Q1 Rice Report

I realized today that I have not taken the time to blog since January 30th, the day before Noah’s 5th birthday. So much has happened in 3 months!

With every passing day, our faith continues to grow. It is an incredible journey having God be the center of our home and family. We continue to make divine connections with people who matter; people in the homeschool community, people who have committed to a life walk with Jesus, Godly friends who speak biblical words of encouragement over our lives, and connections at church that have absolute eternal value. I continue to learn new things about God’s Word and promises for our lives that inspire me daily to be a better mother, wife, teacher, friend, daughter, and citizen. Living for God and His Kingdom leads to a truly fulfilled life – and I am forever grateful.

Homeschool. We are gearing up for something BIG and awesome in our lives and we are so ready to get started! Steve and I have conversations daily regarding homeschooling that really connect us in our following of Christ. We have absolute victory in knowing that God has led us here and because of that, we will succeed in our efforts to provide our son with the best quality education possible. The deeper we dig and the more we pray, the more we know for certain that this is exactly what God wants for our lives right now. The story goes something like this: In April 2010, when Noah was about 18 months old, in a very unforeseen and peculiar way, I was offered a job at Kalamazoo Right to Life to serve as their Office Manager. I worked there until July 2013 when I resigned to start a home daycare. However, what makes this most significant was the woman I was replacing as Office Manager was resigning to continue a homeschool education for her 3 children. I remember, in meeting and training with this woman, how curious I was about homeschooling. I am the product of a public school education, so my thinking was very much foreign to this idea. It was the day of my interview at KRTL that the idea of homeschooling was planted in my heart…forever. I am not sure she will ever know the impact she made on my heart by resigning that day…for her children…for her family…for their education…and for God. Since the original idea, God has continued to work in the hearts of both Steve and I. When I decided to resign in July 2013, I was replaced by a great young woman of faith. She is very active in her community and the pro-life movement as a whole. She was president of the WMU Students for Life organization on campus which really defines her boldness to a T! Oh, and she was homeschooled her entire K-12 education. So I started at KRTL having homeschooling planted in my heart and I left with a vivid reminder of the seed that had been growing ever since. Meanwhile, Steve started a new job in June 2013 and he quickly learned that his boss and his wife homeschool their children; and she plays a prominent role in the leadership of the local Homeschool Performing Arts organization. We started meeting families at church that homeschool. Steve started stumbling up entrepeneurs, podcasts, books, articles, research and blogs that reference homeschooling and learning of leaders that were homeschooled (and homeschool their children). Here are a select few I have stumbled across recently. In November, our church did their annual Valley Girls Give Back event and the group my mom and I were a part of was delivering wish-list items to Alternatives Pregnancy Care Center to serve our community in a really BIG way. The woman who led our group was incredible and made an impact in my life in that short time we spent together that day. After the event a small group of us went to lunch and it turns out she homeschooled her two children. Since then, she has continued to encourage me. I started (and quickly became comfortable) having conversations with people about homeschooling when the topic of education surfaced and initially, we discovered many naysayers. We believe that with those conversations, we planted seed to a new idea and people began to watch, listen and learn. Since then, many of whom were first resistant to the idea have come around in their thinking. Of course, some have not and with that we have learned that following God’s lead on anything in life will never come with ease. There will always be push-back and negative people along the way and God gives us the tools we need to overcome that. Since the thought was first planted in our hearts, it is amazing what God has done to reward our following Him. He has given us divine favor and connections that only He can provide. He has paved way for fantastic support systems, local homeschooling networks and opportunities for our family to embrace in this journey. With every passing day we grow more and more excited about what God has in store for our family. Stay tuned as there is SO much more to come!

In the last several months, God has planted people, conversations, and connections into my life that are absolutely His work – there is no question about that. I have received messages on facebook from people I have virtually no communication with, and they are seeking God and a church. They see my posts; they think about my posts. Never let evil fear you away from sharing your faith. Social networking sites are a valuable tool for reaching and loving people. I find that people who contact me are looking for “what we have” in terms of happiness, joy and contentment (or satisfaction). “How are you always so happy and positive?” “Don’t you ever have bad days?” “Where do you get all your energy?” “Aren’t you tired?” I believe people are often seeking the freedom, peace, wisdom, and empowerment that only God can provide. They are seeking the tools to do things the “God way.” That is all I do. I try to live according to His Word and EVERYTHING I do, I do it for Him. I get my energy, motivation, creative ideas, thoughts, and drive from God. It is all from God. There are 7 people, which I know of, who have contacted me for information regarding our church and have been led, by God, to VFC. Their hearts have changed, their families have changed, and their lives have changed. Ours has too! We are so proud to be a part of Valley Family Church!! 2013 was a year of incredible opportunity and growth for our family. We love being a tiny part of something so great. Our family is on the testimony page and I cried when I read it. At this point, we could write an entire book of testimony for VFC. This church has changed our family, our relationships, our confidence, our perspective – our lives! Check out their annual report for 2013. I was blown away.This church has changed our family, our relationships, our confidence, our perspective – our lives! Check out their annual report for 2013. I was blown away. I have learned to be comfortable in sharing my faith – even when the moment seems uncomfortable and when being bold is hard and seems awkward. I have learned to speak from my heart (spirit) in faith knowing that God will help me find words that are appropriate for that person in that moment. This has helped me learn to encourage others as they grow in their faith. I love that there is more – more to learn, more to do, more to plant, and more to grow in my faith as I begin to plant His Word in my heart and begin to exercise my ability to access it every day of my life! Having God’s tools and life-guide to access – in trial and hardship or in celebration and excitement – is irreplaceable.

Noah. Every day Noah is growing in his faith as a result of watching Steve and I grow in our faith. We have a Christ-centered home. We listen to WCSG-FM 91.3 Christian Family Radio station in our car always and on the way home from preschool a few weeks ago we were listening and they were doing their spring share-a-thon where they collect funds from listeners for their annual operational fund (it was ending that day, so we had been listening all week). Noah said, “Mom, when are we going to say yes to God and call?” When your 5-year-old is led by the spirit, it is amazing. When we got home, we called and gave a gift as a family and Noah gave his own gift of $1 from his “Give Envelope” (he also has Save and Spend envelopes). I was blubbering and sobbing on the phone and so was the woman on the other end. She was moved by Noah’s generosity. We listened to them announce our names on the radio and they explained Noah’s story on the air! He could not believe what he was hearing from these familiar voices on the air, “When we get a donation with $1 tacked on the end, we know there is a story behind it.” God is doing awesome things in the heart of our little guy!

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We are gearing up for an AWESOME summer of family togetherness! We have many fun adventures, camping trips, and travels planned and are so anxious to explore new things together!

In Him,

Amanda Rice

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