Educational Movie Nights for All

Every day there are free or very low-cost options for viewing really great films and television programs. However, it is often difficult for people who have never thought of movies as schoolwork to make it into something truly educational. Never fear! I'm here to help you. 
Having home educated for over 20 years, I used movies and TV constantly. One great way to use less educationally themed films is to ask your kids to create a sequel storyline. For instance, when we were watching "Spy Kids" about a decade or two ago, I would give them a starting point. For the second film, one where the girl has already had her time to shine, I told them that the boy should have a lead role. Then, I asked them how they would like to see that new movie play out. They had several ideas, but I said that since he had always been seen as a little boy, maybe a girl should come into the story. He's reaching that age, I told them. Some said yuck, but not only did it all come true, but we e…

Foot on the Accelerator

This evening, I sat down alone in my living room watching, "The Car" episode of "This Is Us." At the end of the episode, almost as an afterthought, the mother drives the kids over a bridge. Throughout the episode, each time they get to a bridge, she closes her eyes and squeals a bit in terror. But in the last moments of the episode, she does it. Why? How does she overcome it instantly -- this gripping fear that has held her heart for so long?
In her case, she needs to do it. He's gone. The man who drove her across that bridge is dead, and at his passing, she alone is left to do this. So, she gets behind the wheel, presses her foot on the accelerator, and when the moment comes, she just keeps her foot in place. It's that simple.
How many times have I had to face my fear and simply do it? Natural childbirth was all my idea. I wanted it, even though I whined for days about every single paper cut. And when the time came, I just did it. Three times with no anes…

2 Weeks into the Fast

During this fast so far, I feel as if I've shorted out some of the process because I just haven't really spent as much quality time with God as I'd like. I wanted this to be a time of phenomenal growth, and so far, it's been less than that. I almost wish I had struggled more with the food. However, after several months of Beachbody, I am really okay with healthy food. It's a little tough, but nothing like it has been in the past. I'm okay.

Honestly, the lack of struggle has meant that I don't have to cry out to God on a constant basis to help me through this. I've been able to just go through the day mostly in a routine way. Yet, I didn't want this fast to put me in crisis mode, either. I wanted to seek God in a freer, more pure way, not because I had to. Yet, it didn't really happen that way.

On top of all that, I've been dealing with some internal struggles. There are some relationships in my life that are straining the limits of my self-c…

Fasting for 21 Days Like Daniel

What really matters to you? To me, it's all about love. I love God, I love my family, and I love my friends. More and more lately, I love this amazing woman that God made to live in this amazing body that is typing this message so adeptly. Yes, I am learning to love me. And it's something I would have considered sacrilegious to say in the past. Love myself? I know every verse about why I shouldn't. What changed? I learned one very important one, "Love thy neighbor as thyself." This was my problem.
Stephanie Orsini didn't like herself much. She talked a big talk about self-esteem and self-acceptance, but she really didn't have much of it. She treated herself badly with her negative self-talk and her disrespectful treatment of her body. And she treated others pretty badly, too. Slowly, over time, I learned a lot about how to love myself, and now I'm learning to act like it. I'm taking care of my health, speaking kindly to myself, and expecting respe…

Go! Run!

Recently, I stopped attending the church that I've focused so much of my life on for well over a decade. It made no sense. I help in a bunch of little, fulfilling ways, and I didn't really want to go at first. Well, after God told me to go, I asked my husband and my mother-in-law for their opinions. Of course, it made no sense to them, either. So, I shook it away, like a stray thought.

Fast forward a few years. Yes, years. I held on for far longer than I should have because it simply made no sense to me. But over the past two years, I have bumped up against a ton of walls. Everything seemed to tell me that I was in the wrong place. I felt so tired. Everything just seemed to go wrong. Yet, now I felt stuck. You see, I had asked the opinions of other people, and they were certain that I was wrong. So, if I go now, I'm going in opposition to their advice.

Now, I am going to explain a little more about my story. It's not just a church, but a family effort. My entire family…

My Jewels

This afternoon, I’m more aware than ever of the richness of my life. During our entire marriage, I think we lived 6 to 8 years above the poverty level, and even then, we always seemed to be struggling financially. We’ve always been technically poor. We’ve never had an excess of money. But oh, we’ve had joy! I need to put it into context for you. You know when you run out of toilet paper and you have to make do with napkins until payday? Well, we spent whole years with neither napkins nor toilet paper. No, we didn’t have paper towels. Coffee filters could be awfully convenient at times like those, since we were out of coffee, too. Might as well put them to good use. Are you getting a clearer picture? I’ve never been open about this online because it makes us uncomfortable to share such details. During those scarce years, I took my 3 year old daughter into a friend’s beautifully appointed bathroom once and she shouted, “Look, mom!” I thought she’d exclaim about the thick towels with…

Wrecked but Trying

I feel like a fake. I haven't arrived even close to the face that I portray. You see, I can use big words. I can talk about the right path to take. I can begin doing the right things. But I have never consistently done the right things. I freeze. My whole being goes into a sort of suspended animation, a hibernation of the soul. During those times, I sit on my couch, watch TV, and give up on trying hard. This is my usual existence. I do almost nothing. Other people help me clean. Or the mess stays. Other people feed the family. Other people help with laundry. And I sit. 

Okay, usually, I do the laundry myself. And the dishes. I even prepare food for the helpless ones in the house. I cover diaper duty and midnight feedings. But boy I'll tell you that I stick to doing just the bare minimum.

I get stuck just like my car. In a traffic jam, the car has gas, is in good working order, and is fully capable of accomplishing its purpose of providing transportation. Like that traffic jamm…