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Monthly Archives: April 2013

Travelling with Food Restrictions

A few months ago, I met a friend on facebook. I started stalking reading her blog. It quickly became one of my go-to blogs for encouragement. Then one day, she sent me a message that her son recognized my facebook picture. Turns out, they just started attending our church. Her son recognized me from the times I volunteer in the children’s area. How cool is that?! Now we are becoming IRL friends. (That means In Real Life.)

Today (right now, in fact) I would love for you to hop over to Whole Family Strong and read a post I wrote as a guest blogger on her site.

Whole Family Strong

CLICK THIS LINK to go there.

While you read the article, know that God’s timing is incredible. Jacque didn’t know it, but the day she posted that, we were travelling. I didn’t plan for the meal in the car. (It was one of those, we were leaving early and could eat when we arrived, since it was only a two hour trip, but delay after delay created a need to eat on the road.) We stopped at a grocery store and were all picking out meals. I don’t know who threw the biggest fit on aisle 5, me or my child. One of my kids even called me out about my behavior. Not a proud moment. I was pouting over the lack of food items I could eat and grumpily choose a salad. Now that I’m posting this, I’m spending the day PLANNING because we have another trip ahead of us. I’m determined to have a positive attitude this time. Thanks for the reminder, Jacque. God, your timing is *almost* funny. You orchestrated all of this, you’ll be the one I’m turning to…

Oh! And while you are there, check out the pictures of their new baby. She really is as adorable as the pictures. I can’t wait to hold her again!

If I can trust God for a loft bed, I can trust Him for bigger things, right?!

A lesson in trust I’m still learning –

In a conversation with my daughter, I asked her what would make her happy with her room. Her room has issues – I guess you can say it’s a work in progress. We turned a dining room into a bedroom, so it doesn’t have a closet. At one point her room didn’t have doors. Now it has doors, but still no closet. I dare you to look inside of most tween girls (in America) closet. No thanks! That’s a dare for sure! Closets are the place where little girl meets teen. Pretend dress up shoes next to the first pair of real heels. Dolls and lip gloss share a shelf. Not having a closet leads to lots of piles and corners stuffed with memories. We were brainstorming solutions. One idea was to change her bed into a loft bed. Right in the middle of a normal, everyday conversation something major slipped out of my mouth.

If you want a loft bed, pray for one. Trust God to provide.

I challenged her to pray. Trust.

Then I quickly wanted to forget the whole conversation because I don’t have the energy to redecorate a room right now.

Later that day, my husband heard of the plans and gave me the “what are you guys up to” look. I assured him I wasn’t blowing our budget and that we were just brainstorming. Then it hit me. Why not pray? Why not seriously pray for a bed? Why did I challenge her to pray for something – was I setting her up for excuses and you just must not have prayed hard enough scenarios? Or was I really going to trust and pray along with her?

Those thought lead me straight to my knees. I simply prayed and trusted.

Two days later I went to a garage sale. I wanted four items. I prayed for God to provide. One of those was a loft bed. No bed. So I prayed again.

The next day, someone in our neighborhood listed a loft bed for $5o. Within an hour I knocked on the door. I prayed again and then offered $40. SOLD!

The bed is now in our daughter’s room. Every time I look at the bed, I thank God for his provisions.

Now it’s two days later. My daughter’s desire to serve God overseas is sprouting wings! The opportunity to go on a mission trip fell into our lap! It’s way out of our budget. Not only that, the date of the trip was moved up several weeks. That left us not much time to raise the needed funds. The night the tickets were purchased, I didn’t sleep. How quickly I forgot the trust and provision of the loft bed.

After two days of worry – I fell before God asking for his forgiveness. I wasn’t trusting. My faith was weak. I trust in the easy, non-life changing things – but when it comes to the major stuff, I worry. I often believe for others, but when it comes right down to it, I don’t always trust the good will come to me.

He forgives and makes things new. My faith is stronger and I trust he will provide. Not only that, I have a new expectancy that great things are going to come from this! My excitement builds each day.

I will tell you that a part of me still struggles. Doubts creep in. Fear seeps into my thoughts and dreams. That fear and doubt is not from God.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith 1 Peter 5:7-9

I trust you, Lord, for loft beds and mission trips. Above that, I trust you with my girls – my heart.

Weak faith builds weak bridges. Faith and trust builds a bridge with a strong foundation!

Please pray for us as we stand strong. Read this for more information about the mission trip!

Do any of you have a trust struggle? Encourage each other in the comment section!

From my daughter

Hi Everyone! I’m Kimberly’s oldest daughter and am hijacking her blog to tell you what’s going on in my life…

An incredible opportunity has presented itself to me this summer. My friend’s dad is leading a mission trip to South Africa to work with a great ministry called Impact Africa ( With over 8 million people living in squatter camps, South Africa has been riddled with disease and poverty. It has one of the fastest accelerating rates of HIV in the world. Nearly 450 children are being orphaned every day because of their parents dying from disease or poverty.

I’ve been praying for this trip and the people I get to serve.  This short-term missions experience will bring the good news of the hope that is found in Jesus.  During our stay we will bring medical, sport, and hygienic supplies for those living in the squatter camps in Johannesburg, South Africa.  We get to hand out gifs of toothpaste, clothing, first aid items, and soccer balls to children and widows as well as conduct games and other activities for the kids in the squatter camps.

Each day will bring new challenges for me, and I will get a chance to grow a deeper faith in Jesus through the service and discipleship during my time in South Africa.

I’m telling you about this because I’d love your prayer and financial support. I need to raise $1,500 in order to cover travel, supporting the ministry, and food. I’ve already been fundraising through babysitting, but with your help I can meet my goal. You can give a tax deductible gift to the 5:21 Foundation (just make sure my name is listed).  Both are tax deductible.

With love,

E. Vogel

P.S. If you can help, please send a note to my mom’s email and she will give you specifics!

Pig Amigurumi

Pig Amigurumi

Birthday surprise for my youngest! My second attempt with amigurumi was easy! I used a lion brand pattern and found a fuzzy yarn. Click on the picture to link to the pattern


Yesterday I hinted about myBirthday Miracle. This is not that story. That was a miracle beyond miracles. This is a miracle of the every-day sort. But hey, a miracle is a miracle. And miracles all start with faith. After yesterday’s tragedy, I almost decided not to run this story. After yesterday it seems trivial. Then I realized… after watching (and rewatching) the bombing of one of America’s Prides, we need to embrace any miracle we come across. Even those that may seem trivial to some. A miracle is still a miracle. And we need to see as many miracles as we can!

I won’t lie. My food allergies get in the way of a lot of things. A LOT. I’ve said no to things just because of the food issue. I have dreams of taking mission tips and serving God but don’t pursue them due to – yep… food allergies.

What really troubles me is when I say to NO to a ministry opportunity. I do seek God and through prayer ask what HE plans for me. Up until now, it’s been to say no. Remember when I was presented with the opportunity to bridge the gap with some Arab sisters? My heart filled with joy. I really wanted to meet with them. Then I heard it was to be a feast. They were going to cook for us. My heart plummeted. I thought about cancelling. I prayed. I knew I was to go. But what about the food?! I decided to just trust. The day of the festivities, I saw a friend and asked her to pray for me. She stopped RIGHT THERE and Prayed. It wasn’t a “Dear God, Help her to not be sick” prayer. It was filled with words of healing and praise for the ONE who Heals. After the prayer she asked me if I received it. Gulp. Did I? Could I trust. YES! I answered. I will trust.

So I did.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

I filled my plate with food. Someone did ask if any of the dishes had garlic, so I stayed away from just a few. Let me tell you, I ate foods I haven’t eaten since my diagnosis. I ate plates of food that normally would cause serious repercussions – from just a BITE. I ate 4 dishes with dairy. I ate some that even had *gasp* garlic. I’m all for faith, but not a fan of pure stupidity, so I did take a little dose of allergy meds and I used essential oils. I also didn’t pig out. I ate slowly and made sure I wasn’t reacting before taking more bites. Let me be clear – with the foods I ate, there is NO WAY the little bit of meds and oils could’ve curtailed a huge reaction. We’re talking a reaction requiring cancelling all plans and staying in bed for about 3 days. If not more serious. Yet I only had a teeny tiny headache.

I believe it was a miracle. A MIRACLE.

I’m sure you have questions and are thinking what I was… that maybe I really can eat some of those foods, or maybe that God healed me of all allergies! (That would be great!) So let me tell you about today. My husband and I made burger patties. One pan had spices with garlic, one didn’t  We mixed of the spatula and one of my patties had cross reaction with garlic. I also ate 4 potato chips that had a less than 2% ingredient. Guess what? I reacted. Thankfully it wasn’t a big reaction. I had a nice headache for a few hours. That tells me I’m still allergic. There was no long term healing. When the headache first started I heard that little voice that speaks to my heart.

I healed you last night so you could serve me. I wanted to show my power when you trust.

Your ways, God, are holy.
What god is as great as our God?
You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.
With your mighty arm you redeemed your people          Psalm 77:13-15


I am so thankful.

I am so blessed.

I am honored that God chose me use and show His power.

Miracles happen when you build bridges in FAITH.

So that’s my little miracle. What is one of yours?

It’s my Birthday! (and hers too!)

It's my Birthday! (and hers too!)

Happy Birthday to my twin. We’ve lived life together, laughed so hard we cry (and we look just alike doing it), and loved even more.
I’m celebrating the miracle that we are!

Planning Junior High

planning jr highJunior High sounds daunting to plan, but I love home schooling the Jr. High years! It’s the time they move from being dependant on mom to independent learning. Yet, Jr. High is a time when many moms stop homeschooling for the simple reason that they do not feel adequate or prepared. These few tips can hopefully help you as you plan the Jr High years!

1. Set Goals – Ask yourself, what is my goal for the end of Jr. High? Do you want your child to be independant in their learning? Ready for High School? Able to tackle projects from start to finish on their own? By the end of Jr High, your student should be able to work on their own with just guidance and help from you. That way they are prepared for High School.

2. Don’t be afraid to look at high school curriculum now. In fact, it’s very important if you are going to home school all the way through! If you like a company’s High School program, try the program that group has for Jr. High. That way you aren’t switching programs in High School. This is most important for the academic core (non-electives). If they can follow the text in Jr High, they will be familiar with the format and able to follow it for High School.

3. State requirements – I have a list of what subjects are covered in what year in Jr. High. World History – 6th grade; Texas History – 7th grade; US History – 8th grade

I don’t follow this year by year, but when I plan the Jr High years, I make sure all subjects will be covered before high school. My reasoning behind this is simple – I like to teach History across different levels. If my High school student is learning American History, I teach American History to the whole family. This works for History, but not for Science.

4. Science – This is the only place I am naming what curriculum I use. For science, I love Apologia. In 6th grade, we use whatever curriculum the child is most drawn to. It’s the last year they have to pursue an interest before buckling down in the core curriculum.

7th – General Science; 8th -Physical Science

In the summers we pursue science projects – Just for FUN. One child might have an ant farm while another researches marine life and we end the studies with a trip to the beach. The summer project I’m excited about is kitchen science. One of my kids just got a new pet. That will make up a big part of our summer science FUN!

5. Language Arts – Read, write, respond (to literature and to your writings), and read some more! Pick a curriculum and stick with it. Don’t forget vocabulary and spelling. There are so many options for choosing a Language Arts curriculum. I start a required reading list for high school and challenge my kids to read the books starting in Jr. High. Those are just above and beyond reading – books that aren’t in the curriculum but recommended reading for their level and few grades above. *Keep in mind that choosing books above their reading level brings frustration. Don’t be afraid to challenge where they are currently reading, you can always put a difficult book back on the shelf until later.* I don’t test these books, it’s just for exposure. You do  not need to test or assign a project for ALL books that are read. Let them read – just to read.

6. Math – Try different curriculum to see what fits your child best then use them for Jr. High. Some programs change dramatically from Jr. High to High School, so be aware. Check them out thoroughly  You can also take courses in Math in the later years of Jr. High and count them towards High School. (Algebra) Don’t push your child to a math course when YOU are ready for it. Make sure they have the basics before you introduce higher level math courses.

7. Electives – Have FUN. That’s all I have for this one! 😉

Planning for Jr. High is practice for High School. It’s a great time to make mistakes and learn from them so when you get to high school, it’s not a huge set-back. Get in a routine so you will be ready for high school, but keep things light and fun. I’ll say it again – keep it fun. If kids are burdened, they won’t enjoy school. If they don’t enjoy school – oh, let’s not go there. Find something (anything!!!) that will bring FUN back to the FUNdamentals of learning.

And moms – don’t stress. Work on a plan and stick to your goals. Give yourself lots of freedom to make mistakes, yet keep striving for an education that fits your child the best.

The best education for your child sometimes requires you to learn all you can – about your child.

What Your Child Really Wants

whatyourchildreallywantsSometimes conversations just stop you in your tracks. The words penetrate your heart and they just aren’t forgotten.

This conversation is one I pray I never forget.

I must confess, it wasn’t a conversation for my ears. I just happened to overhear it. Kids were talking – a bit deeper than the normal what happened on the playground or did you see that TV show – it was a “what I really want” conversation.

“What I really want is more time with my mom.”

“Aren’t you with her ALL the time? You home school. Don’t you stay together all the time?”

“Yeah, but she’s so busy. We’re always running around. When we ARE home she keeps doing stuff. When she’s not doing stuff she just yells.”

Can you hear her heart cry? She hungers for her mom. To just be with her. No more yelling. No more busy.

Time. Love. Acceptance.

I can also hear the mom’s heart. Homeschool. Provide opportunities. Give the kids the World. Go – Go – Go. Give – Give – Give.

Pure exhaustion. Frustration. Yelling.

Mom’s, I have a message from you. Do you hear the little girl?

What I really want is Mommy’s time. Her love. Her acceptance – HER.

Your children want you. Your time, attention, and love. To them, that is the WORLD.

Building bridges is more about time than activities – more being and less doing.

I’m in? Are you? If you could give something up to add more one on one time with your kids, what would it be? Leave a comment – it might just give another mom a great idea!

High School Schedules

This week I am planning the class schedule for next year. Our family will have two high school students. I won’t even think about the emotional implications. People have written books about preparing to home school in high school. Some parents just don’t think they can do it.

I’m here to tell you:


It’s not that hard.

First, look at the state requirements.


Next, pick several universities your student is interested in attending. Look at their requirements.






All that’s left is to plan your year! Above all, don’t stress!

More tips coming soon! To make sure you don’t miss anything, click on the FOLLOW button to the right!

Glow in the Dark Egg Hunt


Clear Easter Eggs

Bracelet Glow Sticks

The Dark of Night

Memories to Last a Lifetime

Easter Fun Tips: Buy Easter supplies AFTER Easter for the next year. I haven’t paid full price for Egg Dye since BEFORE I had kids! Did you know the dye also makes incredible colors for home made play dough?! (Hmmm… sounds like a blog post I need to write.) This year my list grew to include clear and semi-transparent eggs!

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