Monday, December 8, 2014

Fundamentalist Homeschooling and Abuse

            For the last five weeks, I have been taking a college writing course.  Our final project was a research essay that we had been working on in some way or another the entirety of the class.  I put the finishing touches on mine earlier today, and I thought I would share it with you.

Fundamentalist Homeschooling and Abuse
            “I love that I can just stay in bed and do school in my room.”  This was my typical, somewhat comedic response to public school kids who asked me what my favorite part of homeschooling was.  For parents, I had a more structured, logical response, but the other kids I just wanted to make jealous, because clearly I had the better deal.  As I have grown, though, I have learned that my experience with homeschooling was not the same as everyone else’s.  It is not the perfect methodology I was taught it was.  I have come to realize that my family lived on the fringe of a very dangerous side of the homeschooling movement.  Homeschooling Fundamentalists have placed their children and themselves in the very precarious position of living on the borders of child abuse, if not inside its ugly limits.
            Homeschooling is a very popular and growing movement.  According to Ray (2011), “There were an estimated 1.73 to 2.35 million children (in grades K to 12) home educated during the spring of 2010 in the United States.”  Because it is so vast, homeschooling is also very diverse.  Thanks to research by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) (2012), we know that in the 2011-2012 school year, 68% of the approximate 1.8 million homeschooled were White, 15% were Hispanic, 8% Black, 4% Asian or Pacific Islander, and 5% combined or other.  In addition to ethnicity, reasons for homeschooling are also diverse and include a desire to provide religious or moral instruction, a concern for the environment or academics of traditional schools, and special needs of the child (NCES, 2012).
            These reasons for homeschooling may seem very sound and caring, but there are other reasons that are less admirable.  There are parents who homeschool to hide physical abuse or as a form of manipulative mental abuse.  Even those who start homeschooling with all good intentions may find themselves down a dangerous and unwanted path.
            Before diving into the bulk of my topic, allow me some definitions.  These are not technical definitions but what I mean when I use certain words.
·        Physical Abuse: Any physical harm done to a child, including punishment or violence that results in lasting marks such as bruises or cuts, hair-pulling, intentional or unintentional neglect, physical torture, or confinement for more than a day.
·        Sexual Abuse: Any sexual misconduct toward a minor, including sexual grooming, inappropriate touching, and rape.
·        Mental or Emotional Abuse: Any mental harm done to a child, including insulting or demeaning to the end of making the child feel worthless or incapable, manipulation tactics, instilling terror or high amounts of fear, or psychological torture.
·        Exploitation: Using or manipulating a child for personal gain or benefit, whether monetary or otherwise.
·        Abuse: Any of the above.
Though it is not the only time abuse occurs within homeschooling families, extreme Fundamentalism seems to be a major contributor.  As defined by Miriam-Webster dictionary (n.d.), Fundamentalism is “a movement in 20th century Protestantism emphasizing the literally interpreted Bible as fundamental to Christian life and teaching.”  While Fundamentalism may have had a sound beginning, in the last several years, the term has been associated with such beliefs as the strictest modesty and courting practices, complete patriarchy, high school only education for daughters, extreme pro-life (known also as quiverfull), corporal punishment, and homeschooling.  It is to these types of families I am referring when I say “Fundamentalist.”
How does extreme fundamentalism relate to child abuse?  It creates the perfect environment for it.  Examine patriarchy for a moment.  Libby Anne (2012) puts it well when she says, “Christian Patriarchy is the belief that God has ordained a specific family order, and that this family order must be followed. The husband leads, the wife submits, and the children obey.”  To anyone who has grown up Christian, this probably sounds biblical.  Children obeying their parents is certainly taught in the New Testament.  Just look at Ephesians 6:1 and Colossians 3:20.  Adherents to the patriarchy movement, however, strictly enforce the part about authority and immediate obedience and often forget that those same passages go on to say that fathers are not to provoke or embitter their children.  I know from personal experience what happens when a father is unrelenting in his expectations for perfection and submission – provoked and embittered children.  The authority of the man was never designed by God to be absolute, but as history has proven, people will take power wherever they can, and they will misuse it.
Not only is demanding strict and immediate obedience from children unbiblical, it is unhealthy.  Robin West explains:
Child-raising that is relentlessly authoritarian risks instilling what developmental psychologists call “ethical servility”: a failure to mature morally beyond the recognition of duties of obedience. In the most devoutly fundamentalist households, ethical servility might not be regarded as a bad outcome; it may be the desired goal. (West, 2009)
When a parent demands obedience and it is not given, in the Fundamentalist system, some form of corporal punishment is used.  This varies from household to household, but usually the desired end is breaking or “conquering the child's will.” (Pearl, 1994).  In many cases, this is attempted by ever-increasing punishment until the child repents.  The book by Micheal and Debbi Pearl called To Train up a Child is a popular fundamentalist child-rearing manual, and it has come under fire in recent years for advocating some of these practices.  Following is an excerpt:
Don't be bullied. Give him [the rebellious or unrepentant child] more of the same. On the bare legs or bottom, switch him eight or ten licks; then, while waiting for the pain to subside, speak calm words of rebuke. If the crying turns to a true, wounded, submissive whimper, you have conquered; he has submitted his will. If the crying is still defiant, protesting and other than a response to pain, spank him again. If this is the first time he has come up against someone tougher than he, it may take a while. He must be convinced that you have truly altered your expectations. (Pearl, 1994)
            One of the biggest problems with this type of training (aside from being biblically wrong) is that it can escalate so easily.  A parent who only intended to spank their child once may find him or herself beating them in an attempt to bring them into submission.  If he or she believes that they and their instrument of discipline are the only things standing between their child and hell, they will be all the more committed.
            In addition to an authoritarian lifestyle implemented by the father, many fundamentalist households also adhere to the belief that all forms of contraception and “natural family planning” are unbiblical.  They “preached [that it is] the duty of women to submit, bear as many children as God would give them, and train them up as dedicated culture warriors, arrows in a divine quiver (Goldberg, 2013).”  They essentially believe it is their duty to out populate non-Christians, so as to win the culture war.  This philosophy ends, though, with children raising each other and not being cared for by their parents like they should be.  Cynthia Jeub, a former reality television child and third of sixteen kids speaks about this in her blog:
I used to read about big families and how the older kids raised the younger kids, and I thought it was all nonsense. Of course I changed diapers, and of course I spent half my time babysitting. That was just life in a big family. People on the outside wouldn’t understand that we all felt like mom gave us individual attention, the dynamic just looked a little different.
Now I remember with more perspective. I know how ignored we were. I know I did more work than my parents, both around the house and in the office working on the family business. I’ll always have back pain because I learned to carry children on my hips before I properly had hips. I’ll always have memories of getting up in the middle of the night to take care of a sick or restless toddler. (Jeub, 2014)
            The stories of children raised with abusive methods ranging from physical to financial and emotional are overwhelming. The problematic thing about homeschooling in these scenarios is that it effectively hides abuse. If a child does not attend school, there may not be anyone outside of the home that knows him or her well enough to see when their situation has turned abusive.  There is no one to notice the bruises.  Twenty-five out of fifty states have simply notification requirements or no regulation at all (Home School Legal Defense Association, 2014).  In these states, a parent only needs to pull their child from school, and no one will ever notice the pain the child is in.
            The lifestyle of homeschooling Fundamentalists is ripe with factors that have been linked to abuse.  Alone, having a large family is not cause to suspect abuse, neither is homeschooling, patriarchy, Fundamentalism, or basic corporal punishment.  Combined, however, these elements place parents in a precarious position.  It only takes one slip to begin down the road to abuse, and once you are on that road, it becomes harder to see the truth of what you are doing.

Anne, L. (2012). What is Christian patriarchy? An introduction. Retrieved from:
Fundamentalism [Def. 1a]. (n.d.). Merriam-Webster Online. In Merriam-Webster. Retrieved
November 23, 2014, from
Goldberg, M. (2013). Homeschooled kids, now grown, blog against the past.  Retrieved
November 23, 2014, from
Home School Legal Defense Association. (2014). State laws. Retrieved from
Jeub, C. (2014). ‘I’m sorry you lost your kids.’ Retrieved from:
National Center for Education Statistics. (2012). Parent and Family Involvement in Education,
            from the National Household Education Surveys Program of 2012.  Retrieved from:
Pearl, M. & Pearl, D. (1994). To train up a child.  Retrieved from:
Ray, B. (2011). Research facts on homeschooling. Retrieved from:
West, R.L. (2009). The harms of homeschooling. Philosophy & Public Policy Quarterly, 29(3-4) 7-12.

Monday, October 6, 2014

August, September, and into October

As the title of this post suggests, I'm a little behind on my commitment to post once a month updates.  I have had the time to post on a couple of occasions, but when the months start adding up, it starts to get intimidating.  So anyway, where were we?


In my last post, it was only a day or so until the the beginning of August, and the second high school week was on the horizon.  Despite my doubts, I survived and even enjoyed it.  In fact, it was a historical and momentous high school week.  For the first time ever, we had three wonderful ladies as our team leaders.  Epicness ensued.  For some of the pictures or the video I made, check out those links.  The rest of August was pretty much recovering from summer.  I had five days of cleaning following the end of the second high school week, then it was home again, home again.  I spent the majority of a week and a half reading and sleeping and packing for the return trip.  Three months of not enough sleep and emotional stress took quite a toll on me, worse than either of the other summers I've worked.  I think I must be getting old.  I can finally say I'm completely recovered, though, but it took longer than that week and a half.

Enter September.

The first couple weeks back at camp were warmer than most of the summer had been.  I was given my cleaning assignment and learned how to do them.  For those interested, I clean the East Side kitchen, dining hall, lobby, and staff room, as well as the laundry room on West Side.  I also keep up with the laundry itself.  On the ninth, I started orientation for college.  Five years and three months after graduating high school, I finally decided what I want to study.  I am in an associates program for "Leadership and Ministry" through Grace Bible College in Grand Rapids, MI.  It's completely online, so I can work at camp and do school in the evenings and on Monday (my day off).  I'm now two weeks into my first official class.  Though I can't yet say that I'm loving it, I am surviving and learning and being challenged.  Hopefully I'll get to a point where I can love it.


Though it's only been six days since the change of the month, I should say something about it.  We just finished our third and final ladies' retreat yesterday.  Two men's retreats are all that remains of the fall retreat season here at Barakel.  Then comes the fall break.  I will be leaving camp for a month and a half or so.  In that time, I hope to spend some time at my Mom's house, my Dad's house, and Grace Adventures.  We'll see how those plans go.  I've learned that plans tend to change if you're listening for the voice of the Holy Spirit.

So that's what's been happening, but how have I been?  That's always a harder question to answer.  Life has had it's ups and downs, as usual.  I really love camp, as I always have.  This week cleaning, though, I felt like I was just doing to the same things I did the week previous (which was's cleaning), and that was discouraging until I remembered why we clean.  It's for the sake of bringing campers so they can hear the gospel and be refreshed.  When you look at it that way, cleaning is vital.

I've also been struggling to remember how much God loves me and what that love means.  I had a wonderful conversation with my mentor the other day, though, and he helped me see through the fog and clear up the things I've been believing that aren't true.

Well, that's all for now!  As always, if you want to help support me and my year of missionary life, you can send checks to Camp Barakel, PO Box 159, Fairview, MI 48621.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


What to say?  How do you explain what the last month has been like?  At least some of you have been to a camp before, but many of you have no context for what I'm about to say.  How do I help you see what my life is like on a daily basis?  How can I say that I am sleep deprived and mentally exhausted but yet totally in love with what I'm doing and the God I serve and not have you be confused?  I don't know if that's really possible, but I'll give it a shot.

Camp is like no other place on earth.  What we do here is create an environment where kids want to come and have fun, but while we have them here, we give them to a counselor who will love on them and show them who God is and how what He does and has done affects their lives.  Every moment and every encounter has a purpose.  Last year I was in the business of counseling, the showing of Christ to my campers on a day to day and hour to hour basis.  This year I am in the making camp fun business.  It's a lot of hard work, but it's so rewarding because I know that every moment of fun that I facilitate is another reason why the campers come so that we can share the gospel with them.

We just finished high school week a week ago, and our second and final high school week is on the horizon.  For those of you who have never experienced a high school week at Camp Barakel, let me paint you a picture.  One hundred and twenty campers arrive on Tuesday afternoon and are split into tribes of nine and ten.  The thirteen tribes are then split into three teams.  Each team has a team leader, and they are competing for the honor, glory, and fame of winning high school week.  Every summer there is a theme for high school week.  Four themes rotate every year so that no camper experiences a theme more than once, and most of them only ever experience three as a camper.  We have cheering competitions in the dining hall after every lunch and supper that are judged by an anonymous judge.  They're LOUD but awesome.  I love the cheering so much.  After flag raising in the morning and supper in the evening, we have mini competitive games that are themed to the week.  We have camp-wide flagbelt ambush games after supper that are epic and often difficult to fully understand.  We have themed brain puzzles to do at every lunch.  And on top of all that, we have all the normal camp activities!  All of these things build into the huge competition that every high school camper looks forward to.  And then there's Sunday.  Sunday's supper is a themed banquet.  This year's theme is the Incredible Adventure (based loosely on the Amazing Race), and the banquet takes place at our "final destination", which no one but the programers know.  If it sounds like fun, you're right.  If it sounds like a lot of work and not much sleep, you're also right.  I spent most of the week filming video footage and taking pictures and making four videos over the course of the week.  Sunday afternoon we showed the week-long video that covered snippets of everything that happened in the five days previous.  It was wonderful, if I do say so myself - certainly my best work yet.  Here's the link if you're interested -

Last week we were back to regular junior high camp on the East Side of Camp Barakel.  It was hard to see the high schoolers go.  I like them better, I think, but I was very glad to get more sleep and have less overall stress.  This past week has been a thinking week for me.  A lot of the summer is so busy that I don't hardly have time to process what's going on around me, but this week slowed down a little, and I was able to think.  Summer's coming to an end soon.  Two more weeks of "normal" camp and then comes HISability camp.  Even though I know where I'm going to be for the next year, there are still a lot of unknowns.  I don't know quite where I'll be working within the Barakel camping format.  I don't know how I'm going to juggle school and work.  I don't know if I'm going to have enough support to pay for school and food and such.  I don't know who my seasonal staff companions are going to be for sure.  There are a few things I do know, though.  I know that I have a God who is bigger than any worry I could ever have.  I know that He has a plan that will perfectly take care of me and meet my needs, the ones I foresee and the ones I don't.  I know that He's crazy in love with me, and wants nothing better than my growth in that knowledge and to learn to trust Him more.

So as another month is all but gone, and camp is drawing to a close, please pray for me, that I will finish the summer well and be able to say goodbye to all the summer staff I have spent two or three months with, that I will find the time to fund raise and end up with enough money for all my expenses, and that I will learn to trust my God even more.

In Christ,
Hannah Falk

Monday, June 30, 2014

June Update

So since July starts tomorrow, I should probably give you guys an update, eh?  Good plan.

First some facts.  I have been at camp for five weeks today.  We have had two weeks of training (workshop) and three weeks of campers.  There have been about 178 junior high campers so far this summer (always low numbers the first couple weeks due to school schedules).  I have kept and edited about 840 pictures and put together ten videos of varying length and purpose.  I have worked just under 20 hours at the zipline.  I've done meal announcements 12 times.  I have spent countless hours behind four different cameras.

It's been a fun and very eventful five weeks in all the best ways.  Our program team is coming together well, and we're revving up our planning for high school week (fourteen and a half days!!).  Some people have asked me if I miss counseling campers.  The truth is sometimes I do.  I miss getting to know the girls on a level a programer just can't.  I miss laughing til I cry with my girls for no other reason than that we're all tired and slap-happy.  BUT.  I love what I'm doing SO MUCH that those moments where I miss counseling really are few and far between.  I enjoy setting my creative side loose constantly, whether it be in pictures or creative video questions or designing the High School Week Cadillac or fleshing out ambushes or painting things like a Barakel's Got Talent sign.  That's what I missed while I was counseling last year - not being able to do fun and creative things like that because I was so into my campers all the time.

I want to tell you some fun stories of things that have happened so far, but the summer is already blending together so much that it's hard to pick individual stories out!  Maybe I'll think of some later and add them...  We did get to go on a canoe trip week one of campers down the Ausable River.  It was BEAUTIFUL.  I felt like I was a member of the fellowship of the ring going down the Anduin.  My canoe buddy said she felt like Pocahontas.  Then we started singing Colors of the Wind.  Fun times.

So in summary, all is going well.  I'm enjoying myself thoroughly and looking forward to what July has to offer.  God is challenging me throughout, but it's been in different and more subtle ways than as a counselor.  It feels like the refining is in little chips, knocking off sharp edges and points rather than chopping off whole chunks.  I'm especially learning to watch my words (which is hard for me) and be intentional with every word I get with every person.  Sarcasm is my first tongue, but it's not always the right one for the situation.

I want to thank you all so much for your prayers and thoughts.  I appreciate and need them all the time.  I still need a significant amount of money donated to cover the rest of the cost of school this coming year, but I am trusting that God will provide, maybe through you!  If you're interested in supporting me, put my name in the memo line and mail checks to:
Camp Barakel
PO Box 159
Fairview, MI

If you want to keep up with me, there are a couple ways you can do that.  First, follow this blog!  This is where I will put updates on life and camp and stuff.  Second, go like the facebook page called Camp Barakel Picture of the Day.  I am managing that page, and most of the pictures on in are taken by me these days.  Third, watch the weekly videos for East Side that I make!  You can find these on Camp Barakel's regular facebook page, their vimeo page, or their website.  They're kinda cool, but I make them, so I might be bias.

See y'all in July!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

So What are You Doing Next Year?

I have been asked many times in the last few weeks what my plans are for next year.  Well, here's the answer....

Dear friends and family,
As many of you know, I spent eight of the last nine months working in a residential facility for troubled youth.  One of my goals when I started my internship there was to figure out if God wanted me to go to school for counseling this coming fall.  I learned that counseling is not the way He wants me to go, but instead He led me to a program at Grace Bible College for an Associates in Leadership and Ministry that I can do online.  All the details that fell into place for this program can only be described as a work of God.

Knowing that online school was the way to go, I set about finding a place to live and work while doing school.  I had a few ideas in mind, but none of them seemed right.  I figured out the reason was that God has designed me for Christian ministry.  It’s what I love to do, and I knew I would not be fulfilled in my work unless it was some kind of ministry.  So to make a long story bearably short, I will be working at Camp Barakel this year as a part of their seasonal staff.  This is a dream come true for me, since I’ve wanted to do this for years and I will be able to continue working in camp ministry, the type of Christian ministry I love most.

For those of you who don’t know, the ministry of Camp Barakel is completely supported by volunteers and missionary support.  None of the people who work there are paid a salary; they rely on the Holy Spirit moving in people’s hearts to support their amazing ministry.  Now that I am joining their ranks until the end of next summer, I ask that you consider whether God would have you support His work through me with a monthly or one-time gift.  I have a little money saved up from my time at the residential facility, and that will be going toward my school bill, but I still need a few thousand for school this year as well as living expenses.  Anything I receive that I don’t need will go toward paying for school next year.

As you consider how you can support me, please pray for me as well.  Though I know and love the people and place of Barakel, this will be a new experience with new challenges even without throwing school in the mix.  On top of that, it’s been five years since I graduated high school, and I don’t know how I’ll handle getting back into that rhythm and mindset.  But I know that God will provide, through you and others, and I know this is where He wants me to be and what He wants me to be doing.

If God has blessed you and you want to be used by Him to bless me financially, please write checks to Camp Barakel with my name in the memo line and mail to:
Hannah Falk
Camp Barakel
P.O. Box 159
Fairview, MI  48621

If you would like to receive monthly updates from me, please send me an email at, and I will add you to the list!

Thank you all for your prayerful support,
Hannah Falk

Sunday, May 4, 2014

One Man, One Woman?

As you might be able to tell from the title, this post is about a few things that have been hot topics for some time now – homosexuality, marriage, and the combination of the two.  As these topics have come up in both Christian and non-Christian media, I have been disappointed and, at times, downright ashamed of what I have heard and seen.  It is my intent in the paragraphs that follow to put forth my opinions and what I believe to be right (and wrong), and I hope that wherever you stand on the issues, you will be willing to read with a mind open to truth.

Let’s start with the obvious.  At this time, people are fighting for the definition and rights of marriage to be expanded to not only include men and women marrying but men to men and women to women.  Christians have opposed this because they believe that it is an incursion on their beliefs and will have detrimental effects on the family and society as a whole.  However, I believe Christians have lost sight of what is really important with this issue and many others.  Let me show you why.

I am an evangelical Christian, and I strongly believe that homosexuality is wrong.  However, I am mortified at the way my fellow Christians have and are treating those who are categorized as homosexuals for a lot of reasons.  First of all, because as Christians, we are no better but by the grace of God, and even with it, we still make stupid mistakes ALL THE TIME.

There is a big discussion about whether homosexuality is something you’re born with or something you choose and what ramifications that has on legality and morality.  Well, as a bible-believing Christian, I’m going to say it’s something you’re born with.  And yep, I still believe it’s wrong.  How is this justified?  Because we’re all born that way.  I’m not just talking about homosexuality.  I’m talking about sin, every sin.  We are all born sinners.  We may have different facets we are prone toward, but we all are born with that desire to disobey what God has commanded.  Those of us who have believed in the saving blood and work of Jesus on the cross now have His righteousness inside us and His law written on our hearts.  We are free of that nature that we are born with and can see clearly the difference between right and wrong, but that is for ourselves and the correction and edification of our brethren, not for tearing down and ridiculing those who are still trapped by the nature of sin.  How can we look down on other people, people Jesus died to save, and condemn them for doing what comes naturally?  Not only is it wrong, it is pointless.  We will never convince them, and our condemning efforts only drive a wedge between us and them.

Why is there such a huge outcry against homosexuals?  Doesn’t God say that every sin is alike?  I believe homosexuality is wrong, but I also believe that about lying, stealing, adultery, murder, divorce, and having false idols, among other things.  Do we have such a stand against those who watch too much TV?  Or those who tell ‘white lies’?  We’re being inconsistent.  And we’re defining people, plain, regular people, as what they do instead of who they are.  We get uncomfortable when we find out someone is sexually different than us like it’s some kind of disease we can catch.  They’re just people from all walks of life and all different personalities.  They’re no more strange than you and I, and they’re no less deserving of our love and care.  What’s more, as I said earlier, there is no point in yelling and screaming at sinners to change and see our perspective because they can’t, not as they are.

People want to change the definition of marriage, and we as Christians are getting all huffy and stupid about it when I say it’s already been changed, and it has already affected our families and society.  The biblical definition of marriage is not “one man and one woman”, it’s “one man and one woman forever”.  Seeing as how the divorce rate among Christians is almost the same as everyone else, I’d say we’ve already redefined marriage.  We have failed to live by the standard set by our Maker, and we look no better than the world.  It’s no wonder non-Christians can’t understand why this fight is such a big deal to us.

So what do we do?  What can we do?  We can’t give up the fight, but I think we need to turn it back to where it needs to be – on the home front.  We need to take a stand in the church for what is right and what works and what is worth it.  We need to help those who are struggling and be willing to get our hands dirty.  It’s always easier to rant than to speak kindly, easier to throw things than to come alongside.  But this is what Christ has called us to do.  And I have a feeling that if we decided to love unconditionally and selflessly, the world would notice, and maybe they would begin to understand why this fight is so important to us.  As the saying goes, you catch more flies with honey.  I say stop fighting over what’s wrong and start showing what’s right.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

My Strength is Enough

Seventy-one and a half days.  That is how long until Workshop (the beginning of the summer season) starts at Barakel.  I started a countdown in January.  I don't have a job yet, but I can hope.  I have to hope.  Why?  Because I need something to look forward to.  I'm not going to lie or sugar-coat it; this six and a half months has been hard.  Really hard.  And not for any of the reasons everyone thought it would be.  I work with kids who are in the system and need help.  Everyone said that would be difficult, that I would have to develop a thick skin and find the line between caring and professionalism.  That's been easy.  The hard part has been everything I didn't expect.  I didn't expect it would be hard to find a ride to church and, therefore, wouldn't have one.  I didn't expect that getting groceries would be so difficult.  I didn't expect that I would not make a single close friend I could talk to about life and work.  I didn't expect that I would not be treated with respect and appreciation.  I didn't expect that my housemate would have a breakdown half-way through our internship and leave indefinitely, or that my supervisor and my boss (two different people) would each be replaced twice in less than nine months, or that there would be so little structure, expectations, and work in general.  I didn't expect that I would be so lonely.  I didn't expect that my trust and reliance on my Savior would be so critically important and tested so often.  Fortunately, though, He hasn't let me down.  My life here is not glamorous or wonderful or desirable, but it is good enough.  It has taught me a lot.  It has stretched my comfort zone and expanded my knowledge in so many areas.  It has been what I needed, even if it wasn't what I wanted or expected it would be.  And through it all, my heavenly Daddy has been there, and He's been enough.  Every minute, every hour, every day, just enough.