Carla is a child of the Lord Most High, wife of devoted Gary and mother of four wonderful children. She is a retired worship leader, music teacher, and author. She loves people and sharing her adventures in life with Jesus, looking for kisses from God as He reveals Himself in The Word, Creation, people and circumstances. She sees life as a journey learning to balance Heaven and Earth - living as a child of God and allowing herself to be human.
Each homeschool mom will develop their own organization plan, but this two part plan works best for me with weekly planning and my accountability to another teacher.
Part 1 – Notebook:
In this notebook, I first let my student color or create their own binder cover. (To be colored today on the first day of school).
Inside the binder, I place the weekly outline in the front pocket. I’ve also put online class times in my google calendar with alarms so I don’t space the most important time of the class day.
Next I used pocket binder dividers labeled for each subject. In the front pockets I place all worksheets and any printouts for the week, with paperclips separating each day if there are more than one worksheet. In the pocket on the back of each divider, my student will place any unfinished work to be done at the end of the school day.
Tab Closeup –
Part 2 – Turned in Work
I just simply make file folders for each subject to place any work that has been submitted to the online teachers. Cyber space (and an absentminded grammie) can lose uploaded work once in a while, so I want to make sure I always have this as a backup. I’ve also included a file for scrapbook special work or journal pages as I’m making a “yearbook” for our granddaughter this year.
As I am preparing to be the learning coach for our granddaughter with online schooling this year, so many memories and emotions have popped up in my heart during this time. Thoughts on my years of homeschooling plus what I’ve learned from teaching in the classroom at school the last 20 years are blending together to point me to form what is most important for our precious 3rd grader.
My Teaching Story
Twenty-nine years ago when our eldest son, Shawn, was four, I began a nine-year homeschooling journey that eventually included our other three children, Taylor, Andrew and Bethany. When Shawn was going into 8th grade and Bethany into 1st, we decided to take a one-year break from homeschooling and put them in Cole Valley Christian School in Boise. I subbed and they schooled. We loved it so much that I got a job as librarian and eventually taught my passion, music. We stayed there, me for 19 years, and I eventually taught our granddaughter.
Last year, making plans for retirement, I never dreamed in a million years that I would ever homeschool a granddaughter, but here we are. While I assisted her this spring during the lockdown, it was not normal homeschooling but a survival mode for everyone involved, but still an incredibly positive experience for our family.
Because of my husband’s health problems and the need to quarantine him, we decided it would be best to homeschool our granddaughter to help protect Papa and be able to keep our family unit support system going. We chose Idaho Virtual Academy because they have been doing online education for about 20 years and know how to do it well. I would have loved to have just done my own curriculum but felt the need to have a teacher do the lesson plans and keep us on track.
Despite all my training and experience, I’ve struggled with anxiety and not feeling prepared this year. Being at the mercy of another teacher in control, when I’ve always been the head teacher, and working with someone else’s timeline has been difficult even though I want someone else to do the hard work.
I started worrying, “How do I prepare? Do I have enough energy to be a positive fun teacher at home? Can I adjust my life to online class times? How can I keep life fun for her? Will I be good enough…” With anxiety and fear taking over, I knew I needed to calm down.
Oh, did I mention our kids moved out and we are getting new carpet and reorganizing our whole house including adding a learning area before school starts? Ahhh!
With much life experience, I’ve learned that prayer is my peace pill. I prayed and asked God for strength and to please show me what I needed to do and focus on. He led my thoughts to target my anxiety and re-frame it to what I know is true from my past experience. I went back to my homeschooling memories and my classroom experience to adjust my mindset and target first week essentials. Baby steps…get ready for the first two weeks first, then tackle the rest as it comes. Hopefully, these following ideas will help you as you step into this journey in 2020.
Mindset – Remember the Extra Benefits of Homeschooling
Look forward to Blessings of Family Time – My homeschooling years were not the best academic years of our lives, but they were the VERY BEST years of our lives. This became even more real to Gary and me when our son Taylor died when he was 23. I knew then that the extra 9 years of family time we had during the homeschool years were a precious gift.
Expect Sibling Bonding – While our kids fought, they really were each other’s best friends. When Shawn was a senior and Taylor and Andrew were in junior high and senior high in the same building, a friend came up to Shawn and said, “Your family is weird!”
“Why do you say that?”
“Because you guys like each other and even hug and say, ‘I love you’ in the halls.”
I still tear up at that, the greatest compliment a mom can hear about her children.
One way they bonded was through me teaching group lessons. I always taught Bible, History and Science together which also saved me a lot of time. Language Arts, Reading and Math were taught individually.
Experience Life Skills Real-Time – The practical side of life is taught organically in real-time with homeschooling. A few examples are: Developing deeper family relationships, working through conflict resolution, cooking, exploring outdoors, learning outside, gardening, cleaning, charity opportunities etc. are precious! This list could go on…
Don’t Sweat Missed Academics – The above treasures are worth more than academics, but remember academics are still important and can be caught up. Additionally, your students will likely excel in academic areas because they are homeschooled. One example of this is when Shawn took his first achievement test. I was especially worried about Science which I did not expect on the test and I used a non-traditional teaching method. I had used a Science textbook for a base to go by, but used Usborne books, nature walks with journaling and science experiments I found in the Usborne books. Shawn scored in the 95% for science for his age in the 5th grade. His siblings’ scores were also high.
Each of our kids were behind on a few things when they entered formal school, but eventually got caught up and they are now successful, productive, compassionate, loving people. Life is really a very good teacher!
Don’t Sweat the Bad Days – School in the regular classroom never goes perfectly the way the teacher expects. For example, I have never started a year at our school without technology problems. Teachers, most days, the first two-three weeks, are happy to get their kids to the bathroom, lunch and recess the way they plan. At home you are going to experience glitches and behavior issues and probably some Science experiments that go bad. This is all part of being human. Classroom teachers have learned to remain cool and move on.
Remember to do Free-Play with Your Kids – I so wish I had done more of this. Laundry and cooking can distract us. I plan to play with our girl at morning “recess” and I’ve arranged for a neighbor girl to play at lunch recess. We did badminton and golf in our backyard in the spring. You can also easily incorporate school into playtime without them knowing it.
Procedures – You will add more of these as time goes by, but here is a good start. Procedures become habits with daily gentle reminders so that eventually you don’t need to remind them. Expectations make the school day fluid and eliminate unnecessary stress.
Start School with Fun – Our girl is afraid school won’t be as fun without her friends. While it won’t be the same, I plan to change her mind to see a new kind of fun. I bought some first day of school signs and plan to get balloons. Take pictures as if you were starting school as usual. If you are enjoying the day, they will pick up on your cues and their mindset will be, “Hey, Mom is a fun teacher!”
Have Kids Set up Procedures with You – Ask them what they think makes an organized school day. They will probably already know what to do based on their previous classroom time. Make sure they cover these essentials:
Bathroom Breaks – Go before start time!
Help Mom Clean up Breakfast
Set Start Time – Remember the earlier the start the more afternoon free time!
First Subject – Let them pick if possible. We like to do Bible, Social/Emotional chat lessons to get our hearts settled. Talk about anything that is bothering us or stressing us and diffusing that helps start with calm hearts.
Getting Mom’s Attention – Use a card system or just put your hand on Mom’s shoulder.
Decide on Quiet Learning Spaces.
Establish a consistent area for pencils, scissors, crayons, paper, markers, books etc.
Responsibility – If you turn it on, turn it off. If you open it, shut it. If you take it out, put it away.
Snack Bar – Establish an area with healthy snacks that the kids can just grab without asking Mom or having her leave another child to get them out.
Lunches – Have kids pre-pack lunches in a lunch box or bag the night before. Or better yet, plan a cooking lesson for lunch or dinner.
Set Goals with Rewards for Learning – While I like to teach children to obey because it is right, kind, and respectful, students still need goals especially in the subjects they find difficult and for positive attitudes. You know your child so put something together that meets his or her needs. I like to reward them for trying their best, not for getting an A+.
Put on Your “Teacher Hat” and have the kids put on their “Student Hats” to remind us we will show respect to each other just as we do at brick and mortar school buildings. (I’ve definitely had to practice this during the summer with my granddaughter as she has me wrapped around her little finger!) For example, today, she decided she wanted to swim first before piano practice. Sometimes, I am willing to negotiate but the her M.O. lately has been persistent debates, so I did what was best for our schedule and character building and calmly said, “No, we will not be able to swim until after piano practice and lunch.” She was fine with that and we had a great piano practice.
Well, as we start this journey together, please do not hesitate to share your ideas and ask questions. We will all learn from each other. I hope this gives you a good kick start, settles your hearts and prepares you for the best year ever in the life of your family. I will be praying for you.
Signing off with a verse that always reminds me, my weakest investments will grow to completion with a lot of love and prayer in the hands of the One who loves our kids best.
Philippians 1:6 I am confident in this that He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.
July 20th, a day we all float through with so many emotions. On this 7th anniversary of Taylor’s homegoing, I’ve prayed about even posting anything this year. We have so much to rejoice about in this season with Gary finally almost healed from 9 weeks of pneumonia, just to name one great praise!
The ache is still there but the joy knowing Taylor made Jesus the Lord of his life and is in His presence is such an overwhelming picture of peace and joy for me. My sorrow and joy are still dancing together…yet I asked the Lord if there was something He wanted me to share.
While praying throughout the day about this yesterday, I was walking down the hall and saw a framed copy of Taylor’s version of 1st Corinthians 13 he wrote during his premarital counseling. Reading in the hallway, I realized his paraphrase is so apropos for the state of the world right now. They also represent how Taylor seemed to love better than most.
I pray it inspires you as it challenges me to step up in areas of my life where I am weak in love…
1 Corinthians 13
Real love is being calm and silent when our human nature wants everything instantly.
Love doesn’t allow us to want anything from what our loved ones have.
True love doesn’t let us show that we are better to another but humbles us to what others need or don’t have in life.
Love shows no difference in life’s classes, allowing everyone to be equal.
When we truly love, we don’t put others down in anyway. Instead we build them up.
Love doesn’t allow us to put ourselves first but put others in front of ourselves.
It is calm and relaxed throughout stress, frustration and hurt.
It forgives wrongs done to us & leaves the past problems in the past.
When we love legitimately, we stay away from evil and sinful practices & places.
It fights for the ones they love & even ones they don’t know.
It is believing no matter what your thoughts were at first, they are telling the truth if they say they are.
To continue from my last blog, I must first say that this Sabbath rest has been such a great gift to our multi-generational home. I have come home to protect my husband’s health and am blessed to supervise our granddaughter’s schooling only working in my office one day a week when patients are not there. We have sadly not been able to see our loved ones outside of our home and are looking at how to transition into our new normal. We have sick and vulnerable family members that we need to consider so, for our own health and theirs, we have been proactive in building our immune systems.
Below is an article I researched, with the support of my boss, Dr. Jeffrey Pease, and wrote for our patients regarding immune support. I want to share it with my friends and family as we step into a “transitioning new normal”. (I am not a practitioner. Please check with your practitioner before making changes in your health care plan.)
The Best Personal Defense Against Covid-19
As we step into the new phases of re-opening our state during the Covid-19 crisis, many are asking, “What do I do? How do I proceed?”, I am reminded of a recent preschool response to a Covid-19 discussion. When the teacher asked, “What can we do now to help our bodies not get sick?”, a little girl replied, “We wash our hands!” A little boy then piped up, “We are always supposed to do that!”
I would have to agree with him, we need to do what we already know is wise to protect our health. Building our immune system is the action we can take to protect us against this new viral enemy.
Research Linked Items
Below you will see the three areas to target and support your immune system with links for further information.
While there are many research sources out there preaching “Build the Immune System”, you will notice I’ve used one trusted resource more than once below. It is the NCBI group, a non-biased research center that carries no ties with allopathic, functional or natural medicine organizations. This National Center for Biotechnology Information group advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information.
Spirit, Mind, and Body
This current crisis has challenged us so much in our lives with fear and confusion as we listened to opposing opinions and faced making difficult decisions. The disease, and the sudden change it brought, challenged the most grounded people in their spirit, mind, and body.
Looking at the full picture of spirit, mind, and body in this crisis, Dr. Caroline Leaf, one of my favorite resources for mental & physical health, addresses our response to stress in a pandemic.
Spirit and Mind Support
Let’s begin with the spirit and the mind. Here are some ways we can support our spirits and our minds, plus those around us. Stress out of control affects our whole being. Finding tools to balance our brain with a calm spirit and mindful thinking, can greatly reduce our stress levels and thus increase our immune power.
Some of those tools are:
Gratitude – No matter your faith, being thankful is a no-brainer. Gratitude can push fear aside and remind us of what we do have. So many good things have come from this crazy time. Make gratitude lists and share your stories with others. Re-frame your discouragement with a grateful vision to change and calm your brain. In my home we are grateful for rest, meals together and better communication. Our renewed teamwork spirit got our whole acre cleaned up and giant garden planted!
Generosity – When we see how much we have, we also see how much we can share. Getting our eyes off our own troubles and looking to lift others up always changes our hearts.
Prayer and Meditation – Tell God your fears and ask Him for answers, meditate on His promises, and surrender things you don’t need to carry. Psalm 91 gives us a great picture of His care for us in the worst of times. My new common mantra is from 2 Timothy 2:17 (ESV) God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. If we truly understand God’s love for us, we will know He has our best interest in mind. For research on prayer, here are two sources: Dr. Leaf and this article from Huff Post.
Some other ideas to support your spirit and mind:
Limit how much news you watch.
Make lists to get your to-do lists off your brain and organized visually.
Establish one or two friends you can hash out life with – video chats add honey to the conversation.
Sit in silence for 15 minutes without screen time. (Try it – it’s hard!!)
Garden and leave your phone in the house. God teaches me most in my yard.
Don’t make decisions to please people, make decisions based on your responsibilities including family, friends and work, and yes, trust your gut feelings (Holy Spirit).
Rest/Sleep – No screen time 2 hours before bed. Meditate, pray, take slow deep belly breaths. Relax – Really learn to relax, read a book or watch a movie that makes you laugh. Exercise – Walk or the equivalent of at least 30 minutes a day. Healthy Eating – Eat well, including fresh organic fruits, vegetables and protein. The WD or Western Diet is not the brainiest choice for preventing Covid-19.
(Before starting any new supplement protocol, it is advised you check with your provider. Regarding these supplements – * Not all these statements have been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.)
VITAMIN D – This is an extremely important supplement, especially for us in the Northern Hemispheres who do not get enough sun. In our office we use Standard Process’ Cataplex D. If you need a Vitamin D that does not contain milk, I use one from the Karlfeldt Center (currently out of stock) or Thorne Vitamin D (currently in stock).
Comprehensive Option – Immuplex, which, except for Vitamin D, includes these items listed above, plus more, all in one daily option. Our household has been taking this and Vitamin D drops since Christmas and we have not had any viral illness. That is with a young elementary student living in our home!
I hope this helps encourage you as you move through this new and strange time in history. With prayers for a fearless, healthy, and peaceful time of transition for all.
Having made a decision to not go see my aging dad and stepmom in Seattle this week, the whole Corona virus dilemma became real to me and has kept me from a trip I’ve been looking forward to for months.
Approaching my trip, I personally planned to build up my immune system, wash my hands, and trust God, choosing to not live in fear of getting the disease myself. Balancing fear with responsibility, moved me to not expose myself in an airplane and thus expose my aging parents.
If you know me, I tend to look at both sides of issues and like to point out the benefits of each side. I’m living in a position of listening to both sides of this Corona virus issue, working in a natural health field and having two sons in the allopathic health field. I firmly believe in protecting our health and others, intentionally building our immune systems and doing our best to keep our vulnerable co-humans healthy. I can see the good points of each debate, but I see a bigger picture.
In the quantum realm, this is not about overreacting or under reacting to this dilemma. Maybe it’s about God, His love for all of us and His gift of rest.
Genesis 2:1-3 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
For the last year, I’ve been learning about Sabbath years and practicing rest for the first time in my life, finding deeper peace and healing than ever experienced before. As I processed my experience with how the pandemic is affecting our Western Lifestyles, I thought,
“Wow, what a gift! God, You want to give rest to all!”
I’m listening to my kids discuss mandatory working from home, schools possibly closing, and seeing parents having more time with children, more rest, more being in the moment, like I did with our granddaughter last month. Precious moments!
In some way or another, we will be slowed down for the next few weeks, whether we agree with methods or not. Surrender to this gift! It might mean a richer family life, healing, and more importantly, time with our Creator to strengthen us and give us a greater gift, a restful peace living in the moment so we can know our Him better.
I listened to this new song, Freedom, by my friend, Cindy, this morning. It reminded me of my journey after a long roller coaster season of grief. In the last 7 years, I have experienced sharp pain, healing in hope, practicing joy, going back into time of healing, then grieving again. Last year began with finding joy appearing naturally, hope rising to give me strength, only to find more places God desires to heal, tears, then wanting the roller coaster to end. Asking for direction, God revealed to me powerfully, as I crashed physically, I was letting work become my alcohol hiding unresolved pain from all the death I had experienced. He invited me to join Him on a journey to heal me deeper in body, mind and spirit. Gradually, I’ve realized over the last year, this means, first, practicing rest then learning to surrender and take the waves of life, living in the moment God gave me. Not dwelling on the past or intense planning for the future, leads to finding joy and a deeper surrender of aches and pain, continuing to rest in the arms of Jesus. God gave me Cindy’s song, then let me see the peek of spring sunshine in a walk today. I felt a new freedom from heaviness, and it opened my heart to see the hope that healing is progressing, reminding me again that this is what it feels like to really live again. I know this season of healing and rest is not over, it may rain or even snow tomorrow, but the peace that has come has brought new life energy in this moment that I will remember in the next wave of life. Listen to Cindy’s song, be in the moment, rest in His arms and ask Jesus what you need to let Him carry for you. Psalm 118:24 This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it!
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV
For nine months, I’ve been walking through a renewing of the mind process through Dr. Caroline Leaf’s program, 21 Days to Detox Your Brain using her Switch phone app and other resources. I began this as, like all of us, there are many areas in my life that need work, some that I decided were long overdue for a transformation. From insecurities and bad habits to grief, loss and transitions in life, I have had great victories in my life through this program. https://drleaf.com/
You’ve probably heard one of these phrases “re-frame your life,” “re-image your pain,” or the ever popular “make lemonade out of lemons.” In her writing and work, Dr. Leaf refers to this as re-conceptualizing your past, toxic thoughts, stress, conflict or pain. For one example she uses the image of a beautiful art form, Kintsugi Art. Japanese Kintsugi Art is the art of repairing pottery with lacquer that has been mixed with gold, silver or platinum powder. The word, Kintsugi, literally means “to mend with gold”.
In the Switch app Dr. Leaf encourages us to see our stories, good and bad, with a welcoming heart and honor respecting all aspects of who we are. Because of some past regrets, scars and pain in my life still dragging me down, I quickly latched on to this new idea. I find great healing in writing and even deeper healing in art therapy, so I decided to step into this process through my own Kintsugi vase repair project on paper.
Dr. Leaf’s comparison of Kintsugi art to our humanity prepared my mind for this project. She explained each vase or bowl has a history that needs to be honored rather than thrown away. Creative repair treats the cracks as part of the life of the vase rather than a wound to disguise. So, all our personal stories, good and bad, have shaped us and need to be respected as well. Emphasizing that our story is worthy of honor we thus welcome the process of being human. She goes on to add an idea that really hit it for me: We experience lasting healing when we acknowledge our full story because it keeps us from staying in bondage to the negativity of our past. Anxious to see the gold healing in my past, I gathered my thoughts and art supplies on hand to set out on my new adventure.
Below are the practical steps I took in my Kintsugi art therapy project. Not a potter, I used my modest drawing and painting skills. Each step took me a month or so as I needed time to meditate on the whole process. Now four months later, I am still processing but feel ready to share 😊.
In our rush to fix our problems,
we neglect to allow space and time for our wounds to teach us. ~ Richard Rohr
STEP 1: WRITE/SKETCH
I knew I needed to first sketch the details of my life and toxic thoughts I’d been working on in the last few months. I drew a vase, made cracks with the abbreviated pain or toxic thought underneath the line with the re-framed picture of that pain on top of the line.
HOPE, GRACE-FILLED CHURCH,REDEEMED FAMILY/DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY COMFORT, HOPE OF HEAVEN/LOSS, GRIEF GOD IS WRITING THEIR STORY LIKE HE DID MINE/ WORRY ABOUT ADULT CHILDREN & HUSBAND GOD’S APPROVAL/REJECTION, PEOPLE PLEASER FORGIVENESS/SHAME GUILT GRATITUDE/DISCONTENTMENT COMMUNICATION/FEAR OF CONFLICT TRUST GOD, STEWARDSHIP/FINANCES & HEALTH
Step 2: Draw Another Vase and Paint it Using Acrylics on a Paint-Friendly Board or Canvas
I then drew out three vases on watercolor board. Three, because I’m a perfectionist and wanted to make sure I had three chances in case I messed up. (Watercolor board because that’s what was handy). Using acrylic paint, I painted my vases then chose the one I liked best to work with further.
This original vase represents what I was intended for when God created me. As I painted, I meditated on the gifts God gave me, my strengths, my passions and I thanked him for all the blessings He has poured into my life. I added shadows knowing from the moment He created me, He was aware of the pain I would experience in my life. This took about three days to add layers of light and shadow.
Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Step 3: Draw Cracks with Fine Sharpie
After the paint was fully dried, I added cracks, meditating on the pain and imperfections, surrendering those that still needed to be relinquished. As I added each crack, I dealt with the pain again, making sure I was honest about each toxic thought or loss. As Dr. Leaf encourages, each time we speak out a toxic thought, it begins to die.
You cannot heal what you cannot acknowledge. ~ Richard Rohr
Step 4: Cover the Cracks with Gold Paint Sharpies
I was extremely nervous for this next step. I found it interesting that my insecurities were coming up even in my painting. Finally, I just had to take the dive and do it. It was freeing after the first line and, soon, I began to truly enjoy the whole process as I meditated and expounded on the re-framed visions of my toxic thoughts and beliefs.
I thanked God He had redeemed my dysfunctional original family. I thanked Him for each of those family members and the blessing they are to me.
I thanked God that He had provided such a great support to me in my grief through His Word, worship, others and His Spirit in the loss of our son plus preparing me my whole life to trust Him in that pain.
Daily, I need to trust our Creator and not worry about my husband and children, in the fallout of losing a child/sibling, because God is writing their stories just like He is writing mine. He loves them more than I do.
The ultimate approval I need is God’s. I need not worry about what others think if I am loving God with my whole heart and loving others as myself.
Through the cross I am fully forgiven and need not carry shame for anything. Though others may not think highly of me, my God delights in me and died for me on the cross even when I was a sinner.
I am grateful for so much I don’t need to be discontented.
I need not fear conflict or stress because communication brings growth in myself and in my relationships and stress strengthens us when we see it as a gift.
I need not fear pain, illness or financial instability when I’m accountable and am a good steward of my body and finances because God delights in me and will provide all I need to live an abundant life.
Seeing the beautiful gold highlights in my once, plain and cracked vase, revealed at a deeper level how beautiful the healing is in my life. It reminded my heart, He is bigger than all the cracks and attacks in my life. Without them, His golden glory would not be so evident in my life.
Step 4: Looking Through Other Filters
This summer, my husband, Gary, introduced me to a camera phone app filter, Prisma, which is so much fun. This took me to another level of contentment and creativity in this project. The filter adds different colors, highlights and twists in the graphics. After taking photos of my paintings, experimenting with the filters started me thinking about all the seasons of life. Each moment in life has different reflections of light, people, weather, pain, spiritual growth, geography and, the list goes on. Once again, our all-sovereign all-powerful Creator makes a new moment with a unique vision of our lives and how many ways He shines that love on our lives.
Final Encouragement to You:
I encourage you to at least sketch out the cracks in your life and begin to re-frame those cracks. Maybe some of you really adventurous artists may want to take a broken pot or throw one to fire for this project for your life. Whether you sketch, paint or draw, I pray healing will come and God will be glorified in your honored story.
John 16:33 (NIV)
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Tears may flow in the night, but joy comes in the morning.
When you lose a child, happiness is hard to find. You practice joy and fun for years, hoping one day it will come naturally. You focus on your hope of Heaven and look for God’s fingerprints in your tragedy. Each year it becomes a little easier, yet you forget what a truly good belly laugh really feels like. Then one day, you are surprised by joy and it takes your breath away.
Tonight was one of those brief powerful kisses-from-God-moments for me. First, I was listening to our firstborn talk about his seven-year-old daughter and the joy in her precocious observations of life. I felt a sudden burst of emotions of joy mixed with awe and pride over what a wonderful dad Shawn is. I had to ask him to scoot over and sit next to me so I could hug him and just tell him how proud I am of what an amazing dad he is.
A few minutes later, Bethany showed me a “princess post” on Facebook comparing Disney princesses to what we really would be like if we were that princess as real humans. Suddenly, I saw myself in those truly human versions of princesses and was overtaken with such deep humor, giggling and joy that I couldn’t stop laughing and my belly hurt and is still hurting now, an hour later.
God promises in this Psalm that weeping will last for a time, but joy is on its way. I wasn’t looking for joy tonight, yet it showed up, (maybe with a little help from caffeine).
Over the last 10 years, I have had the privilege of collaborating with the very humble and talented Dove Award Winning couple, Frank and Betsy Hernandez.
(See their website for the many albums and stories you, your children and siblings have probably heard throughout the last 30 years). His and Hernandez Music
Many of my students have been asked to sing on their albums over the years. The latest project they worked on is probably one of their very best: New City Catechism from Timothy Keller’s Gospel Coalition, which includes 52 songs, one for each point in the Catechism. Each song is catchy, worshipful and up to date for today’s children. The greatest deal is that THEY ARE FREE! You can download them and the music for your family, school or church. Final Installment: Songs from the New City Catechism
I was blessed to be asked to help with vocal production during the last recording sessions and had the time of my life. I am listed in the credits but didn’t deserve it 😊. It was just a ton of fun. My very patient students and I learned a lot about how albums are made. The time it takes to record just one line, over and over, will make you appreciate recorded music every time you listen! The album I worked on is Songs from the New City Catechism 4
Frank and Betsy and I are collaborating on our Christmas program this year as we are each doing our own version of the same musical, sharing a stage and ideas. Thank you, Betsy and Frank, for blessing me and our students and for allowing this amateur to be a part of God working through your gifts and lives!