Friday, December 2, 2011

Parental Rights

Not to be ignored . . . Have you signed the petition? Called your elected officials? It only takes a few minutes to make a difference in protecting the family.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

How am I any different?

Really mulling this over this morning. . . How is my Christmas celebration any different from the rest of society?

They all think about giving, spending time with family, getting to church, baby Jesus, etc., etc.,

How am I set apart? Blogging about the challenge Scripture dumped in my lap at 66 books.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Verse of the week -- Psalm 78: 52-53

In the past couple years God has encouraged me greatly through the life of Moses. As I walked through my own wilderness of sorts I could sympathize with his struggles to lead a "less than eager to follow" group over desert ground.


When life seems dry and parched and our perspective becomes warped with a sense of being overwhelmed, each step to follow God becomes a struggle.




Still, He doesn't desert. He leads. Even in the desert, He leads. Not just on beautiful, carefree hikes or a day at the beach. He crawls the trenches with us.

Yet, His presence is not just a warm body to keep us company. He leads. He guides.

He brings confidence to shaky days.

He brings warmth to the cold and dreary.

He brings light in the midst of storm-cloud dark.

He brings strength to the beaten down.

He brings direction to the frazzled.

He brings safety in the perilous moment.

He brings calm in the face of fear.

Psalm 78 says:

52 Then he led out his people like sheep

and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.

53 He led them in safety, so that they were not afraid,


The result -- we are not afraid. Life might not get easier, answers might not come more quickly, or resolution more smoothly, or joy less painfully, or energy more effortlessly. But, we can face it all without fear.

We have a guide who knows the rigors of human existence and loves us as His own, and knows the way of safety while also having the power to keep us in it.


Thank you, Lord, for walking the wilderness with me. ~In Jesus Name, Amen


Psalm 78 says:

52 Then he led out his people like sheep

and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.

53 He led them in safety, so that they were not afraid,

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Goals

We have survived and really enjoyed our very first full experience with a co-op. Each of the kids learned so much, made new friends, and had a wonderful start to each new school week.

Here we are at the holiday break and I have been busy with holiday planning, but also with school planning. I have revamped our PE plans, which I will have to share another time. I am very excited about putting it all into practice. I also tweaked our daily schedule and posted the revised one.

Now, I need to work on assignment sheets and make sure all the grades have been entered for our first trimester. In doing this I am also thinking ahead to the rest of the year.

I have some areas that I see need a little more attention, and so I have set myself some goals. For me, writing them down make them more real and make me feel a greater commitment to follow through.

So, here they are, some of my goals for the upcoming part of the school year.

Goals for mid-section of this school year:

- Spend more time with Faith on AAS
- Work with Nathan on pencil grip and handwriting
- Check on assignment sheets daily
- Get grades in computer weekly
- More hands on (once a week) and field trips (once a month)

How about you? How is your school year going? Are you re-evaluating anything? Any fresh goals or areas that you want to hone in on? I try to never be complacent, but always refocusing as a parent and teacher.

Love that homeschooling gives me the freedom to be what my kids need me to be even if that changes every couple weeks.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pictures




Soccer season officially ended this weekend, so we can now think about the rest of our life.




I did find time on a gorgeous day a couple weeks ago to take some of the kids out back for a little photo shoot. No planned outfits or anything like that, just real life cuteness. :)


Thought I would share, for those interested . . . and, for the record, my 14 year old avoids pictures as much as possible especially if he knows there is a chance for anyone to ever see the picture. And, my 7 year old could find nothing to wear, so we'll have to try again another day.




Can you tell how much these two adore each other?



They grow too quickly. Love my kids. Love this crazy, non-stop season with them. So much learning, so much living, so much togetherness.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Verse of the week -- James 1:19-21

A few years back we bought a print of a beautifully painted mountain scene. We excitedly made plans to hang it in our home. When purchasing it, we figured you buy a frame and throw it up on the wall and you're done.


How wrong we were. First, we had to find a frame that fit the picture. Then came the discussion of mats. One or two, which color(s), how thick a border, etc., etc. With all the decisions behind us, we hung the print on the wall with new appreciation.


What had started as a nice print, now overflowed in beauty. Details that had blended in now shined boldly. Hardly seemed the same picture.

I often have the same experience with verses of Scripture. Words commonly heard from childhood take on a whole new meaning when framed with a certain situation or struggle.

In reading James 1 a few weeks ago I came upon the saying so common many probably forget it comes from Scripture. "Be slow to speak and quick to listen." Or, maybe the modern paraphrase would say, "You have two ears and one mouth, so you should listen twice as much as you talk."


The mind-frame I walked into this with had to do with some rough days in the parenting realm. I know my voice had risen a notch or two in volume and intensity. Frustration instead of love flashed from my eyes. The result? Certainly not the flooding of God's righteousness in our home.

19Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

Muttering "patience is a virtue" only gets you so far when the same child is pushing the same button for hours on end. The change needed to take place deeper. This verse gave me the wake up call that I needed.

This mother's heart passionately wants kids that follow Christ. As they mature, I seek to see God's righteousness maturing in their lives as well. My response, complete with demeaning retorts, would not be helping them there. However, before these verses had always prodded me in relationships with others, more with peers, and I ignored their application with my children.

Take these verses about listening and speaking with deliberateness, and restraining anger into the parenting realm, and they shine with a whole new rainbow of colors. When that child manages to rile me up like no one else can, these verses nudge me a different direction.

Do I want God's righteousness to well up in their lives? Then my anger has no place in this situation.

Amazingly, as I have begun to put this into practice . . . listen more, speak carefully, surrender my anger to God, the kids' responses have changed, too. Instead of driving them away, we pull closer. Instead of escalating hostility, we share the struggle together. I cannot begin to describe the difference this simple reminder has made in my home.

I would not have classified myself as an angry mom before, but everyone's patience ends somewhere, and this verse now meets me at that point.

Thank you, Lord, for old truths with constantly new applications. Thank you for showing me a better way, a way filled with Your love that paves the way to Your righteousness. Help me to continue to walk in it. ~Amen

19Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

~James 1:19-21~

Monday, September 26, 2011

Laundry Plan

works for me wednesdays



In reading over April's blog, I could commiserate with her laundry woes.

Laundry (and dishes, and cooking, and grocery shopping) receives much disdain because it is never done. Unless you and your family do your chores au natural, you are simultaneously doing laundry and making more of it. The cycle never ends.

Aside from joining a nudist colony, I did not think a solution existed to this dilemma at various times in my life.

The other complication is that life changes. You find a system, you tweak the system, then something comes along to require dramatic change in the system. Usually that something in our household came in the form of another child.

I appreciated April sharing her laundry plan, and it prompted me to share ours, because there is definitely no one-size-fits-all laundry plan and maybe between the two of ours, you will find some inspiration to come up with your own perfect plan. Or, maybe at least fold a load while you think about it.

Laundry in our house started with two loads a week as newlyweds. Then three loads a week as new parents, then four, then five, then I lost count.

When we still fit in four loads a week I stuck to a laundry day and washed, dried, folded everything at once. I loved forgetting about laundry 6 days a week as long as no one was puking.

Now, even in our Texas-sized machine we need about 6-8 loads a week. But, I don't like doing laundry on weekends, I don't like laundry sitting around in baskets (or doing laundry and not having any empty baskets to empty the dryer into), and my kids started thinking that their opposite gender siblings had cooties.



Hence, the new plan:

We have a laundry hamper in the master bath, one in the bathroom the girls use, a laundry bag in the young boys' room (really need to get them a hamper . . .) and one in the oldest boy's room.

Monday: Blake (14 yo) does his own laundry. 1 load, everything together -- sheets, towels, clothes, everything. He wears mostly old jeans and the color gray so this works.

Tuesday: my laundry day. I wash my husband's, mine, and the two youngest boys (6 yo and 16 month old). This takes me about 3-4 loads depending on how often I neglected to notice my 6 year old wearing the same clothes day after day. He helps me fold the two to three outfits he wore (but 7 sets of pajamas, how does that work?) and the rest doesn't seem so bad.

Wednesday: Girls' day. The three girls (12-10-7) do their own laundry. Takes 2-3 loads. I help fold and put sheets back on bed, but for the most part they take care of their own stuff.

Thursday and Friday: catch up days. I usually run a load of towels, napkins, bibs, stuff that needs it, etc. Some weeks I don't.

Everyone helps put away their own laundry, and it is usually done by the time they go to bed on "their" day. Now and then a partial load gets left unfolded, but gratefully that has become the exception more than the norm around here, at least in my room.

For us it has really worked to have designated laundry days. Rather than just a random load each day, I know who is doing laundry when and so does everyone else in the house. We have used this for close to a year now and it is really working for us. Love when a plan comes together and stays that way for more than a week. ;)

How many loads do you need each week? Do you have a plan? Do you enjoy doing laundry? What age do you expect kids to do their own?

Would love to hear your thoughts. :) And, for more great tips on various topics, don't forget to check out WFMW.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Read aloud challenge



One of my very favorite times in homeschooling is read aloud time. The time when we all set aside whatever else we may have on our plate at the moment and just relax and listen. Well, I read, but everyone else just listens.

Just last week I spoke with a homeschool mom about how this is a hard part of homeschooling to give up as our oldest kids now move into high school. There are still times when all 6 of them gather around, but sometimes now it is just 4 or 5. I feel like I'm missing someone already.

Each week I have read and loved the read aloud challenge that Debra hosts, and am finally finding myself with time to post our books this week. So thankful for that.

So, here's what you'll find in our book basket this week . . .


Streams to the River, River to the Sea -- a book my older kids and I read for the American Literature class at co-op. Following the story of Sacagawea from her home to her eventual place on the Lewis and Clark adventure. Great story, great author (Scott O'Dell), and also a great accompaniment to our next read aloud . . .

Indian Captive: The Story of Mary JemisonIndian Captive -- The true story of Mary Jemison. A sad story of a girl taken from her home in an Indian raid to replace a family member killed by white settlers. She grudgingly adapts to Indian life and reluctantly finds herself learning the language and customs of the Seneca people who raise her. The story makes me sad, but has great learning points about Indian customs and religion. My daughter got impatient waiting for the end and after the first chapter carried the book away to her room and finished it in two days. She still listens in as we read aloud because she enjoyed the story so much.

Walk the Worlds Rim

Walk the World's Rim -- yes, another story about Native Americans. This one takes place in the 1500s in the Southwest, so a completely different take on things. My kids felt this story dragged a bit in the beginning, but they have enjoyed parts of it. They listen quietly, so at least it isn't boring them. It follows the journey of three men from Spain and their African slave as they travel from Indian tribes near modern day Galveston Texas, northwest, and then down into Mexico. It offers a challenging view of religion and slavery and the Indian culture as well.

Mr. Popper's Penguins (Weekly Reader Books)
Mr. Popper's Penguins -- A little more light-hearted, and a must read for any family with young kids just getting old enough to sit for a non-picture book. Nathan (6 year old) loves this for his bed time story, but he keeps sneaking it and reading ahead and moving the book mark. I can't complain. His reading ability blows me away. If you aren't familiar with this book, it drops an antarctic penguin into middle class America and turns a painter into a showman with a dozen penguins. We love how he turns his basement into an ice rink and training ground and enjoys a complete change of pace from his rather ordinary life.

That covers the bulk of our read alouds right now. So much good stuff out there! What are you reading?

Head on over to Footprints in the Butter to share and find some inspiration.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Verse of the Week -- Psalm 46


Psalm 46:

1
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

2
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,

3
though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah


4
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.

5
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.

6
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.

7
The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

8 Come, behold the works of the LORD, how he has brought desolations on the earth.
9
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire.

10
"Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!"

11
The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah


Fear can cripple even the best of us.

In church this weekend the preacher spoke of fear, framed in the reminder of God's power and might to save us.

I came home, naming my looming fear and still foolishly hiding from the mental security that God offers.

Mulling that chain on my life I step into the garden to grab some vegetables for dinner and there I see a visual illustration of my life lately. Lots of growth. Vines twist and turn out of control over the whole patch. Cantaloupe. Planted unintentionally, and growing rapidly. Various squash staking their own territory. Tomatoes ripping up their stakes with their exploding branches.

That's been my life, my home, recently. So much growth, so much learning, so much to soak in. However, the fruit is not so pretty or abundant. The information and challenging situations continue to grow me, but unchecked I become just a nuisance vine with loads of information and no real fruit to show for it.

That's my fear in a way, that I will miss opportunities. So much blessing, so much learning, so much potential within our home, and yet . . . The fruit remains hidden. I fear missed opportunities in the midst of all the busy-ness. Missed opportunities with my kids, for my kids, in ministry, in sharing my faith, in the future.

I start to move leaves, search out the areas of growth and begin to see the start of fruit. It is there, just small and unrealized.

It may sound silly, but sometimes I fear that having children and being so busy at home pulls me away from greater opportunity for Christ. I never realized how all consuming motherhood would be, and sometimes I feel that the fruit is hidden in it all. I really wrestle with this and fear missing how God wants to use me outside the home now and later. Will I be all used up by the time the kids are out of the house? Is there more I should be doing now to be a witness for Him?

Interesting that Satan can even use a desire to serve God to bring us down. Those sunglasses of doubt distort the blessing of motherhood into a shroud of restraint.

It comes back to trust. God has placed me here and walks with me. He gives me the incredible strength that I need to walk this path each day.

My responsibility lies not in fretting about what I might accomplish, but in trusting God through each day of faithfully living for Him where He has me. He didn't give us 6 kids to let them raise themselves and for me to jump into ministry elsewhere.

He has me here, right now. Still growing me, still ripening the fruit sometimes hidden beneath the leaves. He prunes and fences in and weeds as needed to make my life shine as brightly as possible for Him. The end result will be the sweetest, purest fruit. He has an agenda for me tomorrow and next week and next year, and as His word lights my path I'll see just enough to follow the right direction.

His strength, His wisdom, His plans, His steps, His outcomes, His blessings, His glory.


Psalm 46 with my personal applications sewn in:

1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in homeschooling. 2 Therefore we will not fear though the curriculum gives way, though the schedule be swallowed into the heart of life's interruptions, 3 though doubts roar and foam, though the lips quiver at algebra. Selah

4
There is a homeschool mom whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns, and afternoon drags on. 6 The sibling rivalry rages, the toddler tantrums; He utters his voice, the earth melts. 7 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

8
Come, (each morning) behold the works of the LORD, how he has brought desolations on the earth.
9 He makes rivalries cease to the end of the house; he breaks the frustration and shatters the complaints; he burns the mean notes with fire. 10 "Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted in your homeschool, I will be exalted in your home!" 11 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

Friday, September 2, 2011

School plans

I'm pretty sure I have missed every single start-of-the-school-year blog carnival and meme out there. But, we did start school on time as scheduled. So, my lack of blogging produced a mountain of accomplished tasks and planning instead.

The plans for the coming semester/year:

Everyone:

Bible -- Grapevine New Testament Survey. We started this week and are doing it more together than we did the Old Testament one and I like that better. Some of my kids dislike writing anything, so they would rather just listen, and others love drawing the stick figures, but some days there are a bit much. Really looking forward to studying the whole New Testament together this year. Blake and Paige will also be reading the whole NT on their own.

Blake -- 9th grade

Apologia Physics (through a co-op; right now he is reading through the Chemistry book because he has not taken chemistry, but really wanted to be in physics this year. The teacher consented since his math is where it needs to be as long as he worked into the chemistry book before co-op starts in 10 days).

Economics -- another co-op class, but I am supplementing to make it a half credit. He is reading an economics text at home during the week and we discuss it weekly. Great conversations so far!

Geometry -- this has been our challenge so far. He hates busy work, and proofs seem a lot like busy work to a mind used to working in leaps and bounds. We'll make it, but it was a rough week.

American History
-- Sonlight Core 100 will pave the way for this. Timelines, group discussions, and lots of reading.

American Literature -- co-op class, but one I am teaching. Building off of Core 100 and adding in with a Bob Jones Am Lit text that I picked up for a couple bucks somewhere.

PE -- his favorite class. ;) I printed out a check sheet for him to mark off hours as he participates in various classes and activities in and out of home. when he hits 135 hours he has his credit for the year.


Paige -- 7th grade


American History -- she'll complete this over two years using Sonlight Core 100

American Literature -- in my co-op class with Blake

English -- Rod and Staff 7 and IEW Level C. We are taking two years to complete the R&S book and she is doing the IEW slowly, a lesson every 2 weeks when co-op is not in session.

Spanish -- online with Mango (free through our library!)

Music -- piano lessons

Math -- Saxon Algebra 1/2

Science -- Apologia's Physical Science

PE -- soccer, gym and swim, and classes at home

Looking that over, she does have kind of a lot this year, but she is doing great so far. She was done with most of her work by lunch on Friday. So proud of her!


Faith -- 5th grade


American History -- Sonlight Core 100. I will be reading selected books outloud with the younger kids and we will be compiling out timeline.

Spanish -- online with Mango (free through our library!)

Music -- piano lessons. She wants to take violin, I just need to get it in working order.

English
-- Rod and Staff 5; All About Spelling level 2

Math -- Saxon 6/5

Science -- Flying creatures then Considering God's creation

PE -- soccer, gym and swim, co-op class, and classes at home


Brooke -- 2nd grade


American History - Sonlight Core 100. I will be reading selected books outloud with the younger kids and we will be compiling out timeline.

Spanish -- online with Mango (free through our library!)

Music -- piano lessons

Math -- Saxon 3

English -- Rod and Staff 2; All About Spelling level 2

Reading -- A Beka readers. She's currently on the third book in the third grade readers.

Science -- Flying creatures then Considering God's creation

PE -- soccer, gym and swim, co-op class, and classes at home

Nathan -- 1st grade
Lots of oral learning, but we use these workbooks and such to keep us grounded:

American History - Sonlight Core 100. I will be reading selected books outloud with the younger kids and we will be compiling out timeline.

Spanish -- online with Mango (free through our library!)

Music -- piano lessons

Math -- A Beka 1 will be done in October, then 2nd grade

English -- A Beka 1 workbook; All About Spelling level 2

Reading -- A Beka readers. He is currently in the fourth book in the first grade series.

Science -- Flying creatures then Considering God's creation

PE -- gym and swim, co-op class, and classes at home


Eli -- 15 months
Thankful that this little guy will not start school until my oldest is in college. I don't know how I could fit another student in my daily schedule. :) Right now he is the entertainment, the fun distraction, the excuse to put off work, and the joy of our days. God knew just what we needed in adding this blessing to our family.

And, I have put all of this down, carved into my computer's hard drive using Homeschool Tracker Plus. I am thrilled to pieces with this program that I just started using over the summer. I will be posting a review soon (way too much to say to cram in here), but you can check out the basic edition for free while you wait, and you can try the plus edition for $5 for 30 days. If you do decide to buy, pleas use my referral code: U33EH and I'll get a little bonus for referring you. :)



Phew! So, that's where I've been the last few weeks. Now, my schedule is in place (that'll have to be another post), my school room is in order (hmm, another post . . .), our assignment sheets are done, and aside from heading into crazy soccer season and the AWANA year, I look forward to a few more snippets of time here and there.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Rare, rare moment

A rare moment here, but hopefully one that I will stumble on a bit more often in the near future. A quiet afternoon.

All the school work done for the day. Most of the first week behind us.

Baby taking a rare second nap. Okay, toddler. :( I don't want to admit he is not my baby anymore.

Shared Ritz and peanut butter with some of my favorite girls.

Enjoying glimpses of the friends my kids are whether they admit it or not.

Laughing over simple fun, or not so simple:



Just plain silliness. Amazing how much time it takes those two, or anyone, to create a fairly short clip. But, it's time well spent building memories and relationship. Patient director, willing actor. The perfect afternoon activity for a 14 year old and a 6 year old to share. :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Books for sale



I am amazed at the success people have posting items on their blog for sale, so I am going to give it a go . . .

I have a few things that I am looking to pass along. All prices include media mail shipping. Links to other locations on web are for reference only. If you want more info about any particular item, please let me know:

$35 -- Rod and Staff English 8 -- teacher book, student book, and test booklet (Very good condition)

$13 -- Bob Jones Advanced Math teacher's book and student book - 12th grade text (Fair condition)

$5 -- Saxon Algebra II student text only (older edition)

$4 -- Once a Month Cooking (copyright 1999) (Good condition) pending

$3 -- Fruit of the Spirit Crafts and more book (Very good condition)

$3 -- Spelling Power student record book (Very good condition) pending

$4 -- American Girl Letter Art book (Good condition)


$4 -- American Girl Tiny Treasures book


$4 -- Everyday Law for Young Citizens (Good condition -- 5-9 grade) -- great book for teaching basics of what goes on in a court room. My kids had lots of fun learning through this resource.


$3 -- Theater Through the Ages (good condition -- 5-8th grade)

$3 -- Off to Work We Go Fun teacher/activity book for preK-2 grade (good condition)

$5 -- A History of US: All the people by Hakim paperback (Good condition)

$7 -- Your Story Hour cassette tapes Album 6, Heritage of our Country (originally $37)

$3 -- Roman Soldiers for Colouring and Cutting-out (Very Good condition -- all 12 still intact) They are on heavy cardstock with directions on how to correctly assemble and color them as well as background information on each type of soldier

$4 -- Ancient Egypt 91 pages of pictures and background info (good condition)

$4 each -- A Beka 2nd grade readers Treasure Chest, Hidden Treasure, and Paths of Gold (Good condition)

$5 -- Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling 2001 Edition (fair condition)

$5 -- Magnify complete New Testament for Kids (good condition)

$4 -- 60 super simple science experiments (Good Condition)

$4 -- Sonlight science Intro to Biology 3 (36 weekly lesson plans and activity sheets on hole punched, loose leaf paper)

$3 -- Why do we laugh? (Very Good Condition)

$4 -- An Introduction to Family Nights Tool Chest (Good condition)

$3 each -- My Time with God Devotionals for 8-12 year olds. The original and the 2nd volume


$3 each -- A Series of Unfortunate Events by Snicket Volumes 2, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12

$3 -- The Celestial Railroad by Nathaniel Hawthorne (Good condition)

$4 -- The Railway Children by Nesbit Hardback Fair condition -- some water damage on cover
pending


Keepers and Contenders items --
$5 -- Keeper's/Contender's Director's Manual (Very good condition)

$5 -- Contenders handbook, older version, gently used, no writing

$8 -- Contenders handbook, newer version, new

$8 -- Keepers handbook, newer version, new (2 copies available)

$2 -- Keepers (2 available) and Contenders patches for sash

$2 each -- reward pins: stenciling, candlemaking (3), GPS navigation (2), table tennis, sign language, chess, quilling, baseball, childcare, first aid, health and fitness, tools, basket weaving, gardening, and 1 membership star

Payment through paypal to erin @ delighting in his richness . com (remove spaces) Email me if you are interested and I will try to keep this post updated if things sell. :)


Whether those sell or not, I have finally made my list for the coming school year and figured out what I still need to buy. Fortunately I already have most of what I need, but I still need to purchase:

- All About Spelling levels 3 and 4

- A few more books for use with the Sonlight Core 100 -- Gun's For General Washington, Sequoyah and the Cherokee Alphabet, The Slopes of War, Bonanza Girl, Earthquake at Dawn, Indian Captive, After the Dancing Days, Nothing to Fear, Walk the World's Rim, and multiple copies of Streams to the River River to the Sea, A Dragon's Gate and Elijah of Buxton,

Oh, and one more thing for sale. My girls are selling these cute knit slippers for your American Girl doll. They sell for $3.50 a pair or 2 for $5 including shipping. These are the colors they have left (pink and multi-color are now sold):


Thanks for shopping. :)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Verse of the Week -- Exodus 14:14


Silent, still, patient.

Not the way I like to prepare. I like lists and check marks, and crossing things off. I enjoy brainstorming and planning and fitting together and researching. I prefer to share discoveries, hover over materials, read voraciously, and get everything on paper.

This week I prepare for battle once again. A battle for my children's souls and minds. As the new school year awaits us in just a couple weeks I feel the weight of all we must accomplish and I feel the drive to get busy.

Then Exodus comes along and God prods me with these words, "The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent."

Silent?

How can I be silent and be ready on time?

How can I sit still and get everything in order?

How can I hold my peace and convince my kids of the need for them to really dig into all these great new materials?

Silent? Really?

Can you feel the hush that comes? The calm that comes when we stop striving and start listening. When we tune out everything but Him. When Jesus Christ calms us to the core of our being and takes control better than we ever could.

Often my quietness only comes when I am about to fall asleep. Other times when the house is quiet I am in high gear making the most of the lack of interruptions as the family sleeps in. That's not what God means. He doesn't mean quiet around me and He doesn't mean the stillness of sleep.

The stillness of surrender.

All to Him. The plans, the needs, the checklists, the kids, the classes, the housework, the schedules. All of it.

Lord, You can have it all. I humbly wait in stillness as you fight this for me. I can never master it or conquer it in my own wisdom or strength. Thank you, Lord, for fighting on my behalf for the battle threatens to overwhelm. I will be still. Thank you that that's all I have to do, because most days that is hard enough. In Jesus name, Amen.

The LORD will fight for you,
and you have only to be silent.

~Exodus 14:14~

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Verse of the week -- John 7:37-39


Watered to water.

I spoke last week of how parched I was, not that long ago.

Now, as Christ pours into me afresh, I know I am watered to water.

Plants from Maui somehow keep growing on my kitchen counter. They tolerate my sporadic watering much better than I can tolerate inconsistent spiritual watering. Their leaves droop and I realize it has been days.

They lick up the water greedily from the soil. Leaves lift and stalks fill out.

The receive water simply to keep themselves alive. We are watered to water. To pour out into others.

I think about how good that drink of refreshing, cool water is after a couple hours of yard work. It tastes completely different than the same beverage sipped alongside a meal. As it nourishes, refreshes, satisfies, we can renew our efforts.

Also, spiritually as we are refreshed, rejuvenated we have living water to pour out from us. John 7:37-39 says, "
Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified."

It is not some great capacity within us as good people to pour into others. Not because we are nice or moral or making right choices. Rather, as the Holy Spirit transforms us we are full to overflowing and that living water should gush out to others as well.

My faith should not just satisfy my thirst, but rather overfill my cup. God is more than enough. I just need to keep holding open my life for Him to pour into and through.

37 Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

~John 7:37-39~

Monday, July 25, 2011

Giveaway!

Robert Pierre, a gifted Christian music artist. Brand new CD . . .

Review and giveaway over at Chicagoland Homeschool Network.

You've only got a couple days to enter, so don't miss it!

Verse of the Week -- Hosea 6:3


Parched.

A dangerous way to start a day.

A dangerous way to live our lives.

Without physical water, H2O, we cannot live more than a few days. Yet, we try to live weeks without spiritual water. Once a week drinking from a living well is not enough. We need daily spiritual hydration to stay alive spiritually.

My own devotional life had fizzled. I went each weekend to church starving and dehydrated. I soaked it in. Emotional at the graciousness of God to fill me each week as I stumbled along throughout the days in between.

Somehow, I had to grab control of the craziness that had become my life and get nourishment on a more regular basis.

Then I was challenged to read the Bible in 90 days. 90 days? Seriously? I could barely finish it in a year when I tried. How could I ever get it done in a quarter of that time?

Well, apparently I couldn't, but I got most of the way through. And, more importantly, it reestablished my quiet time.

For a long time I had been hungry, but blind to my need to actually search out food.

As I lifted the fork to my lips for the first time I savored the sweetness of a meal eaten simply because I craved it, not because it was a weekly habit. Genesis was brand new.

Each book each chapter, each verse filled my parched soul. I could not believe where I found choice morsels.

Again this week, in the minor prophets of all places . . .

"Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth." ~Hosea 6:3. Israel had so blatantly turned against God. Completely headed the wrong way. Ignoring their nagging spiritual thirst and only recognizing their crushing physical needs. They refused to see.

Hosea tried to call them back. Drawing back his own prostitute of a wife as a picture of God's love for the promiscuous nation.

I felt that love. It comes freely without condemnation. Responding is life changing.

I can't grow lazy. Can't let life crowd it out. I must press on to know Him more. As the refreshment of the spring showers comes, so does He.

Watering my soul, filling my cramping emptiness. Such refreshment. Don't go hungry.

Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.
~Hosea 6:3~

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Then and Now


When I first started homeschooling I worried about stuff. Stuff that seems funny to me now. Stuff that a young mom with a preschooler, a two year old and another on the way worries about.

Now I still worry, but different worries. Such a different season, so quickly surrounding me.

At first I worried that school might get in the way of life. Now I worry that life might too often get in the way of school. But, I also realize that life and school are sometimes the same thing.

Used to worry that the kids would miss out on some things. Now I'm thankful they miss out on certain things.

In the beginning we played a bit more. Now, our days are a bit too full of subjects. Still always learning balance.

Brooke loves her workbooks.
Does them on non-school days when I let her.

I thought we read a lot before. Now we read A LOT!

I worried about them learning enough. Now I wonder if they can learn too much . . .

Worried that I couldn't handle the challenge. Now I worry that my faith is too small to keep trusting God with the challenge, because I know I can't handle it.

I worried about the time going to fast, finding the right curriculum, and teaching to each of my kids the way they need to learn. I still worry about those. Not worrying would be like not caring in some areas.

As much as times change and schedules grow, some things never change.



I still adore being home with my kids. How could I ever bear to miss these moments. How could I ever bear for them to miss these moments.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Verse of the Week -- Acts 2:25-26

I foolishly think I am alone in my daily rush to get everything done. As I race about running errands, plan feverishly at my desk for the days and weeks ahead, or work up a sweat to try to complete housework faster than those around me create more, I settle into a "why am I the only one" mindset.

As I let that thinking fester it becomes true. I accelerate through the day accomplishing this and that on my own. A dangerous way to try to live the Christian life.

Of course, I'm not really alone because nothing, even the busy days of motherhood, can separate me from the love of Christ. But, mentally I distance myself and forget the obvious presence of my Lord and Savior.

Then I crash. Plans fail, schedules collide, messes multiply.

Forced to stop, I finally see as David did . . .

25
For David says concerning him,
"'I saw the Lord always before me,
for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
26therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
my flesh also will dwell in hope. ~Acts 2:25-26~

Always there, whether I acknowledge Him or not. Nothing can shake me as He holds me tight.

The thrill of His presence when I stop to notice overflows my heart, my tongue and my very flesh. Always time to worship.

Hope renewed. Perspective restored.

Keeping my eyes where they belong. On Him, not the housework.

On Father God, not my failures.

On Christ, not my to-do list.

Thank you, Lord, for yet again pulling me close and holding me steady. ~in Jesus' name, Amen

Monday, July 11, 2011

What I'm not doing

Debra started it. :)

The hot summer day that swelters and keeps brain function minimal encouraged it.

I shouldn't really complain. We're nearly 20 degrees cooler than our neighbors to the south a bit. But, I'm a 60 degree kind of gal, so 90 just doesn't sit well with me.

So, I sit here on this hot, hot, hot day. Too humid for walks, too hot for the park. I just sit here and wait for the thermometer to drop.

What am I not doing today?

I'm not homeschool planning although I finally have the time. Months of mental preparation will do me no good unless I get it written down. Tomorrow, really. That's first on the agenda at nap time.

No Co-op planning either. Again, rough mental images need crystallization. I can't teach from never written notes. So, need to plan out the 10 weeks until Christmas. Excited to do this, truly I am. Just need to figure out where to start.

I'm also not rewriting our schedule. I know where I'm headed with it, but if they don't see it on paper or on the board on the wall, it makes no difference. Gotta get that done and posted by the time "summer school" starts next week.

I'm also not writing thank you cards that are already a month late. At this point I'm ashamed to say they probably will just never get done. I appreciate the gifts, I just am habitually negligent about writing thank you cards.

Most of all I am not compiling my to-do list to remember all the other things I'm not doing that I should be. Maybe the day after tomorrow, or the day after that . . .

To save my sanity I need to focus on what I am doing, and remember the treasures this hot day did bring --

Sprinkler giggles as the 14 month old discovers this summer ritual

A full house of happy kids, eleven of them. Extra playmates for the morning.

Green tomatoes showing promise of what's to come.

Quesadillas devoured.

Abundant fresh summer fruit.

Kids pretending to live outside in the "wild" and feasting on lettuce from the garden that they wouldn't usually eat voluntarily as the "days" tick by.

Each day full of tremendous blessings. Yes, lots still not done. But, so much enjoyed that I guess I shouldn't really worry about it.

There's always tomorrow.

Verse of the Week -- Ecclesiastes 5:7

Blogging has a tendency to create almost a virtual reality. There's real life and then there's my perception of life, or maybe the perception I want you to have of my life. How I dream it to be. How I remember something with the airbrushing of time (even a few hours has a way of Photoshopping out some of the details).

Then there are the rabbit trails.

This leads to that. Good intentions wither. And, sometimes the blog becomes all about me. My great ideas. My wonderful experiences. My amazing kids. Sometimes I think my life is all about me. It's not.

This blog, and my life, is about my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It's about the blessings my Father God bestows so shamelessly on me, a very unworthy recipient. He gives me wisdom, teaches lessons, shows me truths that I learn with dropped jaw.

As I settle back into this routine of sharing as God teaches, I needed this reminder: "For when dreams increase and words grow many, there is vanity; but God is the one you must fear." ~Ecclesiastes 5:7

I need to remember to stop yacking about myself and stand in awe on a regular basis.

My life should be a sign post to God and not a billboard about myself.

The only reason my life and experiences are worth sharing is because they point to my Creator. The good, the hard, the funny, the beautiful moments should help us more clearly see His hand. In order for me to see that truth I need to have some fear -- a deep, trembling awe of the Sovereign God.


"For when dreams increase and words grow many, there is vanity; but God is the one you must fear."
~ Ecclesiastes 5:7 ~

Friday, July 8, 2011

Recreating

In settling back into blogging after a break that lasted a few months longer than anticipated, I spent some time thinking about my plans and schedule.

What can you expect to find here in the days and weeks ahead?

- My fears and research into homeschooling high school. I know many people have done it and survived, so I'm hoping I can, too.

- In homeschooling I will likely share our summer plans along with the fun we squeeze in during our lighter schedule.

- Thoughts as I read through Ann Voskamp's A Thousand Gifts. Life changing. Mind altering. Faith shaping. And, of course my own fledgling list of 1000. Also, spiritually, the growth and insight from trying to read through the Bible in 90 days (well, make that 100, or so).

- Keeping sane with a full plate. Some families deal with chronic illness, at home businesses, homesteading, ailing parents, and other challenges that stretch them mentally and emotionally. While we don't have anything as daunting as that, I look forward to sharing what God teaches me as just the daily constantness of motherhood threatens to undo me. I love it, yet come close to drowning in it at times. Doesn't mean I'm ready to come to shore, but I do need to figure out how to catch my breath and keep swimming.

My posting here is somewhat therapeutic and I hope to do my free writing time on here as I assign my kids their own free writing assignments this summer.

And, pictures, I better dig out my pictures . . . I think I can still find my cables to download them for you.

That's a little of what I have been up to and where I am headed. How about you? New news? Summer plans? God's teachings? Please feel free to share a link in the comments with something you are thinking about these days, or simply share right in the comments. Look forward to reconnecting with you.

I have missed you all throughout the last 6 months, and really the last year as my blogging interactions have been spotty since Eli made us a family of 8. I look forward to getting back into things and sharing some of what God has grown in me during this season.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Good to be back

Aaaaahhhhh. It's been a long time. A good break, a busy break, a needed break. And, one I have been itching to get to the end of.

Here I am. School wrapped up, vacation Bible school already behind us, still in a season of major change in our family. In the past 15 months we have had 5 members of our immediate families move, one of them twice. We have moved (after putting in quite a bit of work into our new home). We welcomed a new little one into our family. And, we found out that my husband's job of 12 1/2 years would end this summer. So, yes we are in the midst of yet another major change.

Emotional? Stressful? Yeah, you could say that. A new chapter in learning to rely on God's grace and strength each and everyday? Absolutely. Prayer has become an even stronger cornerstone of my daily life. Without prayer and God's Word I would surely have fallen completely. However, He has always proved Himself enough, and then a little more.

As my pastor likes to say, "God is never late, but He is also hardly every early."

Writing here once again is something I look forward to in many ways, and I have thought much about what this will look like. I look forward to sharing what God is teaching me spiritually, as there is always something new. I also enjoy sharing the special moments from my kids' lives that make me laugh or keep me loving my job as Mom. And, as homeschooling continues to play a lead role in our home, you will often see posts about our experiences as we learn together as well.

You might find an occasional review here, but not many. Mostly, I will continue to write about my life of delighting in the richness with which God blesses me as a Christian, a wife, and a mom.

Can't wait to get started, again. :)