Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Taking a Break

 I feel like the Lord is leading me to take a bit of a break from blogging and FB. I don't know how long, that is something He has yet to reveal to me.
 I'll leave you with a few pictures that are special to me. These are all my children and their cousins. They absolutely love each other and it is precious to watch them interact with one another.
 Hailey is swinging on the tire swing. I love this angle!!
 The newest picture of our family. My they are all growing up.
 Andrew, minus a few teeth.
Here we all are. Dad and Diana with all their children and grandchildren. It is rare indeed when we can all get together.

There is a lot going on in my children's lives. I need to have some very serious and focused prayer time. I feel God calling me to Him. Please pray that God will give me the wisdom and discernment I need to love and serve my family in a more effective way.

I'll be back...:)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Homeschooling: Surviving or Thriving?

Taken from Homeschooling the Challenging Child by Christine M. Field.

"If the 'results' of your homeschooling are not what you expected, remember that these children and this responsibility did not come from the Lord with a guarantee! If we do X, Y, and Z and do it faithfully to his glory, the results are always in his hands-not ours.

Maybe you have the pictures-perfect home school poster child. You are indeed blessed. you can be a beacon to the rest of us imperfect parents with imperfect children. Or perhaps you actually are paying a pretty high price to look good on the outside while hurting on the inside.

There are , in fact, a few guarantees in this endeavor. We are guaranteed that the Lord will walk beside us as we step out in faith each day. We are guaranteed that he will never leave us or forsake us in our time of challenge or need. We can rest in the guarantee that everything he allows into our lives is for his purposes.

While I may not be able to trade in my difficult life for an easier existence, I can rest in the assurance that I have all the guarantees I need, and I wouldn't exchange what He has given me for anything.

Each day I have the choice to survive or thrive. Even with God's assurance, some days are survival days. But if you spend more than a season in mere survival mode, take a hard look at your life. Don't just try to survive! Where is the victory there? We don't want to just stay alive-we want to make progress for the kingdom of God!

Psalm 127 tells us that our children are arrows (v.4). We don't launch the arrows off willy-nilly and let them land where they will. Nor do we pull an arrow out of the quiver, shoot it at a blank wall, and then run over and draw a target around the arrow. We want to launch them in such a way that they will make an impact for God.

Our children are our arrows, and our work with them is our ministry for this season of life. Like any ministry, we don't want to just survive. We want to shine for His glory!"

I'm a mother who has a couple of challenging children when it comes to homeschooling. It is easy to just go with the flow and survive each day. I was completely convicted when I read this. I want to thrive in my home school.

This is the first summer that I really felt the Lord lead me to take an entire summer off. It has been a relief to not worry about homeschooling and feeling guilty when we don't. Our summer has been jam-packed with wonderful things that have been a catalyst for learning and growing. It has been heavenly to have a mental break from it all. I know when September rolls around, I will be refreshed and rearing to go with a new vision and energy that the Lord only gives.

I am enjoying cleaning and purging the house. Gardening and getting the outside of the house put back in shape has been immensely satisfying. We wait all year for the weather to be nice and now we can actually enjoy it!

If you are homeschooling, ask yourself, "Am I surviving or thriving?". If you are surviving, do something about it. God will give the wisdom of what needs to change in your life.

Friday, July 15, 2011

My Little Boy

Little boys come in all shapes and sizes,

Shy and adventurous, full of surprises,
With misshapen halos and mischievous grins,
Small dirty faces, and sweet, sticky chins.

They'll keep you so busy, and yet all the while
Nothing can brighten the world like their smile.
And no greater treasure has brought homes more joy
Than a curious, active, and lovable boy!
-author unknown

(Jacob at age four.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tractor Girl

We had a professional photographer come out for Dad and Diana's 25th anniversary. He captured these precious pictures of Lily on the toy metal tractor in Diana's yard. I just love how sweet and innocent these pictures are.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Visiting Clara's Grave

This Memorial Day, I wanted to do something special for Clara. You can read the story if you click on the link. We bought a cross with some flowers on it and cleared out some of the weeds so you could read the headstone again.

While we were at the pioneer cemetery, Lily found this baby sheep on the head stone and tried to hug it. I thought it was precious and could imagine the baby smiling down from heaven with approval.

Hopefully, this will become a tradition. It was a way to honor a special 9-year old girl who died so young.

We brought enough flowers to put on her brother's grave as well. His is in the background. The heart ache that these parents suffered must have been unimaginable. It is my way of honoring all parents who have suffered the loss of a child.

We were blessed that Steve was off work and could come with us. He enjoyed reading the headstones and recognizing some last names of some local farming families.

Hoping that this will be something we do more often. Next year, we want to locate Steve's first dad's grave and put some flowers on it. The children have never seen their grandpa's grave before.
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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Lovin' the Yard Sales This Year!

This summer has been wonderful for yard sales! There seem to be more and more of them with our economy being down.

As you know, every firewife can't help herself when she runs into a cute fire engine. I found die cast metal toy and offered $5 for it! I couldn't believe she took it. It will make a cute decoration on the porch when the kids aren't playing with it.

I have been wanting a bistro set for ages, but couldn't justify the cost. I found this bistro set for $25! It looked brand new and it was the perfect size and color for my front porch. Now you can find me doing my devotions out here. I love being outside where I can see my flowers. I found that middle pot for $3 at another yard sale. The others are old canning pots that I filled with flowers. Snickers is in the foreground.

This milkcan had a little rust on it, but I got it for $10 at an estate sale. I put some flowers on the top of the lid. It was just deep enough.

I found this old coal bucket at the same estate sale. I filled it with flowers and put it in my herb garden.

I can't believe how much money I save when I go to yard sales. Someone's junk is my treasure!
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Friday, July 8, 2011

Pure and Lovely

Do you long to be PURE and LOVELY?

Have you made some awful mistakes?

God sent His son, Jesus to PURIFY you. Forgiveness is just a prayer away.
"Create in me a PURE heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me."
- Psalm 51:10
His laws are for our good! When we stay under his umbrella of protection, we can stay PURE and LOVELY.

"The fear of the Lord is PURE, enduring forever. The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much PURE gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward."- Psalm 19:9-11

You don't have to be old and wise to be PURE. It is all about your heart. Be an example to your husband, children, friends and family. Show them how to live a PURE life. They will want the benefits that it brings. The peace of living in the center of God's Will.
"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in PURITY."-1 Timothy 5:12

No matter how old you are, you are more spiritually mature than someone else. This verse applies to everyone! Make this the goal of your life. Training and teaching other women to be LOVELY and PURE. What a world this would be!

"Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to too much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and PURE, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the Word of God." -Titus 2:3-5

As this world gets more perverse, the world will sit up and take notice when they see a PURE life. While some would view a PURE life as offensive, others will long for the peace and joy that will be so evident.

What are your media choices? Are they PURE and LOVELY?
How is that thought life? Is it PURE and LOVELY?
What kinds of things pop out of your mouth when you are upset? Is your speech PURE and LOVELY?

I have this verse framed and on my wall.

"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is PURE, whatever is LOVELY, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things."-Philippians 4:8

Let's let this govern everything we say and do!
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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Teaching Your Children to Glorify God

I have finally read the book "Shepherding a Child's Heart" by Tedd Tripp. It was very good and has had me thinking a lot about the "heart" of my parenting.

One of the questions was from the "Shorter Catechism".

Q.-What is the chief end of man?
A.-Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.

"Is there any other goal that is worthy? Are you willing to start here with your children? You must equip your children to function in a culture that has abandoned the knowledge of God. If you teach them to use their abilities, aptitudes, talents and intelligence to make their lives better, without reference to God, you turn them away from God. If your objectives are anything other than 'Man's chief end is to glory God and enjoy Him forever,' you teach your children to function in the culture on its terms.

How do we do this? We pander to their desires and wishes. We teach them to find their soul's delight in going places and doing things. We attempt to satisfy their lust for excitement. We fill their young lives with distractions from God. We give them material things and take delight in their delight in possessions. Then we hope that somewhere down the line they will see that a life worth living is found only in knowing and serving God.

No wonder we lose our kids. We lose them because we fail to think clearly about man's chief end. The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever; therefore, your objective in every context must be to set a biblical world-view before your children. From their earliest days, they must be taught that they are creatures made in the image of God-made for God. They must learn that they will only "find themselves" as they find Him. Your child must grow to see that real living is experienced when he stands before God and says, "Whom have I in heaven but? And being with you I desire nothing on earth" (Psalm 73:25). If this is what your want for your children, then you must ensure that the content of everyday life fits this objective.

So many times we give them mixed signals when we attempt to help them adapt to a culture that does not know God. Unknowingly, we can train them to think unbiblically. For example, if you teach your child to obey and to perform for the approval from you and from others, you present an unbiblical objective. God says we should do all for His glory, because His eyes is upon us and He is the rewarder of the just. People will respond well to a child who obeys, but you cannot make that secondary benefit of obedience the primary reason for obeying."-Excerpt taken from the book "Shepherding a Child's Heart" by Tedd Tripp.

This made me question myself. Am I teaching my children that their greatest purpose on this earth is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever? I pray that every day, I would be living this out. That my "religion" would not be drudgery, but be an exciting ride with Jesus. I never know where He is going to take me next! I don't know the next lesson. But I do know one thing. He is constantly refining me, teaching me and pruning me when it comes to my weaknesses and strengths. All it takes is an open heart, a teachable spirit and a willingness to change.

Is it painful? Yes. As I walk this road I am transparent in my failings and my struggles. My children know my weaknesses. I encourage them to pray for me and to forgive me when I mess up.

When I write, I am astonished at the things that I share with you, yet I know it keeps me accountable. I need to practice what I preach. I need to do what the Word says to do, then God is glorified through my weaknesses.

Jesus' grace is sufficient for me! He is my all-consuming fire. The love of my life. I want that for my children. I want them to fill up with Him, and not the things of this world.

Lord, let my children bring You glory. Let them enjoy You. Let them delight in You, for You are good and worthy to be praised.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Controlling Our Emotions

Dear Mothers,

We all know that women are emotional creatures. Compound that with hormones, lack of sleep, marriage problems, being cooped up with little people all day, and a general lack of socialization, you have yourself a recipe for disaster.

Emotions in themselves aren’t bad. I want to feel things deeply. Part of life is experiencing joy and pain. Take that away, and it would honestly be a pretty boring life. God gave us emotions for a reason. God gave us emotions to be managed and used for His glory. God created us in His image and He, Himself, is often described in Scripture as having emotions. Unfortunately, when we experience emotions, our hearts always have a mixture of impurity in them. Because God is holy, His expression of emotion is always righteous and pure. So the similarities between man and God end at his infinite character. The fact remains, however, that anger and other emotions are parts of the raw material in our being. Emotions add zest and passion to what might otherwise be a mundane existence. This doesn’t mean that the expression of angry emotions or their frequency or intensity in our daily lives is always appropriate. Because of our tendency to sin, we sometimes take God’s good gifts and misuse them. Instead of assuming that anger is evil, we must view it as a misused asset and learn how to utilize it according to its design.

I have shared before that I struggle with a few emotions. Anger and impatience seem to be my “thorn”. I know I will struggle with them the rest of my life and can now thank God for them because they cause me to be dependent upon Him every single day of my life. I used to think that I should never be angry. That all anger was sinful somehow. I was wrong. I have learned that anger and frustration can also motivate us to do the right thing.

The complexity of emotions requires that we learn how to manage them, not just react. Anger, just one of the emotions can be confusing. Proverbs 29:11 says, “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.” Control is better than venting. Control allows us to use anger as a tool rather than a weapon. When we as parents and our children recognize the complexity of emotions and how to wisely choose which emotion to use in a particular situation, we will feel anger less intensely and less often.

Some emotions, such as fear or frustration, increase our energy level, were as other feelings, like sadness or hopelessness, decrease our energy. Both groups of emotions have God-ordained purposes. Feelings often motivate us to action or inaction. Anger is an emotion that increases energy. When we get angry several things happen inside our body all at the same time. Our heart rate, blood pressure, and rate of breathing increase. Blood sugar levels rise, our pupils dilate, and our muscles become tense. Our adrenal glands release adrenaline, and our awareness intensifies. All of these reactions are designed by God to prepare us to fight an actual physical threat or run from it. We may not be faced with imminent danger, but a physical response occurs in our body when our children threaten our peace. When we are angry, we’re more motivated to solve problems, confront offenders or make a change in our lives. Most of us can control the physical responses of anger, but we still struggle with our mouths.

It is a life-style of anger that Scripture condemns, not anger itself. Some people become addicted to that extra energy that anger provides. They thrive on it. It wakes them up in the morning and carries them through the day. I’ve been there and done that and it is NOT fun. You can only exist like that so long without feeling like you are losing your ever-loving mind.

Remember anger is usually caused by these five things:

Blocked goals

Physical Pain

Violated rights


Unmet expectations

Understanding the five causes of anger can help you relate to your family. Each time you feel angry, stop for a minute and try to identify which of these is the cause.

I found this to be solid and biblical advice. I am trying to practice this daily and I am slowly seeing some old habits being broken.

From One Mom to Another,

*These concepts are taken from the book "Good and Angry" by Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller.
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