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It helps to know that everyone’s Christmas is broken. (Beginning with Joseph and Mary’s original version.)

December 24, 2015



Out walking last week, for no apparent reason, I found myself pondering the visual of a perfect Norman Rockwell Christmas; snowflakes falling, twinkle lights glowing, children laughing, stockings hung, all to the sounds of Bing Crosby crooning from the phonograph. And as the scene played out, I secretly wished for simpler days when Christmas was Christmas, dammit, and my Facebook feed wasn’t a bi-polar melange of the voters’ visceral, dark sentiments interspersed with articles like, ‘How to Survive a Mass Shooting’, just above Pinterest posts of DIY sparkly snow globes and Tasty’s tempting holiday dip recipes.


But…as my mind wandered, my thoughts went to the very first Christmas in Galilee. Don’t kid yourself, it wasn’t a pretty sight. There was Mary, 9 months preggo and presumably a pile of emotions leaving all her familiar surroundings and peeps at her most vulnerable moment, riding on a freaking donkey (ugh), with Joseph, unemployed, thus, odds-on edgy and irritable, trudging along next to her, making the lonely 3-day trek to Judea as an unmarried, extremely controversial, low-income, expectant couple. 


All the above because The. Man. had issued a daunting decree to insure that all the humans in the Empire had been officially counted by Roman government officials for the express purpose of extorting their hard-earned dollars through taxation, compelling them to report to their historical tribal cities. (now you’re getting the ugly picture, right?!)
Mary and Joseph had apparently not read the fine print.


Yes, of course they had the benefit of an initial angelic visitation months before all this went down, but let’s be real. They arrived in Bethlehem where they found no welcoming committee, not even a BED to sleep in, no sense of miraculous intervention and birthed their miracle baby Jesus on a pile of hay in a mini-barn reeking of manure with Old MacDonald’s farm looking on and not a midwife in sight. I can't help wondering if they had moments of deep, dark, questioning in their hearts.


Yes, thankfully for this young couple, heavenly confirmations at last arrived (!!!!) in the form of a spectacular star overhead, angels singing, keyed-in shepherds and Magi visiting with treasures and of course, talking animals. (just kidding on that last point!)


Shortly thereafter, in his attempt to find this promised baby-King wrapped in rags, whom Mary, a mere peasant girl, had borne (crazy how God chooses to work out the details of His plan, right?!), King Herod the Great, furious at being foiled by the esteemed wise men, ordered the slaughter of all male children under the age of two in Bethlehem and its vicinity.
  
An angel appeared to Jesus’ stepfather, Joseph, in a dream (oops, what now?!), warning him to flee to Egypt with his young family to escape Herod’s intentions.

On the road again. 

Another transition. This time with a teething toddler. And, NO Huggies.


So, we have unwed pregnancy, a step-dad, plenty of fear, government control never before realized, and overly-taxed humans.

A miracle baby.

Supernovas.

Choirs of angels singing overhead.

Influential men with valuable gifts.

Tyrants slaughtering babies - I think you’d call that a form of terrorism, right?!

So…what are we missing?  Just Bing Crosby and Pinterest!

It must be Christmas, after all!

Well God bless America, I’m relieved!
Jesus is born, Savior to all....Every. Single. Day.

Let’s celebrate!

(All the details can be found in the the Bible, the book of Matthew chapter 1 and 2. I enjoy the Message version when reading this account!)


 

Oops! Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house, not a creature was stirring! (How NOT to drive your kids away at the holidays!)

December 21, 2015

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas, indeed, but smoldering beneath the festive twinkle lights, there seems to be a pervasive sense of unhappiness associated with family holiday gatherings. Do You Hear What I Hear? Scores of adult kids don’t want to go home for the holidays. Is Christmas Without YOU, your adult child’s wish this year? Sadly, this is a common circumstance, and far too many parents are none the wiser.


As a recently inducted ‘empty nester’ with five grown sons...


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You can thank Anna Jarvis for today's celebrations....

May 10, 2015

Who’d have known the worldwide impact of Anna Jarvis’ tireless three-year campaign (beginning circa 1905) to establish a formal day of exalting Mom?!

 

Scrolling Facebook’s newsfeed on any given day, a random ‘mother post’ will appear. Perhaps it’s one mom’s happy day of pondering her role, or her long, sleepless night with a newborn, a pic of little Chubbles, the first tooth popping through Boo Boo’s gums, a sick day with Junior, a high school graduation, but mostly warm fuzz...


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Ten Home Schooled Naugler Children Seized in Kentucky...

May 8, 2015
http://www.offthegridnews.com/current-events/police-seize-10-children-from-off-grid-family-because-theyre-homeschooled/


As this story unfolds online, I'm waiting for Fox or another major network to pick it up and run with it to confirm the facts, but at first glance it appears to be one more government over-reach as an apparently strong, happy, healthy, home schooled family, (endeavoring to live in the freedom our troops fight for every single day) can't be left alone to thrive.

Joe and Nicole...

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Midwesterners Embrace Home Education!

May 5, 2015

If you follow me on Facebook, you know I recently had The. Best. time serving as a featured speaker at the Midwest Parent Educator’s Conference the last weekend of April in Kansas City, Kansas. The leadership team was a well-organized classy bunch of folks with generous hearts, exuding that unmistakeable Midwestern hospitality! Todd Kangas (pictured here with me at my vendor booth) husband, father and president of MPE is obviously doing a great job of presiding over this fine group of leade...


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You can have your Village! I'll take 'home' any day of the week.

April 19, 2015

Funny enough as I’ve been in a bustling 'tunnel of preparation' for my speaking sessions at an upcoming home education conference, there’s been lot’s of noise and buzz in the news this week about educating the next generation. I had to come up for air today to chat about the first headline…


After throwing her hat in the ring last Sunday for a presidential run in 2016, Hillary Clinton’s first official campaign stop in Iowa last week included a ‘round table discussion’ about educ...


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Should Junior Be Forced to Do the Dishes?

April 10, 2015

Yes, I can often be guilty of overthinking. And in this case, perhaps that’s my problem, but I’m trying to contain my incredulity as I read this article ^^^ on why kids need to do chores around the house. It’s taking up real estate in what would be considered a respected, widely read periodical and in my opinion is well written. 


But, really? 


Have we all degenerated to such a low level of existence that we even need to read such an essay??? So much so that we highly evolved (ahem) hi...


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It pays to listen to your husband.

March 31, 2015

 
Admit it.


Why do we marry someone we adore, admire, pursue and commit our everything to, then relate to him at times as if he’s a stupid kid? Just ponder for a moment how much husband-disrespect and disregard goes on around you throughout a typical day with friends, workmates, gym gals, fellow shoppers and strangers on T.V. I observe it all the time and sometimes I’m the guilty critic, chiming in with her two and a half-wit cents! 


Marriage is a team of two who most often have opposing...


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What kind of parents are we raising, folks?!

March 26, 2015

http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/parenting/a31760/balancing-mother-and-wife/?

^^^I don't know what went wrong here, but I can assure you this Good Housekeeping memoir article riding the web waves this week regarding 'mother-wife balance' is full of dangerous woman propaganda! One more voice loudly proclaiming the impossibility of being a contented wife, momma, and woman simultaneously. A mindset like this isn't a blessing to anyone, and if a woman is this 'mentally, physically and emotiona...


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You are a GENIUS.

March 23, 2015
You are a Specialist. An Absolute GENIUS. In something. And so is that kid of yours!

I just got off the phone with Paul. Paul is a mattress guy. We're not talking 'mindless, on-the-clock, employee of a mattress store,’ now. We are talking about a well studied, passionate mattress maniac! He knows more about the sleep habits of 10,000's of people worldwide than I thought I cared about, but talking to Paul Mattress Man made me hungry for more facts. Push his button and this guy disseminates mo...

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