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21 Lessons from a 30 Day Family Vacation

1. Self care matters. For the first time in as long as I can remember I took time to do what I wanted. When I was tired I took a nap. When I wanted to be creative I stopped what I was doing and took time to be creative. This time has allowed me to be intentional about filling up my cup.


2. I love being outside. I can stay inside for weeks at a time focusing on a project or flushing out an idea but this vacation has taught me that I really love being outside and there’s something recharging about being in that energy.


3. I love seeing outside from inside. I love being able to look out on my window and see nature almost as much as I love being a nature itself.


4. Habits matter. This month I really got to watch my habits pay off. Continuing my morning routine has been such a blessing not only to me but to my team and the people that I love and serve.


5. Forgiveness may mean changing perspective. I started this vacation heartbroken and I realized that sometimes I have to change my perspective in order to forgive. Rather than focus on what someone else said or did I took time to focus on my expectations of my relationships and whether or not they serve my life.


6. Fear is the biggest hinderence to success. This is one of the best times of my life financially and it is mind-blowing to realize the only thing that held me back from achieving this earlier in my life was being afraid. Being afraid of making fool of myself. Being afraid of not being good enough. Being afraid of investing in myself and losing. The best thing I could have ever done was invest in a coaching program that I couldn’t afford. It stretched me to figure out how I could afford it and as a result my life has changed.


7. Who you surround yourself with is important. Fill your circle with those who are wealthy: spiritually, physically amd financially. They may not all be the same person. I have always been spiritually wealthy. I have people that pray for me and nourish my soul. It’s my inheritance it’s been passed down for generations and as a result there is a peace in my soul that is unexplainable. I want to pass that on. I get to pass that on.


8. Prayer matters. Starting every day from a place of gratitude allows me to view my day from a perspective of gratitude, opportunity, and graciousness.


9. Take opportunities to lead. Sometimes it’s easy to hang out in the background and let others take the lead but I’m learning in this season I’m called to use my voice.


10. Take opportunities to follow. I’m also called in the season to listen. I have blind spots and when I ignore those who point them out I miss the opportunity to grow in that area.


11. Verbal fast are a thing. – “Take time to be quiet and to keep your peace.” Thanks Lucinda Cross


12. Kids are mirrors. My outer voice becomes my kids inner voice. I get to choose if that voice is critical or encouraging. If it encourages them to move out of fear or from a place of strong character. My foot steps become their roadmap. The way I give and receive love will be a model for them.


13. People have to be ready to make a move before they make a move. Some people want to be ready but just aren’t ready yet. Holding space for them may mean being available when they are ready but not pushing them until they are.


14. People who are ready to make a move thrive on accountability, encouragement and instruction.


15. Being a flawed leader gives others room to exercise their gifts. I don’t have to be perfect. When I show my flaws it show people what’s possible despite what they view as limitations.


16. Naps are awesome!


17. You don’t have to be loved in return. Live in love anyway. Some people may never have the capacity to love you the way you love them. The thing about true love is reciprocity is not a prerequisite.


18. When we lead with generosity we live in reciprocity. Luke 6:38


19. People will only treat you the way you treat yourself. People mirror your behavior of your treatment of self. If you want to be honored, show yourself honor. Thanks Monique Connor


20. Worry is prayer in the negative. Stop praying for the bad things to happen by feeding it energy. As a man thinks in his heart so is he.


21. Life is now. This past month has been incredible. I’m so grateful for this life that we have. We’ve been able to make in the past four months what we brought in for the whole year about 4 years ago. It’s taken work, intention, and for us to be uncomfortable at times but we are done putting off the life we want to live. Life is now.

If you want to connect with us and see what we are doing in our business to be able to homeschool full-time and travel the nation shoot us a message. We love helping others discover and live their purpose!

Mom, are you a preacher?

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By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love and unselfish concern for one another. John 13:35 AMP

“Mom, are you a preacher?” Summer (age 8)

“No why do you ask?”

“You’re so nice, you’re never negative, are you a preacher?”

First, let me say I do have moments of negativity. I am human but it is sweet to see that my kids see and know my heart.

Initially, I told Summer no. Then this scripture was impressed upon my heart and I had to go back and correct my answer. I explained it to her like this:

“Is God in your heart?”

“Yes, mommy.”

“How do you know?”

“I feel God.”

“How do I know that God is in your heart?”

“See the Bible is clear in John 13 Jesus told His disciples that everyone would know them by how they love. Not by their wealth, not by their intelligence but by the way they intentionally and unselfishly show concern for others.

When you are kind to your brother or sister, that shows that you love God. 1 John 4:20 says, ‘if you say you love God but are mean to your sibling, then you are a liar.’ I know it is hard but the Holy Spirit can help you be kind.”

I don’t know if she got it and I am not confident that this will stop future fights with her siblings but I am blessed to know that she is paying attention to what I try so hard to do. Show God’s love. If you are a follower of God let me challenge you to love and have an unselfish concern for everyone you connect with today. Some people are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, lonely, or irritated. Be gracious, willing to forgive, and find ways to unselfishly show concern for others.

God,

Thank you for the many ways you show me love. In you, there is no lack there is only abundance. I have more than enough love to give. You love me when I feel unloveable. You forgive me when I choose to do the wrong things. You let me know you are by my side when I am fighting for what is right. You have given me more than enough. Help me to love generously and unselfishly. Help me to be intentional about sharing the way you make me feel with others. Show me ways to make other people feel special without thinking about how I can gain. Please forgive me for all the times I withheld my love from others or treated others negatively. Help me be more like you. I love you and I want to be known as yours by my actions not just by my words.

In Jesus’ name, amen.

The Lesson I Hope You Get From Raising Dion ***SPOILER ALERT***

First let me warn you again this post will have spoilers so if you want to see the Netflix show Raising Dion without spoilers you’re going to have to check another review.

This review is solely based on my thought and not that of my children. They have not seen the movie and they probably won’t see it for sometime. The villian in the movie is too scary for one of our tender-hearted kids.

Raising Dion is a hero’s origin story about a young boy, his widowed mother, and his awkward an overstepping Godfather. When Dion starts exhibiting miraculous abilities the people in his life respond just as you would imagine. There’s so many feelings: shock, fear, doubt, and of course the desire to immediately protect Dion.

These feelings, coupled with the wild ride that is the discovery of Dion’s supernatural powers cover a glaring issue that you don’t recognize until the very end of the movie, if you recognize it at all. That issue is the sneaky adults.

Jason Ritter plays Pat, Dion’s Godfather in the movie. He is always there, accommodating and lets Dion get away things his mother would not. In the beginning of the movie Nicole (Dion’s mom) tells Pat not to let Dion have soda and ice cream at the pizza parlor because he got in trouble at school. That evening he lets Dion have both. Red flag #1 not obeying moms instructions.

Later on Dion is in a scientific lab where he isn’t supposed to be and Pat advises him not to tell him mom. Red flag #2 Pat aligning himself as an ally to Dion, a child, and not his mom, an adult. This type of behavior plays throughout the movie. Pat has little to no boundaries with Dion which as a viewer you may understand because this child has super powers. Who wants a superpowered tantrum?

Then it is revealed. Pat has powers too and needs Dion to heal him. His placating behavior had nothing to do with Dion being happy and everything to do with Pat exploiting Dion to get what he wants. This is called grooming behavior. Predators use this method to align themselves with a child they are drawn too in order to get the child to comply with their requests.

We see this dynamic play out when Dion’s mom finds him in the process of healing Pat and tells him to stop. Pat knows that Dion healing him will come at the cost of his life, yet he insist on Dion trying. Dion’s mom tell him to move away from Pat, to which he responds, “He needs me.”

Predatory adults will make a child feel as if they have a responsibility to that adult. So here’s a few things I look out for as a parent and things I teach my kids to look out for. Sneaky adults will initiate or even encourage secrets. They will say things like, “It will be our secret.” Instead of, “Its okay I will tell your parent.” Sneaky adults put their needs first even if it can cause the child harm. For example, taking them somewhere inappropriate or allowing them to be exposed to something “by accident” and not telling the parents.

So how can you combat sneaky adults? By asking questions. I ask my kids the following.

1. What was the best part?

2. What was the worst part?

3. Any secrets?

4. Anything weird?

5. Anything else you want to tell me?

I asked these questions no matter what. No matter where they go whether it’s Grandma’s house or to hang out with a new friend. This keeps them from being alerted if I feel like a person maybe a sneaky adults. It also gets them in the habit of answering these questions without feeling like they’re going to get in trouble. Hope this helps you and your kids recognize sneaky adults.

Be sure to share with a friend! Drop your comments or questions below!

Unexpected Loss

Have you ever felt like your faith was strong enough to save someone only to find your dreams crushed? I have.

I come from a big family and I have always wanted a big family myself. When asked how many kids I want, the honest answer is as many as my husband will allow. Then I want to adopt.

I love being a mom. Being pregnant always came easily to me. I love the feel of a growing belly and all the first moments. I love imagining what the baby will look like then God blowing my mind, making them even more beautiful.

So when I found out I was pregnant after a miscarriage the month before I was so excited. I recorded K reading a handwritten note letting him know the news. I told my parents and I hung a frame on the “grandchild wall” at my parent’s house. We were having a baby! I was determined to grow this baby in love not fear so I boldly shared the news with my friends confident that everything would be okay.

On Wednesday, July 25th while on the phone with my friends I felt it. The first sign that I was going to lose the baby. I got off the phone woke up my mom and asked her to take me to the hospital. We waited, the doctors ran tests, then they apologized for my loss and sent me on my way. I was losing the baby. I stopped bleeding once we left the hospital. I stayed in bed for three days. There was Hope.

I kept being reminded of the scripture in John 11:35 Jesus wept. In this passage, Jesus friend Lazarus died the situation was beyond hope. Jesus wept. Then Jesus raised His friend from the dead. I took this as confirmation that Jesus would save the baby.

The kids prayed over my womb and did all they could to keep my tears at bay. This was a side of them I hadn’t seen much of. They got to take care of mommy. They wanted the baby too and they did their best to help K take care of me. July 28th, Saturday morning we went in to have my blood tested I couldn’t wait any longer. They were going to tell me the good news. The baby was fine!

The doctor comes in reads my test results and says, “Your numbers have dropped substantially. I am so sorry, you are losing the baby.” I was so confused. What do you mean? If my numbers were dropping I should have been bleeding. Right? I should have had some sign. The numbers dropped right into the range of low normal for the number of weeks I was. So there may be Hope. Right?

There was that scripture again, “Jesus wept.”

Sunday, July 29 I lost the baby. I was home. I was with my husband and mother and as I held this tiny precious Hope in my hands. That’s what we named the baby, Hope.

I was so mad! This was the first time in a long time I could remember being mad at God. I did all the right things. I prayed! I had faith! I stayed positive! I had Hope! I know there are songs that say, “if God never does anything else for me He has already done enough.” I know I am supposed to say, “All things work together for good.” At that moment I was just crushed.

Jesus wept. I wept.

I needed clarity, understanding, some closure. Something!

This is what I got. Jesus wept, meant Jesus knew my heartbreak. Jesus wept, meant I wasn’t in it alone. Jesus wept, meant He could have but He didn’t. And it was ultimately for His glory.

Jesus could have prevented Lazarus from dying but didn’t. He chose instead to let him die, then raised him from the dead. I don’t know what is going to raise out of this situation, but I do know that it will be for the glory of God. God is sovereign.

My Hope is no longer in me. Hope cannot be based on my actions or my faith. When I think of the situation now, I remember an old song, “My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus love and righteousness, I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus name.”

I am at peace, and I know that something wonderful will be.

**I felt bad for grieving because I already have three healthy, beautiful, children but my loss was, in fact, a loss. If you are grieving and in need of a safe space to share your story, you found one. Feel free to leave it in the comments below.**

We Are Moving!

Well the cat’s out the bag! K got a promotion and we are moving to beautiful San Diego. This means two things for you

1. Our in-person class on Living Your Purpose Today will be postponed.

2. The class will now be offered as a webinar series! Be sure to subscribe here at at leeanahjames.com for the latest details.

**If you registered for the class your refund has been issued.**

We are so excited to move and will be documenting our move and sharing it with you on our podcast. We are also collecting footage for our YouTube channel which we are hoping to relaunch in a few months.

This is such a busy, big, exciting adventure we are embarking on. We cannot wait to share it with you. If you think of us, pray for us!

A Cup of Grace

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It’s 9:24 p.m. on a Tuesday and I am tapped out.

My grace cup is empty.

At this point, I spent the day being Wife, Mom, Auntie, caretaker, dishwasher, waitress, daughter, and more.

I’m snappy, irritable, and frustrated.

I have deadlines that are quickly approaching and little desire to meet them.

This is not like me.

This feeling of apathy is a result of my grace cup being empty.

I have a grace cup.

This is the cup from which I pour my love.

My don’t worry about it,

…they probably didn’t mean it that way

My these kids are only going to be little for so long.

My he really needs me to support him right now and not vent about my day.

This is the cup from which I pour my kisses for boo-boos

…and kisses for love.

This is a cup from which I pour my understanding of the disease,

…and mediating yet another seemingly insignificant argument.

This cup is running dry.

 

There are times and seasons in my life where it seems as if this cup is attached to a never-ending spring.

Where it is connected to an automatic refill button that allows me to continually walk-in strength and joy and love.

My grace cup during the season sometimes feel like a pool, a lake, dare I say ocean.

I have people stop and compliment me on how patient I am with my children rather than the behavior

of my children which causes me again to pour grace from my grace cup.

My grace cup is also for me. I pour it on myself when I’m too exhausted to say, “Yes.”

I pour it on me when no, is the only answer yet it leads to disappointment sometimes even my own.

Then there are seasons where my grace cup is depleting faster than it can be filled.

When it feels like a cup, a teacup.

I get stingy with it.

Like I’m running out and I won’t have enough.

I’m parched, I thirst for it but I don’t want to sip too much,

lest I run out because someone may need some grace.

It evaporates like steam from the pressures of self.

By myself.

To myself.

For myself.

It is during this time I am reminded that my grace cup can only be disconnected by me.

My grace cup is never left behind,

but it can be moved.

My grace cup dries from lack of study,

… meditation,

…and prayer.

The remedy is simple

…but difficult.

It requires space, time, and peace.

This peace does not necessarily come from silence,

it does come from being in an environment of total freedom.

For me, that is through my pen.

It’s through being in His presence and writing what I hear,

see,

smell,

taste,

touch.

It’s observing and absorbing.

It’s the acts of empathy in the form of compassion for myself.

Excuse me as I refill my cup.

2 Corinthians 12:9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

When can you tell your grace cup is getting low? How do you re-fill your grace cup?

 

Be sure to sign up for a free kids activity here.

CHEA Convention

The CHEA (Christian Home Educators Association) Convention was amazing! I arrived on Thursday afternoon. As a vendor, things were pretty slow. As a participant, the fun was just getting started. The first day there was a homeschool class offered for new homeschooling parents for free. This was a great class for those who are looking to homeschool this year or even in the next few years. It provided a lot of resources and affirmation on the importance of homeschooling. I even had a few friends drive in for love and support.

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They also opened up the used homeschool curriculum room which had free homeschool curriculum that was used by other parents for you to grab and use. This was extremely generous and encouraging. Towards the end of the night, more people came into the Exhibitors Hall to purchase products it was slow but very peaceful you could just feel this love it was a great first day.

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The next day, Friday was a crazy day for me I woke up early in the morning got to my booth and there were people there who were excited to buy my products because they download the CHEA app and looked at my websites ahead of time. Some people had questions, others just wanted to purchase products and a few were coming to get the time of my first class.

 

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My first class started at 2 on that Friday and was full.  I don’t get a lot of product reviews on Amazon so it’s really affirming for me to hear in person that my work is touching lives. I taught the integrating cultural diversity class next and had the sweetest little helper demonstrate the mancala board for me. I ended the night with bloggers night out and I was so honored to even be considered to be on the panel.

These women are world shakers when it comes to being social media influencers, homeschool, and faith-based bloggers. One mom has a YouTube channel called Master BuildersMaster Builders completely dedicated to building these amazing Lego creations with her kids. Another mom Melanie Young is a best-selling author who wrote the book Raising Real MenRaising Real Men with her husband Hal Young. Kristi Clover (the organizer) is a homeschool rockstar! These women are living my dream life so the fact that they considered my feedback valuable was a huge encouragement to me.

I look at my life and I think I’m trying. I’m trying to be an author. I’m trying to be a blogger. I’m trying to be an influencer. I’m trying to be an entrepreneur, but then I look at my schedule I see that I’m actually doing it. I’m doing the things that I set out to do and as long as I maintain my first objective which is to help others by sharing the love of Christ, He always opens doors.

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Friday night we sold so many books. People attended my class and wanted to purchase products, as a result, we also started pre-selling the Integrating Cultural Diversity Curriculum which is going to be released at the end of August. Of course, we did the Mom Card Project as well, which receives such a sweet response.

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I always get one or two people during events who are really going through a hard time trying to manage their emotions. It’s such a blessing when they see our projects like the Mom Card Project because it’s a reminder that they’re not alone. People aren’t always going to say, “Hey! I have an issue going on. I’m feeling lonely,” or “I’m feeling sad. I’m feeling like I’m not being supported”  but they may stop and pen a quick note to another mom letting them know they are not alone. So the Mom Card Project is a real blessing to people and it really makes people feel connected. I always tell people they don’t have to include their personal information but more and more moms have told me that they’ve included either their email address or their phone number just in case the mom that they send their card to needs somebody to talk to.

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Let me just back up and say my husband is amazing. This convention fell on his birthday weekend so Friday morning he took off work, not for his birthday but to come out and support me. He spent all day at my booth, selling my products, while I ran around to speak at all of these different locations in the convention center.

He didn’t rumble or complain one time and I had people stop me and tell me how in love my husband is with me just by the things that he was saying about me. I tell you this man is so amazing. The way he supports me is unbelievable.

Saturday morning was the last day of the convention. This day wasn’t very long CHEA Con was wrapping up with things like graduations for the high school graduates, different concerts put on by homeschool musicians and the last of the classes and workshops.

On Saturday night we decided to go to dinner and a movie alone, it was wonderful. Just being able to be with my husband and spend time with him and really just enjoy each other’s company was pretty cool. We are moving into a season where we are not going to have as many opportunities to get away as we do now, so it was nice to kind of have this precious time with him. I found some amazing products at CHEA Con but they are going to get their own post because I really enjoy the kind of value they’re going to add to our home school year this year. This was my CHEA Con experience and I am so excited for next year.

Make sure to check out the links in this post you will be blessed.

 

 

Our Podcast is Live!

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I am so excited to announce we have officially launched the Melanin Taught Podcast. Our schedule is set to release new episodes on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesdays. We will be talking about all things homeschool related. Everything from school schedules to racism. If you have some topics you want us to weigh in on. Drop a message in the comments and look out your question may be featured. Click one of the links below to listen and subscribe.

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I hope you enjoy it! Be sure to like, comment, and share!

Great Homeschool Convention Ontario

I arrived at the Ontario Convention Center around noon on a Thursday to set up my booth. There were tons of vendors who were doing the same. It was really cool to walk through and see what everyone had to offer. There was one booth in particular that caught my eye Lux Blox (In fact look out for a review on them soon).   I quickly stopped by and promised I would be back. I later went back to get the Super Sampler but now know I should have gone with the bigger package.

When setting up my booth I had three sections I wanted to focus on:

  1. Products
  2. Mom Card Project
  3. Brown Bag Project

Book sales were my priority because they are the bread and butter for my business. I sold my book How to Lead with Emotional Intelligence and took pre-orders for my new release How to Lead Teens with Emotional Intelligence. I found that many parents preferred to buy my book for leaders and share the information with their teens rather than wait for the pre-sale to come out in August. The book sales were great. I had the opportunity to pray with readers and I had one lady open the book, read, a page and burst into tears. I love seeing peoples lives touched by what God has shared with me.

I also started taking sign-ups for an in-person class I am teaching geared towards helping people discover their purpose. All in all, product sales were really good.

The Mom Card Project brought a lot of people to the booth and gave moms an opportunity to connect with one another after the convention. It was so beautiful to see moms pour their hearts out via pen.

Encouraging other moms to keep going and reminding them they are not alone.

 

 

Lastly, the Brown Bag Project was really cool. Kids loved coloring brown paper bags to fill up and give to the homeless. There is a wonderful lady at my church who has a homeless ministry. The decorated bags will be passed on her and her team.

 

This convention I taught on Emotional Intelligence. My class had a great turn out. I had some technical difficulties at the beginning with the convention centers equipment but they sent someone in to work out the kinks and it turned out all right.

Another cool booth that caught my eye was a financial services company called Revolution Financial Management. First, this family is so loving. The love of God just oozes off them, Second, they know their stuff. K attended a class they taught on generational financial security and got a card to meet up with them.

The final booth I want to mention is Money Muchkids. I met the creator and founder Victoria who is committed to empowering and educating children through her curriculum. This program is designed to teach kids about money and the younger they learn the more comfortable they are with money in the future. I want my kids to make wise choices so I would rather they make a bunch of money mistakes now, with fake money,

If you are looking to be a vendor at this conference the traffic was pretty slow compared to the convention in Texas. If you are looking to attend this conference to shop the slow traffic may appeal to you giving you time to stop and chat with the vendors and not feel rushed. This also may equate to smaller class sizes giving you the opportunity to ask questions.

If you went to the convention what was your favorite booth and why?

Be sure to like, follow, share and subscribe!