Becky Shultz is a homeschooling mom who has been parenting for 24 years now. She is passionate about encouraging mommas in every age and stage along the journey of parenting. From My Heart to Yours is where she shares the joys, pains, and laughs of motherhood and the grace and faithfulness of our God.

The Shultz family is currently on a road trip in AZ. In fact, it’s 6:30 a.m., freezing cold, so I’m sitting in the warm-ish bathhouse of our campground. Needless to say, my blog is going to be short and sweet. Well, short and to the point. 🙂

I had a conversation a couple of weeks ago with my daughter who’s a student at Pepperdine University. She mentioned that she’s been tutoring her classmates in their Biblical Studies class. Many of these classmates have expressed surprise at the fact that Hannah knows so much about the Bible. These same classmates are ones who are Christians, ones who would consider themselves to have been raised in Christian homes. Unfortunately, stories like this are becoming all too common. I’ve heard from a number of new college-attending students that they are coming across more and more Christian students who do not know the Word. I meet more and more believers who aren’t able to recount even some of the most basic of Bible stories, unsure of exactly what it is they believe.

If you are a new believer, this is absolutely to be expected, but if you were raised in a Jesus-loving, Bible-believing home, this is something to be concerned about. Bible illiteracy is a growing trend – one that needs to be reversed.

It seems like years ago there was a shift. A shift away from head knowledge of the Lord to personal relationship with the Lord. Relationship IS what’s important, but we cannot know Him, we cannot be in relationship with Him unless we read His Word. One of the biggest ways we come to know Him is by knowing Him through the stories of old.

So, fellow believers…READ His Word, learn the stories, see our God for who He is and fall more deeply in love with Him.

And, fellow believing parents, read His Word to your children, teach them the stories, help them to see God for who He is and show them what it looks like to fall more deeply in love with Him! May we be the generation who lead the next generation to sky-rocket the Bible literacy rate.

 

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Hannah Ruth Shultz entered our world on March 2, 1996. She was our second daughter, so we felt prepared, convinced we knew what to expect. Daughter #1 was 2-years-old. We were pros. 😉

For the first 8 months of her life, things went effortlessly. Out of six labors and deliveries, Hannah’s was the easiest. Out of six baby-sleepers, Hannah was the best. She nursed fully, keeping her content for hours and hours. She loved to be held, loved to be put down, loved her bouncer, loved her swing, loved to be swaddled, loved to be changed, loved to be bathed, loved naptime and loved just hanging out watching her big sister play. And big sister? She loved just being watched. Laura could keep playing in peace.

Hannah LOVED her swing.

Hannah LOVED her swing.

The only “trouble” we had with Hannah was that she was allergic to the dairy I ate and spit up all the time. Not that little spit up stuff, either. Think projectile. Uncle Josh, who enjoyed playing airplane with all of his nieces and nephews, learned that the hard way. 😉

8 months of peaceful baby bliss. Then one day, while Hannah was sitting in her bouncer watching Laura and me create something out of blocks, she let out a loud yell. As I recall, it wasn’t quite a yell. Hannah ROARED!

Something changed. My mom has always said that was the day Hannah came to life. It was as if she spent 8 months observing the world around her, watching how things worked, taking in who we were, what we did, and then Hannah just decided she was ready to stop watching and start doing. She was ready to join in!

Reality hit hard.

That sweet, naptime-loving baby became a climb-out-of-the-crib-and-onto-the-top-of-the-changing-table kind of baby. Over and over again, naptime turned into bath time, as Hannah lathered herself up in Vaseline while sitting on the top of her changing table.

Laura’s peaceful play on the floor had turned into a battle zone. Her block towers were no longer safe. The crawling baby-monster was constantly on the prowl, knocking over towers, crumpling up coloring sheets, ripping pages out of books (*gasp*) and eating playing cards. Big sis was no longer enamored with baby sis. She was ready to trade her in for a quieter, less-mobile, more sit-and-watch model.

When Hannah came to life, she no longer loved nursery. I studied Child Development in college. It’s called separation anxiety and Hannah had a bad case of it! The hand-off became a screaming, kicking, biting mess. It lasted until she was 4.

If it was quiet in the house with the “old” Hannah, that was rather normal and safe. If it was quiet in the house with the “new” Hannah, that meant trouble! Countless times we found her hiding, eating sticks of butter, tubes of chapstick, and thingies (I don’t know the technical word) of deodorant. Most of these times of playing “hide-and-ingest” occurred at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. When we discovered her chowing down on deodorant the first words out of her mouth were, “Get it out! Get it out! Get it out!” We thought it disgusted her so much that it would be a one-time deal. She’d never eat deodorant again. Yeah. We were wrong.

Once Hannah came to life, the next 5 years were filled with sand-eating, stair-jumping (she was 2 and she loved to jump down half of the 15 steps which led to our basement), child-biting (I got reprimanded over and over again for this one…trust me, we were working on it!), stranger-talking, and hair-cutting (she cut her own AND others’). She ran with scissors in her hand, crazily climbed tall trees, jumped into swimming pools without our knowledge, ran through parking lots (I’d lean down to put Baby Aaron into his car seat and Hannah would take off), jump from the tallest platform at the playground (eliciting stares from other moms…at me…like I was the crazy one!), say the most embarrassing things, and ask mortifying questions (she was really just curious, but those questions came across sounding somewhat disrespectful). We were visiting Daddy at his school (Westminster Christian Academy). I held the door open for an older gentleman who was rolling through in his wheelchair, decked out in his service jacket and cap. I thanked him for his service, then glanced at Hannah. She had that look on her face, and before I had a chance to hijack whatever was about to come out of her mouth, she took a breath and blurted out, “What happened to your legs?” It wasn’t just her question, it was the way she asked it. Not all sweet like in a manner that showed she cared and felt empathy. But, in a way that made it sound like this man was crazy for not having legs. (*Facepalm*). Thankfully, this veteran was as fiery as Hannah. As I leaned down to tell her  that wasn’t appropriate, he told me to leave my daughter alone…”Now, don’t you tell her not to ask that question. I know everyone’s thinking it. She just happens to have the guts to ask. It’s refreshing.” I had been glared at, head-wagged and finger-wagged at so many times because of my spunky, fiery, precious daughter, that I wanted to cry when he said those words to me. I breathed a big sigh of relief. And he told us his story. And Hannah, who had just thrown out her question so nonchalantly, hugged him, showing the first signs of her deep compassion for others.

Just three short days ago, Hannah turned 19. She’s every bit as spunky and fiery as she was during those early years. That has never changed. She’s crossed lines I hoped none of my kids would cross. She mastered eye-rolling in high school. There have been days in her 19 years of life that I wanted to throw in the towel as Mom. She tested us at every turn. She’s strong, doesn’t back down easily and hates to be wrong (like her mama). Throwing in the towel wasn’t really an option, though. God called us to parent Hannah faithfully. To teach her about Him. To train her up in the way she should go.

And while it hasn’t always been easy, it has absolutely been worth it.

Hannah may have mastered eye-rolling, she may have caused me to *facepalm* a time or two over the past 19 years, she may have crossed lots of lines, but she has brought GREAT joy into our home. She’s loyal, Jesus-loving, family-loving, a snuggler, authentic, funny, caring, compassionate and sweet. I cannot imagine life without her. I am so thankful the Lord loaned her to us!

Lots of spunk.

Lots of spunk.

H&J

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A very loyal sister.

A very loyal sister.

A loyal friend.

A loyal friend.

A daughter I treasure.

A daughter I treasure.

Do you have a spunky, fiery, makes-Mama-want-to-pull-her-hair-out kind of child? Yeah. You’re not alone. Know this up front…you will mess up a TON and that child of yours will mess up a TON. Don’t throw in the towel. Keep on keepin’ on. I can tell you that it’s a crazy, messy, beautiful journey, and the Lord is good and faithful and merciful and gracious the entire way. Together, you got this! 🙂

 

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Do you ever find yourself questioning the Lord? His timing? His purposes? His lack of moving in a way you want?

I do.

You’d think I wouldn’t. After all, I’ve known the Lord my entire life. I’ve witnessed the movement of His hand time and time again. I’ve read and re-read His Word many times. I know the promises He has made and how He has never  broken a single one. I’ve been privy to His faithfulness, His goodness, His constancy, His mercy, His grace, His presence.

And yet, I find myself asking why? I find myself asking when? I find myself asking how long? 

Many times I receive His gentle, patient answer (the one He has to give me again and again. And again…You do not need to know the answer to those questions, My Daughter. You just need to rest. You just need to let go and trust me.

I know that. I do. I really do. But, sometimes I think He realizes that I need more than just a heart-reminder to trust Him. He decides to show off, and I love Him the more for it! It’s as if He says, You need more than just my words today, Becky. You need to SEE what I’m doing and be reminded that I’ve got this. I’ve got this in the big stuff and in the small stuff. So, today, I’m going to SHOW you. And I’m going to DELIGHT in showing you!

Let me tell you a little story that spoke volumes to me…

This past Friday our homeschool group went on a field trip. We met at the Colorado State Capitol in downtown Denver. I’m not a big city-fan. I don’t really care to drive in the city, to navigate the one-way streets. I keep forgetting that I’m now an owner of a smart phone, so instead of asking Siri, I google-mapped directions to a couple of parking lots — the cheaper ones. I was ready to pay $8 tops.

Well, wouldn’t you know…googlemaps made a mistake. They wanted me to turn right (the wrong way) on a one-way street. I panicked for just a moment when I realized I’d have to navigate myself the rest of the way. The good news? I could see the Capitol building. The bad news? I couldn’t find any of those cheaper parking lots. At this point, I didn’t care.

All I kept thinking was, Just keep your eyes on that Capitol, Becky! You can do it. We will not be late. The tour guide won’t be rolling his eyes as you run in waving your hands in desperation, smoothing back your disheveled hair.

I may be exaggerating a bit, but I did have a moment of freak-out.

All that to say that when I found a parking lot right beside our destination (after traveling 8 blocks the wrong direction and circling back around), I was willing to pay anything. My $8 tops turned into $15. I think that’s highway robbery, but I was just relieved that we made it. I was also relieved that I figured out how to work the pay-for-my-parking-spot machine. Whew! Done.

Just after I swiped my credit card, while we were waiting for our receipt to spit out, a voice behind me said, “I hope you haven’t paid yet!”

Turns out there was a woman who had already paid her $15 fee (there were no hourly rates, just a flat rate to park for as long as needed). She had paid to park and didn’t need the spot for very long, willing and ready to hand off the parking pass and share her space.

Here’s what you need to understand…we are the recipients of generosity on a regular basis. The Lord knocks our socks off with His provision. Sometimes in big ways, sometimes in small. The person in front of us at Subway pays for our order, the new cashier at the movie theater can’t figure out how to refund our money after she accidentally charged us for the 3D show instead of the regular. Because it took a call to the manager and an extra 10 minutes, causing us to miss the previews, we were given the tickets for free. We actually tried to argue that we hadn’t missed any of the movie, but the manager would not hear of it. Once we were at Dairy Queen with gift cards (4 of our kids won some school contest). All 8 of us ordered, but there was a problem with the cash register. For some reason it would not register our gift cards. The manager tried and finally gave up. He said, “This must be your lucky day. I just can’t get it to work, so your ice cream’s on us.” We’ve been given cars (5, to be exact), furniture, athletic equipment, clothing, vacation homes to stay in, a late anniversary trip to Orlando.

Laura learned how to drive in one of our "gift" cars. :)

Laura learned how to drive in one of our “gift” cars.

We know the Lord’s hand of provision well.

So, it surprised me a bit that we had already paid for our parking ticket when this nice woman walked up to give us hers.

We thanked her and continued on our way. That was when I questioned the Lord’s timing. In fact, I remember telling Him, “That was a waste. Why didn’t you just slow us down by 30 seconds and let her give it to us?”

My ways are not your ways.

“Yeah, but it still feels like a waste.”

We entered the Capitol, went through security and found some friends from our group. I chatted briefly with a mom I met last year, she introduced me to a new family to our group, then I turned to greet some other families. As I walked away, the mom I met last year got my attention again…”Guess what? I pulled in right after you and was walking up to pay at the machine. A lady was getting into her car and gave me her parking space. She saved me $15!”

Here’s what you need to understand…The mom I was talking to has been in a pretty tough financial situation. She and her husband have both been out of work just trying to make ends meet, while they search for jobs.

I just grinned. His ways are not my ways, and it wasn’t a waste after all.

What the Lord taught me that day was that I didn’t need the $15, but He knew who did. Somehow He knew I needed to see that there was no waste. He knew I needed to be reminded that He provides for me and my family and that He provides for my friend and her family.

I learned more than just state history that day! :)

I learned more than just state history that day! 🙂

$15 seems like such a little thing, but it was His loving care of this family that was huge. And, it was His showing me, His more than just a heart-reminder to trust Him message to me that was huge!

We serve a BIG God. A big God who knows how to relate to us. A big God who makes Himself small, coming right to me at my level to show me who He is and what He does — just to remind me how big He is.

Show-off! 😉

 

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Last week the boys and I took school on the road again. We explored and adventured through the great state of Texas. I seriously have only been there once, and that was for a world sport stacking competition, so I spent most of my time in the hotel or at the conference center.

What a treat this trip was! We’ve tent-camped on all of our other trips to keep the cost down, but this time was different. Dear, sweet friends of ours live in San Antonio and invited us to stay with them. Their house became our home base.

On a side note…I’m so glad we didn’t camp. It was colder in Texas than it was back home in Colorado. And it rained on and off the first two days. Not a refreshing sort of rain, but a freezing I-just-want-to-climb-into-a-hot-bath-and-soak sort of rain.

I won’t bore you with all the details, but we spent a day in Austin. We took a tour of the State Capitol (didn’t know we’d be doing this until the night before). The place was abuzz with activity. Men in suits and women in dresses were everywhere. It was the first time I’d ever heard a Shultz boy utter these words: “I feel completely underdressed.” If you’ve seen pictures, you know…Shultz boys wear athletic shorts most of the time. There aren’t too many occasions they dress up for. And, we live in the West, so it’s not really frowned upon. Besides, I have four boys who don’t seem to care. They’ll wear whatever and it’s no biggie. But…Oh. My. Goodness. We stood out like a psychedelic poster from the ’70’s. I will say that no one stared or made us feel out of place. Thank you, Texans! 🙂

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We quickly discovered that we were walking around among Senators, Congressmen, Lawmakers. It was opening day of the legislative session. How cool is that?

After the Capitol, we spent hours soaking in the history of Texas at the State History Museum. It was a feast for the eyes and a plethora of information for this history-buff mama.

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After spending the night back at home base, we rose early and made our way south to Corpus Christi, where we enjoyed suffered through a short walk along the beach (38° and spitting ice). Then we spent 4 hours touring the USS Lexington. Hands down, this was the coolest (according to the boys) thing we’ve ever done on one of our school trips. In their eyes, it beat Mt. Rushmore, Jewel Cave and Bandelier National Monument. I’m still partial to Bandelier, but the Lexington was amazing!

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After spending another night back at home base, we rose early and drove the short distance to downtown San Antonio. The sun came out and this time we really did enjoy our time outdoors — walking along the River Walk. We spent the day visiting The Alamo, the four San Antonio Missions and King William Historic District.

The River Walk

The River Walk

The Alamo

The Alamo

King William Historic District

King William Historic District

One of the Missions

One of the Missions

I am seriously geeking out just telling you these little details about our journey. It was pretty much a geek-out week for me!

On Friday morning we began our trek home, taking the long way to Lubbock, where we would spend a last night in Texas. We drove to Johnson City to learn as much as we could about our 36th president. We visited LBJ’s boyhood home, his grandparents’ settlement, his one-room school house, his birthing place, his ranch and the Texas White House. Then we drove through the hill country and found our way to a Whataburger.

LBJ's grandparents' settlement

LBJ’s grandparents’ settlement

LBJ's one room schoolhouse

LBJ’s one room schoolhouse

There you have it. Our trip in a nutshell. And here’s what I want to share with you…

As we were driving through the hill country of Texas, making our way back home, I told the boys, “Put your books away, put your electronics down. This is a part of the country we’ve never seen before. Keep your eyes on what the Lord has created for us to enjoy and soak in its beauty.”

The moment I said this, the words from Deuteronomy 6 washed over me:

“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates” (Deut. 6:6-9 NIV).

I thought back over the rest of our trip. All along the way, we stopped to see things we have never seen before. We even marveled at the beauty of the prickly cacti, recognizing God’s handiwork. We sang songs of praise, filling our Suburban with melodies that I am certain made the Lord smile (and, before you go getting it into your head that we’re a perfect family, we filled our Suburban with sounds that I know did NOT make the Lord smile…far too often!). On our way down to Corpus Christi, we boldly asked the Lord to part the clouds and bring out the sunshine, just so we could enjoy the beach. As we left Corpus, we thanked the Lord that although He chose not to part the clouds, He helped us have hearts of contentment, even with the cold, fog and freezing rain. In fact, while on the deck of the USS Lexington, we forgot all about our chattering teeth as we watched porpoises (we thought they were dolphins, but a Corpus friend told me otherwise) frolicking in the bay. In our giddiness we talked about how the Lord delighted in showing us landlocked folk these graceful ocean creatures. We marveled at the gift of staying with friends, who provided a place to stay and food for us. And the gift of low gas prices? We remembered each time we filled up that we serve a God who provides.

These times of remembering and talking about who the Lord is are extremely important times. May we be a people who talk about the Lord with our children…when we sit at home, when we walk along the road, when we lie down and when we get up.

We were on the road last week. We had lots of moments to talk about the Lord (when we walk along the road) — who He is, what He’s done, what He calls us to do. This week, we’re back at home, business as usual. I’m not sure what you’re doing or where you are. But, whatever we’re doing, wherever we are, let us tell our children about our Lord throughout the day, throughout the week, throughout the month, throughout the year.

May we be parents who are faithful with these moments when we walk along the road.

When we walk along the road...

When we walk along the road…

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I’m sitting here preparing to say goodbye to two very special daughters as they head back to CA later this week. One — Laura — will be finishing up college (seriously…we’ll be heading to her graduation in May). The other  — Hannah — will be completing her first year as a pre-med student. Christmas Break has been different (our Hannah’s hip surgery and recovery has made it so) and absolutely wonderful! Family movies, family games, feasts, baking, sledding, shopping, movie-making, lots of love and laughter. It’s difficult for me to let go of all that. But, time marches on, and we have to march with it. Once routine has set in again, I know I’ll enjoy that time too, but for now…I’m just enjoying these rare moments when we’re all together.

And as I sit here, I can’t help but think — 2015???? I cannot believe we have started a new year. Again.

If you are a New Year’s Resolution kind of person, then you’re in good company. Lots of people everywhere are resolving to do something this year. If you have some sort of social media account, it’s likely you’ve read different resolutions involving weight-loss, healthy eating, exercise, kindness, patience, goodwill.

Me? I’m not a New Year’s Resolution kind of person. If I’ve learned anything in my 41 years it’s that my resolve is pretty lacking. Time and time again I’ve determined to do something — to change something, to live a certain way, to be healthier, to be more patient, to extend the kind of grace my Lord extends me — I’ve put on my big girl pants, dug in my heels, ready to get ‘er done. Then I mess up. Not just once. But over and over again. My resolve is completely inadequate!

So…last week I was scrolling down my Facebook feed, reading mostly about the exercise plans and healthy-eating plans my friends and family members are implementing, while eating the last of our Christmas goodies, no doubt. There I was, stuffing my face, thinking, I’ll start eating better tomorrow. I won’t make any resolutions about it, but I can’t keep eating the way I do over the holidays. 😉

Then, something in my feed caught my eye. It was an article…or a blog…or a report. All I remember is it was some sort of publication. I read a line or two (maybe just the title and first sentence — you know — whatever pops into your feed trying to lure you in to clicking on the link), but didn’t have time just then to read the whole thing. I planned to go back later and find it. Story of my life…I forgot. I can still only remember these details: someone shared something that someone else wrote. That’s really not much to go on.

However, the title and first sentence really got me thinking and formulating a plan. That article-blog-report-publication thingy was about the year 2015 and our need to do only one thing. This author was another non-New Year’s Resolution kind of person. I’m sure we would get along — whomever he or she might be.

What if we all set our sights on what man was created to do? What if each one of us decided not to focus on weight-loss and eating healthy (I do believe these are good goals, by the way), or even on being kinder and more patient (again, good things to be)? But, instead, decided to focus on the job our Creator gave us to do?

Simply put, and borrowed from the Westminster Shorter Catechism, we were created to glorify the Lord and enjoy Him forever.

May we seek to glorify the Lord in 2015!

May we seek to glorify the Lord in 2015!

 

May we seek to enjoy Him in 2015!

May we seek to enjoy Him in 2015!

Let us focus on that. Let us resolve to glorify our Creator and enjoy Him. And, knowing how weak our resolve is, let us rely on our Creator to do these very things.

I’m a fan of ceremony…even if it’s not fancy. We plan to sit as a family this new year and, together, make a list of some of the ways we can glorify the Lord and enjoy Him in the year 2015. Won’t you join us? 🙂

 

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