Mom’s Corner Novemeber 2023 – To Fret or Be Thankful

Feelings of disappointment flooded me, as I came out of my visit with a second podiatrist for help with a heel malady that hasn’t resolved itself since beginning earlier this year. Even though I liked and interacted with this podiatrist better than the previous one, the appointment hadn’t met my expectations. I expressed those thoughts to Steve and then dwelt on them in my mind.

Steve encouraged me that Scripture (Psalm 37:8) says that fretting doesn’t lead to good outcomes. It is true. Through my reactions and thoughts, I was fretting and that was making me discouraged, glum, and unhappy. Not the emotions I wanted to carry through the day.

In a recent morning Bible time, I read, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name” (Hebrews 13:15 ) and was pondering using it as the theme for a November Mom’s Corner, since this is Thanksgiving month. I hadn’t planned to be a poor example of it, though!

I have two verses memorized that also directed me with what to do rather than fret, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). And then there was this one, “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).

There are key words and phrases from these three verses that give us critical information for the path of thanksgiving:

  • sacrifice
  • praise to God/unto God
  • continually
  • thanks to His name, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ
  • in every thing
  • will of God
  • always for all things

Why would thanking God be a sacrifice? Could it be because our flesh wants to do exactly what I did – dwell on the negative, allow disappointment to direct my thoughts, and fret? So to combat the flesh, we are to make the sacrifice of praising God. That is even defined in Hebrews 13:15 as our lips – speak it out loud – giving thanks to His name, continually. We choose to worship Him in thanksgiving rather than worshipping self in self pity.

Next we learn how often this thanksgiving is to happen – continually, in everything, always, and for all things. That is quite inclusive. It doesn’t give room for worry, fretting, complaining, or negativism. Thanksgiving and negative emotions don’t coexist well. Sometimes it is easy for us to forget that mindset of continual thanksgiving and to move into critical words and thoughts. Perhaps those kinds of wrong thoughts and words, should remind us that we aren’t giving thanks, continually for all things in God’s name. Then we can repent and go back to those right and godly thoughts.

A key verse that helps me in this thankfulness process is our beloved Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” When it doesn’t look like something we would want to be thankful for, we can say this verse to ourselves or even out loud to another. That reminds us of God’s goodness, His faithfulness, and His ability to work in ways we can’t envision.

As we prepare to celebrate our national holiday in the United States of Thanksgiving, may I encourage you (and me) to be thankful, not just on Thanksgiving Day, but as a sacrifice to God continually for all things in His name.

Trusting Jesus,

Teri Maxwell

June 2023 Mom’s Corner – The Productive Summer Schedule for Homeschoolers

A productive summer schedule can help homeschoolers (or anyone) toward desires or goals you have for your summer months. Perhaps those would include doing some homeschooling, accomplishing activities that don’t fit into a homeschool year, or simply relationship building.

Whatever the desire, purposefulness in making a schedule should give time to work on various aspects that lead to its achievement. Often moms get to the end of their summer dismayed with their lack of productivity and disappointed that they didn’t accomplish what they had envisioned. Your schedule is a tool that will let you look back on summer with satisfaction rather than regret.

If you haven’t scheduled before, summer is a perfect time to learn scheduling because usually summer has a more relaxed pace than the school months do.

List and Pray

To begin, write your desires for summer accomplishments onto a list. Having these desires in writing means you can visualize the ideas all together. You have a limited amount of time and energy so what you want to accomplish will be mitigated by that. The list and then the schedule is a reality check for what is reasonable to try to do.

Before you work on the actual schedule, you want to pray and seek the Lord’s direction for what He would have you and your children accomplish this summer. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5). You may grow or shrink the list as you spend praying over it and also evaluating your available time.

Then pray about the actual planning and working out of the schedule since you want God’s help through that process. He is the One Who gives you direction and creativity for how to put the pieces of your schedule together.

Add a Few Notes

Now look at your list of desires for the summer. What needs to be scheduled to accomplish those goals? Start by making notes on your list since a particular goal might mean multiple spots on the schedule.

For example, your list says: summer school. But your note would be more specific – keep math and reading going during the summer by doing it daily. Your list could have: relationship building. Your note with it might say: weekly outing with one child rotating every week through the summer, assign a kitchen helper for each meal, have a daily game time. 

Assign Times

The next step is to put times with what you have on your list. It simplifies the schedule and schedule production if you use the same schedule for summer that you do for the school year when it comes to your normal daily needs. Then you don’t have to relearn that routine for the summer. School time is freed up to assign for your summer accomplishments, but the rest of the schedule remains the same.

If, however, you want to change the whole thing up, your schedule can accommodate. Just be sure to write it down. Trying to keep it in your mind is a setup for failure!

Then you use your notes to help you put what is on your list into time slots on the schedule. What is on it that you will do every day? Plug those into your schedule first. That allows you to evaluate the time blocks you have available for activities that don’t happen every day. If you want to have larger chunks of time for outings, try to group your daily activities together, so that you have several hours that can be scheduled for outings and the activities that don’t happen every day.

Finally what is on the list that you can do a couple of times a week or once a week? Put those into the blocks that are still open after the daily pieces have been entered into the schedule.

Make the Summer Schedule a Reality

Sometimes putting together a schedule seems daunting. That’s usually the case when it is all floating around in your head. Committing the details to paper or the computer, generally flows nicely once you take that first step to begin.

The productive summer schedule for homeschoolers will help you end your summer with a smile as you look back over all that you achieved through those months. 

If you need more scheduling help, I recommend our book called Managers of Their Homes. That book is full of scheduling information plus it walks you step by step through putting a schedule together utilizing the included scheduling kit. 

Here are some other articles on summer scheduling.
The Well Planned, Well-Executed Homeschooler’s Summer
The No-Regrets Summer
Five Tips to Make a Homeschool Mom’s Summer More Productive
A Summer Schedule
Time for Summer Schedule Planning
Summer Schedules


Teri Maxwell 

March 2022 Mom’s Corner

Are You a Dripping Woman?

Scripture presents us with quite a contrast between a contentious, dripping wife and a virtuous one whose husband praises her. It also tells us this: “Every wise woman buildeth her house:

but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands” (Proverbs 14:1). My heart is to be the helpmeet to my husband, Steve, where I am building my house and he would want to call me “blessed.”

Here we see contention and dripping:

“. . . the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping”(Proverbs 19:13).

“A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike” (Proverbs 27:15).

Have you ever considered what you might do that would be contentious like the annoying drip, drip, drip of water? Dripping isn’t outright bad, is it? Isn’t it more of an irritation? Perhaps you are aware of some things in your life that are similar to dripping, and maybe you should ask your husband if there are others. Wouldn’t you like to work on getting rid of them?

Drip, Drip, Drip . . . Answering for Another

I didn’t ask Steve about my dripping, but recently I discovered one of mine. I answer for Steve instead of letting him answer for himself. I didn’t even realize I did that until he mentioned it in connection with something else. He is gracious enough to be quiet about it when it happens. In our discussion, it was obvious he didn’t appreciate it and that I do it rather frequently. Drip, drip, drip. He is very capable of answering for himself! I might try to justify answering for Steve by saying I am being a helpmeet. But the reality is that I don’t always know the answer he would give, and if he doesn’t view it as being a helpmeet, it certainly isn’t.

Drip, Drip, Drip . . . Critical Spirit

From my past, I can share a few more you might consider. What about being critical of what he does or how he does it? The critical, contentious wife points out the negative rather than focusing on the positive. I remember one time Steve saying to me, “I don’t know that I can do anything to please you.” That came because he would work to improve in one area I had criticized him about only to be faced with a new one. Drip, drip, drip. That is a discouraging way to live.

Drip, Drip, Drip . . . Correcting

Then there is correcting your husband. How often does he not have the details right in something he is talking about, and you step in to fix it? Drip, drip, drip. We justify this one by thinking it is important to have things accurate. In the end, it comes out more as pride. I have it right. He has it wrong. I watch men clam up and give the conversation to their wives rather than continue on with her correcting of him.

Drip, Drip, Drip . . . The Better Idea

My third one is having better ideas. When Steve presented an idea, if I agreed with it, I had a way to improve on it rather than just jumping in with enthusiasm to go with it. And of course, if I disagreed, it spoke that right out as well. In the normal course of husband and wife communication, that will be part of it, but when it is the habit, it can be drip, drip, drip. Steve felt blessed when I could agree with him and join in a plan without having to change it to what I wanted.

This is the godly wife:

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life” (Proverbs 31:10-12).

“Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her” (Proverbs 31:28).

Dry up the Drip

I expect if you are a wife, you would like to be a virtuous woman whose husband blesses and praises her. Do you have any of these drippings that might move you away from that? Are there other drippings that you are aware of?

Could I challenge you to evaluate if there is any dripping going on in your life and then ask the Lord for His grace and strength to dry them up? If you aren’t a wife, these same things can apply to any relationship.
If you would like more encouragement and challenge on being a godly wife, you might be interested in My Delight – a book for Christian wives.

Trusting Jesus,
Teri Maxwell

May 2022 Mom’s Corner Summer – Get Prepare

Soon summer is once again upon us. Are you prepared to make it a fruitful, productive time for you and your family? To do so, I suggest you pray for the Lord’s direction for summer goals and priorities. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5). Then implement a schedule that sets aside time for what you want to accomplish through the summer. “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise” (Proverbs 6:6).

We recently received a sweet story regarding some of our products that might motivate and give you ideas to pray about concerning summer goals and routines.

We were reading the 5th book in the Moody’s serie, and we got to the ChorePacks. I told Olivia (7) that we have the same book about chores and even the packs and everything. This was bedtime. 

The next day Olivia copied all the chores she found in the book. I showed her the real chores book, and we added some more. We printed the cards on regular paper and cut them out. Both kids were involved, but Olivia was super excited. We put them in order, and I told them I would print them again, with the numbers on top and on better paper. With only two children and one of them reading, I didn’t think adding the name was needed. But then I thought that they would be happy to see their names on the cards. So I added their names too.  Bedtime came again, and I told my daughter I would work on it that night. She really wanted to start the following morning.

The next morning Olivia told me she could barely sleep because of the excitement of having the ChorePacks and starting the routines. The first day went great. I am very encouraged, too, as I have been having a super hard time keeping myself consistent and having routines. The Lord truly is working through our children (among others) to sanctify us. 

What about working on consistency and routines? This mom says that’s a struggle for her. Over the summer she can work on those for herself and also can teach Olivia how to do her chores. They can find places for chores in the schedule and be accountable for doing them.

Maybe you don’t have time for reading during the school year. That is a great part of a summer schedule. It can be mom read alouds or children reading on their own. Make sure to evaluate the reading material, though. The Moody books drew this mom’s little girl to – wanting to work – a positive appetite. You can inadvertently introduce bad appetites as well if you aren’t watchful. I remember the time I read a book to our children where one child called a sibling, “Stupid.” That was not a word we had used in our home to describe a child. Sure enough, though, after I read that, our children began using “Stupid” in that derogatory nature of each other.

Perhaps the Lord would lead you to Scripture memory with your children through the summer. We have a couple of great series on that on our website:

Scripture Memory Bible and Copying Part 1
Scripture Memory Bible and Copying Part 2
Scripture Memory Bible and Copying Part 3
Scripture Memory Bible and Copying Part 4
And:
Scripture Memory with Little Children Part 1
Scripture Memory with Little Children Part 2
Scripture Memory with Little Children Part 3
Scripture Memory with Little Children Part 4

Is He calling you to grow in your walk with Him? That probably means time spent with Him, focused on Him. I wonder if Sweet Journey could facilitate that? It helps with ideas on what profitably to do when you spend time with the Lord.Maybe this summer you want to develop your children’s conversational skills – and your own in the pro
cess.

We have something for that – Making Great Conversationalists.I didn’t start this Mom’s Corner to be a promotional for our books, but as I thought about your summers and what you might want to accomplish, I got excited about what we have that could enable you. This is the time to get tools for whatever your priorities and goals might be so that you are ready to utilize your summer productively!

Blessings,
Teri Maxwell

Horse of a Different Color

If you have shared Christ much, you have encountered very many who are happily content with their lives and are not concerned with their sin and the result. Life is good, and there are so many immediate pleasures in the good life. They have no interest in eternal things. 

I’ve noticed an amazing parallel. Most professing Christians are very busy. They are busy with work, family, and a boatload of pleasures. When they want to relax, they watch movies. When they want some excitement, they watch sports. To stay informed, they watch the news. Oh yes, and church is fit in when there is time (I.E. nothing better). 

Amazing how both groups seem so similar in their responses.  

“But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:20-24).

Oh my brothers, may we be busy about His business. “And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:15).

A Visitor with a Message

When “he” comes to visit you, “he” brings pain. “He” stays much longer than you would prefer. However, there is a potential benefit from the visit. Seek the Lord as to whether this painful visitor was sent by the Lord to bring about repentance or change in some area of your life. 

Similar to childhood, when our parents would introduce something painful to affect our behavior/choices for good – that can be God’s purpose as well. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). 

Hence, my encouragement is when you find yourself in painful circumstances immediately ask the Lord to show you if it is chastening. I always do because if there is something in my life that He wants me to change, I want that understanding as quickly as possible.  

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent” (Revelation 3:19).

“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby” (Hebrews 12:11).

Woe

Don’t you love God’s Word? Isn’t it wonderful? I can’t imagine what life would be without it. He gave us His Word so that we might know Him and follow His commands. However, for most of the time since creation, mankind did not have what we have. My brothers, we are blessed beyond measure. 

Then how can it be that our country is in such a dire spiritual state? God has been thrown out of the government and schools. His Word is not the basis for right and wrong. I praise God that the government schools did not educate our children. I shudder when I consider those being processed by schools today and their horrendous impact on the US as they become voters. If I think it is bad now, I remind myself it is nothing compared to what is ahead. Woe are we. 

Brothers, I plead with you to do everything you can possibly do to enable your wife to educate your children at home using a curriculum based on God’s Word. Lead your family in the Word every night. Discuss it as you view everything around us through the lens of Scripture. (Deut 6:7) Fill your family with the Word and not with ungodly media and movies. “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not” (1 Corinthians 10:23).

Be lights to a lost and dying world around us. Confess Jesus. “Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God” (Luke 12:8-9).

ARE YOU PREPARING YOUR SONS?

In 2001, we published a book called Preparing Sons to Provide for a Single-Income Family. A top question many homeschooling families were asking at that time was: How can my sons get good jobs with a homeschool education? Because two of our sons had been taught at home throughout their school years, and because they were earning incomes that could support a family, we wanted to share what we had learned. It was our desire to encourage other families to stay the homeschooling course and to prepare their sons for their futures. That question is as pertinent today as it was then, and Preparing Sons is every bit as important and applicable as it was 23 years ago, maybe more so.

The information in Preparing Sons begins with ages 3 to 6, moves to 7 to 12, then 13 to graduation, and finally post-high school. There is so much in that book that is practical and easily implemented. Families whose sons were in their teens when they bought Preparing Sons, when it was first published, now have sons who are in their late thirties. Many of those families read that book and set it aside, continuing to live just as they had been living. Now in some of those families, there are sons who are struggling needlessly in adulthood. Had their parents caught the vision presented in Preparing Sons, might their sons be in a better position to support a wife and children? 

Then there were other families who read Preparing Sons and said, “We want to do this! We desire this outcome for our sons.” With the Lord, they developed a vision for their sons. They made changes, and they prepared their sons not to be children forever but to be responsible, capable adults. Today they see the positive fruit in their adult sons’ lives.

We think each of you has a desire for your sons to grow to manhood as virtuous, industrious men of God. What are you doing to facilitate that outcome? We often hear from wives who share with us about a husband who is a slave to video games, movies, or other forms of entertainment. How are you raising your children so that they will transition, at the appropriate time, from being a child to being a man?

When our boys became teens, we wanted to direct their time usage into profitable pursuits. Their childhood playtime was replaced by activities that were productive. Of course, they had school that took up much of their day. They might spend other time practicing an instrument, doing lawn maintenance or other chores, and especially important was developing marketable skills. The results were good. “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11).

Time invested in productive pursuits during youth reaps positive benefits not only during those years but throughout their lives. We give our children purpose when they are teens by helping them be productive with their time. We can encourage them toward ministering and studying, while developing and utilizing skills that can be used to generate income in the present and in the future.

So many of the youth of today are hopeless. They don’t know Jesus Christ, and they have no purpose. Their lives are sadly out of control. Many are on anti-depressants. They have nothing worth living for, and they become overwhelmed with the emptiness of their lives.

Your children don’t have to be like that. You can turn the teen years into an exciting time, filled with responsibility and productivity with the accompanying outcome of satisfaction in their lives.

We released another book several years after Preparing Sons called Buying a House Debt-Free: Equipping Your Son. In that book, we trace a path that parents can take to facilitate their son’s ability to purchase a debt-free house before he is 30 or at least have a soldi head start toward that. We want to see all of your sons do what our five sons did: own debt-free houses when they are married.

You love your children. What is your vision for them? Is it a big vision? Ours was. Thirty years ago most would have told us it was impossible to achieve the vision we had for our sons. It wasn’t—not for our sons, not for the other young men whose stories we share, and it doesn’t have to be for your sons.

If you have a son who is currently 13 years or older, will he own a house with no mortgage before he is 30? Can you instill that desire in your little boys who are only 5 or 6? The choice is yours. We want to set this generation of young men on fire for having real purpose in life with the side benefit of debt-free living. What do you want for your sons? Will you accept the challenge?

A Great Heart Exercise

It might not be popular, but it is very beneficial. It won’t burn hardly any calories, but it is very good for your heart. It doesn’t matter what you wear, and you won’t get sweaty. You can do it almost anytime, and it doesn’t take hardly any time. Go online to the website of a popular funeral home’s obituary page. Then slowly read down the obituary briefs. Usually, that has a photo, their name, when they were born, when they died, and sometimes what church they were members of. 

I have found it to be deeply moving. When I see the people who have passed from this life into another, either eternal life or eternal death/suffering, my heart breaks. When you read the obituaries, “everyone” is going to heaven (if only). Optimism, however, is not enough. 

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23).

May this heart experience, enlarge your heart with a love for others and the deep desire to see them saved by the blood of Jesus, not merely church members. May it help you be purposeful in sharing the love of Jesus with others every chance you get.