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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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10 Ways to Dream with Your Family in the New Year

It was like I woke up from a long dream — somehow in the wake of burying two sons in two years, I had resigned myself to holding a tight grip on fear of the future. The bubble of “everything will work out” philosophy that got me through my early twenties was popped the day my world ended when our boys died.

I’ve learned in the last two years a few things that I hoped I would never have to learn through experience. But I have also learned a few other things that have taught me how to fight to choose joy in the face of suffering.

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One of those lessons had to do with dreaming again. We quickly realized that our two living children had experienced just as much heart ache as we had in the loss of our sons. And part of our healing process has been to navigate this road together as a family to begin to dream again.

Here are the 10 ways we are dreaming together as a family in 2016:

  1. Committing ourselves to loving life. If I asked you, “Do you love your life?” would you answer me honestly? I think many of us are semi-content with our lives, but I would venture to say that few of us love our lives in a committed, intentional way. This year, we are committing ourselves to love life together as a family.
  2. To dream God-sized dreams with our kids. Growing up, there was so much focus on me finding my “purpose” but no one every taught me how to do it as a parent. Our family’s heart is to release families into God-sized dreams together. We want to see strong marriages full of power and families living life together with purpose. We have purposed 2016 to going after these dreams together as a family. I will post more about this in a few weeks when we can share our announcement of where God is taking us in 2016!
  3. To be living examples of the Spirit of Adoption. This is something that God has been speaking to our family for years but this year, He has been consistently reminding us of an urgency in this area. James writes that the basis of faith is caring for widows and orphans in their distress. We have purposed our family to living intentionally in the reality of the spirit of adoption in 2016. For us this means adopting from Uganda.
  4. To invest all we have into empowering one another in our marriage. One day after our son Montgomery died, I looked up at Josh and just knew he was having a hard day. We were having such a hard time figuring out how to just survive that we were not living. I looked at him and asked him if he felt empowered in his life. When he told me no, I knew we needed to change our lives and our marriage. As a wife, I want to be my husband’s greatest cheerleader. In this last season of our lives, grief has made me realize that I haven’t done my part in making him feel empowered. Sometimes going after our dreams means fostering the dreams of others. When was the last time I asked my husband what his dreams were? I will be writing more about marriage ministries in the weeks to come especially for those couples who have faced trauma like we have. Statistics show that 80% of marriages fail after losing a child. We found out quickly that we needed to fight for our marriage and our family in battle of losing our sons. And fight we have.
  5. To become the best versions of ourselves and take care of and treat our bodies as audacious displays of God’s redemptive glory. I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of the usual weight loss resolutions in the new year. They make me feel so un-empowered and like I’ve somehow not lived life to the fullest in the year before because I didn’t have everything right. This year we have purposed to treat ourselves well and for us that starts with becoming intentional again with what we feed ourselves and our family and learning to love ourselves in a healthy way. I want a smaller waist, and Josh wants bigger guns, but our perspective and how we approach our body goals has changed. God is superb at redemption, and He is doing it in us even now.
  6. To make adventure priority with our kids. Each year, Josh and I have a date where we categorize our lives and dream up goals for the new year. There’s nothing wrong with this, but we have noticed how we often put our family life in a separate category than the rest of our lives and goals. Now, we are seeing God change our hearts to being intentional about including our family in our goals. We want to bring our kids on our adventures. And in doing so, we have noticed that this process refreshes us instead of draining us. Everyday can be an adventure. We are purposing to savor every day that God graces us with.
  7. To choose Joy in suffering and daily ask The Holy Spirit to come to us as our Comforter. There were days after our sons died that I just didn’t know what to do. I had kids to take care of, a business to run with my husband, I was homeschooling our kids, and I was giving my best attempt at writing my second book. One day, when I didn’t know anything else to pray, I just put my hands out and said, “Holy Spirit, would you please just come and be my Comforter today?” Being intentional about my healing in the grief of losing sons has made our house a safe place for our kids and has taught them that God is always for us. In times when I thought about quitting, I looked down at my two living children and I knew they were watching. They were watching how I chose to handle suffering. As their parents we have purposed ourselves to have hearts that are unoffended in the mystery of battles lost, in the questions of “why”, and in the fog of hope deferred.
  8. To intentionally call out beauty from the ashes of others. We are launching our new ministry, Those Who Dream in the new year for family missions and marriage healing ministries. From the moment Beau died, I heard God whisper over and over, “beauty will rise”. In the grief that happened with not one but two of our kids dying, we had many people who just didn’t know what to say. And to be honest, most of those that did say something, were spewing bad theology and their own ideas of how God would “let” this happen. Very few people were equipped to handle our pain. We are purposing our family to be those who intentionally call out beauty from the ashes of others. I’m excited to share more about our new ministry, Those Who Dream, in the days ahead.
  9. To daily speak destiny over our kids. As I have journeyed with my kids in parenthood for the last 5 years, I have noticed the impact of the words I speak over my children. Words had such an impact on my life growing up, and most of the time they were negative. I have had to spend my entire adult life, reversing those lies spoken over me and eclipsing them with what God says about me. This year, we have purposed ourselves to speaking destiny over our kids. As parents, we are the greatest prophets to our children. And our words have power. What are you prophesying over your kids?
  10. To ask Jesus to walk around our house. Our entire lives revolve around our home. Our home is a church, a school, a business center, a writing office, a sanctuary, a resting place, and so much more. Sometimes the busyness of life can distract us from finding His presence in the ordinary, the everyday, the normal done-again routines of life. This year we are purposing ourselves to ask Jesus to walk around our home.                                                                                                 12431683_10153418120518235_1909582960_nMother Teresa said, “If you want to bring happiness to the whole world, go home and love your family.” We desire to see families walking in the fullness of God’s heart for the world. What dreams is He is speaking to you about the new year? Are you dreaming God-sized dreams with your family? If so, we’d love to hear from you!
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Starting A Family Tradition of Freedom

 

December has been a month long journey on the road for us. We are north in Ohio to celebrate Christmas with my family and it has been such an amazing experience of inviting our extended family to join us in our learning adventures with our kids.

Today, we have been exploring the sights and sounds of winter through making reindeer masks (This was intended to be a reindeer hat, but being on the road meant some of my extra materials were missing, and in lieu of a stapler, we decided to make masks instead).

Now, before we get started, I must confess we are one of those families – we do NOT do Santa. But before you send me emails of how Santa rocks, let me tell you a funny story. Jolie, our four year old, loves shock value. I’m convinced its one of her giftings, actually. She’s supernaturally wild, and in being so, loves to constantly stretch my box of what good parenting is.

The other day, she came up to me and had to tell me who Santa Clause was and what he does every Christmas Eve. Now, we have never taught our kids about Santa, which means we’ve never told them he doesn’t exist either. We try to focus on celebrating Jesus’s birthday and rock out our traditions as a family each year.

But this year, Jolie started a new tradition in our family – she has announced that Santa is coming to our family’s home for Christmas. I love seeing how God brings them freedom that expands their prophetic imagination.

One thing I have learned through parenting such a beautifully wild daughter is that if I want my children to be free from bondage and live in freedom in all areas of their lives, I have to be careful to not let my desire to protect them override my responsibility to train them to become people who exude freedom, and whose lives free others.

Freedom in our lives is one of the reasons we decided to homeschool in the first place. Mother Goose Time, our curriculum company, makes it possible for me to live more free as a mother and a teacher to my children. Here we are states away from home, and I have everything I need to teach them where we are at. My children are learning what their peers are and much more because the world is our classroom.

Here are the letter cards that I laminated to review our letters on the road. I looped them in key ring hooks and they are great for travel. This week we are doing the letter, “V”.

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Our letter review cards!

Last week, I mentioned that I was going to write about the manipulatives included in the MGT curriculum package each month. This month we received colorful jingle bells in the mail. We used them for color memory practice and sorting, and also used them in math skills. There are so many games you can play with these manipulatives, plus they pack light which is that much more convenient for us!

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Our reindeer craft was so much fun. The kids enjoyed tracing their hands to make antlers for the deer. Since Jolie is obsessed with Santa now, her only complaint was that the nose wasn’t red. 🙂

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After we made our masks, we talked about reindeer tracks in the snow, which fit our month so well because it just snowed in Ohio. We rarely see snow in the south.

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Take a look at our fun in front of the Christmas tree during school time.

Are you living free? Are you living God’s dreams for your family? If not, what is holding you back?

 

 

 

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A New Christmas Manifesto: Unwrapping the Manger King

 

We have been on the road this month in six states while renovations are being done on our home. Yesterday we were informed that our roof was very damaged and because of the repairs needed, we will not be able to be in our home for Christmas. This also means that our kid’s Christmas gifts are stuck in Mississippi as well.

I’ve challenged myself to take on this news with excitement, because it forces me to teach my children the bare-bones meaning of Christmas. You know, there is a reason The King of the ages came naked and lying in a livestock trough. It was the greatest event to ever hit the world scene, and yet few knew about it. Jesus left Glory for the dirt, and it was the most supernaturally powerful act that had been done in history. Some of the most miraculous moments in our lives can come in other-wise normal-looking packages. We just have to have the eyes to recognize them when they come our way.

So, this Christmas we are stripping down Christmas to the manger. That simple, supernatural place where God finds His home in the most obscure place – in us. Instead of opening presents on Christmas morning, we are going to be throwing a huge birthday party for Jesus. I will write more about this after Christmas, but the kids are so excited to make Him a cake and make the day about Him instead of themselves.

Why haven’t I done this sooner? Probably because I was caught in the pressure of wanting to make “Christmas perfect” for my kids – to create traditions that last, and give them memories of an amazing childhood. In that strife, I was holding them back from some of the greatest treasures they could receive – being free to break free from what is expected.

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Jolie & Tuck decorating their own tree!

I have written the last week about how we are homeschooling on the road this month. One of the things I love about our curriculum provider, Mother Goose Time, is that I can involved extended family in our learning adventures. This week, our kid’s cousins joined in on the Christmas learning fun by celebrating our Christmas party.

What is amazing about MGT is that they include supplemental party packets every month for the kids to act out what they have been learning by teaching it to others. I love this aspect of MGT. This month, a Christmas Party Package was included.

The packet includes a full program of how to’s for a Christmas party and even comes with the supplies to do the crafts! We even had invitations to invite the kid’s cousins to the party!

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Here are some of our highlights from our celebration:

I love involving our extended family on our adventures in learning because oftentimes, homeschooling has a stereotype associated to it that is negative and mysterious for many people. My family has the opportunity to see the freedom my kids have in learning in this way and they find joy too in being a part of their adventures.

We also added a few food crafts to our party. We made snowman cookies and Christmas tree cupcakes. The kids loved using edible markers to draw faces for the snowmen!

Next week I am going to show case some amazing manipulatives that MGT provides including fun games with jingle bells! I will also be writing about how I get grandmas involved in teaching our kids!

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This new manifesto for Christmas is changing our family’s lives. It means we are becoming more free together and we are also learning and growing alongside our kids.

What adventures are you going on with your family this season? Is God speaking to you about a change? What dreams are you dreaming for your family now and in the new year?

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How to Go After God-Sized Dreams As A Family

 

We have been working hard this year to make our business go from being 50% to 100% mobile. Our ministry is launching again in January, and with a new book being written, our life needs to be mobile to keep up and stay relevant with our goals as a family. I feel so blessed that we can make goals for our family in all aspects of our lives, and more importantly do them together. We are working on the road, and going after our dreams together as a family. Check out our recent highlights of Disney on Ice in Biloxi, Mississippi!

For the month of December, we have been on the road in over six states. This posed a new challenge for us because our two children, (ages 3 and 4) have started preschool and pre-kindergarten.

I wanted to share this week about the benefits of homeschooling with our curriculum provider, Mother Goose Time. I cannot begin to explain to you how empowering it is as a mom, business woman, author, and minister to have the tools I need sent directly to my location each month.

Here is a look into our homeschooling adventures on the road.

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Circle Time in the Hotel

This month we have been learning about the sights and sounds of winter. One of the great mobile resources I have received from Mother Goose Time is their circle time CD and monthly theme CD. This is so great for when we are on the road because it packs light and we can have it on for the kids as we travel. This means that we can develop a lifestyle of learning, instead of struggling to fit in school time at specific times.

Here is a picture of our circle time CD and monthly theme CD.

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Let me give you a glimpse into my daily Teacher’s Guide:

Each day, there are four lessons that I can prepare for that cover different aspects of my children’s learning goals. The great thing about having this for our family as we are traveling a lot is that I can actually split these lessons up to allow for a flexible school day. If we have an hour in the morning, I can do the priority lesson. For us, this usually has to do with letter recognition and a craft to reinforce their learning. Then, later in the day, we can do the next lesson. This is great for us because we are free to live the life we have purposed for our family, without having to miss important lessons in fullness.

Tonight, when we reach the beautiful but cold state of Ohio, we will be making violins for our letter of the week, “V”.

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Reviewing our letters on the go

Do you travel often as a family for work or leisure? How have you been able to incorporate learning with a mobile lifestyle? Are you dreaming God-sized dreams for your family?

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A Look Inside Our Preschool Adventures

Homeschooling during the Christmas season is magical –supernatural really. My two are pretty wild children, and I love being on an adventure with them in learning. I can remember wasting so much time in school growing up. I had great grades, but instead of gaining a love for learning, I have vivid memories of praying for the clock to get to 3 so that I could get out of there. I was literally praying my life away! I didn’t know what I was missing.

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Our classroom bulletin board

We chose homeschooling because it is a natural extension of what our family values most — being together. My 3 year-old and 4 year-old are currently both doing Pre-K level work. We use Mother Goose Time Curriculum. Next week, I will give you  glimpse into our lessons with MGT, but first, I wanted to show you our bulletin board and crafts for today. My kids love our bulletin board. It is the “logo” of our classroom and inspires us each month on what we are learning.

This month we began with talking about the sights and sounds of the winter season. Down here in the south, it doesn’t snow, but we love to pretend and imagine we are in a winter wonderland. The other day while watching Peppa Pig with my 4 year-old, Peppa asks her dad if the dinosaur egg they are looking at is real or pretend. Daddy Pig exclaims, “It is better than real, it is pretend!” I love having that attitude in mind with my kids. Their imaginations are so vivid and real and I want to join their child-like wonder in any way that I can.

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Singing, The Little Drummer Boy

Today was a review day for letters that we have learned through the school year so far. We talked about the little drummer boy and made drums. The kids played with them for an entire hour this afternoon and sang the Little Drummer Boy.

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Want to learn more about our homeschooling adventures? Check out Mother Goose Time Curriculum!

 

 

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Advent & What Reality TV Taught Me About Christmas

I have a confession: I am a sucker for reality tv. The series, Alaskan Bush People is one of my favorites. It inspires me to see others living their lives in extreme ways — breaking free from what is expected — and being brave enough to risk everything for what they value most.

Our lives are so full that I usually only have time to watch tv around 2am (yes my days are long :). So there I was, watching Alaskan Bush People at an ungodly hour in the dim screen light of my laptop, and Ami, the mother is teaching her children about baking over an open fire. She has her own recipes specifically for the bush lifestyle, but that wasn’t what struck me. While she was knelt over the fire, her grey hair blowing in the wind, she reminded her children that she would not always be with them. Without taking another breath, she said, “I will live on in these recipes.” Her twelve year-old daughter understood that when she would carry these traditions on with her future children, her mother would live on in those traditions. 

That simple revelation is how I have purposed my life as a mother — as one of the leaders of my tribe. Having had to carry the pain of losing two of our sons in a years time, I have discovered that I cannot wait until I have grey hair to begin living a legacy behind in my children’s lives. Because, really, I don’t know if I have tomorrow. It’s not promised to me.

This advent season, we usher in the coming of the babe who left glory for the dirt to find His home in us. One of the traditions we have started is an advent tree. Advent calendars were much too expensive online, and honestly, my style changes too often to afford buying a new one each year. So, I decided to create my own.

We cut out star shapes onto white card stock and wrote down enough family advent traditions to accomplish one each day until Christmas. Then  all we had left to do was laminate the stars, punch a hole in each top, and thread Christmas ribbon from the dollar store through to make them into ornaments.

The kids loved decorating their own tree and each day they get to pick one off for our family to do together. We’ve left room for days when life is full and allowed for small traditions, and also have put some bigger, more time consuming traditions on the list as well.

Take a look at our tree. Not bad for $5 huh?

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What family Christmas traditions do you pass down to your children each year? I’d love to hear from you!

Here is a list of our advent traditions for this year:

  1. Hang Christmas lights outside with Daddy
  2. Throw a cookie decorating party and invite our friends!
  3. Read the nativity story and act it out
  4. Make a gingerbread house
  5. Watch a Christmas movie and pop fresh popcorn
  6. Go to Celebration in the Oaks as a family (This is in New Orleans)
  7. Learn a Christmas song
  8. Make homemade ornaments
  9. FaceTime family in Ohio
  10. Read, God Gave Us Christmas
  11. Disney on Ice!
  12. Have a hot chocolate and movie night
  13. Make paper snowflakes and hang them on the windows!
  14. Send Christmas presents to family in Ohio
  15. Take a drive in our pajamas and look for Christmas lights
  16. Go eat pancakes at IHOP
  17. Watch Veggie Tales St. Nicholas
  18. Visit a live nativity
  19. Jingle the neighbors (I will write more about this later this week 🙂
  20. Play Christmas music ALL day!
  21. Eat candy canes (My kids have never had one)
  22. Make a birthday cake for Jesus!
  23. Make cookies for the neighborhood and deliver them in person
  24. Open Christmas Eve Box!
  25. It’s Christmas!!!! Pancake breakfast and music all day!

 

 

 

 

 

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Welcome to Our Adventure

11960236_10153219188178235_3597973195663587461_nFrom the day we met, we knew God brought us together to raise a family who lived in the reality of God-sized dreams.

We wanted to thank those of you who prayed for us when our sons Beau and Montgomery were stillborn. Thank you for warring with us during another battle that we lost. We know first-hand what it looks like to win battles like these. When our daughter, Jolie Hope was born weighing only a pound, we witnessed her defy every odd thrown her way. We also know how devastating battles lost are. In the wake of losing two sons in such a short time, we’ve been watching for how the God-of-the-angel-armies would fight for our tribe and trump the enemy’s plans in triumph.

Now, God has opened up a door for us to adopt from Uganda, Africa. We were first married in Uganda in 2010 so this country carries much of our heart.

Because we are so thankful for your prayers during some of the lowest times of our lives, we wanted to invite you to be a part of what could be our greatest adventure yet.

Would you help us bring our son and daughter home?

Give to Our Adoption Journey!

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Broken Ground

Blessed are the feet that carry good news — the gift that God is closest in the storm — and the promises that our ashes cannot help but be clothed with beauty — ashes that become holy ground — ground broken to make way for His kingdom built. In this dust, beauty will rise. ‪#‎beautywillrise‬

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