Category Archives: Uncategorized

Homeschool Interviews

Over the next little while I will be posting interviews from homeschool parents as well as homeschooled kids. My hope is to encourage those thinking about homeschooling, who are already on the journey, those who are at the end of the journey (like me), and also just to educate those who are just curious about why anyone would homeschool in the first place. Although my homeschool career has come to a close, I am happy to share some of our experiences as well as the experiences of others.I am grateful to everyone who was willing to share their story  I hope you enjoy this series of posts 🙂

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My Favourite Things

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These are a few of my favourite things! Brisk walks on the longest freshwater beach in the world, swimming out to the buoy, the stunning sunsets, juicy corn and peach crisp, evening card games with the family….Summer in Wasaga Beach, Ontario; a little slice of heaven.

Every summer, we travel from British Columbia to Ontario to my parents “cottage” (which is the Ontario term for a dwelling near one of the great lakes, even though it is actually a four-season home). This year, my daughter, Carlee (18), and I are staying an extra three weeks longer, after the Canadian Labour Day weekend. The rest of the family goes back to their busy lives in British Columbia, while we get to stay where the beach gets quiet, the lake is warm and the weather remains perfectly summer!

This is Carlee’s “gap” year, meaning she has graduated, however she is not moving on to post-secondary education until next year. She has decided to do a “victory lap” which means she is going back to high school for a couple of extra courses but her year will be more relaxed. For our remaining time here  we will enjoy staying up late, sleeping in, leisure mornings on the front deck reading the paper and spending some quality time with Grandma and Papa. We will be taking a couple of day trips as well as a couple of little adventures: one to Montreal by train, and the other to the Stratford, Ontario to see a Shakespeare play. I am grateful to have this quality time with her before she leaves the nest. I know it is a gift.

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Carlee”tubing” with a neighbour friend

Today, I am feelng very blessed and grateful to my hard-working husband who made this lovely time out for Carlee and I possible. Love you, hon <3!

Keeping the Family Holiday

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Every summer since our first child was born, we make a trip to Ontario to see our families. Both my husband, Dan, and I are both from there and it was important to us to have our children develop relationships with their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. We collect Aeroplan points, shop at stores to rack up our Airmiles and do all we can to make the trip possible. We have made sacrifices over the years to make the trip an annual event. All of our vacation money, new furniture money, and new vehicle money goes into that trip. I have to say, though, it has not felt like a sacrifice and it has been totally worthwhile. Our children have meaningful relationships with their extended family. The bonus of this trip is the family togetherness.

My children are now young adults, 16, 18 and almost 20. With busy schedules and summer jobs, as well as the end of August being preparation for returning to university, it becomes increasingly difficult for us to take a vacation as a family. As a matter of fact, this is the first year in which my oldest son, Maxx, will not be able to join us. Although four out of five of us are going on the annual Ontario trip, we wanted to take some kind of vacation, even if it was just a short camping trip so we could all be together. We tried to co-ordinate a trip to Vancouver; perhaps biking the seawall, hiking the Grouse grind and renting a boat for a day. This never happened. With Carlee and Jonah working as lifeguards at the pool, and Maxx’s position as a summer student forester with West Fraser Mill, we could not get 5 days in a row where everyone could leave work.

We came up with a brilliant solution! We decided to camp at Moberly Lake which was about a half an hour drive from everyone’s workplace. It was great! I am the only one who stayed all day, the entire 5 days to be there when people came and went (me, the one who doesn’t really like camping in the first place :)). Dan had his motorcycle, Carlee used our vehicle and Maxx had his own car, so everyone could come and go to where they needed to be. By the evening we were all together, ate dinner, played games, went for walks and just enjoyed each other’s company.

There is something about being away from home, where there are no distractions so you can just focus on being together in beautiful surroundings. It’s healing, bonding and necessary (at least for us). For as long as we possibly can, we will fight for this family time. Perhaps someday it will include spouses and grandchildren?

7 Essential Habits of Christian Writers

This is a book review done on the 7 Essential Habits of Christian Writers. (I have written a piece in this book as well). It is free to download just for today!

Author Resources for Success

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About the Book

Could your personal and writing habits be holding you back from becoming a successful writer?

Perhaps you’ve discovered, as have many others, that being gifted or knowing you are called by God to write is not enough to be successful at it. There comes a time when every writer must develop the gentle art of discipline – establishing certain practices, or habits, that make it easier to carry out the right and good thing.

This anthology deals not so much with the technical or how-to aspects of writing but rather, with seven key areas that are seen as essential for Christian writers to succeed. They are:

* Time with God
* Healthy Living
* Time Management
* Honing Writing Skills
* Crafting a Masterpiece
* Submitting
* Marketing

Book Excerpt – Nonfiction

Navigating Voice by Pam Mytroen

A well-developed voice depends primarily upon listening. When our first-born…

View original post 700 more words

An Urban Retreat

Here I am in Vancouver for a dose of the big city. Well truthfully, I am here for little escape. Some people, most that I know, connect with God  more  in quiet, serene moments, in the midst of nature, beautiful surroundings, in the sanctuary of their home. Me? I seem to feel closest to Him in the heart of the city, amongst the busyiness and bustling of life. I feel centered, more myself; I feel God right beside me. I seem to thrive on the energy around me. I feel inspired and more creative. I don’t understand it but I am beginning to accept this reality.

I am fortunate to have these amazing friends in Vancouver that allow me a safe place to stay in a penthouse condo downtown, right off Robson Street. Don’t get me wrong. I love my home in Hudson’s Hope. Four acres, horses, a huge garden, a lovely house. I am truly blessed to have raised my kids in this beautiful place. However, life is changing for me. The kids are growing up and have their own busy lives. My homeschooling career is coming to an end.  Just before I left, a friend of mine wished me well on my “retreat” and it dawned on me….this was truly a place of retreat for me! So here I am, sitting in a Starbucks, happily typing away with no agenda for the day. Bliss.

To recap on the home front: Maxx, my oldest, has just finished his first year university in the Forestry program at UNBC. He works for a  mill about an hour away. The long days and the commute result in him camping out nearer to his workplace about 3 days a week. When he does come home from his 12 hour work day, he is exhausted. He has about 3 ½ hours of time before he has to get to bed for his very early morning. I am happy, though, that he works close to home, relatively speaking, and he does not have a summer job in some other part of the province! I feel blessed to have him at home for the summer.

Jonah is in public school, grade 10, almost full time this semester. The adjustment has had its ups and downs, however the academic transition from homeschooling to public school has been a very positive. He has got A’s and B’s (mostly A’s!) We are very proud of him with his achievements.

Carlee is still in Mexico, which brings me back to one of the reasons why I am here. I am going to meet her flight in Vancouver in a few days and fly back with her. Although I have missed her very much, her experience has been beyond amazing. In the past 6 weeks, I have been able to be in touch with her most days through Facebook. I can’t imagine what it would have been like for me before this technology. The sweet conversations, the selfies flying back and forth through messenger, allowed me to feel like I was right there with her at times. She has made new lifetime friendships, gained independence, looked many fears in the face and overcome them. She is coming back changed. I will be forever grateful to the Global Citizenship Program through Heritage Christian School and to Gordon Robideau and his staff for making this trip such a life changing experience for Carlee and her peers. The dedication to the students and this program by these amazing individuals is unequal to anything I have experienced before. A big thank you!

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I am the odd man (woman) out in my family. My ideal life would be to sell our four acres and trade in for a small condo with a view of the ocean, right downtown Vancouver. However the reality is that the value of our lovely property would probably still not allow for that, combined with the fact that everyone else is pretty happy where we are. But I am thanking God today for providing me these very special friends and lovely place to come and get refueled, filled up and re-energized to go back and take care of the most special people in my life, Dan, Maxx, Carlee and Jonah.

Vacation Therapy

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It’s a good thing we don’t know what’s ahead when we begin our parenting journey. My mom use to tell me that and she was absolutely correct! Parenting is no easy task and without relying on the Lord for guidance, it would be a whole lot harder. What we discovered is very helpful is this…….A VACATION! Just the two of us; my hubby and I. We started this new tradition last winter. A time out for us. Only us. A Mexico, therapeutic beach vacation. A time of de-stressing, reconnecting and remembering why you married each other in the first place! I realize that not everyone is in a financial place to do this type of holiday. We weren’t until last year (after 19 years of marriage!)  Actually, we still aren’t really, however it is a tradeoff for something else we would spend that money on. We have just made it a priority and God-willing we will continue this new tradition. This year we went to Akumal Bay Beach Resort, 90 minutes from Cancun.

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My husband, Dan, is a marine biologist by training. He dedicated many years of his life to this schooling, specializing in Oceanography. Now we live in the middle of British Columbia. No oceans here! However, still using his fish and wildlife skills, he manages the Peace River Compensation Program. It is a good job and he is a wonderful provider for our family, but there is no snorkeling and diving involved, which is what he loves. This resort was right on a coral reef and snorkeling was literally steps outside of our room. We saw beautiful tropical fish, giant turtles, a 5 foot stingray and lots of coral. Dan took it one step further and did a re-cert diving course and went on a fabulous dive!

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It took about three days to come down from our busy life. Once we did, we realized that our biggest decision that morning was should we walk the beach or the path to breakfast? Wow. We walked, and talked, we ate (lots!) and slept (lots!) and even danced a couple of times in the outdoor lounge. We remembered what we love about each other. Life can have a way of taking over and we operate in the place of just dealing with daily busyness and sometimes even the crisis of the moment. We fall into our roles and can easily start living them separately. That is not really how God intended marriage to be. He intended husband and wife to have their roles, true, but He wants us united, together and strong. Whatever it takes to achieve this goal, take time out, re-connect, re-unite and renew. Your children, even the young adult children will feel the difference, feel safer and happier because their parent’s relationship is strong.IMG_20150307_145154IMG_20150305_125437