hello again!

Life is full of surprises–some good and some simply awful not so good. The last six months have been challenging and honestly something I’m not quite ready to write about here. Needless to say most everything is not the same as it was in my last post. I am not able to home educate in this season of my life. I haven’t been sure what to do with my little corner of the web so I have been prayerfully considering what to do next.

That being said, I have truly missed blogging but I have spent time wondering if it’s needed. There are millions of wonderful blogs in the online universe, so why is this necessary at all? The answer is simple–relationship.

I have made wonderful connections with women I never have met in person. We have shared burdens, prayed in faith, done happy dances and challenged in love. It’s made me a better person and I want to continue to cultivate that with more and more people.

The new tag line sums up the fresh focus: crafting a beautiful life. As women we touch so many areas and this blog intends to address a variety of areas in an easy way. Beauty inside and out (with a crafty twist) is the order of the day.

My sincerest wish is that you find this blog full of encouragement, challenge and ideas worth using. There will be a bit of everything here but it all focuses around one central theme: friendship. Whether it’s sharing a recipe, a scripture, an idea or a tutorial I hope you will find it useful and full of the spirit in which it is intended. In today’s crazy world it’s nice to have a virtual spot to call home.

And now for something completely different

It’s my first video review. It’s for Pilgrim Institute’s Restoring America’s Biblical Foundations study course and it’s not a great video. But watch anyway and then leave a comment! (sub, even!)


G is for…GACE

I’m so happy to come to this letter! GACE, or the Guide to American Christian Education by James Rose is my favorite go-to reference for BPA. It is chock full of almost everything you need to get started and stay going. I can hardly begin to list all of what’s in it. It addresses BPA in the home and in home education. There is help planning lessons, basic 4R’ing and other foundational concepts and disciplines. He addresses core subjects, enrichment and some subjects that are hard to come by in any other BPA materials–namely Kindergarten year full lesson outlines, economics and Anatomy/physiology. There are contributions from Katherine Dang and Mrs Ruth Smith, among others. (Did I mention how much I adore this book?)

It is inspirational and challenging, practical and comprehensive. We have a GACE study group on Yahoo! that goes through Mr. Rose’s study that is comparable to the Self-directed Study from FACE.

Word for the year 2.0

Ok I know I picked a word for this year but the more I have thought about it the more I am certain I need to choose this word instead. It is a struggle for me and something I need to work on this year. This word is challenging and and wonderful and exciting all together. Okay my second real word for the year is:

PRESENT–Being in a certain place; opposed to absent. Now existing, or being at this time; not past or future. Ready at hand; quick in emergency; as present wit. Favorably attentive; not heedless; propitious. Not absent of mind; not abstracted; attentive.

This sums up perfectly what I want to see out of 2013. I need to be present, not worrying about the future or thinking about the past. My family needs me now. God needs me now. I need me now. There is so much good happening all around me every day. I want to be right here for ALL of it. Some projects I will talk about soon are things to help me be present and I’m so excited.

How to have a super SIMPLE Christmas

If you are like me this time if year is exciting. I get worked up thinking about all the events, school productions, recipes, memory makers and decorations and I start to feel a little, well, overwhelmed.

This year I am determined to have a SIMPLE Christmas. Simple not just in the activity but in the attitude. We can be busy on the outside and quiet on the inside. Because I am interested in principles, I have come up with a few steps  to help guide your next month toward the expression of simplicity as it pertains to God’s Principle of Individuality. Here are some ways to bring a SIMPLE Christmas to your heart and home.

S: Say no. Even at the holidays. Just. Say. No. And say no to yourself as you are online. Tell Pinterest NO. (That’s not easy for me to say!) Just because you see another family online doing something super cool does not mean you need to–or even want to–do it. I suggest putting a notebook together of your favorite ideas and look at them throughout the year. It’s easier for me to plan that way instead of in the emotion of the moment.

I: Implement only one new memory maker a year. Trying to start too many new traditions can leave you all overwhelmed and frustrated. Focusing on one good idea allows your family to really enjoy it, especially when it involves extended family.

M: Make time to refresh yourself. A cup of tea and a devotional can do wonders to recharge your batteries. You dan’t have to do it every day but an hour a week will make a big difference.

P: Plan fewer things. It may go against your holiday grain. Try not to plan too many cookie bakes, gingerbread houses, and other activities. They are fun but too much of a good thing is simply too much.

L: Listen to your children. If they are too tired, as mine get from time to time, allow them to rest. Tired children are cranky and often ill-behaved. Too many parties and activities can do more harm than good. Christmas should not be a time for busyness as usual. It should be a sacred time, set apart by a different pace, as the Sabbath should be.

E: Enjoy the little things.  Gentle snowfalls, the reflection of Christmas lights on icicles, steam rising from a cup of hot cocoa–all these are delights you don’t want to miss as you rush through the Christmas season.

I hope this little list will help you this holiday season. May this be a SIMPLE and blessed Christmas for you and your loved ones.

Anything you’d add to this list?

PrincipledMom 2.0

I’ve thought long and prayed hard about this blog I’ve grown to love so much. Many things have changed in my life since I started blogging in 2005. I’ve learned so much about writing and about myself. I’ve met many fantastic people and given some cool stuff away. It may sound like I’m calling it quits here at PrincipledMom. Quite the contrary!

I’ve felt restricted here because the focus has been so narrow. A change had to be made and I’m excited to expand my horizons. In addition to posts about BPA I am throwing wide the doors of hospitality and we are gonna have a blast! New posts are coming on marriage, parenting, holidays decorating, crafts, food and more. And we’ll also dig into the Word and apply Biblical principles to every day life (you know they do, right?). The fun is just beginning and I’m glad you’re here to enjoy these changes with me. All the 7 years of archives are still here for the reading—classic posts all about home education, motherhood and the Biblical Principle Approach. This week is full of fun–great posts, a giveaway and more!

My new tag line says it all. I want to live a bountiful life–not filled with material things but the stuff that really matters. PrincipledMom is here indefinitely. Yea! With a facelift and a tweaked focus I think you’ll really enjoy PMom even more than before. Have a suggestion? A linky party? A post you thing would be important to PMom readers? Leave a comment!

If you want to swap a link to your blog, let me know that too! Grab my code in the sidebar then say hello so I can reciprocate!


Word Study Wednesday: REST

This week’s word I chose a definition of:

REST: Quiet; repose; a state free from motion or disturbance; a state of reconciliation to God.

Key word definitions

Repose: To lay; to rest, as the mind, in confidence or trust; as, to repose trust or confidence in a person’s veracity.

State: Condition; the circumstances of a being or thing at any given time. These circumstances may be internal, constitutional or peculiar to the being, or they may have relation to other beings.

Reconciliation: Agreement of things seemingly opposite, different or inconsistent.


If we believe, though, we’ll experience that state of resting. But not if we don’t have faith. Heb. 4:3 MSG

And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. Rom. 5:11 NKJV

Who remembered us in our lowly state, For His mercy endures forever. Ps.  136:23 NKJV

You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. Brethren, let each one remain with God in that state in which he was called. 1 Cor. 7:23, 24

Personal Application

My natural, lowly state is not rest. I cannot strive for salvation so I must continue in this rest and allow God to work on my behalf. His wisdom is much more valuable to my life’s plans than mine is. My reconciliation with God is complete in my quiet rest.

This is definitely not easy for me, this resting. Ceasing from my labors is totally foreign to my natural flesh. There’s got to be some way I can strive to obtain, work to get, labor to achieve. But as long as I do this I am frustrated and exhausted. What I need done I cannot do and that is the hardest struggle of all.

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. John 19:30 NKJV

He has completed. I can rest. All is well.

Word Study Wednesday: train

Word studies are fun (really!) and they aren’t hard. You learn so much that after you get into the habit they can be addicting and a little like a tessellation, going on to seeming infinity. I’m joining in with some other BPA bloggers for Word Study Wednesdays, doing short and sweet word studies. There are four basic steps.

1. Define the word from Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. Underline the key words.

Train–To train or train up, to educate; to teach; to form by instruction or practice; to bring up.

2. Define those Key words

Educate–To bring up, as a child; to instruct; to inform and enlighten the understanding; to instill into the mind principles of arts, science, morals, religion and behavior. To educate children well is one of the most important duties of parents and guardians.

Teach–To instruct; to inform; to communicate to another the knowledge of that of which he was before ignorant.

Instruction–The act of teaching or informing the understanding in that of which it was before ignorant; information.


3. Look up scriptures regarding the key words

Train up a child in the way he should go,and when he is old he will not depart from it. Prov.22 NIV

Train me, God, to walk straight; then I’ll follow your true path. Put me together, one heart and mind; then, undivided, I’ll worship in joyful fear. Ps. 86:11 MSG
Your job is to teach them the rules and instructions, to show them how to live, what to do. Ex. 18:20 MSG
Teach them to your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning until you fall into bed at night. Deut. 11:19 MSG
4. Form a Personal Application
Train: I am to diligently perform the action (not passive) of teaching my children everywhere, at all times. I am to provide an alternative to ignorance, illuminating their minds to God’s word and world. What they learn is to be both enlightening and practical, applicable to every area of life.

Homeschool Plans for 2012-2013

I am really really really looking forward to this new year! So much change and so much to make me smile. I have been on sabbatical from home educating my children but God has brought things together for me to be able to joyfully teach my children again. I have missed it so much!

My two older daughter are starting junior high and high school this year at our church’s Christian school. The boys (8 and 4) will homeschool with me. So here are my basic plans for this new school year (third grade and preschool):

My 4 year old wants to be just like his big brother so I have “school” things for him to do as well. Soon I’ll see if he’s ready to learn to read. I have had the privilege of giving each of my other children the Golden Ticket and I can’t wait to work with my last one.


This is just the skeleton. I am starting to put these bones together and then I’ll flesh them out with weekly plans and dress this guy up in some field trips and special projects.

I’m trying a new-to-me organizing system that I’ll share with you soon. I really like it so far! I’ll show you how I adapt it to fit my needs.

“The Mighty Works of God: Liberty & Justice for All” review

Mrs. Smith is the founder of Pilgrim Institute. She has written a history series for home educators called “The Mighty Works of God.” I have used this myself so I feel I can give an honest review. For this review I will refer to this title as LJFA.

This is the second book in the MWOG series, intended for younger elementary ages. First off, this is not an intimidating tome. The student text is less than 200 pages and the teacher’s text is only a few pages more. It is an easy read for the students.

The teacher’s guide provides three or more lessons per chapter. Mrs. Smith has supplied a leading ides for each lesson, along with reasoning questions and a synopsis of the chapter. A CD-ROM is included with the teacher’s guide full of printable maps, notebooking pages and charts that correspond with the lessons.

If you are new to BPA it can be a terrific way to ease into a subject without having to build lessons from scratch. And if you have Mr. Rose’s book, this text corresponds with year 3 (second grade) in the chart on p. 207.

LJFA covers all of history, from creation to today. She uses the theme of liberty to connect the lessons throughout the year. I like this because it adds continuity to the lessons. There are scriptures, poetry, biographies and more sprinkled throughout the text. Many color drawings add to the enjoyment as your child reads about Moses, Marco Polo, William Penn, Jedediah Smith and more. Benjamin Franklin seems to be a favorite historical figure with children and the stories about him in this volume are inspiring and a great place to pause for a “rabbit trail.”

Why you might like this

  • She weaves a beautiful story, revealing His Story as it marches through time. It is taught from a Providential history perspective, focusing on Biblical reasoning to learn about historical individuals and events.
  • It makes history an easily teachable subject.
  • You are provided the leading ideas for each lesson.
  • It is flexible. Because there are no daily plans you can use as many lessons as you like. You aren’t left feeling as if you haven’t covered something.
  • Reflection and reasoning are supplied.
  • It inspires affection for America’s Christian history.

Why you might not like this

  • Your educational philosophy doesn’t jibe with a Biblical Principle Approach philosophy.
  • You want daily lesson plans.
  • You want literature-based history.
  • You don’t want to teach from a Christian history worldview.
  • You want a textbook.
  • You want something the child can do independently. This requires the teacher to reason alongside the student.
  • There are no tests or quizzes. (or maybe this should be in the list above!)

I enjoyed using this with my children. We learned a lot. I didn’t feel rushed through a huge lesson schedule, so we could take out time and focus on reasoning and not just facts. I was also able to teach multiple grades with this (4th and 1st). A little modification makes this easy to use with several ages at once. And because the leading ideas are supplied, I didn’t have to do a lot of preparation before we could sit at the kitchen table and talk about His Story together. It began a lot of great conversations about the why’s of history. Not “why do we need to learn this” but why people do what they do and why things happen.