Hi Everyone! I’m glad you stopped by.
My name is Gena, and I’m the mom of eight children, ages 17 down to 6. I have homeschooled them from the beginning. My wonderful husband of almost 20 years is also my best friend! I love learning and reading, singing and playing the piano, teaching music, directing musicals, sewing, quilting, and crafting, and, most of all, my Lord Jesus.
My blog is a place to share my joy in my family, in my home, and in homeschooling. I love encouraging others in this crazy homeschool life we’ve chosen, reviewing helpful homeschooling materials so you can make informed decisions, providing tips for homemaking, and sharing about our everyday life!
My hope is that by joining me here you will be able to choose joy! I have another website to help others include music in their homeschools: Music in Our Homeschool.
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.
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 and missed all the fun Fixer Upper/ Silos excitement.) 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 Master’s degree in Vocal Pedagogy (teaching voice lessons).
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 singles Bible Study called Bible Study Fellowship 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!
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! I won’t be having more children, but am thankful for the Lord’s nudging to bring the children that I did have. 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!
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 6 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 still 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!
Check out my Online Music Courses at Learn.MusicinOurHomeschool.com where you can find courses for elementary, junior high, and high school students.
And if you need some tips, resources, freebies, and giveaways to help you include music in your homeschool, head over to my website Music in Our Homeschool.
(This page contains affiliate links.)