Saturday, December 6, 2014

Christmas Hershey Kiss Cookies

I'm planning on making Christmas cookies this weekend. But I'm thinking about leaving out the sprinkles... what do you think? Happy Baking!


  • 48 HERSHEY'S KISSES Brand Candy Cane Mint Candies
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Red or green sugar crystals, granulated sugar or powdered sugar (garnish)


    1. Heat oven to 350°F. Remove wrappers from candies.
    2. Beat butter, granulated sugar, egg and vanilla in large bowl until well blended. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; add alternately with milk to butter mixture, beating until well blended.
    3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in red sugar, granulated sugar, powdered sugar or a combination of any of the sugars. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
    4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and cookie is set. Remove from oven; cool 2 to 3 minutes. Press a candy piece into center of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Makes about 48 cookies.

    Friday, December 5, 2014

    Burdened Hearts

    I'll admit it, I'm one of those people who gets most of their news updates from Facebook. I tend to be fairly out of touch with current events unless I hear something via word-of-mouth. Anyways... today I read something that left me scratching my head, I suppose you might too after this post.

    I came across one of numerous articles about Abortion protests. And honestly, I was heartbroken for those who stood on the side of abortion rights, but at the same time, I didn't know how to respond to the protestors (not that I could have an actual conversation with them).


    Let me begin by saying that I don't think I need to give a drawn out explanation of my views. All you need to know is that I am pro-life. The reasons are out there, and I already wrote out my views in an essay that I composed in High School. If you are interested, a simplified version of my beliefs stems from my faith in God and the practical science of pregnancy and the progression of fetal development.

    Here's the reason why I wanted to write down my thoughts on this particular article:

    A few years ago, I remember hearing stories from some of my friends who don't share my convictions about how disgusted they were with pro-life protestors. Some might say that this is a good thing. It means that indeed, the protests are getting people's attention. But I don't know if that's the right response.

    To be truthful, the protestors angered my friends to the point where they closed their ears to any reasoning on the pro-life side.

    Now you see my dilemma.

    What are we to do? Abortion is a real issue and I believe that there are very easy, practical reasons for not supporting that "choice." Most pro-lifers protest outside of Planned Parenthood locations because they have come to realize that many women are afraid and uninformed. I suppose this is true in many situations. I've also heard of many situations where protests have indeed made women question abortion and seek out more information. So is there some validation to protests? I would say so.

    But what about those who don't have such a response? My heart aches to think we are hardening hearts to this cause.

    Does this place us at an impasse? Don't protest because it make people turn a deaf ear. Do protest because it informs women?

    I think that we - as Christians - shouldn't be known for what we are AGAINST and instead be known for what we are FOR.

    We believe that God loves his creation - both great and small, both new and old. 
    We believe that God loves children, regardless of their conception 
    We believe that God takes care of us - even when we are in difficult circumstances. He promises to see us through if we trust Him.  
    We believe that babies are the everyday miracle (and really cute). 
    We believe that God will make a way. 
    I wonder what would happen if protestors changed their signs to be less critical and more hopeful. Isn't that what our world needs anyways? Hope?

    Wednesday, December 3, 2014

    The Doctor's Lady (Judy Hedlund)

    Lately, I've been in a reading mood, which of course, means that I've been scrounging amazon for new books. So I decided to share my newest read with you.

    As I always do, I skimmed a sample of the writing in google books, but I liked what I saw, so I bought it (It was a fairly cheap ebook). Honestly, I won't pay more than five dollars for an ebook. If it costs more than that, I prefer a hard copy. For a hard copy and a hard copy alone will I put out $10. But that's just me.

    Anyways, Jody Hedlund's writing (I had never picked up anything by her before) was incredibly reminiscent of Janette Oke to a certain extent. I didn't expect that. But I believe, her style is largely in part due to the fact that the Doctor's Lady was inspired by Marcus and Narcissa Whitman.

    I didn't realize the historical relevance until I read the author's note, but it was such a sweet story (and I do appreciate good research) that I wanted to applaud her for turning a true story into an engaging, novel-worthy story.

    Here's the BCC:
    Priscilla White knows she'll never be a wife or mother and feels God's call to the mission field in India. Dr. Eli Ernest is back from Oregon Country only long enough to raise awareness of missions to the natives before heading out West once more. But then Priscilla and Eli both receive news from the mission board: No longer will they send unmarried men and women into the field.  
    Left scrambling for options, the two realize the other might be the answer to their needs. Priscilla and Eli agree to a partnership, a marriage in name only that will allow them to follow God's leading into the mission field. But as they journey west, this decision will be tested by the hardships of the trip and by the unexpected turnings of their hearts.
    I really enjoyed the book. For the most part, I don't read, "based on a true story" type books because true story don't always carry the same tension that something more fictional might. Still, I loved the historical details, many of which were direct parallels to the Whitman story, even the secondary characters of Mr. and Mrs. Spalding. And maybe I'm biased because one of my own characters is doctor, but Eli Earnest was amazing. He and Priscilla... oh my goodness, I looked forward to every scene where they were in the same space (I can't say "room" because they were on a wagon train) because they would have the best conversations.

    If you enjoy the history of the west, or even the history of American evangelism and mission work - this book give great insight (with a wonderful flare of romance). She really captured the idea that often, People of the early 1800s (in this case, the 1830s) believed that the Native American ways (in this book, the Nez Perce) were heathen and inferior - it was their job to civilize them - rather than simply bring Christ into the culture. I suppose I never considered that. But Priscilla definitely enters the story with this worldview (Eli challenges her).

    But in summary, I would count this book among my favorite combinations of "historical" and "romance" in the truest sense.

    Find it on Amazon
    Find it on
    Find it on GoodReads

    Monday, December 1, 2014


    I have a new favorite recipe in my book.

    Currently, I'm doing all of my Christmas baking. In the midst of all the cookie craze, I decided to attempt something new.

    I'm sure that I've mentioned it before, but a significant portion of my heritage is Swedish. So I tried to make Pepparkakors (Ginger Cookies). They came out pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.

    • 1 cup butter (softened)
    • 3 1/4 cups flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon ginger
    • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (you can use molasses)
    • 1 tablespoon water
    • Extra flour for rolling out dough
    1. Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Set aside.
    2. Stir together butter and sugar until creamy.
    3. Add the egg, maple syrup, and water to the butter and sugar mixture. Beat the mixture until it's fluffy.
    4. Stir the dry ingredients into the mixture 1 cup at a time. Mix well after each cup. 
    5. Chill the dough for an hour
    6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Set out ungreased cookie sheets.
    9. Divide the dough in half and roll it out on a floured surface. Aim for 1/8 inch thick.
    10. Use cookie cutters (I like flowers and other scandinavian-ish festive shapes) and place the cookies 2 inches apart on the sheets.
    11. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until they are lightly browned. Watch the cookies carefully. They Burn easily. Transfer to wax paper to cool. 

    Sunday, November 30, 2014

    A Most Inconvenient Marriage (Regina Jennings)

    I swear - this might be one of my new favorite books (I have a runnings list). 

    The other day, I was looking for something good to read and so I was browsing Amazon for Christian Fiction. Anyways, low and behold, this is the book I came across.

    I scrolled down the page to read the reviews and I liked what I saw. Seems like this story is getting some good press (for a good reason). Considering I haven't read anything by Regina Jennings before, I might just have to keep an eye on any new books she puts out.

    Let's get to the chase...

    Here the BCC:

    Abigail Stuart Thought She was Jeremiah Calhoun's Widow.But Jeremiah Calhoun Is Very Handsome, Very Alive, and Very Perplexed.Most Inconvenient Indeed. 
    With few options of her own, nurse Abigail Stuart agrees to marry her patient, a gravely wounded soldier calling himself Jeremiah Calhoun. They arrange a quick ceremony before he dies, giving Abigail the rights to his Ozark farm and giving Jeremiah the peace of knowing someone will care for his ailing sister after he's gone--a practical solution for both of them. After the war, Abigail fulfills her side of the bargain--until the real Jeremiah Calhoun shows up, injured but definitely alive, and wastes no time in challenging Abigail's story. Abigail is flummoxed. After months of claiming to be his widow, how can she explain that she's never seen this Jeremiah Calhoun before? How can she convince him that she isn't trying to steal his farm? And will she find a way to stay, even though this practical arrangement has turned into a most inconvenient marriage?

    Anyways - why was this book so good? I laughed a lot and I couldn't put it down once I picked it up. Not to say that this book is entirely comical in content! By no means! My heart ached for Abigail, but sometimes I wanted to smack her for the stunts she pulled. She's a fantastic heroine. And Jeremiah - my O my. That boy. Equally well characterized.

    There is a point in books where you place yourself in the shoes of one of the characters, and you feel the plot the way they experience it. Every scene between Abigail and Jeremiah... I'm be as red as a tomato at times, but I'm also a sucker for medical history, I loved the bits about massage therapy during the Civil War. I'm not even sure if it was massage therapy - but something along those lines (I ought to know since I tuck medical history into my own manuscripts, but I don't. Oh well).

    I'm such a picky reader. But the friendship between these two, fighting against horse thieves and trying to help Jeremiah's sister, is so fun to read.

    Pick up a copy of this book if you enjoy a good Civil War/Reconstruction Era Christian Romance.

    Find it on Amazon
    Find it on
    Find it on GoodReads

    I'm a new fan of the Amazon Kindle Matchbook. I have the kindle app on my laptop. So what I do is I buy a paperback copy of the book (I'm a sucker for a hardcopy!) and then I get the ebook for just a few dollars. It works well for me because what I do is I go to google books and I read the first few chapters of a book I'm interested in. But if it's a good read, I can't wait for it to come in the mail, I have to finish it immediately, so with matchbook, I get a cheap ebook copy.

    God Jul

    I've got a mixed heritage - believe me, I'm an American melting pot. A simple explanation of my heritage is I'm half-Swedish and half a whole lot of something else (French, Welsh, Hungarian, German). However, because I'm mostly Swedish, I've grown up fairly familiar with that side and all of the traditions that go with it.

    Over the years, I've spent a lot of time looking into what a "Swedish" Christmas looks like. And so, with the Christmas season upon us, I thought I might share what I've learned. Maybe you too might want to carry out a "Swedish Christmas"?

    Click here: adorable vintage footage of a Swedish Christmas
    Click here: (favorite of mine) Swedish Christmas video

    Here's what I have. God jul och gott nytt ar! (Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!)

    And don't forget to put a candle in your window to light the way for the Christ Child!

    Sankta Lucia

    Across Sweden, and in many American towns, a holiday known as "St. Lucia Day" is carried out on December 13th. The oldest daughter of each household with her maids and star boys bring a breakfast of coffee and "Lussekatt"(Lucia buns) to the other members of the home. As they walk through the house, they sing carols, particularly, "Sankta Lucia." It's a breakfast in bed celebration that has roots that trace back to Italy and Ancient Rome. 

    Swedes adopted the tradition, possibly because of the "Lusse" folklore - a battle between light and darkness during the Winter Solstice. But with the arrival of Christianity and Lutheranism, a new tradition was born. 

    When the story of a young, virgin martyr from Italy came to Scandinavia - a woman who worked to help persecuted Christians - they were immediately drawn to the image of her attaching candles to her head (to light her way and keep her hands free). This story morphed into the tradition now practiced, mostly by Swedes, but throughout Scandinavia. 

    In Sweden, it is common for a pageant of sorts to take place to chose a local "St. Lucia" representative. There is also a national St. Lucia who is chosen, culminating with the "Globen Luciakonsert" in Stockholm (I've included some links). 

    Swedish Lucia for Dummies (official Swedish video)
    Full length video of the 2012 Luciakonsert (youtube)
    10 min clip of Luciakonsert
    Hear Lucia Song sung in Swedish (great music video)

    Night walks with heavy steps
    Round yard and hearth,
    As the sun departs from earth,
    Shadows are brooding.
    There in our dark house,
    Walking with lit candles,
    Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia!

    Night walks grand, yet silent,
    Now hear its gentle wings,
    In every room so hushed,
    Whispering like wings.
    Look, at our threshold stands,
    White-clad with light in her hair,
    Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia!

    Darkness shall take flight soon,
    From earth's valleys.
    So she speaks
    Wonderful words to us:
    A new day will rise again
    From the rosy sky . . . 

    Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!

    Jultomte & Julbock

    Like most Swedish Christmas traditions, the roots are tied up in folklore. But to be sure, they do have a sort of "Santa Claus." This Santa grew out of the Swedish lore of Tomten - little elves/trolls that inhabit the farms of the countryside and help with the chores. They were especially fond of children. 

    the Jultomte is their Christmas Tomte. He brings gifts to the children. 

    Drawing his sleigh is a "Julbock" or Christmas goat. This goat began with a history as a prankster, but he now accompanies the Jultomte. 

    Swedes keep their Julbocks near their trees on Christmas - but why? Well, they make these wonderful little animals out of straw and red ribbon to watch over their Christmas festivities - he's the Christmas police of sorts (making sure everything is done correctly). But in his early days, Swedes didn't want him in their homes! 

    One Swedish tradition is to sneak a Julbock into a neighbor's home and place him beneath the tree without being caught. The only way to get rid of the goat is to pass him off in the same manor to another unsuspecting family. 

    Risgrynsgröt (Julgröt)

    After Christmas dinner comes dessert! I don't think Swedes have ever been known for their food - Lutefisk? no thank you! - but I find this tradition rather sweet. (not all rice puddings taste very good, but if it's done right, it can be very good).

    The day before Christmas, mothers make a rice pudding, or Julgrot. A single almond is dropped into the pudding and stirred in.

    When the pudding is served after Christmas dinner, every person at the table secretly hopes to find the almond in their pudding. Why? Because the person who finds the almond in their pudding is rewarded!

    There are two traditions about the almond.

    1. If you find the almond, you will be the next to marry (much like catching the bouquet at a wedding)
    2. You will be granted a wish.

    One of my favorite storybooks as a child was "Annika's Secret Wish," which follows a young girl hoping to get a wish by finding the almond. A very sweet story about siblings.


    Jul is the Swedish word for Christmas or Yule. Lotta is a term that refers to the time slightly before dawn. In many Swedish Free Churches, Swedish Baptist Churches, Swedish Covenant Churches and Lutheran churches who hold to their roots, Julotta is a service that is held early Christmas morning around 4am (some services are done at 6 or 7am).

    I suppose waking up so early to greet the day seems strange to us, but the concept of Julotta is much like a Christmas Eve Service or a Catholic Midnight Mass. Some churches even put on Julotta, late on Christmas Eve, ending the service at midnight.

    With Sweden being situated so far north, most of the churches were very cold and poorly heated. No church member arrived early on purpose, nor did they stay longer than necessary. Folklore tells that the dead have a Christmas service at midnight and would attack you if you arrived early. But the primary reason was heat.

    After the service, Swedes would rush back to their homes to open gifts.


    Lussekatter (Lucia Buns)

    Temp: 375 degrees
    Cook time: 15 mins
    Yield: 20 buns

    1 cup melted butter
    1/2 tsp. saffron threads, finely crumbled (or 1 tsp. powdered saffron) 
    1 cup milk
    3/4 cup sugar
    1 tsp. salt
    6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    2 eggs, well-beaten, plus one egg white
    raisins or currants to decorate
    1 package dry yeast

    Crumble saffron threads into melted butter. Let sit 30 mins to an hours (this intensifies the saffron flavor)

    Heat milk to a light boil, turning off heat when it reaches the scalding point (with small bubbles across the top). Stir in melted butter, sugar, and salt. Pour mixture into mixing bowl and allow to cool until "finger-warm" (still quite warm, but just cool enough to touch). Stir in yeast and let sit for 10 mins.

    Mix 3 1/2 cups flour into liquid. Stir in 2 well beaten eggs. add enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough (just until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. You don't want to add too much flour).

    Transfer dough to a large greased bowl and turn to coast all sides. Cover with a clean town and allow to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

    Punch down risen dough. Lightly knead two or three times on a floured surface. Pinch off small handfuls of dough (about the size of a racquetball) and roll into "snakes." Shape snakes into "S"-shaped buns or other desired shapes. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet, cover with the town again, and allow to rise until doubles (about an hour).

    Decorate buns with raisins, brush with egg white, and bake in preheated 375 degree oven about 15 mins, just until brown.

    Pepparkakor (ginger cookies)

    Temp: 375 degrees
    Cook time: 6-8 mins (beware, they burn easily)
    Yeild: 75-100 cookies

    1/4 cup heavy cream
    2/3 cup light syrup* or molasses
    Almost one cup sugar
    3 ½ oz butter
    1 tablespoon ground ginger
    1 tablespoon ground cloves
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 tablespoon ground cardamom
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    3 cups (as well as some for the rolling out)

    Melt the butter and the syrup on low heat. Let cool before adding the other ingredients. Work the dough well. It’s important that the spices are freshly milled. Let the dough rest overnight in a cool place so the spices have time to fully develop their aromas. The resting will also make it easier to roll out the dough.
    Roll out the dough and cut out shapes with gingerbread cutters. Bake in the oven at 375ºF for about 6-8 minutes. Keep an eye on them as they burn easily.
    This dough can also be used for a gingerbread house. Just roll it out slightly thicker. 
    *You can buy light Syrup (ljus sirap) at Ikea. You can also use ”Lyle’s Golden Syrup” that you can find in British food stores.

    Risgrynsgrot (Julgrot) or "Rice Pudding"

    1 cup regular long grain rice
    1 Tbsp butter
    1 cup water
    1 Tbsp sugar
    4 cups half-and-half
    1 tsp. salt
    1 Tbsp butter
    Cinnamon stick
    1 whole almond

    For garnish:

    warm cream

    In a heavy saucepan combine rice, butter, water and salt. Bring to boil and cook covered for 10 minutes. Or until water is just absorbed. Add half-and-half and cinnamon stick to above. Bring to boil, stirring continuously. Let simmer, covered, for about 45 minutes. The half-and-half should be almost absorbed. The results should be creamy and tender, not mushy. Add the extra butter, and some cream for extra richness. 

    Before serving, hide the almond in the porridge. Serve hot with warm cream, cinnamon and sugar. Whoever gets the almond will get married within the year (or a wish).

    Now, these two are some family breakfast favorites that came out of the Hilmar (Swedish) Covenant Church where my dad's family attends...

    Try you hand at:

     Swedish Pancakes with Lingonberry jam and powdered sugar

    Swedish Cardamom Rolls

    Wednesday, November 5, 2014

    Learning Experience Truce

    I'm a bit disappointed in my peers.... the insults and criticism aren't getting us anywhere.

    It's not such a hot topic once you graduate High School, but growing up, I was very privy to the great home-school v. public education debate. And indeed, it's quite a hot topic, even now among Christians. I would even venture to say that a parent's education choice is often equated with good versus bad theology. 

    I'm only twenty years old, but I think I have a perspective to offer. 

    1999 - 2002 I attended a public elementary school
    2002 - 2003 I was homeschooled
    2003 - 2004 I went back to a public school
    2004 - 2005 I homeschooled again
    2005 - 2007 I went to a public charter school
    2007 - 2008 I attended two different Christian junior highs
    2008 - 2010 I attended public high school
    2010 - 2011 I took a year at home through a charter homeschool program
    2011 - 2012 I went back to my high school and graduated and graduated with an "A average."
    2012 - Today I attend college at a Christian University with a great scholarship as a History Major
    I'm not trying to prove anything with my long resume of different school experience, but I just wanted to start off this piece by saying that I've had the opportunity to see every side. Almost every piece I've read that discusses the argument has been very one sided and I'd like to offer a more well rounded point-of-view. 

    My word isn't law. I'm not a fountain of wealth. But I'd like to think that my experience might be of value to this controversial subject. 
    "And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ" Phil. 1:9-10
    "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will." Rom 12:2
     Before I say anything, I'd like to offer my parents point of view. As you can see, I've attended a variety of schools, none of which really fit a single category. I suppose that this is highly uncommon. Most parents have some opinion about the best way to educate their children - homeschool, public school,  or christian school. So why did my parents put me in all three situations?

    Well, Those two verses I shared above? That's a pretty good description. If you get a chance, go and read this article. It goes into far more detail. But simply put, my parents were always involved; we were always talking. Whatever my teachers taught me, we would discuss it at home. The idea was exercising wisdom and discernment through a Biblical worldview in every situation.

    Once we grow up and leave home, we will be faced with a very broken world - filled with Christians and non-Christians alike. Having the ability to access and act in those encounters is important.

    Public School:

    Honestly, I didn't have many Christian friends when I attended public school. Most of my Christian friends I only saw at church-related gatherings. I heard plenty of cussing during those years, I got bullied, and I had friends who didn't share my morals (drinking, smoking, extramarital sex). This is probably a very scary thought for many parents and students. But don't think that's all that happened during those years.

    I love my non-Christian friends. They are kind, incredible, hearty people. Every time I talk to them, I see someone God created and loves - I've done my best to show that to them. I learned a lot about sharing my faith during my years at a public school. When I was bullied, the school came alongside me and defended me, but I also learned a bit about confrontation and conflict resolution - especially with people who are difficult. Those years really stretched and pushed me.

    I love the Christian college I'm at right now, but I do miss conversation with non-Christians, NOT preaching to the choir, and the way my heart breaks every time I see someone who is a creation of God and doesn't even know it.

    That Brandon Heath song, "Give Me Your Eyes," is like an anthem when I think back on High School
    All these people going somewhere, why have I never cared? Give me your eyes for just one second. Give me your eyes so I can see, everything that I keep missing. Give me your love for humanity. Give me your arms for the broken-hearted. Ones that are far beyond my reach. Give me your heart for the ones forgotten. Give me Your eyes so I can see.
    My public school was pretty good, as far as academically rigorous. I was challenged in some areas and I enjoyed the teachers who taught my favorite subjects. I guess I'm a fairly literate person. I love reading. I know a lot about history. I have a general understanding of Math and Science.

    But here is something that most of the articles Ive read about school choice that won't address: Public school fits my learning style.

    I'm an extremely externally motivated person. I work well in a competitive classroom environment. I take in information best by reading and taking notes and then hearing a lecture and copying down the powerpoint. I get excited about group projects or individual presentations where I get to share something that I care about with a group.

    Christian School:

    I know a lot of people who are huge advocates of Christian education. Some even call it the alternative to homeschooling for those parents who don't have the wherewithal to homeschool. I suppose that's a valid claim. I can't say it's a bad option - I have attended Christian schools and I even now attend one by my own volition.

    But Christian schools are not the catchall solution to a Christian education. I think you can develop a Christian worldview wherever you attend.

    To be frank, some of my experiences at a Christian school were terrible. It's often said that church is a hospital, not a monument to perfect people. So surrounding myself with other believers was not an escape from "mean people." One of my greatest hurts from Christian school was inflicted by a well-intentioned teacher. Christians have their hurts and hangups too. And not all students who attend Christian schools are believers.

    But that said, attending a Christian school taught me a lot about loving God's church - warts and all. In Romans, Paul says that it's easy to love people who are kind to you, but Christ showed his love for us by loving us while we were STILL sinners.

    On the upside. I got a lot out of the small class size. Two of my favorite teachers are from my years at Christian schools. They were amazing ladies. I didn't have a lot of friends among my classmates (due to the small class sizes - Christian school kids can be a bit clique-ish) but some days I would spend hours with my teachers talking about subject material, art, books, etc. They were an incredible encouragement to me.

    Home Schooling

    Some of my best friends are homeschooled. I've been homeschooled.

    I have to laugh as I write this, however. Remember what I said about being externally motivated? Well, one of the qualities of a good homeschooler is being internally motivated/self-driven. The second requirement is a very-well structured environment.

    Put simply, My mom and I couldn't quite manage those two things. We flopped all over the place and I learned how to talk my way out of anything and everything. I did better when I tried again my Junior year with the Charter program, but I think that because we had an Education Specialist (ES) checking in on us monthly, there was a bit of an accountability factor that kept me going.

    Honestly, in order to get work done, my mom and I had to simulate a class-room style lesson plan. I would watch videos of teachers lecturing on each subject.

    Homeschooling taught my mom and I a lot about prayer and depending on God to get us through.

    But I missed seeing my friends every day. Certainly I saw them at youth group and we'd get together on a regular basis, but not as much as I would have liked. Don't get me wrong, this isn't the same experience every homeschooler has. I know many who are heavily involved in co-ops and get a lot of the class-room experience that way. They see their friends more often than I did. And I know that many of them are extremely active in extra curricular activities where they meet all kinds of people.

    But honestly, homeschooling didn't suit me very well, my mom and I just weren't very cut out for it. Now, you could argue that we should have tried harder - that may have made a difference. But I think home-schooling made my mom tired. Putting together my schoolwork was a lot on top of being a wife and homemaker. I think she got more accomplished during the day when she had a few hours to herself while my brother and I were at school.

    On the upside! I took voice lessons while I was homeschooled. That was incredible. Through the Charter, we had free curriculum available to us. I could have taken any language I wanted to, technically, if I hadn't already started on Spanish. And those funds counted towards those voice lessons.

    For English, I had more choice over the books I wanted to read. While my parents and I were often frustrated with my public school's choice of fiction (Catcher In the Rye, Siddhartha), my mom and I hand-selected the books we wanted to read. Don't get me wrong, they were literary classics, but we got to toss out a few with questionable content. My junior year, I read "My Antonia," "Uncle Tom's Cabin," "The Great Gatsby," and one Christian book called, "Peace Child."


    I've had both positive and negative experiences in every learning environment. I don't think there's a right or wrong answer about what the "most Biblical" choice is. I think that the real answer lies in seeking God in everything you do. Look for Him in every person you meet, every circumstance you face, and every idea you are presented with. Remember that when Jesus ascended to heaven, he called us to share the gospel with others. So no matter what school option you choose, seek opportunities to share your faith. And also, remember that everyone has a different learning style that is better suited to different learning environments.

    Make the best of whatever type of schooling you are involved in. God will use you and take care of you WHEREVER He puts you.

    Can we call a truce?