Remember those adorable little models in the last blog post for Sullivan Yates? Those were my friend Joanna’s precious two, Theo and Alma. Joanna has been a friend of mine since she turned my hair into a work of art on my wedding day. She’s truly one of the most thoughtful and creative people I know. As mothers most all mothers do we both care very much about our children and are passionate about their education. However, as I am a public school teacher, we have pretty different approaches to reaching a similar end goal. I find her approach though and hard work with her children to be very admirable, and love learning from her. I thought you might enjoy hearing her thoughts too.
How would you describe your family?
We’re a family that pursues adventure, servanthood, and pushing ourselves to never be “comfortable.”
What is unique about your motherhood journey?
A year before I became pregnant with Theo, I was told by The Lord a boy was coming. I kept seeing a dark headed boy, never his face, just the back of him. I would often see him with a sword and on a hill with people below. God kept telling me a leader was coming, he was mighty and strong-footed. When he spoke people listened and sought his wisdom. I kept hearing a faint sound of “lex” in my dreams, so after investigating I figured out that Alexander means “Leader of Man.” Once we became pregnant I knew it was him. What a gift this boy, Theodore Alexander, was going to be for us.
My pregnancy started with surgery when I was 11 weeks. I had a tumor on my ovary that was growing a centimeter a week, and it was starting to crush the baby. Days after they found the tumor I went into surgery knowing what the outcomes could be. Of course, the Lord protected the baby and gave me confidence this baby was going to make it to his legacy. What a gift that was! The rest of my pregnancy was filled with throwing up and living in my bed. Fast forward to our delivery, and two days after laboring, Theo was finally born via c-section. Satan tried everything to keep this baby away but the Lord saw through, what a gift Theo is. Theodore means “Gift of God.”
Four months after Theo was born I started hearing from the Lord again. He said a little girl was coming soon. I didn’t realize it was going to be only two months after that, I thought perhaps a year or so? I kept seeing that this little girl was bold, strong-willed and confident. I also saw her on a hill next to the boy I kept seeing as Theo. She had a megaphone and people were also surrounding her. People would come to hear what she had to say, she would shout from the mountain tops, and absolutely nothing would be able to stop her because it was in her DNA and in her spirit to do so. Overtime I figured out what she would speak over people, it was the Gospel- the good news of Jesus.
My pregnancy with her was hard. I was sick, and resentful to be sick and not able to take care of my new baby. Overall emotionally it was a negative pregnancy. The Lord refused to bring her into the world with this environment, so on the eve of her scheduled c-section I went into labor. I labored at home for five beautiful hours, and those were the most holy hours of my life. I feel like that night redeemed so much. My labor stopped though, and unfortunately I still had to get the c-section. Something that would take a couple years to emotionally heal from. But what carried me the most out of that pregnancy-rut was knowing that my baby had the spirit of the Good News, and that was hope enough. Alma means soul or spirit, and Noelle means The Good News.
My motherhood journey started before I was pregnant, and these stories are the root of what shapes me as a mother. Paths change through out our journey, but my mission for them never will.
What is something you have learned from your children that has made you stronger in Christ?
The weight of what I am responsible for in raising these littles FOR God and the knowledge that they are HIS children. I can’t bring in my agenda or even think that my simple decisions don’t affect their legacy and His will. It’s extremely humbling, and a ridiculous amount of work, to remember this and actually step back and fix my over-justified motives.
What is the most significant thing that you hope to teach or instill in your children?
If it’s the last thing I do, I will make sure Theo knows he is a leader of man that is capable of leading with might and grace. Also, that Alma is bold and strong to push through the world’s loud voices while she sings the Good News. I want them to know that serving others is the recipe to a joyful soul, and when in your deepest darkness you know serving God through his people brings the promised light. Additionally, that God truly is GOOD and He will always and forever work things out good for his people Romans 8:28. This is the wisdom I want them to know with the deepest part of them.
To what extent are you educating your children at home? And what has inspired you to do this type of home school?
At this point we’re pretty sure we’ll be “homeschooling,” but that was never the intention. It’s a mixture of me finding that I have a heart for teaching and a conviction to be intentional. Their legacy is my calling and doing everything to prepare them for it is worth the work. Being a part of what their minds absorb is part of my job, and I’m so thankful I find joy in it.
I’m a hands on learner, so I like to teach through experience. So naturally, that’s how I started showing them their world. We do a mixture of Charlotte Mason, Unschooling, Montessori, and basically a little of everything. I focus on what their current interest is in, and go from there. We have a heavy focus on curiosity, adventure, and play. I truly believe children have the greatest gift on earth, which is imagination. They believe with their whole hearts, and adults in most cases do nothing but stand in the way and show them how to be a “functioning adult.”