About Me

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Gena Family Collage 1
Hi Everyone!  I’m glad you stopped by.

My name is Gena, and I’m the mom of eight children, ages 12 down to baby.   I have homeschooled them from the beginning.  My wonderful husband of 13 years is also my best friend!  I love learning and reading, singing and playing the piano, sewing and crafting, and, most of all, my Lord Jesus.  My blog is a place to share my joy in my family and in my Lord.  I love encouraging others in their walks, providing tips for homemaking (esp. recipes, sewing, and crafting), and sharing about our everyday life!  My hope is that by joining me here you will be able to choose joy!

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Why I am a Christian:

When I was 7 my dad suddenly died of a heart attack.  My mom, sister, and I moved from a place I loved (Anchorage, Alaska) to El Paso, Texas where my mom had family.  Quite a culture shock!  It was there that I started going to my grandparents’ church and heard about Jesus.  It was hard for me losing my dad, but I felt love from God and knew that Jesus had died to save me.  I gave my life to Him and was baptized when I was nine years old.  I am grateful to the Lord for keeping me close to Him all these years.  I didn’t have any rebellion toward Him like so many I have known.  I have grown in Him ever since and love to read the Bible to learn more.  My relationship with Jesus affects everything I do.  I am far from perfect–don’t get me wrong!  But He has saved me and forgives me of the sins I commit daily.

Romans 10:9-10   If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

My schooling:

I attended typical public schools growing up.  Then, for college, I went to Baylor University in Waco, Texas.  (Yes, I was there during the Branch Davidians fiasco.)  I loved college and was involved in so many areas, but mostly in music which I majored in.  I got a Bachelors of Music Education with a choral emphasis.  Four years later I received my Masters degree in Vocal Pedagogy (teaching voice lessons).

My husband:

After college I began teaching choir at a junior high school.  That was a very difficult job!  I stuck it out for 3 years, but couldn’t wait to get out of there.  I was attending a Bible Study called Bible Study Fellowship.  Many of the classes are only men or only women.  But we had a singles class in Arlington, Texas.  One night Michael said Hi to me and we talked as we crossed the street from the sanctuary to the classrooms.  I was smitten immediately!  We began dating a couple of months later and were married a year after that (in 1998).  He is still the love of my life, my soul mate, and I love him more today than ever!

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My children:

After marriage I began teaching music at an elementary school and loved it!  We tried to get pregnant soon after marriage, but went through 13 months of unexplained infertility.  I believe God had us go through that experience for 2 reasons:  1) So that we would have empathy for others who deal with infertility and 2) So that we would turn our fertility over to God, knowing that He is Sovereign and will do what’s best for us.  After two years I was pregnant and we were moving from Texas to the Chicago area where my husband had grown up and had family.  Our first son was born in December 2000.  What I didn’t expect was that the Lord would give us so many children and so close together–8 kids in 11 years (10 pregnancies in 11 years).  It definitely wasn’t my plan!  But He wanted these children to be here, it’s His means of growing me closer to Him.  I must depend on Him daily.  This is not an easy life!  May the Lord continue to help me to Choose Joy!

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One thing that helps sustain me is exercising.  I have not been consistent through the years, by any means.  I’ll save you the excuses–I’m sure you’ve heard them all!  But about 4 years ago I learned about T-Tapp, named after its founder Teresa Tapp.  It’s finally an exercise program I can remain consistent with.  I’m now trying to lose the latest baby weight, as well as helping my body to work better (arthritis issues, hormonal shifts, etc.)  Learn more about it in my category T-Tapp!

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I host a weekly link party “From House to Home”– open all week. Link up family friendly posts about making your house to a home: homemaking, parenting, homeschooling, marriage, loving God! I’d love to see you there!

I Choose Joy!
K5 Learning has an online reading and math program for kindergarten to grade 5 students. I’ve been given a 6 week free trial to test and write a review of their program. If you are a blogger, you may want to check out their open invitation to write an online learning review of their program.

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Comments

  1. I have just visited your website,,,it has so valuable information and pictures of your happy family. I have to kids and struggling to balance office work and being closer to my babies. . . . I am encouraged to see you smiling while going through all I have mentioned above. May God give for all of us (women) the strength to be light the heart of our family with true love.

  2. Denise Markham says:

    I was looking for a lapbook on Africa and came across your site. What a blessing! I lived in Waco for 4 years and loved it (although after the Branch Davidian incident) I felt a connection immediately when I read your bio. Thanks for posting and blessings to you and your beautiful family.

  3. Gena,
    Beleive it or not I stumbled on your website looking for a lego ramp.I was so inspired, even though my story is different our love for the Lord is I feel very strong.I am a Mother of 6, and want so much for my children to follow God’s instruction.
    We live a few hours from Chicago,where my husband commutes from as a pilot.We are currently getting ready to a farming area in upstate New York.I am excited.I am looking to enroll my 6 year old in a Christian School in Hamilton,NY.
    I guess I just thought your website was wonderful and I am a women who is encouraged by other Mothers who love the the Lord.Encouraged,Lori

  4. I just found your site through Pintrest. Your story brought tears to my eyes because you are living the life I always wanted. I am 55 and a grandmother to a five year old boy and another boy on the way. I always wanted 6 or more kids but my husband didn’t and he won but I was blessed with a girl and a boy. I was fortunate to be able to help raise my 5 year old grandson while his mom worked. He just started kindgergarten so I am again going through “empty nest syndrome” again!! I know it is not easy raising all those children but God knew/knows you can do it therefore he blessed you with so many. Thanks for sharing your life……may it be everything you pray it is.

  5. Hi! We have a lot in common! I went to Southern Methodist University during the time you were at Baylor, and I was a music Ed. Major, too! I taught in Dallas before getting married and moving to Georgia. So, reading your story was fun for me! I am looking forward to reading more of your blog!

  6. I’m glad to have come to your blog through the Circle of Moms website. Your story is encouraging and I look forward to reading more. I love your pregnancy picture, by the way, especially down to the side where your kids are under the cow, like “Where’s the milk?” Very cute.

  7. Beautiful story, thanks for sharing! I hadn’t realized you were “from” Waco in any sense of the word; that’s where I am! Of sorts. I’m “from” West, in the sense that I grew up there and graduated from high school there. My brother is currently attending West High School. (Their home and our family was unaffected in the immediate sense by the explosion; not that they/we weren’t affected, but not materialistically so.) I attended MCC. I’m now on highway 6 at Valley Mills, just outside of Clifton. :) I love how the Lord works, for Him to put us together on “accident” through a facebook group, and to have so much in common. I look forward to becoming friends on this journey! Bless you!
    DaLynn McCoy recently posted..Kids Email for the FamilyMy Profile

    • genamayo
      Twitter: ichoosejoynow
      says:

      How neat, DaLynn. I know where all those places are! So glad your family is ok after the explosion. It will be fun to follow each other and see where God continues to lead us!
      –Gena

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