Where We Are Now

A blog reader once told me that when a blogger stops blogging it’s like an author stopping in the middle of a story, that she always wonders how it ends.

Even though we haven’t come to the end of our story, I wanted to give you a glimpse of where our family is now. My hope is to encourage those of you who are still in the homeschooling, parenting little ones, trenches.

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. ~Galatians 6:9

and

(He) is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. ~Ephesians 3:20-21

and we have been amazed at the kindness and generosity that God has shown to our family. Sometimes I have to pinch myself!

 

Teenagers

Currently 6 of our children are teenagers and our ‘baby’ just turned 4. (Amber 19, Kaitlin 18, Matthew 17, Alyssa 16, Carter 14, Sadie 13, Savannah 11, Colby 10, Nicholas 8, Bella 6, Valor 4.) These years of parenting teens and young adults are my favorite yet. There is so much joy and satisfaction at seeing the amazing young adults that our children are becoming and they’re just. so. much. fun!

It’s like the icing on the cake, the reward for all the diapers, vomit and sleepless nights. It really is exciting to see what God has for their future.

Back row L-R: Amber (19), Matthew (17), Kaitlin (18), Alyssa (16), Carter (14) Middle row: Nick (8), Colby (10), Savannah (11), Sadie (13) Front: Valor (4), Bella (6)

Back row L-R: Amber, Matthew, Kaitlin , Alyssa, Carter
Middle row: Nick, Colby, Savannah, Sadie
Front: Valor, Bella

College

Our three oldest kids are full time college students. Yes, that means that we have successfully graduated three children from our homeschool and no, we never did end up using a co-op (we’re weird like that). Be encouraged, by God’s grace you can successfully educate your children at home all the way through high school. I believe that God has even equipped you to equip your children with those higher level math and science classes. (Two of our college kids have chosen to major in math and science fields).

All three are are attending different colleges/universities.  You know, because going to the same school would be boring. 🙂 Amber (19) is a sophomore majoring in computer programming at Pellessippi State Community College. Kaitlin (18) is a Freshman majoring in music and running cross country for King University in Bristol, Tennessee. Matthew (17) is an academic sophomore majoring in Chemical Engineering at the University of Tennessee.

Kaitlin signing NCAA forms to run cross country for King University

Kaitlin signing NCAA forms to run cross country for King University

So far, all of our kids have received full college scholarships. (Full disclosure: One of our children’s scholarship money falls $93 short per semester, but that is close enough, right?) We made mistakes and we certainly didn’t do everything right for our kids to maximize their scholarship money (I’m making sure that we pass along what we’ve learned so far to others so that they can do it better than we did.) but, bottom line; God is the one who provides and He has provided abundantly for our kids. (One is even being paid to go to school.)

The Home Front

I am currently homeschooling seven children plus we have one preschooler. The majority of my days are still spent the same way I’ve spent them for the last 19 or so years. Staying home with the kids, homeschooling, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry (lots and lots and lots of laundry). To these responsibilities has been added the joy of parenting those wonderful college students. (Don’t dread those teenage years, by God’s grace they can be the best yet.)

valor geese lake

We are still involved with Safe Families, but our role is different. Our family still loves the ministry of Safe Families for Children, but with the changes our family has seen in the last year (big kids being much busier) we have hosted fewer children than we have in the past.  However, we’ve been blessed to have more involvement with at-risk moms.

Alyssa and Nick with the twins

Alyssa and Nick with our Safe Family twins

Safe Families has partnered with Great Starts (a drug rehab facility for pregnant and parenting women) to seek to minister to these women by building relationships with them. We have a time of weekly fellowship, food and Bible study together. Additionally, we seek to offer friendship in as many ways as we can. Often it’s as simple as taking someone shopping or babysitting for them. Several of the women attend church weekly with those of us who participate in the Bible study/fellowship time.

The Great Starts girls with the Safe Families girls at the pool

The Great Starts girls with the Safe Families girls at the pool

We aren’t able to fix all the difficulties that these women are facing however, we can point them to Jesus, who is able to redeem any story and we are able to stand alongside them and let them know that they are not alone.

Cross Country

The girl's middle school team praying before their first race.

The girl’s middle school team praying before their first race.

With the cooler temperatures of fall comes cross country season. Because of our priorities for our family, this is the only outside-of-the-house activity in which our kids participate.

Our girls middle school team has placed first at the first two races of the season. (Savannah-11 and Sadie-13)

Our girl’s middle school team has placed first at the first two races of the season. (Savannah-11 and Sadie-13)

It’s a busy season, but we aren’t heading different directions. We are all heading in the same direction. We’re just heading in the same direction all. the. time. 🙂

Boys elementary xc team

Boys elementary xc team. (Colby-10 is center front. Nicholas-8 is on the right)

The children love running, they love the competition and the love the time with friends.

Girls varsity XC team

Girls varsity XC team. (Alyssa-16 is second from left)

We love the fellowship of like-minded families, the hard work and discipline that our children are learning, spending extensive amounts of time outdoors and the fact that our kids are gaining a life-long enjoyment of running.

Boys middle school xc team.

Boys middle school xc team. (Carter-14 is the one with sunglasses in the center-right of the photo)

Even our college kids get into the act.

Kaitlin (18) and Mark at Kaitlin's first college cross country meet in Spartanburg, SC

Kaitlin (18) and Mark at Kaitlin’s first college cross country meet in Spartanburg, SC

Rounding it up

That is a quick snapshot of where our family is today.

Our whole family at Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park

Our whole family at Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park

My temptation is to try to catch this blog up on everything that has happened; homeschooling lessons learned, teenage drivers, a ruptured achilles tendon (not related to cross country), courtship experiences, a camping trip to California, plus lots more. It’s a beautiful story that I would love to tell, but not today.

Today I wanted to share about where we are right now and the goodness of God and the pleasant pastures where we are currently abiding.

We are rejoicing in His mercy and eagerly awaiting what the future has in store for all of us.

 

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Back row: Amber (18), Kaitlin (17), Matthew (15), Carter (13), Alyssa (14)
Middle row: Savannah (10), Nick (6), Colby (8), Sadie (11)
Front row: Bella (4), Valor (2)

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