Looking Back at My Summer and Forward to What’s Ahead

Back in June, I wrote my Summer Resolutions, outlining my hopes and goals for the past 3 months. As I look back, I can see many things accomplished and some untouched; Great, fun, and fulfilling events as well as hard and painful. Among the most memorable, here are a few:

  • I spent significant time with family, not with all of them at once, and with some more than others, but I am so grateful for the moments we shared. Knowing full well how hard it is to live away from loved ones, I don’t take any face-to-face time for granted.

    Dining out in Dewey Beach

    Dining out in Dewey Beach

  • I vacationed. 🙂 Our family (minus two kids) went to Delaware for some needed R&R at the beach; I got to hang out with two of my best friends in Miami, for a few days; Juan and I spent a day in DC with my sister-in-law and fiance, and my mom and I, again in DC, met with my dear nephew whom I hadn’t seen since I was a kid (always a great treat to catch up with extended family); Our family (again minus two) visited VA Beach; And Gabriel and I got to lounge at the pool a few times. All in all, I am thankful for the times of relaxation and diversion, both of which were highly needed.

    Smithsonian in DC

    Smithsonian in DC

  • I achieved some (but not all) of my cleaning/organizing goals around the house. We began our summer by literally throwing our couches out the window – I have the torn hedge to prove it – and buying new living room furniture after steam cleaning our carpets. That alone felt like a renewal of the soul! My new living arrangements bring me great contentment.

    My living room

  • I had music fun! Went to see Foreigner in concert with friends, a jazz outdoor festival with Juan and a bunch of teenagers, CWorks’ amazing production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, as well as a loved musical of mine, Man of La Mancha, at the amphitheater.

    Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!

    Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!

  • I spent time with friends, not as much as I wanted, but I am grateful for what I got! With three family birthdays happening, we had opportunities to invite people, have great conversation, play games, and laugh (the best medicine).

    Daniel's birthday. Geneva is the new addition to our family after recently moving to VA :)

    Daniel’s birthday. Geneva is the new addition to our family after recently moving to VA 🙂

  • I worked. Somebody asked me a couple of months, what is it that I do to relieve stress. My answer came out without even thinking about it, “I go to work.” Not only did I have two incredibly packed days of lessons nearly every week, with the most amazing kids ever, but I also worked as a musical director for CWorks’ production of Seussical. I mean, can it get more fun than that? I fall more and more in love with my students and their families, and I count it as a privilege, honor, and blessing to work with each one of them. And as a bonus, I love and thoroughly enjoy the other staff members I get to have fun with. It’s a win-win.

    Horton and I

  • I learned. Attended this incredible vocal pedagogy course at the CCM Institute at Shenandoah University, where I gained great and practical knowledge, which I’ve applied to my teaching already. Next summer, I’ll complete the course and become a certified Sommatic Voicework teacher. I can’t wait!

    With my long-time friend, Kathleen, who happens to be a very talented voice teacher!

  • Probably one of the most significant blessings granted to me this summer, is the fact that I got invited to join a small, intimate, women’s fellowship group. I’ve met with them only a few times, but in these short weeks, they have had a severe impact on my spiritual growth. In a time of emotional instability (can you say pre-menopause?) and during a period in my life where God is firmly and sternly stirring my heart, digging up hidden idols, and exposing my lack of faith and trust in Him, God, who is always kind and gentle, has provided me with praying friends. They have been a tangible expression of God’s love towards me. What a gift!

    jude 1:24-25

    Jude 1:24-25

  • In addition to fun and games, this summer has been a time of growth and self-examination. I, along with my church family, have suffered loss, betrayal, and deceit. But, as with any other God-given tribulation, He has also granted us the gifts of trust, love, mercy, forgiveness, and peace. What a great God we serve!
  • Finally, my husband and I said goodbye to our Kingsway Community Church this past Sunday. I nearly cried when they all prayed for us during our last service there. Needless to say, I feel sad to leave the congregation I’ve grown to love and cherish.  This church has been an integral part of our lives ever since we moved to VA. But now God is moving us to another congregation and opening new opportunities for ministry. He is also calling us to take time to rest, examine ourselves, and listen to His guidance. I feel some grief and some apprehension. I also feel some excitement. I certainly feel peace.

Looking ahead, I am hopeful that God will show Juan and I the direction he has for us (one step at a time), as a married couple, as friends, as his servants. Honestly, I am not looking forward to putting in the effort into building new relationships. That’s the antisocial in me talking. But I am anticipating that little by little, He will help us to grow roots and feel at home at Third Presbyterian Church. 

I am also excited to start a new school year with a growing (actually I’m maxed out!) private music studio, CWorks classes, and music directing a couple of shows. I absolutely love the kids I am working with and can’t wait to spend hours learning, enjoying singing, and growing together.

My year will be busy and packed. But I hope and pray that God helps me to utilize my time wisely and effectively. I want to spend enough time in the Word, because I need it so very, very much. As I am being emotionally and spiritually stretched, I am anticipating that I will look back, at the end of this year, and see that I have become a more God-fearing person, a better wife and mom, a more faithful friend, and a more humble servant.

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6 Reasons Not to Homeschool Your Kids

Whether considering homeschooling or already on that path, examine the statements below. If any of them apply as reasons/motivation to homeschool, you may want to change course, and do it fast. If nothing else, you might at least want to adjust your expectations.

1.  Shielding your kids from the world. It’s true that by homeschooling you will be able to delay the influence of the world on your kids. You can help them think logically and analytically so they can better discern the things of the world. BUT, you cannot shield them from it. Sooner or later, the world will find them, whether it’s through neighbors, TV, friends at church, other homeschoolers, or books. If not while they are school-aged, it will be when they go to college or get a job. Scariest of all is that sin and rebellion resides within their own hearts, and the world is just an extension of collective sinning and rebellion. So the only thing you can realistically expect is to prepare them for the world as much as possible without being fooled that you are actually protecting them from it.

2. Insuring your kids’ salvation. Only God saves. Repeat after me. Only God saves. Teaching your kids the Bible, praying with them, including redemptive perspective in your history and science books, and volunteering at the local shelter will not necessarily lead them to salvation. Yes, Scriptures admonish you to teach and pray and lead by example, and homeschooling provides plenty of opportunity to do so, however, even after you do all you can, salvation only belongs to the Lord. And God finds and saves all kinds of people, from every group, every race, and every style of education. He forms and grows godly men and women from all walks of life.

3. Earning a bonus holy parenting badge. I, myself, have been a member of the holier-than-the-next-guy club, where homeschoolers rank at the top of the list. What self-sacrifice, hard work, discipline, and LOVE for our kids! While I admit not all homeschoolers feel this way, I have also observed it’s an easy temptation to fall into this trap. So do yourself a favor and reconsider your ways if there is even a hint of belief that homeschooling will make you (or demonstrate to others, even God) that you are a more loving and dedicated parent than those who send their kids to school. It’s a lie and it’ll serve you well not to believe it.

4. One-parent vision. This one is simple. Don’t homeschool unless both parents are in full agreement. The last thing you need is for your marriage to suffer as a result of this choice. It will be worst for your kids in the long run. 

5. Counter-cultural peer pressure. You would think peer pressure only works when it comes to doing what the majority does. But I’ve seen enough sub-cultures where there is pressure to be counter-cultural, to believe that by homeschooling, you will change the world, one family at a time. While this could be true (I’m not sure, really), don’t homeschool because you feel pressured to. If you belong to a church made up mostly of homeschooling families, watch out for this kind of thinking. Be sure to homeschool because this is what you believe is the best choice for YOUR family. It’s an individual calling. Homeschool because you love it, not because you have to.

6. You are a homeschooling family. Raise your kids as individuals, not only family members. Homeschooling might work wonderfully for certain members of your family and not for others. Be open to being a “homeschooling family” who has a kid in school, because he/she needed it. Homeschooling is not one-size-fits-all.

DO HOMESCHOOL if both parents feel strongly that God is calling you to do this, if you have an environment which is positive and conducive to great education, and if your child has educational or emotional needs that will not be met in school. In addition to that, homeschool because you love it, and because your children love to learn, and because you grow close as a family. Pray for one another and sing hymns and read about God in your science books, because they won’t be able to do that in public school. Help your kids become best friends and go on lots of field trips and read lots of fun books. I homechooled for 19 years and I wouldn’t take a single one back.

4H awards

4H Awards

Greek Olympics

pineapple plant

Planting a pineapple

Daniel and Elise in biology lab

Biology Lab