An Introvert Attends 2:1

Titus 2:1 Conference

This was my second year to attend the 2:1 Conference.  The theme was “Live Boldly”.  Ahem…bold does not begin to describe me.  I am way out of my comfort zone at large gatherings of women, yet I am always attending things by myself.  I guess I’m pushing my own limits and stretching myself so that I can grow.  Written words are more my arena, but I’m working at living bolding in real life!

Grow, I did! I felt a little out of the loop sometimes, but I got a lot out of attending this year.  I was challenged many times to live out the story that God is writing for me.  Only He knows the story and how it will end.  He will use me for his glory and I am willing to let Him be the author of my life.  Sometimes, I try to change the plot.  I am learning that I am uniquely made and my story is not going to be the same as anyone else’s story.  I will have joy and heartache along the way, but God will use these life events to shape me and the people around me.   I need to fully embrace my story and tell it for the good of others.  It’s not always pretty, but it can all be useful.

One of the other ways I grew was to reach out to women I hadn’t met before and accept invitations for meals.  This resulted in some lovely times of discussion, prayer and ginormous bowls of soup.  The absolute highlight of my time at 2:1 actually happened before the conference started.  I guess that is how things go when God directs.  I had already talked myself out of going, but I timidly went with my roomie, Stephanie, to visit Tracy Klicka’s room.  We joined a small group of ladies for some amazing French pressed coffee and had some wonderful conversations late into the night.  I feel so blessed to have met the women I did that night.  Building relationships is one of the best things about this conference.  I met too many ladies to list here, but they were all special.  Unfortunately, I can’t even show pictures because I’m so introverted, I’m afraid to ask to snap a photo!


My ginormous bowl of soup that I had with Sherryl and Katrina.

Breakout sessions were awesome.  I have so much that I could share about those.  I attended sessions presented by Lisa Pennington, Linda Difino and Tracy Klicka.

Some quotes:

Evaluate and clean up what you are doing with your life.  Have a keep, throw out and giveaway list.” Lisa Pennington

Ask God for different “wannas”.” Lisa Pennington

He needs to build it.  Tell the story that He wants us to tell.” Linda Difino

Our testimony comes from brokenness.”  Tracey Klicka

I also really enjoyed hearing Marianne Sunderland, Heidi St. John, Kendra Fletcher, Angie Smith, Sherry Seglison and Ashley Wiggers.  Everyone was so amazing and they all spoke life into faith, family and blogging.  I wish I could share all of my notes with you, but it would make for a very long post.  Trust me, it was life changing and I hope you would pray about attending the next conference in Kitty Hawk, NC in October 2015!



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I’m Bringing Bloggy Back

Way back when I first started blogging(circa 2006) over on a homeschool blogging platform, it was about sharing what our family was up to, what we were doing in our homeschool on a day to day basis, encouragement and making online friendships. Oh, how I miss those days!  It was so much easier back then.  My blog was homey and I loved regularly sharing there.  It started to become complicated a few years ago. Some of my favorite bloggers seemed to only post reviews about products.  It became less homey and more business  oriented.  I don’t blame these moms for taking advantage of the financial opportunities to provide for their families.  They were in a position to do well given their reader numbers, BUT I began to dread their posts because I knew that it would be a push for one more product that they may or may not actually be using regularly or really, truly love.  I’m not judging, these bloggers are making a living and that is their thing.  I just feel that we need to bring the love back to blogging.  A good balance is key.

I get it, times have changed.  Blogging is a business, but to me, the relationship aspect that I loved is fading away.  My blog has been highly neglected and I think I’ve figured out why.  I feel guilty if I am not posting about some fantastic new product or website so I end up not posting at all.  Sillly, huh?  Why can’t I be a legit blogger if I write about life?  Some of my favorite blogs are about just that.  Success in blogging isn’t just about profit for me.

A few months ago, I had the great pleasure of hearing Christine Caine of A21 and Hillsong speak.  First off, if you ever get a chance to hear her–run don’t walk to the nearest venue.  Now to the word–she was speaking on the loaves and fishes miracle.  Out of thousands, only one little boy offered up what they had brought for lunch.  Surely, there had been more, but they didn’t offer all that they had.  I may not have much, but what can God do with what I do have?  Why have I been withholding?  I want to encourage women and homeschool moms with my blog.  Just maybe I have a great idea or scripture to share.  So what if it isn’t earning me fistfuls of cash–I want to invest in people and I want God to multiply what I do have to give.

Now, on to business.  Would I like to do reviews and be an affiliate for companies that I absolutely love and believe in?  Absolutely, Yes!  I would love to be able to share things that I feel will benefit my readers and that I truly love.  I will entertain sponsored posts and reviews.  I will be an affiliate of companies that I believe in.  I just won’t hold back on my ordinary life either. 

One of my favorite things to do in real life is to sit one on one with a cup of coffee and talk about life, things I love, give advice and enjoy their company.  That is my vision for this blog.

So there you have it.  I don’t want to ever alienate anyone.  My promise is to be real and honest in this space–an extension of my home.  

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Easy Peanut Butter Fruit Dip

Here is a very easy fruit dip that I’ve been making for years.  It is a somewhat healthy snack! My kids always request that I make it when friends come over.

Easy Peanut Butter Fruit Dip

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (I’ve never tried it with natural, but I’m sure it would work)
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
a few squirts of honey to taste(about 2 tbsp. is good)

Whisk it all together and serve with sliced apples, grapes, bananas or large marshmallows. 
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Fun Fall Brick Activities

I was able to try out Fall Brick Activities by Stef Layton. This is a fun, hands on, learning tool and boredom buster. Besides ideas for building fall themed brick creations, Stef offers ideas for crafts and learning extensions based on the theme. My kids, ages 9 and 11, really enjoyed trying out the building and we will delve further into the extension activities throughout the next few weeks. I wanted to share this with you now because the October price of $1.99 is going away in 2 days, so head on over now! You will be able to use these activities throughout the fall season. Happy building!

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2:1 Conference Blog

Titus 2:1 Conference

I have been a contributing writer on the 2:1 conference encouragement blog for the past few months.  If you’d like to read my posts, you can check them out at these links!  Also, take time to check out the other great posts from contributing bloggers.  Such encouragement!

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Importance of Sisterhood

I have the honor of being a part of the 2:1 Conference blog writer team.I wrote on the importance of sisterhood in our lives.  Please check out my post on their site below!
I have not always been a good friend.   I have not always valued and nurtured the friends that God has placed in my life.  I’m an introvert, and sometimes, I’d just rather be alone.
I have also been lazy.  Cultivating friendships takes work!  The busyness of life gets in the way of quality time.  Sometimes, I am too exhausted to be a good friend (or relative).  I have also been fearful.  I want to be accepted for who I am.
The truth is, we need those relationships with other women. God wants us to have friends.  Even if you have one girlfriend, it will be rewarding for you both.   Make sure that your friendships don’t overshadow or replace your family, though!
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Our 2013-2014 Curriculum Choices

I am a wanderer.  I love a curriculum, but then I wander because I see a great review of something else.  I always come back to my first curriculum love–Heart of Dakota.  It seems to be the only curriculum that satisfies my educational goals and teaching style   We have used 4 of their guides. Something new and enticing comes out every year to tempt me, but my heart belongs to HOD.  I need to just surrender and stop my wandering eyes.  So here are my official choices this year.  I will not be doing all of these things every day!

Disclosure:  This post contains some affiliate links.

History/Science/Bible Heart of Dakota Creation to Christ.  I love that HOD uses living books for history.  My kids have learned so much through our read aloud times–even though CTC suggests having the student read the books independently, I will be reading them aloud.  Buddy is not ready to read at that level and Pickles is more of an auditory learner.  Besides, I enjoy our relaxing times reading together.  Science this year utilizes Apologia’s Zoology 3: Land Animals of the 6th Day.  I already own this, so now I will finally be using it!  I also really like the cementing of information through notebooking.

Amanda Bennett Unit Studies  Throughout the year, we take occasional breaks from the norm and do unit studies.  I have found Amanda’s studies to fit the bill for what we need.

I also often supplement what we are doing with offerings from Currclick. They have everything under the sun!

Bible Grapevine Studies  Use discount code AUGBLOG for 20% off any non-sale item!
Worldview  Apologia’s Who is My Neighbor?–love, love, love this series!

Art and Music  We will be taking co-op classes to meet these requirements.

Pickles 5/6 grade
Math  She asked to go back to Horizons this year.  We’ll see how it goes.  This has been our hardest area to find a suitable fit.

Grammar  Winston Grammar

Reading/Lit.  BJU Reading 6  Pickles is not a big reader so I decided to go the textbook route here.  I read aloud a lot, but she needs smaller chunks with comprehension checks.  This will be my first time using a textbook!

Writing  We are planning on signing up for an online class with Bravewriter, Partnership Writing

Thinking Skills  Critical Thinking Company Building Thinking Skills 2  She is finishing this up from last year, it’s a big book!

Word Study  Critical Thinking Company Word Roots A1

Geography  Trail Guide to World Geography(finishing) and then Trail Guide to U.S. Geography

P.E.. Pickles takes tap and jazz dance and gymnastics,  she is also on a very aerobic worship team

Buddy 3rd grade

Math  He will finish out Math U See Gamma and move on to Delta

Grammar Winston Grammar

Reading–our main focus this year.  All About Reading Level 2, hoping to move on the 3 when it is available, lots of reading together

Writing  Bravewriter Jot it Down, Partnership Writing

Thinking Skills  Critical Thinking Co. Building Thinking Skills 1, finishing up from last year

P.E.  gymnastics, tap dance

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Running out of the Wilderness

I’ve been in the wilderness for the past few months. Not literally, but in my heart and mind.  I was spiritually hungry, thirsty and tired.  I felt physically weak.  At first, it was not such a great place to be, but in the end, it has been a blessing.

It started right after I got home from the 2:1 Conference.   I was high with excitement and encouraged.  I was ready to take on the social media and blogging world.  Then I settled into my normal life and started questioning myself.  I felt completely inadequate as a wife, mother, homeschooler, blogger, friend and Christian.  Had I been wrong about feeling God’s calling to blog? Essentially, I gave up.  Of course, this was not the objective of the conference!  It was Satan attacking me with lies in every area of my life.  He was trying to drive me into my weakness, which is the depression that I’ve struggled with since I was a teen.  I’m not sure why it happened at this time, but I do believe I needed to go to this barren wilderness to find my purpose.  I was driven to desire God more and that is a good thing!!!

A few weeks ago, my pastor, Brady Boyd, hit the nail on the head during his message on the Sermon on the Mount.  He had a great quote, “God loves you to much to give you a platform before He privately confirms our identity.”  That was it!  I was meant to go to 2:1.  God wanted me there, but He was equipping me.  He never meant for me to come home and be a superstar blogger the Monday after the conference.  He put very specific people in my life that weekend to nurture my journey, not to discourage it.  I have spent much time in prayer, meditation on His Word and counsel from other godly women.  I was able to really reflect on my purpose during a Christian family camp earlier this summer and even through the children I have been working with at church.  It’s been a difficult, but amazing time of growth for me.

I am running out of this barren wilderness into the lush, vibrant life that I know He has for me. I feel that God has prepared me to send me out to be a voice and an influence.  I hope that you will join me on this journey and be blessed.

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2:1 Conference

I’ve been a little slow in writing my follow up post.  I have had so much to think about and a lot going on in my personal life the past few weeks.

Titus 2:1 Conference

I attended  2:1  for encouragement and that is exactly what I got.  It was a necessary experience for me.  I did leave with a few more questions than answers, but that was a good thing.  The questions have really helped me to reflect on and pray about who I want to be as a homeschool mom and a blogger.

As a homeschooler, I want to completely trust the Lord to help me with His kids that He has given me for a short time.

As a blogger, I want to encourage and reach out.  I want my blogging to be a ministry to other women who are walking where I have walked or am currently walking in both my homeschooling and personal faith journey.

Highlight quotes from the conference:

“We are called to actually die, not faint for His glory.”  Rachel Carman

“Don’t leave home without God’s Word.  Show your kids what you value.” Rachel Carman

“We’re not playing Monopoly, we all have our own game.”  Stef Layton

“God, You are enough!  Always.”  Stef Layton

“No “to do” list will fix everything.”  Rebecca Keliher

“Relationships with God and people is the only importance.”  Rebecca Keliher

“Who am I trying to reach?  My ideal reader is ME.”  Amy Roberts

“God is perfect and can make up for your imperfections.”  Deb Chitwood

“Be a blogger of your word.”  Toni Anderson

“God calls us, then He equips us.”  Zan Tyler

There were so many more nuggets of wisdom.  I am praying that I will be able to attend next year in Chicago!!!  I hope you are able to go too!  You will laugh, you will cry, you will leave encouraged.  You will also leave with new friends like GiGi, Alyce, Wendy, Jenny, Jeanette, Jimmie, Connie, Rebecca, Jamie and Stacey.

You will also make connections with wonderful sponsors like HEDUA, Teach Them Diligently, Samaritan’s Purse, Bright Ideas Press, Apologia, Grapevine Studies, Shatterpoint Entertainment,  Your Story Hour, Heidi St. JohnHSLDA, Lexercise, Classical Conversations and Compass Classroom  

 Watch the video below to see what you’ll be blessed with if you attend.

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F is for Fidgets

I have kids that can’t sit still during read aloud time.   They insist on doing somersaults across the room, jumping on the couch, touching each other and being distracted in general.  I know that some kids are just wired this way and can still absorb information.  I’m okay with that.  I am the one with a problem focusing when they are doing all these things while I try to read.  My solution has become fidgets.  My kids are now better able to sit in one location and still be “busy” while I read.  I check for listening and comprehension often through narration and questions so I know that they aren’t distracted.

Here are a few of the items that we keep in our fidget basket.

Relaxing items–scalp massager, body brush(leftover from brush therapy), bendy wire and who can resist Troll hair!

Zoomorph connecting animals

Zome Tools

Squishy Toys–we love the mice in the cheese!

Keeping hands busy with Unifix cubes, tangle toy, marbles, magic worm, hacky sack, wire puzzle

Etch a Sketch, Mars Mud and Thinking Putty

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