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Simplifying Homeschooling – Feature Podcast Series

Springfield, MO

Yesterday, I shared with you that I have been on a mission since moving to Colorado…well, actually since the events of 9/11…a mission to simplify every area of my life.  One of those areas has been and continues to be homeschooling.

Recently I spoke at the SHEM Conference in Springfield, MO.  I was able to share on a variety of topics but after returning home, I realized that there were two topics that if combined would be exceptionally helpful to all of us faced with pondering and planning for the next school year:  Beginning with the End in Mind and Simple Living.

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Downsizing and Simplifying…for less stress!

I am literally counting down the days until June 1st.

By that time, school will be over, curriculum deadlines will have been met (or not), Jared will be settled for his summer internship with Artios Outpost, the snow should be gone, weather should be warmer and I won’t have a weekly drive to Denver each week.

Indian Paintbrush!

That means, a long awaited project will begin.  One that I’ve been thinking about, reading about, and planning for….for MONTHS!

I’m going to begin a ruthless process of downsizing and simplifying.  I’ve been on this journey ever since we moved to Colorado.  Unfortunately, I still have items in storage that need to be “handled”, one way or another.  Once again, there is something about turning 50 that has made me want to be free of “things” so that I can focus even more on what’s most important.

So, if it isn’t something that I LOVE and can’t live without, I’m getting rid of it!

I’m going to go through this process with all our items in storage and everything currently at the house.  But, I’m also going to go through the same process with activities, responsibilities and current “roles” in my life. I’m paring down so that I don’t always feel pulled in a million different directions.  I’m downsizing my schedule so that I can operate more effectively in those areas where I’m gifted and quit spending so much time and struggle in the areas where I just don’t “have it.”  So, if it isn’t something that I LOVE and can’t live without doing or being, it’s not appearing on my schedule any more.  (We will see how that works!…and I’m assuming housework will have to stay…whether I like it or not!)

I know there are times in life when being pulled in a million different directions is unavoidable.  I get it!  Remember, I had four kids spread out over 12 years, ran a business/ministry, was a wife, friend, daughter, homeschooler, etc. etc.etc.  Sometimes, our stage in life involves a million different things and that’s just how it is.  However, I feel like now, as I start to head into a different stage of life, it’s time to downsize, simplify, and declutter…not only with “things” but also with roles and responsibilities.

What about you?  Feeling the need to de-clutter and simplify your schedule, your life, your home?  What’s your plan?  What resources are you using to prepare for that process?  As I continue preparing for June 1st, I’d love to hear how you are preparing for or progressing in the process of simplifying.

Faith and Courage,




He came with the end in mind.


Life is full of transitions and change.

I’m up early on this Easter morning.  As I look out the living room window, it’s so foggy outside I can hardly make out the edge of the pasture.  Yep, I’m up early again.  Not by choice…but by change!  Life is changing…I’m facing a new stage yet again.  Seems like I just get used to one stage or one change and I’m hit with another one.  I’m up because I’m uneasy with the changes…a bit fearful of the changes to be quite honest.

Sometimes I just want to know where it is all leading.  Where is this path headed?  

Oh yes, I talk alot about “beginning with the end in mind” and I’m all about setting clear goals and knowing where we are heading.  But when it all comes down to it, all MY plans are summed up in Proverbs 16:9, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”   

And then, it hit me.

HE came with the end in mind.  God knew the “end” before time even began and when He sent Christ to earth, He came knowing that end.  It’s not my job to know the end.  It’s not my responsibility to figure it all out.  It is my privilege to be faithful to what He has called me to be and to do…and I need to leave the end in His faithful hands.  It is the “Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

I’m sure as Christ’s followers saw Him hanging on the cross they were filled with grief.  I’m sure they will swallowed by despair thinking that the “end” had come and it was not the “end” that they had hoped for.  Yet, it was the “Lord’s purpose that prevailed.”  Death did not win.  ”Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”  Despite all the forces of hell, the “Lord’s purpose had prevailed.”

Yep, I’m facing more changes and transitions.  I’m entering yet another new stage in life.  And honestly, I’m fearful.  Yet, his death, burial and resurrection serve as a reminder to me, that God knows the end.  He does everything with that end in mind…including sending His Son to die on the cross and be raised from the dead.  There is nothing that I am facing that He has not ordained and that does not fit into His divine plan.

I don’t always know where my path is headed.  Sometimes, He gives just enough light on the path to take the next step.  But today, I choose to cling to the hand of Him who came to earth with the end in mind.

Faith and Courage,


I’m a “Strong” Woman and I’m (Finally) Okay with it


For years in Christian circles, and even more so in homeschooling circles, being a “strong” woman has had a stigma to it…a negative connotation.  It has been widely assumed that if you are a strong woman (one who is more driven, vocal or opinionated) that you couldn’t possibly be in submission to your husband and that you probably “wore the pants” in your family.  If you were a go-getter, then it was automatically assumed that you were running over your husband or neglecting your children and your duties at home.

I know…I’ve had those assumptions made about me.  And, although I’m not perfect, nothing could be further from the truth.

Now, before I dive into this topic, let me make a few things clear.  I believe in the Biblical roles of a man and a woman.  I believe the man is the head of the household.  I believe in Biblical submission (not “patriarchal” submission in case you were wondering.)  I believe that my first priority is my relationship with God and that my most important roles and responsibilities in my life are in the areas of being a wife and mother.  I believe that anything that distracts me from my primary roles as a wife and mother needs to be either brought into line with Biblical priorities, or eliminated from my life.  And no, I don’t believe in women preachers and will even go so far as to say that I don’t believe that women should teach the Bible to men as Paul describes in Scripture.  (Although I know there are many who disagree with me…and we will all go to heaven together!)  Last but not least, I don’t think being a “strong” woman is a more positive thing than being more “mild-mannered. Let me also say that I do not want to put “anyone” into a box because of my descriptions.  Nor, do I think the description of a “strong” woman is quite as simplistic as I have explained here. Being a “strong” woman has a lot of different looks.  However, this is my starting place…so please bear with me and hear my heart.

There is something special that happens when you turn 50!  You finally figure out who you really are.  The best part is that you are finally “okay” with it.

So here is my confession!

I am a “strong” woman and I’m okay with it.

And guess what else?

My strong (but introverted) husband is okay with it too!

(Those that know my husband are now chuckling and smiling to themselves…since when John Lane speaks, the world listens…including his “strong” wife.)

I guess I can understand the negative assumptions that I listed above…at least to some extent.  After all, we have all encountered those women who do indeed use their strong and driven personalities to nag and manipulate everyone around them. We’ve met those women with strong and driven personalities whose tongues are out of control and who have never learned the concept of tact or timing.  We’ve met those women who do neglect their families for other priorities.  They make me cringe just like they do you!  

Not every woman with a strong personality is like that.  Yet, unfortunately, we are often lumped into one big negative pile to endure negative assumptions, rumors, and sometimes ostracism.  I’ve experienced it…I’m sure many others have as well.

Yet, when I study Proverbs 31 I see a strong woman. I don’t see a woman who doesn’t make decisions on her own. I don’t see a woman who isn’t involved in the community or involved in a business.  I see a woman that is confident, godly, loves her husband, loves her family and understands Biblical priorities. By doing so, she is true to who God made her to be without “wearing the pants” or being out of wack in her priorities.

Let’s look at a few of the phrases used to describe this famous and yet sometimes intimidating Proverbs 31 woman.

  • She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
  • She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.
  • She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.
  • She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
  • Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.

Seems to me, her husband is okay with her being a strong woman.  He trusts her judgement.  He trusts her speech. He trusts their marriage and her willingness to submit to his leadership.  He isn’t threatened by that. In fact, it appears that he is blessed by it.

So why this post on this topic!

  • Well, it’s not to give you permission or a free pass to turn your nose up at Biblical submission.
  • It’s not to give you permission to do anything you want to outside of the home despite what Scripture says about Biblical priorities.
  • It’s not to give you permission to be disrespectful or disparaging to your husband.
  • It’s not to give you permission to act contrary to Scripture.

It is to tell you that it is okay to be a strong woman…a strong woman with Biblical priorities and principles at play in every area of your life.  It’s okay to be the godly version of you!  God created each individual and each individual family for a unique purpose.  By necessity, that means that we are supposed to operate on Biblical principles. However, sometimes the way those principles play out within a family dynamic may look different from another family.  At the end of the day, I answer to my husband and to God in this area.  I don’t answer to those who are whispering or gossiping or making faulty assumptions.

Nope, I’m not mad, frustrated or even irritated.

I just don’t want you to have false guilt in this area.  I don’t want you not be a true Proverbs 31 woman just because there are those around you who see her differently.

You are a strong woman for a reason.  And, with God’s help and the guidance of His Word, that can be a beautiful thing.

Faith and Courage, Lori


Lori Lane – Managing Editor for Heart of the Matter Online and Founder and Executive Director of Artios Academies

Lori and John Lane have been married 30 years and live on a small ranch in the beautiful Colorado Rockies where John coaches the local high school baseball team and together with Lori, works with Artios Academies. They have four sons ranging in age from twenty-eight down to sixteen, two beautiful daughter-in-loves, and a three precious granddaughters. Lori is the author of the book, Beginning With The End In Mind, and the founder and executive director of Artios Academies. The Lane family oversees the ministry of Heart of the Matter Online. You can follow Lori at The End in Mind where she blogs about a variety of topics including life on the ranch, arts education, a Biblical worldview of education, home education and more. Her blog also offers many free resources to encourage you on your journey.

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