I love our church… truly it is exactly what we were looking for when we moved here and God blessed us with a very short search!  Along with the singing, the teaching has been encouraging, convicting and biblical.  This past Sunday the teaching was so thought provoking that I thought I’d blog about it.  To be fair, much of the following words were spoken by Mr. Brian Hutton who taught this valuable lesson.  I’ve added some of my own thoughts to it but kudos to him for such a well thought out, prayed about and shared teaching.

In God’s Word, Exodus 20:3 says You shall have no other gods before Me.  Idolatry is the opposite!  Brian pointed out that it is no coincidence that when God gave the ten commandments, the first thing on His mind was to tell us to have no other gods before Him.  The Hebrew word elohiym used here is the same exact word Satan used in Gen 3:5 when he was tempting Eve and saying ‘ye shall be as gods.’

The Merriam-Webster definition of idolatry is 1: the worship of a physical object as a god, 2: immoderate attachment or devotion to something.  However, Brian shared this definition… Idolatry is loving more than God what ought to be loved less than God and only for the sake of God.  Now, I had to read and re-read that statement a few times to make sense of it and let it sink in.  As a believer, the definition Brian shared has much more meaning.

Joshua 24:15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell.  But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

When you hear idolatry what do you think of?  A big golden statue such as a cow or bull?  A giant chocolate bunny – think Veggie Tales?  Someone steeped deep in sin?  Brian discussed 5 examples of idolatry and I have been guilty of all of them at various points throughout my Christian walk.

Idolatry of Time
Ephesians 5:15-17 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Christopher Hitchens once said “I have no time to waste on this planet being told what to do by those who think that God has given them instructions.”  That is how the world manages their time, with no thought to God and His word.  THEIR time is precious compared to the perspective of ‘the time the Lord has given me is precious and I desire to spend it serving Him.’ This is an idol that I struggle with!

Idolatry of Misplaced Affections
1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
Matthew 10:37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
The verse in Matthew is hard for me!  I love my children but I constantly remind myself that God loves them more and I am called to love God more.  He is the one who gave me children in the first place, even if only for a time!  As for 1 John, it is a fine line to live IN the world but not be OF the world.  The world and all that it offers can be very tempting, especially to new believers or believers who arrogantly feel they are above sin and can’t be trapped by it.  As said by Martin Luther “Whatever you love most, that is your god.”

Idolatry of Discouragement
Matthew 14:24-32 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.  Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea.  And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out of fear.  But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer!  It is I; do not be afraid.” And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to you on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out fo the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.
As Brian started his lesson I never expected to learn about the idolatry of discouragement.  Discouragement can be an idol?  Really?  But as he was speaking and discussing the above verse in Matthew as well as Daniel 6:19-24 I realized that YES, discouragement can be an idol and I was guilty of making it one.  It’s been eye opening for me to see how I can let discouragement be my focus instead of keeping my focus on the Lord.  I’ve let it bring me down, WAY down and made sure that those around me knew it.  By keeping my focus on my discouragement I neglected the truth of God is my protector, my strong provider, my security and my hope!

Idolatry of Abundance
1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Romans 11:33-36 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgements and His ways past finding out! “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor? Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him?” For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.
The idolatry of Abundance is the belief that resources drive this world, not God.  We freely pursue money to please the flesh (capitalism) or we try to control the money of others, because we want the power they wield (socialism).  Either way we idolize the power of money and demand the control over how it affects our lives.  We put money on the throne rather than God.

Idolatry of Sins
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.
Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.
DL Moody once said “The Bible will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the Bible.”  That is so true! We try to get in the Word every day by ourselves and with our kids.  They will be faced with many temptations and trials throughout their lives and the best way to turn from temptation and weather the storms is to be grounded in God’s Word.  Our sins can absolutely, become idols to us.  We tell God, I will give up all my sin except…. fill in the blank.  Lord, I just can’t turn from this one!  It’s time to repent!

Really, what it all boils down to is idolatry of self.  Satan understood mankind’s greatest weakness as stated in Genesis 3:5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.  Brian notes of all the angles Satan could have taken to trip mankind up, he chose to appeal to our own sense of superiority.  Satan wants us to consider ourselves as gods, in direct opposition to the first commandment.

What is in your life that you’ve made an idol?  Homeschooling?  I have a wise friend who reminded me that as a homeschool mom it’s easy to make it an idol.  Exercise?  Career?  Looks/Image?  Knowledge?  A certain affiliation or membership to a particular organization?   I challenge you to reflect on your life, your priorities, your passions and test them against Scripture.  Ask the Lord to show you if there is anything in your life that you have or are close to making an idol.

I’ll end with two Scriptures… By the grace of God we can destroy idols in our lives!

Matthew 6:24  No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and mammon.

Colossians 3:16-17 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.



Our First Christmas in Arkansas

Our first Christmas in Arkansas was enjoyable and a bit odd all at the same time.  We did not spend Christmas Eve or Christmas with extended family like usual – that was the odd part!  After spending the morning opening a few gifts and eating homemade cinnamon rolls we decided to go on a hike because the weather was stunning!  It was 72 beautiful degrees and bright warm sun-filled skies.  We drove about an hour, maybe less, to Devil’s Den State Park.  We had such a wonderful time!

This was our fourth year reading through an advent book.  Jotham’s Journey by Arnold Ytreeide.  His advent books are so well written and we look forward to this tradition every year!  We think that Jesus was not actually born on December 25th and as a family we want to make sure we are worshipping Jesus coming in the flesh *1  as the Reason *2 for this Holiday.

(1. Possibly around BC 4-5) (2. And to actually die in our place for forgiveness of our sins about AD 30)

A Podcast and God’s Promises

Hello Friends!  This is a quick post to share a podcast I recently listened to and a wonderful article about God’s promises.

First, the podcast was posted by Generations Radio and host Kevin Swanson.  He talks about the ‘American Boy Disease’ and how our society tries to put boys in the same box as girls.  While I only have 1 son, I am fully aware that he is so amazingly different than my girls.  Our standards are the same for Jonathan as far as respect for authority, behavior, attitude, strength of character and such but the path we take to meet those standards are different.  Just like each child learns differently and I’m able to adjust my teaching to best fit their learning style, Jonathan learns differently just by the very fact he’s a boy.  He has a much better day when it’s structured, scheduled and lots of variety.  Side note – we are not ruled by our schedule; it’s a tool!

Anyway, this podcast talks about the difference between boys and girls and how to take a different approach in parenting boys.  He also talks about screen time which can obviously apply to ALL of us!  Take a listen at Generations Radio!

Secondly, I read this blog post about God’s Promises by Michelle Lesley and just had to share this wonderful article!  Will only take about 5 minutes to read and is so worth it.  Michelle is a wealth of information (her special focus is discernment for women) and encouragement.

Rejoice in the Lord!


Our Summer Bible Study

Here it is November and the kids and I have finally finished our summer bible study!  It’s a very in-depth study and completing it in 8 weeks just wasn’t an option for us.  It took us about 4 months after we started it in late June but it was such a good study that it was well worth the extra time.

Have you ever heard of the National Bible Bee?  Several years back in Colorado, we joined the National Bible Bee summer study program.  Several of our friends started a bible bee club where each we would would gather and play games with the intent of helping us remember what we studied during the week.  I remember that first year the study was on Jonah.  We also helped each other study our memory verses because at the end of the summer our local chapter held a huge competition with a written test and recitation of memory verses to see who would qualify to go on to the national championship in November.

This past summer NBB’s study was on the book of James so the kids and I spent weeks pouring over James, learning many greek words, memorizing scripture, singing, praying and being immersed in God’s word.

I love how you can study the same Scripture multiple times and learn something new.  Our workbook gave a summary of James…

…James was written by James to scattered Jewish believers.  It exhorts Christians for all time to live in such a way that their saving faith is vibrant and alive, not anemic or dead.  James gives practical, obligatory maxims that, when put into practice, produce a joyful, Christian lifestyle that is thriving and maturing in God.  We are not told our lives are free of trials, yet our key verse, James 1:2, admonishes us to be joyful in the midst of tests.

Some things that stood out to me from this study…

  • Enduring trials builds our faith and helps us be steadfast.
  • In James it says to ask for wisdom we need to pray in earnest without doubt.
  • The result of a faithless prayer is to be double-minded with little faith.
  • Temptations come from our own desires and lusts.
  • Following the enticements of my own heart ultimately leads to death.
  • James spoke strongly about temptation leads to sin, which leads to death.
  • By remaining steadfast in trials we will become mature in our walk.
  • Those that endure and persevere receive the crown of life.
  • James 1:2 Consider it all joy my beloved brethren when you encounter various trials.
  • We must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.
  • Prove myself doer of the Word.
  • Moral filth in our life is an impediment to our ability to receive with meekness the Word implanted.
  • The anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.
  • Our tongue can bless and curse… all in the same sentence.
  • God’s grace is sufficient, rejoice in my trials and the power of Christ will rest upon me.

My kids were able to memorize many passages over the last 4 months and they all said this was one of their favorite studies.  Can’t wait for next summer’s National Bible Bee study.

Next up, we are going to go through the DVD series call How Do We Know the Bible is True? by British theologian Brian Edwards.


A Make Believe Story…. or is it?

A woman in her late forties, named… Marie, stood at her kitchen sink washing dishes.  She looks up and out the kitchen window and sees her husband, Charles, working hard in their backyard.  Out of the corner of her eye she sees her mom walking to where her husband is working.  Marie realizes that while she was not mean or unkind to her mother, she wasn’t exactly cheerful or welcoming when her mom came to talk to her.  When her mom felt unwanted she went in search of the one person in her life that will almost always make time to talk with her.

You see, Marie’s husband is a wonderful caring man.  Charles loves the Lord, his family, his church and the lost.  Part of his family includes his mother-in-law who lives with them.  How did she come to live with his family?  Years ago, like 14 years ago, it was his idea to have his family live with his wife’s mother and father-in-law for a year to help them out financially; while his wife thought he was nuts she went along with his plan.  After the year was up his family eagerly moved into their own place but it was short lived.  His father-in-law passed away four months later.

His mother-in-law can be difficult to love and yet this God fearing man does just that… He loves her.  Not perfectly but always with sincerity.  Marie has so much to learn from her husband.  Charles is being Jesus to someone who doesn’t really want to hear about Jesus.  He is being light to someone who had a very dark childhood, suffered terrible abuse at the hands of people who should have loved and protected her and feels abandoned by those she once called her closest friends.

Marie wonders why it is so difficult for her to be the light to her own mother.  She feels ashamed as she watches her husband make consistent efforts to love her mom and invest in her daily life.  She has known for some time that she needs to make more of an effort and without God helping her she’ll never be able to do it on her own.  Marie knows that the Scripture says to honor your mother and father but it really goes beyond honor doesn’t it?  She can honor her without investing in her.  She can honor her without being light to her.   She can honor her without giving much thought to where her mom will spend eternity.  But Marie, as a Christian, should be concerned about her mother’s eternity.

That goes back to relationship.  Investing in her.  Seeing her as valuable.  Seeing her as a child of God.


My Love/Hate Relationship with October

I love the colors of October with the brilliant oranges and deep reds mixed in with some left over green from summer.  I love the slightly cooler temperatures and especially like it here in Arkansas during the fall.  I enjoy seeing all the fall decorations including scarecrows, hay bales and pumpkins.

Image result for arkansas fall colors public use

Image result for arkansas fall colors public use

What is it that I don’t like about October?  My least favorite holiday occurs at the end of October.  Friends, I dread Halloween… every single year.  I’ve never been a big fan and I think I dislike it more each year.  I’ve gone back and forth between celebrating it and not but the years we have celebrated Halloween nothing scary was allowed.  One year we had a little fall party for our family and we did crafts, played snacks and ate lots of yummy food.  Most years we haven’t handed out candy and our kids haven’t been trick or treating except at the local trunk or treat for several years.

My kids keep asking what we are doing this year and I just can’t decide where I stand on this issue!  I decided to search the Scriptures for some guidance and I made notes of questions I want to ask my family about this holiday.  I would highly encourage you to get a little booklet from Answers in Genesis called A Biblical and Historical Look at Halloween. You might be surprised that by the end they don’t have a staunch “NO” to Halloween.  Anyway, here are my thoughts…

1 Corinthians 10:23 All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable.  All things are lawful, but not all things edify.
Is what and how you are celebrating helpful; does it build you and your family up?

1 Corinthians 10:24-30  Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbors.  Eat anything that is sold in the market without asking questions for conscience’ sake; For the Earth is the Lord’s and all it contains.  If one of the unbelievers invites you and you want to go, eat anything that is set before you without asking questions for conscience’ sake.  But if anyone says to you, “This is meat sacrificed to idols,” do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for conscience’ sake; I mean not your own conscience, but the other man’s; for why is my freedom judged by another’s conscience?  If I partake with thankfulness, why am I slandered concerning that for which I give thanks?
Who is watching what your family does?  Are you serving your neighbor and drawing him closer to Christ by the activities in which you participate?

1 Corinthians 15:54-55 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?”
Our Savior died to put death to death.  Does the activity you are considering glorify death?

1 Peter 5:8-9 “Be alert and of sober mind.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith…”
Could the enemy be subtly present in the activity your family might be apart of?

1 Corinthians 10:31  Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Can I bring glory to God while I’m joining in on this activity?

Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
Does this activity make light of sin, evil or darkness?  Does it celebrate or honor sin?  Even if only a little?

Ephesians 5:11-12 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.
Does this activity cause spiritual unfruitfulness?  Would your family be participating in a work of darkness or something shameful?

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
Does this activity allow you to ‘dwell’ on whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, etc?  Or does it cause you to ‘dwell’ on darkness?

Additional questions to ask yourself and/or your family:

  • Is Halloween a celebration of the devil?
  • If we participate will it be teaching our kids that the devil is fun?
  • If you participate in a fall festival or trunk or treat is this celebrating Halloween?
  • Can carving pumpkins be fun – yes!  Although I read that they were originally supposed to be scary faces and put near front doors to ward off evil spirits.
  • Do your teens understand who the devil is and what it looks like when their generation celebrates him?  2 Corinthians 11:4 says ‘he masquerades as an angel of light.’
  • Do your kids know how to fight the devil (fight temptation to do wrong)?

Friends, I still don’t have an answer!  But I know that every year at this time I just dread the ‘what are we doing for Halloween’ question.  If it was simply cute little kids dressed up as frogs and lady bugs that would be great but the darkness I see in the costumes and decorations just make me sick to my stomach… literally.  Why are people drawn to such darkness?  I just don’t understand how anyone can enjoy cut off heads hanging on their porches and demon babies adorning their front yard.  I just don’t want anything to do with any of it!

Yes I’ve read those comments that are ‘supportive’ of Halloween….

  • it’s just costumes/decorations and it’s not real
  • just let them be kids
  • if we don’t pass out candy we are not very nice Christians as we should open our doors and shine the light
  • our costumes should be scary to scare off the evil spirits
  • your kids are deprived if they don’t participate

… and many other similar comments.

PERSONALLY, I STILL DON’T LIKE HALLOWEEN.  I have hesitations about it which makes just ‘enjoying’ it difficult.

Perhaps this year we will find a trunk or treat to do and just leave it at that….




Back to School!

We started our school year in early August… my 11th year teaching our kids.  What a journey it has been.  When Natasha was born I would have laughed at you if you told me we would be a homeschooling family.  Yet, here we are – a homeschooling family!  I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Yes, it’s a challenge but to have us all together, building our relationships, studying God’s word, learning about all kinds of different subjects and able to pray together throughout the day brings me such joy and peace.  My number one job as their mother is to teach them God’s Word and consistently point them to Christ.  Math, science and the rest of the academic subjects are secondary because what good does it do to have all that knowledge if their souls are captured by the world?

For several years I have had all the kids color a page that represents the grade they are starting, even though with homeschoolers the grade doesn’t really dictate what they are learning.  So, without further delay here are the kids pictures for this school year.  Our first school year in Arkansas!

Natasha is 16 years old and is in the 11th grade.  Every year I marvel at how fast time is flying… our oldest has less then 2 years of school left!  Since moving to Arkansas we have truly been blessed to be able to join a homeschool co-op called BELIEVERS.  Also, a wonderful mom in our church has a small writing class that Natasha was able to join and their first book study is To Kill A Mockingbird.  She is also interning at a really neat bakery twice a week.  She has quite a busy schedule between academics, the bakery, piano lessons and co-op!  Lord willing, she’ll be able to get her drivers license soon as she’s met the drivers permit requirements.  The bible verse on her picture is Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make our paths straight.

Natasha – August 2019

Mikayla is 14 and in the 9th grade.  Since this is her first year in high school she’s getting used to a more demanding schedule.  However, she isn’t planning on becoming a rocket scientist or an engineer so she’s not on an intense rigorous schedule.  While Natasha is in her writing class, our other 4 kids are part of group of younger students going through Pilgrim’s Progress and Mikayla helps with this class.  Mikayla’s two co-op classes are Puzzles, Logic and Games and Being Mission Minded.  She is a very diligent student and will persevere through tough subjects without giving up.  Her favorite subject this year is the Earth Science class by DIVE as it includes lots of really cool experiments.  In a couple of years, she hopes to volunteer at an animal shelter as she loves all things related to animals.  The bible verse on her pictures is Psalm 118:24 This is the day that the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Mikayla – August 2019

Alex is 11 and in 5th grade.  Many 11 year olds are in 6th grade, however, our umbrella school in Colorado automatically put her in the younger grade back when she started school.  It turned out to be a blessing because she had a severe speech impediment and being back a grade allowed us to really focus on her speech.  For the co-op Alex picked a class called Build-It where they will build catapults, marshmallow guns and various other fun projects and a Drama class.  She too is an excellent student and sometimes borders on being a perfectionist which we are working on with her.  She loves science and doing experiments and is focused on Astronomy this year.  The bible verse on her picture is Psalm 106:1 Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.  For his lovingkindness is everlasting.

Alexandra – August 2019

Our Jonathan is about to turn 9 and is in the 3rd grade.  He’s the typical active boy and he keeps me on my toes.  I keep him pretty scheduled throughout the day and rotate between desk work and more active play… too much idle time and he gets himself in trouble!  He has been my favorite kiddo to teach to read.  I have enjoyed watching his eyes light up and his smile appear as he learns new things.  His co-op classes are Human Anatomy and Marine Biology and both of his teachers go to our church and he loves both of their families – he’s very excited!  Like Alex, he loves science and is really good at math.  The bible verse on his picture is Ephesians 6:10-11 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

Jonathan – August 2019

This is Katherine’s first official year in school, is 5 years old and in Kindergarten.  I think at this point she loves all the things she is learning which is a good thing!  To be honest, some of her work is busy work to keep her focused while I’m working with the other kids but she enjoys it so I don’t feel too bad!  Like Jonathan, too much idle time causes her to whine and get in trouble.  Her co-op classes are Food Art and Rock Art.  She’ll get to bring home fun little creations each week.  The bible verse on her picture is Ephesians 5:1-2 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

Katherine – August 2019

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.


It’s Just Geography

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.

Have you ever been to or lived in Colorado?  Have you ever driven through Glenwood Canyon and gazed in awe at the stunning mountains towering high above you?  Have you ever hiked to Hanging Lake near Glenwood Springs where a breathtaking lake with crystal clear blue/green water sits high up on the side of a mountain?  What about a stroll or bike ride in Waterton Canyon, complete with wildlife and waterfalls?  Have you ever slid down the Great Sand Dunes in the San Luis Valley on a sled and buried your toes in the warm sand?  What about enjoy one of the hundreds of amazing camping spots throughout the state?  Have you ever taken a chair lift to the top of Copper Mountain and skillfully maneuvered down a diamond black trail on skis in 3 feet of fresh powder or taken that same trail in the summer but this time your mode of transportation is a mountain bike?  Or spent the day enjoying refreshing water rides at Water World in north Denver, complete with just over 70 acres of thrilling rides, relaxing lazy rivers and yummy food?

Those are just a few of the hundreds of things that can be enjoyed in the beautiful state of Colorado.  Up until about 3 months ago I had lived there my entire life.  I was born in the heart of Denver and lived in various metro area suburbs throughout my 48 years.  Never, ever did I think I would live anywhere else… until Proverbs 16:9 repeatedly entered my mind and heart.  The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.

After watching Phil work 2 jobs, sometimes 3 jobs to take care of his family for several years, I realized something needed to change.  At the time, I didn’t know what needed to change I just knew I didn’t see much light at the end of the tunnel.  Yes, the Lord is our light but I was starting to strongly feel like I was the one holding us back from getting in a better financial position.

You see, I was pretty attached to Colorado and the people who lived there.  I’ve never been one to enjoy change and I certainly avoided initiating the change!  However, several verses kept coming up in devotionals, prayers, bible reading and discussions with dear friends and I started to wonder if I was obeying God by being so determined to stay in Colorado.  Was my fear of change and the fear of leaving the only state I ever lived in trusting in the Lord?  Was I so stubborn to stick to the plans in my mind and not let the Lord direct my steps?  After some time I felt very convicted that I was not trusting the Lord with my future and the future of my family.  Why was I so scared to leave Colorado, when most of my favorite people would be leaving with me?  By January 2019, I realized we needed to make a drastic change and so my prayers shifted from Lord help us to find ways to meet our needs easier so Phil doesn’t have to work so many hours, to Lord, where is it that you want our family to live and serve you?  Well, the Lord answered those prayers with the selling of our house and the buying of the house where we now live.

Here we are…. in beautiful Fort Smith, Arkansas.  I have no regrets and I do not miss the big city AT ALL ya’ll!!!  While we haven’t yet explored Arkansas much I’m confident we will find just as wonderful adventures here that we had in Colorado.  Seriously, I don’t miss Denver or the 4 million people that live there.  Sometimes I miss the mountains… Colorado does have STUNNING mountains people! I miss my dad and step mom but it turns out they are leaving Colorado as well and moving to South Carolina.

We miss Phil’s brother Andy and his girlfriend Renee.  We spent most of our birthdays and holidays with each other so we definitely feel that loss.

Us visiting with Andy and Renee in June when we went back to CO for the CHEC conference.

What I miss the most is the people that were the closest to me like family but also my friends.  I’m an introvert so I didn’t have a dozen close friends, only a few but I miss them terribly.   My dear friend June has walked this journey of faith, marriage, parenting and homeschooling with me since the day I became a Christian back in 2000.  As a side note it’s her fault we homeschool… along with Kevin Swanson… I read his book The Second Mayflower.  She has been a mentor, a trusting friend to share my dreams, fears and joys with, and a prayer warrior for me and my family.  Not to mention she taught my oldest two kids writing and transported my kids to Spanish classes in our early years of homeschooling.  Her family has been such a huge blessing to my family over these 19 years.  For me she embodies Proverbs 31:26 She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

In addition to June is my dear friend Laura.  Laura and I have been very close, sometimes inseparable for about 3 years. I remember first meeting Laura and I remember thinking ‘I don’t have time for another friend!’ so I kind of put her off for awhile.  But our faithful Lord had other plans.  After a few play dates getting our kids together we clearly hit it off.  Over these 3 years we have grown very close; we have laughed and cried together.  She was a huge help in getting my family packed and moved and even though I’m 820 miles away from her she still encourages me daily… thank you Lord for texting!  Laura is the strongest woman I know and has endured things that most of us can only try to imagine but she has stayed firm in her faith and has leaned on the Lord.  She is such an inspiration to me.

It’s these two friends I miss the most.  I do miss our church in Colorado but honestly, the church we have joined here has had me in awe with the love and service they show to one another.  I miss the Button family who was kind enough to let us stay there for 10 days before the kids and I moved here and also hosted us when we went back in June.

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous!  Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.  I wrote this verse on many of our moving boxes as a reminder to me not to fear but to Trust the Lord.

God is faithful my friends!  2 Thessalonians 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.  Moving here was a step of faith for me and I feel strengthened.  I feel like my tight grip on Colorado has been released and it’s quite freeing! The Lord I love is here along with my steadfast husband and 5 amazing children.

Really, it’s just geography.

A Colorado sunrise, June 2019

An Arkansas sunrise, June 2019

A walk around Belmar lake with my friend June 2019. These pictures were taken with my phone and are completely unaltered.

Much to Share!

Wow, so much has happened in the last several months… where to begin!

Some of you may know that for well over a year Phil and I considered buying a bed and breakfast for our family to run as a family business.  We spent many hours searching the internet for properties for sale that were not only profitable but also large enough to fit our entire family of 8.  It was nearly impossible to find a bed and breakfast for sale that would indeed fit our family and be affordable so we decided to put that dream on a back burner for now.  We still want to own a bed and breakfast some day but it will need to wait until a different season of life.

From that point we changed our focus from purchasing a profitable business to where could we move that would allow us to get out of debt (or at least a strong start), have a set up that would allow my mother (who has lived with us since 2005) to be on the ground level and allow me to be a full time stay at home, homeschooling mom.  Those of you that know the Denver Metro Area housing market will know that finding this type of property in the city or her suburbs is virtually impossible.

In August of 2018, Mikayla, Alex and I took a road trip down through Texas, then east through Arkansas.  We stayed a couple of nights with friends in Charleston who showed us around Fort Smith a bit.  We then headed home through Oklahoma and New Mexico.  We really enjoyed our time in Fort Smith so Phil and I started praying for God’s direction and will for our family.  Staying in Denver was becoming increasingly impossible and we knew we needed to make some changes.  On the internet we explored San Antonio, Texas, some areas in Arizona, New Mexico and finally Arkansas.  We felt God was pointing us to the Fort Smith area.

At the time I worked with a real estate agent in Golden who had a ton of contacts.  I told her we wanted to sell our house and after giving her a description our home in Lakewood (apartment on the 2nd floor, etc.) she got on her cell phone and 5 minutes later told me she had someone who wanted to come look at it.  After a couple of showings with the same family, they made an offer and we accepted.  On March 23rd we were under contract with a closing date of April 30th!

At the end of March this year Natasha, Jonathan and I piled into our Suburban and headed southeast towards Fort Smith.  We spent 3 full days in the area and I looked at 14 properties, 2 of them I looked at a second time.  We looked at properties all the way from Rudy on down to Greenwood.  Once we were back in Denver, Phil and I put an offer down on a property in Greenwood.  It had 2 acres, a full size home and a little cottage for my mom.  Due to some legal issues with the sellers our contract fell through so we set our sights on a home in the city of Fort Smith.

We made an offer on the home we now own that was $10,000 less then asking price fulling expecting a counter offer.  Praise God, they accepted our offer because our agent explained to them we were looking for a home with a second living area for an older relative.  Our home in Colorado sold on April 30th and we did a remote closing on May 1st for our new home in Fort Smith.  There was so much excitement going in our family!

Phil, my mom and 2 dogs headed to Fort Smith the morning of May 1st and arrived about 9pm.  The kids and I stayed back in Colorado with friends to fulfill a few commitments we had.  Phil, with a little help here and there managed to replace the flooring in my mom’s area, manage 2 dogs, unload 2 moving trailers (with the amazing help of 3 Taggart young men!) and fix some plumbing issues all while being quite sick.  He was ready for the rest of the family to join him but it would be a few more days.

After finishing our 3 Spanish classes (2 of them for high school credit), a piano recital (both as students and Natasha as teacher), a violin recital and saying goodbye to some very special friends, the kids and I got in our Suburban early on the morning of May 10th with a truck full of stuff and headed to Fort Smith.  It was a long drive but we were all so excited to see Phil, my mom and the dogs.

So, here we are in Fort Smith, Arkansas.  Friends, until now, I have lived in Colorado all my life… 48 years!  Change is hard for me… always has been.  BUT, I do not regret our decision to leave the only state I’ve called home.  We love living here.  Of course, there are always things to get used to when change occurs but I love that I’m home full time, we have a beautiful house in a beautiful neighborhood (our house and neighborhood in CO were not the greatest but served our purposes) and we are meeting some pretty amazing families.  We’ve even already found a church home!  The Highway 71 Alma Church of Christ has been so welcoming to us and have made us feel at home.

Next post I’ll share how we are doing… what has been the most challenging for me.

Proverbs 16:3 Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established.

From the outside.

Beautiful kitchen.

One of two fireplaces.

An aerial view of our property.

The cover to our Spring Piano Recital.

Civil War Ball

Hi Friends!  The last time I posted was six months ago!  Wow, so much has happened in the last six month but this post will tell the story of the Civil War Ball that Natasha and Mikayla got to attend with some dear friends of ours.  It was such a fun evening and such a wonderful expereince.

This Civil War Ball was started many years ago by a homeschool dad to give his teenagers an evening something like prom.  However, he didn’t really want to mimic a public school prom as they aren’t really a wholesome event… more like a cesspool of temptation to throw our teenagers.  So, he came up with the idea of Civil War Ball.  He rents out the Douglas County Fairgrounds for the entire day.  Those that register can come in the morning for dance lessons to learn period dances from that era.  Then the kids have several hours to have fun before the dance begins in the evening.  He has arranged for a handful of costume providers to be on site to rent period dresses and soldier/gentleman attire.  Many families make their own dresses and we were blessed to borrow a dress for Natasha from friends who go every year and had several extra dresses to choose from.  Mikayla’s dress was a former Elvish dress (think Lord of the Rings) that she altered a bit to fit the era.

Unfortunately, there are typically more young ladies that attend then young men so sometimes they have to dance a step or two with another gal but it’s all so much fun!  My girls had a wonderful time and are already planning for next year!  The parents can even join in on the fun with costumes and dancing!

The young men line up and the girls are announced as they enter the ball.

This beautiful dress was made by family friends.

The blue beauty was also made by family friends – the dress that is!

Hopefully, later this week I can fill you in on all the changes for the Wilson family!