When What's Best Isn't Fun


I lost it last night. I found myself with an hour to myself. One daughter was at church, the other at hockey practice. It should have been bliss. Instead, I sat in my chair with tears rolling down my face, wondering how I was going to survive another day of near-constant battle.

The decision to homeschool our younger daughter wasn't an easy one. I fully expected to be right here, right now, frustrated and exhausted. One of the major reasons we chose to homeschool this year is to deal with character. The trouble is you have to break down bad habits before you can build up new ones. And the breaking down process is exhausting. Being day-in, day-out consistent is hard. Constantly being the parent on the front lines of the battle is as frustrating for me as it is for her being corrected.

I've sacrificed a lot to keep our daughter home this year. I gave up a settled schedule, time with friends, a consistent time to work, and I've even deferred my dreams of writing more. I live in a land of half-finished book outlines and blog ideas. And that's OK. I know this is best for her.

I just didn't know that progress would be so slow. I never imagined that I would want to throw up my hands and walk away -- five times a day. I didn't know just how wearing consistently challenging her attitude and correcting her behavior would be. I didn't know it would be mid-October, and I would still be fighting a near-constant battle to get her to control her tongue and her attitude.

And yesterday, I had reached the end of my rope. I just wanted to see an inch of movement forward. Instead, I felt as if I were banging my head against a brick wall. And I ran into another mom's quick post on Facebook about how much she loved homeschooling and couldn't understand why anyone wouldn't want their kids home with them all day. And I felt judged. I felt like a failure.

Because I don't love this. This is hard. This is frustrating. This is not what I had planned. Are there moments of joy? Absolutely. Are there days when I see tiny glimpses of progress? Yes. Do I know that this is what God called us to do? You betcha. Do I love it? No, I do not.

And, you know what? That's OK. Parenting is a picture of sacrifice. It's doing things that are best for our kids even when those things aren't our first choice. It's following God down the path He wants you to take for each child even when that path is one you'd rather not travel.

Because this year isn't just about growing my daughter. It's about growing me. God is making me a better parent, a better teacher, a better writer, a better follower. He's not just working on my daughter's character; He's working on mine. And that process for me is as painful as the character-building process is for my daughter. God has to break down my bad habits so He can build up new ones. I'm learning patience. I'm learning creativity. I'm learning to rely on God for the strength and wisdom to make it through every day -- because I certainly don't have it myself.

God's not nearly as interested in my comfort as He is in my character, which is why spending an evening in tears is actually a sign of progress for me. It's a sign of some of those rough edges in my character being rubbed off. It's an end-of-my-rope point of surrender. And that's when God can start building something new in me.

I may never love homeschooling. My daughter and I may never stop butting heads. But I know that only good can come from this year -- because God is faithful. He called us here for a reason. But maybe that reason has as much to do with my character as it does with my daughter's.

Lessons from a Stubborn Child


We were working on my younger daughter's math the other day when she got stuck. She got frustrated, and she got stubborn. What should have taken just a few minutes to complete ended up taking close to an hour. Because she's stubborn.

Now, both my kids come by their stubbornness honestly. I've been known to tell my girls that if they think they're going to win a battle of will, they're wrong because they got their stubbornness from me.

There are days when those stubborn streaks in my kids drive me nuts. I wonder why they have to be so persistent. I get frustrated with their inability to move on or let go of whatever it is they're holding onto. Some days it feels like all I do is battle their stubborn wills.

Yet, that stubbornness is part of their personality. It's what makes my girls such tough defensive players on the field and on the ice. It's what makes them ready to stand up for what's right. It's what gives them the ability to struggle through a difficult time.

In the midst of a battle of wills, though, it's often easy to lose sight of those positive qualities of stubbornness and only focus on the negative. Our kids all have qualities that have the potential to drive us nuts. But most of those qualities also have a good side. It's just up to us to find it and nurture it.

After we struggled through the math lesson, my daughter looked at me and said, "Why was I so stubborn?" It was a great opportunity to talk about how we can let stubbornness work for us or against us. It's our choice. We talked about how she needs to get stubborn when she gets stuck, but she needs to channel that stubbornness into a thought process that makes it a battle between her and the problem, not between her and me. She needs to think "I'm not going to let this problem get the better of me."

When we focus on the positive side of the traits that have the potential to drive us crazy, we help our kids see the positive side, too. God didn't make a mistake when he made your child stubborn or talkative or full of energy. He has a plan for each and every one of those traits. He needs those character qualities to accomplish something great in His plan. But if we, as parents, can only see the negative side of those traits, then we often try to stifle the very behavior that God created for His purpose. Our kids are "fearfully and wonderfully made" and that includes those character qualities that have the potential to make us pull out our hair.

So, the next time you find yourself annoyed by one of your child's particularly frustrating traits, take a minute and examine how your child could use that trait for good. Find the positive side. Then talk it through with your child. Point out the frustration their current behavior is causing and help your child see ways that the same behavior could be used in a positive way. You just might see your child in a new light, and you will help mold your child's character to better be able to fill God's purpose for them.

Back to Homeschool Giveaway: More than $1,000 in Prizes

As many of you know, we're embarking on a homeschooling journey with my younger daughter this year. As I enter this school year (we start on Thursday) with some mixed emotions -- I am, after all, radically changing not my daughter's life but my own -- I find myself wondering what this year will hold. I know there will be some great days, some OK days, and some disastrous days. I pray that this will be the best thing we've ever done for our daughter. Because we're embarking on this new adventure, I wanted to be able to celebrate it with all of you. That's why I joined some other bloggers for this Back to Homeschool Giveaway. There are some great prizes in this giveaway package, including an iPad mini, so be sure to check it out and enter at the bottom.

Back To Homeschool Giveaway!

It's that time of year. New school years are starting for public schools. For those who homeschool, your school might have started a month ago. Or you might not ever stop - you just keep going. :)

It doesn't matter what point of the school year you are at, new items are always exciting whether it be new curriculum or a new planner or some random thing that helps your day run more smoothly! Of course, there is something better than new things for your homeschool – new things that are completely FREE! To help kick off the unofficial start of the new school year we're hosting a huge giveaway full of great prizes to benefit someone's homeschool!

There are multiple companies out there who serve the homeschooling community. We've lined up a number of great companies who have graciously offered to be a part of this outstanding giveaway. Prizes include a 16 GB White iPad mini, $50 gift certificates to various homeschool companies, the Deborah & Co. online clothing store, Lilla Rose hair accessories, Cowgirl Dirt Makeup, and more! We wanted to bless a homeschooling family and also pamper the homeschooling mama who works so hard at not only raising her children but also educating them! For a complete listing of all the prizes one family will receive, look below!

(Affiliate Links Included)

For The Family

iPad Mini

A 16 GB white iPad Mini! You can purchase a lot of wonderful learning apps which can enhance your homeschooler's education. ($329 Value)

mini ipad case

Bodhi Black Mini iPad Case ($50 Value)

Paper Dolls

Noble Rose Press Complete Collection of beautifully illustrated historic paper dolls, and a sweet, wholesome coloring book for children. ($85 Value)

Teach Them Diligently Homeschool Convention 2014

Teach Them Diligently Family Pass to your choice of one of four different locations! An amazing homeschool convention that will bless and encourage your family. ($50 Value)


A $50 Gift Card to Mardel Christian and Education Book Store!

Light of Faith

$50 Gift Card to Light of Faith, a wonderful homeschool store owned by a very sweet family!

queen homeschool

$50 Gift Card to Queen Homeschool Supplies, an outstanding resource for Charlotte Mason curriculum!

homeschool in the woods

$50 Credit to Home School In The Woods Publishing, a store that sells lapbooks, timelines, and more!


$40 Downloadable MP3 files of Mystery of History Volume 1. Through downloadable MP3 files, you can listen to the professionally recorded stories through the voice of the author, Linda Lacour Hobar. With accompanying text in hand, you can read right along with the author as she breathes life into the stories.


T-Tapp DVD program for Mom and Children to do together! Includes TappCore and TappCore 2. These workouts include short movements that are great for quick workouts. Thanks to The Encouraging Home Blog for Donating these. ($30 Value)


Making Vegetables Book by Shoshanna Easling, owner of The Bulk Herb Store. Beautiful pictures, loaded full of information on gardening with seeds and building greenhouses. Perfect for the gardner in your family. ($19.95 Value)

ABC's For Godly Children Banner1

The ABC's for Godly Children Curriculum is a comprehensive, Bible eCurriculum centered around teaching children ages 4-10 about the God they serve and how to have a heart like His. PDF Download. ($14 Value)

For The Mother

Deborah & Co Button$50 Gift Card to Deborah & Co., an online clothing company that offers women's maternity, and girl's clothing. Custom hem lengths and fabric selections available!

Lilla Rose Flexi Clips

$50 of select products at Lilla Rose. Consultant will pick select items and mail them to you. Flexi Clips that actually work to hold up all your hair, in a beautiful way! Seven different sizes for varying hair textures and lengths.

Sew a Fine Seam

$50 to Sew A Fine Seam, a sweet Etsy Store that has beautiful items, such as the ruffled scarf above. She is also willing to let you apply your $50 towards custom sewing. Jill blogs at Sew A Fine Seam blog, which I love to visit when I have a few extra minutes. Her photos are gorgeous and I love reading about the projects she does!

Clementine Embroidery

$45 to Clementine Patterns, embroidery patterns and complete kits for making beautiful pictures to grace the walls of your home.


$45 to Breezy Tulip's Studio - the most amazing watercolor paintings that are sweet and centered around the home life. Also Breezy sells chalk art collection of scripture verses. Beautiful artwork for the walls of your home.


Stress Away Roll On from Young Living Oils. Homeschooling is hard work and brings stressful moments. Stress Away Essential Oil is excellent at relieving some of those anxious feelings that stress can bring. ($33.00 Value)


$25 Gift Card to Cowgirl Dirt - natural, almost all Organic Mineral Makeup and more! Outstanding makeup that is gentle on the skin, but lasts all day!

To enter, use the rafflecopter below. The list is long due to how many companies and bloggers are involved. Grab a cup of herbal tea and take a few minutes to enter! You can always come back and finish up later.

a Rafflecopter giveaway