Saturday, May 17, 2008
First of all, we have moved. Long story short, the Lord in his wisdom has provided us with more affordable accomodations. When we prayed for God to intervene, we never expected that He would direct us to move. We are very blessed to have only moved a VERY short distance and we are now even closer to family. Isn't God good?
Secondly, new jobs are all around. Dewayne began a new job where he is going to have opportunities he has never had. I have also begun working from home. This was not a decision we took lightly. My call to homeschool is first and foremost for our family. But we have prayed for quite some time that if I was supposed to supplement our income in any way, that the answer would be very clear. What a great blessing this new job has been in this short time! We are wrapping up school for the year, so I should be able to focus on working a little more this summer hopefully to be in a routine that will seamlessly transition into a new school year. The extra income will really help as we work to get some old debt (and newer debt!) paid down. I pray that it will last as long as God sees fit.
Lastly, we are going in fifty gillion directions at once and it is hard to find time to spend time together as a family. The new jobs, new service opportunities, new responsibilties...the list goes on. But I am so incredibly blessed with my wonderful husband and children. Although having a family leaves me exhausted most days, it also leaves me joyful. Most of all, I am grateful for my heavenly Father who gives generously to meet His children's needs.
May God bless and keep you today.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
I was feeling really downtrodden and overwhelmed, trying to put my finger on the source of my discontentment. All of sudden, I realized that I had not made time with the Lord a priority for the last week or so. At this point, I would love to say that I immediately bowed my head and asked God to help me get reconnected with Him. However, being in my current state of mind, I got a little miffed. I mean, shouldn't God allow some "wiggle room"? Why, after only a week or so of not spending daily time with Him, was my life feeling like a downward spiral? Shouldn't He give us at least a couple of weeks, maybe three before allowing us to feel like we had been run over by a truck?That's when God gently placed a scripture in my heart, even when I was not seeking guidance from His word. I was reminded of when Jesus said, "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing." (John 15: 4-5 NASB) How long can a branch survive when it becomes detached from the tree? It begins dying immediately. Oh, it can stay green for a while. It can put on a good front just lying there all alone. But slowly, subtly it begins to die. The leaves begin to wilt and brown. Eventually they curl and become brittle, detaching themselves from the branch with the slighest breeze. Before long, the branch itself dries completely, good for nothing else but being tossed into the fire.
So it goes with our Christian life. The moment we detach ourselves from the Vine, our spiritual lives begin to die. We can fake it for a while, pretending things are okay and we have all the answers. But eventually, we begin to wilt and become brittle. Given enough time, our spiritual life can become so dry it is consumed by the trials of this world. Unlike the branches of the vine, we have the ability to reconnect ourselves to the source of our strength. We have the potential to begin thriving again in the life-giving relationship we have with our Creator. Let me encourage you today to stay connected to the Vine through the study of God's word and prayer. Even one day separated from our tree of Life is too long.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
This happened to me recently as Caleb was completing his Latin lesson. He has the DVD’s so I confess that I have not been standing in front of him every week learning along with him. He is making good grades on the quizzes and tests, so I have allowed him to take that subject and run. After all, this is his second year. This arrangement works great until he has a question. When he asked me about derivatives and declensions, I was a little confused. Now, I did figure it out eventually, but it took a little while. During the searching and reading, I thought about how nice it would be if the author of this little course were standing here in front of me to guide me along. But that never happens. We are left to take the written word and interpret to the best of our ability.
How blessed we are not to have that burden when it comes to our Jesus! He is the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). This means that He helped to write the plan of our salvation as one of the Godhead trinity. And he perfected it by coming to earth as a man and living a sinless and holy life unto God. He wrote the book, lived the book, and now, through his Holy Spirit, teaches the book. We do not have to wonder. We do not have to fret. We can talk with the author and we can do it anytime we need! What a privilege to have the hand that penned the Holy Bible wipe away our tears and lead us in the way we should go. Glory to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit from whom all blessings flow!
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Between schooling, cooking, cleaning, running here and there, activities, and a few more social engagements than normal, I sit down at night and wonder where the day went. There are a few things that cannot be changed no matter how busy I get. I am thankful to say that over the past six months to a year I have developed a morning Bible study habit that leaves a void if I miss it. I have tried to develop that habit for years, but to no avail. Then, all of a sudden, I decided to pray about it. Duh! What an awesome God we have to not just give us commands, but also the priviledge to ask His help when we are trying to follow them. He has placed a desire in my heart for His word and when I miss that time with Him, I feel it! I am not naive enough to believe that I could NEVER fall into the habit of no quiet time ever again, but I have learned so much about "dying daily" (as Paul said) to self. I constantly put my Bible study time before the Lord, asking Him to protect it and help me to put it first in my day. I cannot do it alone in my own power.
In addition to my time with the Lord, there are a few more things that I try to find time for everyday, no matter how busy I get:
- Kissing my husband
- Hugging my kids
- Having a Dr. Pepper (it was hard not to put this one at the top of the list)
- Watching at least one Andy Griffith Show(see why...click)
- Checking my email (most days, anyway)
Notice that any form of cleaning and/or chores made it to my list. This could be why my house is in a state of disarry as I type. SIGH! I guess I need to get off here and make in dent in the laundry or the dishes. Now which one is in a more desperate state? Too close to call...
Have a great day!
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Well, this afternoon we were in the van again heading to my mom and dad's for a few minutes to visit. Out of nowhere, Hannah yells, "Mama, the beaver is gone!" We looked and sure enough, no beaver. Now where would a medium sized beaver disappear to? Hannah knew the answer right off the bat. She proclaimed, "JESUS HEALED HIM! HE'S ALIVE!!"
Anyone ever found scripture where Jesus healed the sick, the lame, and the roadkill? Me either!
Monday, February 11, 2008
After Caleb left the Worship rotation, Garth's group was next to come in. This group of 2nd and 3rd graders seemed to be more subdued than ever before. They had just come from the Wiggle rotation (fun and games) and they were tired and sweaty. I elected to have them sit down for a few minutes and listen to a couple of new songs while they rested up.
These songs are really catchy and they have movements built into them that we can watch on the dvd. Last term , the songs and routines we learned were put into a musical that the kids performed for their friends and family. We are working toward the same goal this term, so the kids really enjoy learning the routine.
We listened to two songs and I asked the kids if they were ready to get up and begin our routine. They asked to rest for one more song (they were REALLY run hard during the the Wiggle time!). I pushed play on the only song that was repeated from last year. It is a fast paced song that allows a lot of "free" dancing. That is, there is no "set" routine, just a lot of dancing as you feel. The kids LOVED that song last year and I was really glad it was included again this time.
I must interject here the sad reality that neither of my guys necessarily have the gene that allows them to have natural ability to dance. There are those people who seem to have the "rhythm" so to speak and look good simply by keeping the beat with a song. My guys are not like that. They have a lot of heart, but the God-given ability to groove was not one of their blessings.
I saw Garth's face when the first strains of the song began to play. He said, "This is one of my favorites!". He glaced around him, sure that other kids would love this song so much, they would leap to their feet and let the dance moves fly. When they didn't, he could hardly contain himself. Something in his brain was telling him that if no one else got up to dance, he really shouldn't either. Everyone else was sitting and he should follow suit. What else could he do, right?
Garth's love for these songs go much deeper than just loving the beat. This particular song talks about getting the Bible into every aspect of your life. It says "I'm getting into the Bible...and the Bible...is getting into me!" Garth identifies with this song because he loves getting into the Bible. He has begun to read so much better this year that he is reading daily devotionals on his own. He comes to me with big words, but he likes to try and get into the Bible himself. So not only the beat of this song was calling to him, but the words he loved were beckoning, too.
I saw the determination on Garth's face as he stood up and began to dance with the song. He did not care that no one stood with him. He wasn't concerned that everyone looked at him a little funny. Kids can be cruel sometimes and he knows that. But he risked people laughing at him because he had to dance with the song. Garth just made a profession of faith in the last few months and I like to think that his need to dance was part of the way he was worshipping his newly found Savior.
Going against the grain. Making waves. Call it what you will, but as Christians, we are sometimes called upon to be different. There is no more unforgiving scenario than the kid world of being different. We are fortunate enough to have such a good group of kids at our church that no one laughed when Garth danced. No one made comments or pointed. Life is not always like that. We can be ridiculed or ostrisized because of our stand. A lot of times, by the ones who are closest to us. But we are called to be IN this world but not OF this world. We must move when the Spirit prompts us. How blessed I was to see this in my 9 year old! It was truly a great Wednesday night!
Saturday, February 9, 2008
Friday, February 8, 2008
Lest you think I have a hidden talent for singing and dancing I want to reassure you that the only requirements for this job is an ability to push play on the dvd player and the habit of breathing on a fairly regular basis.
So Wednesday my guys were in two different rotations (we rotate between Worship, Word (Bible study) and Wiggle (fun and games)). Caleb came to me first and we began the worship songs with the group like normal. He was really getting into a song that has a pretty difficult routine (with a spin and everything!) when, all of a sudden, he spun and lost his balance. He tried to recover, but he could not before he slammed into the wall. Since he was in the front of the room, all eyes were on him.
Remember being at the age when everything seemed so much worse than it was when you had an audience watching? Now imagine actually doing something that warrented a laugh from those watching. You are already painfully embarassed and the potential laughter can cause you to do react in several different ways. I really didn't know how he was going to react.
All eyes were on Caleb in the few seconds following his collision with the wall. These seconds seemed like an eternity as I waited for the tears or angry reaction to come. Caleb looked at everyone, laughed a deep hearty laugh, and said, "Well, that hurt!" Everyone laughed along with him, and the moment passed. It took me a minute to realize that it was over. At the same time, I realized a mark of maturity in my oldest...the ability to laugh at himself.
We all do things (some of us on a daily basis) that require us to be able to laugh at ourselves. When we are able to not take ourselves so seriously, the small stuff stays small and our perspective stays clear. What a blessing for me to be able to see that glimpse in Caleb!
I was also fortunate to have a glimpse into my youngest son's developing personality...but that will be Part Two. Stay tuned!
Monday, February 4, 2008
My precious three year old, Hannah, helps me sometimes with the laundry. She will push the clothes into the dryer for me and close the door. Or she will help to transfer the dry clothes to a basket. Of course, it takes longer this way, but she really enjoys helping and usually I don't mind. This morning, however, was hectic beyond belief. I had a huge pile of laundry to get through, not to mention the million dishes stacked all over the counter. And that was BEFORE school. Needless to say when she "helped" me by taking the WET clothes OUT of the dryer and piling them on the floor, I was not happy at all! I will admit I spoke to her rather sharply and that brought a flood of tears. I really felt bad about it, but my pride held onto my indignation as she walked away from me. It was my plan to go to her after I started the dryer and talk to her after I cooled off. I never got the chance.
I looked up from my clothes and stared down the barrel of a large Nerf bazooka. This little girl, this beautiful princess, had my head in the crosshairs as she peered through the scope. There was a coolness, a calculating callousness that I had never seen before. Apparently, this was not the day to make her angry. As I straightened up and moved to the right, the barrel stayed trained right on me. I have rarely seen such concentration and I would be willing to bet that it would even rival the military's top marksmen. Girl was on a mission and was not letting anything distract her.
Lucky for me, she can't resist a giggle when she hears a giggle, so that was all I had to do to break her concentration. As I snickered at the sight before me, a smile slowly broke on her face and the bazooka lowered. I have to admit that I breathed a sigh of relief at the fact that three year old princesses cannot legally own firearms.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Friday, February 1, 2008
Thinking there has to be a perfectly good explanation for this, I asked her to show me how she knew her laugh and cry were gone. She took a deep breath and proceeded to try and laugh. Next thing I know, there was a hoarse and husky, well, sound. It didn't resemble a laugh so much as it reminded me of a forty-year smoker hacking up a lung. I did not ask her to prove that her cry was also gone, for fear of hearing that awful noise again. I took her word on that one.
Poor baby! She tearfully said, "See! I told you my laugh and cry was gone!" Well, I would be upset, too, if my laugh and cry were gone.
Driving home one day last week, I noticed that two guys were on a scaffold painting one of our city's water towers. Since I was sitting at a red light, I had some time to ponder. When do you know a water tower needs painting? They were only halfway done and for a minute, I could not tell which was the new color and which was the old color. It wasn't like the paint job on the tower was so badly degraded that it even warranted a new coat. Honestly, I wondered aloud to my husband about the merits of spending money on all that new paint and the salary for two people to spend several days painting that tower when it didn't really need it. You see, that's what you do in a small town. You form opinions about decisions the city council makes and wonder how it would be different if "John Smith" (insert any local citizen's name) were running things. HE sure wouldn't have spent all that money on painting the water tower. HE would have realized that painting the outside of the water tower was a waste of taxpayers' resources. Being on the downward slope of a pretty severe drought in our region, "John Smith" would have realized that changing the color on the outside of the tower would do NOTHING to change the deficient water level on the INSIDE of the tower.
Then it hit me. Ironically enough, this water tower was next door to my church and the parallel to the painted water tower was so clear. That is what we do with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We go to church on Sunday after getting all painted and pretty on the outside. We lift our hands in praise and put an arm around one another in fellowship. All the while, inside, we are drying up spiritually. We answer "I'm good. How about you?" when asked how things are going. I wonder how many people would answer, "Things are pretty rotten right now and I need your prayer" if they felt completely safe to say that. How many times do we sit through a service wishing that God would speak to us and wishing we would hear a song we like when what we are really there to do it worship Him?
How would things change in our fellowships if we went to church on Sundays wondering how many different ways we could pay honor to our Lord? What if we went challenging ourselves to pray a quick prayer for every person we hugged? What would really happen if we asked someone how they are REALLY doing and take the time to listen to what is going on in their life? I'll tell you what would happen! We would have CHURCH!
I am blessed enough to attend a fellowship that takes seriously the teaching of God's word and encouraging true fellowship between members. And let me tell you, it makes such a difference in my Christian walk. I feel my cup overflowing every time I enter that place. Praise God!
As far as the water tower goes, there may have been a legitimate reason for needing to paint it. I am not a water tower expert. I do know this: one reason it was painted was to shift my brain in gear and renew my resolve to take an interest in the people and purpose of my church. Through true fellowship and the solid teaching of God's word, we can truly worship our Lord!
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
We were beginning a study on the election process. This study will continue sporadically through the year as different events occur during this election process. But you have to start somewhere, right? So I logged on to the trusty computer and found a website that I felt explained the election process in a kid friendly way. Even with the simplicity, the explanation of the National Convention, the Electoral College, popular vote, etc. was somewhat dry. I tried to make it as interesting as possible, but this is a subject that a majority of adults are not even clear on. The boys (4th grade and 3rd grade) were really listening and I thought they were following pretty well. I picked a candidate to use to illustrate my point, hoping to make it a little more personal. So, I picked Mike Huckabee. That way when I explained that if Huckabee won the popular vote in Texas, all of that state's electoral college votes went to him, it would seem a little easier when they were able to relate to a person instead of "The Candidate".
Or so I thought it would be easier...
I was almost to the end of my explanation, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, when my 3rd grader had a confusing thought (I knew this because I saw the confusion written all over his face.) He was trying to process...he was trying to make it all work in his mind...and, finally, a hand went up in the air. I thought this was GREAT because it meant he was thinking. He needed clarification on something, but it WAS processing. With the seriousness of a news anchor investigating the most important story of his life, my child says, "Is Mike Huckabee a person?"
Back to square one...
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Three days ago, my computer suddenly stopped accessing the internet. Since the internet is a huge part of why I even spend time on the computer, I was sufficiently bummed out. Since I have recently tiptoed into the world of wireless internet access, I assumed my network card was not working properly. Borrowing my hubby's laptop, I searched on the Net (shows you how dependent I am on that) how to test my wireless adapter and/or router so I could quickly and efficiently fix the problem.
Three days later...
My computer sat on the table this morning, taunting me. I could hear it laughing maniacally as it still held my poor internet hostage. I felt as if I would never be the same again, having lost the battle with the little black box. I was wounded and bleeding but ready to admit that I was defeated. Then, suddenly, out of the darkness, two little words came through the sadness of defeat..."system restore"...it echoed in my brain and jarred me into having a coherent thought. Yes! System restore! It is one of those features on the computers that allow you to restore programs back to a certain point without losing your documents and such.
Could it work? Could this be the answer? My mind raced as one rational thought seemed to flow into another..."It was working fine last week."..."Something had to have altered the process in some way during the last few days."..."I maybe could restore the computer to the way it was a week ago, before the probelms began."
With bated breath and a dry mouth, my fingers flew across the mouse pad, giving the command to system restore. I felt powerful, I felt hopeful, I felt terrified that this was not going to work.
The process completed, I rebooted, and....here is the increasing suspense...IT WORKED!
As my home page leapt into view on the screen, I felt as if I had done my part in the Human vs. Computers War. This collection of boards, drives, and pixels had not won. It had put up a good fight and had caused me to doubt my sanity, but in the end it is ON THE INTERNET because IT DID NOT WIN!
And now, I sit in my glory as a winner, replaying the moment of victory over and over in my head, basking for the moment because I know that one day, this computer will come at me again. The battle is over but the war is still yet to be completed.
Monday, January 21, 2008
Burgess was speaking at a Christian youth conference in Tennessee when he learned of the death of his son. He was doing something right. He was proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ at the time his son left this world. He could have looked at the heavens and asked God, "Why? Why? I was here preaching your Word, I was doing as you command us to do. Why would you take my son?" Instead, he said, "We cannot give Satan a foothold."
I am convicted this morning because while Rick was out preaching the gospel this weekend, I invited the enemy into my home. While Rick proclaimed the glory of God after the loss of his precious child, I allowed the enemy into my mind, exposing him to my children. While Rick was saying, "We cannot give the Satan a foothold.", I was unlocking the front door and inviting him into my living room. How did I do this, you may ask? My specifics are between me and God, but we all do it everyday. Anger, greed, gluttony, lust, envy, hatred, lying, idleness, apathy...you fill in the blank.
I have been humbled this morning. I have been convicted. I have asked forgiveness, but the consequence of my sin is still this yucky, heavy feeling that I am carrying around. My God has forgiven me, because His word says He will, but I am still saddened that I took a couple of steps back this weekend. I am tired of allowing Satan into my home! I am tired of allowing him to wreck my day, put strife between myself and my husband, distract me from those things which are so very important in my life!
God is soverign. He is in complete control. He was not caught by surprise by the death of Rick's baby boy. He allowed it to happen for His glory. Countless young people were touched at the conference where Rick had been teaching (including 300+ salvations!). Thousands upon thousands of people who tuned into The Rick and Bubba Show this morning heard the name of God being glorified. God has allowed and will allow good to emerge from this bad (Romans 8:28).
May I learn from the example of this man who has placed himself and his family into the hand of God. May I cherish this new day He has given me and not invite the enemy into my home. May I put live the promise in 1 Corinthians 10:13, "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it." May I not give Satan a foothold!
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Just to catch you up a little, we are in the second semester of our school year. Caleb is in the 4th grade and Garth is in the 3rd. I am attempting to teach Hannah some preschool stuff and she has already learned how to recognize and spell her name. We have had ups and downs this year, but mostly ups. Garth has caught up with his 3rd grade peers in Language Arts. This is an amazing feat since he started a whole year behind 2 1/2 years ago. He has worked really hard and I am very proud of him. His strongest subject is still math where he is a little ahead of where he is supposed to be in a challenging curriculum. Garth has continued to develop a love for reading as his skills continue to improve. He enjoys picking out books from the library in subjects that interest him. He is also a wonderful big brother as he tries out his developing reading skills by reading books to his little sister. She loves the attention and he works on his reading. What a great combination!
Caleb continues to amaze me in the subjects he still understands. He is in his second year of Latin and watches a DVD course. He is self driven in this subject. I am not sure I could even help him if he had a problem because I have not been following the lessons like I should (oops!). He aces all the quizzes and tests that came with the course, so I am content to let him work through this one on his own right now. In Math, he is going to complete the sixth grade Saxon course before school lets out and I am contemplating where to go from here with him. If I go like I think I am going to, he will begin earning high school credit in the sixth grade for math. Whew! He still is an avid reader completing a couple of books per week for pleasure reading in addition to his Abeka readers and assigned book (right now that is Robin Hood).
Hannah is, well, Hannah. She is wonderful at taking care of herself while we are doing school. She will play in her kitchen or watch Dora or play a computer game. Sometimes, she will "do school" with us and color her pictures while we do math or language. She is so smart and picks up new concepts really well.
I am so blessed to have such a wonderful family. And I am excited to be back in blogger world for a while...at least until the next writer's block jumps up.