RUBY: Share your testimony with us.
I grew up in the Lutheran church. My parents were both believers, and we went to church every Sunday, read the Bible at home, prayed, etc. But, as was the story with many of my friends at church, when I grew up I realized that my faith was not so much my own as it was my parents’. It wasn’t personal to me. I graduated high school and spent the next few months really struggling with some hard issues in my life. I lived at home through college, so there were some really difficult months between myself and my parents, all due to my own rebellion and bad choices. I was lost. I met my husband Josh the spring of my first year in college. He was from a Christ-following family, and he knew his Bible forwards and backwards. I knew he prayed, and I knew he read his Bible often, and I was drawn to that. I started going to church with him at his family’s church, and saw how people there seemed to really have a relationship with Jesus, which was new to me. I always knew who Jesus was and knew that He loved me, but this felt different. Shortly after meeting Josh, I rededicated my life to Jesus. I wanted to have a relationship with Him and live my life in a manner that was pleasing to Him. Throughout the past 18 years since then, I feel like I have grown stronger in my relationship with the Lord. He is everything to me. He has been with me through many difficult times in my life where I felt like I had no one, and felt hopeless. But then, I am reminded in His word about how I have hope in Him. That He loves me and wants what is best for me more than anyone else. He is my strength, my joy, my hope, my peace, my comfort, my provider, my healer and my GOD.
RUBY: Share a favorite Bible verse and/or inspirational song, and why
this is a favorite.
Hmmm…this is a hard one to narrow down!
Probably my favorite verse is Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” I draw strength in this verse on an almost daily basis as I am reminded that I don’t have to do everything on my own. God is always there, wanting me to put it all in His hands and rest on Him.
As far as songs, I love music! God speaks so much to me through songs. There are hundreds of songs that I can say have changed my life or lifted me up when I needed it. But there are two songs that immediately came to mind when I saw this question.
1. Great is Thy Faithfulness: When my daughter was first diagnosed with hearing loss and had to be fitted with hearing aids, this mama struggled with feelings of “why God?” I was at Bible study one night during this time, and we sang that song all together and it was like God spoke the words straight into my heart. No matter what the circumstances of my life are, great is His faithfulness. He sees the whole plan for our lives before we are even born. He is always in control, and His ways are always best for us. An overwhelming sense of peace came over me as I chose that moment to praise God in the midst of my struggles.
2. Stand in the Rain by Superchick: This song came on the radio during a very dark time in my life. The beginning lyrics are:
She never slows down. She doesn't know why but she knows that when she's all alone, feels like it’s all coming down. She won't turn around the shadows are long and she fears if she cries that first tear, the tears will not stop raining down. So stand in the rain. Stand your ground. Stand up when it's all crashing down. You stand through the pain. You won't drown. And one day, what’s lost can be found.
You stand in the rain.
You stand in the rain.
This song was a reminder to me that even though what I was going through was the hardest thing I’ve ever faced, if I just continue to stand with God through it, I would make it through the rain and He would restore what was lost. Every time I hear it to this day, it still brings back those feelings I felt that day, and I remember what God has brought me through.
RUBY: I was so thrilled when you agreed to be a part of RUBY Magazine. Tell us about your involvement with RUBY Magazine.
Ha! I’m sure a lot of people are wondering who is this person! Courtney Winkler has been one of my best friends for many years now! Our husbands went to the University of Illinois together, and we became fast friends! In the many times we have visited Chad and Courtney, we have had the pleasure of meeting some of their friends from church. When Courtney asked me to contribute to RUBY Magazine I was thrilled to be a part of such a wonderful community of believers!
RUBY: Tell us about your family.
My husband Josh and I have been married 15 years this year. We live in the country a few miles northeast of Champaign, IL. We have three beautiful daughters, Olivia just turned 10, Addison will be 6 in a couple of weeks, and Charlotte just turned 3. We have a very close family. Josh’s parents live just a few miles down the road, and my parents live less than 2 miles down our road! Our siblings are all close too! It’s great to have all of our family so close.
We attend Christian Life Church in Rantoul, IL. Josh plays guitar in our worship band, and I teach kindergarten on Sundays.
Josh is a Senior Research Engineer at Creative Thermal Solutions in Urbana, IL. He has a PhD in Mechanical Engineering and is way smarter than I could ever dream of being! He has worked at CTS for 6 years.
I have a degree in Elementary Education, and I taught at a Christian school in Champaign, IL for 5 years before I had our first daughter Olivia. She was born with hearing loss in both ears and was fitted with hearing aids before her 2nd birthday. When she was 4, I decided to homeschool her for Kindergarten and have been homeschooling ever since! Olivia is very smart and very active. She loves being outside. She plays basketball and softball. She is also in 4-H learning about cooking, cake decorating and horses.
Addison is also very smart. She is our little goofball! She is always making people laugh and saying funny things! She LOVES making people happy! I call her my little lovebug because she is always hugging people. She brings smiles to many people’s faces. She is starting t-ball this summer and loves to do crafts and read.
Charlotte is quite the little whippersnapper. She is very outgoing, very talkative, and very cute! She thinks she’s 6, even though she just turned 3. She loves being a big girl and doing big girl things.
We have a very active chocolate lab and 3 lazy cats. We love living out in the country, going for family bike rides and walks, and being outdoors as a family.
RUBY: You used to teach in a classroom and now you homeschool your three beautiful girls. What do you consider to be the best aspect about teaching?
I did. I taught 2nd grade and 4th grade. Being a classroom teacher and now a homeschool teacher, I think the best aspect of teaching BY FAR is seeing that light bulb go on above a child’s head when they really truly understand something for the first time. I love it. When I taught 2nd grade, a lot of the students were already reading, but there were always a few that really struggled. To see them struggle for so long and then one day something clicks in their brain and they are so excited! That’s the best! And now to be homeschooling my own children and to see that moment happen for them is awesome! My middle child, Addison, knew her phonics families forwards and backwards and was reading small words and stories. But whenever someone would ask her to read something to them, she would get really frustrated and tell them she couldn’t. One night my husband Josh and I were sitting together after dinner, and she came running up to us with a book shouting the title “SHARK IN THE PARK!! IT SAYS SHARK IN THE PARK!!” She all of a sudden realized that she could read books!! And she’s been reading everything she can get her hands on since then!
RUBY: Tell us about one of your favorite field trips you and the girls have taken.
One of my favorite field trips we have done is to go to this park that has many different kinds of trees. We spent the morning doing bark rubbings, collecting leaves and seeds, and identifying the trees. Then we had lunch and spent the afternoon playing at the park. It was not what I had planned for that day, but it was so fun to just relax with the girls all day. They all had a blast gathering leaves and seeds and trying to find tree types that we had not found yet. It was a beautiful day, and it was nice getting away from our regular routine for a day.
RUBY: Are there any websites/sources you would suggest to other homeschooling parents?
We use Bob Jones University for our curriculum. I love it because scripture is infused into every subject. The website for that is www.bjupresshomeschool.com. I also get most of my teaching ideas from Pinterest. If I’m looking for a idea for how to make learning about clouds, for instance, more fun, I go to Pinterest. It’s like having hundreds of websites all linked together. I love it. Other than that, something really important I would tell homeschooling parents is try never to buy anything new. I get almost all of our curriculum on ebay used and pay a fraction of the retail price. I get as much as I can used and then buy new only what I cannot find used. It saves a TON of money. We also belong to a homeschool group that meets weekly for fun classes. It is a great way to connect with other homeschool families and allow the girls time with other homeschool kids their ages. The website for our group is www.chc1.net. Most areas have a homeschool group similar to this. You would just have to do a google search for one in your area.
RUBY: I've been to your house, and you are extremely organized. Share some of your organizational strategies.
Ha! I laugh at this question because my house looks like a tornado hit it right now. I can’t stand clutter. So I try to declutter my house as much as possible. For instance, I sort my mail every day standing by the garbage can. It either goes in the trash, or it goes in my bills & important papers basket. Also, baskets hide a multitude of sins. I like to put everything in baskets or containers of some sort. It gives everything a neat and clean look, even if what is in them might not be the same. I will also take a day every now and then to go through all baskets and drawers and dump them all out and sort them into the places where the items should actually be. In addition to that, I also have a basket that is reserved for quick pick ups when company is coming over, especially last minute. I put everything in the basket that I do not have time to put away and then clean it out after the company has left. I try to teach the girls how to keep things picked up too. We have a 5 minute clean up time every night before bedtime so that we aren’t waking up to a messy house to start our day. In terms of organization, I try and put kid stuff at kid level so that they are responsible for putting their things away. For instance, I have the girls put away their own clothes from the time they are old enough to recognize a picture of clothing. I make labels for their dressers that say their name and have a picture of what kind of clothing goes in that drawer. Charlotte, my youngest, does not have a dresser, but I got her those 3 drawer plastic storage units. They are low to the ground and perfect for her to do herself. And she LOVES putting away her clothes because she feels like a big girl because she’s doing it herself.
RUBY: How may we contact you in order to make a further connection?
My email is email@example.com. You can find me on Facebook at Lisa Maxwell Powell. My twitter name is MamaOf3Gs.