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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!


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

At the Beautiful Lodges at Gettysburg, Gettysburg, PA.

© copyright 2012 – All rights reserved



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.”
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



Simple Living: Our New Improved Chicken Coop and Homemade Potato Bin

For those of you who saw my photo on Instagram yesterday about my problem-solving hubby, today I am sharing a video of how it works.

This was my Instagram post:

Reason 1,346,272 why I love my husband. We found out one of our chickens was eating/pecking eggs. If you read up on that, many recommend culling them (aka…to the crockpot!). Well, he quickly went to work doing what he does best: problem solving. He inserted an angled bottom to the nesting boxes so the eggs roll out into a compartment where only we can get them. This morning we found out it works. This perfect, extremely clean, and beautiful egg was waiting for us. Now there’s no chance of eating eggs or ever getting dirty. And for the record, my husband wanted to make this when he built the coop, but I said it wasn’t necessary. I WAS WRONG. #ilovemyhusband #LovesFarm #FarmerSteve

So, today I a taking you on another small tour of our little slice of the (hobby) farm life here in beautiful western NJ.
Check out our video of a new potato bin for this Spring and the new improved chicken coop!

© copyright 2012 – All rights reserved