Thursday, May 23, 2019


I feel a bit defeated this morning.

In the last few days I have realized that I am a lousy communicator.

I realize this blog is about adoption and we are very very passionate about it, but Rob and I are also very passionate about history. And I have FAILED to communicate that passion.

When I was a child I hated history. I hated it. I thought it was the most boring subject in the world despite a mom and dad who loved history and who took us to every museum up and down the east coast. We lived in the D.C. area and were surrounded by museums and battlefields and historical sites and they drowned us in history. 

But school history was nothing like museum history and battlefields and historical sites. 

It was all about reading the textbook and answering questions and taking tests.

School history was U.S. history. Year after year. Again and again and again. 

Don't get me wrong. U.S. history is wonderful and fascinating but how many years in a row do you need to learn about the pilgrims and the Mayflower and the Revolutionary War? We rarely ever even got to the Civil War and I don't ever remember doing the World Wars. 

World history was scattershot until we got to that one year of World History in High school. I checked out after the first week. Hearing the teacher drone on and on just put me to sleep.

I hated history but I LOVED to read. I read anything you handed me. I devoured all the books in our family library, our school library, our church library, my friend's libraries, the town library. I loved when my mom went to thrift shops so I could buy books for cheap. 

I read everything and anything. My favorite - biographies and memoirs, books about the Holocaust and World War II, historical fiction, classics and books on psychology. 

MOST of the books I read were history-related. It was in those books where I developed a deep love of history as a story. But my reading was completely separate from the history I did in school.

School history was boring and something to be endured. The history in my books was real and alive and something to be devoured.

So how did a history-hating, book-loving mom of five end up co-writing seven history books???

How in the world did Rob and I end up owning a history and literature curriculum?

How in the world did I get where I am and how in the world have I neglected to explain fully explain our story and our passion??

I share my story at conventions whenever I can.

I'm not a big speaker. I don't draw the big crowds. We are lovers of history and passionate about our curriculum but LOUSY at advertisement and selling our books. We are pitiful about selling ourselves. We don't do book signings. We don't have our faces plastered on banners. We don't name drop.

We self-publish. We work out of our home. We juggle writing with being mom and dad to our five children. I field test all of our material at a local homeschooling co-op. Most of my homeschool families don't even realize the work we pour into the material their children are using.

Our time is limited. We are currently writing our eighth book. I am currently in Florida at a homeschool convention and Rob is writing and sole caretaker for all three kids. Mary's still on a seizure roller coaster which makes me a mess to think about being this far from her. 

But we are passionate about our work. I hated history for so long because the history I knew was separated from the stories I loved. 

When I was much younger and single and trying to decide the course of my life, I attended seminary. I was considering going on the mission field. I had a degree in nursing and teaching and was pursuing a masters in Christian Education. 

It was in seminary when my entire "I hate history" worldview changed. It was a professor of Old Testament who opened up an entirely different way of viewing history. An Old Testament class. How in the world? We studied Bible history and Ancient history in concert. It was mind-boggling, amazing, earth shattering for me. All of a sudden I began to see the Bible in an entirely different light. The stories I learned as a child became real against the backdrop of the ancient world. The ancient world was messy and gritty and filled with intrigue and horror and stories that made this book-lover happily satisfied.

I watched history unfold as we worked our way through the Old Testament. It didn't stop there. The New Testament class, church history, theology - all of it began to make sense as I studied it in context with the greater world. 

I began to realize that history was more than just memorizing names and dates and battles and taking tests. It was a woven story where, in the midst of the story, God was weaving HIS story. How priceless. Children, adults, everyone needed to see this. 

I left seminary and wanted to DO SOMETHING about what I had learned. 

But I had no outlet. 

Until I started homeschooling.

And we started using a little-known book plan called BiblioPlan.

It had a simple philosophy.

Line up history books with literature books.

Learn history in ORDER. From Ancients to Modern. Then cycle back again.

Study U.S. History along with World History.

Learn history through STORIES. 

Merge secular, Bible and church history together. 

Knock me off my feet.

Send me into book-loving orbit. 

I used it with my sons and then started teaching it at the co-op. I became passionate about it. I took that simple little book plan and started writing supplements, then simple history books. Rob got involved. We partnered with the owners. We wrote more. We began to realize the potential of what we had been given. Our simple history books became full blown textbooks. We eventually bought the company. 

Seven books later, 60+ products in our product line, sons who are actively involved in helping us, one part-time employee (WE ARE SO SMALL-TIME), three special needs children, another book on the way, more products coming out in the next year or so, revising, editing, writing, READING, researching, learning and growing.

All of that and people in my own world barely even know we exist.

I had a mom at our co-op this week tell me all about another curriculum (that happens to be one of our 'rivals') and I was jaw-dropped. She had no idea our material shared the same philosophy as that curriculum. And I teach her child in my history class!!

As I said.

I really feel defeated.

Both Rob and I write all the time when we are not juggling our kids and their special needs. 

We are all in when it comes to writing and caring for our kids and teaching and keeping our house from falling apart around us but we are LOUSY at promotion.

So here is my promotion....


It's a Classical History and Literature Curriculum for grades K-12 with a fun Charlotte Mason flair.

It is mom-friendly, EASY TO USE, history rich, story rich, hands on fun, great for a family to do together (everyone studies the same time period but does age appropriate questions, maps and literature). 

Giants of the Faith Notebooking Series

We have written two levels of textbooks - one series for the older students (7-12) and one series (almost finished) for the younger students (K-7). 

We have maps and coloring books and timelines and a family guide that is loaded with ideas on how to link history with literature. 

We tell you what movies to watch to line up with the history. 

We line up some of the favorite spines from other curriculums (Story of the World, History of Us, Mystery of History etc.) so you can read those books along with our material. 

We give you great props for having family discussions. 

We give you all kinds of poems, verses, speeches etc, your child/ren can memorize. 

We line up all kinds of other material (audios, lapbooks, notebooking) to enhance what you are doing in history.

We provide writing ideas. 

High school students can get history and literature credit. They can also get Bible and Church history elective credits.

We weave God's story into history.

We have so many literature books lined up that we have an optional literature reading section because there are so many!

We do this all day every day.

So please - if you are homeschooling - at least go check us out.



Tuesday, May 7, 2019

When the Tears Come

They are the ones who come in alone. Quiet. They slip into their seats trying not to be noticed. 

They wait. Unsure. 

It's a session for the weary. The searching. The overwhelmed. 

They are all of that and more. 

The tears start as soon as I start speaking. 

Adoption in the trenches. 

The place of loneliness.


The place of guilt and conflict.


The place where they are faceplanted before the Lord asking Him daily for strength, wisdom, LOVE and patience.




They nod as tears course down their faces.

Adoption is lonely.

Homeschooling their kids is lonely.

These moms know that simple truth in the deepest part of their beings. 

They are deep down in the trenches.

Way too alone most days.

Struggling to survive. Struggling to love. Struggling to teach. Struggling to meet needs. Struggling to hold their families together. 

Struggling on a day to day, hour to hour basis.

They prayed.

They watched God move a mountain.

They brought the child/ren home.

And their lives have tumbled around them.

I see them.

These moms.

I know them.

I understand.

They come to me after I speak.

Sometimes waiting at the door in the back.

Most of the time coming later to my booth. Hoping I'm alone.

Rarely wanting to talk about homeschooling.

Always wanting to share their grief. Their struggle. Their battles.

I don't have much to offer except that I understand. None of my education prepared me. Degrees are meaningless. My notes from all the counseling and psychology classes I've taken over the years are just words on paper.

I can only speak from our experience. 

I can only share what we have tried.

I can only tell where we have failed. What has worked. The lessons we have learned.

I've been blessed to speak.

Three times in three different cities this year.

Whether to only a few or to a packed room.

Every single time watching the tears trickling down.

Every single time seeing heads nodding.

Every single time having moms and dads reaching out afterwards. 

Grateful that someone tried in a simple one-hour session to reach out and give them some encouragement. 

The opportunity has been precious and priceless.

Don't be fooled by what you see.

Don't be fooled if they appear at the park and everyone tumbles out of their van looking peaceful and happy.

Don't be fooled if they make it to church with fresh cleaned  children sitting quietly in their seats.

Don't be fooled when they smile and say all is well.

Listen. Listen carefully.

Take the time.

Too many are struggling and alone.

Too many feel guilty.

Too many are afraid to share that their lives are hard.

They feel they have failed at their calling.

They are worried that if they do share they will not be heard.

How can they explain to you that their child is wrecking havoc on their lives when what you see is a sweet smiling child.

Their marriages are coming apart.

They have quietly stopped going to church.

Love has become a daily, teeth gritting choice instead of a feeling.

Don't be fooled.

They need you.

They need you to come alongside and listen and encourage. They need you to believe them.  Oh how much they need you to believe them. 

They don't need you to try to fix their children. They don't need you to think that you would do a better job. They don't need you to give advice. They don't need you to tell them that their child is just like your child. They don't need you to say that kids will be kids.

They will run at those words. They will shut down.

Adoption is lonely.

The little person they have brought into their home has been hurt. Damaged. They have lost much. They have come from trauma and too often they bring that trauma with them. Into the house. And trauma breeds trauma. And healing takes time. And it's messy. And too often that hurting, damaged little person rejects terribly the person who is doing everything in their power to help them.

And the trenches are deep and confusing and hard to navigate and words are too often just Band-Aids on a broken heart.

Take the time, church.

Take the time to stop and listen.

Adoptive families are everywhere. Find one. Or two. 

Be a friend. Go sit at their table. Call them up. Not just once. Again. And Again. And Again. Love them as they love their little person. Invest in them as they are investing.

Don't expect that your call or visit will fix the chaos in their lives.

Be patient. Be willing sit with them for days and months and years.

Be willing to listen as they tell you today that it is hard. And they tell you months from now that it is still hard. And they tell you years from now that it is still just as hard.

They need arms of love. Words of encouragement. Friends who are willing to stay the course.

They need someone willing to sit beside them in a session for the weary.

So that when the tears start to course down their cheeks, they are not alone.

Please don't let them do it alone.