Just Being Us

Just Being Us
Family, where we can be real, and feel unconditional love!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Free Background Calendars for April

Today we have free April background calendars for you to download and use.  To download them simply right click on the image you would like to use and choose "save image as..."


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

What Mandy Has Taught Me

     It was a typical Tuesday morning.  I was busy working and trying to get my kids ready to begin our school day when, as scrolling through my Facebook,  a post caught my eye.  I had to read and re-read it.  My heart broke as it sunk in.  A dear woman of God and friend had gone to be with Jesus.  Her husband and two young children passed away with her that night.  Her older two kids survived, but now they would have to deal with losing their parents and siblings.  I couldn't believe a fire took their lives so quickly. The tears began to flow.  My kids saw my face and asked what was wrong.  I had to explain to them what had happened. 

    They didn't know this family personally but yet their hearts were saddened and they began to cry with me. They couldn't imagine going through such a difficult time.  They hugged each other a little tighter that day.  They were a little kinder to one another.  This family was impacting our home in a big way.  

     I met Mandy in 2013.  We were helpers on a online Bible study together.  Her passion for Christ was so amazing. You could feel her love for Jesus in every post.  In Fall of that same year we were able to meet in person at the WLW Conference.  I remember walking in and seeing her smiling face. She immediately ran over to hug me and my teen girls.  Her hugs were warm and you knew she genuinely loved you.  She was so real.  

      In 2014, I was privileged to write some blog posts for Mandy's website that she later named Worshipful Living.  We got to know each other more, and the more I knew her, the more I loved her.  Her servant's heart was amazing.  She would help me figure out things that I never thought I could learn.  She took time to explain things to me and she did it with such a kind spirit. She cared!  I always felt I could go to her with any question or prayer request and she would be there for me. 

     Mandy was a beautiful woman of God.  Her open and honest posts will always encourage me to be a better wife, mom, and friend.  I know she would want us to go on serving the Lord.  Her life should inspire us to keep shining our lights for Christ.  She touched the lives of so many.  We need to honor her memory by living a life pleasing to God just like she did.  She will be missed but never forgotten. 

     Please consider helping her family by donating to them through her church. This will go to her remaining two children to help provide for them. If you would like to give, here is the contact for that: 
Trinity Baptist Church
2003 Charleston Hwy.
Cayce, SC 29033

You can also donate via the Trinity’s website. 

To read more encouraging posts about how Mandy Kelly impacted lives, come over to The Awe Filled Homemaker and read through the post linked up there.  

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: Manhood Journey Father's Starter Kit

     As a woman, who grew up with a godly father who was constantly reminding us of how great our Heavenly Father is, I prayed for my children to have a dad who would lead them in the ways of the Lord.  As a young mom, I didn't realize the importance of the role of a dad, but as I matured in my Christian walk, I realize more and more how essential a godly man is in the home.  I began to pray more fervently for my husband to take on this task and be the godly role model my children needed.  My boys especially needed his instruction in their lives.  

     I was excited to see this study come up and we were happy to learn we would be reviewing  the Manhood Journey Father's Starter Kit by Manhood Journey & City on a Hill Studio.   My husband and two boys decided this would be a good study for them to work on together.  I was thrilled to see them work on this wonderful program and prayed that God will do a good work in each of their lives through it.  

    In this kit you will receive:
  •  Group Discussion Guide to help you lead your group
  •   1 on 1 Discussion Guide full of discussion points & activities for fathers to use with their sons
  •  DVD of the introductory videos for all six modules {this kit has the first module}
  •  10 Map Brochures- an informational brochure/map of all the modules that helps you recruit dads to join your group and guides module selection as you form community
  •  Free copy of Wise Guys: Unlocking Hidden Wisdom from the Men Around you by the Manhood Journey cofounder, Kent Evans.  
    This kit can be used in 2 different ways.  You can use it for a group study of fathers/mentors and sons/young men or you can use it for a father and his own sons.  This kit is designed to help men teach younger men how to grow into godly men of God. This study is set up  so that it will be easy to use whether you are a new leader or a veteran teacher.

     I believe this study can be life changing for the young men of our world.  If the godly men in our homes and churches would disciple the younger men, they would be more equipped to face the difficulties that come up in life.  

     Today I sat down with my boys and asked them what they thought of the lessons they have covered so far and their response was that they loved it.  They enjoyed learning the 5 Big Rocks discussed in the study guide.  They enjoyed spending time with their dad discussing how to better live their lives for Christ.  They said they feel more prepared to serve Christ in their daily lives. They also see the importance of reading God's Word and praying on a daily basis in order to live lives pleasing to Him. I feel they will be able to make wiser decisions due to this journey. 

     So they can be reminded of the 5 Big Rocks taught in the book, we made our own little poster that we laminated and will keep on the refrigerator. The girls can also be reminded of these 5 basic principles that teach us how to be Christians that want to make a difference in the lives of others.  

      If you would like to learn more about this amazing resource you can visit their website Manhood Journey & City on a Hill Studio or their Facebook page, Manhood Journey.   We also have some more reviews for you to check out over at the Homeschool Review Crew website. 

     Have a blessed day!!!

Monday, March 27, 2017


Today, I have a free PDF for you on the 10 Commandments.  It is so important to study God's Word together as a family.  I hope this little study guide helps you and your children to learn these amazing laws that God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai.  

Just click on the link below the image to download this study. 

Saturday, March 25, 2017


Today I want to give you a free study on the Days of Creation.  This is geared towards middle to upper elementary aged children, and children who love to draw.  I hope you enjoy this resource. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

What's On Your To Do List? {Free Printables}

     The other day I was reading a few news reports, and all I saw was vain selfish ambition throughout most of the articles.  It is sad to see how self-centered our world has become. It saddens my heart to see these horrible events occurring daily.  

    As Christians we are to be different from the world. We are called to holiness {dedicated to the service of God}.  Our lives and to do lists should look unlike those of the sinners of this world. 

    God wants us to love and show His love to everyone we come in contact with.  He doesn't want us to lead selfish lives and only care for ourselves. It may be uncomfortable at times but no one ever said the Christian walk would be an easy one.  As a matter of fact Jesus tells us in Luke 9:23 "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me."

    When I think of a cross, I think of persecution and hardships.  I knew that living a life pleasing to my Heavenly Father wasn't always going to be simple.  In the last 16 years, since I surrendered my life fully to Christ, I have been mocked and made fun of for my beliefs.  I have dealt with people {some who were close to me} who think I am too religious or that I take Jesus too seriously.  All I can say is that Jesus was willing to die on the cross for me.  His love and sacrifice gave me the gift of eternal life. He took on my sin. I consider dealing with insults and humiliation a small sacrifice.  I can't let anyone or anything to stand in my way of loving my Lord and doing what He has asked me to do. All I can do is love and pray for those who hurt me and allow God to work in their lives.  

      As I sat down and thought about what I want on my ultimate to do list, I prayed for the Lord to show me what He would have me do.  This is the list He gave to me:
  1.  Spend time with God
  2.  Pray for others
  3.  Live to please God not man
  4.  Be thankful
  5.  Show kindness
  6.  Encourage others
  7.  Be obedient to the Holy Spirit
    If I can follow this to do list on a daily basis, I will have joy.  Joy comes from being obedient to God and allowing Him to do a good work in our lives.  We shouldn't get joy and happiness mixed up.  Joy is a deep feeling in our soul that brings us an inner satisfaction that no one can steal. Joy comes from the Lord! Happiness is based on our circumstances, but joy is based on the knowledge that God has a good plan for our lives.  

     As I mother and teacher to my children this to do list will keep my eyes on the bigger picture. I won't allow the little things to get to me.  I will look for opportunities to teach them about the eternal significance of our lives instead of just focusing on the temporary. I want them to see me serving God and not being selfish.  

     I have made a printable of my to do list for you to print or you can print out an empty one to fill out for yourself.  This to do list is one that will have an eternal impact on our lives and others. Pray over it and allow God to lead you.  

To save and print these images, just scroll over the image, right click and choose "save image as..."


Thursday, March 23, 2017

It's A Spring Thing {A Peek Into Our Spring Activities}

     In March of every year, we look forward to planting our seeds.  These little plants will grow on our back patio until they are ready to be transplanted into our garden.  We look forward to this each Spring.  It has become a family tradition.  

     As soon as my kids were old enough to walk, we let them be involved in this process.  We make it a fun and educational experience.  They love to watch their seeds grow.  We use see through plastic cups so we can keep an eye on their growth day by day.  

     I like to print out worksheets each week as we observe the changes our little seeds go through.  It's an excellent time to talk about parts of a plant, parts of a flower, photosynthesis, and how to grow a garden.  It brings learning to life.  Hands on experiments always leave a lasting impression on our minds.  

     If you would like to begin doing this with your children, here is what you may need: 
  1.  Organic potting soil {you can buy it with or without plant food already in the mix}
  2.  Containers for your plants to start growing in.  Personally we use cups that are see through so we can view the many changes a seedling goes through.
  3.  Organic Seeds of your choice.  
  4.  Organic Plant Food {if it is not already in your potting soil}
  5.  Garden gloves if you don't want your hands and fingernails to get too messy. 
     Last year we did an experiment with a green bean and a CD case.  It was so much fun to watch that little seed grow.  The kids had a blast seeing it sprout and grow into a plant.  There wasn't much dirt covering it so you could really observe the process.  

     All you need to complete this experiment is:
  1.  An empty CD case
  2.  Potting soil
  3.  Green bean seeds
  4.  Scotch tape to hold the CD case closed so nothing falls out when it is picked up.

     A new tradition, that we started in 2016, is planting certain seeds that will attract Monarch Butterflies.  We started this right before we decided to buy our own butterfly pavilion.  

     I was excited to see that we could buy a butterfly garden set.  It came with a little cup of caterpillars that we had the opportunity of watching change into Painted Lady Butterflies. It was an amazing experience for my kiddos.  

     My daughter decided to make it a full blown science experiment. We talked about the life cycle of the butterfly and we read a few books on the subject. She made her own little poster board to remember this adventure. She worked very hard taking care of her little creatures, and was a bit sad when it was time to let them go.

     Well, that is a glimpse into a few of our Spring activities. What fun things do you and your children do in the Spring? I would love to hear some ideas that we may be able to use in our home.  


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review of Bessie's Pillow

     My daughter and I love to read together.  We were so excited when we found out we were going to be able to receive and review Bessie's Pillow published by Strong Learning, Inc.

     This book was such a blessing to us.  There were times we were both in tears, but it was so good to see how you can make the best out of any situation you are faced with.  The pillow, that she is to deliver to a young man in America read, "May this pillow bring you peace".  In life it is important to remember that we have a safe place no matter what is going on around us.  

     This book is based on the true story of Bessie Markman Dreizen and takes us on the journey of a Jewish immigrant coming to America in the early 1900's.  These immigrants were fleeing persecution in Europe. It was not easy for her to leave her family and home, but it was necessary.          

     From the minute she arrives in America, she is hardworking and willing to face many adversities to be free.  This woman was independent and able to learn many skills as she worked in America.  It wasn't easy to learn the English language, but she did it.  She did not give up!  After being in America for about a year, she was able to deliver that pillow, and fell in love with the young man named Nathan,  to whom she gave it to.  Their lives were not perfect and were filled with many afflictions, but she didn't let this get her down. Even after a tragic loss, she did not allow anyone to take advantage of her.  She was strong willed. She took charge and kept the family together.  

     I want to tell you more and more, but you have got to get this book and read it for yourself.  You won't be able to put it down.  I know we didn't want to.  It gives you hope and encourages you to keep going no matter what life throws your way.         
     As I read through it, I realized everything the immigrants went through to come to a new country and it touched my heart in a special way. I am not sure I am strong enough to endure the hardships they faced. I will be praying for those who are still going through these trials.  

      My daughter, who is nine, doesn't usually care for historical books, but this one kept her interest.  She had to find out how Bessie was going to work through things and she was excited to read it every day. I couldn't believe how much she loved it. There were a few days I caught my sons listening in as we read.  This book is good for all ages and boys will love it as much as girls. If your children are on the younger side, you can read it to them, but a child in upper elementary or above will have no trouble reading this independently.  I wish we could find more books like this one. 

          Along with some great pictures and information in the back of the book, there are some great resources on the website page Discover Bessie's America.  We enjoyed looking over the links we found there.  It was a joy looking over the pictures of the era when Bessie arrived in America and hearing some of the songs and radio shows of the time.  I love how it brings the story to life.  Some of the topics here include:

     I encourage you to come on over to Homeschool Review Crew website and read some other reviews of this book.  I love reading reviews of books or curriculum that I am considering for our homeschool.  It keeps me from buying things that may not work well for us and allows me to purchase things that I may have missed if I had not read some reviews.    

Friday, March 17, 2017

Homeschooling When You Are Feeling Sick

     "Moms don't get to call in sick."  I was told that forever.  I thought I had to keep going even when my body was begging me to lay down and rest.  I thought I had responsibilities that couldn't be put off.  

     I am very stubborn and I tried my best to keep moving even when I had a fever. Let me tell you... that was not a smart idea.  I usually ended up sicker for a longer period of time and that was not helping my family at all.  I learned the hard way that it was best to care for my body first. Neglecting these warning signs were only causing long term issues that eventually caught up with me.  

     As a homeschooling mom, I get creative on days when I am not feeling well. There are many things that you can do from the comfort of your bedroom.  We sit on my bed and read together. We watch educational shows on the television. We discuss things that we haven't had time to talk about in a while.  Learning can happen no matter where you are.  

      I have learned that I don't have to push myself to the point of death in order to be a good homeschooling mama.  There were times in the past where I would get so tired that I would literally fall over by then end of the day.  It wasn't a good way to treat my body and I paid for it later. Now, I listen to the signals my body sends me and I take time to care for myself.  When you think about it, if you exert yourself to the point of exhaustion, will you be any good to your family? The answer is no.  

     It is okay to give yourself time to heal from an illness or an emotional trauma.  Give yourself grace. Ask for help in areas you need it.  Your children and husband will understand if you are not up to cooking a meal or cleaning the house. I believe they will be willing to pitch in and offer some extra help as you are healing.  You just need to express your need for their help. 

     So next time you are not feeling well, take the advice of a veteran mom and homeschooler.  Be good to yourself.  Be open and honest about needing assistance.  Don't try to be a super mom by taking on more than you can handle.  You are already a super mom... you have nothing to prove. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: Celebrating Manhood: A Rite of Passage Guide

     On June 9, 1994, I became a mother to a bouncing baby boy.  Our first child and first son.  I remember rocking him in my hospital room.  When I looked into his eyes, I melted.  Then the fear came.  I prayed and prayed to the Lord that night.  I prayed He would help me be a good mom to this precious little boy.  I prayed that He would give me wisdom and strength.  I prayed that my husband and I would be able to meet all his needs.  God met me right there and gave me peace.  

      Now 22 years later, I have watched that baby boy grow into a man.  The road that led us to this day was not always easy, but was worth it.  I wish I would have had this amazing book when he was younger, but now that I have been given the opportunity to review Celebrating Manhood: a rite of passage guide , from the Home School Adventure Co.   I will be using the knowledge and wisdom in this book to help us celebrate our younger two son's passage into manhood.  

     As I was reading this book, I felt bad that we had missed out celebrating our oldest son's rite of passage.  The years went by so quickly, we didn't realize how fast he was growing up.  We took those years for granted.  We do not want to make the same mistake with our younger two sons.  They are 17 and 12.  We are planning to follow the instructions in the book to celebrate them becoming men. 

      In the book, Stacy Farrell reminds us that it is important to observe this time in our young men's lives. I love how you are given excellent ideas on how to commemorate this wonderful occasion. There are suggestions on who to invite, what to do during the celebration, and how to make this a memorable event for these young men. There are nine sections of the book that include: 
  • Celebrating Manhood—our Story 
  • A Blueprint
  • Invitation Template
  • The Question Cards
  • I Remember When
  • If Only I Had Known
  • What I Value and Respect
  • Welcome to the World of Men
  • About the Author

     Each section has something new to help you make this celebration something they will never forget.  This ceremony shows them that you are proud of who they are becoming and that you are there to support them through this journey into manhood.  

     We plan to have our ceremony during the summer months so we can enjoy some family bonding around the fire pit.  That is their favorite place to be and we can make some of their favorite foods on the grill.  We want to provide them with things they love during this celebration, so that is why we are waiting for warmer weather.  I want this to be a special time for them. I can't wait to enjoy this achievement with them.  I get teary-eyed just thinking about it. 


      If you have sons, I encourage you to get this book.  If they are on the younger side, get it for later.  You won't be disappointed.  If you would like more information on this wonderful resource, you can go to their web page Celebrating Manhood, or their Facebook page Home School Adventure Co.  They also have a You Tube page HomeSchoolAdventure, where you can check out this product and many of the other resources this company has to offer. 

     I always enjoy reading reviews for things I am praying about buying for our family.  The Homeschool Review Crew has some more reviews for you to read about this product and a few others from this company.  I hope you get a chance to read them.   

Friday, March 10, 2017

Praying Through The Tears

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
 You have recorded each one in your book.
 ~ Psalm 56:8

     There have been many times in my life when I didn't have the words to pray, and in those times, I prayed through my tears.  The Lord knew exactly what was in my heart and even though the words were not spoken aloud, He knew my needs.  He understood that my heart was broken and all I could was cry to Him. It brings comfort to know that He cares so much for me that I don't have to utter a single word for Him to be there for me.  

     It doesn't matter what I am going through, I know He hears my cries.  It could be homeschooling issues, parenting difficulties, physical ailments, or emotional distress, He is there to meet my needs and to give me wisdom to overcome whatever my come my way.

     Our prayers do not need to be fancy or drawn out.  We can simply whisper the name of our Lord and Savior and He meets us right where we are.  I don't know about you, but that brings me peace.  His love for us is so amazing.  His grace and mercy extend beyond what we can comprehend.   I get teary-eyed just thinking about Him and how much He has done for me.   

     We have a Savior who knows exactly how we feel.  He too has wept and prayed through His tears.  He has felt all the emotions we have felt.  He has felt such great sorrow that He sweated drops of blood. We are told in Luke 22:44 -  And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.   What anguish He must have felt that night to have this happen.  This was the night before He was going to be crucified for our sins.  I know I have not ever felt the suffering that Jesus felt that evening.  It grieves me to know what He went through so that we can live eternally with Him if we repent of our sins and believe on Him for our salvation.  I feel so loved when I think of His great sacrifice.  

      When I am feeling afraid or sad, I know I can turn to my Lord for comfort and encouragement.  He is always there.  As I pray I thank Him for His great blessings and even when I don't feel happy, I know He gives me joy unspeakable. I am never alone.  Jesus is my all in all. I never fear that He will leave me or forsake me.  He promises me in His Word that as long as I seek Him, I never have to walk alone. He will strengthen me and give me peace even when I am having difficulties.  What JOY that brings to my soul!!!

      When you feel these emotions who do you run to?  

       When you feel these emotions, you should run to Jesus!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Let's Get Organized


   At one point in time we had a family of 8 living in our little home.  Let me tell you, we learned that being organized was the only way to live.  Otherwise we would have spent countless hours running around looking for lost items like shoes, toys, clothing, or car keys.  Our home had to run like a well oiled machine in order for us to accomplish what the Lord had set before us. We still have 5 people living here and we still keep things organized so we can manage our time efficiently.  

     Time management is the most important part of organization.  Using our minutes, hours, and days in a way that will bring glory to God and allow us to finish the jobs He has given to us.  In our home we have a calender and a schedule on our refrigerator.  We don't always follow our schedule perfectly, but it is there to remind us that we have goals to achieve for each day.  Our calender serves to prompt our memories of activities, social events and special occasions.  

     It's important to put our homes together in such a way that we are able to have a place for everything.  If we are consistently looking for things we need, we are wasting time and energy that could be used for other things.  Once a month we go through rooms in our home and donate, sell, or throw away things that are not being used.  This cuts down on clutter and allows us more space for the things we do use.  It's also imperative to teach our children about contentment.  If they want more and more, our homes will overflow with unneeded items that just take up space.  

     Do you have a chore time in your home?  We have 3 times set aside each day for clean up.  This helps keep our home neat and tidy so we aren't scrambling around trying to clean up for unexpected guests.  If our home was in constant turmoil, that would be overwhelming for me.  I wouldn't have time to be the hospitable hostess that we are suppose to be according to 1 Peter 4:9 ~ Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.   Our homes should feel warm and inviting, so we are able to open it to strangers without a moments notice.  

     Organization is an essential part in having a peaceful and happy home.  A home, that is in chaos all the time, puts stress on us.  If a home is coordinated, it has a calming effect on our bodies.  I encourage you to put together a game plan to get your homes back on track.  Here is a list of a few ideas to help you get started:

 1. Have a list of chores to do daily, weekly and monthly.

 2. Keep a calender on hand to jot down important events and activities.

 3. Find a place for everything and be sure to keep those things where they belong.

 4. Teach your children about contentment so they are happy with what they have.

 5. Take time each month to go through each room of your homes, and get rid of things you are no longer using.  You can donate, sell, or throw away unneeded items.  Don't store things you will never use again.

 6. Have an plan of attack for storing clothes for different seasons.  We like using plastic bins that can be stacked and put away easily. They can also be reused every year. 

 7. Keep a family goal list on your wall or refrigerator, so you can see what you would like to accomplish in the weeks and months to come.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

You Can Do It! {Homeschooling Through High School}

      Can I do it? This is the question I asked myself many times as my children grew up.  I wanted so much to homeschool my children all the way through high school, but as those years approached, I started to feel feelings of apprehension.  Could I really pull this off?  Was it going to be the best education for my children? 

     When my oldest son was in eighth grade, I sat down with him and asked him what he thought of going to school.   He looked at me dumbfounded.  He said “Why mom, don’t you want to teach me anymore?”  I assured him that was not why I was considering sending him to school.  I explained my feelings of inadequacy.  He looked at me and said, “Mom, I know we can do this together.”  It was then that I knew it was possible.  God had our backs.  He was going to be there with us the entire time.  When we felt weak, He would make us strong.  When we felt like we were unable to accomplish something, He would step in and give us the courage to press on. 

     I am not going to lie to you and say it has been an easy task.  We have hit some bumps along the way, but I believe it is worth it all.   We have seen major growth in all our children as we homeschool them during the high school years.  I have graduated three of my children and our middle son will graduate in May of 2018. We have 2 more who I will homeschool all the way through high school if the Lord permits us to.  I have never regretted one moment I have spent teaching my children. 

     Teaching reading, writing and arithmetic is very important, but teaching our children character and real life skills, are what will really matter in the big scheme of things.  In our home, we want our kids to be men and women of integrity.  We want their yes to mean yes and their no to mean no.  We want them to be honest and kind.  From the time they are old enough to learn, we begin training them in godly character.  We want them to be bold for Christ. We want them to be productive citizens that are willing to serve God where ever He calls them.  These our main goals.  With Christ at the center of our school and home, we know everything will fall into place.

     I am on my knees daily praying for the Lord to show me how to train my children.  I know without Him, I would fail miserably. His Word is my manual.  Just as I have teacher manuals for the curriculum I teach, I know without my Bible I wouldn’t be able to train my children in His ways.  I have to be reading my manuals in order for them to guide me. 

     Without the Lord, I wouldn’t have made it this far, so if you are worried you won’t be able to homeschool all the way through high school, sit down and pray today.  Ask God what He wants for you and your family.  He will give you the answers you are longing for.