Emotional Sobriety: Be Sober AND Vigilant


Scripture of the Day
1 Peter 5:8 – “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

Jamia’s Nugget
Emotional sobriety. Sensitivity. Trauma. What’s too much? What’s not enough? How do I deal with it? How do I help others deal with it? How do I teach my children to cope with it?

The importance of maturing to an emotionally sober state is everything to our well-being, and it is a process that we must all journey through. In 1 Peter 5:8, our adversary can come in many forms – trauma, abuse, PTSD, drug abuse, mental illness, or just unfinished business from the past that hasn’t been dealt with and cripples us to productive discernment. In fact, we can all rest assured that “whatever we don’t WORK out, we will ACT out”, and that – friends – is common to us all! However, there are some that have real challenges with adjusting emotionally so that they can make logical and reasonable decisions about life. For that reason, they may find it difficult practicing and applying this command to be “sober-minded”.

First, let me preface this by saying I am no one’s therapist. I am not licensed, and I have no educational background in mental health.  I am simply a mother who has a child that suffers from mental health and is always seeking to understand HOW to parent her in a way that is loving, encouraging, empathetic, and honorable to our Lord and HIS power and ability.  After reading several books about childhood trauma and its neurological, emotional, and social effects on development, I have learned that the emotional part of our brain is multi-layered and lies beneath the logical/reasoning part, which means there is a lot to work through before a person can reasonably respond. When mental illness is involved, there is a delay or stagnation in transforming emotional movement, which is detrimental to the process. Aware of this, learning to act instead of REacting is a day-by-day process that requires love, intention, discipline, and perseverance – for the caregiver as well as the individual. 

Scott Breck, Mental Health Specialist defined mental health as “the commitment to reality at all costs.” Jesus puts it this way in Luke 14:28 – “For which one of you, when he wants to build a watchtower [for his guards], does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to finish it?” The problem is that all of us tune out at different aspects of the “all costs” part while some can’t handle the emotional commitment to “all costs”. Productive mental health necessarily means a commitment to truth in the way we see ourselves, our relationships, our careers, and more… DESPITE the costs. Many are not willing to sacrifice all and may ultimately find themselves responding like the Rich Young Ruler walking away “grieving and distressed” because it costs too much and the sacrifice was just too great (Matt 19:16-26). Without a commitment to reality at ALL costs,  “dying to self” for the Christian becomes nearly impossible (Luke 9:23). It’s even more difficult for the Christian that has given way to allowing trauma, emotional baggage, or the like sabotage godly discernment. Emotions are needed and have a purpose. They are meant to inform us by compelling us to take action. They were never meant to dictate the way we live our lives. When emotions are not dealt with then they must go somewhere. Ultimately, they will end in places no matter how much one tries to stifle, bury, or ignore them, manifesting in unhealthy responses that may hurt us or those we love. How we choose where is a process.

Q: So how does one get better or how can we encourage someone that has challenges with emotional sobriety?

Because I am speaking from a place of personal experience as a parent and a friend to several that have some of these challenges, trust I am working through this myself through prayer, biblical guidance, and secular resources. If I may make (3) suggestions that the Lord continues to help our family work through as an encouragement to inspire emotional sobriety:

(1) Seek, first, to understand before criticism and judgment.

Trust me, I am still growing in this area! When our brains are not functioning at their best capacity, trauma triggers a fight, flight, or freeze response cementing emotional drunkeness. As a caregiver or person that cares for an individual going through this, many times listening is the BEST response without criticism and judgment. Frequently, medication or other psychological advances can assist in healing so a person can reach the logical/reasonable layer of the brain where the Word of God can then be shared and comfort received. As a caregiver or an encourager, we must be careful of the “spiritual bypass” trap. Remember, the emotional parts of our brains are multi-layered, and overtop lies the logical/reasoning layer, so quoting a Scripture to a person going through an episode may bounce right off them because they are not in a “reasoning” state of mind and not necessarily because he/she is faithless, but because they are not in a state where they have the ability to “reason” through a mindful response. Patience and compassion are key to overcoming episodes and loving them through the process of reaching the top layer. Gaining the expertise of a professional is most impactful.

(2) Encourage the person towards emotional sobriety by promoting emotional and biblical awareness during times of strength.

We are constantly working through this one. The soldier prepares for the battle, and so should we! As we work alongside trained professionals, there are still ways we can assist the process rather than hinder it. Communication is so key to healing. Practicing and enforcing healthy boundaries during times of strength help the individual prepare for times of weakness. Boundaries are in place to keep us and our loved ones safe. The Bible teaches “the things that are impossible with people are possible with God” (Luke 18:27) but what does that look like in practice when you or the person you are encouraging is in a manic situation? God works through His Word definitely, but also through the church, therapists, friends, family, technology, and more! Since “…our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12), remaining spiritually grounded is of the utmost importance because it’s the WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD that has the ability to help one resist and stand firm against these evil forces (Eph 6:13). Psalm 19:7 – The law of the Lord is perfect (flawless), restoring and refreshing the soul; The statutes of the Lord are reliable and trustworthy, making wise the simple.” Without God, we are left to our own devices, which can be a potentially dangerous and a fatal place to be.  An intentional conversation that frequently promotes awareness and biblical healing in a loving and encouraging way during times of strength must be consistent. Reflection on those equipping conversations during times of battle gives them and caregivers tools for the battle. Those suffering from emotional insobriety have a distorted view of life through the lens of an emotional firehose! It’s often uncontrolled, irregular, and manic, so reminding them of the tools they have at their disposal (God’s Word, Armor of God) may help gradually while God fights their battles!

(3) Spiritual maturity doesn’t necessarily mean emotional maturity. 

Have you ever met a person that seemed spiritually put together, frequently quoting Scripture, but something about them was a bit off, and you couldn’t really put your finger on what it was? It is very possible for a person to SEEM spiritually mature, yet emotionally damaged where they are not able to respond to certain situations in healthy ways. What do I mean? It all goes back to the way our brains work and how they are wired. If emotions are multi-layered and buried under the one reasoning layer, then there are frequent challenges and delays toward logic and reason. Quoting a scripture during a traumatic episode, for some, has no power if their emotional state has been ignored, hidden, or criticized and responses are irrational, manic, and uncontrolled. Knowing this, helps caregivers step into empathy and compassion rather than criticism and judgment. Jesus said in Matt 9:12-13 “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” What does compassion look like when we are ministering to a mentally unstable episode or emotionally driven situation? How can you motivate them to seek professional help or calm down enough to get to a place of thinking ability? What does empathy look like when I may never understand what a walk in their shoes even looks like? What does love look like when they have reacted in a way that is dangerous and unsettling or even fatal?


Look, I don’t have all the answers. God knows I don’t. But these problems are surfacing more and more in our society and we must learn a better way to work through them with love and understanding (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). Bottom line, we need to have a good balance of the Word, love, patience, compassion, and empathy when ministering to others. We won’t always get it right either. But we serve a God that is BIGGER than our mistakes!! May God bless us all in our endeavors as we extend the grace and mercy that has been so lavishly bestowed on us.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7, 13

4 Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. 5 It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. 6 It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. 7 Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening]. 13 And now there remain: faith [abiding trust in God and His promises], hope [confident expectation of eternal salvation], love [unselfish love for others growing out of God’s love for me], these three [the choicest graces]; but the greatest of these is love….

Memories of Faithfulness

Scripture of the Day

Luke 22:62 ERV – “Then the Lord turned and looked into Peter’s eyes. And Peter remembered….”

Jamia’s Nugget

5 years ago, to the date, I attended a funeral of a woman who certainly feared the Lord, Mary Moore. Reflecting on her strength and faith during her times of illness have been truly inspiring. Since the closing of our former congregation in December 2018, she was always concerned with our faithfulness, even when she was in pain and suffering. When we would visit her in the hospital, one of the first things she always asked us was, “Where are we worshipping?” Remembering and honoring her today inspires ME to remember the LORD always…even when there are times it may feel like he’s not listening 😭. The beauty of these memories is that I have learned so much more. Even if I don’t have a feeling of God’s presence, it doesn’t mean He is not there. I mean consider Job, Abraham, Elijah, even Peter during their times of despair. There were no “feelings” that indicated God was there, they just had to trust that HE IS.

Peter has to be one of my favs because his “keeping it real” attitude was certainly one I (and probably many others) can relate to. “Peter was an ordinary man that stepped in the same messes, made the same mistakes, and put his foot in his mouth in the same way many of us do. He was fiercely loyal and determined to follow Jesus. Yet, he struggled with fear, lost his focus, and faced a day when he allowed his fears to win😢👣. Perhaps, we can relate to Peter so well because we see the shadow of our own “impossibles” in his 💖.” (Casandra Martin) Luckily, Peter showed us that his story didn’t end there☀️📖! Glory be to God that “Peter remembered…the Lord” and the intimate relationship he had with Him. The Word, once planted in the 💖s of men, is meant to do the same for us📖🙏🏾. When we reflect on it and REMEMBER as Peter did, Jesus will come to full bloom in our lives just like HE did in Peters.

Keep trusting and keep believing because the valleys were never meant to define God’s presence in our lives, His love for us does. He is there even when we believe He has abandoned us.

Chasing Failure

How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success?

CHASING FAILURE seems to be the best way to describe the effort necessary for success. We, as a family, completed this 7-day devotional titled “Chasing Failure,” and it was a great reminder of how to emphasize effort over results. As a Christian who believes that the beginning of knowledge begins with a humble submission to the Lord and His teachings, my goal in life as a servant, wife, mother, daughter, friend is to emphasize the “lived experience” and all that comes with that. Sometimes, focusing on the end, spirals into anxiety, stress, and discouragement. It has certainly shifted as I continue to mature. In my youth, certainly before children, the end was how I secured my path. It was spontaneous and, often, unstable. As a homeschool mom, reasonable spontaneity keeps the days exciting and fun, but scheduled academics establishes structure and stability. Now, my time is consistently inventoried, so I can focus and dedicate on specific tasks more succinctly. Proceeding toward goals with a resolute readiness without fear of failure or success is how I grow, learn, and understand the lessons of life. This reality only came to me recently as I constantly labor to be the supportive sports mom to my three kids. Observing their efforts gives me abundant insight with a holistic perspective. Team unity, emotional stability, and sequential reasoning, critical thinking are obvious when they are “all in!” It’s like a beautiful masterpiece that fits together piece by piece resulting in a personal win whether they score the victory or suffer defeat. No matter what, they grow in learning from their mistakes while assessing their strengths and weaknesses, which is a natural manifestation of any undertaking. Don’t get me wrong, my kids play to win, but they also are learning there is also great victory in striving through the struggle to simply execute well. Life’s accomplishments is so much more than a list of accolades and failures. Rather, it is the lived experience that truly gives the young and old, alike, fulfillment and completion.


Psalm 139:13-14 – For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful; know that full well.

Luke 18:27 – ““What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

As an ode to Black History, I would be remissed if I didn’t mention some of the real challenges we face within the black community that is perpetuated by self, family, media, environment, etc. Some of it is subtle while other aspects are overt. It’s real. It’s here. First, let’s look at a general overview of Desirability Politics. What is it?

I recently learned this term from an episode I watched of VICE: MINORITIES DISCUSS COLORISM. Desirability politics are the stories we have written about beauty, intelligence, kindness, etc., that function in our daily lives.

“Narratives about beauty, intelligence, and kindness have mostly been centralized on white people. Psychological experiments like The Doll Test have shown that from a young age, most people of all races are programmed to favor light skin. People of color, people with disabilities, size, economic status, and people with a myriad of other culturally oppressed identities have all been historically underrepresented in the media, which has worked to construct these identities as inferior. These are the politics of desirability.”
~ What are the politics of Desirability, Tristan

This episode of Vice gave some interesting discussion of how desirability politics influence our lived experiences. Here are some quotes to consider as we consider diversity, change, and personal experiences.

Quotes from “Minorities Debate Skin Bleaching and Colorism

  1. “Desirability Politics. Who you desire is political…because who you deem as “pretty” goes into all these other characteristics…who you deem as “ugly” has all these other NEGATIVE characteristics. Who you desire goes beyond romantic relationships and shows up im platonic relationships as well…co-workers, all relationships in your life. Colorism goes so much deeper than that. Think about…how do you treat the dark-skinned people in your life? What do you think about them? How many dark skin people are in your life or in your friend group?”
  2. Why is diversity a “trend”? On set, what’s the crew giving? What are the CEOs to beauty companies giving? Trends are NOT lasting, and restructuring of ideas and resources.
  3. “..when it comes to skin bleaching, I’m much less interested in personal experiences than WHY is this a multi-billion dollar industry? Why is DOVE something they sell in the U.S. here, but in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean…let’s talk about how this is a capitalist ENTERPRISE invested in people lightening their skin..it’s important to talk about WHO benefits from people lightening their skin…that’s where the conversation needs to begin…on class and capitalism.”
  4. “…why is it societally that being lighter skinned has very clear material advantages of both beauty, desirability, socio-economic opportunties…This. Is. Real.”
  5. [from a chocolate brown woman] – the world is internalizing the idea that being lighter-skinned is prettier, and I get why..I’m privy to the societal pressures that would drive one to skin bleach..I understand there are so many pressures…but I also understand that subtly you have internalized anti-blackness.”
  6. [from a chocolate brown woman] – “…one thing I remember my mother saying to me growing up is ‘you don’t need to marry anyone your shade or darker otherwise, your kids are going to come out too dark…I always thought something was WRONG with me because I heard that a lot growing up.”
  7. [from an olive-colored Middle Eastern young woman] – “…my mom would tell me to tell people I was Russian because a closer proximity to whiteness would keep me safe…I’m usually more palatable for white men..when other middle-eastern men approach me, they assume I’m white and say, ‘oh, you’re pretty for a middle-eastern woman.”
  8. [from a mixed-race “passing” woman] – “…for me, it wasn’t as much about skin color in my house growing up as it was hair. When I was younger, my hair was straight, and then puberty hit, and it grew curly. My mom decided to make an executive decision, straightening my hair. As I grew older, I internalized that as…you’re almost there…the one thing that would give you away is your hair.”
  9. [from a dark-skinned young woman] – “growing up, my siblings are lighter than me, and I was the darkest. Clearly, I could see that there were certain benefits toward my siblings in society, but my biggest takeaway was how femininity was ascribed to lighter skin and masculinity ascribed to darker skin. That said, dark skin could not be beautiful unless they were men. I internalized that but later learned that it has nothing to do with me; instead, it has everything to do with how society conditions people to think about beauty.”
  10. [from a young 20s black woman who has lightened her skin 2 shades] – “…my mom always tells me I’m beautiful even when I was darker. I just got influenced by the media, honestly.”
  11. [light-skinned Latino male w/ long red locs] – “..my mom always appreciated and encouraged my natural beauty…but I remember watching the Disney channel growing up and always asking…why can’t my hair be straight and look like that.”
  12. [light-skinned Latina girl] – “..what’s important for me is accessibility. I grew up in the Bronx, and people are around other people that look like them for most of their lives. It’s so embedded in that way. They stay in the projects forever. I decided to leave and get an education somewhere else. I attended school in a place where few people look like me, and I would go home and have these conversations about how different the world is…I learned that it’s challenging for people to be aware of racism in a homogenous environment. Once they get out and see the differences in the world, in an environment of diversity, their experience becomes different.”
  13. [from a dark-skinned woman..on beauty] – “…right now there is an influx of mixed raced woman as a representation of blackness. I mean, you have Lupita, who is gorgeous, and media recognizes her as gorgeous…but it’s not fair that we have to wait for representation before dark is accepted as beautiful.”
  14. “..it’s not honest to deny that your experiences, media, family familiarity, etc. it influences your phenotypical desire. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that many people date lighter-skinned/white people. Who you date says a lot about who you advocate for…who you trust…who you believe deserves support…who you show up for.”

This is an ancient problem that we can see is ingrained into family, self, and society. There are solutions that may not be a global effort but can make a dent in how we internalize and respond to this issue. “With God, all things are possible.” The Bible teaches us a method by which to operate and execute an impartial attitude toward the physical and focus more on the spiritual. Accepting that each person is a soul helps us identify with our humanity. Next, our parents must be a conduit for change. For years families of color have subtly experienced colorism at home. Whether in comments, gestures, or approval, it is taught in non-verbal cues and passed on to our children. Intentionally teaching our children that “different is just different and not bad” must be exhibited in how we speak, behave, and interact in our relationships.” Then we must accept ourselves as beautiful without mistake. God has crafted each of us uniquely different in our own distinctiveness. He finds that valuable, and we must learn to do the same.

There are some things that are out of our individual influence. The media must have more representation, so the beauty standards change. We have to remove ourselves from our own echo chambers, get out and see the world in all its unique beauty. Lastly, believe that change IS possible, especially on an individual level. Work to improve your personal experiences and watch how impactful it becomes!


Our Lives are but a Vapor

How does death change your perspective?

James 4:14 ERV – “You don’t know what will happen tomorrow. Your life is like a fog. You can see it for a short time, but then it goes away.”

There is a transformation that happens when death knocks at our door. We learn that life is precious and not promised to anyone. It doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care what race or gender you are nor what age or body type you possess. It hits the “beautiful,”the “common,” the celebrity and the social influencer alike. It doesn’t care how rich or poor you are, how “normal” or emotionally challenged you become! Death randomly chooses the educated or ignorant, the hero or the victim, the murderers and the pedi files. It is a finality we all will face. A common event that binds humanity together! How will we choose to live knowing that?

How humbling?! Praise be to God, 2022 marked my 50th year of life. As we grow older, we see more and more the reality of death. It’s real. It will be realized by everyone. We will all face it.

Still in the trenches of raising a family, I think it’s become more evident how this reality impacts LIFE. As a believer in the Word of God, I trust when God writes everyone has a purpose to fear Him and keep His commandments (Eccl 12:13-14). I also trust that His love for us is BIGGER than anything we could ever imagine…including death (Rom 8:38). When we allow our heart and mind to be lead by the fear of death (to us personally, or anyone we love) then it’s like I’m carrying this 100lb weight on our backs while actually trying to live our lives! That sounds crazy, right? We would never intentionally do that, but it’s what happens when we allow the fear of ANYTHING cripple us from stepping into the purpose God has for us. Life was meant to be lived loving God first, and then loving self and others (Luke 10:27). Knowing that eternity is the other side of life may challenge our minds to pívot in adjusting to this general purpose for our lives. As we grow in that purpose our sphere of influence is impacted with the light only God can give rather than the fear that darkens our hearts and minds. Death is the end…a separation, but life has new beginnings…daily!!

What we do on this side of life is the legacy we get to write! How we allow death to impact that, is our clincher to expand…choose the joy that only God can give…even in and through death’s grief and grip.



Demonstrating Responsibility through Accountability in the Homeschool Journey

As a parent of four magnificent children, this is something I wish I would have known when I began our homeschool journey some 10+ years ago. The thought of using accountability to create responsibility may be something we naturally do as parents, but we can have a greater impact with intentional goal-setting in this area. According to the Bible, everyone is accountable to God and some sub-structure here on Earth: children to parents, wives to husbands, employees to employers, students to teachers, etc. Have we ever thought about how accountability can set the parameters for our lives? Accountability builds intention and demonstrates responsibility, and through consistent feedback, we sharpen our responsibility in all said areas.

It’s no different with our children! The hearts of our children need shaping and accountability is the tool that will produce responsibility. The Bible puts it this way,

“Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.” ~ Prov 4:23

One thing that I love about homeschooling, is the privilege to speak to their hearts consistently through reasoning, life examples, quiet conversations, and more. I am able to speak to their souls when I ask questions about their decision-making and the possibilities for better insights in the future. As God continues to show me both the letter and heart of His ways, I have devised 7 goals for accountability in my homeschool this year.

  1. Lead by example and hold yourself accountable first.
    As a parent, our children watch EVERYTHING we do. If we want to build accountability and responsibility in the hearts of our children, how are we the lead learner in this endeavor? Are we being intentional about the way we are first accountable to the commitment to homeschool in the effort and preparation? For me, it took a few years to figure out my rhythm and what I was willing and not willing to do. I am not an artsy mom, so any curriculum that involved arts and crafts with ubers of supplies and planning was not for me. Once I figured that out, I was no longer in denial about it; but owned it and moved forward with curriculums that suited my strengths as a teacher. Customizing the type of curriculum to my children was a breeze then.
  2. Set goals. (spiritual, emotional, social, and physical).
    About 5 years ago, this was a game-changer for me as a Christian, wife, mom, and educator. When there are not goals in place, there is no vision, and
    “where there is no vision, the people perish.” ~ Proverbs 29:18
    So now I loosely set goals for each part of the child. I often journal areas that need sharpening so I can look for life opportunities to teach and reflect.
  3. Consistently give feedback.
    Don’t we all do better when we know the areas that need strengthening? I have found that one of our jewels has a real hard time with accepting feedback; but thanks be to God, where I lack, God gives abundant grace (2 Cor 12:9). Now that I am aware, I can take frequent opportunities to gently give feedback.
  4. Create a culture of two-way feedback.
    This has been a pretty new phenomenon in our homeschool. I think I have been of the “old school” philosophy of “do what I say because I said so.” There are few occasions where that still holds true, because children should always respect the authority of their parents (Eph 6:1) but training our kids classically, as they increase in wisdom and wonder, I have found that it is much more valuable for them to respectfully interject ideas, questions, and reasoning into the discussion. This has fostered better practice in critical thinking for them and me. Instead of shutting down questions and supposed disrespect, try using questions to foster conversation, allowing them an opportunity to discover truth, beauty, and respectful communication. It’s a consistent work in progress and intention. Patience and persistence is key for teaching the beauty of logic, the ability to reason well.
  5. Make accountability a habit.
    Accountability can be defined as an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions. There must be a heart of willingness to accept that responsibility. Our children demonstrate that responsibility through consistent practice. At times they are rewarded, and other times they must accept good for goodness sake. If we take away the consistency, we confuse them and perhaps teach a conditional reward system versus a biblical one that pleases God.
  6. Keep track of your commitments and hold each other accountable.
    One would agree that it is irresponsible to make a commitment and not keep it. This is far different than not accepting a commitment because of too many prior commitments. Time management is an essential element so that teachers and students alike can understand the abilities and constraints. This is a trait that we must execute well as adults, and we see its beginnings reared in childhood. When we are not able to keep our commitments, other obstacles like tardiness and procrastination arise. As parents and lead learners in the homeschool journey, we must model proficient time management, consistently aligning our motives and actions with this verse:

    “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” ~ Colossians 3:23-24
  7. Use accountability as your structure for life lessons.
    Accountability is everything to our homeschool. God continues to teach me this lesson as I humbly submit to His will and His ways for my life. Our children learn as they humbly submit to my authority as a Christian, mom, and educator. They will forever be accountable to someone, and it’s a truth we must all get used to and accept. Pride has a funny way of showing up when we don’t accept this truth.

    **Bonus: hold others accountable by supporting and encouraging one another
    This is the bonus rule for our homeschool. As mom submits to Christ, the kids submit to mom through Christ, therefore encouraging and supporting one another. The more Bible we all learn and practice, the more our hearts are shaped through action, thought, and deed. It’s a constant sharpening, a fluid grace, and forward-thinking that helps us as teachers and students through this magnificent journey.

    Be encouraged as you lay your victories and worries at His feet and move through knowing for certain,

    “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9

To God be the Glory

Teach to the WHOLE child

“Do you realize that if you push a child too hard it can do a lot more harm than a poor grade!” ~ Ms. Crump, Opie’s Teacher, Andy Griffith 💖

This quote came up in my memories today. As a homeschool family, I have always known that grades aren’t everything in the scheme of learning. Spiritual health, emotional health, physical health, social health, and academics all have unique characteristics in each of our children. How we balance assessing these areas is equally important.

Interesting reading this nugget from Ms. Crump with the lens of a college sophomore, 8th grader, and two 5th graders. Our diamonds all have different seasons, different needs, and different abilities, yet God requires parents to do the best they can, equipping and training them in all. Defining the how’s, why’s, when’s and what’s of “push” is the key to developing a great relationship with our children in every season. Pray for God’s guidance as we grow in executing these areas without leaving others undone!

Nuggets from Andy Griffith 💖

As we contemplate 🤔 another school year under new “pandemic” 😷 circumstances, let us not forget that our “students” are still children and need a fair balance of academics, play, problem solving, conflict resolutions, and discussion⚠️. Being at home will never replicate a 6-hour day of public school📆; instead, it should be rich with reading📚, writing📝, discussion📢, critical thinking 🤔, and more. Change your thinking 💭 about what learning looks like‼️Homeschool won’t fit into the 6-hour box that most families are used to 🤣. Seize smaller moments of in-depth conversation as your students (big or small) mature right before your eyes. Time waits for no one 🕧, so make the best of those small opportunities 💖. Before you know it, these precious moments add up to a lifetime of love, learning, memories, and growth 🤓💕! The children are learning from us how to persevere or how to give in🤓! Which will we choose to be our legacy? #togodbetheglory#deut6#parentteacher#conversationsbuildmemories


I already did a post about the curriculums we will be doing for the new school year. (You can read that here in case you missed it 😉! A common question for homeschool families is, “How do I choose my curriculum for the year?” Well, that may be a loaded question for some. Many homeschoolers have spent hundreds of dollars on “good intentions,” hoping to implement pricey curriculums purchased on a whim, by a referral, or to fulfill some requirement. I tend to lean towards whatever is simplest, cheapest, and the least amount of prep 🤣! So it was a no-brainer when I adopted a curriculum based on my state’s education requirements.

Eaton Family Tribe (circa 2012)

Homeschool families may opt to sign up for the FREE portfolio reviews in many states. This is the tool we chose instead of using an umbrella homeschool program. Here’s a brief explanation of the two options.

What is a portfolio review?

Homeschool portfolios are a form of student record keeping that documents regular educational instruction. In Maryland, homeschool portfolios illustrate that a child is consistently learning specific subject areas. By law, they should not be checking for “progress” or grades necessarily, but that the child is receiving a consistent education. This is assessed through dated materials.

What is an “umbrella” or “cover” school?

An umbrella or cover school is different than a portfolio review. An “Umbrella” or “cover” school will approve and oversee a homeschool program. They may offer distance learning that can be used for one subject or as a complete curriculum. I have heard great privileges about using umbrella/cover-school resources, particularly in the high school years, but, our family has opted for the free portfolio review through our county.

My Portfolio Review Process

For us, FREE, is always good. It comes with a bit more work, but I don’t mind. Homeschool reviews can cause a lot of anxiety for folks. In the beginning, I certainly lead the anxiety club for that! However, over the last 7+ years, I have come up with a system that has helped me receive a compliant assessment every time. Prayerfully, sharing 5 easy steps will help you with your next review!

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” ~ Robert Collier
Success doesn’t come from one day’s effort; it requires effort from the starting and needs repeated effort every day.

If we begin our homeschool year accepting this as our motto, then there should be no room left for the worried feeling that comes with portfolio review.

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” Colin Powell

Once you register with your state/county as a homeschooler there will be requirements that every homeschool family must meet. KNOW WHAT THOSE ARE! Like anything else, you can access them online. They are usually found in the Dept. of Education for your state under the homeschool section. Knowing the expectation can establish the confidence necessary to meet the requirements. Knowing the requirements also helps with school planning for the current school year and future planning. The parent that is clueless about the state requirements has plenty of reason to be worried and anxious. This, my friends, is an easy fix!

Because homeschool is customized, families have a variety of ways to fulfill these requirements. The beauty of homeschooling is that life is learning.

“I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.” — Eartha Kitt.

Many daily activities can be credited as academic instruction. Most elementary subject areas are as follows:
*Social studies.
Physical education.
[Foreign language (optional)]

Purchase a 3-ring binder (3″ or larger) for each of your students. Create tabs for each subject. Also, create a Google Drive folder for the current school year, each student, the term (Fall, Winter, Spring), then the subject folders in each student folder. Put SOMETHING in (*) subjects daily. Be sure to DATE each assignment!! It can be video, worksheets, pictures from a field trip, etc. The other subject folders may be added to weekly. Again, pictures, worksheets, field trips, etc.

Organizing my quarters this way has made for seamless compliance. I am no longer scrambling to get papers and other evidence together to confirm regular homeschool instruction. I begin my year like this every year, making sure to label folders (Fall, Winter, Spring) for each academic school year in case I need to reference them.

3) GET YOUR KIDS INVOLVED (If you want).
Since about 3rd grade, I have always involved our kids in the homeschool review. They have shared about specific projects that affirm the “regular instruction” that officials require. It’s not necessary, but it has been a great experience for our kids and another assessment tool for me to know whether they grasped an understanding of the particular assignment.

Although it’s not required, officials have always inquired about “extras” like foreign languages and other subject areas that are not “required” learning. No harm in logging those as well. I have found that when it was time to do resumès and/or transcripts for our college student, going back to past experiences added to her portfolio.

Organizing work this way has given me the blessing of seeing the growth in our children and the growth in my abilities as their primary teacher. Certainly not without mistakes, our homeschool has flourished since I implemented this process for our family’s organization. It’s a great way to get dad involved too if he isn’t already. Having children “show and tell” at dinner time, Saturday mornings, or other favorable times gives me other assessment opportunities.

“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he/she has overcome while trying to succeed.” ~ Booker T. Washington

You can be confident in knowing that growth is happening in your homeschool, and your review is an opportunity to share that growth!

Jamia E.
Christian. Wife. Mother. Educator. Model. Actress.

Lord, give me the wisdom to navigate through this life all to your glory.  ~ James 3:13-18

Homeschool Curriculum 2022-23

Over the years, homeschool planning has been pretty simple since we use Classical Conversations as our spine. Automatically, I spend the summers, combing through online sources to add diversity and inclusion using the different learning methods: auditory, reading/writing, & kinesthetic. Here is what we have for the upcoming school year:


Saxon 5/4
My Math Assistant. Game changer for me! Grading site created by a homeschool dad that grades their work, provides videos for extra assistance and keeps a running tally of assignments, tests, and facts practice!

Classical Conversations Grammar
Students learn how to parse the English language, focusing on all the parts of speech and how to recognize them. This includes an excellent practice of diagramming one sentence 4 days per week.

Learning how to use punctation correctly, recognize spelling and grammar mistakes is an essential part of the language process. They edit a paragraph of Scripture 4 days per week.

We use the IEW writing process that introduces structure and style to writing. Students write about historical events.

Students do weekly presentations. Since our homeschool lacks in people of color and female contributions, my kids tend to enlighten their classmates with notable characters that enhance historical contributions.

Paces is an Easy-To-Implement, Rigorous and Biblically-Centered Workbook Curriculum For Grades Prek-12. We use them for Bible Reading, Social Studies, and Science.

Bible Reading
This year focuses on the life and parables of Christ.

Social Studies
PACES Social Studies. I love these books because they are easy, informative, and keep God as the focus. Students learn about all kinds of careers.

PACES Science. This year’s focus is on water, matter, and gas.

Usually, I rely on the 6-weeks dedicated to the basics of art through Classical Conversations.

Horizons Health

Mateo – Soccer
Inez – Tennis


Classical Conversations – Challenge B
Classical Conversations has been our core for over 10 years. When a student gets to the Challenge years (7th – 12th grades), the work becomes more rigorous and uses a classical Christian process for learning. Essentially subjects are used to teach a skill. For example, Math is used to teach Logic, Latin is used to teach Grammar, etc. Following is the 8th Grade curriculum for this year:

LOGIC – Math Saxon


1st Semester
History of Astronomy. 15 weeks of researching different Scientists that have left on mark on modern society. We include black inventors and the origins by which Greek scholar acquired their info.

2nd Semester
10 weeks discussing the Creation/Evolution debate w/ the last 5 weeks devoted to chemistry and how to use the periodic table.

1st Semester
Introductory Logic

2nd Semester
Intermediate Logic

EXPOSITION – Literature & Writing
1st Semester: Reading the following books, discussing w/ me, and write papers on each:

  • The Phantom Tollbooth
  • Little Britches
  • Where the Red Fern Grows
  • Hiding Place

2nd Semester:
Students transition to the adult reading level recommended in the higher Challenges by studying short stories from various famous writers they will encounter in Challenges I–IV. Students take the entire semester at home to write a short story of their own.

1st Semester
The American Experience Storybook
Additional reads and discussions w/ mom and dad:
-A People’s History of the United States
-Digging Deeper Document I created to add diversity and inclusion to the discussion

2nd Semester
Mock Trial

HEALTH: Horizon’s Health

PE: Basketball

ART: Free MOMA Class
Course: Reimagining Blackness and Architecture (FREE CLASS)

  • Charles Davis on the expansive field of architecture
  • Adrienne Brown on the Reconstruction era
  • Kara Walker on 40 Acres of Mules, 2015
  • Deana Lawson on Nation, 2017

This is the plan for the year. Our big girl is in college, so I’m down to three at home. Always make time for emotional check-ins, one-on-one time, field trips, and fun!

Jamia E.
Christian. Wife. Mother. Educator. Model. Actress.
Lord, give me the wisdom to navigate through this life all to your glory. 
James 3:13-18

Where’s your “faith”?

Faith. It’s one of those things we hear about all the time, whether one believes in God or not. It’s usually centered on believing something will or will not happen. But for the Christian, what does the Bible say about faith?

Faith or belief is not something that is given by God. It is something that man does or has in order to please God. Hebrews 11 is based on the fundamental idea that man is personally responsible for mustering up an “obedient trust”. Obedient trust…what is that? According to Heb 11 and other illustrations throughout the Bible it is a trust that provokes a prescribed action. The best illustration would be the “trust fall”. A person believes another will catch him/her therefore, they fall according to that trust. This is exactly how faith works. God “calls” individuals through His written Word (2 Thessalonians 2:14).

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” ~ Romans 10:17

Individuals build a “faith” within that word that then inspires obedience. In turn, the written Word can generate faith in the individual (Romans 10:17).

Rom 10:14-17 illustrates this exact sequence: (1) the preacher preaches; (2) the individual hears the preached word; and (3) the individual believes.

14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Then, as referenced by Heb 11:6, an obedient trust then causes man to act within God’s prescribed specifications, aka God’s Word.

So without a daily feasting on the Word of God, faith (or obedient trust) will be weak and/or lacking.

Jamia E.

Christian. Wife. Mother. Educator. Model. Actress.

Lord, give me the wisdom to navigate through this life all to your glory. 

James 3:13-18