Nothing scarier than a fire set by an inventive child. Near your garage. On a windy day. How did we survive?

Did a Scary Angel Visit? Or a Savior Tramp?

Burning pine straw

One of our little boys was inventive and fearless.

And one day, a stranger came knocking at our back door.

It had been a mild-weather day and the main back door was open to let breezes in and to allow my supervision of our little boy’s outdoor play, while I tended to some laundry. The only separation between me and this huge visitor was the screen door of the back porch.

Over the expanse of his body he wore a grayed t-shirt, overalls with one strap fastened, and grubby boots untied.  Some of his teeth were missing. He badly needed a shave and his oily hair flattened in several directions. Something about the urgency of his loud knock startled me. That was before I turned and spied his unkempt estate.

I admit I was beyond distressed. Wild images of countryside kidnappings captured my mind, uninvited.

Timidly, I approached the main door, breaking all my rules about talking to strangers.

When you don't know if your are safe or not, when fire is the enemy, when friends are weird...“Yes?”

“Ma’am, it may be none o’ my business, but did you know y’ur little boy has got hisself a fire a-goin’ in the pine straw out here?”

“Oh, no! Oh, no! Please, PLEASE, stay and help me!”

Funny how outward appearances don’t matter much, sometimes.

I followed that kind and insightful messenger of mercy to the scene, and found that, sure enough, as he’d seen his daddy do countless times, our little son had raked up a pile of pine straw and set fire to it. He never guessed his tiny blaze was only feet away from oceans of pine straw, some of it drifted against our garage, downwind on a breezy day. The fire had already broken out of bounds.

We two adults raked and sprayed water until it was out.

I told the man he had probably saved our son’s life, and surely saved us great property loss. I thanked him until he was embarrassed and left.

I forgot to ask his name.

I guess he was an angel in disguise. Sometimes we need help, and God knows it. Yeh, maybe an angel. I can imagine my asking him his name, and him saying, “Folks jis calls me Gabe.”

On investigation, I learned my husband’s matches were stored high on a wall in the garage, good, but under them was the mower, rolled there by our son in less than five minutes, and topped with a milk crate, making him tall enough to reach. So young, but so brave and inventive.

And so perfectly protected.

Another story in this series here!

How to Sweat the Big Stuff

College. We all have to pay for it somehow!Just read a darling story about a guy who was, like me, a writer, but, who, not like me, had one published book under his belt and another on the way. He wrote of his old publisher doing something really unethical on the new book, and of having to insist it be recalled while he apologized to a certain famous person.

The famous person wrote him back with words of forgiveness.

His point was that it was wrong to have worried about this blunder, to have recalled the book, and to have written the apology.

I disagree.

While it is, truly, wrong to worry, it also is truly wrong to allow people to walk all over you and to let the mistakes you have allowed to damage others.

A Little Sweat Is Right and Good

The recall was right. The apology was right. The forgiveness was an act of mercy, which I do applaud, but the assessment of the whole ordeal was wrong.

It is right to attempt to undo a wrong. It is right to apologize. It is right to let those who would use you and put you in a bad light know you will not sit down for it.

I don’t know where this author went with the final outcome. I mean, did he use the same publisher, again? I don’t know. Did his relationship with the famous person grow and bloom or wither and die? I don’t know.

But I do know that, aside from the worry, he did the right thing.

And I might have worried a bit, too. Or at least prayed.

Which brings us to college debt forgiveness.

I am thinking I’ve lately read a wonderful solution to this lovely problem.

Folks may be thinking: what problem? There’s a problem? All these kids are getting out from under the huge burdens they were carrying from college. That’s a problem?


It’s a problem to any parent who watches a CORRECTLY brought up kid paying down debt, working and going hungry during their college years, in order to make a debt-free life for himself.

It’s a problem when a parent’s coffers are dwindling from having kids in college, while taxes go up to pay for other kids’ college debt and half of them are not even in college.

Yes, it’s too expensive. They knew that going in.

Yes, debt is a heavy burden. They needed to learn that before they got out.

Yes, I think forgiveness is primo.

I just think it’s not about debt, it’s not about the price of college, and it’s not really about forgiveness.

Not about Debt?

You see, there will still be debt. Yep, it’s been passed around to us, who paid our own down, already. We’re all now in debt because today’s youth is stupid. YOU, dear reader, are in debt now, instead of them. Fine solution, I’d say.

Not about the High Cost?

The price of college is not going anywhere, and especially not going anywhere lower. If there is debt forgiveness legislated into our possibilities, then why lower the cost, hmm? Also, one huge factor many refuse to address in this equation is the fact that many families of high school grads did count the cost when they enrolled their children in a college, and then after they were locked in, the cost was raised. A contract was entered, a verbal agreement to a certain price, and then the rug was pulled. That can be so crippling.

Last, but not least, it’s not about forgiveness.

What is forgiveness?

  1. I can start by saying what it is not. It is not saying, “Oh, it’s okay.” It is not okay with me, at all. My money is going to pay for someone else’s flagrancy, with no assurance it will not be repeated soon. I was not even asked and given the opportunity to forgive. I was only notified I’d be the one paying for someone else’s “feelings” of forgiveness. How can that be forgiveness?
  2. Forgiveness is not “excuses”, either. Sure kids are financially ignorant. Sure they need cash to buy their new music, etc., so why save any to spend on school. Sure (Oh, MY!) they didn’t know they’d have to pay it back. Sure they … name your excuse. They couldn’t help it. Sure. I believe that. That is not forgiveness. Is not even a CALL for forgiveness. It’s just a statement of several tiring facts. Facts of life that no one knows are not forgiveness, not a sign of it, even. They’re just a long list of what’s wrong, here.
  3. Forgiveness is not trusting. Hoo, boy, don’t get me started. If trusting is forgiveness, then I’m the one that is being forgiven because we’re all trusting I’ll pay for the crazy. If I will, then I’m the crazy one, I think. But since forgiveness does not include trusting, I TRUST we’ll NOT trust these kids to try again, to accrue more debt again, for them to trust we’ll pay again?

I’d love to help you pay your debts, really I would, but I think they’d rather I be in debt, myself instead. Sorry.

Beginning In the Middle

Beginning in the Middle

Beginning in the Middle

As an old song goes, the very beginning is a “very good place to start”.

Once my husband and I saw the need to educate our children at home, though, we began in the middle. We were not wise enough to see the need at the very beginning of that school year. Soon after that, we became too desperate to wait for another beginning.

We were what I like to call “middlers”.

After counseling several moms who have made this choice, I would like to share a good way to succeed at it. First, let’s look at the dilemma—how we felt (and how I have found that most people feel) in this predicament:

Scared. God says, “Fear not,” but we fear anyway. When you begin in the middle, you have greater temptation to fear. Often you have not deliberated, planned, and shopped for an entire summer. You fear that you are panicking, rejecting the status quo. Rather than simply not showing up, as most new home schoolers do, you must face irate professionals who think you are stealing their children, or worse, their money. This can be scary.

Uninformed. Some worldly systems neglect to tell you many significant things. You perhaps do not know what your child has studied and more importantly, how well he actually did. You may not understand achievement tests. Sometimes it is to the teacher’s advantage to keep parents at a distance. Other times, it just happens. How can you know what has been happening when you were not there? They taught, but did your child learn?

Without vision. All you know is that the current arrangement is not satisfactory and that you must devise a new strategy. You simply do not know what it is, yet. Perhaps you feel the Lord will lead, but perhaps He is waiting for you to take that first step…. How can you know?

Wounded. Usually, the decision to begin in the middle springs from hurtful happenings. Your child was failing, the teacher was angry, the other students were cruel, or whatever. Do not deceive yourself into thinking that such enormous circumstances have not touched you personally. What is more crucial, do not think they have not touched your child. Such situations can hurt a lot, and they can hurt a long time.

Distracted. It may feel like a thousand voices are shouting at you, now. Your families, your “teachers”, your neighbors, and maybe even your friends are telling you something, and usually it is not something helpful. Total strangers will feel compelled to voice an opinion. You may so tire of it, that even favorable opinion can irritate. It can be difficult to concentrate with so many voices sounding at once.

Strapped. You promised you would do whatever it takes to help your child, and if you were working outside the home then, you face reduced income and a slight increase in expenses (curriculum) now. If your salary caused you to inflate previous spending, you are wondering where the money will come from. To remain constant in your commitment, you have to think about expenses.

Unsure. You cannot fathom how anyone can stand in front of a child, especially his own, and say the words to make learning happen. You do not know where to start, what to write on the blackboard, when to have recess, how to shoot a basket—it can seem ridiculous, if you list it all. You do not even know how much of this you need to know.

Is this you? Cheer up; there is an easy way to solve these problems and to begin with an impressive steadiness. I always counsel someone in your position to do the same thing, because it works better than anything else can. In fact, your position is the easiest to recommend for, because there really is only one way that works well.

What makes sense is to use curriculum that is ideal for beginning in the middle. You must look for a curriculum that consists totally of workbooks prepared to be consumed at the rate of one per subject per every three weeks, or so. Very importantly, this curriculum must have a placement test. Several curriculum companies provide what I am suggesting, what home educators call “consumable curriculum”. (The child writes in the text, consuming it.) You will learn to choose your curriculum for yourself, someday, but you will be thankful if you begin with this.

Let me explain how well consumable curriculum can serve you.

First, you will gain courage when you look at the materials consumable curriculum provides. The three-week increments make it seem more attainable. You will realize that there is little for you to do, few ways to fail. Your children will relax with this material, for the same reason, and will approve your decision.

Since you have little familiarity with your child’s education, the placement test is your friend. A few sample questions are geared to the scope and sequence of the curriculum in the subjects of math and reading. After administering this test, you will have the joy of handing your child exactly the materials he needs for success in your new school. If he needs catch-up work, begin with one or two workbooks for problem areas. Then you are free to proceed where he is ready to work. If he is substantially behind in one subject, you can place him where he can achieve learning, and work extra in that area. If he is ahead, you can place him where he can finally feel a challenge. You both will love the smooth transition and instant success.

Vision will come immediately. It will be with great relief that you let the course work be your lesson plan. You will see more success than you dreamed you could generate, and it will be its own reward. You will see school through different eyes once you have tasted the joys of watching your child learn. As I said, shop around later, this summer, after that first half-year sample. For now, this will be all the vision you will need.

Because of past stress, you will not need the burden of determining your child’s needs and how to provide them. Perhaps you will feel a need to spend your weekends writing your own curriculum, someday. If so, this is your ticket to that day, and you both will benefit from resting wounded hearts along the way. For now, though, you both will need a time to coast, a time of getting to know each other. Learning must happen, but it does, with consumable curriculum. Consumable types just happen to be easiest for the mom. Children are relieved at the simple format, too.

These curriculum companies also provide encouragement, send you inspiring newsletters without cost, and provide toll-free numbers. You will have access to new voices, voices that help, encourage, and direct. These professional educators strive to serve the home school mom. Their attitude is that the only time a question is dumb is when it is unspoken. They love to help and they believe in home schooling, or they would take other jobs.

Yes, it costs just a bit more overall, to order consumable curriculum piecemeal. Still, a half-year of this type should cost far less than a full year of any other. (You cannot buy halves of hardbound texts.) I do not need to tell you that a half-year of consumable type costs much less than the wrong level of any other.

If you live in a big town, you probably can access consumable curriculum companies at a Christian bookstore. In very large cities, you may be able to locate a store entirely devoted to home schools. In these cases, you may go to the store every three weeks, and purchase only what you need next, saving even more.

If you are still unsure, consider this: If your child is reading, he can teach himself with this type of curriculum. This does not mean that you may leave him home alone, or that it is good to ignore him. What you will find, however, is that when you skip the lecture and the blackboard, your student finishes faster. The material is arranged so that the child reads a little and then answers questions. Only when he cannot understand, should you explain. The child is free to learn without suffering unending lecture, you are free to do a little housework, real learning happens, and you hardly had to do a thing. Are you surer, now?

O.k., let’s talk about the down side. You knew this was coming. I want to be fair and make certain you know what to expect.

The only problem I ever had with consumable curriculum, after trying two major providers, was the cost. The embarrassing thing about this is that it is so easy to make it reusable—have your children write the answers on another paper, instead of writing in the booklets. I feel silly never to have thought of it. Still, with six children, I did not feel we could afford to buy all their books all over each year. That may be a big consideration for you, too, but an easy one to overcome.

Some home school moms suspect all that filling-in-the-blank will lead to students not knowing how to write essays. If so, I do not know of it. My oldest received all his home education from consumable curriculum, and proceeded to “CLEP” English I. It did not seem to have hurt him. If I were worried about it, though, I would assign some extra essay work, a simple solution, again.

The only other hindrance that I can imagine with consumable curriculum is if your child does not read well. This is a two-fold problem involving both placement and performance, but do not fault the curriculum; it would be a problem whatever curriculum you choose.

The placement tests might not be entirely accurate with the slow-to-read child. I would administer the test, nevertheless, because it is not expensive and would give me better understanding of my child’s learning. Then I would use the results to help me examine the texts, as I selected the material I wanted to try. Consumable curriculum is so wonderful for this project, in that it allows you to buy very little, as a trial.

In the case of the slow or non-reader, leaving the child to read and answer questions himself will not work. To solve this problem, I would help the child read the material, to improve his reading level. Failing that I would read it to him, making sure that he paid attention and grasped the material. For an older child, I might read it onto a tape, to give him some control over his situation. I might use all three techniques. It would not be easy, but didn’t you bring him home because it was too hard for others?

You can do it, dear Middler, no matter how scared, uninformed, confused, wounded, distracted, strapped, and unsure you are. All you need is the curriculum designed with you in mind. I did it, and so have others just like you and me.

Go ahead and start in the middle to make a new beginning.


Fear of Man

The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe. Prov 29:25 (KJV)


Whenever Scripture draws the line for us, between godly and ungodly fear, the fear of man is presented as the opposite of the fear of God. There is no Scriptural way around it; the fear of man goes nowhere and the fear of God is the only safe choice. As is recorded in Isaiah 8:11-14a, “For the LORD spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying, ‘…neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. Sanctify (regard as holy) the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he shall be for a sanctuary…’” (KJV)

Here, Isaiah is saying that to fear someone is to regard him as holy. Whom do we call holy? Perhaps we think we believe that God is the only holy one, but perhaps we are deceiving ourselves into a false sense of sanctuary. Do we fear others besides God? Do we dare to sanctify them or declare them holy?

Fear of man equals idolatry because God says to fear only Him, to make only Him holy. Do we obey? Maybe we should look at a few fears that are common to home schoolers and see.

Fear of Requirements:

Whose requirements or standards do we hold to when we educate our children, and whose requirements do we despise? Whom do we place over them as masters? Jesus says:

“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon…. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought…And why take ye thought … Therefore take no thought…But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought …” Matt 6:24-34

Notice in this passage that Jesus was not forbidding us to have two masters. No, rather, He was simply stating the truth: You cannot have two masters. It is impossible. It will never happen. You will hate or despise one of them.

Every master has a “master plan”, his own goals for his own pleasure. Whether he is in charge of a family, a factory, or a federation, he will think he knows what to do and will want to make it happen. That is why he is called the master.

We could make two long lists of the Lord’s goals and the goals of the world and one thing would become certain: The goals of the world are diametrically opposed to the Lord’s goals. It follows that the world’s educational goals are also in opposition to Godly educational goals.

It is important to see, as Jesus taught, that you cannot walk the fence between God and the world.

You will fall off, and when you recover, you will discover that you are not where you really wanted to be.

We need to come down off the fence and turn towards God’s goals. We would surely profit from knowing what these goals are. (It is important to see that goals are not the same as tools. Curriculum is a tool and should never be our master. People who let their curriculum master them often stop home schooling.)

Let us look at a current, worldly definition of the goals of education, from Webster’s New World Dictionary, from 1960:

Education – 1. the process of educating, especially by formal schooling; teaching; training. 2. knowledge, ability, etc. thus developed. 3. a) formal schooling. b) a kind or stage of this, as a medical education. 4. systematic study of the methods and theories of teaching and learning.

Obviously, worldly educational goals are based upon accumulation of “knowledge” and focused very simply upon “facts”. As long, therefore, as an idea can somehow seem to be “proved”, it will be master. This is why worldly education is so full of “facts” of questionable substantiation; it must have them to survive and to appear to have legitimacy.

This is also why the truth, which must be believed in order to carry its full weight, is rejected; it is not fun or easy, and may be misrepresented as “non-factual”. It is also why worldly educational standards have become superficial and sequence based. (You must read in first grade, do fractions in 4th, biology in 9th, etc. Good character often matters little, if at all.)

Worldly education has its basis in academics, as if the more “facts” you memorize, the better prepared you will be for life. God’s people should know better than that. Actually, if we examine a Godly definition of education, we see a marked difference:

Education – The bringing up, as of a child; instruction; formation. Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts, and science, is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable; and an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties. –Webster’s 1828 Dictionary

Notice the huge difference. A Godly definition of education mentions forming, disciplining, enlightening, and correcting the child. The goal is his future tangible usefulness, and is presented as impossible without religion. If you think about the preceding two definitions of education, and if you think about what the Word says about education, you can see that not all education lines up with the truth.

The important thing is to ask yourself, “Does my education line up with the truth?”

Educate yourself about this question, in order to educate your students better. Maybe you do not feel like bothering with studying what true education really is, but maybe that is why your children do not feel like bothering with studying at all?

Maybe you feel like you do not have the time, but you have greater possibility of having time to deal with the questions, than you will if you wait to deal with the problems you will have with your children if you do not. They will act neglected because that is what they will be, and the “default setting” for any generation of children who are neglected, is the worldly standard of that time.

Go back to Webster’s older definition of education, above, to see who bears the blame if this happens to your children.

Can you see that if you spend all your educational time mastering lists of factoids, you will be throwing the baby out with the bath water? Many, many extremely well educated people met all the requirements for the well-educated, yes, and their parents likely felt they would “go far” because they were so bright. Nevertheless, they are of no real use today because their success is just so much striving in the wrong direction.

They regarded worldly requirements as holy and feared to transgress them.

Is that the way for us? Do we want to fear man and his requirements? If we do, we will give place to many more fears. You see, the fear of man and his requirements (the opposite of the fear of God and His commands) is the basis for many other fears. These other fears are some of the most commonly given reasons for parents losing the Christian home school vision and, tragically, quitting.

Fear of standardized testing:

Of course, we want high test scores; who doesn’t? Why do we want them, though? When pressed, will we say that we desire to see if our children are keeping up?—Keeping up with what? —With the world’s goals, that is what.

It is imperative for home educators to realize that the standard raised on standardized tests is very, very low. It indicates the merest proficiency in the least important discipline—factoids. Yet, we allow a high score on these tests to make us feel secure about our home school. We think all is well, sometimes despite the fact that both mom and child may feel like quitting.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, a child who actually is excelling may receive a low score instead of the blessing of celebrating his excellence. A young friend of mine, who enjoys imitating Dickens, received a low English score on one such test. To a high level of writing skill, she must add the generosity to change style, just for those tests. She is humble enough to adopt the insipid style of the computer-critiqued, just for a day; therefore she will succeed.

I repeat: Because she is humble, she will succeed. Of course, she did not learn this humility from the world.

Another child came home from testing, informing his mom, “All the important things are not on the test.” If our children can see this, then it is time we did, too.


We call the tests “standardized” because they introduce a standard, a desired outcome, a goal, a master plan. They who would master us lack only that we should fear them. Our attitude should be as Paul said:

“For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” 2 Cor 10:12 (KJV)

If you think those words were meant only for missionaries, but not for you, then you do not realize how God-ordained it is to teach a child.

Fear of higher math/science:

Have you ever said this? “I don’t feel comfortable teaching higher math.”   It is just a nicer way to say, “I am afraid.” Whomever we fear will master us. Parents who hesitate to allow a child to study a book that is not on his “level” also have decided to allow a worldly standard to master them. Yes, it is okay to teach chemistry to your freshman and biology to your sophomore, if you want to.

Who cares?

Only the world, that’s who. The world does not know whether it might be exactly what your child needs. We all must face these age-old realities very soon:

  • Worldly teachers do not know everything there is to know about teaching.
  • There is more than one right way to be the master of a school.
  • Mistakes can be very good tools but need not be our masters.
  • Education that comes down from our true Master is much more than spoon-feeding facts.

Fear of gaps:

We laughingly call this “gapaphobia”, but it is not funny. We need to realize that gapaphobia is a cruel master.

You can never finish filling in gaps because no one but God knows everything.

All people have educational gaps, no matter what they do.

You will never be able to overcome your fear of gaps by becoming educated more fully.

The solution is to choose your gaps. The privilege to choose your own children’s gaps is reserved for home educators, only. While the world is mourning over gaps in the moral teaching of its children, we should be rejoicing over the gaps in the worldly teaching of our children. We can and should choose to leave worldliness gaps in our curriculum, and to be certain to leave no Godliness gaps.

We are free to avoid one of the worst gaps, the one many worldly students have: dullness and boredom of soul because of failure to discover a Godly life purpose.

Discovering your God-given life purpose helps you determine the rest of your gaps.

Will you become a nurse? Best leave gaps elsewhere besides math.

Were you hoping to become a law enforcer? Better spend extra time in Constitutional studies.

Pray that the Lord would reveal what His purpose is in your child’s life. That will help you both determine where his gaps should be. How could a worldly teacher know this? How could a worldly curriculum address it?

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 (KJV)

Fear of authorities:

Yes, God tells us to obey our governing authorities, and we should hold them in honor.

Yes, our situation might require record keeping or a special watch on our legislature. Some view these activities as normal where wise citizens uphold their part of the government in this country.

We need to be sure we fear God, though, rather than man. Sometimes the “authorities” who try to make us fear them instead of fearing God, are trying to master us, and are not under authority, themselves. Sometimes they, themselves, are not honoring the law that is over them. Sometimes they are breaking the law, and it would be wrong to aid or abet them.

From the news anchorman who tries to bring us to public trial, to the caseworker who tries to make illegal entry, to the neighbor who makes anonymous and slanderous reports of truancy, we must not fear them. When we take ourselves out from under the fear of man, we also take ourselves out from under man’s often inferior protection. We must see that when we fear God, He protects us, and we are so much safer! God holds the hearts of our authorities in His hand and turns them any way He wants. (See Proverbs 21:1)

Fear of college entrance:

What scares you more than “The TRANSCRIPT”? Did you know that typing a transcript is about an hour’s work? Wherefore fear? I used to fear “The DIPLOMA”, until I realized that nearly everyone I know, educated or not, has a diploma.

And the colleges know this too. Colleges do not care if you have a diploma because they know that it is meaningless. (It takes even less time to fill out a diploma; you can buy a pad of 25 of them for $10.00.) In some of the best colleges, freshmen may join the Honors learning track without the highest scores on the ACT/SAT, if they are home educated.

Colleges know that home educated children are what they really want and the ACT is not the “end-all” that we fear: It is time we moms figured this out, ourselves. Educate your child diligently, according to what God has shown you, do your best, and relax.

Fear of neighbors/family:

This fear can seem harder to overcome until we see the truth clearly: Our friends’ and family’s objections are merely their voicing of their fears. It is easy to realize that they want some reassurance or proof that all is ok. They look at themselves, fear that they would not measure up if they were in your place, and project those fears onto your situation and decisions.

The way to deal with fearful neighbors and family who are drilling you is first, not to be afraid, and second, to hand them some reassuring home school pamphlets. Take their fears seriously, admit that you also once feared the wrong things, and ask for their prayers that you would fear God instead of man. This way establishes the basis of honesty in your relations, witnesses to them, establishes God’s authority over your children, and may even gain you more prayer support.

Fear of each other:

This is about the “presentation night”, “or closing program”, and any other time you are not sure you or your children will appear to measure up.

Yes, other Godly moms teach differently, get great results, and act sure of themselves. Fearing them, though, is just fear of man, again.

How tragic that the ones who should be supporting each other would fear each other!

Stop it!

Take your eyes off her and put them on the Lord. Ask Him how you could serve her, learn from her, or work together with her…then do what He tells you. This is fear of God, instead of man, which will set you free.

The cure:

The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe. (Proverbs 29:25) (KJV) Fear of man keeps our eyes off God. Trusting God helps us focus on what matters to Him and insures our safety.

Trust is the cure.

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. (Proverbs 3:5-7) (KJV) Fear of man leaves us directionless and open to evil. Trusting God places us in His right path.

Trust is the cure.

He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD. (Psalm 112:7) Fear of man expects a bad report. Trusting God gives the steadfastness that is built upon much greater expectations.

Trust is the cure.

“Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.” (“When We Walk with the Lord” by John H. Sammis, 1887.)

Trust is the cure. Go to God. Ask Him to capture your heart and set it at ease.

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:5) (KJV) Then He “…will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten…” (Joel 2:25) (KJV)


HMS FEARLESS (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Written in conjunction with  Leah Stewart. Leah and her husband Randy live on their farm in Arkansas. They always home schooled their two children, who now are grown. She enjoys speaking to and encouraging home schoolers.

Look Up.

Large, violent tornadoes can cause catastrophi...

Large, violent tornadoes can cause catastrophic damage when striking populated areas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With all the tornados floating around lately, come many more words about tornados. It’s a real storm out there and I’d like to add to the din.

I wrote a couple of years ago about my close call with a really big, destructive tornado. People like to read about these events. Not just y’all; I read these stories too.

As I was re-reading some of these writings today, I noticed something. I think the events that shape our lives prepare us for living a successful life in the end. I think we can look back on our childhoods and see how God was preparing us to face our future.

If we pay attention . . .

One thing in particular that stood out for me, as I read these old stories today was this: It was no time for hurt feelings.

Not then; not now.

I wrote about my six-year-old self:

I knew it was a tornado up there, whatever a tornado was. I looked up, too, and stumbled.

Mom scolded me sharply. “Don’t look up! Don’t look up! Don’t look up!” She seldom scolded sharply. It hurt my feelings but I knew it was no time for hurt feelings. Her words were like a mantra, a warbled charm against bad omens . . . don’t look up, don’t look up . . .

As I notice the world today, I realize how  much I knew back then, and how much my mom knew, and what good I could make of it if I only paid attention and applied it to my current life.

  1. When we look at the troubles, we stumble. It IS  huge storm all around us, but the storm should not be our focus, at all.
  2. If someone is trying to save our lives, we should not get hurt feelings. Those who know the way to safety are life-savers. Some of us probably should be slipping into that role, but we enjoy ignoring the storm, more.
  3. We are in a huge storm, like it or not, and it is NO TIME FOR HURT FEELINGS! Regardless of what happens, hurt feelings are a distraction and not deserving of our time or attention.

One caveat:

We should look up.

Jesus told us it would get worse, and when it does, to look up. To stand up. To lift up our heads.

Why? Because our salvation will be very near.

 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. Luke21:28 KJV


Tuesday, around noon, Beth and her husband were chatting on the sofa.She started having trouble forming her words and controlling her right hand. Her husband would not normally have been home but was sick so had stayed home from work (thankful for a sinus infection). He called 911.

They got her to the hospital nearby and then she was transferred to the big one in the big city.

The current diagnosis is a hemorrhagic stroke. The neurosurgeon said it is basically in the worst place it could be. The CT scan showed it roughly 1.5 inches by 3 inches and “deep.” There is almost certainly some significant damage to the brain already. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, Beth will not make it. Surgery is an option but the surgeon said it rarely goes well.


Beth. Her husband says not a good picture of her, but it shows her joy.

Beth and I are old friends from back when we both homeschooled. We’ve shared so much. Although we don’t get to see each other as much as we’d like, we never get really out of touch. You know how that goes.

Only now, we are really out of touch. All anyone can do is pray.

Lots of things could have been worse. She could have many small children; her only child is grown, employed, and happily married. She could have been alone; her husband was right there in the same room. She could have been afraid, but even in her current state, she is able to receive calming influence from her husband. She can see. She can indicate understanding by moving her eyes. She is in a very good hospital.

Hard to be thankful when all I really want is to go back in time.