In Light of Lafayette

Terrible things happen all over the world, every single day.  It is a sad truth of this world.  However, Governor Bobby Jindal said it best when he said, “You never expect it to happen here.”  It isn’t that we roll over each morning and put on our blinders before getting out of bed.  It’s just that Louisiana is blessed to be a God fearing, bible thumping state full of good ole boys and southern hospitality.  We know such tragic acts are a possibility (hence so many of our residents packing heat), but we also feel a little safe here.  I’ll agree with all you naysayers, sometimes we feel a little too safe.  However, I’m not sure that’s always such a bad thing.  I don’t want my children growing up in a place where they have to fear going out to a movie, or the mall, or any other place outside of the home.  You can be aware of the possibility of danger and still feel extremely comfortable in your surroundings.

What happened in Lafayette is a tragedy.  My heart hurts for the families of the victims, for those injured, for those who witnessed the event, and for our great state.  However, my heart also is hurt for the man who committed such a horrendous act, as well as his family.  That man obviously had demons; he had a very deep struggle.  His actions portray a very lost man, living without the love of Jesus within a very lost world.  There are people out there who knew him: friends, family, acquaintances, colleagues, etc.  Can you possibly imagine how they must feel?  I know I can’t.  My heart hurts for those people, too.

So what now?  Well, now we pray.  We pray for all of those touched by this event.  And yes…we pray for those who have a desire to boycott the funerals of the victims.  We should not only pray for ‘friends’, but ‘foes’ as well.  This is a group of people who have been deceived and taught immense untruth.  So yes, they need our prayers.  This is also a time for unity and brotherhood.  This is a time where you get to see that southern hospitality I mentioned shine bright.  Just watch!

Those of you who don’t know the love of Jesus are likely saying, “Where was your God when this man opened fire on innocent people?”  Let me tell you:

  • He was with the victims as their earthly lives were taken too soon.
  • He was with the bystanders as they were struck with fear and began to flee the building.
  • He was with those who were injured.  He heard their plees and prayers, and brought help.
  • He was with those who were so brave as to run toward the deadly action to help others.
  • He was with the policemen and emergency responders as they arrived to the scene to assess people and what aid was needed.
  • He was with the two teachers, as one shielded her friend, likely sparing her life.  That is courage and love granted by God.
  • He was with the doctors and nurses as they welcomed each patient with reassurance, and provided them with the necessary medical help they needed.
  • He was with the families and friends of the victims, holding and comforting them as they received the terrible news.
  • He was with the families and friends of each of the movie goers as they waited to hear from loved ones, not knowing if they were hurt or not.
  • He was with all of the residents of Louisiana as they heard the news.
  • He was with our Governor, protecting him has he traveled to Lafayette.  He gave Gov. Jindal wisdom as to how to address press, residents, those injured, and the victims’ families.
  • He was also with the shooter’s family and friends as they heard the terrible news of what he had done.  He held them; helped them to try to understand.
  • He was with the residents of Lafayette the morning after, giving them the courage to begin a new day.
  • He will continue to be with each of these in the days ahead.

My God was there.  He had a lot of work that night.  No job is too big…or too small.  God was there, and He will continue to be there.  That my friends, is how sometimes we can feel ‘a little too safe’.  With God we have nothing to fear!

God Bless!


Balancing It All: Homeschool and Housework

I think we can all agree that housework is not exactly fun, and it takes up way more of our time than we would like it to. Unfortunately, chores are a part of daily life, especially for a mom and wife. Some days I feel like the housework runs me, rather than me running it. However, for the most part, I have learned how to manage it. This didn’t happen overnight, although I wish it would have. When my husband and I decided that God was certainly calling our family to homeschool, I knew I had to buckle down and figure it out. The mere thought of homeschooling my child and keeping up the house, scared me to death. I didn’t know how I would ever be able to make it all work.

The first step for me was gaining control of my biggest job around the house…laundry. For three people, we have a ton of it! I immediately placed a laundry basket in my daughter’s bathroom. She had just been piling her dirty laundry up on her bathroom floor until mom could pick it up. A simply laundry basket solved a lot of the problems in there. It controlled most of the mess I was constantly falling over, helped create a routine for my daughter, and made it easier to get her dirty laundry to the laundry room (she quickly learned to drag her basket to the washer and unload it). I also got a laundry sorter for the master suite. There is a section for colors, one for whites, and one for towels. Once the dirty laundry had some organization, I decided the actual washing of the laundry needed to be on a schedule too. I went simple with my schedule: Mondays – Colors, Tuesdays – Towels, Wednesday – Whites, Thursday – Colors/Kids Clothing, Fridays – Sheets. I still use this schedule today, and I love it! It provides me with a simple way to get all the laundry done during the week without having to even think about it. Best of all….no laundry duty on the weekend!

Laundry Sorter

What has truly helped me manage homeschooling and housework is teamwork and scheduling. Before our school year began I created a general daily schedule in order to plan out just how I would get it all done. I found that I was able to work in chores throughout the day for myself and my daughter that taught her about responsibility, serving others, and managing her time. Here is an example of what our day looks like:

8:30am Wake/Morning Routine

8:45am Breakfast Prep/Quick Clean Up (Any Messy Area)

9:00am Breakfast/Kitchen Clean-Up (Kids help or start independent work)

9:30am School Time

11:30am Lunch Prep/Chore Time

12:00pm Lunch/Clean Up (Kids help clear table, then free time)

12:30pm Rest Time/Nap Time (Mom gets housework done.)

2:00pm Kids Finish Chores

2:30pm Finish School/Review/Free Manipulative Time

3:00pm Snack Time

3:30pm Outside Time (Chore Catch Up Time for Mom if needed)

4:30pm Dinner Prep/Quick Clean Up (before Dad comes home)

5:30/6pm Dinner Time/Family Time

8:00pm Before Bed Quick Clean Up

8:15pm Nightly Routines & Bedtime

You can see that I’ve worked in lots of time all throughout the day for chores and clean up. Our quick clean up time means straightening up wherever needed, putting away toys or laundry, etc. Designated chore time is for working on our housekeeping chores (i.e. dusting, bathrooms, sweeping, vacuuming, moping, etc.) My daughter has her own dry erase chore chart hanging in the living room. Each day she goes down the list during chore time, completing one task at a time, marking it off as she goes.

Dry Erase Chore Chart

To keep things fun, I came up with a chore punch card for my daughter. Anytime that she takes it upon herself to do an extra chore after her daily chores are completed, she gets a punch on her card. Once her card is full, she gets a prize and a new punch card to start.

Chore Punch Card

I’ve learned that keeping a home and homeschooling is meant to be fun, not just work. Both certainly involve a lot of work, but both are also a lot of fun when you are able to find a good balance that works for your family. Homeschooling is certainly the training of a child, but housework is the same thing.



A – Z Memory Verses

I want to share with y’all some memory verses, 26 actually, for your family to use.  If you are looking for a weekly memory verse for the kids or the entire family, this is a great start.
A: All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.  Romans 3:23
B: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.  Acts 16:31
C: Children, obey your parents in the Lord; for this is right.  Ephesians 6:1
D: Do everything without complaining or arguing.  Philippians 2:14
E: Encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.  1 Thessalonians 5:1
F: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.  Romans 6:23
G: Go into the world and preach the good news to everyone.  Mark 16:15
H: Honor your father and mother.  Exodus 20:12
I: In your anger do not sin.  Ephesians 4:26
J: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.  Hebrews 13:8
K: Knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.  Proverbs 2:10
L: Let us be…self-controlled.  1 Thessalonians 5:6
M: Make the most of every opportunity.  Colossians 4:5
N: No one can serve two masters.  Matthew 6:24
O: Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things.  Psalm 119:18
P: Praise the Lord: for it is good to sing praises to our God.  Psalm 147:1
Q: Quench not the Spirit.  1 Thessalonians 5:19
R: Run in such a way as to get the prize.  1Corinthians 9:24
S: Set them an example by doing what is good.  Titus 2:7
T: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  2 Corinthians 5:17
U: Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks.  Psalm 75:1
V: Verily, verily I say unto you, he that believeth upon me hath everlasting life.  John 6:47
W: Who can stand before jealousy?  Proverbs 27:4
X: Let us eXamine our ways and test them. And let us return to the Lord.  Lamentations 3:40
Y: You lifted me out of the depths.  Psalm 30:1
Z: Zacchaeus make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.  Luke 19:5

Another year gone by…

In three hours we will saying good-bye to 2012, and welcoming in 2013.  I love that each year we get to cherish the memories made, and wash away the less than happy moments of the year, and start fresh with a clean slate.  I think it is that very state of mind that drives so many of us to make “New Years Resolutions”.  I don’t.  Never have, really.  I love the clean slate state of mind a new year brings, but my goals in life are always the same.  They do not change because of a date, or holiday, or even a brand new year.  I’m not knocking the idea of making resolutions, in fact, I support it.  I love that people use it as a way to set new goals; goals they can reach on a short-term level, or at least will strive to meet.  Even if they don’t reach a particular goal, the journey makes them a better person in the end.  That’s how I’ll remember 2012…a journey.  2012 has been a year of joy and of sorrow, of ups and of downs, of success and failures.  In 2012 my husband was fired (twice, technically), hired ( just in time), quit (within a couple months of starting that job), and then found the awesome job he has now.  In 2012, my daughter graduated Pre-K, we decided to homeschool, my baby turned 5, and we began our homeschool journey.  In 2012 we made the decision to follow God’s will and sell our home (which sold in 6 days), moved into a rental, and made a true commitment, with God’s support and guidance, to pay off debt.  In 2012, right after our move, God provided and we were able to pay off our first debt.  At the same time, we realized what was ahead of us and that we really were going to have to rely on God to reach the end goal.  In 2012 my precious baby was given a clean bill of health and healed from her HSP she had suffered from.  Last year at this exact time, my husband and I were certain that this would be the year would add another little blessing to our family.  We figured it just had to be the year; we’d been trying for so long, and praying even longer for all of our future children.  We made the commitment to work hard and do everything we knew we could to make that happen, but we also committed to trusting God with the desires of our hearts.  I’ve spent a lot of 2012 in the Dr.’s office and taking medicine and vitamins, and well…you name it.  I’ve also spent a lot of time trying to lose weight to help reverse some of the problems I’ve been having.  It’s been a tough year really, and although I’ve now seen a 26lb drop in weight, I’m not there yet.  No, we are not pregnant.  I wish I could have shared this story and ended with a miracle like that, but it wasn’t God’s will for us this year.  It’s hard to say that, and even harder to understand it, but we refuse to waiver in our faith.  We know he wants to bless our family.  We know he loves us.  We know that He has a plan.  Maybe 2013 will hold better results for us.  I hope to be able write a New Year’s Eve post next year with a baby in my lap, or on the way.  Guess we will just have to see.  As tough as so many moments have been for us in 2012, so many more moments were amazing.  We are so very blessed!  I can’t fathom why my God would choose to lead and bless my family in the ways that he has, but I’m sure thankful for it all.  In 2013 we will continue our homeschooling journey, we will continue our journey to becoming debt-free, we will continue to pursue having more children (one way or another), my daughter will turn six (Yikes!  I’m getting old!), and we will continue to follow God and live for him.  These things I know will happen; all else will be extra special blessings.

Happy New Year!!

I pray that God will bless each of y’all and your family in 2013.

Parenting Challenge

Hi guys!  I hope everyone has had a fabulous weekend!  We got some more trees cut on Saturday, and finally joined our church this morning.  I say finally because we have been involved there for almost 3 years now I think; so long in fact everyone thought we were already members.  Even the minister was really surprised when we went down.  :0)   We are so excited to finally be officially plugged into our church home.  God has really put this on our hearts for sometime, and last night as were getting ready for bed Justin and I agreed that it was time to step out and follow in God’s will for family.

I decided to write this post because we have hit a wall with an issue in our home.  Our daughter is 5, and we are really struggling with trying to teach her to be thankful and humble.  I know she is only five, but she has a very mature understanding of things.  She is a very loving and sweet girl, but she tends to be very….rude, I guess you could say to my MIL.  She expects her to have something for her every time she sees her (which is at least once a week, but usually more), and she isn’t very appreciative when she does get things.  This is really the first and only big issue we’ve ever had with her.  You can bet I will be doing a lot praying for her in this area.  So, I’m curious…how do you handle something like this in your home, and what advice do you have for us?   She isn’t spoiled at home.  She never really wants for anything and is very independent.  However, at my MIL’s house she is spoiled…which is okay…that is a grandmother’s privilege, I know.  We just struggle with how to show her and teach her, without having to constantly get on to her, talk with my MIL, lecture her about it, etc.  We would love to take her on a mission trip and show her first hand how very blessed we are, and why she/we should be so very thankful and humble, but financially it isn’t an option for us right now.  We’re discussing adopting a family or something of the sort for Christmas this year instead of buying all the gifts, but I’m def. in need of some other ideas…things we can do here and now.

Thanks in advance for any input on this one!

God Bless!


Easter Sunday

Hi!  Welcome to my family’s blog, Kees of Life!  The photo to the left are my loves, and keys to life for me.  This is my husband, Justin, and my precious little angel, Riley Grace.  Oh, and who could forget our sweet puppy, Ginger!  We also have a black lab (not pictured…sorry Jake!), and most recently a little Dachshund baby named Bear.  We love our puppies like kids!  I named this blog ‘Kees of Life’ first of all because that is what I plan to write about most of the time…life…and everything that goes along with it, but most importantly, the key (or keys) to living [the good] life.  Secondly, I used Kees, rather than keys, because that’s our family name, and my family is a the second biggest key to me living [the good] life.  The first, and biggest key in my life is God.

Mommy and RG

For those of you who don’t us, that is me (to the right) with my sweet baby girl.  Not my favorite photo of myself, but I figured it would do.   My husband is a high school teacher and coach, and I am a stay-at-home/homeschooling mom.  Talk about a tight budget!  So rest assured I will be sharing frugal living tips, and will definitely be looking forward to hearing yours.  I use to be a teacher myself, but God had other plans for our family.  I have never had more joy and satisfaction from anything or any job as what I have in being a stay-at-home mom!  I also work part-time at a mother’s day out program, and am over crafts in my MOPS group.  God has really given me a heart for women’s and children’s ministry.  My husband graduated from Louisiana Tech University, and I graduated from the University of Louisiana at Monroe.  Our sweet little girl was born March of 2007, and the hubby and I were married on July 7, 2007.   We always say that 7 is our number.   Here are a few reasons why….(sorry if this seems crazy, I promise we don’t sit around thinking about all of this, it just sort of worked out this way and was revealed to us) Justin and I started dating Oct. 7 (2005 I think), Justin and I both have July (7th month) birthdays, we got engaged on July 14, 2006, our daughter was born March 11, 2007 at 2:17pm, we were married on 7/7/07, I walked down the aisle at exactly 2:07 pm, and just to add another one (lol) this year marks 7 years that we have been together and 2014 will be our 7th year wedding anniversary.  So there are some of the reasons we always say that 7 is our number….go ahead…call us crazy, it’s okay.

I’m sure you’re wondering what these crazy people must do in their spare time.  Well, when we aren’t working, homeschooling, or attending church, my husband enjoys sports (go figure…he’s a coach), and I’m a craft junkie.  We enjoy going to the zoo, the library, the park, etc., but we also love playing wii sports as a family, taking afternoon walks around the neighborhood, and just getting outside for a game of basketball, baseball, or if we are really feeling spunky we might play some tennis.  We don’t have a lot of free time between August and May with football, and school and such, but we try to make the most of it.  I’ll do my best to keep you guys updated and share with you each week what we’re up to, and maybe even some crafts we’ve done.

I look forward to getting to know each of you!  God Bless!

The Kees Family