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Why My Kids Don’t Come First

Remember Everyone loves Raymond? One of my favorite characters, Marie, was the matriarch of the family. Passive aggressive and manipulative, she made sure the lives of her adult children revolved around her. She often made their lives miserable with her meddling, resulting in over-the-top dysfunctional family dynamics.

Although Marie cracked me up with her antics, I wouldn’t pick her as a role model!

She kept a neat house, was a good cook, and devoted herself to her children, but Marie’s priorities were off. She believed she was dedicating herself exclusively to her children even into adulthood, but in reality, she sought her identity in them,  and the result was that she emotionally suffocated them.

So how do we avoid the pitfalls of Marie?

Would you join me over at For the Family? Would love to hear your thoughts on this article.

Faith First

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Image Credit: Ungrind.org

The door burst open.

Arioch, captain of the king’s guard, filled the doorway with his powerful frame.

“It is hereby decreed by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon that all wise men, enchanters, magicians, and astrologers of Babylon are to be taken into custody and destroyed.” Arioch’s voice resonated in the room where Daniel sat studying a roll of parchment with his friends, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. The friends all looked at each other, startled.

Daniel slowly rose. “What has brought about this decree?” he asked.
Arioch sighed. He did not relish the task given to him.

To continue reading, click over to Ungrind.org

Sunflowers

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On Sunday we went to a sunflower field not far from where we live to take some
last-of-summer pictures.

And to announce the gender of our new babe:

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This little girl is soooo excited to have a sister!

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So are these guys!

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A nice stranger offered to take a family shot of us.

And the boys insisted on “silly faces” from mom and dad. Duncan makes his photography debut in getting this shot of us!

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amy - October 2, 2014 - 1:53 pm

these are so lovely. and I adore that last silly shot! :D

Corinne - October 2, 2014 - 6:46 pm

Oh I love these!!! Congratulations :)

Joyce - October 2, 2014 - 8:40 pm

These are great!
SO HAPPY FOR YOU!!!
LOVE the silly shot – and love you all!
~Aunt Joyce

Jenna - October 2, 2014 - 10:42 pm

Gorgeous, Danielle. Just gorgeous!

Kaylan - October 8, 2014 - 1:55 pm

aww so sweet! Love these pictures.

Wild + Free Homeschool Conference

 

“All good things are wild and free.”

Henry David Thoreau

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The first thought that came to my mind upon arriving at the Wild + Free Homeschool Conference in Virginia Beach hosted at the beautiful Founder’s Inn was:

This ain’t your mama’s homeschool conference.

And I should know, because I went with my mama to quite a few of them growing up. Let me tell you, this conference had some hip mamas. No jean skirts were in sight for as far as the eye could see!

In some ways, the conference was a bit strange as far as homeschooling conferences go. It was billed as a homeschooling conference, but not all the women who attended or spoke homeschooled their kids–some had their children attending public or private schools. The speakers and audience were made up of a mix of Christians, hippie mamas, environmentalists, bloggers, and women who not only homeschool but are also writers, photographers, and run their own creative businesses. I loved the eclectic mix! But there one thing we all had in common: intentional motherhood.

I don’t talk much about homeschooling in this space but allow me to do so for a moment. I homeschool because I love it. As a homeschooled student I found this educational style very valuable, especially when I entered college and the work force. I realize it is not for everyone and have no wish to proselytize but allow me to gush for a moment: I love love love homeschooling! I love the planning, the teaching, the lifestyle, the everyday learning. I don’t do it because of my faith. I don’t do it out of fear of the public school system. I do it because I love it and as a student it allowed me to excel and I hope it will do the same for my kids.

Now, back to the conference. Friday evening was kicked off with the music of The Last Bison, which I really enjoyed. They reminded me of Nickel Creek. Kinda folk rock, so check them out if you like that kind of thing.

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Naomi Gal gave a stirring testimony about battling depression and hopelessness, her main point being that joy gives strength. She discussed joy stealers, like failure, comparison, jealousy, and perfectionism, which are struggles that often haunt women.

Saturday morning, after an amazing breakfast (the food was good–I mean good, people!) Kelsey Koslowski spoke on “Saving Sisterhood” with the main point that comparison is a poison to community. Then Kirsten Rickert, an artist, writer, and environmentalist, spoke next. I appreciated her life story and talking to her later in the day with a small group of other ladies about her homeschooling methods. Check out her blog. Her photography and posts are beautiful.

Bethany Douglass of Cloistered Away spoke about intention. One of my favorite take-aways from her talk was “Don’t be motivated by what you don’t want your kids to be. Turn it into a positive of what you do want your kids to be.”

Next, Tiffany Gray of The Gray Gang hit it out of the park. I scribbled two pages of notes from her talk because it was just so stinkin’ great. Granted, she was talking about something that is something of a hobby horse of mine: margin. Several years ago Josh and I read the book, Margin, which along with the Susan Cain’s book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking influenced some major shifts in our lives. Tiffany used the book Margin as the basis of her message on motherhood margin. She defined margin as “the space between ourself and our limits.” She discussed the need for margin in our lives as mothers so that we can be emotionally available to our children.

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Two breakout sessions came next. I wanted to attend them both, but went with Stephanie Beaty’s The Well Balanced Mama talk. Ironically, I realized I already knew who she was, but by the name Lifeographer. As someone in the photography world I new of her photography work as well as her writing over at The Creative Mama. Stephanie’s talk was fabulous and centered on the fact that “balance is infeasible, but peace is achievable.”

That afternoon there was substantial free time before a lovely evening dinner party in the garden. Once again there was delicious food, conversation, wine, and laughter. We got to meet and talk with Terri Woods, who was the final speaker the following morning. It was a delight to pick her brain, as she has 16 years of homeschooling experience. Her talk centered more specifically on homeschooling than the pervious speakers and she shared some of her “homeschooling tenants” for a lifestyle of learning.

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Overall, the weekend was a delight. A road trip with good friends, great food I didn’t have to cook, encouraging speakers, and meeting new and inspiring women. Granted, I didn’t get much sleep, but that’s okay.:)

One of the lovely ladies I met during free time was Melissa Lyon West. Her contribution to the swag bag was this lovely hand-lettered print. If you’re interested in purchasing one for yourself, you can do so here.

I think it’s message is a great way to remember my time at the Wild + Free conference.

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Hannah Mayo - September 25, 2014 - 2:59 pm

Such a wonderful recap Danielle! Thanks for letting me relive some of the best parts again this afternoon :)

Ainsley - September 29, 2014 - 9:33 pm

I really aprreciate you taking the time to do a recap of the weekend… this was fantastic! As the organizer, so much was a blur, and I wished I had taken better notes. Thank you for sharing your perspective! xo

Danielle - September 30, 2014 - 9:37 am

Thanks for commenting Ainsley and your hard work on the conference!

anne - October 4, 2014 - 3:24 pm

It sounded so amazing. So glad you got to go! Homeschooling is not out of the question for us down the road, just not for us right now :)
Tiffany Gray is awesome. I just love her on IG…I didn’t realize how big she was until a few months ago :)

AND I love that pic of you, Beth, and Amy! I love how we all connect with each other !!!
SO fun.

Devotions for Home or On the Go

 

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It’s that time of year: school has started, fall sports are in full swing, and after-school activities fill the calendar. With such a flurry of activity, family devotions can easily fall by the wayside. Or perhaps family devotions has been something you’ve wanted to do, but haven’t known how to implement.

For the Family has already given us practical encouragement on how to start family devotions. But sometimes, we as parents need some practical resources that allow the redemptive story of the Bible to capture the hearts of our children. And some of these tools can even be enjoyed on the go in the midst of a busy school-time schedule.

To keep reading, click on over to For the Family . . .