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.