Random Wednesday

…the back to school version.

This year we are doing three different Sonlight cores with four different students.  If you are not familiar with Sonlight click here to learn more, but let me summarize by saying it is a LOT of really great reading, which means a LOT of books to order and that can get pricey fast.

Historically, I have always just simply ordered the Sonlight core from Sonlight itself.  It’s fast, easy, and worry-free.  Almost everything in it is reusable, so I know we will always get our money’s worth.  This year, however, I was inspired by a friend who was going to try to piece together her own core.  So, I spent a morning comparing prices and instead of doing the simple “click and ship” from Sonlight, I also decided to piece together my own set from Amazon and used books and fill in with Sonlight where necessary.

Here are some pro’s and con’s on that experience:


  • You can save almost enough on the (almost) two cores ordered to offset the cost of one brand new version of Teaching Textbooks (another item I had to buy) and a few other items.  No small savings!
  • You will be “green” and recycled by buying used books whenever possible.
  • It is like Christmas for a solid week as all the books come in one by one.  (I can only imagine what our mailman thought of all the packages we were getting!)


  • When you buy mostly used books, you lose that magical “new book” smell.  This is not the end of the world, but that smell does make the start of a new school year much more exciting.  You also never really know what you’re going to get when you buy used on-line, so some of your books may be pretty beat up.
  • You can easily spend at least 3 or 4 hours comparing prices and ordering items.
  • In your weariness after switching between so many windows on Google Chrome, you may inadvertently order multiple copies of a book.  Or of more than one book.  And you may forget to order other books entirely.
  • Sellers may accidentally send you the wrong book.  Then you are stuck with a crappy book that will cost more to return than it did to purchase and yet it’s still worth nothing.
  • When you order close to 100 items from various sellers on Amazon, you end up with a 23 page receipt print out and your credit card will get flagged for fraud.  🙂

Even with all of those negatives listed (and I’m laughing as I write them out), I think I will still order our Sonlight this way in the future.  The savings were definitely significant enough to offset the hassle.

In other home schooling news, I may or may not have handed the following document out first thing in the morning on our first day of school:

A School Year Agreement

I understand that school is for my benefit and is not some form of punishment devised by my parents to make my life miserable because Mom and Dad have nothing better to do with their time.  I realize that my parents are sacrificing to provide my education and because of that and because my future success depends upon it, I agree to the following:

1.  I will not argue or complain about the schoolwork given to me, either by Mom, Dad, or by any outside teachers.

2.  I will do my best to understand the assignment independently.  If I am unable to do so, I will politely and calmly ask for assistance without interrupting someone else’s time of instruction.

3.  I will resist the urge to take the fast, easy route by doing the minimum amount of work required.  Instead, I will complete my assignments thoroughly, making sure all questions have been answered to the best of my ability, even doing extra research if necessary.

4.  I will use my time wisely.  I will not be a distraction to others either when I am working, or when my schoolwork is complete.  I will do my schoolwork during the school day as much as possible. I will not purposely save significant amounts of reading to be completed at bedtime, unless I intend to go to bed very early to do said reading.  When I am finished with my work, I will find ways to be helpful to Mom or Dad.  If my help is not needed, I will find constructive ways to spend my time.

I understand that school is hard.  I realize that if it were easy, very little could be learned from it, and so I will rise to the challenge and expectations that my parents and teachers have set before me because they have faith in my ability to complete the work.  This year, I purpose to work hard, do my best, and do all for God’s glory.

And, yes, I made them all sign it.  🙂  I credit this little document (and God’s grace) for how well the past two days have gone.

I think that’s it for today.  I hope your Wednesday is wonderful, wherever it takes you!

For His Glory ~

~ Sara

When I want to run away…

As we wait for tomorrow to dawn and bring with it the beginning of a new school year, fears from how last year was creep in and overwhelm and God gives words that comfort and encourage.  I didn’t know one could suffer from post-traumatic stress just by home schooling, but there is definitely a high level of anxiety as we prepare to open the books on a new year.  I know we are called to this and I am called to do something I am not gifted in so that He can fill me and enable me and all glory can go to Him because it’s definitely not me.

God will make all our obstacles serve His purposes.  We all have mountains in our lives, and often they are people and things that threaten to block the progress of our spiritual life.  The obstacles may be a untruths told about us; a difficult occupation; a thorn in the flesh; or our daily cross.  And often we pray for their removal, for we tend to think that if only these were removed we would live a more tender, pure, and holy life

‘How foolish you are and slow of heart…!’ (Luke 24:25).  These are the very conditions we need for achievement, and they have been put in our lives as the means of producing the gifts and qualities for which we have been praying so long.  We pray for patience for many years, and when something begins to test us beyond our endurance, we run from it.  We try to avoid it, we see it as some insurmountable obstacle to our desired goal, and we believe that if it was removed, we would experience immediate deliverance and victory.

This is not true! We would simply see the temptations to be impatient end.  This would not be patience.  The only way genuine patience can be acquired is by enduring the very trials that seem so unbearable today.

Turn from your running and submit….There is nothing in your life that distresses or concerns you that cannot become submissive to the highest purpose.  Remember they are God’s mountains.  He puts them there for a reason, and we know He will never fail to keep His promise.

I don’t know what this year will hold.  We have prayed and discussed and planned and done everything we can think of to make this year better.  But we’re still a family of fallen, broken sinners, so struggles will come.  We will pray to be stronger people and live on the grace He gives everyday.  We will cling to the hope that He is doing something great in our lives and that one day we will see the benefit of our struggles.

Never pray for an easier life – pray to be a stronger person!  Never pray for tasks equal to your power – pray for power equal to your tasks.  Then doing your work will be no miracle – you will be the miracle.

We must remember that Christ will not lead us to greatness through an easy or self-indulgent life.  An easy life does not lift us up but only takes us down.  Heaven is always above us, and we must continually be looking toward it.

Some people always avoid things that are costly, or things that require self-denial, self-restraint, and self-sacrifice.  Yet it is hard work and difficulties that ultimately lead us to greatness, for greatness is not found by walking the moss-covered path laid out for us through the meadow.  It is found by being sent to carve out our own path with our own hands.

For today and tomorrow and many days ahead, I will continue to count the gifts He gives.  I will count as blessings the beautiful days and the ugly days, the days I wish would never end and the days that cannot end soon enough.  Because if the good things are gifts – sunshine and flowers and laughing children – and all things come from God who only gives good gifts, then aren’t the days full of tears and broken arms and broken hearts gifts too?  Not because we are supposed to be all happy-Pollyanna about those hard things, but because of what God can do in our life if we will only submit to those trials.  As I look back, I am lying if I don’t say that it is the ugliest, darkest seasons of my life that have worked out the greatest beauty.  No, I don’t want them there, but my Jesus He did something amazing with those years and I wouldn’t know Him like I do, wouldn’t love Him like I do, if He hadn’t walked with me down those paths.  And He continues to do something amazing with these broken years.  Years where I struggle to lead and mother and love well and I fall into bed each night, feeling like I could have – should have – done more.  And yet, He’s always there to pick me up, hold me close, and whisper truth into my heart.  There’s something amazing about the grace that picks you up out of the mud and makes you clean and beautiful and lovely and once you’ve experienced it, you can never give thanks enough.


1984.  Olympic watching with friends

1985.  laughing hard

1986.  four and one half hours of sleep

1987.  coffee to get me moving

1988.  time in the Word to get me focused

1989.  long lasting rain

1990.  all asleep by 8:45 last night

1991.  candles flickering

1992.  morning coffee (again)

1993.  all these feelings of failing, inadequacy

1994.  my God who carries me

1995.  a twelve year old today

1996.  feeling less crazy

1997.  dinner at 9:00 p.m.

1998.  beef broth spilled everywhere – everyone helping clean it up, including the dog

1999.  only a few more days of summer

2000.  lovely, productive Saturday

2001.  date night happiness – finally cool enough to enjoy eating outside

2002.  extended family reunion

2003.  sleeping with windows open

2004.  lazy Monday morning, last day of our summer

2005.  all of this amazing grace

Praying that today you know His goodness and see the gifts He longs to give.

For His Glory ~

~ Sara

quotes taken from my well-loved Streams in the Desert