In Texas!


We arrived in Texas at about 3pm this afternoon.

You know you are traveling south when all the gas stations play country music, all the road kill are armadillos, you pass signs along the highway advertising “fried pies”, and the cashier lady at the gas station says “thank you, sugar!” as you leave.


We finally left Iowa at 9pm last night and drove through the night. We made pretty good time and everything was smooth-sailing…but as you can imagine,we did spend quite a bit at gas stations!

Since gas stations can be good places to get into witnessing conversations, I’ve been trying to take advantage of my frequent opportunities. (We use a lot of gas!)
At one station I noticed that the cashier was just eating pringles and looked kind of bored.
“Hi, how are you?” I asked.
“Ready for lunch,” she said.
I handed her a tract and asked her my new favorite witnessing question: (I absolutely love using this question– it works so well as a spring board into a good talk!) “Do you think Heaven is a free gift or something we have to earn?”
“Hmm…well I think it’s a little of both, I guess.”
“Okay” I replied, “well to earn it we would have to be perfect, right?”
She agreed.
“Well, no one is perfect,” I said.
“My opinion is that if you ask God to forgive you, then you have nothing to worry about,” she said.
“But, you know,” I replied, “God is a just Judge. A just judge doesn’t necessarily forgive anyone who asks, because sometimes people deserve punishment. None of us are perfect and, really, we all deserve punishment. But Jesus was perfect and He is the way to Heaven.”

The conversation was interupted there, but she has a tract that clearly explains the way to Heaven, and I pray she reads it. I’ve been trying to learn to spark people’s curiousity so that they’ll actually read the tract I give them and take it seriously.

I have so much to learn regarding witnessing and I often feel that I didn’t handle the situation as well as I could have. But I’m glad for the fact that the Lord is able to use weak vessels to accomplish his purposes. (2 Cor 4:7!) Plus, I know that the way to become a good “witnesser” is to practice, practice, practice. The worst thing is to not try at all.

Michigan Homeschool Conference

Our trip started out at 4am Thursday morning when dad ran over our mail box. I don’t think he had had his coffee yet at that point. Dad was so tired…he had been up most of the night packing.
I was just glad I didn’t do it. My family would probably never let me drive again. [smile]

Thankfully, my mom managed to keep Dad awake through the rest of the journey and we arrived safely in Michigan around 5:30pm. This left us almost enough time to get our booth all set up before the convention center closed for the night.

Here Sarah and Stephen are reviewing our session that is a sequel to our original talk on “Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends”. This session is called “Peace Treaties in the Living Room”.

I made the mistake of ordering a huge taco pizza (named β€œthe beast” by the pizza shop). It hardly fit through the door of our hotel room! We ate it for like the next 4 meals so it wouldn’t go to waste. Yeah…it got pretty dry by the end. It began to taste like cardboard with refried beans and wilted lettuce on top… [smile] Somehow I forgot the resolution Sarah, Stephen and I had made to not order too much pizza when we are in a hotel so we don’t have to eat leftover pizza forever…


Sarah speaking on “Raising Pure Daughters in a Generation of Darkness”.


Overall, we were very encouraged after this conference. It was exciting to see the Lord’s hand. We were also pretty tired, but it was the “good” kind of tired.

I love it how they let us pull our whole van and trailer into the convention hall to load up. This made the packing process so much quicker!

Tonight after we were packed up, we toured the location of our upcoming Bright Lights conferences— in Lansing, MI, planned for August 11-12 and 13-14.


After touring the church, we went out for dinner with those who are hosting the conference. We talked over details, laughed a lot, and had a very nice time.

Kansas City Homeschool Conference


Myself, Marie, Chrissy

We had great weekend at the Kansas City Homeschool Conference! We stayed pretty busy at our booth and we were grateful to the Lord that our two sessions (“Training Young Ladies to be Bright Lights for the Lord” and “Raising Daughters who are Pure in a Generation of Darkness”) went well. We pray that the Lord would use what we said in the lives of those who came.

We are doing a Bright Lights Conference and Radiant Purity Conference in Kansas City in July, so we put some extra effort into getting the word out about that.


Keshia (Bright Lights Leader in Kansas City) and me

One of the highlights of the trip was meeting several girls and moms who ran Bright Lights groups in Kansas. I knew most of them by name, but meeting them in person was special! We heard reports from them, and were able to get acquainted with a few girls of the “Bright Lights girls” who attended their groups.
It excites me to know that these groups exist and are meeting on an ongoing basis. Accountability over a long period of time is effective! People normally don’t change overnight; it takes girls time to learn and grow. When a young lady is regularly attending Bright Lights meetings and fellowshipping with other girls who are also seeking to be truly strong for the Lord in their youth, it gives her “spiritual food” on a regular basis and changes her life.


Dawn and Keshia, Bright Lights leaders

I introduced these two Bright Lights leaders (Dawn and Keshia) to each other because they hold their Bright Lights meetings in the same town but neither of them knew that the other existed! It was fun to make that connection. I think they are now talking about getting their groups together for a special meeting sometime.

I first met Keshia at the Kansas Homeschool Conference five years ago. Keshia has been faithfully leading a group for several years now and she explained to me how she is currently training three of the older girls in her group to lead so that they’ll be able to take over for her.

We praise the Lord for Bright Lights leaders around the country who are faithfully following Jesus’ last commandment – to make disciples. One day they will reap a harvest and they’ll be grateful for every ounce of energy they put into the Lord’s service!
Jesus told us that we demonstrate our love for Him by feeding His sheep. There are a lot of sheep out there that need to be fed! A spiritual battle is raging today and it’s obvious that the enemy is especially targeting young people. If we want to be faithful warriors for the Lord, wrestling for spiritual victory in the lives of young people, we need to prioritize our lives (2 Tim 2:4) and get into the battle! We only have one life, one chance to fight in the battle for the Lord. When we personally meet the “Captain of the host of the Lord” as Jesus describes Himself in Josh 5:14 whatever we’ve done for Him will be worth it!



Packing up

It was a last minute decision for my dad to come along. Boy, are we glad he did! Packing and unpacking would have taken so much longer without him (My dad is a master at packing vans and trailers. πŸ™‚ ) And, of course, it’s more fun to have Dad along.


Dad’s bedroom

Since my dad didn’t want to pay for another hotel room just for himself, he decided to sleep in the van.
Poor dad. But he didn’t seem too bothered by it. He just spent a lot of time in the hotel lobby… πŸ™‚ Thanks for everything, Dad…we sure appreciated you on this trip!

Review of past week…

Last week was busy! Here’s a short summary starting on Wednesday…



First of all, we got the orders off. Yea! (Thanks to Chrissy and Nickie for doing orders for us so often!)



Next, we got Mom, Dad and Sarah off. Yea! (That was a big accomplishment.) They planned to leave at 9am and ended up leaving at 4pm…but they had good reasons for leaving late. It was a lot of work to pack that whole van and trailer!



Finally, Stephen and I were free to pack for our trip to Indianapolis. We loaded up from our new building, which made things easier. We finished packing late and then went home to pack our personal luggage…



At 5am Stephen left with one mini van because he had to pick up some materials in Chicago on the way.



At 7:30 am, I locked up and left in another mini van headed for Indianapolis with Nickie, Rebekah, and Rachel.




The whole conference went smooth and it was a blessing to be there!



We were excited to talk with several girls who are hoping to begin Bright Lights groups. Here is Nickie talking with a young lady who is hoping to start a group soon.

I’m sorry I don’t have time to share more details with you. For now, I figured that pictures are better than nothing. I’m leaving tomorrow morning for the Kansas City Homeschool Conference. I’d appreciate prayer because I am doing one of Sarah’s sessions that I’ve never done before. God bless you all! Keep your eyes on Jesus. Hebrews 12:1-3.

Quick Report of the Day

Here are a few quick pictures from the day today.
Our booth

I spent many hours behind this booth today–along with the BL staff who came with us. It was a great day! We’re grateful to the Lord that everything went well.

The vendor hall here in Indianapolis

We really enjoyed visiting with all those who came by our booth. I forgot how much I like homeschool conferences. πŸ™‚

I hear that things are going well for my mom, dad, and Sarah at the Minnesota Homeschool Conference as well.

Packing, Etc!

Dad packing trailor
We’ve spent a lot of time packing in the last 3 days!
Our New Banner
We are happy to have a few additions to our booth this year. Here we are unrolling our new vinyl banner.

I am currently in Indianapolis with Stephen (and a few other girls who came to help) for the Indy Homeschool Conference. My parents and Sarah are at the Minnesota Homeschool Conference. We’ve done some intensive packing in the past few days but we are grateful that we’ve both arrived safely at our destinations! I will share more details later. For now, I need to catch up on some much needed sleep…

Our Van Left Without Us!

van-pulling-out.jpg

As I type, four of our Bright Lights staff are on the road headed to Illinois for the Peoria Homeschool Convention. We had a busy day packing and sending them off!

4-girls.jpg

Thank you Bekah, Elyssa, Chrissy, and Nickie! We are grateful to God for our great Bright Lights representatives! Hope you are having a good time. [smile]

stephen-and-laptops.jpg

Stephen configuring our Point of Sales software –making sure it’s all working correctly

stephen-explaining-powerpoint.jpg
Stephen explaining to the girls how to set up the projector for the session they will be giving

dad-packing-the-van.jpg
Dad packing the van

dad-giving-directions.jpg
Dad giving final instructions and directions to Nickie, “the driver” [smile]

At the H.E.R.I. Florida Homeschool Conference

heri-copy.jpg
Left: Sarah and I eating lunch at our booth.
Right: Sarah speaking on “Raising Pure Daughters in a Generation of Darkness”

We were thankful to the Lord that everything went very smooth and we had a great weekend at the conference in Florida!
We stayed with the Russell family and they took great care of us. We also made lots of plans for the upcoming Bright Lights conference coming to Jacksonville, FL in November.

Of course, it’s always nice to be home again. This morning my mom unpacked my bags for me and organized my room while I was doing Bright Lights office work and helping Sarah answer e-mails. Wow, what a nice mom. πŸ™‚

16,000 Homeschoolers!

fpea-bright-hall.jpg

fpea-crowd.jpg

16,ooo homeschoolers attended the FPEA (Florida Parent-Educators Association) convention in Orlando, Florida. The vendor hall, over 70,000 square feet, was sometimes so crowded it was hard to walk from one side to another without getting stuck in traffic (which included lots of strollers and bookbags on wheels, etc.)!

We were especially excited to be here this year because of a special annoucement we are making: Three Bright Lights conferneces have been scheduled for Florida this November! We will be taking our team of about 20 Bright Lights leaders to Florida for 3 weeks. The conferences will be held in the Jacksonville and Clearwater areas.

sarahs-session-at-fpea.jpg

Sarah’s speaking at the FPEA conference on “Preparing Young Ladies for their Teenage Years”