because every small detail has received attention – Matt. 5:18
One homeschool-mama who significantly inspires me is Ann Voskamp. I mean, she inspires several (million) people, and I am one of them. A few years ago I read this blog post by her and she filled my soul with vision for what our home+school could be like.
She is a homeschool-mama and this year, for her “first day” Instagram post, she included a “happy mama manifesto” that as soon as I could, I copied and pasted and printed and slipped into the front clear part of my homeschool planner-binder.
I wanted to tag each and every mama-friend of mine, homeschooling or not, because the manifesto is for every one of them out there (all the billion of them).
I decided it might be better to share the manifesto-document on my blog – so here it is. Enjoy! (maybe you’ll print it too!)
Happy Mama Manifesto:
1. Today, even if everything goes wrong, love is always right. There is ridiculous hope in this.
2. Today, the only thing that has to be written in stone is when to pray. We will just pray at set times & make our home a house of prayer. What else really matters?
3. Today, there are no emergencies. Life is a GIFT — not an emergency! Only amateurs hurry. So: Say yes to one game every day and laugh loud. No empty-nest mama looks around and wishes she did one more load of laundry.
4. Today, when stress mounts, I pray to dismount it with gratitude. My stress management plan will be simple: all stress will have an intervention of giving thanks for one thing out loud. I can only feel one feeling at a time, and I choose to give thanks at all times.
5. Today, I will pray to speak words that make souls stronger. Grace is the only non-toxic air.
6. Today, I will pray to just be: Consistently consistent. Make rhythms, live routines, wear good habits. Do the same thing at the same time every day — and you kinda change your life.
7. Today, THIS: The moment when I am most repelled by a child’s behavior, that is my sign to draw the very closest to that child.
8. Today, I will hug each of my children as many times as I serve them meals — because children’s hearts feed on touch. I’ll look for as many opportunities to touch my children today as possible — the taller they are, the more so.
Whenever I want to throw hands up, I’ll throw them around someone instead. Holding someone always helps holds things together.
9. Love is a roof.
Be a shelter, a safe place, just be a roof for your people today.
10. Today, I will laugh! And I will create a culture of JOY! The only life worth living is a scandalous one: scandalous love, offensive mercy, foolish faith. Let joy live loud in your soul.
PS I am currently, finally reading her book, The Broken Way: A Daring Path into the Abundant Life, and I have only just begun. Friends, and even my sister, have recommended it to me, and the other day I decided it was time to read it. If you’d like, we can read it together. Just let me know you want to! ❤
I just posted a facebookLIVE to end my own sweet summer break. It’s a quick just over ten-minute video that I invite you to watch.
I mention a few resources that I want to share with you …
The first one is a beautiful picture book for both children and their parents called Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn
Ok the next resource I shared with you is Sally Clarkson’s upcoming book, Life Giving Table:Nurturing Faith through Feasting, One Meal at a Time (you can pre-order it on Amazon for $10.99 right now) What a great read to ready your heart for the upcoming holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas?!
Third, I mentioned Magnolia Journal – Fall 2017, which is wonderful, and after have receiving the entire year, I completely recommend the annual subscription. In this edition, the theme is gratefulness and one of the articles outlines how to host friends and enjoy table-time together. How great is that!?
So already you can tell I love a good read – whether a children’s book, a book for me, or a magazine.
If you haven’t grabbed the study guide that partners with Sally’s book, here is a link for that – I have found reading through this and at least thinking about the questions is really helpful for me to take in the information and actually apply it to where I am in life.
Heroism blossoms from roots of humility… and this book convicted me to be brave right where I am.
IF you can go to Houston, GO! and I (almost) KNOW you can give – and this is one of the many good ways to give – click here for the full link
Ok so we are rolling and you are enjoying the video I made to end our summer break, to get back into our book, and to continue on to the finish line with this book, with living intentionally in your space, with the people God has graced you with – whether that be a college dorm room with some room mate and hall mates or whether you live in a sprawling home by the sea (what my dreams this side of heaven are made of… 😉 … we can live seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and let Him take care of the rest.
I talk about our home’s birthday season, and how we want to celebrate Mount Family Day in March, which is our wedding anniversary month and the Month that the Mount family began… almost eleven years ago! Woohoo! There are a few blog posts throughout this blog about birthdays and about our anniversary that I invite you to read as you have time.
All of the mentioned resources are to serve you and to help you. They are not to overwhelm you or to pressure you into something that isn’t for you in this season. Again, we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and by the Power of His Spirit and under the holy authority of His all sufficient Word, we seek HIM and we let in whatever the Lord would have for us and we don’t engage what the Lord wouldn’t have for us. This is freedom that the Lord gifts us with and by His grace and for His glory we go for it, girlfriend!
For the last resource, I mentioned how Ann Voskamp’s recent post, which has come out of a crisis time for her, and she, a heroine, is responding in the gospel and sharing it with us, praise the Lord.
“Most of this might ever have been at all, so why blithely miss the miracle of it all?”
– Ann Voskamp
Goodbye, summer – Hello, autumn. We welcome this season seeing His goodness and savoring His glory, with eyes fixed on Him, with hearts resolved by His grace to be grateful. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
To begin school last year, we gifted our sons with this book. The colorfully illustrated story shares a little boy’s home/school life all under the same roof, with his family. He shares happily and candidly. The illustrations cast vision for our home and help us cultivate what it means to live+learn together.
This book has helped me, the momma + teacher, to peek inside a little boy’s heart and mind to see what he saw of his home/school life – and to go after the good he shares.
This illustration, for instance, has us all dreaming of where we can put our tree house and how big we can make it in our own back yard.
With how much this children’s story has inspired me, I thought I would share a few peeks into our home/school. I am no illustrator, but I have taken a few quick iPhone pictures to show you around, and I hope these little images will help you as you begin into the proper-school year.
Ok so here is the first one :
For all of you homeschooling-mommas, you know that this quick snapshot took a lot of effort to get – to get the cabinet organized correctly, to realize that yep, those folding tables and stacking chairs at Costco are in fact a good idea. Perhaps the couch or the green chair or Tyler’s desk chair pulled in from his desk is a good place to sit… I sit and stand all over the place in the course of the hour and a half that it takes (when we do all-the-things) to do “school proper.”
We opened our Sonlight box and excitedly began. I do love their curriculum and how they plan everything so I don’t really have to. The weekly schedule tells me how much of whatever book I should be reading, broken down into days, and if we get ahead, great. If we get “behind”, I just keep going to the next week, knowing that eventually it will all shake out. And if it doesn’t, really, really!, it’s not a big deal.
Well, my excitement soon fizzled into frustration. Nothing was organized. Which meant I was spending fifteen minutes getting all of my little mess together and then the boys were already distracted and doing who knows what (jumping off of the couch, playing a board game, asking to watch a TV show, or arguing). Obviously frustrating.
So I emphatically t.o.l.d. Tyler I had to get my mess together. I had to get organized. I stared at all of the stuff and I stared at my space – which is that cabinet, and after I stared and stared some more, I went to Target. I bought every plastic bin I thought might help, brought it home, put it all together, which really was the shorter part of the whole ordeal, and returned the plastic bins that ended up not being used.
In those bins…
I have math manipulatives, handwriting manipulatives; math and language arts games; a box for Leland, and a box for Grafton; my “side” of the cabinet, and a space for the books we are currently reading. Other games and books and all sorts of stuff are in the play room. We can go get them any time, but this cabinet is reserved for the “school stuff” and the play things, like play doh and paint, that we play with t-o-g-e-t-h-e-r. 🙂
On any given day the cabinet is not fancy, but it is functional and I can close the doors, which is fantastic!
Sometimes we get out the folding tables and chairs, which I tuck away in the coat closet when we aren’t using them… and sometimes we sit at the kitchen table. Other times we go outside to the picnic table, and I hope as the weather cools to take school to the park.
Typically the boys get dressed in the morning, but sometimes pjs are just fine for school. #homeschoolperks 😉
My favorite time is couch time aka reading time. Truly, the manifold reasons are obvious. The boys and I sit together, we read great stories, we take about all that we are learning, I answer a pile of questions, and, did I mention we are sitting on the couch?!
I’m not too far into this whole homeschool thing, but so far, I am enjoying so many of the inherent benefits of living and learning together under the same roof. Sure, sometimes it’s hard. I have learned that we all need a snack before we start school. It evens our blood sugar and fills our tummies so we can actually listen to the story, do our work books, and get through the time a lot more happily. We begin with prayer and end with thanking the Lord for school and learning. We make sure to play out side… which is one more place I want to show you.
Sometimes we have visitors (see sweet Story and Selah?) and we haven’t constructed a tree house yet, like in This is My Home, This is My School, but we are on our way to having a pretty good backyard. And funny enough, this is where we have recess.
Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation,
Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them. — psalm 111:1
Yesterday evening, Leland got baptized.
Let me unpack this for us.
Leland – He is our oldest son. He is the son for whom we waited and prayed, and praise the Lord, He gave. About a year ago, we were impressed by the Lord to pray for him that he would be saved THIS year. We realized that he knew as much as he could, and he accepted by faith as much as he knew, and we prayed that he would know, trust, and commit to Jesus as His Savior as much as a little boy could. We prayed, and we watched. We watched the Lord transform this little boy – from preferring himself to preferring his brother. from choosing to disobey to choosing to obey (not by default, but choosing). from loving self to loving and learning to love others. We watched as the Lord convicted him of sin, convinced him of His love, and began to conform him into His Son’s image. Praying and watching the gospel of God begin to change your child from the inside out is a miracle of grace. Jesus, thank you for the heart to pray, for the eyes to see, for the mind to comprehend the Spirit of God working out Your salvation in Leland.
got baptized – Little doctrine lesson, friends. Baptism = when and after an individual confesses God as Lord and Savior, Jesus calls the person to baptism. In Scripture stories are told of a man and his household coming to faith and being baptized immediately afterwards; the story of the Ethiopian eunuch, who believed and was baptized on the side of the road; an account of a large group of people moving from death in sin to life in Christ and then being baptized. Baptism = after one realizes that they are a sinner and turns from, or repents of, their sin, confesses that only Christ can save them from their sin and into real, true, eternal life, and commits their life to be lived under Jesus, the Lord and Savior, a person is baptized. Baptism is when the person is immersed under water as a symbol of death with Christ, death of former self, and raised to life with Christ, His new life in you. Like the stories in scripture, baptism can happen with only two people involved, and baptism can occur with many eyewitnesses. As the church has grown and developed, oftentimes baptism happens in the context of church and includes coming under church membership. The eyewitnesses amen your conversion to Christ and your commitment to Him, and the church members answer the call to help you live out this new life in Christ. So there’s a lot jam packed into baptism, making it one of the most significant outward acts of the Christ-follower.
Leland got baptized – As we watched and prayed for the Lord to save Leland, He answered our prayer. Leland moved from belief in Christ to commitment to Christ. Of course, a five year old little boy doesn’t understand much about commitment, or what the call of Christ in his life could look like, but as our pastor said ‘any step toward Jesus is a real step toward Jesus… walk with him there.’ We happily said, ‘ok! here we go!’ (And as an aside, who of us totally understand what it might mean for us to be committed to Christ?,… this is a place of continued growth and prayer for Leland, as well as for ourselves and our faith family.) As we conversed with Leland, we asked the the Lord to confirm what we sensed, and He did. Leland talked with the pastor, his Uncle Daniel – which is so cool! Thank you, Jesus!, we gathered up our family, went to our church’s annual celebration; Leland went with his daddy and took seriously the meeting, stood on the dock, walked into the water, and Leland got baptized.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Not to us, o Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory, for the sake of Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness! — psalm 115:1
Before each of our sons was born, we chose for them a psalm. This scripture is our prayer, our prophecy, the banner of the Word over their lives, who and what kind of man we pray they become. This Word is to comfort them, challenge them, be a reminder to them of who God is and what He has done, and who they are in Him and how they are to live.
For Grafton, we chose Psalm 112. After reading through the psalms, we loved how psalm 112 acts as a commentary and an amplified version of Psalm 1, which is Leland’s psalm.
Both psalms begin with “Blessed is the man who fears the Lord” but Grafton’s is preceded by Praise the Lord! … and then the psalmist goes on to describe the life of the man who fears the Lord. He delights in the Lord. His offspring is blessed, is mighty, endures. His character is upright. He works and gives generously – I especially love this challenge to Grafton. This psalmist’s language particularly points to Christ – after all, who else’s righteousness endures forever? I love that too for Grafton because the reality is only Christ can be this Blessed Man, and only in Christ can Grafton be a blessed man. Only in Christ can his life be a song of praise to the Lord.
Grafton has always been a brother, and he compliments and illumines his brothers. He is a lover, a good worker, and a generous friend. These attributes are both intrinsic to his God-imaging nature and will be sanctified as he puts his trust in Christ and lives in the fear of the Lord.
We thank You and we pray this, Lord.
So as we celebrate Grafton this year, we reflect on all of the goodness of the Lord in our lives, all of the ways that He has revealed His glory to us in the life of Grafton, we remember all of His good works, and we request that the Lord SAVE Grafton for Himself, at an early age, for his whole life, that Grafton may live as a blessed man who delights in the Lord, who lives out of the life of Christ, to the praise of His great glory.
Happy birthday, G.
112 Praise the LORD!
Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commandments!
2 His offspring will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.
3 Wealth and riches are in his house,
and his righteousness endures forever.
4 Light dawns in the darkness for the upright;
he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.
5 It is well with the man who deals generously and lends;
who conducts his affairs with justice.
6 For the righteous will never be moved;
he will be remembered forever.
7 He is not afraid of bad news;
his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
8 His heart is steady; he will not be afraid,
until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.
9 He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever;
his horn is exalted in honor.
10 The wicked man sees it and is angry;
he gnashes his teeth and melts away;
the desire of the wicked will perish!
Photographs – Amy Free Photography
29 days ago I began whole30. IF you had asked me 62 days ago the likelihood that I would “do whole30” I would have told you, no… probably not… no. And, if you would have asked me about whether or not I listen to podcasts or sermons or really if I listen to anything other than music, I would have told you “I’m not a good listener; I’m not that cool…
well. give it (almost) 30 days, I suppose.
As I shared with you in my last post, on that long (or maybe to you, short) list of books I recently read through, I read one book about Lent. And as I read it I wanted to figure out a way to engage Lent even though clearly I am behind, calendar year – wise. I was sharing about this book and some of its wealth with my sister, Noelle, and sharing with her specifically that I wanted to try to fast in some way but I really did not know how.
I mean, I am a mom of three little boys, I reasoned. How does one fast?!
She offered up whole30. She said, “Rachel, you can do it.”
And honestly I felt like, well golly, if she thinks I can, well, I think I can. Noelle knows me. and she has done whole30 before. And if she can do it, and she thinks I can do it, well, then, I think maybe she is right.
The other person who motivated me toward whole30 is my mom. A lady who doesn’t typically like a salad, she had just finished a whole30-like re-set diet plan with a coach. Seriously – if she can do it – a person who isn’t into lettuce and doesn’t usually cook, well, I can 😀
Challenge accepted 🙋🏼
I borrowed her book and I made a plan.
I was very motivated because my WHY was not to figure out if gluten bothered me or if I have a hidden allergy to dairy, but to recalibrate.
recalibrate – to make small changes to an instrument so that it measures / works correctly
We have engaged a couple of major transitions in our life this year and I felt the tug of the Holy Spirit to consider my life. Now my life is not just “having babies” but raising little men. My life is not just “we travel” but we are ministers of the gospel.
The heart, the mind, and the body are inextricably connected, and at all levels I desired recalibration.
Sure, we are already a healthy family. And I was not living in any major, known sin. I didn’t know of any – and still don’t – upsettingly primary theological error in my thinking.
But I needed – and still need – some fine tuning.
Not only have we been through transition, but through His Word and Spirit I sense that we are moving into new seasons of life. And I want to be ready.
I pray for an undivided heart that fears His name. I pray that I actually mean it when I pray for His glory and not my own. I want to sing and say and speak and share the gospel in ways that I have been too afraid, too complacent, too disconnected, caught up into too much sin, self, and stupid to do in the past.
So, I needed recalibrating. It’s funny, because in so many of the books I was reading, the word “recalibrate” would show up. It’s a good verb, after all. And it was the Lord speaking to me through every little jot and tittle. The more-funny thing is that about a year and a half ago I went with a friend to a Beth Moore conference and the theme of the time was “Recalibrate.” It was a powerful event and I can vividly remember many of the scenes from the sessions. However, at the time, a little over a year ago, the message did not deeply resonate with me. To the point, I am pretty sure, because I went looking for them and couldn’t find them, that I tossed my notes (which now I am sad about, and wish I hadn’t done,..).
But the thematic word stuck with me and here I am a year and a half later, in need of a recalibration, and the Lord is giving it to me in His own way, through other means than my saved notes.
OK so I planned and prepared and entered whole30 day one.
Well, days one through the first weekend were pretty rough. I knew to relax, to not plan to do a lot outside of our home, and I knew that I might feel bad. I did, but not too bad. The hard part were Tyler’s and my own personal misgivings about whole30 at large.
The thing is – though I was, and still am, happy to employ their method to my own end, we don’t agree with their overall philosophy and this makes it tricky waters.
There’s also the fact that I was tired and grouchy, that I was cooking every complicated recipe I could find, and that my boys watched ALOT of TV in those first four days.
Now, you know what kids and the TV look like, but you may be wondering about our misgivings. or maybe not. But I am going to share them anyways.
In short, the program offers a way to get out of food-enslavement into food-freedom. The pages spell out physiological issues that many people face with food and then propose that one uses food to get themselves out of the problem, out of the enslavement. Well, here’s the thing. Some food cannot save you from other food. You are bigger and better than food and your problems run deeper and are much graver than food. You need something outside of yourself – something amazingly bigger and deeper and grander and something far-better than you are. You don’t need food to save you from food. You need Jesus to save you from sin, self, and Satan… sometimes which emanates itself in psychological food issues and even in being overweight, or too thin. You need the spotless Lamb sent from the Good Father, who Created and who Sustains the Universe. You need someone not to give you a good meal, but to die of your dead soul,… and to come back to life. and that Someone you need is Jesus. Not whole30.
It’s not that you need to stop eating donuts and start eating carrots.
It’s that you need to be saved.
And I needed some soul-sanctification and in order to put my face like a flint to the Lord’s, in order to recalibrate before the Lord, I employed the whole30 method to fast.
Because I don’t not need donuts. I do. not. need. idols. I need the one true God to be The One True God in my life.
and that means me owning up to Reality and bowing down to the Real God.
and this time that means fasting. and this time that means with whole30.
So, like I said. the first few days were rough. rough rough rough. But then I stopped cooking complicated dishes that kept my in the kitchen all day, and I found this helpful blog post – The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Whole30. A nursing mom with a little newborn, she offers up her helpful advice. And I thought, thanks for the advice… and from you. Because, if you can do it, maybe I can, too.
I got through the initial system shock of no sugar and praised God because I actually did have more energy. And when I get hungry, it doesn’t show up in the tunnel-visioned sugar crash of the past (a few weeks ago), but a more “normal” feeling that told me ‘you should eat’. I like water. I like apples. I like almond butter. I don’t miss Coke; I don’t miss pasta. I do miss donuts. Honestly. donuts.
And I understand that in Christ there is freedom to enjoy all food. And I understand that food is a gift to be stewarded, to engage temperately typically, and on occasion, special occasions like birthdays and Christmas, with all of the gusto that the Lord says is only a foretaste of heaven itself! Golly I love a birthday – for celebrating a life and for savoring the cake!
The other practical resource that helped me is the timeline that whole30 provides. I referred to this article so many times in the first two weeks. it’s sort of like having a map for the first time you go somewhere. It’s nice to know that the headache and no-energy will pass and whatever comes next is only for a day… and then hopefully smooth sailing. Even knowing that day 21 can be a time of “food boredom” was helpful, and I planned an extra yummy supper that night. Now, on day 29, I have a gritted-teeth mentality to finish. and to finish strong. and then eat a donut!
(I do want to do the re-introduction, and my plan is to eat a donut, go on a bonafide date with my husband, return to whole30 for a few days, and then do a proper re-introduction like the book outlines.)
Two side notes in my experience with whole30.
There have been a few helpful products that I have loved to eat during whole30.
The one big con with whole30 = it’s expensive. so expensive.
maybe not compared to the months before when we were getting food out and grabbing starbucks and eating donuts. 🙂 but it feels so expensive when i go to the grocery store. on the other hand, you can argue the cost benefit, and so i get it and i can, too. but seriously. nutpods and whole30 approved bacon will not be part of our day to day post-whole30 lifestyle because… money.
As I am coming to the end of the 30 days, I want to say to the first four rough ones – it was worth it. Through misgivings and the weekend, and even through the headache and tired-ness, I am so glad I did it.
I am glad because:
… I do before the Lord sense I am beginning to be recalibrated and set up for the next season the Lord has for my family and me. – to be Home. To be Home in Him. To be in His Word. With His people. Raising my sons. Loving my husband!! Shining brightly His life and love in our home, that it may shine far to the ends of the earth.
… I swelled a lot during my pregnancy with Haddon and ever since, my feet have ached when I get out of bed. The ache is GONE! That is practical reason enough. Praise the Lord.
… My sustained energy level is better. I don’t sugar crash if I am not maintaining my strung out sugar addiction. I think I sleep more deeply … (at first, I slept worse. I don’t know why or if it is related. But it’s true. I was like “huh?!”)
… Because since I started I am glad to finish well.
There is a whole host of tiny and big other reasons I am glad, some I’m sure to find out even through August as I engage the reintroduction.
So in a long post but also in a quick photograph of the last (almost) 30 days, there you go.
As to the “listening to podcasts and sermons” in the first words of this lengthy conversation, I am walking (most) mornings. And when my great neighbor friend Emily isn’t walking with me, I listen to a sermon or lecture. Can you believe it?! Me!! – cool enough to listen to a sermon.
Seriously, who would have thought!? #neversaynever #glorytoGod 💕💕💕