children inspite of our differences, and sometimes because of them.

With that knowledge, it was important to remind myself that we all grieve differently, and that emotions are strong factors in the way we react to situations. That night wasn’t about who we were, it was about who he was. There was no right or wrong way to memorialize him. Whether it was drinking a bottle of wine in his memory as the rain poured down, or closing off from others and holding inside whatever emotion was burning the heart. We needed to set aside our various differences, ignore the typical family dynamic and just be there for one last moment with the man who had raised us in the only way he knew how.

After the others left, I sat on the bench beside the water with my dear friend. We watched otters play in the current, and I cried. Big, ugly, body wracking tears. For months there had been a pain inside my heart that couldn’t seem to heal. It was like a splinter left just beneath the surface, and it was festering as the days went on. I didn’t realize it, even as I sat there, that the healing had finally began. For the months since my father passed, I was in a holding pattern, not really grieving, but not really healing either.

Three days before Father’s Day, the proverbial splinter was finally removed, the wound cleaned, and my body and soul could really begin to heal.

When Sunday arrived I was leary of attending church. It was my first Father’s Day without my Dad. I didn’t know what to expect, and I was concerned I’d break down and not be able to stop. In fact, I almost decided not to go, to stay home and be safe from the emotions, smiles, and warm wishes of others.

Instead, I prayed.

Then I put on my big girl pants and joined my family in church.

It was a wonderful day. The words were exactly what I needed to hear, and my heart didn’t ache. For the first time in months I didn’t feel like I would get blown away in a stiff breeze, or shatter like glass. I felt free. With the scattering of my Father’s ashes, a weight was lifted from my shoulders. My Father is truly at peace now, and even though I might not be completely there yet, I am on my way. My heart is light and I am filled with the Joy of the Holy Spirit.

Life moves on and changes, much like the tides of the sea.

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy and may you forever be at rest in the place you loved best.

Sare

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college, Crafting, debt, education, encouragement, Faith, Homeschooling, journalism, My Walk, Working

Changes in Life

Each new day that dawns brings changes, whether we notice these changes or not doesn’t make them less important. Not every change is HUGE. Not every change makes you stand up and take notice.

Every once in a while, though, a change (or even several) will occur that makes a HUGE and noticeable difference in your life. This year has already been a year of changes, and not all of them have been positive in their nature, even if they have led to positive things.

While each of these major life changes are important to who I am as a person, some of them deserve their own blog post, so I won’t include them here. Today, though, I want to focus on two things that have added a positive spin to my chaotic life.

Not long ago my husband and I contemplated purchasing a home, but as we began the process we quickly realized my student loans were going to be a huge (like $72,000 huge) hurdle. This led to our first aha moment. Even though this wasn’t really a positive thing for us, and it was a huge  disappointment, it came to be a huge blessing.

I started praying for something to come up that would help me use my soon to be finished degree and help me to pay down the student loans before they’re due.

This led to wonderful change number one.

A wonderful opportunity to help service members, veterans, and their spouses was introduced to me, and I have been able to join the team as a freelance writer; creating professional resumes and bios for these members as they transition to life in the civilian world. It has already proved to be exciting, educational, and although not exactly what I had expected, is pretty perfect for me.

The second amazing change to occur happened by chance. I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when I saw an announcement about Usborne Books and More. I’d heard of them in passing before, but had never really taken the time to look into them. This time, it felt like there was a tap on my shoulder nudging me to check it out.

It didn’t take me long to realize this was something I could truly get behind. As a book worm with a family of avid readers, I’ve always been a huge proponent of engaging children and adults with good books instead of video games. Joining the Usborne Books and More team definitely fits well with my family. I’m excited that these opportunities came just when I needed them to, and I’m so thankful to have the ability to remain home with my children while I work toward paying off those student loans.

college, debt, education, encouragement, Faith, journalism, Motherhood, My Walk, Parenting, The Kiddos, Wisdom

What’s My Calling?

Recently I’ve been thinking about what I’m meant to do with my life. I’m almost finished with my journalism degree (finally!), but I don’t know where I’m supposed to go from here. I’ve got massive student loan debt hanging over my head (and honestly, my husband’s head since I stay home and teach our children and he goes to work every day, bending to the ever changing will of his employer–the USMC).

I love writing, obviously, or else I wouldn’t currently owe the national debt of a small country. However, I’ve done the whole writing novels thing, and while I enjoyed it, I feel that was a different season. I’d love to blog and actually make money doing that, but that means someone other than my nearest and dearest would actually need to read and follow my blog(s) so they would be worth monetizing.

In the not too distant future my husband and I would like to move into a home of our own. One that we own (or at the very least the bank allows us to SAY we own), where our children can create memories, put down roots, and grow into wonderful adults. A place where those same children will run around in the sunshine while they are supposed to be helping me pull the weeds in the garden.

Today I sat down with God and made a plan. There was prayer involved (and more will be needed), and long talks with God as I figured out what needed to be done to achieve this dream without the burden being fully on my husband. As I’ve told him in the past, he’s not alone in this world. We’re partners and we’re in it together. The future doesn’t rest on his shoulders alone, he has me and a loving Heavenly Father who will guide us through.

I know it is time to stop wondering what my calling is, and worrying about if I’ll ever find it. I’ve placed it firmly in the LORD’s capable hands. I’m a writer, and I need to remember that. I need to write, and I need to help provide for my family–okay, I’ll be providing for the families of the student loan lenders, but it amounts to the same thing. So, what exactly do I need from the wonderful prayer warriors who may stumble upon my humble ramblings?

I need your help with prayers.

I’m not sure where I’m going from here. I don’t know just how writing is going to start paying my student loans, but I know in my heart that God will guide me. That He has a plan already, and I wouldn’t have taken the steps I’ve taken if they weren’t going to lead somewhere amazing.

Please, Please, Please, Pray for this mother who wants nothing more than to raise her children. To teach them, watch them grow, and show them how to be a successful, God-Loving adults. Pray that I listen to what the LORD places on my heart, and that He guides me toward my calling. Pray that I continue to fully serve Him, and never forsake Him as I strive for my goal. Pray that my goals are in line with His plans for me, and that I never lose sight of what is truly important.

With your prayers and encouragement, I know I’ll follow the LORD faithfully.

May God Bless You and Yours,

Sare

Faith, God's Beauty, Homeschooling, My Walk, Parenting, The Kiddos

Snuggles with the LORD

I don’t know if many of you have heard of the DVD series, “Buck Denver asks…What’s in the Bible”. It’s from Phil Vischer, the creator of VeggieTales. When I popped in the first DVD and realized it was a bunch of puppets I was NOT excited. I dislike puppets. I was the weird kid who didn’t like the Muppets. In fact, I still don’t like the Muppets. I do however, enjoy these puppets now.

Each morning this week, after our one-on-one studies are completed, my kiddos and I take a break for some snuggles on the couch. We watch one of the thirty minute episodes (today’s was on 2 Samuel), and I smile when my youngest who isn’t quite a year-and-a-half yet, starts dancing on his bum. My daughter, who has seen many of these episodes in Children’s Church will giggle and sing along with the songs. I’m not ashamed to say I often find myself tapping my foot or my fingers to the beat as we all sit together.

It is wonderful to know that something created for kids can still entertain an adult. It is even better to know, that even though we don’t watch a lot of television- preferring books for our entertainment- that there are shows out there that teach wonderful things. This show has opened up the stories of the Bible in a great way.

I love being able to snuggle with my children while they learn about the LORD…

Okay, I admit it, I’m learning too. 🙂

Snuggles and the LORD…a great way to start any day. 🙂

Sare

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4

Faith, Homeschooling, My One Word, My Walk, Parenting, The Kiddos

The Well-Trained Mind

Homeschooling is a very new adventure for my family, and everyday we find something new to learn about it. We spent a month working on a unit study of volcanoes and working on a lapbook of them. That seemed to work well. During that time my daughter also worked through Life of Fred Butterflies for her math. We snuck in grammar and history through various things, but I just didn’t feel it was solid enough for us.

So I did what I do.

I read.

At the beginning of this journey I did a lot of reading. I read everything I could get my hands on that had to do with the homeschool highway. While reading I noticed people talking about “The Well-Trained Mind”, and it didn’t sound like anything I was interested it.

Until, after days of praying for a better way, I was.

So I bought the book and read through the chapters dealing with the Grammar stage. This is the learning stage my daughter is currently in. Then I borrowed the book, First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind. I was floored. This is it. This is exactly what I was looking for, but didn’t realize it.

It’s the Classical Approach to learning, and it is what I know in my heart we need. At least for this season. I’ve prayed about it, and like with the knowledge I needed to homeschool, this feels right.

On Monday, we’ll be beginning our first official day of learning in the Well-Trained Mind. We’ll learn from FLL and from Story of the World Volume One. We’ll continue with Life of Fred, and all our reading we do. We’ll begin learning about animals as outlined in TWTM, and we’ll continue to spend time with our Lord.

This is just another step in our learning process. It may not be forever, but it is for this season. I’ll continue to turn to God with my questions and problems, and he’ll continue to guide me along this path for as long as is right.

Do you homeschool your children? If so, what approach do you use? Please share with us in the comments below.

May God Bless You All,

Sare

God's Beauty, My Walk, Traveling

Hawaiian “Vacation”

I haven’t had a whole lot of time  to jot down my walk recently, but God is ever wonderful and amazing. I’ve been enjoying some time–although incredibly busy time– in Hawaii celebrating the marriage of my dear friends.

There has been a lot of deep thought in the wee hours of the morning since I’ve been here, and I can foresee many blog posts in the future pertaining to these thoughts. I think weddings, for how much I’m not a fan of them, tend to make me a little more aware of my own blessings in the love and family departments. I think since I’ve accepted God back into my life, I’ve got a new appreciation for them.

Until then, may the LORD bless you and keep you.

 

Sare

My Walk

Seek His Face Always

We are all busy, and we all have important things we need to get done each day. Make time for the Lord, even if it is just a few minutes.

Recently a dear friend of mine was in town from Hawaii, and we managed to find the time for a quick lunch before her flight back to the island. Before her move to Oahu, and my subsequent move from California to the PNW, we never went longer than a few months between visits. This visit marked the first time in over a year since we’d seen each other.

Our friendship has been entirely built on distance and technology. We met in an online writer’s group several years ago, and eventually bonded over the personalities and traits of our fictional characters. We have never lived in the same place at the same time, and in the course of our relationship we’ve spoken on the phone only a handful of times. Yet, we are truly friends. Even though our friendship is unconventional, and some might think, impractical, it works for us. We often like to joke that we were one of the few ‘blind dates’ that actually worked out.

Now, once she left, it hit me how much I’d missed her while we were apart. Our lives recently have been busy (she’s planning her upcoming wedding, and I’ve been busy preparing to homeschool my daughter), and we haven’t connected as often as we used to. It amazed me how easy it was to ignore the daily pangs of separation. To push those feelings down, and focus on the day to day tasks of living.

This happens all too often in our personal lives, not just with the people we care about, but with God as well. It might start out as a busy day when we don’t have ‘time’ to open the Bible. It might happen on a night when we’re too tired to pray before we fall asleep, or in too much of a hurry to check in with the outside world in the morning to whisper a prayer of gratitude for the beginning of another day. We might think one day won’t hurt, but what happens when the next day is also busy? Eventually, we’ve pushed those important moments of connection with the Lord so far down our list of priorities we no longer feel the pangs of separation.

Just like any friendship, the relationship we have with Him takes time and commitment. We can’t expect to go on about our daily lives, forgetting Him, and expecting that eventually all those lost moments aren’t going to crash on us. The loneliness we often feel has little to do with the people physically around us, and more to do with a loss of time spent with the Lord.

We are all busy, and we all have important things we need to get done each day. Make time for the Lord, even if it is just a few minutes. A quick prayer of thanks, or a moment of scripture reading can give you the energy and the focus to get through the ups and downs of everyday.

Yes, I am new to this, and I stumble more than I’d like, but each time I turn to Him for help, things right themselves, and I find my footing is steadier.

 

“Look to the LORD and His strength; seek His face always.” 1 Chronicles 16:11

Blessings in Christ,

Sare