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Summer Snapshots

We have been trying to get a LIVE broadcast on Facebook from Love’s Farm this week, but alas, Facebook can be weird sometimes, and the sound just will not work. 🙁 Bummer.

I want to show you how HUGE the garden is growing, our new additions (guineas), and all the other fun things.  Until we get it working, I am sharing some simple snapshots of our summer.

I love the simple life. We are living the dream. And I pray we can share our abundance this summer if our harvest is plentiful.

I love that my kids are outdoors. I love that we work together on projects. This is life. And we are living it.

I also am planning on podcasting about letting kids be kids in the summer time and keeping it simple. I say, bring back the old school childhood and summertime!

More on that this week…

Until then, happy weekend!

Keep in simple and enjoy the simple.

My favorite time of the day. Evening time and free range time!
Nothing says summer like a boy and his super-soaker!
His happy place
Evening picks.
God’s beauty- the blessing of food to be grown.
Our new additions! They are TINY. And adorable. Six Guineas.
Date night on the farm

How are you keeping it simple this summer?

JOIN US AT OUR LADIES WEEKEND!

Simply Living for Him Retreat

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SimplyLivingforHim

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Simple Summer: What We are Up To This Summer-Loving the Simple Life!



Summer is here! Can you hear me rejoicing from there? It is my absolute favorite time of the year. School is finished (and as always, the older the kids get, the faster the school year goes!) and the summer is just beginning.  I love summer!




I can not believe that my daughter has completed her first year of high school. I never, ever imagined we would homeschool high school, but we are doing it! And loving it! Praise the Lord.

Even though school is finished, we never stop learning. Everyone is busy around here with our little slice of hobby farm heaven. Love’s Farm is growing and we are loving each minute. All hands are on deck as we work on projects, chase after chickens, and grow food!

The garden is thriving. You can read all about our mission for our harvest at Loves.Farm.

My favorite time of the day is the evening- the chickens roam free, we work together in the garden, and sometimes end the night with s’mores! Life is good.

The simple life is for me. I love getting my hands dirty in the garden, watching the food grow, and working with the chickens and ducks. I love being outside and listening to the birds. I love doing life with my family.

I am intentionally trying to keep everyone unplugged as much as possible this summer, so I instated this rule:

If the sun is out, the electronics are off. 

(I actually said they can also play electronics before 9 am too, as long as Bibles have been read and morning tasks are complete.) 

I want my kids to experience summer and not just veg out in front of a screen. So, the rule will be if it is a yucky rainy day, then they can play electronics, but if the sun is out…they are out! 😉  Or if it is evening time, then electronics can come out.


So far they have been busy on our go-kart, having water gun fights, exploring the woods, catching frogs, working in the garden, playing baseball and basketball, and enjoying ice pops! 

I also have books assigned for summer reading, but other than that, we will let life and the farm be our classroom this summer! Aside for our church day camp, we do not have much formally scheduled this summer either. I don’t want to fill up our schedule with endless places to run. I want to be able to get together with friends, take day trips, or just enjoy the farm. No schedule needed! 😉

I am also holding a ladies prayer group this summer at my home every week. You can listen to my podcast about this here–>Starting a Ladies Prayer Group.

Lastly, we are busy preparing for the retreat NEXT month. I am working on my sessions to talk about simplifying. It is a very exciting time. If you are joining us, make sure you are a member of the facebook event page to stay up to date on the details AND that I have your email address. We are sending out emails to update each attendee as it gets closer. If you haven’t registered but are planning to come, please do so ASAP. We will have to close registration soon! 
Don’t miss out!

Happy Sumer!

How are you keeping it simple this summer?

JOIN US AT OUR LADIES WEEKEND!




© copyright 2012 – All rights reserved

SimplyLivingforHim

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Teach Them Diligently Atlanta


How do I even begin to share what God has done? My mind is still on overload from this weekend in Atlanta at Teach Them Diligently, but I will share that God is far bigger and greater and even more magnificent than our little tiny minds make Him. He has done such great work and I can’t even believe I am not dreaming sometimes when I see what He is doing each moment in my life.
This weekend I traveled to Atlanta with my 15-year-old daughter and my parents. Last year God did amazing work in bringing my parents to Atlanta to hear me speak since they had never been on board with me homeschooling. And last year, they were on board. It was amazing to say the least!

This year one of the things God taught me on this trip is that I have not ruined my children (can I get an Amen? 😉 ) If He calls you to do something, He will equip you. More than just academically, I saw on this trip just how prepared my daughter is for life. Nothing I did has made her this way. It is only by God’s leading and provision. But I saw that she is so independent and responsible. She is equipped for “real life.”
She set me up at all my presentations and she worked so hard to serve me. Praise the Lord. She talked to people with me afterward and was so helpful in every aspect of our traveling.

Her reward for all her hard work- Pizza Hut! After a long day of four sessions in a row, we took some down time in the hotel 🙂
And God has shown me that when I allow Him to work through me, He does abundantly more than I imagine. Before these trips, it is very easy for me  to listen to the voice in my head that tells me I am crazy for leaving my other kids and husband behind to travel, and I am crazy for thinking anyone would come listen to me speak…and then He always shows up. 
When I speak, I completely empty myself of ME and let Him fill me up and every word that flows out is through His provision. Speaking allows me to be fully who God wants me to be and every hinderance of caring what others think is thrown out the window, as I let Him take over every word.


It’s always confirmation to read comments like this one:

If you have the opportuntiy to travel to a Teach Them Diligently convention, I would encourage you to do so. It is like a glimse of heaven! You will be with like-minded families all in one place seeking Jesus. It is so much ore that a homeschool convention. It is a revival of hearts turning to Him for their families and the next genreation.

 And as I gazed at this photo I took from the plane, I wrote this on facebook:

Still collecting my thoughts from our trip to Atlanta this weekend- and preparing to do it again next week in OHIO! As I reflect though and try to wrap my head around all the work God is doing, the only thing I can think is—stop making Him so small. Our lives are just a little blip in time, yet He knows every detail and is in control of every single thing. When we make it about us, we have no joy because we are focused on our comfort, our wants, our agenda. And many times they don’t end up lining up with His plan for us. And when we focus on ourselves, we take our eyes of off Him. When we focus on HIM and seek Him above anything we desire, He transforms us and our desires become His desires. And then He does SO much more than we can ever dream or imagine. But getting there isn’t always comfortable or easy. He never intended it to be. That is what heaven is for. So while I am here for this very short glimpse of time on earth, I want every single second to be spent seeking His will above my own, and realizing the majesty that He is, and that life is all about HIM and never about ME. To Him be the glory.

There is still time to attend (affiliate) Teach Them Diligently Convention! NEXT WEEK (May 12-14) is Sandusky, OH. I will be speaking again and can not wait! This time, my whole family is traveling and I will even be meeting lots of friends and family there. It is going to be fabulous.



The speakers are so encouraging and it is so much more than just a homeschool convention. Hearts and lives are changed at Teach Them Diligently. It is God-centered and Jesus-saturated. GO!

© copyright 2012 – All rights reserved

SimplyLivingforHim

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Give MAMA a Rest This Mother’s Day! Simply Living For Him Special Discount for Mother’s Day!

Want to give the perfect Mother’s Day Gift? 

How about the gift of rest and renewal? 

How about a time away for mom to connect with other ladies!



The Simply Living for Him Retreat this summer is a getaway just for ladies. We will be spending time seeking Jesus in a beautiful location.

Read all about it HERE.


Register with this SPECIAL MOTHER’S DAY LINK!! Click below:




Just $99 for the retreat! (Lodging not included.)

Retreat includes: 

Refreshment reception lakeside and bonfire Friday night (worship, prayer, and welcome session)

Saturday: Worship, Prayer, Session, Mini group sessions, and LUNCH.

Sunday: breakfast, worship, and prayer with group time before departure.


Register here: (MUST Use This Link for Discount)

© copyright 2012 – All rights reserved

SimplyLivingforHim

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When God Keeps a Door Closed…What I Learned From The Chickens

Our chickens are such funny creatures. Daily, they do something to make me laugh.



And today, while they were up their usual antics I realized just how much I could relate to those little creatures.

You see, back in the fall, my husband built a little tunnel “breezeway” leading from our chickens’ covered run into our garden. We made this so we could easily let them free range in the garden, but they couldn’t always have access to it. There is a little door that we can open when we want them in, and shut it when we don’t. We have some hawks around here that fly much too close while those chickens are free ranging, so we then have to get them back into their covered run to keep them safe.

But those chickens love being free in the garden. They will line up at that door to get in the garden anytime we go back there. And if we aren’t going to let them out at that time, they will all just stand there squawking and squawking hoping for a chance to run and play in the garden. If I had all the time in the world to supervise them out there, they would have unlimited access, but unfortunately, I can not. And in order to keep the chickens safe from that hawk, I have to keep the door shut more than they would prefer.

Today as I watched them all lining up at the door and I had just seen the hawk circling (so there was no way I was letting them out) it dawned on me that those poor chickens just don’t understand. They don’t understand that I am keeping them safe from potential danger. They just want to get into the garden and dig up grubs! They have no idea that I am protecting them.

I realized I will never, ever be able to explain that to them either. 
After all, they are chickens! I can’t communicate about hawks, and protection, and all of those things to them! They will never, ever understand, but I know day after day they will continue to stand at that door hoping I will open it.

Aren’t we just like those chickens with God? 
Sometimes we stand and wait for Him to open a particular door, and He never does. And you know what? We may never know in this lifetime why not, or just what He may be protecting us from. And He may never be able to explain it to us or make us understand His infinite and His far superior wisdom in this lifetime.

Just like I can’t explain it to those chickens.

Are you standing daily at a door that God isn’t opening? Perhaps He is protecting you from something or He just knows better and has a better plan. We can’t always understand and that is ok. We don’t have to. Just like I have those chickens’ well-being in mind, God always has our best interest in mind. He is not trying to harm us or keep us from good.

What we think we are missing out on may just be His loving protection.

I joke about how much I adore my chickens…but really, in all seriousness, it is amazing how much I can learn from a simple afternoon of watching those creatures…and thinking about our God and His care for us.


© copyright 2012 – All rights reserved

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Our New Additions at Love’s Farm and Exciting News!


My husband and kids went to Tractor Supply on Saturday morning. The plan was to buy some bolts and some other odds and ends….just a few things.

Famous.Last.Words.

Shortly thereafter, I received a phone call. The kids were asking if we could get ducks. I heard all about how adorable they were and after all, we already have chickens and we wouldn’t need anything. And you know, we NEED them.

I knew just how cute they were because when I was in Tractor Supply just a few weeks ago I marvelled at those fuzzy little balls with the big bills and webbed feet. They were truly adorable.

So I told my husband on the phone, “You decide. I am not making the decision. I will leave it up to you.”

And as I hung up the phone, I said to myself, “We’re getting ducks.” I knew exactly what he would decide.

So now Love’s Farm has two ducks. I am excited to see how they will develop and to add more learning to our day. The chickens have really been a learning experience and we have enjoyed the whole experience.

We also have an announcement about our little farm! You can read all about it at Loves.Farm. Click on the About section to read what we will be doing this summer, Lord willing!

I really have to pinch myself sometimes. It is truly all that we have ever wanted and more out here. Simple pleasures. Nature. Outdoors. The simple life is a dream come true.

Some snapshots of our week via Instagram:

simplylivingforhimGo to @tractorsupplythey said. Just for a few things, they said. 😂😂 #ducks #LovesFarm 



simplylivingforhim
I have some new students for read alouds today. 😂🐓#chickens #LovesFarm#simplyhomeschool #realLifelearning

simplylivingforhimWe’ve had a huge pile of frogs eggs we are keeping an eye on in the stream. Today, many have hatched into tadpoles. Big brother teaching his little brother about them. #LovesFarm#naturestudy #simplyhomeschool#simplejoys


Join Me This Summer- The Simply Living for Him Retreat! 

At the Beautiful Lodges at Gettysburg, Gettysburg, PA.

Grab my books!

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© copyright 2012 – All rights reserved

SimplyLivingforHim

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The Year The Forsythias Bloomed Twice



I have always loved the forsythias. To me, they are the sign that spring is here. When in full bloom those yellow rows just shout,” SPRING!” And even though they really don’t last much more than a week in their full glory, I soak it in when they are here knowing it won’t last long. It makes me a bit sad but helps to appreciate them that much more, because I know they will be gone shortly. I often wish for just one more week with those beautiful yellow blooms….

I remember last year, early one morning I awoke and my eyes opened to see directly out my window, there were beautiful forsythias in bloom. I thought about how it was just another little blessing that God provide here in our new home. Not only did I love every detail about this home, here he placed forsythias on the little hill directly outside my window, and I could see them from my bed each morning. What a treat!

Well just when you think you have already been blessed beyond measure, God sure can surprise you and take it even further. You see, this year I actually was in for a double blessing with my beloved forsythias…

Last week as you all know, we were in Nashville for the Teach Them Diligently Convention. The whole weekend was incredible and I just felt God carry us through the entire time. The drive down to Nashville was actually quite beautiful. The whole drive was pretty much dotted by cows and purple blooms all the way down. It was such a peaceful ride.

At one point, as we neared Nashville, we stopped at a rest area and I quickly noted that the forsythias were in full bloom! It was my first sight of them this year because we hadn’t had ours bloom up north yet. It was a pleasant surprise for sure.

And then, after a week home…guess what? The forsythias up north are beginning to bloom. So this year, I get to enjoy them…twice!

Seriously. How amazing is our God? He blesses us so much all the time and sometimes we just need to take notice.

He shows me daily through His creation so many things, and this year I just feel doubly blessed. Literally.

Just when we think we something may be enough, He gives us more. I think about how far He has brought our family in so many things…homeschooling and just working in our family in general.  He has given me books to write and speaking events. It is all just too much sometimes. I could never have dreamed up this life, but He did.

And He shows my daily, that if I submit to Him and let go of my plans…His are abundantly more.  And He can do anything…

Even make the forsythias bloom twice for me this year.





Grab my books!

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Join Me This Summer- The Simply Living for Him Retreat! 

At the Beautiful Lodges at Gettysburg, Gettysburg, PA.

© copyright 2012 – All rights reserved

SimplyLivingforHim

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Teach Them Diligently Nashville- A Weekend to Remember

I’ve been trying to put into words our weekend in Nashville at Teach Them Diligently for a few days now. At first, I was just so physically exhausted I couldn’t even get my fingers to type. And then, my mind was just filled with so many things, I knew I needed to wait and sort it all out. So today, I am attempting to do just that. Bear with me…it’s just so much to tell you!
 
We began our trip on Wednesday at 4am. Well, actually 2:45 am when I woke up. Some of you night owls had probably just gone to bed, and here I was preparing to hit the road! Initially, when I woke up I said to my husband,
 
“Let’s call it off. Let’s not go.”
 
In his usual supportive and much more logical than me fashion, he responded, 
“No. Get up.”
 
Ha!
He always knows how to handle me in these situations. 😉
Anyway, I as I lay there at 2:45 am, every reason of why we shouldn’t go crossed my mind.
 
I have no business speaking to people….who cares what I have to say?
 
We have had to get friends to come and check on the chickens…again, guilt for asking for help…and just more to plan…
 
I am taking my family on a very long road trip…this is just too much work…the packing, the planning…what if something goes wrong?
 
Well, what if something goes right?…
 
And in the end, everything went right. Everything was smooth, and it was far beyond my expectations.
The ride was basically uneventful. Probably the biggest mishap was spilling coffee all over myself and my new Simply Living for Him t-shirt! But, hey makes for a fun Instagram post, so carry on..

simplylivingforhimCan’t take me anywhere. Already spilled my coffee all over my new shirt! #road trip #ttd2016#ttdnashville #keepinitreal

 
We finally arrived at the gorgeous Gaylord Opryland Hotel at about 4:15 pm central time. (Did I mention when we left, it was Eastern time? And we had, just a few days before changed our clocks ahead an hour, then crossed that time zone to move it back again…it was all so confusing! Ha!)
Gaylord Opryland Hotel- the view from our balcony!
 
We had arrived the day before the conference so we could unwind and relax before I had to speak at 3:30 the next day. We enjoyed a fabulous dinner at Chuys, a Mexican restaurant right next to the hotel at the Opry Mills Mall. I still wasn’t very tired considering the time change, the early wake-up and the whole trip…I was running on adrenaline, I suppose.

simplylivingforhimYummy guacamole!!! Grateful for all this man’s support and love in my endeavors. 😍 #ttdnashville#simplylivingforhim #FamilyWins@farmhausstudios

 
The next day was spent relaxing in the morning. I woke at 4 am, not really by choice, but if God woke me at that hour, I better  use it. I spent time in prayer, mostly praying for the upcoming presentation and the attendees that He would bring.
 
The kids went exploring with Daddy at the beautiful hotel while I went over my presentation and spent time in the Word. 
They also were sending me pictures while they were out and about sporting their new Simply Living for Him t-shirts!

Afternoon came and I finally had my first presentation- the one I had been waiting for! I spoke on my latest book, Real Homeschool: Letting Go of the Pinterest-Perfect and Instagram-Ideal Homeschool. I enjoyed it so much and the feedback was encouraging. There are so many of us out there looking to live for God’s ideal and are tired of what the world says is ideal!

After my session, we scooted down quickly to the Keynote session with Kirk Cameron. The room was packed and held 4,000 people. He was very inspiring, but most of all I posted this 😉

simplylivingforhimThat little blurry guy is Kirk Cameron! I don’t think when I had a poster of him on my wall in 7th grade I ever would have thought I’d be speaking at the same homeschool convention as him! 😂😱😜

 
Seriously, how CRAZY is that?

Anyway, we were going to head down to the (enormous) exhibit hall afterward, but since I hadn’t eaten before my session (nerves) I HAD to eat.
We ordered Pizza Hut (hurray for Gluten free!) and had to wait in the lobby for delivery. 
 
Meanwhile, all these pictures were being posted on social media with Kirk Cameron, because lo and behold, he went to the exhibit hall and was walking around mingling with everyone. The teenage girl inside me thought we should go down, but the adult (knowing he’s JUST a person like you and me) and the very hungry me won out. I decided to stay put and wait for my pizza 😉 I’ll be happy with my blurry picture from his session. 🙂
 
The next day began bright and early, as again I woke at 4am. I spent time praying for the full day ahead, as I had three sessions coming up.
I presented Bible Based Homeschooling: How Our Family Used the Bible as Our Main Textbook for one year, Called Home: Finding Joy in Letting God Lead Your Homeschool, and Don’t Run New Homeschooler: You CAN DO This!”
All of the sessions were packed full. My husband even posted this at one point.
I just love him 😉

simplylivingforhimThis was my husbands post– he cracks me up! “Karen asked me to take a few pictures during her session…. Got there and could not get in the room.Standing room only. So I did the best I could. I took a picture through the peephole on the door. Thinking outside the box.” @simplylivingforhim #ttdnashville#simplylivingforhim




The rooms may have been full, but my heart was fuller. I mean who am I that God would use me to speak to the hearts of these moms? Yet, He does. And I will go forth continuing to do so wherever He leads. If I think about it logically, it makes no sense, but if I let God lead me, then that is all that matters.

I do know that many resonated with my story of how I started homeschooling, and the opposition from my parents early on.
So many tears as I told the story of their transformation and my own. To God be the glory!

My favorite part of the convention was meeting face to face real life people. Not likes or comments on my blog post, but real hugs, real prayers while holding hands, and real talk! It was just a God-ordained time and I am so grateful.

The last day of the convention, I presented my heart: Simply Homeschool: Have Less Clutter and More Joy. Again, the attendees came pouring in and the room was overflowing. So many of us want to live more simply. I talked about how I truly believe the remedy to a cluttered life is JESUS. When we want more of Him, we will naturally desire less of the world.

I spent time afterward with some attendees and listening to their stories was just a blessing. I loved connecting with these moms! I was shocked that wherever we went, people would stop me to tell me how the messages I gave resonated with them. What a blessing! I can’t get over it. Thank you Lord for using me in this way.

We headed home on Sunday morning…ironically it was Palm Sunday, and also the first Day of Spring. A Day of REBIRTH truly. It was also the 19th anniversary of the day I met my husband. That was a time of real rebirth for me. SO much to take in as we drove home the 14 hours back to NJ. Again, it was uneventful. The kids basically watched Brady Bunch DVDs for the most part, and I just relished in the work God is doing. To Him BE all the GLORY.



What I truly took away from this time was that God is in control of every detail and He can abundantly MORE than we ever dream of, if we truly submit to Him. Not just say we trust, but walk in that trust even when it is hard.

I also saw so many women who are thirsting for Jesus. They want what He offers and not what this world offers. This world leaves us discontent and tired and overwhelmed. Yet, Jesus provides all we need.

I say I ran the whole weekend on adrenaline because really I had little sleep and tons of energy– but I realize now that was “Holy Spirit energy.” He provides what we need and when we need it.

When I came home I DID crash, but that’s ok, because it was time for rest then.

Teach Them Diligently is so much more than a homeschool convention. 
Homeschool is a very small part of what we are all doing- discipling our children. Teach Them Diligently equips families to live fo Christ Alone- with Him, and for Him, and above all else, to GLORIFY Him all that we do.

And HE was glorified at TTD Nashville!

Here are some more highlights from our trip. I do hope you will join me if you can next month in Atlanta or in May at the Kalahari Resorts in Sandusky, OH.

Hurray for meeting friends in REAL LIFE!
My daughter and Blimey Cow!
Who is the real kid here? Ha!
Crazy family. Love them!
A piece of my heart was in every room at TTD.
Thankful for this man and all he does to support me.

© copyright 2012 – All rights reserved

SimplyLivingforHim