When You Lack a Backbone...

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

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The harvest of a peacekeeper is that no one has peace because the quick fix of putting a bandage on a bleeding wound is more appealing than cleaning up the infection required to heal the wound. A peacekeeper wants quiet--not true peace--at all costs, ignoring the problem. The peacemaker realizes that the bandage itself may become an obstacle to peace and decides to delve into the core issues of the conflict to build a sound foundation for future peace. --Shawn Lantz in Living with Unmet Desires: Exposing the Many Faces of Jealousy

For a few years now God has been growing in me a "backbone". It seems that I was born without one! Ha! Being "boneless" however, has cost me my own peace and dealing with relationships in a godly manner. Not wanting to cause any angst for others only left me full of angst. While too much truth without grace destroys relationships, too much grace without truth keeps the damage alive. I am learning while I do the grace thing well it is really speaking the truth {having a backbone} that I need to work on. Backbones don't grow overnight. It is a process, and for me, it is a slow one. Since I have always struggled with standing up and telling the truth, I have ended up being a peacekeeper. Peacekeeping is a fallacy. You cannot keep the peace in conflict because conflict is devoid of peace. When conflict arises you have to "make" peace.

So what is a peacekeeper and why should we not be one? How can the truth be beneficial to our relationships? Why does Christ call us to peacemaking {Matthew 5:9} and not peacekeeping?


-Try to keep those that are upset happy at the cost of their own well-being or the well-being of others. This is so ME! I would rather keep others happy...especially the angry ones. Unfortunately, angry people can't be pacified because anger is a problem for the one who has it. The angry person has to decide to deal with his or her emotions. Nobody can help them get rid of it.

-Hate dealing with the truth. If I can avoid it, I will. I hate speaking the truth especially when you have to point out the faults in another. However, not speaking the truth in love takes away another person's opportunity to grow as a human being. Avoiding it leaves conflict hovering in the air.

-Apologize for things that they didn't really do. I am an expert at this. I feel if I take responsibility for my actions then so will the other person (not always so). Then I sometimes take it a step further and apologize for something I didn't even do. Why? Once again in an effort to pacify the angry ones.

-Or don't apologize for what they did do and instead use flattering words. I have noticed this trait in human beings time and again. We mess up royally, and instead of apologizing and trying to make it right we try to assuage the hurt and anger of another by "overloving" on them. What really needs to happen is an honest conversation. That person may be waiting for you to fess up to your actions so the wound can heal.

-Won't share their real opinions in order not to offend. I tend to acquiesce to what others want either because I don't want a fight or I don't want to offend. There are times when we do need to speak up and tell what we are thinking and how we feel in order to bring more peace into the relationship.

-End up with angst in their own hearts. The is the sum total of what happens to a peacekeeper. He or she ends up not keeping the peace and the angst continues to live within them. They may go forward in a broken relationship, but something breaks inside of them because they haven't dealt with the core issues.


-Tell the truth even when it's hard. Peacemakers take big risks. Why? Because the truth is hard to digest for most of us, and yet, the truth is the very thing we need in our relationships. Truth can help us heal wounds and move forward. Shoving everything into the relational closet just makes things messier. Better to get it out into the open and sort through it.

-Deal with the source of the problem instead of trying to smooth it over. While we are commanded to speak in love, a peacemaker won't use just soothing words. Flattery doesn't work when trying to resolve conflict. Discussing the real issues can help bring peace into a relationship.

-Are willing to engage in reconciliation even when it is scary. Reconciliation is scary. Unlike forgiveness which takes only one person {the offended party}, reconciliation takes two people willing to meet and engage in order to work through the problem. Because you can't control the other person and probably don't trust them, the thought of working things out can be overwhelming. Peacemakers take the risk.

-Realize that they can't live in peace with everyone. God knows that peace between two people may not be achieved in some circumstances. He even says in Romans 12:18 that peace is only a possibility, not a given. There are times when you can try to work things out and the other person is unwilling. Or maybe you need separation for awhile to heal. Maybe there was an apology, but there is a lack of trust so getting close isn't wise. Whatever the reason for the lack of peace, peacemakers realize that we don't live in a perfect world. There are times we we need to let go of others so we can live in peace with ourselves.

-Forgiveness brings peace. While going back into a peaceful relationship isn't always possible, forgiveness is ALWAYS an option. God commands us to forgive so that we can be at peace in our own hearts. You don't need the other person to forgive, but you do need to release the anger and give them over to God.

So are you a peacekeeper or a peacemaker? Maybe it is about time to grow a backbone, get brave, and take steps to makes some peace.

What about Delight-Directed Learning in High School?

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Entering the world of homeschooling high school can bring extra work and stress to a mom. There are more obligations to fulfill when you have to make sure your child has enough credits and is getting through all the material they need to receive those credits. So how could there be room for delight-directed learning? How can your teen take time to study what he or she really loves when there are certain requirements to get a diploma?

Delightful learning can happen in high school. It is just a matter of looking for opportunities to creatively follow your teen's interests. Here are a few ideas on how to incorporate delight-directed learning into the high school years...

Join me over at Ben and Me as I discuss how to incorporate "delightful learning" into homeschooling the high school years.

Teaching Spanish in Your Homeschool

Friday, July 24, 2015

Are you a homeschool mom that wants to introduce your kids to Spanish? Are you unsure where to start or how to go about it? For about two decades I have taught my own sons Spanish in our home and other homeschoolers. I started out as a high school Spanish teacher in the early nineties, but came home in 2001 to be with my boys. A few years after that I started an in-home business teaching other homeschool kids the language.

In 2013, I started the blog, Debbie's Spanish Learning, to collect all my resources and ideas for teaching the language to young kids. So if you are looking to teach Spanish in your home I would love to share with you all the resources available to you on my blog. Here is a quick look at some of the ideas you can use as you introduce Spanish to your children...

Join me over at Paradise Praises to see all the resources available to you if you would like to introduce Spanish to your kids.

Words that Wound, Words that Heal

Monday, July 20, 2015

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Once in awhile they all come flooding back...the words written and spoken about me that pierced my soul. I push them away. What good will it do to remember them? The words sharper than swords. But I can't totally forget them...once they have escaped the mouth of the speaker or the pen of the writer they cannot be taken back. Then there are the other words...ones that heal. The compliment. The words of appreciation. Life spoken into my life. Words that resurrect a soul wrecked by words.

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18

We all have the power to use our words to hurt and heal others. We are "guilty" of both hurting and healing coming from the same mouth. How can we build others up instead of tearing them down? How can we heal another's hurts with our words?

Know you are loved by God. We can't show love to anyone with our words until we know how much we are loved. You simply can't give what you don't have. Over the past few years I have come to realize how vital it is to know how much I am loved by God. If I can grasp His love I can then give it away.

Search out the good. There are always positive traits even in the people we have a hard time loving. Go on a "scavenger hunt" to find those qualities about the other person that you can talk about to build them up.

Tell the truth. No one wants to be lied to. There does come a time when we have to "speak the truth in love". Make sure you are not angry or have a critical spirit about whatever you are going to address. Make sure it is in the best interest of the hearer what you want to say. It shouldn't be something that you want to get off your chest.

Ask for forgiveness. We all fail in the word department. The best thing to do when it happens? Ask for forgiveness from the offended party and work on the relationship to bring back trust. Have you asked for forgiveness and it isn't better? Hurtful words destroy trust which means you will have to work to build it back up again.

Resources about words:

Stopping Words That Hurt: Positive Words in a World Gone Negative-This book is very convicting and not for the faint of heart!

Conversation Peace: The Power of Transformed Speech-A Bible study for women.

Keep It Shut: What to Say, How to Say It, and When to Say Nothing at All- I just recently read this book. You can read my review here.

Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions- How not to "vomit" your emotions on others.

War of Words: Getting to the Heart of Your Communication Struggles (Resources for Changing Lives)-This book by Paul David Tripp (an awesome author!) is on my to-read list. I LOVE his insight.

Holding Onto the "Old" Atticus

Friday, July 17, 2015

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NOTE: If you are still waiting/wanting to read Go Set a Watchman this post contains spoilers and you may not want to read it! :-)

This past week it came in the mail...the long-awaited second novel of Harper Lee. I sat down to read a story I had been impatiently waiting for for months. The rest of the world who loved and adored To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus, Scout, and Boo Radley also eagerly grabbed up the book. Sadly, within 48 hours I was disappointed. The writing is rough...the plot is sadly lacking, but there is something even worse...

Set twenty years after To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus has become a bigot, and his daughter, Jean Louise, is coming to grips with who her father really is. I know her pain. Actually, probably everyone does. You see life is about people disappointing us. You can't escape it. Eventually people are going to let you down. Those that you thought were friends turn out to be enemies. Family doesn't act like family. Your greatest supporters become your greatest rivals. As much as I would love to look past it all, I know people disappoint. That's why I am going to hold on to the "old" Atticus...the one we have adored and looked up to for years. The Atticus of To Kill a Mockingbird.

Why hold on to the Atticus of Mockingbird and try to strip from my mind the scarier version of him? It all comes down to hope. I have hoped for a long time that I could be Atticus...the one from Mockingbird. When it is all said and done and life is over for me, I would rather have a legacy of treating people with kindness. One of justice and standing up for what is right. One full of grace and truth.  I would rather...

"climb into his skin and walk around in it" so I could really understand a person.

"hold my head high and keep my fists down."

realize that "it ain't time to worry yet."

come to grips with the concept that "there's just one kind of folks. Folks."

The fact of the matter is that we are all more like the seventy-two year old Atticus than we want to admit. We are prejudiced and scared of others. We are hypocrites. We make mistakes. We deeply hurt those around us, but that doesn't mean we should give up and not strive to love others and to be a person of integrity.  Will we totally triumph over our flaws, hypocrisy, and fears? Probably not, but there was once this guy that said, "Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win." I think I will side with him and keep striving to be like him...

But God... {Verses of Hope}

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

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Life can be like tumbling down a waterfall. One plunge after another with no time to catch your breath. Hardships can suck you under and make you lose hope. Sometimes there are seasons in life when you stand up after one disappointment only to tumble again into another. If you are in one of those seasons like I have been you know what I am talking about. You begin to question what in the world is going on. You wonder if there is something wrong with you. You ask yourself if you can really hold onto hope.

I recently finished reading The Bible in 90 Days. One of the types of verses that kept jumping off the page for me were the "But God" verses. Bleak situations turned into hope simply because God intervened. When God shows up the story changes. The bad is used for good. The weak become strong. The lost are redeemed. The more I read the more I was filled with hope...the more I could see that God is a God of intervention who is willing to step into a story to change the ending. We never know how He will use the dismal parts of our lives for His glory and our good. So here's a quick look at just some of the "But God" verses...

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Gen. 50:20

David stayed in the desert strongholds and in the hills of the Desert of Ziph. Day after day Saul searched for him, but God did not give David into his hands. I Sam. 23:14

But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself. Ps. 49:15

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Ps. 73:26

To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O Lord my God. Jonah 2:6

With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. Matt. 19:26

The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, "He's dead." But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. Mark 9:26-27

You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. Acts 3:15

Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him and rescued him from all his troubles. Acts 7:9-10

Very rarely  will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Rom. 5:7-8

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. I Cor. 1:27

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation. Col. 1:21-22

We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. Titus 3:3-5

Need more Verses of Hope?

Linking up at Arabah Joy

Gaps in Delight-Directed Learning

Saturday, July 11, 2015

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When you homeschool the idea of learning gaps can be intimidating. What if I miss a significant body of knowledge? Will my kids suffer because I fail to teach them {fill in the blank} ? Will the gaps in their learning hold them back in life? The idea that learning gaps are detrimental is a myth. If you use delight-directed learning or unit studies, gaps in learning may be more prominent because you aren't following a scope and sequence. Should you worry? NO! Your kids WILL survive and in the long run will be better learners.

Join me over at Ben and Me today as I talk about learning gaps when you use delight-directed learning or unit studies in your homeschool. 

Also, the author of Ben and Me, Marcy, has created a great planner for homeschool moms if you are interested in "delightful" learning or unit studies. You can read more about it here.