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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36 Responses to Where We Are Now
  1. Rebecca Borger
    September 8, 2016 | 10:36 am

    Please keep writing! I have missed this blog so much. It is so great to read your update.
    -Blessings,
    Rebecca

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  2. Ann Schultz
    September 8, 2016 | 10:44 am

    I am so glad that you got us caught up! Thanks. 🙂

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  3. Jennifer
    September 8, 2016 | 10:47 am

    Wonderful update Kimberly! Thanks so much for continuing the beautiful story. Your life is so full and so wonderful, thanks be to God! All the children are growing up so fast and the olders are well, oldewr! 🙂 Love love love!

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  4. Carrie
    September 8, 2016 | 11:04 am

    How I’ve missed your encouraging blogs! I would love to know your scholarship secrets! That’s wonderful that you’ve received full scholarships for all three! What a blessing! Thanks so much for updating! Blessings, Carrie

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  5. Katie
    September 8, 2016 | 11:22 am

    Thanks for the quick catch up. I never understand how moms-of-many, and especially moms-of-many that homeschool can ever find time to blog, BUT I really appreciate that they do. I have always found your blog to be worth my time and a big encouragement. God bless you and yours!

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  6. Sarah
    September 8, 2016 | 12:09 pm

    Thanks Kimberly for updating us! Your blog has been a source of encouragement over the years. And once again, you have allowed God to use you! Thank you for the encouragement that you can homeschool without co-ops (what a struggle for me- to want that time but just not finding the right one. And it is ok!), you can LOVE teenage years!!! Yay!, and you can homeschool the whole way thru-if God calls to it!!!
    Blessings on your family and all the lives you are touching!
    Keep posting when able.

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  7. Ashley T
    September 8, 2016 | 12:34 pm

    Thanks for the update! It was great to read it. You’ve been missed!

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  8. daybreaking
    September 8, 2016 | 12:52 pm

    I would love to hear more about how your children obtained their scholarships. I’m interested in the aspects of your homeschooling which you feel contributed to the scholarships, as well as the logistics of getting them. TIA

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  9. Heather
    September 8, 2016 | 1:09 pm

    Thank you for the update! Yours was the first large family blog I started reading 3 years ago, and I have learned so much from you. I have gone through your archives gleaning all kinds of wisdom. As a young homeschooling mom, I really appreciate seeing how your labors have paid off as your children have grown up. I will be back here whenever you have a chance to share some more!

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  10. Andrea S
    September 8, 2016 | 2:04 pm

    I’m so glad to hear from you again! I hope you write some more soon!

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  11. Michele Pleasants
    September 8, 2016 | 2:10 pm

    Loved the update as well! Many blessings to you and your sweet family!

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  12. Sheila Mom to Seven
    September 8, 2016 | 2:16 pm

    Yay – thanks for the update! I’ve missed you. 😉

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  13. Veronica
    September 8, 2016 | 2:22 pm

    Thanks for the update! It was very uplifting to read especially as we start a new homeschool year. You were a great encouragement to me (more than you could know) when I had three under 3 and I am so looking forward to your writing now that there are six children 7 and under and one on the way 🙂 I love hearing the perspective of someone who has stayed the course further along than I have. It’s such a blessing to read how the Lord has prospered you and your family.

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  14. Heather
    September 8, 2016 | 2:31 pm

    Hey! So good to hear all is well- better than well, sounds like😀

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  15. Cristi Steed
    September 8, 2016 | 2:53 pm

    Thank you for the update. I know your days must be crazy busy but boy, would I love to know what you have learned about homeschooling through high school and getting kiddos into college. I have homeschooled throughout and my oldest is now in 9th grade. I feel like so many “jump ship” at this high school point and there is very little in encouragement and how to for this stage of homeschooling. Well, there is a lot on doing transcripts but I would love to just know more from a mom whose been there done that on college, scholarships, etc. Anyway, it was a blessing to read your update and such an encouragement. By the way, homeschooling these middle/high school years is absolutely my favorite! 🙂

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  16. Lindsay
    September 8, 2016 | 3:59 pm

    Kimberly it was so great to read your update! I’ve been reading your blog for 3 or 4 years now since I don’t know anyone personally with a large family. I am up to 6 now age 9 down to 7 months. I can’t tell you what an encouragement you have been to me! Praise God for you and your writing! I was just hoping over to look at some of your sample schedules for your homeschooling day and I was pleasantly surprised to find your update. Anyways just wanted you to know how much I appreciate you and what a wonderful example you are setting for us moms living in the little years. Blessings to you and your family!

    Lindsay from Texas

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  17. Elizabeth
    September 8, 2016 | 4:13 pm

    Thank you for the glimpses Kimberly. Our children are fast approaching college and it is encouraging to see your children doing so well. If you only write one other post this year can it be how you are managing scholarships??? Please?? 🙂

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  18. Kathryn Bennett
    September 8, 2016 | 6:18 pm

    Kimberly, Whatt a joy ro see your wonderful family, and the special way Gos is using your life. Where have the years gone??!!!

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  19. Shannon
    September 8, 2016 | 7:34 pm

    I am so happy for the update! Yours was the only blog I subscribed to, and I so dearly missed your encouragement!

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  20. Jill Ferrell
    September 8, 2016 | 10:17 pm

    Thanks so much for posting! Your family is such an encouragement!!

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  21. Becky B
    September 8, 2016 | 10:34 pm

    So good to hear from you! Thanks for writing your post. It is encouraging to hear.
    Becky

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  22. Linda
    September 8, 2016 | 10:53 pm

    I was wondering how things were. It was so good to see your update. The children are growing up so fast.
    Thanks for the update. Hope to see more soon.
    Linda

    [Reply]

  23. Tami Lewis
    September 9, 2016 | 12:10 am

    Thrilled to see you again and catch up! Please do so whenwver you can with whatever you want to share. 🙂

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  24. Abby
    September 9, 2016 | 5:03 am

    Thanks for the update, it’s so nice to see how you are all going. Your blog has been so encouraging to me, thank you 🙂

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  25. Sarah Littrell
    September 9, 2016 | 1:29 pm

    Thank you so much for the update! I’m glad you’re all doing well!

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  26. Bambi Moore
    September 9, 2016 | 3:53 pm

    Thank you so much for taking the time to post, Kimberly. It’s so great to hear from you. Two in college here too! 🙂 Would also love to hear from you again on scholarships!!

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  27. Mary
    September 9, 2016 | 8:38 pm

    Thank you so much for your update and encouragement! Your blog has been the only one I have kept and felt worth my time. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with the rest of us. It has helped me in so many ways. Please keep updating us occasionally. If you can find time to write about courtships, I would love to read about your experiences with that, as we are heading into that season. God has blessed you abundantly and we can all see the fruit you are baring!

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  28. Amanda Wells
    September 14, 2016 | 9:22 pm

    Thank you so much for the update and sharing so many pictures of your beautiful children! You are really an encouragement to those of us with mostly littles and I have learned so much from you. May God continue to bless your family.

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  29. Gwenyth
    September 24, 2016 | 12:30 am

    Thanks so much for the update! I too have thought of you, missed your blog, and wondered what your family has been ‘up to’ lately. It’s so encouraging to see how God is working in your lives and providing for your kids’ college educations!! And I would love to hear your advice on preparing our kids for future scholarship opportunities. Blessings!

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  30. Cheryl
    September 24, 2016 | 7:26 pm

    So excited to see your new post! I have been so blessed by your blog and mentoring advice for homeschooling and large families. Congratulations to your children on their accomplishments.
    I remember you writing this post (http://raisingolives.com/2012/06/q-haircuts-bed-wetting-sleeping-college-chores-menu-plans/about scholarship money): “We do not personally believe that it is wise to go into debt for a college degree and it is our family’s conviction to NOT take state money, so state funded financing, scholarships, etc. are out of the question. This makes a lot of the financing questions moot.”
    That gave me a lot to think about at the time, and I’m just wondering (like others have said here) how you’ve been able to find scholarships for your children that fit your convictions. (I know tone is so difficult on the internet, so please know I’m asking this out of an honest curiosity–no ill intent). Our oldest is 11, so we’re not at that stage yet, but I would love to learn what you’ve learned about scholarships! 🙂

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  31. MotherOwl
    September 30, 2016 | 3:42 pm

    Thanks for your update. It is so true that a blog left hanging is like a book where somebody took away the last pages. You never know what happened or how much is missing. I wish you (and us) many chapters to write yet.

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  32. Julie Davis
    September 30, 2016 | 11:40 pm

    I agree with all the other commenters, it was so good to get an update. We, too, have a large family (9) and homeschool. Our youngest are 4 and 2. I know how busy you are, and I so appreciate you taking your time to blog. You are more forthcoming in your convictions than I am and I admire that. Even though I am almost 46, you have taught me how to be more bold with protecting family time and setting high expectations for our kids. Blog whenever you can 🙂 and know you are making a difference when you do.

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  33. Danielle Yoder
    November 29, 2016 | 7:06 pm

    Thank you for the update. Glad to hear that you’re all doing well.

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  34. Michelle
    December 28, 2016 | 7:02 pm

    I am so glad you posted. Your blog and family is so uplifting and inspiring. God is good and you can see it abundantly in your family. Please, Please post more often. I love to read this blog and see that it does get easier with the laundry, cleaning, homeschooling, and teenagers.

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  35. Annie Harbert
    January 22, 2017 | 6:52 am

    Kimberly,
    I am both blessed and encouraged by this post! What a wonderful thing it is to see your family growing, changing, adventuring onward for the glory of God. I stopped by to check out some old posts on a certain topic (which I do often when I need to glean some wisdom from you 😉) and what a joy it was to see this post! When you find the time and as the Lord leads, please write. I have so enjoyed your wisdom through out the years when I first began my homeschooling journey in 2009 and providentially stubbled upon Raising Olives. We, too, are still walking through our homeschool adventure and the Lord has proven himself faithful time and time again!
    Blessings to you and your family, Kimberly! Hope to “hear” from you soon!
    Annie

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  36. Emily
    April 30, 2017 | 10:46 am

    Hi Kimberly,
    I too would love to hear more about how you plan to make the most of getting college scholarships. None of my 6 are high school age yet but we are getting closer everyday. I plan to read back over some of your homeschooling posts to fresh my memory. I’ve been around for years (way back in the VF days) and love your wisdom. Have a blessed day.

    Emily

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