Add this to your Bible Challenge!

Another Bible Challenge update for you. This time I’ve added one of my favourite and most helpful ideas to the video. You just might want to adopt it as well! ūüôā

New here? Check out the previous videos to catch up:

Bible Challenge Introduction 
Bible Snippets 1
Bible Snippets 2  

Have you been trying the challenge out? I’d love to hear from you! The testimonials I’ve heard so far have been wonderful!

~Shannon

Bible Challenge Snippets 1

So excited to hear how many are jumping in to this Bible Challenge, and the difference it’s making in their lives already! Praise God for the simplicity of reading the Bible and how He works through it!!

Here’s an update for those interested, with some snippets from my conversations with Jenn (fellow Bible Addict). Feel free to watch and stay tuned for more thoughts in this journey of loving your Bible.

Here’s the link to¬†Video Introduction to the Bible Challenge.¬†If you don’t want to watch the video, I’ve added the poster to the bottom of this post to give you the challenge in a nutshell.

Challenge poster

~Shannon

 

 

A 2018 Challenge

Here’s something I’ve wanted to pass on for a looooong time. I just used my iPhone, and it isn’t awesome quality, but that’s not the point…. When I say this will change your life, I do not say that lightly. I hope to be sharing often this year on the blog all the ways this simple challenge has made a difference for me since I began 19 years ago. Check it out and I double-dog dare you to try it! ūüėČChallenge poster

 

 

~Shannon

So Much More Than a Daytimer!!!

***Updated & Fixed!! Thanks for your patience!!***

Our conference time was slipping away from us during our “Host Favourites” session last weekend so I didn’t get to go through the Franklin Covey section with you all like I wanted to. Thankfully, I remembered this week that I had already gone through mine in a video a few years ago for a cousin of mine who was interested in the concept of a life binder, and I can share that with you now! Things have been updated since I made this video and I changed how I use it a bit, but life is ever changing and my needs are ever changing. So here is my 2 cents worth and you can adapt it to your own life. I have snipped out the password & prayer requests sections…. because those are none of your business ūüėČ

Enjoy my urchin beside me as I go through my binder. She’s a free spirit. ūüôā

And remember that on the Franklin Covey site you all have until October 8th to use promo  code: VALLEY to receive a 20% discount of your order! Thank you Franklin Covey for this code!!!

Tabernacles & Motherhood

“…Bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.” Psalm 118:27

Through a year of busyness, chaos, and difficult moments this verse has come to mind so often. This verse goes right along with another one ¬†I’m sure most of you already have memorized, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1)

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Have you ever had motherhood moments, homeschooling moments, wife moments that you just wanted to crawl down off of that altar and say, ‘No, thank you! I’m done!’ ? ¬† I know many of you have had hard times and a few are dealing with major stress right now. But get back to your salvation foundation in those moments. Read the first 11 chapters of Romans which gives all the background that brings us to Romans 12:1 and you will see that… in¬†light of all that the Lord has done for us in saving us from our sin we offer our lives to be sacrificed to Him in whatever way He leads us. He knows how to be glorified through our lives, we just need to obey wherever He takes us.

Maybe your life is not what you signed up for and hasn’t been for years… Marriage, parenting, schooling, illnesses, just plain sin creeping at our doors from the vile society we live in. Bind the sacrifice!

The only reason to bind something is because it is alive and wants to get away. It won’t stay where it should.

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Living sacrifices must be bound. When the fire reaches the tender flesh ¬†of what was laid on that altar the body instinctively moves to crawl out of harm’s way.

It may seem silly to have to say it, but we need to remember that sacrifices are utterly consumed. When you lay your sacrifice down on the altar there will be nothing left when all is said and done. God will consume it all until there is only a pile of ashes heaped up to be carried to the dump pile. He calls us to bring what is beautiful and precious to us and asks us to place it on the altar and trust Him as we watch it start to smolder, and flames begin to flicker, and it burns until there is nothing left. Don’t let that thought depress you, though. There is nothing left but the Glory we get to see on the other side of that altar.¬†

When the priests of the old testament went in to the tabernacle and offered sacrifices on behalf of the people once every year the end result was entering behind the veil, into the holy of holies, and communing with the Lord. Nothing else mattered for the priest once he got in there, except his salvation. He was not struck dead. This alone would bring thankfulness. But then as he knelt in that room made completely of gold with candles burning and the ark of the covenant in front of him where the Holy Spirit rested, he was completely surrounded by the glory of God. The sacrifice behind him outside was forgotten and nothing else mattered. He communed with his God. One on one! Sacrifice was the way to come closer to his God.

Moms and wives have a multitude of opportunities to lay down as a living sacrifice every day. We are not strangers to dirty diapers, algebra homework, cleaning toilets, running kids to various activities, etc. These are the full-time sacrifices we encounter every day. But there are occasional ¬†harder ones that God asks of us. Times when He turns up the heat and refines us, puts us under extreme pressure in anticipation of the jewel to come. It is these kinds of moments that the sacrifice needs more binding. I have asked the Lord to ‘bind my sacrifice with cords’ so many times this year and in years past. When I didn’t have the strength to hold myself on that altar while the flames licked my very inner being. I had to ask my High Priest to bind me there.

I want to be faithful but my strength is gone. The thing is, I have been on the other side of that altar a few times and know that getting to rest in the glory of God working in my life is totally worth the pain in the here and now.

The whole point of the victorious Christian life is learning to love what you find behind the veil more than what you laid on the altar.

God always required sacrifice from his people. We don’t sacrifice out of necessity anymore to make atonement for sin, but out of love for our God who has made a way for us to be close to Him. The more you know Him the more you want to know Him and are more willing to be bound to the altar and allow yourself to be utterly consumed so that there is nothing left but the glory of God.

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As you get ready to start your new school year prepare your heart to be bound and look forward to knowing your Saviour more.¬†God uses our offerings to bring us closer to Him. Don’t miss the blessing! Enjoy your year, and if the going gets rough, ‘Bind the sacrifice with cords”!

~Shannon

 

When you have a less than stellar year…

Last fall I stepped into our school year expecting it to be more difficult. It was our first year of setting up our fall homeschool conference, my children had jobs and would be working many days until late fall, my husband takes all of December off as vacation… you know how easy it is to do school while Daddy is on vacation ;)…. and then there is Christmas busy-ness… I truly didn’t expect to have a great start to our school schedule until January 3rd of 2016.

I was prepared for a less than stellar year. I also have been around long enough to know that when I am doing what God wants me to do I should expect opposition. I’ll say it again. If you are doing what is right, expect opposition! Expect it to be hard with obstacles in your way. If you step out in obedience and teach¬†your children, and take them to church, and teach them the Bible, and pray, and obey the Bible that you are studying… expect tremendous opposition. It means you are on the right track. I’m pretty sure Satan doesn’t like sold-out, self-sacrificing moms. Get used to it.

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Maybe you had a crazy year, too. Maybe you had a pregnancy, illness, depression, a husband that lost his job, didn’t get along with your kids… But I am here to say that even in those years that don’t seem to go right at all you can still learn so much! DO NOT GIVE UP!!! In years to come you will be so encouraged to look back and see all that your family learned in those busy times, those difficult times, those exhausting I-just-want-to-stay-in-bed-until-its-all-over times. And it is when you hit those crazy hard times that the Lord’s deliverance is right around the corner. It’s just that so many of us give up at the hardest point and miss the huge blessing after we endure.

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love him.” James 1:12 ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† So Stick with it and see what God has in store!

Since I realized in August that it would be difficult to accomplish all I had set out to do in our school calendar I stepped up the tiger-mom in me a bit. We made sure we got as much done as we could on the good and sane days. I was amazed at how far we got. I’m so glad I didn’t give up and give in before even starting, because…the year got a lot harder, real fast. I know that the Lord was pushing me to get more done on the days it worked out because He knew what was going to be happening later on.

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That night that I got the call that dad was in the hospital and they had just found a massive brain tumour turned our year upside down even more. At that point school wasn’t important anymore. So the next couple of months were spent driving to the city whenever possible, praying like crazy through my days, and being thoroughly preoccupied with the bigger issues of life. School was still done, but we cut out all extras and kept it to the three R’s on the days we could fit it in. At this point I was so thankful to have been consistent through the busy¬†start to our year.

I was learning a lot through this time. Tumours will do that to you. Forced me into the Word even more and made me see everything in a new light. It brings perspective. It brings godly perspective if you immerse yourself in God’s Word throughout it. I could see so many spiritual battles taking place, in so many areas of our life.

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Just as things were looking slightly less stressful I got a call from my nephew at the work site…. ” Uhhhh, Hi, Aunt Shannon….. Don’t want to alarm you or anything, everything is fine…. but, ahhh, Jacob is on his way to the hospital. We think he broke his leg….” And so begins surgery and all the invalid craziness that goes along with it. Our living room became his new bedroom. I fluffed pillows, served drinks, picked up walkers & crutches, set up shower seats, and answered the door for the many awesome friends that popped in with kind words and visits for Jacob.

I realize that so many people deal with much more difficult things. I’ve watched as others deal with astronomical difficulties and handle them with godly grace and grow closer to the Lord in the midst of it all. They are my heroes and the ones I watch as an example of how to handle my lesser problems.

I also realize that many times¬†we are under spiritual attack and don’t even realize. Sometimes Satan goes ‘wham!’ and hits you with a whopper. Sometimes he just picks away slow and steady in every area of your life waiting for an opening. It helps just to know this. Individually it looks like we just have tumours and broken legs and cancer, the flu & pink eye, marriage & family relationships threatening to go sour, infections and more infections, airlifted sick children, children’s attitudes trying to pull you into the depths of despair, and no time to get that school done so you can fill out those bless-ed reports….¬†But if you had a year something like this,¬†know there are bigger things at work. There are spiritual battles taking place. It helps to keep a proper focus, and keep plugging away.

“Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Galatians 6:9

Don’t give up on what is most difficult just because you are tired and can’t see a way out. Satan likes to use discouragement to lessen our convictions and choose an easier route. But it is the most difficult things that God wants us to do that are the most important to stay consistent in. And, it is in these that we will yield the biggest harvest, if we do not lose heart.
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So even if you had a less than stellar year, keep plugging away.¬†It’s still worth it. Get into your Bible. Study it. Memorize it. You can learn¬†so much from each trial you have endured. And, next year you can take what you have learned and be ready for whatever comes.
Endure. And then watch for the blessing.

~Shannon

Getting Prepared for a Conference

We are entering the season of homeschool conferences, and if you have ever attended a conference you know that it can be an overwhelming experience. There are a lot of people, a whole bunch of vendors, thousands of books, and so much information. It really helps to go prepared for the onslaught of awesomeness… Complete with random pic’s from life that I love. ūüôā

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I always feel a bit sorry for ladies when they tell me they have been homeschooling for a number of years and have never attended a conference. If you are one of those ladies I hope this year you will try to make it to at least one and see what you are missing. There is so much out there to learn and be encouraged by!

Charmin, Cheryl, and I have complied a list of things that we believe will help you to get the most out of your conference experience. Check them out:

  1. Make sure you know what your homeschooling style is! ¬†It helps to know your ‘flavour’ when you make your list and are talking to the vendors in order to be more directed. Often the vendor is excited about something that doesn’t suit me at all – not a bad curriculum, just not a good choice for my situation.¬†I’m a victim of marketing and am drawn to programs that aren’t a good choice for us for whatever reason, and then I talk to the vendors and they recommend other programs and I want it all. I don’t consider my teaching style, my schedule, my educational goals, how demanding my established programs are. I open a catalog or look at a website and I want them all. The¬†more I understand myself and my situation, the more prepared I am to help the vendor find what I need. I am like the waves driven by the wind and tossed without an idea of my needs and strengths. Which brings us to the most important advice of all….
  2. Spend some time praying and asking the Lord for help in choosing.
  3. Write down and list curriculum and books that you are interested in for each child. Less brain work for you as you search for them. You can take a look at them in depth at the conference and make sure it’s going to work for your family.
  4. Contact the vendors prior to the conference (don’t wait until a day or two before. They have a lot of prep work and are very busy the week before a conference!) and ask them if they could have what you’re interested in on hand at the conference. They have a lot of inventory and cannot possible know what everyone would like to see on their table and they can’t bring all their wares, so it’s helpful to know what you are interested in.
  5. Don’t be afraid to bring your homeschool supplies catalogues that you have marked up and sticky-noted.
  6. ALWAYS check for books on sale second hand first. If you can save money on the things you need that frees up some cash for extras and fun stuff at the conference. Swap & Sell sites are good and Cheryl always has lots of inventory at HomeGrown Homeschool Consignment & Supplies. A quick message to her and she can tell you if she has what you’re looking for. The prices there are great! Look for HomeGrown on Facebook as well.
  7. Bring pens and a notebook to jot down new curriculum or ideas/thoughts and big, heavy duty shopping bag or backpack to carry your goodies (books get heavy).
  8. Bring a homeschooling friend to help you make decisions and bounce ideas off of. I’s always more fun with a friend.
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  10. Write down any questions you will want to ask the speakers/ vendors/ friends & new acquaintances.
  11. Don’t just talk to people you know about what curriculum they use and how they ‘do’ homeschool. Part of the great experience at a conference is seeing homeschool through someone else’s eyes. You don’t have all the answers & best methods, and neither does the next lady. Chatting together about what we each do opens us up to new possibilities…. or confirms that where we are at is perfect for us.img_6482
  12. Talk to ladies who are far ahead of where you are at. Do you see older children that have learned and are accomplished in
    areas that fits with your homeschooling vision? Talk to that mom that has already accomplished those same sorts of goals. Don’t just talk to mothers that are in the same season you are in.
  13. And last, but definitely not least!… Read ‘Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe’ by Todd Wilson. This will help you keep your wits about you when you see those seemingly perfect perky homeschooling moms walking around the conference area. You know, the ones whom you are sure have got it all figured out. This will help you see that they aren’t perfect and have ha
    rd days and mess up just the same as you… It will also take the pressure off of trying to appear like you have it all together and how discouraging that is to all of us other moms when you do that.

So that’s what we came up with. We hope this helps! Please feel free to leave a comment if you have thought of something we’ve left out. And if you see us at a conference come on over and say hello. We look forward to meeting you!
~Shannon

5 Flavors of Homeschooling

If you are new to homeschooling this year or would like to reevaluate  what style of homeschooler you are, this video is for you. Many families have found this VERY helpful. When you know what style of homeschooling you are drawn to it is much easier to be sure of the materials you purchase and easier to know what questions you should ask to help you achieve a great school year.

Enjoy this video, and be encouraged! Feel free to email or message us with any questions and we will do our best to point you in the right direction.

~Shannon