By the Grace of God (YHWH)

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I often get asked how do I do it (homeschooling) with four kids. It is only by THE grace of YHWH/God. I actually really enjoy it…frustrations and all. Prior to this past week, I was frustrated with my second son because it was taking him longer to read his books. It wasn’t because he was struggling or couldn’t do it; rather, it was because he did NOT want to read those books. I told my husband of my frustration. He responded: “He’s just not interested in those books. Let him read what he wants to read.” I said, he only likes to checkout cookbooks from the library. He encouraged me to just let him read them.  He said that kids are eager learners and demonstrators. They only resist when they are uninterested. So, that Sunday evening as I planned the lessons for the week, I had the idea to make index cards with facts about him and the things that he enjoyed. Last Monday when I handed him his work folder and told him that he would be reading the cards instead of the books, he was so delighted! He read and read those cars all week long….forward and backwards; and created new sentences with them, as well as asked for more cards. Wow! What a difference a little God idea makes.

In addition to the reading switch for my six year old, they made their own little creations out of the air drying molding clay; as well as put together a robotic spider. Boy was that a hit! I’m going back to Walmart and buying the other five robotic creatures that they had. Our school is run somewhat like a Montessori School.

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They are free to select whatever they want to work on or play with; and I just rotate between the four of them to teach or explain new concepts or help when there’s a need for it. I work one-on-one with my two year old with her shapes, colors, numbers and abc…..only because she wants to. I’m sure her older siblings serve as an inspiration for this desire. I’m all about letting little kids learn through play and observation. My favorite part of being my kids’ principle educator is the discussions, dialogues and teachable moments that happen all throughout the day. I just love it!

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There are moments when I’ve had about enough of my little people. That’s when it’s time for quiet time. They go into their rooms and have the option of napping or doing a quiet activity for an hour. There have also been moments when I have left my house as soon as my husband stepped foot in the door. There’s no need for an explanation of any kind. My husband just says: “Mommy needs a moment.” So between God’s grace, my husband’s wisdom and my knowing when to take breaks, this homeschooling thing works well for our family. Also, teaching my children how to pray the word of God, biblical principles for marriage, and finances; as well as who God says that they are, is work that I am truly honored to do.

If you are a full-time homeschooling parent, what do you love about teaching your children? If you are a part-time homeschooling parent (your child(ren)) attends private or public school), what do you love about teaching your children?

As always, have an EXCELLENT week and I’ll see you on the blog!

Homeschooling…..a call

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NEVER in a million years did I EVER think I’d be homeschooling my children. It was just wasn’t anything that I had ever considered. Apparently, God had other plans. As ALWAYS, He knows best! I must say, that I do so enjoy being with my kids nearly all day every day. People always say: “Boy, you’ve got your hands full.” AND you homeschool them too?” I simply reply, my heart is full; and I do homeschool all four of them. Many of them are just looking at four children; but what they don’t see at first glance is the God who guides me and leads me in the instruction of my children. Isaiah 54:17 (MSG) says: All your children will have God for their teacher – what a mentor for your children!  I believe this with all my heart.

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We begin our mornings with prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. We also read scripture and right now, the kids are learning Psalm 91. They have four more verses to learn, in order to memorize the whole chapter. I love this time; because they are SO inquisitive about God and ask SO many questions. A lady asked my oldest son (7) what he liked most about homeschool; to which he replied: “quiet time.” She then asked him, what’s your favorite thing about quiet time. He said: ” Talking to and listening to my God.” Her mouth dropped open.

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Monday through Friday, the kids work on Reading, Language Arts and Math; with Monday, Wednesday & Friday, being heavier Language Arts days; while Tuesday and Thursdays are heavier Math days. They do History and Science at least once a week. The kids also take art class, swim lessons, piano lessons, drum lessons, gymnastics, ninjanastics, Preschool Storytime, and are part of a Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math (STEAM) club. Besides the academic subjects, the kids are learning how to contribute to the household, to be good stewards of money utilizing the biblical money system, their part in taking care of our community; as well as widows and orphans, hearing and obeying God’s voice, how spouses work together in their different roles, how to honor God, parents, each other and others; and so much more.

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I thank God for this opportunity to minister to my children; as well as a front row seat to watch; as they grow and develop in each of their gifts and callings.  Yesterday, while working with my oldest son on his spelling words, I gave him hi-fives; because he got them all right; after only having them for a day! I was so excited and so was he; and he exclaimed: “Mom, I’m so proud of myself!” I said: I am too son! He says he loves working with me on his school work. That is certainly the grace of God! I love discovering ways to engage them in their learning. As a group fitness instructor, I  always had a plan for class; but sometimes, I could see other choreography and exercise in my head as I taught the class. Those were some of my BEST classes. I knew that the grace of God flowed through me as I taught classes; because of the effect on the people. One day, a lady came up to me after class crying; and telling me how taking my classes just lifted the depression off of her. That’s when I knew it was a God thing. It’s the same way with my children. I have lesson plans in place; but I can often see another way to get a concept across to engage them; and we have the best time! I thank God that He is leading my children’s education.

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Week before last, my children opened their B3 Lemonade & More stand. It has been a great experience! They have utilized many skills, including: planning, math, budgeting, money value, customer service, research and so much more. It was an absolute pleasure watching this experience unfold. My husband gave each of the boys $1 and challenged them to increase that money. He explained borrowing, interest and profit to them. The boys brainstormed different business ideas and researched by watching various YouTube videos; as well as searching our home for things they already had. This process took two days. We prayed for an idea; and the Lemonade & More business was the money-making idea that came. They then brainstormed names for the business and decided on B3 (Blessed, Brilliant & Beckem); which is also the name of our homeschool.

 

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They decided to make strawberry lemonade; since we already had the ingredients at home; and most other lemonade stands sell regular lemonade. They knew that they had to make enough to pay their father back, plus ten percent interest. They thought about additional items that they would need like a tablecloth and cups: which would be $2.14 from the Dollar Store. They also needed money to be able to give their customers change; so they decided on collecting plastic bottles to recycle. They gathered the bottles from home; and then we went to the local high school, where they picked up bottles from underneath the bleachers. We took the bottles to Price Chopper and recycled them. They took the ticket to the Customer Service desk; where they were given cash. We then went to the Dollar Store and purchased the cups and tablecloth.

The night before, we made the strawberry lemonade and put it in the refrigerator. Upon our return home from the Dollar Store, they gathered all the things that they would need in addition to the lemonade: table, chairs, dry erase board, markers, and poster board. They set up outside of our home, and we prayed. Before saying amen, their first customer came. The plan was to be out there from 12 – 1pm; since they had a class at 1:30 pm. They sold out of their strawberry lemonade on their first day! They then made plans to be out for 2 hours the next day; as well as add brownies to the menu.

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The next day, they set up, prayed and sold out of both the strawberry lemonade and brownies. My husband stopped by to patronize them. He also helped them sell and get more customers. They’ve done extremely well over the past couple of weeks. It’s a privilege to watch these budding entrepreneurs in action.  Even their little sister has proven to be quite the salesperson! I’ve enjoyed watching them stop cars and direct them to their lemonade stand. They have received very positive feedback about their strawberry lemonade and brownies. Many people are surprised that it’s real lemonade and not that store mixed kind. One of our neighbors even requested a pitcher of strawberry lemonade.

The kids have had much success with their lemonade stand; and have paid their tithes, because they know that that portion of their income belongs to God. They were taught the biblical financial system a couple years ago; and really grasp the importance of giving God what belongs to Him; as well as supporting ministries, widows, children and the poor. It’s evident to them that they can not out give God. They are walking money magnets. Ever since they were very little; and received money from their grandparents or others, they would always give. So many times they would receive much more than they gave within a day or so. It’s the most amazing thing to watch!

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If you have children, teach them the biblical financial system. It’s the way that my husband and I have prospered. If you don’t know it, I’d gladly share it with you. As always, have an excellent week!

Hearing God’s Voice

About a month ago, we bought my baby girl a pair of new blue sneakers. Last week, one of those shoes went missing. I knew that she had it on her foot when I put her in the car after leaving the library. I figured that maybe it had fallen off in the car somewhere. I searched the car a couple of times during the week; and wondered where I’d left it. Meanwhile, I looked in the container where I keep things that she’ll grow into, and was happy to find a brand new pair of little black boots that her older cousin had gotten for her last year, when she was just an infant. She could fit them, yaaaayyyy!!! She’s been wearing them all week. Though I didn’t know where her other blue sneaker was, I didn’t worry about it.

So today, we went back to the library (since Thursdays are library day for us). As I’m getting ready to unload the kids, my second son excitedly exclaims: “Look mommy!!!! There’s Livy’s shoe!!!” I look up, and sure enough, Livy’s shoe is sitting in the window of the bank, right next to the library! At that moment, I just praised God (YHWH) and thanked Him for always looking out for and taking care of me. My heart was instantly filled with gratitude and praise. Upon leaving the library, my mind returned to that very moment, and I couldn’t help but to think about the ways that God speaks to us. Receiving back my baby girl’s shoe spoke volumes to my heart. I could see how God is interested in the smallest details of my life. I could see that He took care of that tiny blue shoe for seven days; and gave it back to me in perfect condition. I could see that during the seven days, I discovered a new pair of shoes that I wasn’t even aware was there. I could see that God gave me double……1. He restored the seemingly lost blue shoe and saved me the $20 to replace them & 2. He showed me a pair of shoes that I didn’t even know was there. The entire winter would have passed by; and I wouldn’t have thought to even look in that bin for those boots. Can we say that God is good!

I am so grateful for the ability to discern & hear God’s voice. I read a Facebook post in a group that I’m member of. The question was: “Has anyone heard the audible voice of God?” I certainly have on three different occasions in my life. One of those occasions was when I was walking across a parking lot one afternoon, thinking about how I felt like a failure, because of a seemingly poor decision that I’d made. He so very clearly said: “MY grace is sufficient for you.” I did not grasp the dept of that statement until two years later, and it set me free and it CHANGED. MY. LIFE. There is NOTHING that we could EVER do that is too bad for God’s grace. I am a living witness! Hallelujah! God also speaks in my dreams & visions. I go through seasons where I will dream or have night visions every night for a couple of weeks. The thing that I love about dreams is that they are SO personal. God…..the Creator of the universe,  knows us inside and out; and these dreams of personal riddles that He gives us. Proverbs 25:2 says: It is the glory of God to conceal a matter and the glory of kings to search it out. Interpreting a dream is like putting together the pieces of a puzzle. I was dreaming so much, that I had to begin searching out their meanings; because I knew that God was talking to me. These dreams have driven me to seek God for understanding. They have caused me to meditate the word. They have been prophetic. God has warned me in a dream to not get ahead of Him. I remember one night, I saw 2 Corinthians 9:8 (in bold letters) in a dream. I woke up immediately and looked it up. I began to meditate the scripture, because God wanted to do something that took a lot of faith.

So previously I talked about God’s audible voice. Well after the parking lot experience, I began seeing quarters, dimes, nickels and $5 bills so frequently for a period of 2 years. In that same parking lot, during that same week, a $5 bill blew under my car. Whenever I would go to put gas in my car, a quarter would always be on the ground, under next to my car. Another time, I was walking with my husband, and a $5 bill blew right into my chest. Whenever and where ever I would go during those two years, I was coming across money in a multiple of five; which is the number of grace…..which truly was and still is, sufficient for me.

Let’s also remember that God speaks through His word. He has a solution for every problem, circumstance and situation that you will EVER encounter…..even if you haven’t made the best decisions, you’re angry with Him & haven’t talked to Him in a while, or your life is in shambles. God is constantly speaking. He’s ALWAYS trying to get His very best to us. It’s our own minds that block His best for us….but there’s a way around that too (check out 2 Corinthians 10:5). Oh…..one more thing…..HONESTY. God LOVES honesty. You don’t have to be the best prayer or an eloquent speaker. You can talk to God, just like you’re talking to another person; and if you sit and listen, He’ll respond. Sometimes we don’t hear Him, because we have too many other voices in our heads……from t.v., movies, radio, social media and other people. Learn to disconnect from those voices; so that you can hear THE VOICE.

That’s all for now. Have an excellent evening and Friday!

Doing What You Don’t Want To Do

A couple of years ago, I was a full-time SAHM, had 3 part-time jobs; as well as a home-based fitness business…..and a new baby (in addition to two toddlers). I heard a familiar inner voice say to me to stop working. I thought to myself: “This must be the devil.” But then, I heard it again and I knew Who it was. I REALLY didn’t want to stop working. I enjoyed my line of work; and I had worked my entire adult life, and was self-sufficient. Therein lied the problem. I was SELF-sufficient. I relied on myself, rather than on God. I was terrified to give up control. Although I loved my husband, I didn’t want to be a burden to him or have to rely on him financially. Reluctantly, I began letting go of my jobs one-by-one. When it came down to the last one, I tried; but my sweet supervisor offered me some time off, before I made the final decision. So, I took a 3 month hiatus;  meanwhile, attended a faith conference. Throughout this conference, random people (who I had never met before) would come up to me and give me money; as well as  give me compliments on my mothering skills. It was then that I knew, that God was encouraging me to trust Him; as well as showing me that He would provide for and take care of me. When I returned home from that trip, I resigned from my last job; and business.

I knew that I was called to home school my children; and so began to focus more on that; as well as homemaking, and spending more time with God. I set about reading more books….one of which was Lisa Bevere’s “Nurture: Give and Get what You Need To Flourish.” I started to understand the importance of mothering and encouraging other women…..on another level. Shortly after concluding that book, I developed some very close relationships with other women (particularly mothers). They began to draw this new-found knowledge and my gift of encouragement out of me. When I was focused on all of my jobs and business, I was distracted from God’s purpose…..for why He put me here for such a time as this.

From there, I formed a home school group, and have met so many other mothers who were interested in homeschooling, a relationship with God, or health & wellness. I’ve also been blessed to be in a community where many of the mothers that I meet are so kind, compassionate and helpful. I’ve met moms who were going through financial hardship, emotional pain from unspeakable trauma, marital challenges, health issues, children taken away, as well as other difficulties. There are three things that these ladies can always be assured of: 1. I do not share our conversations with anyone else, 2. I pray for them and 3. There is always a solution to EVERY problem.

This year, I’ve read and studied even more books; and discovered a passion for neuroscience (thanks to Dr. Caroline Leaf). I am ABSOLUTELY FASCINATED by the spirit/soul/ body connection, and had an idea to create a wellness program that encompasses this connection; as well as the Eight Dimensions of Wellness….. from a biblical perspective. My new program is entitled the: ALL IS WELLness program, after the words uttered by the Shunammite woman in 2 Kings 4. She spoke these powerful words, even though her circumstances seemed anything but well. The program is 9 weeks (63 days, 3 cycles of 21 days); because it takes 63 days (3 cycles of 21 days) to form a habit. The purpose of the program is to empower (especially) women and mothers to transform their lives, by changing their thoughts.

According to a 2005 article printed by the National Science Foundation, people think an average of 20,000 – 60,000 thoughts a day; of which 80% are negative and 95% are repeated daily. Uhhmmmm…..that’s kind of a BIG problem. Our negative thoughts create actual toxic things in our brains; which ultimately results in dis-ease in our bodies. Romans 12:2 says not to be conformed to this world; but be transformed by the renewing of our minds. In other words: Don’t think like everyone else with the negative thoughts. We do have the mind of Christ/Messiah according to 1 Corinthians 2:16. Commit to live above the influence of negativity; so that you can transform your life. Also, there’s 3 John 1:2 – Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in ALL things and be in good health, even as your soul prospers. Your soul comprises your mind, will and emotions. When it is healthy and non-toxic, ALL things in your life will prosper; as well as your health. It’s great to have nice things, have the ability to purchase both what you need and wan, as well as to be beautiful (or presentable) on the outside; BUT if you’re stressed out, have more month at the end of your money, questionable health, can’t stand certain people, have nagging ailments, yell at your kids, unhappy with yourself, etc., then your soul is NOT prospering. Here’s your opportunity to get your life on track to being transformed!

In closing, it is my sincerest hope, that you would join me for this life changing ALL IS WELLness program, beginning on 1/7/19. For more information, email me at theexcellentwoman1@gmail.com. Have an awesome week!

Summer 2018

Psalm 127:3 says that children are a gift from the Lord and a reward from Him. I truly believe this; although I have my moments when quiet, nap or bed time can’t get here fast enough. I then find myself missing them….and hovering at their bed sides in admiration, joy and gratitude. It’s still quite amazing to me that I’m the mother of FOUR children. Like WOW!!! I’m in awe every day. I especially enjoy Summer time for all of the fun outdoor activities; and just one layer of clothes!  It cuts down on my preparation time in getting out of the house, when we go somewhere. It’s nice to have that break from making sure that everyone has on their hats, scarves, boots, coats, mittens/gloves and snow suits. As the weather gets cooler and cooler, I have these fund memories from this past summer to keep me warm inside. Hope you enjoy the following video as much as I do!