Grace and Forgiveness

This time, four years ago my family was changed forever.

I can’t help but remember…this date is forever etched in my brain.

It was a horrible day, full of disbelief, anger, sadness, fear, and confusion.  I’m not going to share the details because they’re not mine to share.

But I do want to share my story and how God has brought me through it…

There was a time that I was so angry that all I could do was cry…and shake with fury…and then cry some more.  I would teeter between wishing everything could go back to the way it was (knowing that it never could), to wanting to move far away and never having to deal with any of the pain (or the people involved).

I felt betrayed and lost.  I wondered if I really “knew” anybody.

My life (and others) had been turned upside down.


Through those hard times, my husband was my rock.

My kids were a precious reminder that good and innocence was still in this world.

Homeschooling was a distraction.

Friends were my support.

But most importantly God was my healer…my redeemer…and my shelter in the storm.

He held me and loved me through the hurt.  He gave me grace when I said ugly things and wasn’t ready or able to forgive yet.  He was patient…very, very patient.

  God reminded me that He was in control.  That He could make beauty from the ashes.

My heavenly Father gently reminded me of how very much He had forgiven me.  That I would be forgiven the way I forgave others (ouch). That as much as I wanted to, I had no right to judge.

Was it hard?  YES.

Am I still a work in progress?  YES.

Was the work worth it? YES, YES, YES!

Relationships were changed forever.  Some were good changes and some were not.  But the past is the past and we can’t go back. I am in a better place than I ever thought was possible again.

Satan tried to destroy with bitterness, anger, and resentment but my God is greater!


I know that some of my friends are struggling with various situations right now. I hope that my story offers some encouragement.

I love this new song Just Be Held  by Casting Crowns (please click the link and listen – I promise you will be blessed).

Never forget that He is on the throne.  That you don’t have to have it all together.

Stop holding on and just be HELD!!!

Field Trip Fun!



Ryan and I spent the day with some sweet friends exploring Pamplin Park (highly recommend) and learning about the Civil War.  Our tour guides were amazing and we had a blast learning together!

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And just so you guys don’t feel sorry for Brendan :) :


After his assignments, he had fun playing tennis with Pappy and cruising around the neighborhood!


Stepping Back in Time:

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We are blessed to live near many historical sites and last week Ryan and I spent two days at Colonial Williamsburg during their special homeschool days (GREAT discounts).  We took a class called “The Life of a Soldier” where we got to learn what it was like to fight during the Revolutionary War, toured lots of historical sites, and even enjoyed an authentic lunch (hamburgers, fries, and a Coke) at Shield’s Tavern….hey, don’t knock it…you can’t get much more American than that :) !!!

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I tried to get Ryan to take a selfie with me during our tour of the Capital.  I couldn’t get so much as a grin out of him:

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But he paid for being so serious :) (hee,hee)…

Ryan looked so grumpy that our tour guide decided that he would be a good “criminal” to pull out of the crowd and brand with a “T” for being a thief!

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He was a good sport!


Selfie attempt – day two (just as successful unsuccessful as the first):

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I knew there was NO WAY that Ryan would agree to the traditional Colonial Williamsburg stock picture, so I volunteered to do it myself!

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Our absolute FAVORITE activity was called “Dig! Kids, Dirt & Discovery” where we got to participate in a hands-on excavation at an 18th century cellar.

It was SO COOL!

The site had originally been excavated in 1946 in order to study the foundation of the building.  For some reason, they decided not to rebuild and dumped the dirt back on top of the foundation.  We got to work alongside real archeologists digging, sorting, and classifying the different artifacts into categories to be sent to the lab for further study.  Some of the items our group found included brick, animal bones, window glass, a marble, nails, a button, a furniture tack, pottery, and more.

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Here’s a slideshow:

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Ryan was asking the archeologist about his job and was pretty enthusiastic about it until he found out that he’d have to have get a Master’s degree and possible a Ph.D.  (a few too many years of school for him :) ).


Our last stop was the museum and while were walking through the exhibits, Ryan noticed a display showing the actual archeologist that we had worked with earlier that morning!

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What a FUN trip! 

I love being able to spend one-on-one time with both of my boys!

  Brendan didn’t want to go to Williamsburg because he didn’t want to get behind on his schoolwork, but not wanting him to feel left out I decided to spend a little quality time with him too….at the library , working on his first research paper :) :

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Believe it or not, we actually had a good time too –

learning can be fun!!!!

Where Did This Week Go?

How can it be Friday already?!?!? 

We did take Monday off for Labor Day (because I felt like being a “cool” homeschool mom :) ), so I guess that’s why it’s flying by so quickly.

We’ve been working hard and are now finished with Week 3.  As usual, I don’t have any pictures of Brendan…what in the world am I going to blog about when both boys are in high school and I can’t take pictures anymore?

I guess I’ll have to do more writing (I better start coming up with some ideas)!


Ryan and I learned how the invention of the Enfield Rifle enabled soldiers to load and reload their ammunition more quickly.  We watched a short video and then he got to test and compare both methods.

Don’t worry, our gun barrel was a paper towel tube (very authentic, I know)!

We tried to imagine what it must have been like to try to reload your weapon over and over during a real battle :( .


Our homemade “cartridge” made with wax paper, an index card, flour (gun powder), and an aluminum foil boll (bullet).





Our latest science experiment (learning how two substances can cause a chemical reaction):



 I had a really cool God moment earlier in the week.  I recently read a book by Jen Wilkin, called Women of the Word which gives great tips on how to dig deeper into the Bible and really study Scripture. I have feeling the need to go deeper in my studies for a while, and this book came at the perfect time!  I started researching different study Bibles, and trying to decide which one to get when I discovered that they are not cheap!

I was leaning toward an ESV translation and/or the John MacArthur Study Bible, but couldn’t decide which one would be the best fit for me.  I mentioned it to Justin and he said,  “Wait!  I have a study Bible that I don’t use.  Why don’t you look at that one?”

  He pulled it off of the bookshelf and wouldn’t you know, it was a brand new copy of John MacArthur’s ESV Study Bible!!!

God is GOOD!!!



Workbox Wednesday:

So, most of you know that I have used workboxes since we started homeschooling in 2011.  They have been a life saver in helping us to stay organized!  I only use them with Ryan now since Brendan follows his own lesson plan and checklist.

Basically, Ryan and I cover a few subjects together such as scripture memory, Bible, history, language arts, and read alouds.  He then starts his workbox assignments, which I fill every night with his independent work.  Those assignments include things like grammar worksheets, reading, vocabulary, handwriting, special projects, and any other additional work.  I do have to help with a few things such as math and science, but everything else is mostly independent.  As he completes each assignment, he removes the number, places it back on the wall, and puts his work in the completed box.

Ryan’s workboxes today:

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Here a few more pics from our week so far:

I don’t have any pictures, but Brendan finished his first writing assignment and I am so proud! He had to write a script (since he’s reading Julius Caesar) and chose to do a play about the empty tomb.  Creative writing is NOT his thing and he was concerned about this assignment, but he did great!

He started classes at Arete yesterday and thinks that he’s really going to enjoy his Biology teacher.  He has the same Spanish teacher and she is wonderful too.  I’m very grateful that we have this resource in our area and that God always provides just what we need!