Get Your Kids Outside this Summer!

by tklicka on June 26, 2014


My children grew up on a patch of land bordering a 15-acre lake most of their lives. Being a homeschooling family of seven gave us countless opportunities to get outside and soak up God’s creation…right in our own backyard.

Oh, the memories my late husband and I made with our kids in years of summer days and nights…

  • Sitting outside on the swing set, licking creamy, sweet ice cream in a cone (and licking fingers as it melts and drips down their hands) while we watched an osprey or seagull fly over the lake;
  • Listening to peepers’ chirp or bullfrogs belly croak down by the lake in the cool early summer evening;
  • Running down to the garden in the early morning to pick perfectly beautiful snow peas, lettuce, green beans, cukes, zucchini, and tomatoes (the snow peas, eaten right off the vine never made it to the house!);
  • Gliding over the lake in our canoe in the early evening and watching the fish jump
  • Watching, long after the sun set, fireflies dance around the back yard (and just maybe dancing around with them);
  • Gazing up on a calm, muggy night at a spectacular light show of heat lightning in the summer night sky, or laying out our sleeping bags on the deck for our own slumber party under the stars–in both cases, God was the guest of honor AND star of the show.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money or travel very far to give your kids a taste of God’s glory. You just have to slow down, step outside, and watch and listen. You’ll be surprised at how much they notice, and you’ll make some of the very best memories with your kids. I promise.


Heat lightning, June, 2014; photo credit: Tracy Klicka MacKillop

The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator.   -Louis Pasteur, Medicine




Thoughts About Being Your Mother…

by tklicka on May 9, 2014

B, I love who you have become

The first time I laid eyes on you, just seconds after your birth, I wondered how I ever lived before you arrived. Thousands of mothers before me have testified to forgetting the pain of childbirth in that moment. I concur. Wholeheartedly.

Seeing your rosy pink skin, touchy its softness, smelling that unique baby smell of yours, hearing your gentle breathing and feeling the warmth in each breath had a way of filling my heart to the point of bursting. I knew somehow, when God brought you into my life it completed me in a way I didn’t think was possible.

And yet, each one of your siblings had the same effect on me, over and over. Could I be any fuller than I was at the moment of your birth? With the arrival of each of your sisters and brothers, however, my heart miraculously grew, and I knew it was impossible to ever imagine life without a single one of you.

Your baby and toddler years filled my days with the joy –

  • Showing you the wonderful and amazing world God has made—the feeling of rough tree bark and smooth rocks; the sound of birds calling; the drip, drip, drip of rain on our faces; the smell in the air after the rain stopped; the taste of the first honeysuckles on the vine as we sipped the liquid from the blossom!
  • Reading more stories than I can count and letting the delicious sound of beautiful words fill your ears and mind and heart, and then later hearing you chatter away as you made up story after story of your own
  • Holding you close in my arms or on my lap—trying to communicate with my touch how much you mean to me and how much I want to protect you, comfort you, be there for you; even more, wrapping my arms tightly around you, I wanted to help you understand how very much your Father, God loves you

Your childhood years reminded me how important being a mother is –

  • Raising and homeschooling you and your six siblings meant incredibly busy and often chaotic days – always planning, training, teaching, guiding, nurturing—what at a sobering responsibility, yet, I loved being a stay-at-home, life-teaching, leaning-on-God-for-every-moment mom!
  • Managing our home – years of stocking, providing, nourishing, organizing and reorganizing, cleaning up, decluttering – I don’t think my life was busier than in those years, but I was made for this.  I was the picture of imperfection, but I knew God was helping me, and I did everything with an eye to helping you manage your own home someday (and now you are – and doing marvelously at it, I might add!)
  • Loving one another and enjoying who God made us to be crowned our life together – it made homeschooling the absolute best choice. I have never regretted for a single moment hearing the call to lay down so many other good things to give you the best

During your young adult years God showed me He is writing our story – a good story – even when it meant the death of many dreams for our family –

  • Because of your dad’s increasingly debilitating MS, God kept rewriting our curriculum – no, I’m not talking about our school curriculum (although we had to make a lot of simplifying changes to that, too over the years); I’m referring to our life curriculum. I came to realize what you were learning about loving, serving, being patient, empathizing with other’s weaknesses, and ultimately, not living for this world, but the next, were the most important lessons all of us could be taught.
  • I’ve also learned that the goal of homeschooling isn’t to make sure you have a trouble-free, perfect life – this wouldn’t be achievable, even without all the struggles we’ve had to walk through! No, I think my highest calling is to show, through my life – both in my words and through my example — that God is sovereign and good…all the time. And to encourage you that, in whatever you do each day, make it count for the One who made it all and put you in the middle of it to reveal His glory.

I love who you have become – a woman of truth, beauty, honor. You cherish life and live boldly for God, with anticipation of the good He has planned for you, not clinging to perfection, but redemption.

Each of you children is showing these fruits in your lives in different ways…how rich I am to be your mom.

Looking back, I wouldn’t write the story any other way. Yes, I would do some things differently – I am constantly in need of God’s grace to be His woman – daughter, wife, mother, friend. But being your mom is the abundant life Jesus promised He would give. And I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

Forever yours, dear child,


You Can Have the Perfect Home School…and Other Myths!

March 7, 2014

I’ve been hearing from several moms lately going through the mid-winter homeschooling blues… “We never have a normal school day!” “My kids are driving me crazy!” “I just wish I didn’t feel so tired (or sick) all the time.” “I can’t teach my children all they need to know; what was I thinking?!” I’ve been […]

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Celebrate National Grammar Day!

March 6, 2014

To all my homeschooling mom friends–today happens to be National Grammar Day. I’m using it as an opportunity to LAUGH! I’ve been grading my kids’ papers for years, and still don’t feel like I totally have the hang of catching all the grammatical errors…I’m still making them myself! I saw this list “How to Write […]

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New Goals for a New Year

January 13, 2014

New Year…new start. Don’t we all want to start with new goals for the New Year? I know I do. I’m a doer. I like making lists. I like checking things off my lists. I’m a I-want-to-do-big-things-for-God kind of person. My temptation at the beginning of a New Year is to DO more, and DO […]

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This is for you dads out there…

October 21, 2013

I have seven children who all loved their dad. Even though he had MS for 15 years before his passing, which meant he couldn’t do a lot of things most “normal” dads can do–throw a football around, teach a child how to ride a bike, walk on the beach, or go hiking–each one of my […]

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Remembering His Cowboy Boots and Great Smile…

October 12, 2013

I have so many images in my mind…thinking back to my college days: a young, energetic, friendly guy with a dashing, sincere smile the light in his eyes when he would talk about America, and freedom and values, and wanting to make a difference in the world his sadness when he spoke of people he […]

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Our Hearts and God’s Heart for Our Children

October 2, 2013

  “I will bow down toward Your holy temple And give thanks to Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word according to all Your name. On the day I called, You answered me; You made me bold with strength in my soul.” ~Psalm 132:2-3 Dear friends, Over the […]

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