Monday, November 28, 2011

Loving Out Loud

Yesterday started day 1 of "Loving out Loud" a challenge of taming your tongue offered by Alisa Keeton of Revelation Wellness and Fitness. What a great way to start preparing for the birth of Christ this advent by choosing wisely what words to use to those around us. I have often needed to "tame" my tongue. I have Proverbs 31:26 posted on my wall in my kitchen which reminds me of the kind of mom, teacher, friend and person I want to be. "She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue!" Wisdom! Kindness! Teaching! What this means to me is that I model the "taming" of my tongue. For my family first since they are mostly the recipients of my untamed tongue. When i speak in kindness, it is the kindness that get's taught to my children by example rather than words. The Act of Random Kindness. And when my tongue needs taming ( and often I look at those words and see how much I have failed to speak kindly )~ I can soften, forgive myself and ask for forgiveness from the one who was cut by my unkind words. Modeling the failure and being the recipient of Grace are great teachers to my soul. My children extend grace and teach me how to be more loving, more patient, more present and more authentic! So even when I fail, I can be assured that God's Grace is at work in the hearts and minds of all around me. Including myself.

A valuable tool we use in our home is an apology. But not just the random "I'm sorry" that rarely has meaning attached to the angry giver. But the I'm sorry, will you forgive me?! apology!! Those last 4 words are even more important that the first 2. It heals both the one wronged and the one doing the wrong. And often it is reciprocated with the one being wronged, seeing where they may have had a part in the disagreement and saying they are sorry too! And will you forgive me?!

I can be assured that I will be tested often in the taming of my tongue. And maybe even more so now that I am putting it out there on this blog. Now i've got some accountability to hold onto. But i will choose to "Love out Loud" anyway and not only keep my tongue from harsh words, but to encourage! To offer Thanks and Praise to those around me. To see the good that is present in others and in myself. How often do I see my failures, and rarely see my goodness. The constant critic within my mind. So I let go of the "Should's" and rest in Grace. Because in truth, "It's all Grace" anyway! "My Grace is sufficient" says the Lord. His Grace! not my own! Thank goodness i have access to His power, His grace and His forgiveness. And Praises that it is greater than even my own imagination!!

So along with that taming, comes a journal of Thanks. Words of thanks spoken out loud and written down. Reminders of the goodness and Grace that is ever-present. Day 2 comes with gratitude journals. A renewal of my own, and the beginning of my children's. Something to do together. Inspired by Ann Voskamp and her blog Holy Experience. If you get a chance, take a look. Your heart will be lifted!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Holy yoga

Way back when in 1993, I became a certified Kripalu yoga teacher. I loved yoga!! I taught classes through all 3 of my pregnancies and saw the healing effects of both body, mind and spirit in my body and my students. But what didn't Jive for me was the Eastern spirituality that surrounded it. I never felt connected to the Eastern religions of Buddhism or Hinduism. My calling and heart kept pulling back to Christ! First through the books of Thomas Keating on Centering Prayer. Then through my Catholic heritage and now through Holy Yoga!! I am sooo excited that the Holy Spirit has found a way to link my Love for Christ with my love for yoga. It encourages and invites me to use yoga as a way to "yoke" myself with the the Lord. Using yoga poses as a tool for deepening my faith and connection and giving it all to Christ.
I stopped teaching in 2006 because of the conflict that I felt between my faith and my yoga practice. And now I have been led to teach once again. This time with Holy Yoga. If at anytime i can put my finger on hearing God speak to me, this is the time. He has made it effortless to begin my training in Holy Yoga. God has opened the door for me financially and timewise and has put loving encouraging people in my path. I am ever so grateful for Brooke Boon who is the founder of Holy Yoga! Thank you Brooke for following your calling and purpose to glorify the Lord through sharing yoga and the Holy Yoga program with others!

Take a peek at this article to hear more about Brooke's journey!

and you can go here to learn more about the Holy yoga program and where you can find teachers and classes.

May the Lord bless you and keep you!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Simply Homeschooling

One of the things I Love about homeschooling is the ability to travel and allow the kids to experience the world around them in fun ways. Without the time constraints of the School calender, we can learn at anytime, anywhere...and keep our learning flowing with our everyday living.
This week we took a trip to Pensacola Florida to visit my Grandmother and help celebrate her 90th birthday. Our homeschooling consisted of beach combing and identifying shells, and the wild life of the coast. With visits to the beach, they have become resident shell masters. They can identify the state shells of North Carolina and Florida and know which ones are rare, when is the the best time to search for them and have drawn and painted them in pencil and watercolor.
They have taken photos of the local bird life, trekked through a wildlife preserve and truly enjoy the diversity of the natural world.
They have been able to learn from their Great-Grandmother about her life. Building a family connection between 4 generations. They have gotten a lesson from her in current events of all things just by being able to sit and talk with her, as the news in Egypt unfolds. Schooling for us is a continuous flow of our life. Learning happens all the time, not just during "lessons."
Click over here at for some great inspiration on simply homeschooling.
Ann explains beautifully the 4 steps to keeping it simple and alive. And if you don't home school, you can still get inspiration on keeping life fun and alive with your kids.

From Ann Voskamp:

4 Cornerstones of Simple Homeschooling:

1. A Continuum of Constant Learning….

Live your life. Invite children to join in! Education is a continuum of everyday life.

Read together. Pray together. Sing together. Work, bake, garden, chore, clean, sew, fix, build together. No artificial demarcation lines between schooling and living. Just live a one-piece life. Just live authentically and holistically.

2. Contagious Creativity

Explore! Be awed by His World! Restore Wonder! Be a creative, thinking, exuberant person who spills with the joy of learning.

I once read and it deeply struck me:

“What kinds of articles are most likely to be emailed by users of the New York Times website? Researchers did a six-month study of the most-emailed list and discovered that, more than utility or surprisingness or feel-good factors (which were all helpful for an article’s prospects), it was a sense of awe that made a given article most likely to be shared.

When we are awed by something — we can’t help but pass it on. It’s our natural tendency. And if we are in awe of God — we become natural, unstoppable, top-notch teachers. A zest for learning and life and our Maker will be creative and contagious–the children will catch it! Simply be awed!

3. Curiousity

Read, read, read. Two hours a day, more. Fill the house with library books. Play classical music. Post the art of the masters about the house. Go for walks in the woods. Learn a new language, a new culture, a new poem. Write! Everyday set out to discover again, and again, and again. Simply live curiously. The whole earth is full of His glory! Go seek His face…

4. Consistency

Consistently pray. Consistently read. Consistently keep the routine. Consistently live an everyday liturgy.Consistently celebrate each moment!

Children thrive in routine. So do households. Have hardstops: times that you fully stop to pray, to read, to write. Regardless of what isn’t done, what isn’t finished. Make a full stop, do the needful thing, then return to meals, laundry, household management. Simply consistently be consistent.

And that’s all. Simply homeschooling… living with One at the Center.

Monday, January 24, 2011

forced to slow down

January 24, 2011

I start this post looking back on our fall and winter and cannot believe the amount of colds and virus' that have plagued us. From coughs to stuffy noses, to fever and a hospital stay for me. Recovery for me at home only to start the round again with 3 boys, 3 coughs and 3 fevers. And it seems to be spreading wildly through all our friends and homeschool coop.
My carefully thought out and planned homeschool lessons have gone awry, and it seems that the planning needs to be done week by week instead of quarter or semester. This time of illness and recovery and illness circle has forced me to not only slow down, but stop. Assess the immediate needs of my family and myself and give thanks that we are dealing only with inconvienences rather than serious medical issues. I wonder how many mothers would trade my circumstances to be home with their children rather then bedside in a hospital. And I offer up gratitude to this loving God that has given me the privledge to tend to my little ones, rather than rushing off to work. For the opportunity to hug, make soup, bring water, rub backs and stroke foreheads. To slow down and let go of the plans, and surrender to the chaos of the house and laundry and dishes piled in the sink.
And I silently ask, what door is this opening for me? I have asked and prayed for more quiet time. Time for centering prayer, knitting, reading, going with the flow rather than trying to control the flow. And I see that in letting go of the "shoulds", I have have gently invited the presence and action of the Holy Spirit to take the lead, today. Yet it is a constant letting go!! A constant reminder that "Not my will, but Thine be done." So i let go of the reins, and take them back again, and let go again and take them back again and learn this circle dance as best i can day by day. Practicing the steps to being more present, more loving and forgiving of my failures. Thankful that God's mercies are new each morning and at any time, i can rejoice in the Grace that is offered me. And offer it to those I love! These little ones that need some "loves" from their mama, that take comfort in my presence even when the teenager shrugs off the hair strokes; knowing that I am here. To soothe, to be here when needed and just hold the space for their healing to take place in comfort and safety.
And my thoughts turn to the words of Christ from the book of Matthew, " I am with you always!" I feel a peace, a softening, a hug from the Holy Spirit. In Gratitude I say "Thank you" Lord! For this time of healing, of reassessment, of slowing down and letting go of the nonessentials. For Friends who send cards, flowers and bring meals. Who take pleasure in serving our need and feed my spiritual body as well by being the hands and heart of Christ. I feel deeply loved!! Lovingly cared for and embraced whole.