Extraordinary Lessons through Challenges

For the past several months, not much has happened. I’ve learned through our journey with grief the past year, it’s that the extraordinary memories live in ordinary moments. 


This spring/summer, we’ve been working on a garden. Well, “garden” may be a generous term. We have squash, zucchini, tomatoes, and peppers. The zucchini plants took over most of the space. The tomatoes grew out of their cages but most haven’t ripened yet, and the peppers had to be revived from living in the shadow of the other plants. We did some serious pruning and the space is looking better. We have plans to do even better next season, but for now, we learn as we go. While we were pruning, I thought about how we sometimes have to do the same in our lives regarding relationships. Sometimes, people or situations have to be cut out in order for us to grow. It can be a painful process at the moment but lead to much more later. 


In addition to the garden, the kids each chose flowers to plant out front. All of Madilynn’s Daisy seeds blew away, or were accidentally picked when Peter cleaned out the weeds and dead herbs from last year. Most of Dietrich’s sunflowers also didn’t take, except for three. We’ve been waiting on the tallest one to open for a few weeks now. Finally, it opened, on just the perfect day to remind of us God’s goodness and faithfulness.

We live almost in the desert, so we really enjoy when it rains. Over the course of two days, we had about an inch of rain. This week, other people were able to see a meteor shower. We saw a different kind of light show. Semi-pro (hobbyist) tip: If you ever want to get great lightning pictures, take a video then do screenshots.

Technically speaking, we didn’t do a summer break from schooling. Instead, we worked on all the things we didn’t do during the fall last year. Since camps and traveling were canceled, we filled the time with learning. Even in a “normal” summer, the kids know they have to do something educational every day. This week, we took “official” school year pictures, but with my own spin. Homeschool kids don’t necessarily fit within their age-grade level, so I had a little fun.

As a homeschooler, two questions come up from non-homeschoolers. The first is “how do you make sure they get enough socialization?” and the second is “how do you know you are teaching them enough/correctly?” My kids get to socialize with people of all ages, in all stages of life. We aren’t limited to a classroom with people all about the same age. My kids know how to talk to people of all ages and carry on a conversation with anyone. We learn together with other homeschool families, sharing responsibilities and helping each other. We also teach critical thinking, not just regurgitation for a test. When my kids read or watch something, I ask what they think and why. We look for deeper answers. 

For the past several weeks, I’ve been working on encouraging and teaching my team in our business group on Facebook. This included a challenge for them to do live videos. I believe in leading by example, so I had to get back in the habit of doing daily videos also. Even though there are plenty of times I don’t feel like I have much to offer, I have learned that someone out there might NEED to hear my story. Videos are an addition to my voice, like this blog. Each platform may reach a different person, but either way, my goal is to provide value. Our stories are our superpowers

This year has been challenging. Globally, nationally, within our states and communities, things look different. For us, even in our home, we face a challenging season. My husband continues to look for a job. I’m so grateful for my business during this time, though I’ve had to do things differently with that too. What matters most, is that we keep striving, even when we are discouraged. One reason I spend so much time encouraging others is that it encourages me at the same time.


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