Stay in Your Lane to Fulfill Your God-sized Dream

Have you ever sat back at the end of a day, a month and year and felt unsatisfied or fulfilled with your life? It’s not that you don’t have blessings, or some good things coming your way, there is just something inside that says, I would really love to fill in the blank.

Maybe you have a God-sized dream and you don’t want to say it out loud because someone might hear you and hold you to it or worse, laugh at you. But your dream is there, deep inside just waiting to be birthed.

May I tell you a few things that help us live out the vision God has placed within us?

1. Define your dream.

Often we don’t live out our God-sized dream because we don’t define it.

We might say some vague things such as:

  • I would like to help people.
  • I enjoy being a servant.
  • I love encouraging other people.

Those are great things to do. We should all aspire to do those. What is it that you love to do that makes you lose yourself? You lose track of time. You are so energized and engaged that you have no idea that four hours have passed. For me, it’s writing, research and teaching.

Once you answer that question-

What is it that you love to do that makes you lose yourself? 

Then you can define your dream by writing it down into something measurable.

I’m going to encourage women through teaching a Bible study.

I’m going to serve by opening up a food pantry for the community.

I’m going to practice hospitality by hosting a monthly coffee in my home.

Now, take your statement and break it down into steps that you can walk through and check off your list. Don’t be intimidated by this part. We often skip this step because for some reason we just think they will magically happen for us because we want it to.

God can open doors for us, it’s true.  In order for God to open a door, you have to drive to the building, so to speak.

God may redirect you a few times during the defining phase. It’s okay. It’s all part of the process. Taking the step to define your dream/vision is one step closer to doing something. Do something, lest you do nothing. Stay in your lane.png

2. Stay in your lane.

I think many of us (myself included) would sometimes rather coast in someone else’s lane and watch their God-sized dream come to fruition. It’s fun to be the helper and cheer someone else on until you reach the top of the mountain peak and realize your mountain is on the other side of the valley. All of the accolades for your friend will not fulfill your purpose. I get it. It’s scary putting ourselves out there and saying, “I want to write the book, not be on the launch team for the 100th time.” It sounds selfish to say we have dreams (I’ll get to that in a minute).

I would never say don’t help your friends. That’s a great investment of your time. Just make sure you drive in your own lane more than your friends’, neighbors’ and everyone shouting at you to join their cause. There’s a reason.

God gives you sufficient energy to do what He has called YOU to do, not what every lady in your church is doing.

God is not responsible for the physical and emotional consequences when you drive out of your lane. You will never arrive at the destination of your God-sized dream if you are driving aimlessly.

I’m preaching to the Guire here. For years my life was ordered by what all the other church ladies and my friends were doing. We were doing great stuff, guys! Serving and encouraging. Blessing others. My problem? I used my energy envelope on that good stuff and then was too exhausted to do my real job well. For awhile that job was exclusively mothering, homeschooling and running a co-op. When my kids got a little older, God directed me to start writing. After doing all the other good stuff, I had nothing left. No energy to write. Nothing. And that was not God’s fault. Or the other ladies. Or the church’s. It was mine. All mine.

3. Your dream isn’t selfish. It’s not about you at all.

Read that one more time. Often we don’t pursue our God-sized dream because we think it is selfish. If your God-sized dream is to run away to a tropical island and sip fruity drinks all day, then maybe it is. The truth is, I have never met a woman who hasn’t had a big dream. It takes time for us to own up to this because we don’t want to seem as if we want to make a name for ourselves. That’s not what God-sized dreams are about. They are about taking something that you can’t possibly do on your own, and giving God the glory every step of the way.

Your God-sized dream is about other people. It’s about God’s plan being lived out on this earth because you are obedient.

Years ago I was taking an online memoir writing class. Things were going great. I felt as if my writing was getting better. The teacher seemed to think so. She wrote me some encouraging words. I was feeling pretty comfortable with her…so, I told her my God-sized dream of helping a million orphans and of a vision I had. She told me I seemed unhinged and not to put that in my memoir. (*Just a note- don’t tell everyone your God-sized dream, not everyone gets it). If my God-sized dream includes helping orphans, is it really about me? Nope. Just like your dream. It’s about the people on the receiving end.

I’m sure you have a God-sized dream. It may be staying home and raising kiddos (that was mine for a season and then they grew up). It may be hosting a Bible study, writing a book, serving at an outreach, or fill in the blank. Take some time today and write down your dream. Make some measurable objectives so you can start driving in the right direction. If you, like me, know what your dream is and you need to get back in your lane, start putting up some boundaries. Many times, saying “NO” is the best thing you can do. A “Yes” that is accompanied by frustration, whining, complaining and dragging your feet the whole way is not producing any good fruit. And remember, your God-sized dream is not about you.

  • Thanks to Amy Breitmann for the “stay in your lane” idea!

 

Whose job is it anyway?- The Modern Women’s Guide to Housewifery

The expectations of a stay at home Mom are often high. Add homeschooling to the mix and often the bar is raised instead of lowered.

  • Your schoolroom/area should be perfect
  • Your kids should be well dressed and clean all the time
  • Your home should be sparkly clean and farmhouse perfectly decorated (or whatever your style is) at all times.

Like in the fifties television shows, Dad comes home from work, sits in his easy chair and reads the newspaper. Mom, wearing her string of pearls and a dress covered by an apron finishes preparing a lovely home cooked meal.

Unfortunately, as beautiful as this picture may be, or maybe this picture makes you downright angry. It’s just not reality.

This series was sparked by some recent conversations with friend and Whole House peeps who need some help, clarity and wisdom (myself included). Some of us gals have hired outside help to clean our homes *GASP*. Yep. Me. I did that. This triggered a text conversation between hubby and I which we accidentally had on a group text with male church friend (YIKES) who finally joined the conversation with:

I don’t know what’s going on with you guys, but I’m praying for you.

Hubby relented to my plea to have some outside help with:

You’ve got a lot on your plate right now, so if it is going to help you- go for it.

It was true. I had a lot on my plate with preparing a workshop, podcasts, writing deadlines, etc… But, here’s the real question- Whose job is it anyway? To clean the house? To manage the house? Whose job is it anyway_Times have changed. It’s not the fifties anymore. Society has changed. One thing that won’t change is stuff has to get done. Houses have to get cleaned ish. Laundry won’t do itself. Meals have to be prepared. So, again, whose job is it anyway?

The truth is – you and your hubby need to have this conversation. If jobs are divided verbally or on paper, it makes it easier to know what your responsibilities are. It’s unrealistic to think that the woman must do everything.

“One way the modern conservative movement has hurt the family is by regarding the man as the head in all decisions, rather than the overall leader of the home and family. Men have been taught they should have control over every decision and aspect of homelife, often requiring their wives to seek their final say on every decision about money and home care. This isn’t true to the Biblical model of servant/servant relationship, or the man as the spiritual and directional head of the home. We don’t see the Proverbs 31 woman seeking permission to buy a field, care for servants, and prepare the house for difficult seasons. The erosion of trust in the ability of Christian women to act like rational, intelligent adults is hurting the family and creating constant stress— men are asked for permission that they decline because they can’t see the need in the same way, and women feel frustrated because the head of the home has essentially forbidden her from caring for the home in a way that benefits everyone.”- Audrey Simmons

Maybe you have never actually had a conversation about who should do what in the household. Here are some questions to ask your hubby to get you started:

1.What jobs do you expect me to do?

 2.What is your definition of a well run, successful home? Is it a perfectly clean home? Happy, well rounded kids?

3.What’s most important to you in how the household looks and runs, and what are you willing to do to help make that possible?

Tomorrow I’ll be continuing the series with some home and work scenarios!

Episode 35- Transitioning from Public School to Homeschool

Thinking about homeschooling? Or maybe you started homeschooling recently after pulling your kids out of public/private school. Maybe you are wondering if your transition is natural or you feel alone? Lori and Kathleen talk about their experience with the transition, such as leaving behind old ideas about what education really is. Grab a cup of coffee and join us for this episode that was listener requested!

Episode 35 (2)

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Show notes:

I met Lori at the Mom’s Tea I hosted once a week where we drank coffee and cried. This was a place where Moms could talk about what was going on in their lives. We mostly said, “me too”.We did studies together, but often went off on tangents.

The lessons: Everyone needs a support system.

It’s okay to cry.

Find someone who has been homeschooling for a while.

Your ideas about what education looks like may change.

One of the myths about homeschooling is that your kids will always love it.

You don’t have to replicate the public school.

What’s your Homeschool Style?

Don’t go to a curriculum fair alone! Go with a seasoned homeschooler!

Find out what your child needs and then base your choices on him, not what everyone tells you is the best.

It’s okay to go back to the beginning and teach foundational things that your kids missed.

Find your own family style and personality.

Don’t get stuck in the comparison trap!

Get your kids asking questions!

 

The Challenges and Rewards of Homeschooling Adopted Children

Homeschooling is an arduous and rewarding option. When you adopt kiddos from hard places, there are many benefits to choosing homeschooling. In this episode of the podcast, Kathleen and her husband Jerry talk about the benefits and challenges of homeschooling adopted children. Some are intertwined, you must face the challenge to reap the reward.

Homeschooling Adopted Children

Podomatic link here.

iTunes link here.

Here are just some of the topics discussed:

  • There is often a language barrier. This can be cultural or literal. Probably both.
  • Homeschooling allows a child to acclimate to a home and feel secure.
  • School wasn’t the child’s original focus, survival was.
  • The child may have missed lots of school and need extra help.
  • The inability to keep up in class reinforces the lie the child may believe-I’m not smart.
  • Being at home with Mom/Dad helps them regulate.
  • The child may need one on one teaching.
  • You can teach to their bent.
  • In the home you have the freedom to get up and exercise frequently.
  • A child from a hard place has an emotional age that is half their physical age.
  • When the gap between the child and their peers widens, the child feels more frustration and may want to give up. When homeschooling, you are able to teach to the stage and not the age. This decreases the stress on the child to keep up with his peers.

 

Some Favorite Purchases of my Homeschooling Career

Curriculum. It’s a hot topic with homeschooling Moms. We love to talk books, books, books. If you are like me, you have spent an crazy amount of money on curricula. Sometimes I would hear that something was ‘the best’ and I ordered it…and it just didn’t work for my kids. I have books on my shelf right now that I feel guilty about giving away because we only read a few chapters or filled in a very few workbook pages. I hesitate to suggest any curriculum to anyone without knowing their kids’ learning style and Mom/Dad’s teaching style. However, on the other hand, my library shelves are heavy with books and cds that we here at The Guire Shire have used/read over and over. Those are worth sharing.

 

Favorite Purchases of my

  1. The Great Adventure by Jeff Cavins is a chronological walk through the Bible complete with a workbook and timeline. The Guires have walked through the Bible several times using the reading plan and listening to the teaching CDs that are full of history. Jeff shares the plan of salvation in an easy to comprehend way.

    The Bible is at the Heart of Our Faith…

    … and our relationship with God. Scripture informs our beliefs and inspires our devotions. It is the living Word of God, where our Father meets with us and lovingly speaks to us. Reading the Bible should bring us closer to Christ, but understanding it is not always easy. Many people tell me they have tried time and again to prayerfully read Scripture, but they get frustrated because they “just don’t get it.”

    The Great Adventure Catholic Bible study program is designed in such a way that anyone can make sense of the Bible and experience the life-changing power of God’s Word. Hundreds of thousands of people have found new meaning in their lives after going through The Great Adventure Bible studies. It is my prayer that you, too, will see how a newfound understanding of God’s Word can transform your life and bring you closer to Christ.- Jeff Cavins

  2. English from the Roots Up “Just as phonics helps children figure out what words are, Latin and Greek help them figure out what words mean.” -Joegil K. Lundquist, author. Each lesson begins with one Greek or Latin word, teaches its meaning, then gives children a list of from three to ten English words derived from the root word. For example, lesson ten introduces the Greek word kinesis meaning movement. The lesson then teaches five words derived from kinesis: kinetic, kinesiology, kinescope, cinema, and cinematographer. The words photos (light) and graph (write or draw) were introduced in the first two lessons, so children are connecting the last word to two Greek words they have already learned. This can create a picture in students’ minds of someone who can “draw” with “moving light,” making it easier for children to understand that a big word like cinematographer refers to the person who decides how to compose the scenes that he wants a movie camera to capture. Children each need a set of 100 cards, one for each lesson. Each card has the Greek or Latin word with a border of green for Greek words and red for Latin words. On the reverse are the derived words and their meanings. You can purchase sets of pre-made cards or make them along with your students….”- Cathy Duffy 
  3. Spelling PowerIntro video Spelling Power is the only spelling book I used for about fifteen years for seven students. The appeal of this program is any student who is ready to spell can use it at any level. One of my kids finished the whole program by the time he was a freshman in high school while others did not make it through the whole book. 
  4. Apologia Science If science seems overwhelming and over complicated, Apologia is the place to start. The texts are easy to understand, written to the student and full of experiments. When I started my homeschooling journey, I freaked out about doing science. I didn’t have a lab and I couldn’t imagine that I could perform experiments on my own. Turns out, I could. Apologia made it a little less scary. I dissected frogs, worms, fish, worms and crawdads (crayfish). We grew all sorts of beans in bags, kept pond water in jars for two weeks, mixed chemicals and found out which sort of veggies produced the most gas (canned, frozen or fresh). Once I strapped my science jeans (genes, get it?) on, Apologia helped me conquer my fears and go for it. 
  5. Teaching Textbook Math If you don’t feel as if you can teach high school math or you have students who would rather learn math on their own, Teaching Textbook is a great resource. Each grade level available comes with instructional videos, homework help and practice problems solved on the the DVD. 
    “Homeschooling through high school just got a whole lot easier! That’s because we’ve finally created a product that not only teaches high school math but does the grading as well. This new and improved version of Pre-Algebra is available for purchase now, at the same price as the old version, and its many NEW features include:
    1. Automated grading
    2. A digital gradebook that can manage multiple student accounts and be easily
      edited by a parent
    3. Over a dozen more lessons and hundreds of new problems and solutions
    4. Interactive lectures
    5. Hints and second chance options for many problems
    6. Animated buddies to cheer the student on
    7. Reference numbers for each problem so students and parents can see where a problem was first introduced
    8. An index
    9. Detailed appendices”

Each homeschooling family has a different personality and each should approach education according to their philosophy. I wouldn’t recommend a literature based curriculum to a math and science  type parent. Yet, I do feel there are some basics we can all agree upon. I hope my sharing these five suggestions helps you, whether you use them or this just gives you a starting point to make your own list to share.

Loving Children Who Love to Hate Starting School

*written by Audrey Simmons

 

When I was younger, our new curriculum for the year would arrive in the mail sometime in the mid to late summer and “unboxing day” was an exciting event. We’d go over every book, flipping through pages and exclaiming about our excitement. I’d marvel at how complex some of the math or science at the ends of the books seemed and my mom would have to confiscate readers that we attempted to start plowing through right there on the kitchen or living room floor. We were enthusiastic, and we were not an anomaly among homeschoolers. I know families who have started school a week or two earlier than planned just because the kids were so excited to start.

 

Some of these same kids, including us, would burn out a few weeks in and start complaining about math or writing– we weren’t saints, just kids– but that excitement sometimes made it easier to launch into our schedule and getting used to school again.

 

However, if you’re homeschooling kids on the spectrum or adopted children with attachment issues or learning challenges, you might not get that shot in the arm of enthusiasm. Maybe you home school but you and your child both silently (or loudly) dread each upcoming year.
Kids who love to hate starting school

 

Summer has been nice and you’re reluctant to start again what feels like an uphill battle, both ways, in a snow storm…just to start working, much less getting through the material itself.

 

One thing that can help is getting materials that plug in to a special interest, like a science or physics book structured around the study of cars, but where a neurotypical or attached child might immediately be excited to start, it might feel like this has backfired when working with autistic or attachment-disordered kids. That “unboxing day” might not have the same meaning for these kids.

 

Please don’t lose heart. Chances are, your child doesn’t hate the learning environment, you as a teacher, or the material– all things parents tend to interpret resistance being signs of– your child probably just has difficulty with transitions. Be consistent. Be pleasant. One of our biggest enemies, mentally, is our own expectations. If you are expecting a child to be thrilled to start, to switch to each “new book,” you’re going to both have a miserable day. If you anticipate some feet-dragging, some crying, some upset, you’ll be better prepared to handle it and not feel derailed.

 

For many kids, the transition to a new schedule is difficult, but where neurotypical or attached children may be whining and complaining six weeks in to the school year when you also want to come up with excuses for a day off, autistic children may be better motivators! They might be the kids pulling out the books, insisting on the new schedule that they’ve adjusted to, and helping you stay on track!

 

But some kids take much longer to even reach that point, if they ever do. Some kids with learning delays or oppositional disorders might rarely be enthusiastic about school as a whole. But after you’ve settled into your new schedule, resist the temptation to “change things up” unless you know for certain something isn’t working. These kids aren’t motivated by change. Be consistent in your schedule. And then start finding ways to introduce some excitement.

 

It might be themed stickers or small toys. It might be short YouTube videos. There is controversy about the health of offering food or treats as a motivator or reward, but I’ve found some success in offering a single chocolate chip or other small item for each broad task. Another thing that my kids in particular respond to is games– we can transition to a reading lesson if they know that I’ll sit and play an alphabet or word game with them, like Bananagrams or Pairs in Pears, after we finish or to aid the transition. Be willing to try this even if you feel like your child should be “too old” for such motivators!

 

 Do not lose heart! Do not grow weary of doing good. And you are doing good, giving your child(ren) a safe, attachment-fostering learning environment and presenting them with educational material. Our goals might sound like “teaching him to read” or “getting through algebra,” but ultimately your goal is to be faithful in the job you’ve been given and loving your child well. Your reward will come from God, not from your child. Take a deep breath, remember your child is not the enemy, and know that you aren’t alone.

Homeschooling Mom, are you stuck in the comparison trap?

  Imagine a bear trap closing on a human leg, bone crunching, blood spurting, immeasurable pain.  Not to mention being stuck.  Stuck in pain.  Stuck in one place until someone comes and releases you from the trap.
What does a bear trap have to do with homeschooling?  What doesn’t work for me is the comparison trap.  It’s a lot like a bear trap.  It’s buried, you don’t see it, but once you get caught in it, you are stuck and in immeasurable pain.
Four of my children are adopted and had traumatic beginnings.  When they came home, their emotional ages and physical ages didn’t match up.  Their development was delayed and each of them had some learning challenges, all of that topped with learning a new language.  On a scholastic number line, they were in the negative.
Comparing kid to a standard one size fits all is like walking around with a bear trap attached to your calf.  It drains the life blood right out of you.
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One night at the dinner table, Rafal shared that a boy in his Royal Ranger troop isn’t athletic and the commander encourages him along.
“I wasn’t that athletic as a child,”  I replied.
“You weren’t?”  he asked incredulously.
He was surprised.  I roller blade, ice skate, swim, climb around on rocks with my kids. I’m still not coordinated, but don’t tell him.
I was a late bloomer.  While my sister was ready to train for the Olympics in gymnastics, I was doing what I did best at the time- stumbling and falling on my face a lot!
“What did you do back then?” he asked.
“Well, I was little and skinny.  So I RAN. AWAY, mostly from other kids.”  Laughter.
Kids are growing through ages and stages at different rates.  Who they are or what they are doing now does not determine who they will become unless we compare and verbally point out what we see as delays.  Get help for your special needs child if you need to. Talk to experienced moms, but don’t rehearse the delays in front of him.  I have taken classes, attended workshops on speech therapy and various seminars to help me teach my children.  I want my children to reach their potential.  I am saying CELEBRATE their victories.
If Susie next door wins the regional spelling bee and your child through equal time and effort can spell ten words, then don’t compare.  CELEBRATE!
If your child participates in the Social Studies Fair and speaks in front of the judges with tears streaming down her face because of social anxiety. She did it afraid.  CELEBRATE!
If all the high schoolers at Co-op are taking A.P. courses and your child took two years to complete Algebra I, but he conquered it. CELEBRATE!
Don’t get stuck in the comparison trap. It’s a painful place to be, instead enjoy each age and stage your children are in!

Back to School- Homeschooling Edition

Episode 33- Back to School- Homeschooling Edition

If you’ve chosen to homeschool, then you know a lot of planning goes into starting a new school year! Kathleen homeschooled for twenty-one year and Amerey is starting year three, so they share lots of tips and tricks to make your school year run smoothly. Such as: knowing your kids’ strengths and weaknesses when choosing a curriculum, being sure to teach life skills as a part of school, choosing a schooling style to fit your family. Most importantly, be flexible

Back to School - Homeschool Edition.png

Some main points from this week’s episode:

  1. Know your child’s strengths and weaknesses
  2. Pick out your child’s curriculum based on number 1.
  3. Discover your family’s personality.
  4. Teach to your family’s personality.
  5. Add life skills into your daily schedule.
  6. Have a schedule that fits your family.
  7. Be flexible.
  8. Remember that every child will not excel at everything.
  9. Every child has a purpose and God has given him what he needs to succeed .
  10. Write a mission statement.

Podomatic link here.

iTunes link here.

Hope you enjoy this week’s episode, next week- The Benefits of Homeschooling -Adoption Edition!

 

You Don’t Have to Have it All Together

Ever have one of those days, weeks or even months when you feel as if you are barely hanging on?

Maybe you adopted a child and the honeymoon period is over, his past is being triggered over and over. It’s drowning you.

Maybe you have had an illness and you can’t do what you used to be able to do.

Maybe you are homeschooling and one week in, your’e tired and you wonder if you can keep this going?

Maybe you stepped out of your comfort zone to follow your God-sized dream and you’re doing it, but if has you wiped out and wondering if you made the right choice.

Maybe today, you just want to pull the covers over your head and stay in bed. 

If any of the above applies to you, this is for you…..

There was a day when you woke up full of energy and ready to tackle the world. You may wonder where that zeal and energy went. You may be wondering if you missed it, if you shouldn’t have adopted, started homeschooling or followed your God-sized dream. Do you blame yourself for your illness?

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I just want to point out a few things today and maybe throw some encouragement your way. Woman, we have a guilt complex. We blame ourselves for everything. We want to solve everything (guilty). Most women want everyone to get a balloon and a ribbon. That’s just not realistic. If you are having doubts, a difficult season or doubting everything your doing right now, remember these three simple truths:

Three simple truths:

1. Life is not perfect. Don’t doubt your calling or your purpose because your circumstances are difficult. Most often, that means you are on the right track. Anything worth doing is going to be hard work.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. – James 1:12

2. When life is hard, that doesn’t mean you failed.  I often fall into this line of thinking, when things are difficult, I think I failed or God is mad at me. It’s just not true. The truth is God is with us. He will not leave or forsake us. AT ALL. He understands our weaknesses. He came to earth to be human so he could identify with us. Difficulty is not failure. Difficulty is an opportunity to grow.

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.

 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. – Hebrews 4: 14-16

3. When you fall, get back up again. As I said before, women carry the guilt complex. Often when we fall, yell at the kids, our hubbys or kick the cat, we wear it like a mantle of shame. We keep rehearsing it over and over again in our minds, like a YouTube video on replay. We think of how we should have done things differently. We wear the weight of our sin instead of repenting and beginning anew. Sister, just ask God to forgive you and move on as if it never happened. Yep. That’s what God does.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.- I John 1:9

And here’s an extra one to hang your hat on, if you are chosen, anointed, picked out to do the thing you are doing, then nothing can stop the call of God on your life. Just keep going, there will be days that seem as if you can’t go on, but you can. You can do what God has called you to do whether that is homeschooling, adopting/fostering, ministering to women or __________________. Breathe. This isn’t up to you. It’s all on God. He’s got this. Even when you don’t see it, He’s working. Even when you don’t feel it, He’s working. He never stops working. You don’t have to have it all together. God already does.