Welcome to Twenty Shoes. We are a homeschooling family of 10. We're wearing twenty shoes as we travel the journey that the Lord has put in front of us. Through the grace of God (and lots of coffee for this mama!), we are working, playing, learning, and ministering together daily for God's kingdom. We are not perfect...but forgiven! Come join us as we travel this journey and share life together!


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

School of Grace

First day of school...

The words have been plaguing my brain for weeks now.  The many decisions that need to be made, materials bought, schedules hashed out, lesson plans prepared.  Up until just yesterday I had found myself all caught up in the frazzle that is planning for a new homeschool year.  I realized about half way through the day yesterday that I hadn't arrived!  I wasn't ready for the year to begin.  There was still so much laundry and organizing and planning and preparing.  So many new lists and improvements that I felt needed to be made.  How did I once again manage to go an entire summer, and get to the day before school starts and still not feel like I was ready?  At one point during the day I just plopped down in my chair and quit!  Yep, you read that right...I quit...before the first day of school!  

I was feeling so defeated that I didn't think it was even going to worth it to start.  I felt that there were too many things that were not perfect for us to have, you know...the best school year EVER!  Fortunately, God called me just at that moment back to my bedroom for a little quiet time just me and Him.  Do you know what He said to me during those moments?  

"Give up.."

You're probably thinking to yourself that God would never tell someone to give up.  But He did.  He reminded me of 3 things during those 10 minutes that we were together.  

  • Who asked you to homeschool 8 kids?    "well...you did"
  • Who loves your kids more than you do?   "well...you do"
  • Do you really think you will ever have a perfect school year..or even a perfect day?  "ummmm, no?"
You see, God was tyring to remind me that this job that He has given me to do, comes with something better than a "perfect" schedule, a clean house, a whole years worth of perfect lesson plans, a whole closet full of shiny new art supplies, or even a special insight into everything that my high schoolers will need to know to make it in this world.  There's one word that sums up how I need to start every day that I am home with my children, whether it's day one of a new school year, or day 5 of the summer break.  


Beautiful grace.  Amazing grace!  Grace that will pardon and cleanse within.  Grace is a word that is easy to think about at church on Sundays when we are singing those wonderful old hymns, or talking about the grace of God when He went to the cross for our sins.  But, how can it apply to a worn out, burnt out homeschool mom?  As I sat there pondering the word and how it applied, God took me back to those three questions and my answers.  If God has given me this job to do, and I know that He loves my children way more than I do, then what happens if I never acheive what I perceive to be the perfect school year, or even perfect school day?  Does this mean that I have failed God's entire plan for all time?  The simplest word...grace!  If our entire lives as Christians revolves around God's grace, then shouldn't we feel free to let that grace dwell richly in us daily?  We should spend every year, month, day, hour, even minute being saturated in the grace of Almighty God.  Just like we can only acheive perfection within ourselves through the grace of God, so can each job that He has given us only acheive perfection through the grace of God.  So, although we may never appear to have it all together on the outside, and have all our ducks in a row..if we are eagerly following in His footsteps saturating everything in our wake with His grace...we've done it!  We've reached a perfect school year!  

Today we started our first day of school.  There were missing supplies, missing lesson plans, missing chore systems, hyper and grumpy kids.  But I can say that this homeschool family had the "perfect" first day of school.  How?  Because we're doing the job that God gave us to do...and He loves us more than we can imagine..and through His will...everything can be perfect!!  

Thank you for your Grace Lord!!  May I pass your Grace on to my children and let it saturate our entire school year for your Glory...Amazing Grace!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Exciting Things!

                   It's been awhile since I posted, but there have been some exciting events in the life of our family in the last month.  We have been living in the same house for over 10 years now.  It's a nice house, with almost an acre of land...but our family has begun to outgrow it a bit.  When we first moved in, we had 3 little boys.  We now have 8 kids, and 4 animals!  We have been dreaming since the beginning of our marriage about having land some day.  It's been a desire of our hearts to be at a place where we can live more simply and have enough land to grow things and have animals galore, and really teach our kids something about being more self-sufficient.  Well, we found out that God has decided to honor our desire for this, and we will soon be buying a house that comes with 19 acres and several outbuildings!
               This will be a journey for us, a family with parents who were born and raised in suburbia, to learn how to "homestead".  Our goals are to live more frugally, more healthy, and more self-sustaining!  I hope to blog about our new adventures as we go along.  One of the best things about this adventure is that in addition to being blessed by a new house and land for our family, we are also going to be blessing some homeschooling friends of ours, by leasing our current house to them!  God is good all the time!  Stay tuned for more updates and pictures as we take this new leap!

Here is a sneak peak at our new property!  http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/32489-Middle-Crossing-Rd_Dowagiac_MI_49047_M33912-11051?row=23.  We would covet your continued prayers as we go through the loan and inspection process.  God has continued to open the doors on this venture, but we know that there can be road blocks, and we pray that the doors will continue to open all the way to closing and moving in!!  Thanks and God's Blessings!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Common Core

If you are like me, you have a very busy family life.  This last couple of weeks I have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off (and baseball hasn't even started yet...OY!).  One thing I have been hearing a lot about is the Common Core!  My husband is a public school teacher, and even he feels he does not know that much about the Common Core and how it might affect us as families (and homeschoolers) in our country.  I do know that anything that involves "common" standards, I tend to naturally be against, because I believe that we are all different, and our children should not be held to a standard that compares them to anyone else.  I have just recently come across a couple of good articles that have helped me to understand what dangers the Common Core might really have on anyone who feels like I do about their children's education...I wanted to share them with others, so you can make your own informed decision about Common Core, and find ways to fight it, if you feel so led!
Common Core.  This site includes several articles that will inform you more on the Common Core.
Townhall   This article will also give some insight into the Common Core.  
Both are good places to start, from there I would suggest praying together with your spouse and deciding what you should do with the information as a homeschooling family.  Prayers for all homeschoolers as we face these uncertain times!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Family of Action

I don't know about everyone else, but God has really been speaking to my heart lately. I believe that we are in the last days! The Lord will be coming back soon, and that has got me to thinking about our family. I feel that one way that Satan has attacked our country is in the use of distraction. In America, a life of ease and comfort has distracted us from carrying out Gods purposes for our lives. We have become so wrapped up in our lives, activities, sports, celebrities, and media of all kinds. Many of us have ceased to watch the signs and prepare.
Matthew 24:37-39 tells us: "But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be." If you look at our society, this is us. We have become complacent in our faith, and in our devotion to The Lord and His ways. We have allowed the wicked to have their way, because we are too busy to notice what's happening.
We watched a show on Netflix last night called The Daniel Project. The point of it was to point out biblical prophecies, and how they have all come true. There are only a few left, and the world is prepped for them right now! This was a powerful reminder to me. We Christians here in America will likely face perilous times, much like the rest of the world. Of course, we all hope for the rapture to occur before this, but lets not plan on that...lets be prepared for what may lie ahead. We need to be families of action. We need to stop allowing ourselves to be distracted by this World, and begin preaching the truth in love. We need to minister and encourage each other in our difficult journeys. We need to be prepared to face a kind of persecution we have never faced before. Unity will be of utmost importance during these end times. We need to be about the business of our Father in heaven, and training our children to do the same!
It's so much easier to just live our daily lives focused on ourselves and our ambitions. I'm thinking about ways that I can get my family more involved in service, and more attuned to watching the signs. Have you had this discussion with your family lately, and is so...what kind of plans are you making?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thankful Moments

This time of year, we hear a lot about being thankful.  Of course, we know that we should be thankful all year round, but come November, there seems to be "extra pressure" to be grateful!  Many of us have perhaps gone through some pretty difficult times in the past year.  The world, and society seem to be spiraling out of control, many are hurting and out of work.  And we are all supposed to be grateful?! 

   Well, let me take some of the pressure off...you don't have to FEEL thankful every moment of every day. Even with Thanksgiving coming up, and knowing in my head that I have so much to be thankful to God for....I don't feel entirely thankful every moment.  My parents and my mother in law have all passed away in the last four years.  This time of year..I miss them horribly.  It's difficult to go through this time of thankfulness that I would normally celebrate with my parents, when they are no longer here.  On the other hand, I still have my husband and my children.  So, my goal every day is to find moments of thankfulness!  God calls us to be thankful in all things.  How do we manager to do this when most moments we don't feel thankful?  It may sound like psychobabble, but changing our thinking can change our hearts when our feelings won't do what we know they should.  Run a daily checklist of those thankful moments.  When your two year old gives you a hug, or your teenager does laundry without having to be asked.  We can even take negative moments and put them on our thankful checklist.  When we feel overwhelmed by all the household chores...remember to be thankful you have a house.  Many on the East Coast no longer have one.  When your husband comes home late, be glad he came home at all.  Be glad that he works hard to provide for you.

There are many ways that we can choose thankfulness, even when our feelings deny us.  I propose that this time of year is not the epitomy of us being thankful, but the beginning of a change of habits.  The habit of thankfulness is like any other habit, it takes time.  What better day to START training our feelings to choose thankfulness, then this weekend?  I'll give it a try...how about you? 

Monday, August 20, 2012

And so we begin...again!

                    It happens every year around this time, but this year I think I feel the least prepared for it on an emotional level.  The new school year!  I have felt for the last couple of weeks that we are careening dangerously close to it, and none of us are ready to say goodbye to the rest and fun, and relaxation we've experienced this summer.  But, as I always tell my kids, all good things must come to an end...including summer.   This is the first summer in quite awhile that we have had a chance to rest and just have family fun together.  Last summer my Dad was dying, the summer before Rob's mom was dying while we were also taking care of Dad.  Before that we had chemo, and radiation to deal with, and the loss of my mom.  There was also the summer we took in our foster daughter and spent the summer dealing with her birth family.  We felt much deserved of rest this summer, and we enjoyed it.  I'm just hoping that we are now energized enough to deal with what is looking to be a hectic school year.  

               For those of you who are not already familiar with our family, we are a homeschooling family of 8 children.  That's not even including the 3 cats and 1 dog that call this wooded plot of land home.  Our oldest son is entering into high school this year, which will be a new experience for me (a rather intimidating one).  From there, we have a vast mix of junior high, elementary, kindergarten, preschool, and toddler.  Never a dull moment around here.  
              This school year, although I don't feel prepared emotionally for the school year to start...I will be more "logistically" prepared than I have in a long time!  I am going back to basics this year.  I'm looking forward to getting back to the notebooking that we all enjoy.  We will have outside classes as well this year, but much of what we do at home will be unit study related with notebooking for every subject.  After a few years of trying new things to accomadate the chaos of lifes unwanted circumstances, we've come to realize that the old ways for us were the best.  In future posts, I will talk more about what we are doing with pictures and more info on the methods that work best for our family.  Until then...happy beginning of the school year to all my homeschool and non homeschool friends out there!  It had to come again sometime...let's make the most of it!