Solomon.  You are four today.  You are such a gift in my life. 

You are solid and strong and powerful.  You and Elijah run races all the time, and while he has a good six inches on you in height making him able to run faster just because his legs are longer, you give it all you’ve got.  You run hard and are just barely behind him, which shows how much power you possess.  I have a feeling you do not even know yet how much power you actually possess…physically, emotionally, and relationally. 

You are expressing more and more of yourself.  You have always been tender, compassionate, and kind.  Now, though, you are learning how to hold your own boundaries and find some personal freedom in your own preferences.  Both Dad and I keep working to make sure we hear what you truly want and desire.  We are working to make sure to not let your kind heart keep you from expressing yourself. 

You love so fully and completely those who are special in your life.  Elijah and Daddy are your best friends.  You love each of your grandparents.  And you have loved having Uncle Vic live next door.  Lexie also became a special person in your life this year.  You love when Papa T or Uncle Fritz come to visit.  And you have really begun to embrace being Silas’ big brother. 

You very much consider yourself an artist.   And you really do have an eye for beauty around you, both in the natural world and in humanity.  This is such a unique gift.  I love watching it develop in you.

You also love to wrestle with Daddy, play with Duplos, play by yourself, play with Elijah, and watch shows.  Your favorite foods are grated parmesan cheese, tomatoes, blue naked juice, and “regular” cheese.  Your favorite shows include Wild Kratts, Octonauts, and Veggie Tales.  This year, you have spent hours playing with your superhero figures, “Lightning” cars, and “Dusty” planes. 

You are doing so well in Pre-K, catching on quickly to the themes we are focusing on.  You are working on letter identification, handwriting, math, and journaling.  You picking up so much during our learning time. 

You bring love wherever you go.  You are such an incredible person to know.  I am so glad that I get to be your Mom.

Happy 4th Birthday, Dude!


The Problem with This Picture: Why Are Christians So Afraid?

When I saw this picture on my Facebook newsfeed, I was appalled.  Not appalled in agreement with the statement the picture seemed to make, but appalled at the very statement the picture was making.  The picture included a 7th grader’s homework asking the student to list the five pillars of Islam and the parent’s response to the homework, which read: “Mayson WILL not be a part of this in any sort of way.  This is bad teaching material.  He will NOT partake.  If you have a problem with it, call our lawyer.  Ephesians 6:10, Isaiah 40:31, Mark 12:30, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, Psalm 46;1, Psalm 22:19.  How about Christian practices?  That sheet has NEVER come home, this year or last!”[1]


As a former public school teacher and as a Christian, I was appalled at this photo.  Not because I am appalled at what schools are teaching these days but because I am appalled at this parent’s response. 

First and foremost, this response is highly reactive.  When I was working as an educator, reactive responses from parents were the most difficult to navigate; however, thoughtfully presented concerns were always well received and usually came to a beneficial outcome for both the parent and the teacher.  The type of response in this photo displays Christians as highly reactive, defensive, and angry people.  Aren’t we as Christians supposed to be known by our love?[2] This is by far the most appalling reality represented in this photo. 

Second, as a former public school teacher and as a Christian, I taught within the legal boundaries of public education in America.  So, if I were to teach about Christianity in my classroom, it could only be done in the context of a comparative study of world religions or in the context of world cultures.  To be respectful of the laws of our nation (as Christians are instructed to do in the Bible[3]), if I wanted to talk about Jesus in my classroom, I would have to include a glimpse into a variety of faiths from cultures around the world right alongside a glimpse of Christianity.  At a seventh grade level, a quality world cultures class should include a glimpse into major world religions including (but not limited to): Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism.  That is part of being “in” and understanding the world around us.[4]

Third, and most importantly, Christians by design are meant to live on mission.[5]  So, it is surprising that any Christian would be so reactive, defensive, and angry at their child learning about various world religions.  If Christians truly believe that they are meant to live on mission, then learning about world religions is an excellent opportunity to grow in missional understanding.  Rather than fight against our children learning about other cultures’ religions, as Christians, we should view it as an equipping opportunity toward a missional lifestyle. 

Fourth, if Jesus is real and true, then we have no reason to fear our children learning the facts about other faiths.  In fact, the more we panic about our children learning facts about other faiths, the more we give off the feeling that Christianity is weaker than it actually is.  Rather than fearfully reacting to this homework assignment, this could have been an excellent opportunity for student and parent to have an in depth conversation about Islam and Christianity and the differences between the two faith traditions. 

At some point, that student will learn about other religions, but it may be long after the door for controversial faith conversations between the child and parent is closed.  As a parent, I would rather have thoughtful and open conversations about world cultures and religions when my child is in seventh grade then have my child process it on their own in their early adulthood away from me because my fearful reactions to homework assignments made my faith seem so terribly fragile. 

The only thing I can agree with this parent on is the need for a comprehensive world religions course.  If her child will be learning about the five pillars of Islam in school, then he ought to be learning at least about the basics of the Christian faith and Judaism; however, I still believe that this parent could have made a much better, more considerate, and more respectful request for a comprehensive comparison of world religions while also seeing this homework assignment as an opportunity to have an open conversation with her child and grow in a missional mindset together as parent and child. 

[1] Click here to view the photo.
[2] Matthew 22:39, John 13:35
[3] Romans 13:1-7
[4] Clickhere to read more about the “in, but not of” concept. 
[5] Matthew 28:18-20


How We Homeschool: Kindergarten

Because I spent four years teaching first grade at a public school in Nevada, when I began my journey toward homeschooling, I found myself incorporating much of my previous teaching experience into shaping the landscape of our homeschool set up. In this post, I will share what a typical homeschool day looks like for us, as well as a few of the most helpful links I used in preparing for our year. 


This year, Elijah is in kindergarten and Solomon is doing some Pre-K.  I chose to use Sonlight’s language arts and world cultures kindergarten curriculum this year as the foundation of our curriculum; however, I will pick and choose throughout the year what we actually use.  In the end, I will probably only use about half of their recommended books. 

I’ve also chosen to use Handwriting without Tears, Singapore Math, and The Berenstain Bears Big Book of Science and Nature into our curriculum for handwriting, math, and science respectively.   I have also incorporated a daily prayer time, calendar time, reading lesson, and journal time.  I have chosen to not attempt to read chapter books to my boys during school hours, but have opted to incorporate reading chapter books into their bedtime routine. 


We start school at 9:00 a.m., as soon as Silas goes down for his morning nap, and usually finish all our schoolwork between 10:15 and 10:30 a.m.  Our daily schedule follows this rhythm:

Monday – Thursday:

Calendar Time: general calendar info/weather/number of days in school)
Journal: a guided journal topic answered through drawing and writing
Read Aloud: I read either a Sonlight book or another book of my choosing
5 minute break
Reading Lesson: Elijah reads simple readers to me
5 minute break

Friday (“Fun Friday”):

5 minute break


These are a few resources that I found to be most helpful this year:

I began teaching Elijah reading using How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Lessons (click here); however, by about Lesson 40 this program was no longer working for Elijah.  The first 30-40 lessons were great for building the concept of reading; however, after the reading passages became laborious and lengthy.  After we completed fifty lessons, I switched over to using little readers for Elijah’s reading lessons (click here).  These have been much more effective for this stage of reading education. 

Journal Pages
I use these journal pages for our daily journal time (click here).  I stapled twenty-five of these between colorful cardstock to create monthly journals. 

Kindergarten Assessments
I am using this assessment as my guide for what we need to focus on this year in kindergarten (click here).  I did a beginning of the year assessment using this guide and will continue to assess mid-year and at the end of the year. 

What have you found to be helpful for you in your homeschooling journey?  I’d love to hear!!



Since there are quite a few new readers around here these days, many of whom I’ve never met in real life, I thought I’d take a minute to just say “hi” and introduce myself. 


I’m Katie. 

I am an introvert.  A blogger.  A creative. 

A sister.  A friend.  A daughter. 

Wife to Val.  Mama to Elijah, Solomon, and Silas. 

Follower of Jesus. 

Believer in transformation.  Doubter of religion.

I love peace.  I love order.  I love alone time.

I love playdo and paint and boys playing in the yard. 

I love evenings on my porch.

I am a West Coast girl in a Midwest world.

Teaching is my passion.

Writing is my calling. 

I believe in the beauty of the Kingdom of God lived out here and now. 

I mess up.  Often.  And desperately need grace.

I believe life is a gift.  And aim to live that truth out as reality.

I started writing this blog as expression of my core belief that all of life is an act of worship…whether worship of God or worship of something else.  I desire to worship God with my life.  I want to worship Him in my everyday realities.  I have grown in my writing to not only express life as an act of worship of God, but to also notice the presence of God in everyday life.  Me worshiping Him in basic, everyday experiences.  Him revealing Himself through basic, everyday experiences.  Real, honest, transformative writing. I hope you will join me as I continue to express those thoughts and feelings here on this blog.   But first, let me also introduce you to my people (as they regularly find their way into my writing as well)…

This is my husband:

Val is my husband.  We share a passion for the Kingdom of God actually being lived out.  He understands the everyday reality of the Gospel in a way that is astounding.  He's pretty awesome!!  If you want to get to know him a little better, watch the 90-second spoken word   below:

These are my kids:

Elijah is my engineer.

Solomon is my artist.

Silas is the happiest baby I've ever met!

I love my three boys!

I wrote a book once.  You can find that by clicking here. 

I am also on Facebook, so if you’d like to connect with me over there, click here to like my page. 

That’s me! 

What about you?  If I’ve never actually met you in real life (or even if I have), I’d love to get to know you better here!  Will you tell me a little bit about yourself?  Who are you?  What do you love?