Homeschool Day #54

Every day we begin again. And every day we try something different than the day before. At day #54 I don't think we've had two days exactly alike. Some of you homeschool moms are already thinking, Isn't that the point? Flexibility. Room for learning outside of a rigid schedule. Those other moms who either teach full-time or who were once former teachers in a public school setting are probably shaking your heads right now thinking about how much structure I need. A better plan for the day, month, year. I agree with both of you. And I feel pressure from both sides. We are still trying to find what works for us: a new homeschool mom, a non-reading Kindergartener, and a too-smart-for-his-britches 2nd grader.  So, let me first say that I am open to advice from the more experienced!

So far I have found ONE schedule that works for us! I found it a week ago but we have only used it twice (remember, each day has been different for us). My goal is to use it daily. It came from the front of a Classical Conversations foundations book. She uses the timer method, which I've heard lots of people recommend but didn't really know what I was timing and for how long.

Basically, it's set up like this:

1st Hour

2nd Hour
Grammar (ELA) & Review (this is where I review our weekly homeschool co-op material)

3rd Hour (split into three 20-minute segments)
Reading (split into Silent Reading (aka "Library time", Level Reading, and Instructional Reading)

4th Hour
Writing/Journalling (this is where I also get in their AWANA verses because they can copy them)

After Lunch, we can work on science, social studies, art, crafts, piano lessons, etc.

But here's WHY it works for us...Sammy gets started on his own so I am immediately freed up to teach Maddie who requires every bit of attention I have. As soon as either of them are done with their work in that subject (within that hour), they can leave the table! That means they are free to use the computer (there's some great learning sites and Sammy is used to this from his 1st grade classroom), the iPad (again, some great learning games), the math basket (random stuff like Hot Dots, Wrap-ups, shapes, etc), felt board, coloring, etc. But here's the best part: I GET TO LEAVE THE TABLE! I thought for the 50-something days that I couldn't leave the table until school was over. That meant that dishes were not getting done, dinner was not getting thawed out, bills were not getting paid, clothes were not getting washed, emails were going unanswered (you'd be surprised how many emails Matt and I both get on a daily basis!)...So, even if I get 20 minutes every hour that comes to an extra hour or so that I get to finish my daily to-do list! I also thought that it would be bad practice to let the kids leave the table but this has also been better for them. These short breaks are definitely helping with their moods and keeping them interested in our school day. So this is what we will try. I mean, I just used my 20 free minutes during reading to write this so I'm liking the freedom of my day a bit more.

That's all for now. That's how it's going. Homeschool changes...a lot. But we ARE learning. Maddie is beginning to read. They both love the library. We are all learning patience daily. We are currently enjoying learning about animals, fables, apples, and pumpkins. Maddie chose to learn about sharks, snakes, hippos, giraffes, and, of course, kitties. Sammy chose books on bats, emus, whales, eagles, dolphins, and poisonous animals. We have read some very strange stories/fables but I love that they love them. I'm thankful to the constant encouragement from both home and public school teachers and principals alike. Ya'll have been so great to me!


September Homeschool Stuff

Here's a few pictures of some activities we've done in the last few weeks...

Our science experiment - Solar Energy. What color should solar collectors be painted? Which color absorbs the most heat? So, we tested the colors: white, green, and black. They each got an ice cube and the same amount of sun exposure and we timed the amount of minutes it took for each piece of ice to melt. Make your guesses and then scroll down to see what we found out...

Green sort of took off!

The black paper made the water puddle up under the ice but it didn't really spread.

The green is taking over the white!

Finally the black puddle starts to move out

Black was the last to melt. Green was soaked and the white took it's time.

Only minutes apart!

 Falltime in SC?! That means porch-school!

We got to enjoy a "fall" day in SC yesterday. We started our morning with our devotional on the porch. Maddie said it was the best homeschool day ever. Guess we need to get away from the dining room table every now and then!

Here's our homeschool mess. It makes perfect sense to me and the kids are used to it now! Baskets are wonderful. And we're finally into a good routine. We cut out a lot of the busy work (projects, etc) but I actually feel like we're doing too much work and not enough play. I'm gonna work on that. 
Fun with pattern blocks and teddy bear counters
Sammy enjoys math and LOATHES language arts. Maddie is learning to read. We struggle a lot in this area so I'm learning patience and seeing a need to help build her confidence. She gets discouraged very easily. Sammy really enjoys reading the Bible. He's in Genesis and really enjoys the history and stories as he learns about each new person, weird name, city-he-can't-pronounce, and the awesomeness of God. Maybe he'll be my history buff, because it's not my favorite subject! 
Maddie's pictograph - family members
I think it's easy to get into a "homeschool rut" because we do the same thing each day. Right now I'm still a newbie so haven't really branched out yet in my creativity. I tend to stick to the schedule and outline of their curriculum. Thankfully I have many years to grow in this area! Thanks for all of the encouragement. We are all very thankful for the opportunity to have one-on-one learning time and lots of great memories. :)


Our First Field Trip - The Library

The books we chose for our Universe study this week.
Today we entered our 3rd week of homeschool and decided to take our first field trip to the Dorchester County Library! I'm embarrassed to say it has been 4 years since I have been to that library. How do I know it's been that long? I know because as I checked with the librarian to see if I already had a library card on file she told me that I did...and that it had a $15 fine on it from 2009! Appalled that she would think I could ever accrue such fines and then leave them unpaid, I questioned what items would have that sort of a fee attached. She read the titles of the DVD's I checked out in 2009: Showboat, Hello, Dolly, and Man of La Mancha. Really? I guess it couldn't been worse. I paid my fine and ended up with a brand new library card and a fresh start at this facility. The kids got cards, too. 

So, next, like any new homeschool teacher, I just HAD to make this trip more complicated than it needed to be. It has to be a field trip. I need an agenda. I need to document. So I had the genius idea of asking the receptionist if we could have a tour. The kids paid no attention to the nice librarian who was explaining their set up and systems. They zeroed in on the two tiny computers in the far corner of the room and it was all over. I have to say that the tour was mainly for me anyway. I learned a lot. Overall, we all enjoyed the library. The check out system is a lot cooler than it used to be and I love that you can check out an unlimited amount of books and movies FOR FREE - other than the whole $15 fine thing. Field trip #1 - Success!

Sammy's Library Choices:
Star Wars Episode I
Star Wars Revenge of the Sith
Goodnight, Me
and a Ninjago DVD

Maddie's Library Choices:
The Princess Encyclopedia
The Broken Cat 
and The Reef DVD



One of my favorite verses is Lamentations 3:23 which says, "Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning." All I have to say is, thank you, God! No matter what happened the day before, we are promised his mercies for a new day today and, even better, a new one tomorrow, too! 

I went to bed last night more prepared for this morning than I was the previous night. I actually read the lessons, set out my material, and prepared activities for the kids to complete during individual instruction time. But I still went to bed less excited than I was the night before. Day 1 was not a disaster but it didn't meet my expectations. Thankfully, the Lord's mercies were new this morning and so were the kids' because they showed up just as excited and ready to go as the day before.

View From the Teacher's Desk
I mixed things up completely today and asked the kids what they liked and disliked at the end of the day. I was surprised to hear their answers. They both agreed that they liked that everything (materials, assignments, etc) were "right there" next to them. They didn't like when I went searching for things the day before. What? You mean my kids like order? and organization? Wonder where they get that?! I think kids, in general, appreciate the adults around them being "in order" which is why I SO respect all the teachers out there with their awesome classroom management techniques and ideas. Ya'll are awesome because it is definitely a challenge to "entertain" more than one kid at a time! Ya'll are rock stars. I think homeschool teachers are rock stars, too, because they can teach their OWN kids - which is a whole other kind of challenge! We are slowly, but surely, creating our own unique "table management" and have cut down on some of the crazy moments where they both need my full attention or where one wants to sing and hum while the other needs Pandora radio or peace and quiet.

So, here are some things we did well today...
  1. They get some TV time in the morning. I know this is silly but since we cut out TV and electronics during the school day it has really thrown off our routine. They aren't allowed to touch an iPhone, iPad, computer, DS, game console, or TV until 3:30 each day (then I'm begging them to go watch something!). BUT today I allowed them to watch an educational Netflix show (we cut cable) while they ate breakfast. So they could choose something like "Magic School Bus," or "Veggie Tales," or "Leapfrog," or something like that. And that's all they needed. A 20-minute show as soon as they got up was enough to wake them up, start the day off fun, and satisfy any desire for technology!
  2. They get one "homework" assignment per day (that word seems strange to say now). Last night's homework was for them to show up at breakfast with a book. So, we started our morning by reading their books on the couch. These books all go onto a reading list or get written in my planner. I think they like having a "job" or "responsibility." It's also a bit of a "freedom" for them since I pick most of their activities and books now.
  3.  We created a new schedule! It goes something like this:
    • Breakfast/Netflix
    • Homework Assignments (read their books, show-and-tell, or whatever it is)
    • Math (Sammy) & Mystery Basket (Maddie)
    • Reading/Writing (Maddie) & Mystery Basket (Sammy)
    • Science
    • Snack time/Quick free time (they get 10-15 minutes and I do a quick cleanup from the morning and refill my 4th cup of coffee)
    • ELA (Sammy) & Unit Activity (Maddie)
    • Unit Activity (Sammy) & Piano (Maddie)
    • Piano (Sammy) & Make lunch (Mommy and Maddie)
    • Lunch
    • Nap time (Maddie) & Quiet Reading Time (Sammy)
    • Free time/ Digi-play
  4. I added in planning time during the school day so I wouldn't have to do it all at 9:00pm every night when I'm exhausted. Once we finish a subject, and while they're beginning their next assignment, I go ahead and read the next day's lesson and get my materials ready. Then I file the book away until tomorrow and am done with it. The planner already has my weekly plans written but as far as actually gathering the materials and supplies for science, etc, it's easier to do while my mind is on that subject.
  5. Keeping random stuff. You know all those random Chic-fil-a kid projects you have a million of or those Highlights "hidden picture" calendars you find from two years ago in your junk pile or Dollar $tore activity books you pick up here and there. Go ahead and pat yourself on the back now for keeping them. The kids' Mystery Baskets today included one of the hidden picture calendars (sure, from March 2011) and a Color Wonders activity pad with markers. They both enjoyed the activity even though it was a little tough for Maddie and both activities were enough to fill the time. So keep all that random stuff. One day you'll need it and they'll think it's the coolest stuff ever.
I think that's it for today. The kids both expressed that they had a great day. I feel better because the flow was completely different with everything set out and ready and with backup activities planned. I know tomorrow may be a completely different story because we all wake up with completely different moods and expectations, but one thing is forever the same day to day: His mercies. Other versions say His compassions. I know I need them. Looking forward to that one constant as we start each morning.

Teacher's Pets


I Got Schooled...

Forget everything you know about Crystal McCall; she did not show up today for the first day of
homeschool. The girl who showed up today had no schedule, no written lesson plan, no procedures for classroom management, and no clue her kids would eat her alive for breakfast. She has more long-term and short-term planning spreadsheets than can be counted. She has lists of fun activities, Pinterest projects, lesson plan ideas, and advice from others. You'll find organized baskets of books by grade and age and subject. But did ANY of these things get incorporated into her first day of homeschool? Nope.

Mistake: No game plan. I don't know what happened. I got so excited to start school I didn't plan my first day! I kept thinking, "I'll have time!" and everyone kept saying, "You've got time!" but this girl ran out of time. I fumbled through each subject, reading the lesson for the first time as I read it to the kids. I prepped project pieces as the kids were trying to work on them. Yes, a few this is boring's were even uttered by my perfect, sweet Sammy! Maddie went to time out twice for talking back and being disobedient. I had NOTHING for the kids to do while I took turns teaching them individually. I wasn't prepared for "mommy," "ok, mom, check mine," "mommy, this isn't right," "mom," "mom, do you like this?," "mommy, how do you do this?," "mom," "mommy," "MOM," "Mooooommm!" I felt defeated in the first few hours.

Blessing: Then there was snack time. Oh, how I love snack time. The kids were SO excited to get a break (even though all they had done so far was color, listen to stories, write a few letters, and do a little math). By this point I already had a million ideas for what I'd do differently the next day. I started writing some of them down and took pics of them below to share. Again, these ideas came AFTER my first day of NOT doing them. I'm going to test them tomorrow.

Mistake: My attitude. The day started out great. It was like Christmas morning. They kids woke up, saw their special surprises, ate breakfast of their choice (a Publix donut and toaster strudel). We opened our school supplies, walked through our "get up" routine. I read them a few stories. We prayed. Sammy read us a chapter in Genesis. This was all in the first 20 minutes. Then, my attitude of excitement turned to fear as I realized how unprepared I was and I think they could smell the fear in me like wild animals. I made it through without crying by God's grace and the amount of coffee I drank. At the end of the day, I told them that I loved them and that they did really well and learned a lot. Sammy said, "then why doesn't it sound like you mean it?" Ouch. I really did mean it so I didn't know what he meant. He said I sounded like I was glad the day was over. Double ouch. Lesson learned for Mommy. Tomorrow may have to be our "do over" first day of school - at least for my attitude. Today may have actually been a good lesson for me - my enjoyment of this experience must outweigh my worry for planning and perfection.

Blessing: Stickers. Thanks to Pinterest, I picked up some mini composition notebooks and stickers and decided, again AFTER the day was over, to create a behavior sticker book. So I called the kids back over and we decorated their sticker books. About midway into our endeavor Maddie stands up, flings her book aside, and says, "Mommy. I have something for you!" and then she ran and jumped into my arms and said, "you're the best mommy ever! I love you." And then the whole day made sense to me. I got to be their mommy - all day.

ENJOY THE JOUNEY: I saw this sign in TJ Maxx. It really meant something to me, which is the only way I'd spend a whopping $16.99 in TJ Maxx! I know that one day I'll look back and I'm not going to remember a math lesson or science experiment or what was listed on a language arts worksheet. We're not homeschooling because I think I'm a better teacher than those already out there. I'm going to look back and know that I spent the most time influencing these guys as I could. I'm going to remember the journey and all of the special memories we had while enjoying this journey. So, that's our motto, reminder, accountability phrase, whatever you want to call it, for this homeschool year. We are going to enjoy the journey.

School in our PJ's. I could get used to this.

My "too-late-should-have-done-this-today" Ideas for Tomorrow:
A supply basket. Don't have one? Get one! Got tired of looking for these items as I needed them.
My BIGGEST area for needed improvement! Stuff for them to do! I made some "to do" sticks with activities the kids can do for either independent learning time, quiet time, or "leave mommy alone" time. :) Every day they will check their basket and whatever stick is inside, they will do. If it's "Journal," Sammy may either have a journal prompt, question to answer, or the choice to free write. If it's "Worksheet," there will be a folder with their name that holds a fun worksheet inside. Etc. Any ideas are humbly welcomed and appreciated! I'm excited to fill this basket each night for them for the next day!
Working harder every day at cleaning less, playing more and enjoying every opportunity. Special thanks to all of those teachers - both professional in the public school systems and those in the homeschool community for providing me with materials, advice, words of wisdom, prayer, and friendship as I start on this journey. Ya'll are a blessing!


The Story of Us...

July 26, 2013 marks the 10-year anniversary of marriage for Matt and I. It's hard to believe it's been that long and yet, for others, it probably seems so short. I met Matt in my high school chorus class in 2000 (Matt's graduating year). He was an 18-year-old senior and I was a 16-year-old sophomore. I was more into band than singing (surprise, surprise) but I joined chorus to help accompany the chorus teacher on piano (I mean, I didn't join for that puffy-sleeve green dress!). Matt always sat near the front and was easy to pick out of the crowd because he thought he was hilarious - the class clown. It wasn't until a field trip to our Solo & Ensemble festival that I got the chance to actually sit and talk with Matt. Yep, clown. But a cute clown. Anyway, my "band friends" weren't on this trip (you band nerds out there know we always stick together in clumps) so I sat next to Matt on the bus. He wore a blue shirt and a ridiculous yellow tie with blue flowers on it. We ate chinese for lunch at the Citadel Mall food court and decided to play into the whole fortune cookie deal. Matt sat across from me and watched me open mine. It read "Happy life is just in front of you." So, yeah, fortune cookies kind of became our thing for awhile. So, we did what any 16 and 18 year old would do with that. We used it as an excuse to hold hands and act like we were "going out" (not sure what they call it now). At the end of the day Matt held up two tickets to his church picnic and said I was welcome to come. I replied nicely with "thanks" and took them both. :)

Lucky for Matt, as young as I was he got to go to 3 proms with me - yep, three. I don't count any that he went on before me. He even got to go on one a few years ago at our church (hehe, he hates prom). We walked to class together, ate lunch together, went on chorus field trips together, watched each other walk the stage of high school and continued dating until May 2003 when he proposed to me on the beach of Isle of Palms. Those who know me know that I can't stand to wait for anything so instead of a year's worth of planning, we planned our wedding in two months and at ages 19 and 21 were married July 26, 2003.  

We had a Cinderella wedding. I walked down the aisle to "Someday My Prince Will Come" (Barbara Streisand version). We ate chocolate mice cookies, had a castle ice sculpture, and I wore a ginormous, white sparkly dress. We moved into our first rental (thanks Mom and Dad) and became Mommy and Daddy to our first baby, Sammy, at ages 21 and 23 - while we were both going to CSU full-time. We then eventually bought our first home and had our baby girl, Maddie, at ages 23 and 25. We graduated from CSU in 2009 together, which was pretty cool, and finally felt like grown-ups (probably because of the amount of bills and diapers we had)!
I have shared some of the best moments of life with Matt. And I've also shared some of the hardest. But in each and every moment he has been there for me and he has loved me no matter what. Marriage is hard - really hard. Anyone who says it isn't is lying and deceiving you. The walls in our home have witnessed arguments, family talks, hugs & kisses, wrestle matches, nigh-night songs, laughing kids, yelling matches, giggles, tears, more hugs & kisses, prayers, meals, and moments that I wouldn't trade for anything. Ten years has flown by yet I am left with SO many thoughts and memories that I hope I never lose. I know that a fortune cookie wasn't what brought us together. Looking back over the last 12 years, it so obvious that the Lord chose him for me and me for him. The Lord has been the glue that has held us together in hard times and that has bonded us together in great times. All glory and honor and anything good in and from our marriage be to Him alone.

I really do think you're funny. 
Happy Anniversary!


To Maddie on Your 5th Birthday...

Baby girl...

Oh, how I wish you were still a baby. In only one year you have already become a mini lady. I fall in love with you every morning and miss you after you fall asleep each night. You just have that effect on people. Not much has changed in your habits and patterns over the last year...

You will only wear silky, dressy PJ's to bed. You still do not sleep under covers. You listen to the same Disney princess CD every night, and your bedtime song ritual has not changed a bit. You like to tickle Mommy and wrestle Daddy. Your song choice for Daddy is, of course, "A Whole New World" from Aladdin. And you both sing it so well together. For Mommy, you prefer "Revelation Song" (or what you call the "worship song") and "You Have Called Me Higher." I think you are my biggest fan, Maddie.

You are a healthy eater and (thank the Lord) will eat anything I put in front of you. You absolutely LOVE strawberries (well, any fruit really) and you enjoy eating red apples - completely whole - so that you will look like Snow White while you eat it. :)

You are a hopeless romantic already. I feel sorry for your future husband (even though Daddy says you're not allowed to have a future husband) because he has a LOT to live up to - especially with the Daddy you have. You have a strong connection to your Daddy. You tell us all the time how much you love his "fwuffy hair." You think your daddy is SO handsome and you love playing with him and hugging him.

You also love your Bubba. You and Sammy actually play really well together. You are his Lego sorter and he brings his Lego's to any kitty or pony party you throw in your room.

You have a ginormous heart. It breaks very easily. It is sensitive. It is big. It is passionate. And I love it. You are learning forgiveness each day and it breaks your heart when you realize you have made a mistake or hurt someone's feelings. You are so good at telling us exactly how you feel and we can see it on your face just as easily. I love that about you.

A few months ago, I realized that I missed you so much during my day working that I needed to be with you more. I know this will be hard for us both but already I feel closer to you and I feel like I am where I belong. You are by no means fully dependent on me all of the time, but I can see that your world is right when we are together and I can feel our bond growing stronger day by day. I look forward to learning from you as much as you learn from me. You are my littlest best friend.

I am so happy to be your mommy. I'm glad that it's me you call for when you're hurt or sick. I like that you think I'm awesome and great. I love holding your little hand and looking at your big "princess eyes." Your voice is so sweet and I look forward to hearing you sing the praise songs one day to Jesus like you have already started. You bring joy and happiness to my life and not a day goes by when I don't thank the Lord for you. I would change nothing about you.

I wrote you another letter on the inside page of my Bible. I'm not sure if you're going to get this precious book of mine on your wedding day or much later, but I am making notes for you daily in my margins and am looking forward to being there for you through every moment I am given with you.

You're my baby girl. I love you.



They Call Me "Warden"

So, I'm a rule follower. Go ahead and make fun of me. I like rules. I like boundaries. I like guidelines. I was even nicknamed "Warden" at the office. Even my Strengths Finder assessment results indicate that "Discipline" is listed in my top 5 strengths. This particular strength has this to say about my kind:

"Your world needs to be predictable. It needs to be ordered and planned. So you instinctively impose structure on your world. You set up routines. You focus on timelines and deadlines...Faced with the inherent messiness of life, you want to feel in control. The routines, the timelines, the structure, all of these help create this feeling of control." (Strengths Finder 2.0)

(Mom, does that sound like me or what?!)

Anyway, I say this to share that reading the Bible can be both a joy to me and a burden at the same time. A joy because, well, there's lots of "rules" (God's law) listed there...right? So I start to feel in control because I have a written list of guidelines from which I should live. But, it's also a burden because, well, who can really obey them all?! Surely not me - I probably would have already broken many of them before even finishing my quiet reading time! But something caught my attention today as I read Chapters 1-3 in Romans:

1) Rules are important to God. Obedience is just as important. 
"For merely listening to the law doesn't make us right with God. It is obeying the law that makes us right in his sight" (Romans 2:13) By the way, Paul is talking to the Jews at this point who could recite the laws and just as quickly sentence you for not following them, even though they were not "practicing what they preached." I was excited at this part. I was like, "thank you! Somebody is calling them out for not following the rules!" But then I was like, "wait. I'm pretty sure I fit into that category of people Paul was talking to." The only problem with reading this verse as a stand alone statement at face value without any surrounding verses is that it would be easy to assume that Christians need only be rule-followers to be right with God. But who can do that?!?! No one. So, no, that's not it...

2) God's law is to show us we are sinners in need of a Savior.
"Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God. For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are." (Romans 3:19-20). So, Paul just said that we have to obey rules to be right with God. But then he said that no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. So, what's a sinner (rule-breaker) to do then, Paul?!

3) God provides that Savior.
"But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus." (Romans 3:21-26). Amen! and Amen! Did you catch that? We are declared righteous? We are freed from the penalty of our sins? And all we have to do is place our faith in Jesus and believe? Yes - that is Good News!

4) What's the catch?
I'm not gonna lie. I struggle in this area. Hello, I'm a rule follower!!!!! How can I possibly get by and make the cut to be counted as righteous by God if I have broken any of His rules? Paul, don't let me down now! Seriously, what's the catch? Then Paul slapped me upside the head when he wrote, "Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith, so we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law. After all, is God the God of the Jews only? Isn't he also the God of the Gentiles? Of course he is. There is only one God, and he makes people right with himself only by faith, whenever they are Jews or Gentiles. Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill the law." (Romans 3:27-31). 

Whoa...mind...blown! It can not be any simpler, folks. The Good News for ALL is that God made a way for us to still be called His. The way is simple. It is free. I take that back. It came at a high price. It came at the sacrifice of one man who paid the ultimate price and who took every bit of my sin and my rebellion and my rule-breaking and my evil desire and my shame and my guilt and let it hold Him to a cross in order that He could carry out my sentence. He was the final sacrifice for my sins. Amen!

Yes, I am still a rule follower as much as I can be. Remember, I'm "discipline" by nature. But, I don't follow God's commandments and instruction now in order to gain favor in His eyes. Or to be able to boast about myself like Paul mentioned. I do it because it reminds me daily that I fail and need Him. It reminds me that, had he not sent His son, I wouldn't have made the cut. I have said before I have a "sin rebound" of like 3 minutes! So to me, this truly is Good News! Because of this gift that I accept on faith and belief alone, my heart has a new desire to be obedient to His word and to follow Him and to love him and please him. It is to bring Him glory through everything I do. Even as I write this I feel a conviction to confess that I am going to sin daily. And you who are closer to me will see it more than others. So thankful that each morning brings new mercies from God and thankful for all of you who show me grace and forgiveness, which you also understand because of your love for and faith in Christ. That's all. I just wanted to share my random 15-minute quiet time explosion of thoughts with you all!

About Me

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I am a local Charlestonian, born and raised in good 'ol South Carolina. I have only been to other surrounding states within a days drive since I refuse to fly in an airplane - so let's see - that includes NC, GA, FL, and I think I may have crossed the border into VA at some point. I've been to the Bahamas 3 times (since you can get there by cruise ship) but one day I hope to visit Mexico. After my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the second love of my life is my high school sweetheart, Matt. We were married at ages 19 and 21 (I'm the younger one) and in the past 8 years have acquired two amazing kids - Sammy and Maddie. We have a fairly new member of the family, Casey, who is a black lab/shepherd/pit bull mix and is very lazy. We "McCall's" have a family motto: "McCall's never give up" (for some reason this has stuck with us all). We all have a passion for music and treasure our family time. Every moment is a gift...