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Making Adventure A Family Lifestyle

Making Homeschooling A Family Lifestyle (3)I spent half a decade traveling around the world with a backpack and a pair of flip-flops. My journeys took me to twenty countries, and my life was forever wrecked for living an average life.

The powerful aspect of my life then wasn’t found in the globetrotting adventures I thought were epic. My life was an adventure because my lifestyle matched my heart– those things that called out life within me.

This morning, I find myself in a very different place than I did before, but the adventure is the same. I wake up each morning in a small town new New Orleans and my heart is alive much in the same way it was in the markets of Jerusalem or the dirt paths of Africa. But this time, my adventure has a face: these two.

12694929_10153494458983235_7811721409336544469_oI meet so many moms and dads who have been tricked into believing that their lives post children have to somehow become hectic and unfulfilled. I was naive enough to think that way at one point too. Until the day my world ended.

On a rainy morning in August of 2014, my third baby, Beau died just before birth. I got up again and hoped once more. But like some families are keenly aware, lightening can strike twice, and we buried our 4th baby, Montgomery in July of 2015.

For a long time Josh and I struggled to find a way to live again. Each day is a new mountain for both of us in grief — even for our two living children. But we are determined to be intentional about loving life again.

This morning I woke up and heaped a spoon of dark roast coffee in my french press, surrounded by the sounds of small town America, and I realized something. My heart is coming alive again.

Our family is a homeschooling tribe. We love living, loving, and learning together all over the world. But where we are in the world is not what makes the adventures alive — it’s being together.

If you’re a home school mom or dad who has lost touch with that sense of adventure, I want to encourage you that it is all around you. There are still days that I look up and wish all four of my stair-step kids were running around me. I ache for that reality. But that ache drives me to squeeze every ounce out of the life I have been given with those I do have.

Creating a lifestyle of homeschooling in your family means that you find the adventure in the mundane, ordinary things, but also live our your heart-beat as a family.We use Mother Goose Time curriculum for our children, and this month we have been focusing on Health and Fitness in our learning journey. God challenged my husband and I to live out what we have been learning and teaching our kids. So we did something different this month.

One week contained lessons on types of foods, including veggies, fruits, dairy and protein. As our children were learning where our food comes from, we decided to take the plunge and buy as much of our monthly food needs locally from farms as we could. When we worked on protein, we took the kids to buy farm fresh eggs. We made our own bread when learning about grains, and in a few days we will make our own strawberry jam to barter with for local raw honey.

Our kids aren’t just learning what is necessary to make it in the American public school system – they are learning how to live out their adventures in learning. They are able to reach out in front of them and touch what they are learning about. And those experiences will shape who they one day become.

As a home school mom, I want to encourage you to take the gift of teaching your children as an invitation to live out your dreams as a family. Go on adventures. See the world. Don’t become overwhelmed by the details and scheduling and work load. Find life in your learning. And live it fully. 

Here is a sneak peek into our month of buying locally as a family:

Are you a homeschooling family who has lost your sense of adventure? Join us in being intentional about loving life together at The Davis Tribe

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How to Powerfully Tell Your Child’s Learning Story

The power of a great story. There’s nothing like it. When I published my first book, I was 23 years old, and I had struggled for years to learn the power of storytelling. We all have a story. The catch is that very few of us have honed the skills to powerfully share our story with the world. As an author, a missionary, and a homeschool mom, this is something that is very important to me to pass down to my children. After all, the greatest storyteller in history was God in flesh, the Jesus who drew thousands and audaciously turned lives upside-down not only because He is God, but because He was anointed with the power of story.

Jesus spent His ministry telling stories. They were that powerful. He’s stories were accompanied by miracles but those stories were the gateway to change and radical transformation to the one in front of Him.

Learning to powerfully tell our story is part of our mandate as followers, friends, and lovers of God. That same anointing will fall on us — and the world will never be the same.

This week, I wanted to talk about ways to powerfully tell your child’s learning story. You see, for us, our lives are just as supernatural while learning our ABC’s as they are while traveling on missions. We can find His presence in the ordinary every-day routines and our lives become our worship. One day when our daughter, Jolie was three years old, were were at a church worshipping. When we got in the van to return home, Jolie said, “Mommy, we worshipped Jesus at church just like we do at home!” In her mind, worship found its home in us – in our home. Can you believe that?! She didn’t equate church to the place of where we find God’s presence first — but saw our home as holy ground! That’s powerful! And it reflects the same attitude we have for learning. Our lives are our worship — and we can find Him in each part of our story.

This month I have received a few questions about our homeschooling story and wanted to answer them and give you a peek into some practical ways we have learned to powerfully tell our children’s learning stories each year.

What Mother Goose Time art and work do you save?

For preschool and pre-kindergarten, our family uses Mother Goose Time Curriculum. Having a company that can make my journey not only more convenient, but more fun is a tool I would recommend to every homeschool parent. Each month, we save all of our children’s craft projects during school and display them on our bulletin board. This gives the kids a since of ownership and reminds them of what we have learned. (It also keeps my fridge doors clean :)). Handwriting sheets go in their personal binders, and journal entires go in their yearly journals. At the end of the month, I take pictures of their projects and save them for our end-of-the-year project. I do not keep many of our children’s hardcopy crafts for over a month because our family travels and we have found that living simply means living free. I’m a happier mom, and I have pictures for memories.

What tips do you have for others on how to save child samples?

  1. USE YOUR CAMERA. I would encourage homeschool parents to utilize your camera for memories. Keep hardcopies of things that really mean something to you — to the ones that bring you the most joy.
  2. MAKE A DISPLAY AREA. Create a place for your children and family to honor their work. This is so important for kids to find pleasure, purpose and ownership in their learning journeys.
  3. UTILIZE A BINDER. We give each of our children a personalized binder each year to keep important samples and memories in.
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    We use this handwriting notebook. You can get a free printable  HERE!

  4. JOURNALING. Journaling at a young age is so powerful for children. Even when your child does not know how to write yet, they can draw pictures and learn to express themselves. These are one thing I do keep each year because they are so valuable to me.
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    Our journals this year!

  5. MAKE A YEARLY MEMORY BOOK/YEAR BOOK. This is by far the greatest tip I have for any homeschooling parent. Each year, I make memory books for our kids. It chronicles all of our adventures that year, memories that I want to remember and pass down, letters from us to our children, and more. It is the most powerful way I have learned to tell my children’s stories. I spend weeks on these and often use Shutterfly with a 50% off coupon. These are more valuable than gold to me. I have a goal of purchasing copies of these so that I can give a set to my children when they become parents and still have a set to keep for myself. The pictures we take each month of their projects go in there as well. Our kids love these books. They are their own story, powerfully told in a book.

Here are some examples of pages in our memory books this year:

How have you learned to tell your child’s learning story? Join us at The Davis Tribe

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Thinking of Homeschooling? You Might Be Asking the Wrong Questions…

Sure, you could read the 19 Reasons Why Doctors Choose to Home-school Their Child, or search the Top 5 Reasons to Avoid Homeschooling. Google is an addiction for many of us moms who are up at 3 am trolling the internet searching for the “truth” and answers to questions that “will determine our children’s destinies forever”.

Okay, I’m a bit dramatic. But I’ve been there. In fact, about once a quarter I turn into that anxious, Am-I-Doing-Everything-Right-For-My-Kids mom who searches for answers in the experiences of others. Most of the time, it leaves me wrecked with fatigue and no closer to answering the questions that plague me in making the best decisions for my children.

Before we decided to homeschool our children, I was lost. Most of the time I still am, but the difference is that now I know my “WHY”. I read mom boards online filled with unbridled passion of why you shouldn’t or why you must homeschool. Most of the time it just turned into cat fights from trolls who were desperate for a sense of interaction.

When Josh and I buried two sons in 2014 and 2015, our perspectives on life and everything really — changed. In January, we purposed our family to being intentional about loving life together. And I realized something. We homeschool because our family means EVERYTHING to us. It is the one thing in the world that we choose to invest all we are into.

Each year I make custom memory books for each of my kids. They are time capsules that highlight all of our adventures that year as a family. I had my answer right in front of me — pictures of ALL of us going on field trips to the aquarium, exploring New Orleans, traveling across 6 states, taking a safari, making cakes and cookies and memories that mean more to me than gold. We couldn’t do that if we didn’t homeschool. And I found my reason — my why.

We want to live, love, and learn together

So if you’re wondering if you should or should not homeschool, you might be asking the wrong question. Maybe ask yourself what God’s purpose and destiny is for your family. I know we’ve all been gorged with finding our purpose as individuals but that is merely a western mirage. The truth is, we are made for each other. What is your family’s mission? When you know that, ask yourself HOW that best can be fulfilled. For all of us it will be different. Could homeschooling help your family in the purpose God has given your family?

My children are in preschool and pre-kindergarten this year, and it has been an adventure for all of us, including me. Of course, our life is always a juggling game of balancing all of our responsibilities. If you have decided homeschooling is for your family and want to take the leap into that adventure, I encourage you to find a great curriculum team that can give you the resources you need in fulfilling your goals as a homeschooling family.

For us, Mother Goose Time has been essential to our success (and my sanity) in homeschooling. And really, if I can be honest, it’s enabled me to avoid becoming burnt out so that I can enjoy the adventures too!

Each month, Mother Goose Time sends us a box filled with all of the supplies we will need for the month in learning including manipulatives, prepped crafts, integrated games, and even a new book each month for our reading library! I will be posting about everything that comes in a monthly box next week.

This month, we have been learning with the theme of Going on Safari. Josh and I were married in Africa and lived and worked there before our kids were born, so Africa holds a special place in our hearts. We are even adopting 2 little ones from Uganda, Africa soon!

Check out some of our recent adventures this month! My 3 and 4 year olds even made their own cakes from scratch without me intervening at all. (except for the oven part 🙂

Tangents aside, if you’re a mom or dad who is asking the question of homeschooling for your family , I encourage you to look at that question with God’s heart for your family in mind. He has great things for you in store. Just ask Him. 🙂

Are you a homeschooling family or thinking of being one? Join us at The Davis Tribe on Facebook.

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To the Homeschool Mom Who Wants to Quit…

BECAUSE OF THE MELTINGOF METAL ONCE NEEDEDTO CAST A MOULDFOR TYPEEver had one of those days where you just feel like throwing in the towel on life in general? In the middle of those I-just-want-to-quit-life moments, we often feel like the feelings and exhaustion and disappointment are unique to ourselves. In the pressure of becoming our own version of “pinterest” moms, sometimes we aren’t honest with one another. Honest about the truth that we all feel like quitting sometimes.

If that’s you, if you’re struggling with remembering the why and who you are, I wanted to remind you tonight of how much you mean to your world. Because, you’re MOM. Homeschooling is a lifelong journey for many families, and if you’re anything like me, you try to become a college professor to your preschooler in an effort to give them the “best education possible” when the best educational environment possible is YOU.

For us, life has been hectic, chaotic and downright disappointing the last two years. I still remember the day 6 years ago when I married the love of my life on a beach in Africa. I thought I was in a living, breathing fairytale. But my fairytale quickly became a war zone.

For the next five years we would give all we were to having children. Our first was born 3 months early and weighed only a little over 1 pound. She not only survived, but thrived. I remember thinking we could conquer anything after watching her defy every odd thrown against her. But I was wrong.

A year later we had our first son, a healthy eight pound baby and I thought, “We’ve made it now.” When I became pregnant with our 3rd baby, a boy, I had such high hopes and thought I had scaled over wall in front of us. But I was wrong. Our son Beau’s heart stopped beating at 39 weeks, just days before his due date. We were heartbroken but we dared to hope again.

Soon after we became pregnant with our 4th baby, yet another boy, Montgomery. Surely stillbirth would  not strike twice. We prayed. We hoped. We believed.

But lightening can strike twice. And we buried another son.

But there were two other little ones who still needed me. And that is where the dance began.

It has been a hard journey for me learning to juggle grief and my role as a mother. Homeschooling our two living children this year has been a dance between mourning the life I had hoped for, and the loss we have all felt. And it hasn’t been easy.

Not all of us have felt the loss of a child, but most of us can relate to experiencing the loss of dreams. If you’re a mom who has experienced loss, or if you’re just struggling to juggle the demands of all the hats that you carry, I want to encourage you with what I see in you.

The demands of taking responsibility for your child’s education are many and the pressure of knowing it is up to you to shape and mold your children is scary sometimes! But you are doing it!

  1. YOUR KIDS DON’T DESIRE PERFECTION. Your children aren’t looking for a college professor. They just want YOU. The greatest gift you can give your children’s education is your presence and your time.
  2. YOU ARE A PART OF A GREAT ADVENTURE.You play a irreplaceable role in your child’s life and journey. You are needed. This journey together in learning is all about adventure and doing life together.
  3. CELEBRATE SMALL VICTORIES. This year, I have had to make a point to celebrate small victories in my journey in teaching my kids. That means we make an excuse to celebrate E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. We want to be intentional this year in loving life together.
  4. STOP COMPARING YOURSELF. Comparison is an awful addiction, especially as a woman. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of comparing ourselves with those around us. Please don’t. Find who you are and DO YOU WELL.
  5. STOP TRYING TO RECREATE THE WHEEL. When we first started schooling at home, I attempted to create my own curriculum and master the art of teaching all before doing my first circle time. I exhausted myself and spent countless hours trying to recreate resources that were already all around me. Pinterest is a great sight that has lots of great and free printable resources for homeschooling moms. Or find a great curriculum company who meets your specific family needs. We love Mother Goose Time.
  6. GET CONNECTED AND STAY CONNECTED. Facebook has community boards for homeschoolers in your region. Get connected with them. Join a homeschool co-op. Don’t fall into the trap of isolating yourself. Community can help encourage you along the way.

There have been many times that I felt like quitting. I was able to get connected with a great curriculum company who specializes in empowering homeschool families in their educational goals for preschool. With Mother Goose Time, everything I need for the month is shipped to me in a school bus kissed box. So, on days where I have it together, and days when I feel like throwing in the towel, and all the days in between, I have all the resources at my finger tips to join in the adventure of learning with my kids. They are having a blast. Having a great curriculum is like having great friends who can hold up your arms in times when life isn’t what you thought it would be. I encourage you to give yourself that gift.

Are you a homeschool mom who is struggling lately? I’d love to connect with you and encourage you! Connect with us @ The Davis Tribe

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Finding Time

stay close to

This morning, I should be waking up and celebrating our son Montgomery’s 6 month birthday. After losing two sons I constantly find myself on this roller-coaster-kind-of-ride of attempting to find how to live after my world stopped twice.

In the midst of the chaos that filled most of our lives, I have been intentional about finding time lately to live presently and fully where I am.

I looked at old videos of our kids today, and thought to myself, “Where did the time go?” It seemed like that was literally yesterday and somehow, here we are. I know a lot of you can relate.

Something God has been speaking to me lately is to simplify. We have gotten rid of nearly 50% of our belongings, purged our home, and developed a dream of being much more free as a family. He’s also been reminding me to find time instead of making my daily chaos and to-do list, rule my life.

Our family is a homeschooling, family business, ministry/mission focused, author/writing, all-in kind of family. That means most of my days are crazy. Our home is a school, a church, two different kinds of offices, a play place, a refuge, and more. It represents our world, and sometimes having all the “plates” spinning around us can cause us to lose sight of what matters most: one another.

School for us has to be flexible because our hours are often different day to day. Mother Goose Time is our choice for preschool curriculum. I’ve been so blessed to be apart of the MGT writing team this year. It has allowed me to focus on our big goals for our family, and leave the details to the pros.

I had a day this week where life was hectic. All of the demands of the day pressed on us, and as the sun went down, I had not been able to finish school with the kids. Mother Goose Time has 4 lessons a day that I can choose to use to teach my children. So, in all the craziness that we found ourselves in, school began around the dinner table tonight.

We have been Going on Safari this month. All of our lessons and letters are centered around that theme and the kids are enjoying it so much. Josh and I spent many years in Africa and were married there. We will be adopting from Uganda as well. So this theme means so much to our family.

Tonight, I heard, “Find the time” in the midst of chaos. And you know what? God turned that chaos holy.

Here’s what happened. Laughter. Love. And Learning Together.

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Will Homeschool Work For Your Family?

Our family travels a lot. We are getting ready to travel even more in 2016, and one of the most pressing questions I receive from people is, “How do you even have time to homeschool your kids?” Most people I come into contact, dismiss the idea of homeschooling because they think they cannot make time, or give their kids the adequate education that they long too. However, I run into many more people who are disappointed with the current public or private education experience that their kids are currently enrolled in.

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The most freeing piece of advice I can give to moms and dads is that homeschooling CAN be empowering. Let me take you on a little part of my process.

I envisioned our family’s alternative schooling process to look similar to the dysfunctional schooling experience I had growing up. I was lucky enough to graduate in a class of 62 in 2005. That is unheard of today. But growing up, I can vividly remember most of my education being outside of the school walls. Sure, I had great grades, but I loathed school. I was bored, and I felt trapped and I often prayed for the bell to ring from the moment I arrived in the morning until the final bell of freedom rang at the end of the school day.

I vowed that when I became a mom, that I would do something vastly different for my kids. And just like the indescribable panic that you get the day you bring your new baby home from the hospital — that feeling of what-do-I-do-now?– the feeling was the same when I plunged into teaching my kids.

I did not know what to do or how to begin. I was so overwhelmed. However, I did find something that empowered me as a homeschooling mom and that has been Mother Goose Time Curriculum. I searched the web looking for curriculums that would work for my family, and eventually found one that fit our family like a glove.

The greatest difference I found between other homeschooling curriculums and Mother Goose Time was the issue of empowerment. MGT empowers me as a mom. Instead of having to fit into a certain box, I am free to fit our learning goals to our needs as a family. I can be on the road, and have everything I need because it all comes pre-packaged in a box each month and is separated into days.

If you are a parent on the fence wondering if homeschooling can work for you, I’d encourage you to look up Mother Goose Time and consider if it will fit your learning needs. I’d love to connect with you if you are considering or are currently homeschooling at home or on the road.

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5 Tips on Homeschooling With Purpose

5 Tips on Homeschooling With Purpose-2

Throughout the years, we have attempted to be intentional about being purposeful in how we live out our family dreams and our everyday lives. Nearly 90% of those attempts were unsuccessful, until I finally realized what was holding us back.

Three words: The Almighty Schedule.

It beat me like a dead horse but for some reason, I always came back and failed miserably to fit our family into the boxes of those I saw around me. I honestly believed that scheduling our family meant that we possessed purpose. But the truth is, scheduling our family was suffocating our purpose.

I have a vivid memory from when Jolie was a baby and I attempted to “get it all together” by making an itemized schedule of the day set in fifteen minute increments. It was ridiculous. And of course, in the first day when we were already “behind schedule” it caused us all to react and live not only in stress, but also away from our purpose.

Now, five years later, we have finally discovered that routines work best for our family. And quite honestly, routines in our home are very loose. Our family thrives on unpredictability. Though, because we have toddlers, who thrive on a sense of security through predictability, we have had to be intentional about including the hallmarks of our day consistently.

Are you struggling between scheduling your family or developing routines? Here are five tips on figuring out which works best for your family.

  1. Know your family’s purpose. What has God placed inside of your family that needs to be shared with those around you? Some of us have been so stuffed with the ideology of discovering “our” purpose, that we do not know how to be a part of a team. As a family, you are a team. Are you a family on a mission? Do you know what that mission is? If not, think about asking God as a family what His dreams are for you. In the instance of homeschooling, ask yourself these same questions. Remember, that homeschooling can mean so much more freedom for your family. Be careful not to let the pressure to be like someone else’s model prevent you from living in that freedom.
    2. Call out the gifts in your kids. As parents, we know our kids like no one else. Our three year old son has an extreme gift of encouragement. I’m not talking about a tendency towards flattery, Tuck literally can motivate and enliven people around him with his words and observations. He calls out the gold in people everywhere he goes, and it hasn’t been taught to him. It’s just innate. Are you calling out the gifts in your kids? Those gifts can help bring clarity to discovering how to live out your purpose as a family. For homeschool, this is a great topic because it essentially asks you to find the unique learning needs and desires of your kids.
    3. Know the hallmarks of your day. Why do you do what you do? Each day, there are hallmarks of our day that we intentionally go through to build up our family. Some are small, like praying at the dinner table together. Some are routine aspects like our bedtime routine before bed. But all of these acts help strengthen our purpose for the day. In our school routine, everyday can look different. But we know that certain things, circle time, a craft project, our memory verse and a name recognition activity will always happen no matter what our schedule looks like.
    4. Reassess, Reassess, Reassess. Some of the greatest advice I have ever received was that I didn’t need to fit my family into someone else’s box. That was so freeing to me! I would encourage you to find what works for your family and to constantly reassess what is working and what needs to be changed. I was amazed at how many things I did throughout my days that lacked meaning. When what we are doing does not work for our family any longer, we change.
    5. When you don’t know the big picture, focus on the basics. Sometimes change can be overwhelming. And to be honest, God might not show you the entire picture for your family in the beginning. In the craziness of life, one of the keys I have had to remember is to get the basics right. When all else seems too much, and schedules overwhelm our days, I know to go back to our family’s greatest purpose in homeschooling: to enjoy learning and go on adventures together. This has been so freeing to me, because at the end of the day, I know my kids are living a lifestyle of learning. When we don’t have everything together, we focus on the basics and the routines that keep us focused on our goals.

Our life has been so hectic in the last month. We have been out of our home for renovations for over a month now and living out of a suitcase. I can’t tell you how much Mother Goose Time has saved me in schooling. Everything I need for school is sent to me before the month begins.

We are currently in Louisiana waiting to head back home to Mississippi next week. Even though we are on the road, we are still able to learn wherever we find ourselves. Routines have saved us. Schedules would have made us fail.

Today we started a safari theme for Mother Goose Time. The kids made their own passports and focused on where they were born and where they live now. They loved having African music on in the background as we learned.

Here are some highlights of our day. 

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Becoming A Family With Purpose

a guide to big city life & love.-2

We started off the New Year with 10 Ways to Dream With Your Family in the New Year. I will be writing a series on this later this month, but I wanted to also focus on the act of becoming a family with purpose.

Throughout the years, we have attempted to be intentional about being purposeful in how we live out our family dreams and our everyday lives. Nearly 90% of those attempts were unsuccessful, until I finally realized what was holding us back.

Three words: The Almighty Schedule. 

It beat me like a dead horse but for some reason, I always came back and failed miserably to fit our family into the boxes of those I saw around me. I honestly believed that scheduling our family meant that we possessed purpose. But the truth is, scheduling our family was suffocating our purpose.

I have a vivid memory from when Jolie was a baby and I attempted to “get it all together” by making an itemized schedule of the day set in fifteen minute increments. It was ridiculous. And of course, in the first day when we were already “behind schedule” it caused us all to react and live not only in stress, but also away from our purpose.

Now, five years later, we have finally discovered that routines work best for our family. And quite honestly, routines in our home are very loose. Our family thrives on unpredictability. Though, because we have toddlers, who thrive on a sense of security through predictability, we have had to be intentional about including the hallmarks of our day consistently.

Becoming a family of purpose is something our family is going after in 2016. Abraham’s story speaks so much to us because in it, God was so intentional about calling out a family into the world. It was the first story of family missions in the Bible, and it fascinates me.

Longing to become a family with purpose? Here are five ways we have intentionally focused our family in that direction.

  1. Know your family’s purpose. What has God placed inside of your family that needs to be shared with those around you? Some of us have been so stuffed with the ideology of discovering “our” purpose, that we do not know how to be a part of a team. As a family, you are a team. Are you a family on a mission? Do you know what that mission is? If not, think about asking God as a family what His dreams are for you.
  2. Call out the gifts in your kids. As parents, we know our kids like no one else. Our three year old son has an extreme gift of encouragement. I’m not talking about a tendency towards flattery, Tuck literally can motivate and enliven people around him with his words and observations. He calls out the gold in people everywhere he goes, and it hasn’t been taught to him. It’s just innate. Are you calling out the gifts in your kids? Those gifts can help bring clarity to discovering how to live out your purpose as a family.
  3. Know the hallmarks of your day. Why do you do what you do? Each day, there are hallmarks of our day that we intentionally go through to build up our family. Some are small, like praying at the dinner table together. Some are routine aspects like our bedtime routine before bed. But all of these acts help strengthen our purpose for the day.
  4. Reassess, Reassess, Reassess. Some of the greatest advice I have ever received was that I didn’t need to fit my family into someone else’s box. That was so freeing to me! I would encourage you to find what works for your family and to constantly reassess what is working and what needs to be changed. I was amazed at how many things I did throughout my days that lacked meaning. When what we are doing does not work for our family any longer, we change.
  5. When you don’t know the big picture, focus on the basics. Sometimes change can be overwhelming. And to be honest, God might not show you the entire picture for your family in the beginning. In the craziness of life, one of the keys I have had to remember is to get the basics right. When all else seems too much, and schedules overwhelm our days, I know to go back to our family’s greatest purpose: to love and enjoy one another. If we aren’t doing that, we’re missing the point. Small steps like focusing on my marriage and doing small acts that speak my husband’s love language, making sure to hug my kids and tell them I love them each day, and even enjoying a cup of coffee are all basics of my day no matter what is happening in our world.

As leaders of your family, I want to encourage you to ask God about the promises He has placed over your tribe. In Genesis 12, God encountered Abram and said, “I want you to go to the land I will give you. I promise that I will bless you, and make your family great. I will be with you in all you do, and because of you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

Abram, and later Abraham’s decision to obey God and live out his family purposefully meant that other families around him were affected. Your decision to live in the reality of the dreams God has placed in your family can directly affect families around you. What promises has God spoken to you about your family?

 

 

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WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR DREAM DIES

There are still mornings where I wake up and live the trauma all over again. Moments where I am caught in between the memory of holding our sons in my arms and begging God to bring life to them again. The only memories I have with my two youngest boys are also overwhelmed with great suffering, and because of this I must brave the trauma all over again just to remember their little faces.

My earliest memories are filled with dreams of being called, “Mommy”. I was the kid who lugged around an oversized diaper bag as a child pretending to be the mother of many. I put everything in that diaper bag, even a live raccoon once (no joke!) but that bag carried my dreams. Dreams that one day it would be time to live out those hopes. And eventually, that day came.

Becoming a mother has been the greatest dream of my life. I chased those dreams all around the world loving on children that were not my own in some of the poorest patches of dirt I could find. And when it became my turn to walk in that reality myself, I found out that my fairytale had become a war zone.

I married the love of my life in a whirlwind wedding barefoot in the dirt of Mozambique, Africa. A tall, dark, handsome guy from New Orleans ran with me to the ends of the earth, and I was head-over-heels in love with him. From day one, I dreamed of having his babies. I never dreamed the battles that loomed in the horizon.

2014 and 2015 have been the hardest years we have ever walked through as a family. In August of 2014, our son, Beau’s heart stopped beating just a few days before birth. I hoped again very publicly in announcing we were pregnant with our fourth baby soon after. In July of 2015, our son Montgomery passed away at birth as well. Those boys were everything my heart always hoped for. I carried those boys for 10 months. I named them. Dreamed of them, sang to them.

My dreams were dead — and I didn’t know what to do. 

The days following the death of our sons were a blur. I wondered what I should do in the wake of losing everything. Shock brought me through most of the chaos in the initial aftermath. But the journey to healing for myself and my family — Hell, even my marriage– has been long. I will share more on how to fight for your marriage after tragedy and on developing the skill of grief, but I wanted to share first on what to do when your dreams die.

Not all of us have experienced the death of a child, but most of us can relate to experiencing the death of something very valuable to us — and the death of dreams.

What To Do When Your Dream Dies:

  1. BE PRESENT. One of the hardest decisions I had to make after our sons died was to let myself feel the pain of loss. Most of us will either have a natural fight or flight response. Neither one of these responses are valuable in deciding to be present in pain. Being present means that I had to let myself be vulnerable and feel the death that was happening around me. 
  2. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. This was hard for me as well. I didn’t eat for days after Beau died, and I felt guilty for eating after a 72 hour labor with Montgomery. I felt guilt if I laughed or smiled. My attempts at honoring my sons were very upside-down. I had went through days of labor and natural deliveries of each son, but did not have a recovery period like most moms do. I didn’t have a baby to nurse, or to hold. It’s so very important to take care of your body when you are going through trauma. Nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalances and neglect to our bodies can cause the grieving process to be much more difficult.
  3. FIND YOUR VILLAGE. I have to admit that this was the step that took the most time for me. Grieving for my sons didn’t mean that I blamed God. I knew who He is and I didn’t have a time where I questioned His goodness. But I did have a hard time with people. Because the death of our sons was so public I had many emails from people around the world. 75% of those emails were filled with attempts at bad theology and/or nosey questions from individuals who wanted to know details of our son’s death. I even had a handful of emails from well-meaning people who wanted to “encourage” me that God “let” my sons die because they “could have been the next Hitler”. (Insert face palm here). I was angry. And my anger made me want to isolate myself away from the world. I didn’t know how to let people love on me during my grief because I was afraid of the weirdos who put their lazy theology on my situation. Eventually, I had to find my village — even a small group of people who I could be real with. People who wouldn’t feel awkward around my grief. The truth is, I needed them.
  4. DAILY ASK THE HOLY SPIRIT TO BE YOUR COMFORTER. Most people didn’t know how to handle our grief. It was too much for them and it brought up too much of their own questions about life and God and everything really. I almost felt bad for pastors who tried to explain why this happened. I equally felt bad for those who were okay with not having answers. I didn’t want to shy away from the reality of what I was walking through. But no one could help me with that process but God. One day, when I didn’t know what else to pray, I just dropped down on the floor and said, “Holy Spirit, would you come and be MY Comforter today?” The truth is that I had woken up to a war that I had forgotten I was fighting in. When I got married, I truly believed in the fairytale “happily ever after” mantra that I have bought into. But that wasn’t the reality. The reality was that I was in a very real war for my life and those around me. A supernatural  battlefield full of ashes and death. But that is where Heaven overwhelms earth so well. God can redeem the battles lost. He feels them alongside of us. He’s a King who finds His place on the battlefield with us and does not leave us. That means even in my darkness, God can eclipse my pain with HOPE. Hope isn’t a feeling, it’s the manifestation of God-with-us. He’s here even in our suffering.
  5. DON’T SET A TIME LIMIT. The grieving process even in the death of dreams will look different for everyone. Instead of placing a time limit on your pain, give yourself permission to uniquely go through your process as God leads you.
  6. CALL OUT BEAUTY FROM THE ASHES OF OTHERS. This is where God empowers you to find others who are struggling, and join with Him in bringing His power to a dying world. The truth is, the world is dying and so desperately in need of a powerful God. I know that power–the One who can change everything. The power that can raise the dead, and make blind eyes suddenly see. I’ve seen it. I’ve been there sitting in the dust under the African moon as a man–blind–sees for the first time in his life. I’ve been there as I’ve watched a one pound baby — my first born — born much too soon, defy every odd put in her path and rise with audacious beauty that made doctors shake their heads with wonder. I’ve seen His face in those moments of chaos and have watched Him turn them holy. And He can do that for you, too.                                                                                                         “He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, . . . to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” -Isaiah 61
  7. READ GOD’S DREAMS FOR YOU. When my dreams were dead, I had to make the choice to listen to God’s heart for me instead of what the enemy was telling me. I had to make a conscience effort to read and listen to what God said about my situation. Everything we have faced in our lives equips us for destiny. That means the battles I have lost are just as valuable as those that I’ve won. In our ashes, God has called our beauty by opening a door for us to adopt two babies from Uganda. I do not take that privilege lightly. I know the reality of losing a child. And I know the gift of adopting two beautiful ones means that someone else has felt that same loss as I have.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18.

 The death of a dream is a painful road to walk. Even in your ashes, I want to call out the beauty that God is rising in your life. As someone who knows what its like to walk through trauma and tragedy, I want to speak comfort over you today. I pray that God would overwhelm you with the awareness of just how close He is to the brokenhearted, and that He would empower you to call out beauty from the ashes of a dying world.

Have you suffered the death of a dream? We’d love to pray for you. Connect with us @TheDavisTribe on Facebook, or email us at davistribemissions@gmail.com

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Ringing in the New Year With Toddlers

Happy New Year! Can you believe another year has come and gone? For me, 2015 was a year of battles, some we won and others we lost. The deep ache we’ve carried in losing our sons has fueled our resolve to dream again with our kids in the new year.

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One way we are dreaming as a family in 2016 is committing to loving life together. We have been on the road for a month now and that means that my preschoolers are learning on the go as well.

New Years to me always represents freedom – a reset button that I can hit and start again. It means newness and hope for our family. We thrive on it and that also translates to our kids learning adventures as well. Having freedom in our schooling process makes our family thrive. Instead of being subject to someone else’s or institution’s schedules, we have freedom to integrate learning in our lives, wherever we may be.

Last night, we arrived in Birmingham, Alabama and rang in the New Years. It was a great night of celebrating what God had brought us through, and encouraging one another to look ahead to what He will do in us in 2016.

This morning, we woke up in the New Year and made bells to ring in the new year. The kids were so excited to have their own celebration tools. I say it often, but the greatest resource that Mother Goose Time has given my family has been the gift of time. All of my supplies for the month come   prepped and ready for the learning day. That gift of time means that I have more time to be with my family, and serve the other responsibilities of business and writing that I have to accomplish. Instead of being burnt out, I’m excited to be apart of my children’s learning adventures.

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Each month, Mother Goose Time curriculum comes with a new book for our kids to learn and read. It is great because it is relevant to the overall theme of the month, and the kids love getting a new gift every month in the mail. This month, our book is called, “Mississippi Musicians”. Our kids loved this because we live in Mississippi, and while on the road, this book essentially gave our kids a piece of home to take with them.

Take a look at the memories we made on the road this New Year’s while learning!

Do you homeschool your children? If so, we’d love to hear from you! Connect with us on Facebook at The Davis Tribe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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