Homeschooling Through High School 

August 25th, 2016

I had someone ask me some questions recently about homeschooling, high school and college and I remembered my intentions to write about it way back when Alexis graduated in May.  I am no expert.  I know that there are others that have more experience than I do but I want to share a few things that I have learned.  

As your child gets closer to high school, it’s a good idea to look into what subjects are required to graduate in the state.  Although Mississippi laws are not very strict, many colleges may require certain subjects be on a transcript.  I always keep a record every year for my girls.  It had daily lesson plans and grades written in the back.  I know some don’t keep up with grades but my advice would be to start in ninth grade.  This will make it easier to put together a transcript for them.  You can find examples of homeschool transcripts here  ( www.hslda.org).   There are many ways to do it but basically it is a list of all the subjects they completed and the grades.  Most transcripts would include a GPA and ACT score.  I also included the grade scale I used.  When Alexis registered for dual enrollment at Co-Lin, they were very cooperative.  The first time I went, the advisor made some suggestions about her transcript and ask for it to be notarized. 

That brings us to dual enrollment.  Juniors and seniors that have taken the ACT can begin to take college classes.   We are blessed to have a community college right in Simpson County.  We waited until senior year to begin college classes but I really don’t recommend that.  Economically it is a great value compared to prices of regular tuition.  Alexis took five college classes her senior year.  She did her classes on-site but online classes are also an option.  I think being in a classroom was a great experience for her.  She had to become totally responsible for assignments, studying and managing her time.  Dual enrollment students are considered college students.  When Alexis decided to attend Co-Lin after graduation, she did not have to reapply.  She just registered as a full time student.  It made for an easy transition.  She received a scholarship for her ACT.  It’s not a full scholarship but helps a lot.  There are scholarships to apply for but you have to search them out and watch for deadlines.  

Many people worry about the diploma issue.  Do they need it?  The answer is no or in our case it was no.  An application, transcript and ACT score:  those things were needed.  I made Alexis a diploma to display at her graduation party.  I printed it off the internet.  

Homeschooling throughout  high school advice:

1. Keep records 

2. Take the ACT, starting in tenth grade to do dual enrollment as a junior.  Not only will your child get an early start on college but it also gives them a different experience in learning. AND a big plus…..you don’t have to grade their papers anymore.

3. Encourage a part-time job.  They will love having their own cash and it teaches money and time management.

4.  Seek out scholarships.  

5.  Enjoy the flexibility of homeschooling.  It changes as they get into college.  

6.  Encourage them to maintain their friendships.

7.  Don’t panic if your child does not know what they want to do in life.

8.  If you are not comfortable teaching a subject, get help.  There are DVDs, computer programs and other resources available to help get your child through chemistry and physics.  We did Dive CDs for Saxon math.  Alexis actually found college algebra to be quite easy after her homeschooling math background. 

9.  Enjoy your time with them.  It goes by so fast.  I remember the day Alexis handed in her last test. I cried because I knew that season was over.

My next blog will be on celebrating the graduation, the fun stuff! 

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6
 

She Did It: Alexis Graduated!

May 25th, 2016

It really does seem like yesterday that  I took this picture on Alexis’s first day of school.  It was first grade because after some unofficial pre-school time at home, she was super smart and we skipped kindergarten.   On the day she turned five (in January), she woke up and said “Today I go to school.”  She had heard that children go to school at age five and she took that literally.  I had to explain to her that she would wait until August to begin school.  A lot changed in those next eight months, as God began to open my eyes and heart to homeschooling.  It was His plan for us and I never thought twelve years would go by so fast.  She handed in her last test to me about a month ago.  I cried.  She finished up her college classes the next week and it was over.  She is finished with school.  We did it.

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I am not “that” homeschool mom.  You know the one.  The one that tries to talk everyone into homeschooling because it is soooo fabulous.  I am the mom that tells you……IT IS SOOOOOOO HARD!!!!!!  There were many days I wanted to quit but I didn’t.  I am sure there were many days Alexis wanted to go to “real school” but she didn’t.  *Side note……Homeschool is real school.  I was just using words I have heard about 200 million times in the last twelve years. 😉 The struggle is real.  It is hard work to homeschool your children.  It doesn’t matter if you have one child at home or eight around the table, it is tough.  The blessings though, oh the blessings outweigh it all.  I will never forget hearing her read for the first time.  I love the look in her eyes when something clicks in her mind.  The memories of sitting around the table with my daughters, laughing and learning together is a treasure I will always have.  I know not everyone can do it, but I am glad I was able.  I taught my child and I learned so much on the journey.  If I could go back, I would choose to homeschool her again.

Soon, I want to write a blog about homeschooling through high school, the ins and outs of it.  Not that I have a lot of knowledge to share, I want to help anyone that may have questions about it.  I also want to share details about how we celebrated her graduation, but for now……

We just want to say, “Yay!!!!!”  We did it, we finished.  She is smart.  I did okay!!!!!!  Yay!!!!!!

On a serious note…….. we are so proud of Alexis and the young woman she has become.  God has big things for this girl.  I cannot wait to see His story unfold in her.

“You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!” ~ Dr Suess

“How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?”  – Dr. Seuss

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”  Deuteronomy 31:8

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11

“I have one desire now – to live a life of reckless abandon for the Lord, putting all my energy and strength into it.”
― Elisabeth Elliot

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” — Anne Frank

 

Senior Pictures………

 

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Senior Recognition at First Baptist Church…….

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A few from Alexis’s graduation celebration (I will blog about later).

 

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Do Not Fear

December 23rd, 2015

The world we are living in……..mass shootings, terrorism, ISIS, a government that has gone crazy, Christian persecution, no respect for life, anger and hate everywhere.

A town hurting……………loved ones gone, unexplainable accidents, empty places at Christmas dinner.

Families suffering……….the first year without someone, spending Christmas in a hospital or even spending it alone, picking up the pieces after a tornado ripped through your town.

Why?  Why do things happen?

The answer is simple.  SIN.  We live in a broken world and we do not have all the answers.  But the Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 3:23)  Does this mean a young boy died because he sinned.  No, not exactly.  When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, it began.  Sin brings death.  The sin of the world brings death.  BUT, Jesus brings eternal life.

Is there any chance of hope, peace or joy in this world today?  In our town?  In our families? Our hearts?

YES,  only in JESUS!

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  John 14:27 KJV

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33 NLT

…..Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.  Psalm 30:5b ESV

 

Over two thousand years ago this message rang out over a moonlit field in Bethlehem.

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11).

As a multitude of angels made this declaration, joy filled the shepherd’s hearts.  I want you to know, this news if for us too.  Right now in this moment, the announcement rings true for us.  “A SAVIOR HAS BEEN BORN”.  He brings joy.  He brings peace.  He is the only way.

Jesus was born.  AND there is more to the story.

…….. the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. John 4:14b

He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.  Romans 4:25

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

 

Jesus came to this world as a baby and he grew and lived a sinless life.  Then he died for us.  He look the sin of the world upon himself so we can have eternal life.  Yes, sin brings death, but Jesus gave His life for us so that we can have eternal life, life that never ends.  Jesus conquers sin and death.  We will be with Him forever.  That news brings joy, peace and hope this Christmas season.

I know so many are hurting, may God bring you peace.  Our hope is in HIM and in eternity.  May His joy fill your heart.

Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

This Generation

November 6th, 2015

Teens today are often referred to as spoiled, lazy or unconcerned.  They have been called the selfish generation.  I hear the complaints and I have complained myself.  I live with a teenager and an almost-teenager (if that is not a word, I just made it one).  I know they can be really annoying and they can indeed be selfish.  Sometimes they don’t clean their rooms, they roll their eyes and can be really disrespectful.  But on the flip side, if you look very closely at this generation of teenagers,  you will find something amazing.

We are blessed to meet so many young people that are living their lives for Christ.  A few weeks ago, we led worship at a “Fields of Faith” event.  This event was planned by the FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) of Puckett High School.  We happen to know the young lady very well that worked so hard to make this event happen.  Seeing teenagers that will speak out for Jesus today is awesome because it is getting harder and harder for Christians to have a voice in our schools.   Yes, there are laws and all kind of rules, but young Christians today are standing up in their schools.  As long as there are students like them, prayer will always be in the school and God will never be shut out.

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Fields of Faith

Another event that we have been a part of is “See You at the Pole”.  This is also a student led event that includes everyone gathering to pray for the schools.  Nolan was able to lead a SYATP at a school in Florence, Ms.  This year several students from Magee High School planned a night of worship to be held the night before SYATP.  Alexis was able to be a part of this event.  Many people have so many negative things to say about our public schools but they are not seeing what we see.

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Students today have so many ways to communicate that I didn’t have as a teenager.  Although many are using social media as a negative thing, social media is also being used to encourage others and share faith.  Many teenagers are also writing blogs that are changing lives and challenging others to live for Christ.

Alexis has written her first blog and it is so relevant for today.  This is what we have been praying over her since her birth.  We have asked God to give her a passion to follow Him no matter what.  We are so proud of Alexis.  She is really seeking God in her life.  Please follow this link to read her first blog post.

https://livesentblog.wordpress.com/

Also check out these blogs by other students from our youth group.

https://lifefullofchrist.wordpress.com/   ( This blog is written by a college student that is very bold about speaking up about God’s plan for girls today.  I love what she has to say about modesty, purity and dating)

https://dianahollandblog.wordpress.com/

https://alliejobristerwordpresscom.wordpress.com/

I am proud of this generation.  Even with all the bad news and evil in the world today, this generation is rising up.  I truly believe this is the generation that God will use to start a great revival, turning this country to Him.

Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place?  The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.  They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior.  Such is the generation of those who seek him,  who seek your face, God of Jacob.  Psalm 24:3-6 (NIV)

I love verses 5 and 6 out of the Message…….

God is at their side; with God’s help they make it. This, Jacob, is what happens to God-seekers, God-questers. Psalm 24:5-6 (MSG)

God-seekers and God-questers….with God’s help they make it!  They make it happen.  God is working in this generation and I cannot wait to see what He has in store for the ones willing to stand up and follow Him.

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Mercy Rain

October 27th, 2015

Mercy turned twelve in September and we celebrated with confetti cake (directions at bottom of post), a family lunch, and a day of shopping.

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When Alexis turned twelve, she got a mother/daughter shopping trip. So Mercy got one this year too. We had a great time together. The best part being that we skipped school. We shopped, had lunch, and stopped off at Starbucks. I love coffee but Mercy hasn’t developed the love yet, so she got a cookie.

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When we arrived back in town, we had a dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant.  Mercy had made us promise not to tell that it was her birthday, but luckily a friend from church was there and spilled the beans.

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We are so thankful to have Mercy in our lives.

*Directions for confetti cake:  I found some ideas online and tweaked different ones I found.  First make four nine-inch round cakes.  That will take two cake mixes, unless you make everything from scratch and then I have no clue. 😉  After the cakes are completely cool, trim and stack three layers.  If you don’t trim the tops off the cakes, they will break when you stack them.  Cut a whole in the middle of the three layers.  Fill with candy (we used m&m’s) and place fourth layer on top and ice the cake as you wish.  Do not ice the cake between the layers.  After about the second slice, the candy should come pouring out.  This cake was so fun to make and eat! 🙂

 

Another Update

October 26th, 2015

Our student ministry always ends out summer and starts a new school year off with Connection Weekend.  This year Connect was held at Timber Creek.  It is a beautiful place.  We had a great weekend focusing on who we are in Christ.  This weekend held a special milestone for my girls, as it was Mercy’s first Connection Weekend as a seventh grader and Alexis’s last as a senior in high school.

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One thing that we did differently this year was having separate sessions for the boys and girls.  A wonderful young lady from Mississippi College came and shared her heart with the girls.  She truly poured into them the importance of finding their true identity in who Christ made them to be.

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On Saturday afternoon,  we had “messy games”.  All grades had a color.  I almost wanted to cry when I saw Alexis in her “senior” shirt.

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Then it was time for school to start,  Mercy is in seventh grade……..

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And (believe it or not)…..Alexis is a senior and she is also taking two classes at our local community college.  On Alexis’s first day of school, she was awakened with a special breakfast.

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I cannot believe this is Alexis’s last year of high school.  I wouldn’t trade homeschooling her for anything.  My only regret is that it went by so fast and of course I could not control that.  I know God has special plans for Alexis and her future.  I would not keep her from growing up and following God’s path.

How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?   Dr. Seuss

 Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.  Dr. Seuss

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.  Psalm 90:12

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.   Proverbs 16:9

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.   Jeremiah 29:11 

Family Update

October 25th, 2015

It seems everyone is starting a blog these days.  With so many people having so much to say, you might be surprised that I find it very hard to blog.  I will have something I want to share, but then the moment will pass or the mood to write will go away.  Before I know it, it has been months since I shared anything.  I am not going to say I will do better and keep the blog updated from now on, but we will see. 🙂

But for now, here are some pictures of what I would have blogged about.

LifeCamp is always a highlight of our summer.  This year we headed to Atlanta to lead a sports camp and VBS for a church there.

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Fun Afternoon at Six Flags

 

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Basketball Camp

 

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Night of Worship

 

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Nolan and Alexis leading worship for the Sports Camp

 

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Sunday Morning with the host church

 

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Loving on children

 

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Night of Worship

 

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Sharing God’s love

 

This summer was unique because Mercy had her first “official” youth camp.  She also had her last trip to children’s camp.

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Central Hills 2015

 

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Headed to KidsCamp

 

Alexis loved her third year of Super Summer at Mississippi College in July.

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Lime School Ready

 

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FBC Youth off to Super Summer

 

At the end of summer, Alexis and Mercy had an opportunity to go on a mission trip with our church.  It was a group of many ages, all with different personalities and gifts to share on a trip like this.  They did work for a church on the Gulf Coast.  The held a backyard Bible club every evening and ended the week with a block party for the neighborhood.  Nolan and I went down for the block party.  It was good for the girls to go on a trip without us and experience working with new people.  There are so many adults with gifts to pour into our children if they are willing and we are also willing to give them opportunity.

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Gulf Coast Mission 2015

 

That’s all I have time for right now!  I will update again….soon I hope!

 

 

Pops

June 15th, 2015

Nolan’s dad, Billy Bishop Sr., went to be with the Lord on May 15.  He was blessed with a full life of eighty-four years.   After many years of different sicknesses, he is healed and complete in the presence of our Savior.

Mr. Billy had many loves.  First of all he loved Jesus.  He loved the Lord so much and followed Him with everything.  He loved his wife.  In July, Mr. Billy and Ms. Ella Nora would have been married sixty-five years.  They met when Ella Nora’s family moved from north Mississippi because her brother had tuberculosis and Simpson county had one of the only TB hospitals.  Isn’t that amazing how God has a plan.  He loved her with all his heart.  He wanted to take care of her as long as he could.  He loved his children and grandchildren.  The boys called him “Pops”.  Pops wanted everyone to know that God is most important and then family.   He also loved to fish, ALOT.  In his younger years, he did a lot of hunting.  He could tell many stories about late night coon hunts.

Nolan was blessed to grow up in a loving Christian home.  When God healed Nolan’s brother of an eye disease at age twelve, his family began to travel and sing.  They would sing and share the testimony of healing. We are blessed to do the same today.  It may not look or sound the same, but we are still sharing Jesus in song.  Nolan sometimes shares the testimony of how it all started.  God still saves and heals and we want the world to know.   Pops left a beautiful legacy to us and we are carrying it on.  All three sons are ministers of some kind.  My sister- in- law is a nurse and shares Jesus daily by caring for others.  I know he was proud of all his children.  He would have been especially proud to know all three sons preached at the service to celebrate his life.  They turned the focus on Jesus and that is exactly what he would have wanted.

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Young Loves

 

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Celebrating 50 years

 

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Celebrating 50 years

 

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The whole family

 

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Fishing together

 

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Alexis and PawPaw

 

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Teaching Mercy to fish

 

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So blessed

We have been amazed at the outpouring of love for our family during this time.  All the messages, cards, food, phone calls and visits have meant so much to us.  We felt every prayer that was said for our family.  Thank you so much for your continued love to us.

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” John 14:1-4

 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”  Revelation 14:13

For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.  Romans 14:8

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.  Psalm 116:15

 

 

 

 

Another Year in the Books

May 22nd, 2015

So we survived another year of homeschooling!  This year was full of many challenges.  Many days I wanted to call it quits but by the grace of God we finished and everyone is still alive. 😉

This is what the school year looked liked for us.

Alexis completed Chemistry using Apologia curriculum.   It was a hard subject, but Alexis worked hard and finished with a great average grade.   We used Abeka for English III and American Literature.  She read Scarlett Letter as her novel.  She wrote her research paper on Alzheimer’s disease.  We also used Abeka for U.S. History.   Her math was Saxon Advanced Math, which is a combination of Advanced Algebra, Trig and Calculus.  It was also a challenging subject.  We did Spanish and Oral Communication using Alpha Omega Switched on Schoolhouse ( a computer program).   Alexis also worked on some keyboarding drills.  We used Alpha Omega also for Bible this year.  We also do Bible drills as part of our Bible curriculum for the year.  Alexis went to state drills with superior scores and went on the semi-finals in the State Select Tournament.   Alexis has one more year of high school.  We are in the process of enrolling at the local community college for dual enrollment classes next year.  These classes will count as high school and college credit.  I cannot believe we only have one more year!  The years have flown by so fast.  We are so proud of Alexis and cannot wait to see what the future holds for her.

Mercy used Switched on Schoolhouse for Language Arts, Spelling, Science and History.  She finished sixth grade Saxon math and started seventh grade math.  We did Alpha Omega Bible and she did Bible drills.  Mercy also went to state Bible drills and scored superior.

Alexis and Mercy both take ballet and finished the year with a beautiful recital.  Dance is just another way for the girls to worship the Lord.

Just a few images of the year…………………….

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New Stage

State Bible drills………………….

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Bible Drills 2015

Dance Recital…………………

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The good days and the bad days, the days I wanted to quit: It is all over now.  Summer is here and we have a break.  Thank you God!

Courage: Student Impact Weekend 2015

April 23rd, 2015

 

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.  Deuteronomy 31:6

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.  Joshua 1:9

Do you know it says “do not fear” or “do not be afraid” 365 times in the Bible?  If God chose to say it that many times, it must be what He wants from His people.  We live in a scary world, but God says for us not to fear.  We have to trust that He will take care of us.  We must be strong and stand up for Christ.  People are losing their lives because of their faith all over the world.  We act like we are afraid to speak out, but what are we losing for Christ?  Are we willing to face persecution for our faith?  When faced with losing a friend, a job, a home or even your life, are we willing to stand?

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Courage: that is what we learned about at Student Impact last weekend.  We learned about standing up for Christ and about standing together.  We had a great time worshipping together.  We were so excited to see several students give their hearts to Christ for the first time and many come closer to God.

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We have been leading worship for this event for many years, but God never fails to show up!  He always teaches us something new and allows us to see Him change lives.  One thing that was very special this year, was to see several college students as leaders.  We have watched them grow up over the years participating in the weekend as students.  It was great to see them lead small groups and counsel and pray with the younger students.  Once again, God allowed us to be with a great speaker too.  We have known Jimmy Thornhill for many years;  he is a fellow youth minister from Kosciusko, Ms.

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When we first met Lee Clark and his family, our girls were just children tagging along with their parents to a DNow.  I remember Natalie and Alexis playing together as Mercy (a little baby) sat in Morgan’s lap on the gym floor while I ran media for Nolan as He led.  Now we are all leading worship together  and  they have grown into beautiful young women of God.  It is always a special treat for them to see each other.  Morgan is a student at Ole Miss and was a small group leader for the weekend.  Natalie is a junior in high school like Alexis and believe it or not, Mercy will be in youth group next year.

This picture was taken four years ago………

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And here they are now…………

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After morning worship and a wonderful Mexican lunch, we decided to stay in town and see the circus. It was a fun time as a family that we all enjoyed.

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Next week, we will be leading worship at revival in Wesson, Ms. Please pray that this will be a true time of revival for God’s people and that people will come to know the Lord.

Restore us, O Lord God of hosts! Let your face shine, that we may be saved!  Psalm 80:19

Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?  Psalm 85:6