Lost and Found, A Book Review

Lost and Found: Losing Religion, Finding Grace by Kendra Fletcher

My friends just lifted an eyebrow and took notice of this blog title. I am not a book reader, I prefer hands-on learning over books any day. I wrestle with words and grammar to connect and share my thoughts with my friends and hope to leave them encouraged. So me writing a book review will be a few steps out of my comfort zone.

I met Kendra Fletcher a few years ago at a blogging conference. I was coming to the dinner hour late and most of the spots at the tables had been filled, so I was eager to find an empty area to quietly slip into and eat. Kendra, her husband Fletch, and Carol-Ann took notice of my choosing to eat alone and quickly invited me to join them. I am always grateful for people who invite others to join them.

Over the years at other blogging conference I would get the honor to sit with Kendra and hear bits and pieces of her story. She would share stories of her son, Mighty Joe. She would share her heart as she struggled to be a godly mom. 

Last summer when Kendra announced her book would be published I made a mental note for 2017 to be the year I would read a few books and Lost and Found: Losing Religion, Finding Grace found the number one position on my list.

What I didn’t know was that I would read her book while sitting in PACU waiting for a doctor to give me information about my own son. While my heart bonded to her medical stories and I related to the fear of when the ER staff begins reviewing past trips and questioning your ability to care for your children…I was grateful for her reminders that God has my back.

Even more important than sharing the medical details of her life…were the details of how God changed her heart and reminded her of  her identity in Christ. 

The one paragraph from her book that I loved…We had to have Jesus plus our Reformed theology. Jesus plus our choice to homeschool our children. Jesus plus my decision to be a stay-at-home mom. Jesus plus giving our family size over to God. Jesus plus supporting missions, giving to our church, attending Bible studies. Again, we believed wholeheartedly that we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, but we just continued on, wanting to do something. Surely Jesus hadn’t paid it all. (Excerpt from Lost and Found) 

Often as moms we need that reminder, while we desire to do our best job raising our kids…ultimately we are not the ones in control of the outcome…our kids have free will and God has a plan. I am not a great parent if all my children stay in the faith, I am not a bad parent if all my children walk away from the faith…but I am the parent in the trenches fighting for their hearts and pointing them to the truth.

Grab a copy of Lost and Found and a cup of tea or coffee and take a moment to refuel your mind and soul.

I was thankful that day sitting in PACU alone that I had this book as a reminder that while I might have been physically alone, Jesus still had my back, still cares for my situation, and always loves me.

After you read the book you might want to know the rest of story of what happened after Kendra found her infant son near death, ran over her daughter with the family van and almost lost her daughter to a ruptured appendix. Good news, Kendra will be blogging about those details, just follow the link to her website and sign-up at KendraFletcher.com


8 Signs That You Might Be an Overwhelmed Woman

8 Signs That You Might Be an Overwhelmed Woman

Overwhelmed Woman

Not that I have done any great research on the topic but I might have experience with a few of these signs.

Since I find these signs can muster up a small chuckle…I shall share my list on being an overwhelmed woman.

*Warning it might be a tad TMI

  1. When you are constipated NOT because you haven’t eaten enough fruits or drank enough water BUT because you have not had time to actually “sit down” to get that job done.
  2. When you get summoned for jury duty and it sounds like a really nice vacation. Sitting in a room where you have no responsibility and you could stare at a wall and daydream.
  3. When your mammogram paper is collecting dust on the back of your desk because you are convinced that juggling one more doctor appointment will land you in the loony bin.
  4. When you see a meme on Facebook that mentions donating leg hair for wigs and you laugh hysterically about that becoming a goal you could achieve.
  5. When your friends publicly announce that they stand ready to fund an account for your bail…just in case your day might find you in need.
  6. When friends find you napping in public places and are kind enough to not disturb you…only secretly take your photo.
  7. When reading posts on being overwhelmed is the closest thing you come to self-care.
  8. You are okay with this list really only having 7 signs since that is one less thing to worry about.

I do think I have some friends out there who can relate with being an overwhelmed woman…don’t worry if you chuckled reading the list…there is still hope…that is an amazing thing.

Humor is a great balm to the hard overwhelming days. At least that is my plan for getting through the trials.


How I Use Writing to Help my Son Practice Decision Making Skills

Using writing to practice making decisions.

How I use writing to help my son practice decision making skills.

If you are a parent of a child with Aspergers, I don’t need to explain how decision making can lead to meltdowns. For my son with his black and white thinking–seeing the gray is difficult.

One of our educational goals for my son is to handle decision making in a timely manner and with fewer meltdowns. It turns out that our WriteShop writing lessons served not only to hone writing skills but also to develop mature decision making skills. After using the steps I outline below, my son is finally able to start a writing lesson independently without any emotional turmoil.

Knowing how stressful a writing session can become, we might only complete writing once or twice a week. I never want to do writing when either of us are tired or the day has already had challenges, especially since deciding a character name or the setting can lead to a meltdown.

I have been using WriteShop for the past 4 years in my homeschool. My two favorite parts of the program are the games and the worksheets. My son loves to beat me in a game, so having one with each lesson in WriteShop Junior Book E engages him to learn. [Read more…]

C. S. Lewis Lesson Plan for High School

The saga behind C. S. Lewis lesson plans…

We had a great start to my son’s sophomore year…he made huge leaps of progress. Then we became one of the families affected by the closing of Landry online school.

I found myself having to create a class to complete his English credit. He had his heart set on Tolkien…but after scavenging through my cabinets…I discovered more items for teaching about C. S. Lewis.

Yes, I needed this class to be inexpensive due to the time of year and circumstances. So the items I pulled together were found in my house and/or donated by friends. I was blessed my homeschooling friends offered help. Thankfully my daughter had studied C.S. Lewis when she was in high school and I had already purchased The Great Courses audio.

While this may seen like a lot of resources…it is just a plan…the main goal is the exposure to the many books of Lewis…the depth can come later. 

C. S. Lewis Lesson Plan:

I created a 15 week C. S. Lewis lesson plan containing the following materials: [Read more…]

Happy, Happy Birthday!

Happy Happy Birthday!

Today I get to have gluten and dairy free dessert made my by future pastry chef.

While January keeps me busy with birthdays, mine and 3 of my children are all born in January. I know the mid year slump can affect homeschool moms.

In the fall of last year I was given the chance to join a group of bloggers writing a series on refreshing your homeschool.

A common theme for me last year was battling being overwhelmed. It seemed to sneak up on me about every 3 weeks.

If you are looking for ideas on How to Battle an Overwhelmed Spirit…follow the link to read what I wrote over on Year Round Homeschooling.

Thank you for hanging out with me!

How to Battle an Overwhelmed Spirit

Thank You! My word for 2017

My word for 2017…Thank You!

I know being thankful is often discussed…giving thanks…focusing on saying thank you…not relatively new ideas.  But here is why these two words are taking on a new meaning for me in 2017.

See, in 2016 I found myself saying…”I am sorry”…a whole bunch.

I am sorry I was late…sorry mommy forgot to fill out the paper…sorry mommy forgot to buy that at the store…sorry I didn’t remember to do that.

I have been beating myself up over and over for not being super woman mom and handling all that life throws at me with homeschooling, working, and caring for my husband.

Maybe you do the same thing? Trying to battle a little mom guilt here.

Here is the original cartoon that was written last year on Say Thank You Instead of I am Sorry.

For some reason I never saw the cartoon until 3 days ago…it was like a huge illuminating light went off in my head…hey I feel like I am saying I am sorry all the time. It only took about 5 seconds for my heart to know that would be my word for 2017.

In 2017 I want to say: [Read more…]

Updated WonderMaps, Create Your Own


I will admit…having a son who is majoring in GIS and working with Tyler Hogan who has loved maps since he was 6 years old…makes me nervous writing about WonderMaps. 

But I am a brave homeschool mom…well at least today I feel brave.

Hopefully if you already own WonderMaps you have downloaded the update.

Yes, WonderMaps now includes The Mystery of History Volume IV maps and the answer key for The Mystery of History Volume II maps!

But that is not what has me excited about the new update. 

The new update now has annotations…which allows users to create their own custom maps. I know…I am excited over annotations…what can I say…I love to create. 

For example…let me show you how a map assignment from The Mystery of History Volume III can now be completed.

Over the course of a few lessons, students are asked to add a reformer onto the map of Europe. Showing the location where the reformers did most of their preaching or teaching.

First I opened the Europe map from WonderMaps. [Read more…]

Blue Christmas, Grief and Joy Combined



Are you struggling with the joy of the season and the grief in your life? Blue Christmas?

The one thing I don’t like about social media…it only shows one moment of a person’s life.

For example…if I share a moment of homeschooling frustration will people judge homeschooling as a horrible choice?

Or…If I show this Pinterest perfect activity will people fear they can never be a success at homeschooling?

The past few months of I have struggled with being able to express that certain life events suck…yet still acknowledge that God is good.

I have sensed an underlying current that…if I vocalized that these events were horrible…then my faith was weak…I wasn’t doing a good job of praising through the storms.

The reality of my situation… COPD slowly steals quality of life… you never know when it will be a good day with breathing or a bad one. And don’t ask me to be thankful about COPD…but I will find the moments where God shows his love and care for us.

Every Wednesday I meet with my dear friend, who became a widow 6 months ago… we share moments of joy in between moments of grief. She lost her husband all of a sudden…I am losing mine moment by moment…and we think both situations stink.


This past Sunday our church held a Blue Christmas service; both of us were unsure about going. Yet after a hard weekend taking care of Ron I texted her that I thought we should go…so we sat in the back row…ready to leave if it became to emotional.

In that sermon Pastor Kenny introduced to me the Korean concept of Han. It seems this concept doesn’t translate well…but it is the combination of sadness and hope. At that moment…he had given me a word to describe my feelings.

When we entered the service everyone was given a stone and a marker. Everyone was asked to write their grief on the rock and bring the rocks up to the altar during the service.

If I could have…I would have photographed the pile of rocks left at the foot of the cross…because it can be a comfort knowing you are not alone.

Instead of following directions…my rock came home with me.

I felt during this series of life events…I need that rock to remind me each day…I didn’t choose these events…but I can choose how to remember them.

My friend…my heart does ache for the broken hearted at Christmas time…I pray that you can find a moment of joy in between the moments of grief.

Merry Christmas…I hope 2017 allows me to return to blogging on a more regular basis.


Annual Sale with Bright Ideas Press

Black Friday Pumpkin Pie


Yes! It is time for the annual sale at Bright Ideas Press. I have been blessed with the opportunity to write and design many of the supplemental products for The Mystery of History and Illuminations.

If you have any questions you can find me in the Bright Ideas Press Facebook groups or answering questions on the Bright Ideas Press Facebook Page.

You can get 20% off most items in the store.

That means the amazing notebook pages for The Mystery of History are only $15.96 and the folderbooks are $25.60 for the full year download.

Read about supplemental products for The Mystery of History… Popular Q and A, The Mystery of History and High School, Folderbook for Volume 1, and Organizing our Notebooks.

My favorite…Illuminations can be purchased for $100.00…saving you $25.00

Not sure if Illuminations will work for your family…read my blog posts on Why I love Illuminations, What Subjects I Print, Illuminations and High School, and Illuminations, Schedules and Overwhelmed.

Civitas…my family’s new favorite game…will be on sale for $19.96. You can read about what Civitas is at the blog Civitas and World Government.

(All sale prices in this post on are my calculations and are subject to errors…thus the prices on the Bright Ideas Press website are the correct prices.)

What is NOT on sale:

  • Bundles
  • On-line classes
  • Clearance Items



The year of…FAILING


A year ago began a year of failing…first my husband needed shoulder surgery…which turned into 4 months of being out of work. Which is why I cancelled Christmas last year.failing finances. 

A month after shoulder surgery…we discovered his O2 levels were in the 60s at night. Yes, COPD was progressing…yes he started oxygen therapy at night…failing health. 

A few weeks later I discovered out septic tank tank was failing…hopefully I could get it replaced before it collapsed completely…failing septic. 

Yes I managed to get the septic replaced and had hopes of recovering from the whirlwind. But I was only just beginning the walk through the desert.

A lump formed on my husband’s hand…the MRI wasn’t good…again he was going to be out of work…we were going to lose all benefits…more failing health and finances. 

Then the roof needed replaced…or else major repairs would be needed to fix water damage…failing roof.

Then three hours after my dear friend and her husband helped me order supplies to repair my roof…a tragic phone call came…he had been killed in an accident. Ugly crying…it bonds you to your friends…grief became part of everyday life.

While things were failing…not once did God fail me.

I looked back on the past year…a year that forever changed me…I questioned if I could still homeschool.  I learned the value of giving and receiving help…most importantly…I witnessed God bring the strength needed at just the right moment.

While my gifts are for organizing and thinking outside of the box for teaching my children…I never wanted this blog to just show the happy organized homeschool life.

Because if you have been homeschooling for at least a few weeks then you know there are days…weeks…and sadly even months that the battle is real. That the battle to be all things a mom needs to be and homeschool…can be overwhelming.

Three things I have learned walking through the mountain top and valleys of this past year:

  1. You can’t fix hard…showing up means not offering a fix…or feeling like you need the right words to say…simply just show up….offer love and be a reminder that one is never alone.
  2. How are you? I no longer ask this…I now say… It is good to see you. I can’t tell you how hard it was to answer that question going through this past year…how  much did I want to share…how real did I want to be…could I just nod when I felt so broken inside. For my dear friend watching her try to answer the question…when her heart just wanted to cry out…I lost the love my life…how am I supposed to be doing.
  3. Community carries you when your strength runs out. My dear co-worker didn’t let me give up on getting my roof replaced…friends brought food…sent cards…reminded me of God’s grace.

As I look forward to serving and loving my family…I have discovered my secret weapon…rest.

Rest is defined…cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength. 

[Read more…]