A Sad Fact About Kansas  

We like our state. It is small-business friendly, politically conservative (currently), and the moderate weather is never boring. Locals, however, do not ever sit in the grass in the country in summertime because they know that those who do will regret it. On occasion we will notice broken down travelers sitting in the tall grass alongside the Interstate and shake our heads. Why is that not a good idea?

Because in the grass live tiny, almost invisible creatures, trombiculidae (smaller than a pencil point), that search out innocent victims they can climb aboard. Then they will crawl on your skin to find some comfy, dark, warm place that is safe and protected. They will then inject digestive enzymes into you that break down your skins cells so they can feast on the small pieces. When they are finished, they will drop off of you, leaving you itching and scratching like crazy.    

Chiggers, we call them. They won’t kill you, but they can make you miserable for up to two weeks. What may seem like a reasonable decision at the moment – sit a while in the lush green grass of summer – can yield miserable consequences. 

Satan, like a chigger of the mind and soul, wants your children. He will take advantage of any opportunity you give him. What bad decisions have you handed him lately? 

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) 

Life Isn’t Easy

“And he killed James the brother of John with the sword” (Acts 12:2). 

These eleven words represent a lot of pain. Physical pain for James and emotional pain for those who knew and loved him. Life involves pain, and some have more than others. Do we follow the Lord Jesus so that He gives us good things or because He is “the way, the truth, and the life”?

As we follow Christ, there will be pain. That is as certain as taxes and death. Expect it, and embrace it when it comes. Then let God pour out His grace and love in your life so that you are prepared to help others.

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)


No Worries

Growing up, I often had to cross the old concrete Third Street Bridge. To a young guy, it was as tall as a mountain, and if you should fall off of it death was certain. Would you believe that there was no placard on the guardrail warning people not to walk on it? No one ever fell because no one was stupid enough to walk on the guardrail even though it was quite wide.

I wonder how people lived through those years gone by before we had the countless warnings labels, placards, stickers, and barriers. Even the Internet weather sites have warnings. Do not burn leaves and such or drive high-profile vehicles because it is windy today. Do not drive through flowing water because it is raining. Do not drive unless necessary because it is snowing and the roads are icy.

With so many looking to others for direction, how can the greatest source of wisdom, exhortation, and warning be ignored, even among believers? So here is a label for you. Warning: To avoid stumbling, you must be reading and obeying God’s Word daily.

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105)


Forget Self-Discipline

Who wants to read about self-discipline these days? Where’s the grace in self-discipline? What a restricting way to live – right? It is okay to live without boundaries since we are free in Christ. Let’s talk about grace – only grace – and forget obedience and self-control.

Isn’t that what most want to read and the way they want to be encouraged? Yet, all we have to do is look around and observe the “fruit” of that sort of life: diabetes, divorce, obesity, spiritual bankruptcy, heart disease, out-of-control children, and nothing accomplished at the end of a day or of a life. 

Recall the last time you heard someone complain because they had too much temperance (self-discipline)? What – you never heard anyone complain about having too much self-disciple? Neither have I. Make your “best friend” a disciplined life under the control of the Holy Spirit. Learn to make difficult decisions and then execute them. Have consistent daily Bible times, bedtime, wakeup time, study, exercise, and say “No” to temptations. Don’t be like the guy who could say “No” to everything but, temptation. There are lots of “reasons” why most choose to be average – not one of them is good.  Be a great example for your children.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)


Five Tips To Make a Homeschool Mom’s Summer More Productive

This month’s Corner is written by Sarah, my oldest daughter. Sarah grew up in a homeschooling family, has helped countless homeschooling moms, and observes her homeschooling sisters-in-law. She has a wealth of practical homeschool experience to offer. Sarah graduated from our homeschool in 2000 and loves to serve in the Titus2 ministry. Teri

Summer is here, well, not officially according to the calendar, but school is out, and the temperatures are heating up, so it feels like summer. I want to share some tips from our family’s personal experiences that could help make your summer more productive. I remember looking forward to our summer homeschool break and the variety in activity that it afforded us. We were always excited about what Mom had in store for those summer months.

Plan a Summer Schedule

Plan a summer schedule! “Why would I do that?” you might ask. “Isn’t summer meant to be free time without any structure?” Have you noticed how your children act without a guideline for their day? Don’t they seem to get in trouble, say they’re bored, or fight with their siblings? Having a schedule will alleviate that, give them purpose, and you peace. If you have teenage children, let them have input into their schedules and how they’d like their day set up. I enjoyed plotting my schedule. Be creative.

Change out chores and train the children in new ones since you have more time to do that. Wouldn’t you love to move through summer without having to wince every time you walk by the laundry room? With a schedule, you’ll keep up with a clean house and folded laundry and a whole lot more! A side benefit will be pleasing your husband. What guy likes to come home to an unkempt house with bickering children and a crying wife?

Back to the schedule. Maybe you have a child who has a special interest or talent in an area like art, writing, handyman work, or sewing. Scheduling in an hour a day for them to devote to that will help both of you to see if it’s something they want to keep pursuing during the school year.

Write Out a List of Projects You’d Like to Accomplish

Do you have dreams of getting to those projects that bug you, but you just don’t have time for? Write out a list of those projects, and make it your summer goal. Maybe your husband has mentioned several things he’d like to see you do, and you’ve never made it happen (i.e: the kids’ winter boots that are stacked up in the garage doorway, the front flower bed needs weeding). Now is the time. Write those on your list, and you’ll have a very happy husband when they’re done!

My mom loved summer because it afforded her opportunities to do things she normally didn’t have time for such as putting photos in albums, deep cleaning the refrigerator, polishing cabinets, and a host of other things. How did she manage to do that with little ones underfoot? At that point, I was in my teens, and she scheduled me to take the five younger ones on a walk right after breakfast and then to play with them outside. That gave her an hour to do things on her list, and an hour a day netted her a mostly-completed list by the end of summer (I think sometimes her lists exceeded her time!). If you don’t have a child old enough to watch the others, consider having them spend that time in a safe environment like their room with special toys or books.

Schedule Some School

Even if you’re one of those who would prefer summer to be kept without school, consider how scheduling 1-2 hours a day could help you. For us, if we did some school, it kept our skills current in weak or hard subjects, instead of trying to jump back in with cold feet in the fall. It also allowed us to have a more relaxed schedule in the school year itself and even time off for a family vacation in September when places weren’t crowded. School each day kept us occupied in the hotter parts of the day, when being outside playing wasn’t much of an option.

Spend Dedicated One on One Time with Your Children

What better use of your summer hours than to spend them with your children? Regardless of their age (toddler to teen!), plan a regular time at least once a week to spend one on one. Consider letting them pick what they want to do. Your little boys might want you to build a Lego fort, and you might find you’re better at it than you thought. Or, your little girl might love for you to play dolls. When was the last time you played dolls?! Perhaps your teenage girl would like to bake something or go shopping (in the evening when your husband is home and can watch the others). I heard my sister-in-law was doing one on one time with her girls this summer, and Friday night they were happily talking about what Mommy did with them that week.

Make It Great

Whether it’s a spontaneous trip to the zoo, a picnic at the park, hiking at a state park, an overnight camping trip when Dad’s home, or simply making sugar cookies and decorating them together, use summer as a time to make the best memories possible. Remember, your schedule is your tool. So use it when you can, and on those days when you go to the zoo or do some other outing, don’t worry, and have peace knowing you’ll get back on track the next day.

Instead of allowing the summer to overtake you with stressful times, be determined to make it your most productive summer yet. The result? Happy kids + productivity + a pleased husband = a joyful YOU.

Serving Jesus,
Sarah Maxwell

Run-Up on a Stump

Whenever we traveled in a bus, we were extremely careful when crossing railroad tracks. Crossings are often higher than the approach and exit of the road, and since the bus had a low clearance, there was significant risk of “high-centering.” The modern-day equivalent of the saying “run-up-on-a-stump” is to be high-centered on a railroad track crossing. It is to be avoided at all costs.

If you picture a bus stuck on a crossing, you are picturing the danger some families may be headed toward. I wonder how many families are “cruising” along in life and are not careful of high-centering on a crossing. They do not think it could happen to them because, after all, they homeschool and they are Christians.

The world expects their children to go the way of the world, but believing families have higher hopes for a better future—and rightfully so. We must be constantly on guard.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)