Wow, wow, wow would be an understatement for my thoughts on the speakers at Apologia Live Homeschool Conference. I was so looking forward to attending this event and definitely felt the need to recharge. Over the few weeks before, as I anticipated going, I found myself wondering just what could be said at the conference that would impact me and would refocus my attention. I know that God had been preparing me for the conference, because of the way so much of it spoke to me. That was incredibly cool. Don't you just love when God sets up a big event just for you!?! OK, so maybe others were impacted....I know just at my table alone they were. However...at times it seemed just for me alone.
The theme this year was "Walking in the Light". The speakers did not get together and flesh out their talks, yet somehow they all wound up complimenting each other. Yes, God's hand was evident as we went from one speaker to the next.
Debra Bell was up first on Friday evening. She pointed out that we think in pictures and we tell ourselves stories. When words like chaotic, stressed, depressing, overwhelming can be used to describe our feelings, we are telling ourselves the wrong story. What a wonderful reminder about focusing on the one true story full of hope, promise and love. Just what story are you following these days?
Sally Clarkson finished the Friday evening program. I could write pages on her session, but I will try to summarize some key points. We are prone to follow flesh, formula or fear. Following "flesh" is when you think if "I" just try hard enough then this will happen. Following "formula" is following a set of man made rules. (the thought that if I do this, this, and this then that will be achieved). Following "fear" is just that...being afraid to go by the Holy Spirit and being afraid of the world. God has another word that He wants us to follow. That word is Faith. Sally asked what kind of God are we following in front of our children? Personally, I want to follow the God that her son pointed out to her one day. The God that made chili peppers for fajitas and music to dance to. The one that made stars that fill the skies and made puppies. How can you not be excited about our God? Sally reminded us that God's will is not always easy, but it always has a purpose. God has a work for us to do. He created us to be an instrument in the lives of our children. We need to walk by faith.
Saturday gave us three speakers. Elizabeth Smith began the morning with "Training the Soul of a Child". She reminded us that consistency is a key word in this area. When we respond by over reacting or under reacting we lose our opportunity to discipline. Elizabeth also covered self control, praising, teaching children to pray and training their minds. We need to remember that scripture memorizing is important for children, as well as for us.
Zan Tyler was the fourth speaker and she covered "Walking in the Light of God's Word". Her talk spurred me on to begin reading the Bible from front to back as opposed to reading it in a more willy-nilly approach. I had been thinking about it for the past few weeks and after hearing Zan, I knew I needed to follow through. Zan said let your children see you seek God in big things AND small things. She reminded us to make the word of God the foundation of our school. That sure helped me refocus my attention.
Rachael Carman was the last speaker. She presented "Walking in His Light Everyday". A key point here is the absolute best thing we can give our children is Jesus. It's not about an academic score. She spoke on Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and focused on the verbs. I have many points from Rachael written under love, teach, talk, bind them and write them. I felt this talk was a perfect wrap for the day.
I left the conference with thoughts just swirling around my mind. Over the past few days I have been reflecting on many key points and determining what they mean to me. Each speaker provided a point for me to implement. I have felt myself letting go of the winter blahs and choosing to listen to the right story (Debra). I've been encourage to walk by faith (Sally). I'm praying for His leading before and not after (Elizabeth). I am not about to surrender my sword (Zan) and I am choosing life everyday (Rachael).
These five women were given a gift and they are being obedient in sharing that with others. I am thankful for their messages and gentle reminders. This week I have felt recharged, renewed and refocused on my family and my role as wife, mom and teacher. How exciting is that?
You can find information about this conference and even register for next year here! I can highly recommend that you consider attending next winter. You won't be disappointed.