Invitation to Silence

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I have been silent lately. Not just here on the blog but everywhere. I am attempting to get back into the swing of things after vacation.

I have discovered, that it is more difficult than it seems, for a number of reasons.

One reason, is that I read the MOST AMAZING book on vacation. When was the last time you read an AMAZING BOOK?

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I happened to see this book on a list of recommended books by another blogger. I checked it out from the library with very low expectations. Nothing personal, it just seems like I haven’t come across a really good book in a long time.

This is Invitation to Solitude and Silence by Ruth Haley Barton.

It was the only book I brought along on our vacation. It was the only one I needed to bring, although I thought for sure I would be done with it in a day and would need another book.

This book is about silence, and how we need to be silent to listen to what God is trying to tell us. 

Sounds simple, right? It’s not.

Before our vacation, I thought that I regularly spent time in solitude. You know, sipping coffee in the morning, between answering emails and making breakfast for the family.

Except, that’s not really solitude. That’s not really spending time, listening to what God is trying to tell you.

I thought this would be an easy subject for me, really I did. After spending several days reading through this book, it and taking notes, I have decided I am lousy at being silent.

Really lousy. Perhaps you have this same problem.

We are so busy in our everyday lives, we don’t realize how physically and mentally tired we are. When we are in this state, we have constant aches and pains, rashes, skin irritations, heart palpitations, panic attacks, sleep disorders, weight problems, the list goes on and on.

These things are all caused by the way we carry unknown stress in our lives. We are, as the author puts it “dangerously tired”.

So tired, we don’t even realize that it’s not normal to feel that way.

After a week of doing nothing but sitting by the pool and soaking up the sun, all my aches and pains were gone and I felt rested for the first time in ages.

Really rested.

And then, I began to hear things, things that God had been trying to tell me but I was too busy to listen. When was the last time you felt you had clear direction in your life? Are you really spending time listening to what God is trying to tell you?

I encourage you to take a single day away from everything and read this book. You may be dangerously tired and not even know it. He may be SHOUTING to you, but if you don’t spend time listening, you will never hear what he has to say.

Enjoy the beautiful sun today in silence!

Dyslexics and College

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I am a chicken. I have completely dropped the ball on writing any home school posts for months and months. It’s not like we aren’t still home schooling, it’s just that I have not been sure what to write about.

I kind of have this fear that I will miss lead someone. That my advice perhaps isn’t really all that valuable, and that perhaps I am completely boring you all by posting on it.

I AM TOTALLY CHICKEN IN THIS REGARD.

I am chicken to admit, that it has taken me twelve years, until his senior year, to come to terms with our son’s dyslexia. For a long time I was sure it was ME that was causing it. That I was doing something horribly wrong, and that if I just worked long enough, and hard enough everything would be alright and he would suddenly become normal and learning would be a piece of cake for him.

I tried different curricula each year, sure that there was one out there that would FIT his needs.

None of them did.

I tried tutors and expensive private lessons certain that it would help.

It didn’t change anything at all.

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I tried waiting to teach him certain subjects. I was sure that with maturity, his ability to comprehend would improve.

 Time didn’t change how he learns. It is still a struggle. He is still different than the rest of the crowd.

I have finally come to the realization that he will always be dyslexic.

Nothing will change that.

The difference is, he has now learned how to deal with his disability. So have I. We now know what he has to do to learn, it is a different path than most students will take. But he wants to take it. He loves learning. Despite his struggles, against all odds, he continues to learn.

All my worries and fears have come to a head this senior year.

I was incredibly chicken when it came to his future. How would he survive? I was worried about him getting into college. Or if he should even GO to college. It turns out, I was worried for nothing.

I was worried about him taking the SAT/ACT tests.

Would he be able to perform to the best of his ability? Probably not. Then we found out, there are many colleges who don’t require test scores for entrance. You can find that list here. There are hundreds of colleges on the list. This was a huge relief to us, as getting accommodations for a dyslexic to take the test is long, complicated, time consuming and expensive. Particularly when you are a home schooler and do not have access to the resources within the public school system. 

I was worried about him being accepted at college.

Getting him into college was FAR easier than I thought. He applied at one school and was accepted. No problem. I was shocked, I was prepared for a long list of disappointing rejections and heart ache.

I was worried about him being able to afford college.

There is nothing more daunting than the scholarship and financial aid applications. I was sure he would struggle in this area.After all, who is going to offer a scholarship to a dyslexic student with average grades (even if he worked incredibly hard for those average grades), when they could give one to the over achiever, the jock, the super efficient, A+ student who learns at the drop of a hat?

You will be surprised by this answer.

He has received nearly 75% of his tuition in scholarship money from various sources. 

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I was chicken for nothing.

I practically worried myself to death. I prayed and cried and was sure he would not have any sort of future. For years and years I was certain of this. Now, I know differently.

What a lack of trust I had. God has provided him with everything he needs to be successful. Why was I so doubtful for so long? It is hard to see the plans God has for those in your life at times.

He may have to have tutors, or hire people to type assignments for him. He may have to listen to his text books on audio instead of reading them. He may have to do visual presentations, hands on presentations or labs instead of writing and extensive research. He may have to study twice as hard as everyone else, and get half the grade in the end. But, he will not give up. His dyslexia has taught him that.

He will be successful, because he knows how to work through his struggles.

Statistics show that it’s the AVERAGE JOE student that becomes successful in the long run. It’s not the super successful high school jock who goes out to take on the world. Mathematics has proven that those students who were over achievers in high school are so used to being successful they don’t know how to work through the problems and struggles that they will face later in life. They will eventually become disillusioned, and give up. They will become the AVERAGE JOE.

I had a friend who lost her father at a young age. When he passed on, his resume and list of accomplishments was a MILE LONG.

He held a doctorate in Political Science.

He was a tenured professor at a major top ten university.

He immigrated to this country as a young man, got married, had children, worked his way though college, was highly educated, was one of the most respected men in his field of business, wrote books and lectures, started a non profit organization, was very financially successful.

He was an inspiration to everyone around him. There were hundreds of people at his funeral from all around the world.

HE WAS DYSLEXIC. I was shocked to find out that HE COULD NEITHER READ NOR WRITE EFFICIENTLY.

Yet, he had accomplished more in his lifetime than all of his peers, the stellar A+ students, combined.

I am thrilled to announce, I am no longer chicken.

Linking up today over at Trivium Tuesdays on Living and Learning at Home.

O Come, All Ye Faithful

O Come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant!
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;
Come and behind him
Born the King of Angels

O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation,
Sing, all ye citizens of Heaven above!
Glory to God in the Highest

O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning;
Jesus, to thee be glory given!
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing!

O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.


Merry Christmas!

Gift Wrapping

I have been in a flurry of activity the last few days. Racing around, shopping, shopping, wrapping and wrapping. I have even been making last minute gifts, you know the drill. You are probably doing the same things at your house.
I have no energy left to be creative with the wrapping process. I just want to be done with it. I am tired of being busy, being a Martha. I just want to sit and be Mary.

I want to sit at the Lord’s feet and be ready to worship His birth on Christmas Day.

It shouldn’t be that hard. But it is. We all know the truth, down inside.
I decided to take the easy wrapping route, and buy the giant pack of four matching papers complete with bows and tags for $6.97 at Walmart. It’s kind of wrapping for dummies.
I even color code our packages to make things easier on Christmas Day. Immediate family members gifts are wrapped in blue and silver.
Gifts for people outside the immediate family are wrapped in red.
It’s an easy way to help control the chaos. Less for Martha to worry about, more time for being Mary. I usually go for the fabric ribbons, but there just wasn’t time this year. Martha’s business.

There are storms coming this afternoon and tomorrow. I am okay with that. I am done with racing about and being a Martha. I am just going to sit and knit by the fire, and be a Mary.

How are you preparing your heart for worship this Christmas?

The greatest gift of all, didn’t come in a package.

Take time out of your day to be a Mary and prepare to worship on Christmas Day.




Christmas Charities: Reposted from the Archives

Photo from www.worldvision.org

Someone asked me today, what are Christmas traditions are. We have the usual ones like baking cookies, caroling, decorating the house, watching Christmas movies. But, we also have some that may be a little differentl. One of them is choosing what charity will receive our holiday donation. Don’t take me the wrong way, we contribute to numerous charities during the course of the year, but we really enjoy choosing the Christmas Charity of the year.

This year’s choice was chosen by an overwhelming majority of our family. We decided to contribute to World Vision. Each season we get a World Vision catalog in the mail where we can “shop” for an animal that will go to a needy family and provide food or a family income. My kids love the visual pictures, just look at these:

Photo from www.worldvision.org

Photo from www.worldvision.org

Photo from www.worldvision.org

Kids can really relate to these images. What child wouldn’t love to help another family get food? Or learn to cultivate animals? This season we decided on purchasing the ducks.
For a mere $30.00 you can purchase 5 ducks for a family. The eggs can be eaten or sold, and the animals  reproduce quickly, even better! We particularly were fascinated by the fact that in parts of the world, it is nearly impossible to keep chickens due to the amount of rain and muddy condition that they have. But ducks can live and thrive easily in the same conditions. In the past years we have also purchased rabbits, pigs, and chickens. They also have shares of larger animals that you can purchase such as a goat, cow or donkey.
Food is of course, only scratching the surface of need. There are other needs for sponsoring children, providing shelter, clothing, clean water, women’s issues, and health. They are all listed on the World Vision site.

There are many other excellent organizations to choose from. Compassion International is a wonderful organization where you can sponsor a child and even correspond with them.

Acts 1:8 Ministries helps to build wells and water towers for fresh water around the globe. They are based in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Check out Corban, Inc., another Wisconsin organization who is committed to building orphanages in Peru and teaching natives how to earn a sustainable living. My family helped found this group, fascinating reading. They have accomplished so much since they began 10 years ago.

Donate your time. Don’t forget about he Salvation Army, you and your family can ring a bell together, make it a holiday tradition. To sign up check out there website here.

Look into local food pantries. Volunteers are always needed to do simple tasks such as packaging and organizing boxes of food.

Check out the local homeless shelter for volunteer opportunities. Make a kettle of soup and share it with others. Many organizations have the food supplies and just need volunteers for cooking and serving.

One of our favorite things to do is bake bread or cookies and share them with people in our neighborhood who may not be able to get out, or don’t have local families to share the season with.

Spread the Cheer!

Designer Mom

I am linking up today to the following blogs:

 TheBetterMom.com