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Tag Archives: Family

Building a Culture of Honor

Beware: The words in this video are convicting.
They were to me, anyway.

This is a struggle in our house. In all honesty, it’s our biggest struggle. In fact, days before this message, I knocked on the door of the guy who gave this sermon asking for some parenting advice. This guy is the real deal. The advice was not easy to hear.

It starts with me. I need to show honor. Not only that, I need to listen to my kids about how I can honor them.

Good job Michael – Thank you for being real. Church, it’s time to be real. It’s time to honor.

Sidewalk Chalk and Tissue Paper Flowers

Handmade cards and tissue paper flowers,

Gifts not of money but of care.

tissuepaperflowers (2)

Stories and poem written in pencil,

Messy and misspelled add a special flair!

Messages of love from

Paper, pencils and crayons

Messages of love

That will never be gone.

shadows (1)

Drawings on the sidewalk,

Chalk that will wash away.

Shadows get distorted.

They fade throughout the day.

Messages of love appear in

shadows and chalk art.


Messages of love

Forever in the heart.

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!

We Homeschool

We homeschool.

I could tell you we do it because…

  • I was born to do this.
  • We didn’t choose it, it chose us.
  • I felt like I had no other option.
  • I have an education degree.
  • (with a lifetime certification)
  • It is our calling.
  • I’m kinda crazy.
  • I had enough of schools and testing and crying kids.

What I won’t tell you is…

  • It’s easy.
  • It’s always fun.
  • It’s always rewarding. (in an eternal way – yes.)
  • I love being around my kids 24/7.
  • My kids love being around me 24/7.
  • Everyone should do it!
  • Everything we do works.
  • I want to teach every day.

What I will tell you …

  • My kids are happier.
  • We eat healthier foods.
  • The teens are allowed to sleep as their body needs it.
  • We make mistakes.
  • My kids are learning at their pace.
  • The sisters are friends.
  • We talk and laugh and hug more.
  • The Bible is the center – at least that’s the goal.
  • It fits our family.
  • Some days I look longingly at the school bus. (but that quickly passes!)

But this is just me. This is just us. Our calling. Our journey.

Not all families should go this route. It does not fit most American families. I get that. There was a time it didn’t fit my family.

I do not think differently of families that choose homeschool, private school, or public school.

I’m excited when I hear a family chooses to homeschool. I’m excited when I hear people knit or crochet. Why? They are both passions of mine. But I don’t expect everyone to buy needles and hooks!

A huge part of me does not want to open this door. I don’t want unknown spectators peeking into this aspect of our life. You might see flaws. You might question what I’m doing. You might not agree.

A whisper spoke to my heart. I knew it was time. Time to invite you to peek into the windows of our home schooling home. It’s not a perfect picture. But it’s the picture God is painting.

It’s the bridge we are building.

Deeper – Through Love

When I started a blog, I cautiously kept my family protected and set limitations and restrictions on myself.

Basically, I’ve been afraid to open my life to you.

After praying about the direction of this blog, a still, small voice whispered, “Go Deeper. Be YOU. Through Love.”

A huge part of me is my family. To really BE ME, I have to show you more of me – of us.

The purpose of this blog is not to promote me. The purpose of this blog is to Build Bridges. First, the bridge to bring you closer to God. Second, the bridge to connect families. Through love.

If I show you more of me, I’ll show you more of Him. Not because of any special thing in me, but because of how much He works in me. (Read that as = I am imperfect. He is perfect. In my weakness, His strength shines through.)

Before I talk to you about connecting with your family, I have to be real about mine.

Go Deeper.

Be You.

Through Love.

You met my family. I think they’re pretty cool. I realized my reason for not including them in this blog is not based on faith, but fear. With their support, you will see more of them, and more of me. And hopefully, more of Him.

Meet My Family

The Vogel Family


photo credit Raeley Stevens

Kevin – The Dad, Our support, My love.

Kimberly – That’s me!

Em (lace shirt)- First born, Natural leader, she keeps us in line!

Am (white scarf) – Middle child, Dreamer, she keeps us in stitches!

Ev (white shirt) – The other middle child, Creative, she keeps us on our toes!

Ang (brown shirt) – Youngest, Adorable, she keeps us in hugs!

Blessed. This is my life. It’s pretty amazing!

These are the people I love more than I ever thought possible.

Up next… why I waited so long to introduce them to you.

The Empty Smile

Day One

I worked all day.

I met all needs.

I smiled.

I gave small commands.

I rubbed a back that tensed.

I tried.

There were no smiles.

Day two.

I worked all day.

I met all needs.

I gave small commands.

I rubbed a back that tensed.

I held a hand that was small and soft.

I kept smiling.

I looked into eyes that looked past me.

There was a smile.

It almost seemed empty.

Did you hear me? There was a smile!

I’ll take it.

Autism. A smile that looks empty is still a smile.

Sometimes the empty smiles mean oh-so-much more.

Yesterday I told you about how much The Smile impacted my day. The baby smiled at me. You know those baby smiles. They can melt an adult into a puddle in less than three seconds. But let’s be real… babies smile at faces. They smile when they are clothed and fed. They smile when they are gassy. Oh… but those smiles!!!! To hold a little wiggly bundle and smile at the bald head and then you see it… The Smile! My heart melts at just the memory. Ok – back to the baby that day. The baby has a brother. The brother has a different kind of smile. First, the obvious, there are teeth. And a gone are the chubby cheeks. The sparkle isn’t quite the same. In fact the smile looks… empty. You see, Brother has Autism. He looks at me – without looking at me. He talks – but not with words. He smiles – but it’s faraway, almost empty. But when he smiles, oh… he smiles. It probably won’t be a big grin. It won’t come with a snuggle or hug.  He might not even acknowledge he is smiling at me. But his smile… it might not melt me into a puddle, but it is worth the moon.

Then I think… how many times are my smiles empty? (ouch)

Yes, those smiles – the ones from brother – they really do mean so-much-more.

Keep building bridges. Keep Smiling. Even when it feels empty.

Words of Comfort

Holding Grandma’s Bible in my hands, I flip through it, looking for comfort in words that comforted her. This passage was marked. I find great comfort here.

Isaiah 55

“Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me;
hear me, that your soul may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
my faithful love promised to David.
See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander of the peoples.
Surely you will summon nations you know not,
and nations that do not know you will hasten to you,
because of the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel,
for he has endowed you with splendor.”

Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way
and the evil man his thoughts.
Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
12 You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree,
and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the Lord’s renown,
for an everlasting sign,
which will not be destroyed.”

Grandma was known for her laughter. Her nickname was Giggles. I think the hills and trees might also be laughing – with her.

When Goodbye is Forever




Death is not easy. It is not pleasant. It. Is. Hard.

Everyone deals with death in their own way.

Respect the mourning.

Don’t forget to breathe. Don’t forget to live.

We said “goodbye” this week to Grandma.

She smiled and went on.

Ahead of us.

To a place where there is no pain.

We will see her again.

So I guess… forever goodbyes are not always forever.

*This week I will be hugging instead of writing.*

Stay a Little Longer – FMF

This is my weekly Five Minute Friday post! Lisa-Jo Baker over at Tales from a Gypsy Mama invites any blogger to participate. Check it out!


As I leave her room, a small voice whispers “Stay mama” but I am too busy, and too annoyed. I whip around, grit my teeth and push the words out, “Not right now, but I’ll be back in five minutes and we’ll see.” She controlls the sniffles, and I can tell she’s trying hard not to cry. My heart begins to soften, but I’m too busy to notice. I close the door and walk quickly down the hall, bumping into my teenager. Looking up into her eyes – when did she get so tall?- I compliment her on her hair and throw in “Where ya goin?” She turns from me and mumbles something. Words just popped out of my mouth, “Stay a little longer.” My heart completely melts, being busy doesn’t matter, and I’m the one fighting back tears. The little doesn’t last. They grow taller than us and are busier than we are. She smiles and walks off. I turn around and walk back into the little one’s room. I’m not too busy to stay, I decide as I hold her for just a little longer.

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