Monday, June 23, 2008

An Empty Basket Can Be A Mom's Best Friend

I'm a highly random person. It's something I don't like about myself. However, this is the personality God gave me so I trust He's usin' it mightily! When I go into a messy room I can feel the panic rise. Where do I start? AHHH! So, in my desperation I have found one simple method that, when I use it, is a life saver. I keep a big empty basket.

Now, you could use a laundry basket, but I don't have a spare one, and they don't look as attractive sitting in a spot in my living room. This basket has one mission in it's life, to gather the insanity and make it sortable.

So, practically speaking, here is how it works. You walk into the living room. The floor is covered with toys, paper, markers, videos, video cases, socks, (use your imagination)... You gather EVERYTHING from the table and furniture tops, as well as the floor and you throw it all in this basket (half eater pb&j not recommended:*). IMMEDIATELY you are encouraged by a sense of clarity. You proceed to dust or vacuum, or even just leave it as is and then, you address the basket. Take out all things that belong in a "mommy and daddy" part of the house. These are your things, kitchen things, your books and papers....etc. Then, bring the kids in and have them sort the remaining things out and take them in to PUT THEM AWAY. I tell them don't set it down till it's in the place it lives. You may also want to have smaller empty baskets where they carry off their items themselves from the findings of the big basket.

This method is highly effective in any room in the house. It clears the surfaces immediately so they can be cleaned if they need to. It gives you a quick feeling that you will get somewhere here!

Another benefit is the interruption factor. Life is always interrupting you. If you have everything in a basket, and that is as far as you get, you will feel better still. You may need to sort the basket later, or the next day (watch out for continual basket ignoring!:), but what you won't do is return to that room after the interruption and say "oh, fooie, I'll just get taken away again so I might as well not start."

Try it, let me know what you think.

OH, and Walmart has big laundry baskets in the craft department for $3. These are my favs. You could get the kids their own at the dollar store or on a Easter clearance. Just make sure they stay empty!

Favorite Summer Smoothie

We are loving this one. It gives us that great protein and vitamin boost in the morning. Our very own Jamba baby!

(I'm a casual cook, so these are not exact, play with yours to get it right on taste and texture)

16 oz either milk, soy milk, or juice (if you use juice, eliminate sweetener)

3 Tbs. Sucunate or Honey

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 scoops protein powder (we use TJ's soy protein plain)

3 packets raspberry (you could use another flavor too) Emergency C (Costco best price)

2-3 handfuls of frozen fruit (right now we are loving the mix from Costco that is mango, pineapple, and strawberries)

First mix liquids, powders, sweetener, vanilla extract

Then turn off blender and add frozen fruit.

Blend on smoothie mode and serve!


Sunday, June 22, 2008

When Life Gives You Heat...Eat Cookie Dough

I was joking around with the kids that since it was too hot to bake cookies (it's been 110, 111, 112..:*) maybe we should just make cookie dough and eat it. They thought it was a great idea. Since I didn't want a puking kid on top of a sweating one, we cut the eggs and came up with this:

1 stick butter
1 and 1/2 cup flour
1 Tbs. vanilla
2 Tbs Milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sucunat (or brown sugar)
Mix up in mixer till dough is formed
add 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Scoop out with large cookie scoop into little dip cups and serve with a spoon.

They loved it. You don't need much of this, it's pretty rich (not to mention fattening!).

Friday, June 20, 2008

Previous Post Problem

For those of you in RSS feed.... the previous post published before I was ready. Thus, full of typos and a little incomplete. please go to the blog to read it.
I noticed that RSS does not fix edits done after the first publishing. It will also keep something you publish and then go back to edit off your blog. Just for the heads up. Once you push publish, that's the version that sticks in the RSS feed. :*

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Winds Of Change

I don't know why, I've been thinking about change lately. I've been flashing back and forward in my memory and the here to there is sometimes startling.

I remember when I was about 5 years old. My grandparents (dad's parents) lived in an old colonial home in Indiana. The property they were on even had an old slave quarters barn. The house had a major staircase going up to the rooms, but there was also a small winding one down to to the kitchen that would have been used by the slave girls. I loved that little staircase. I would sleep in the little room at the top (if it was a real room, I'm not sure, it was so small) and crawl quietly down those stairs early in the morning probably wrapped up in a blanket, to the smell of fresh pancakes made by my grandpa. No one was up yet except the two of us and he was very cheerful to slap some on my plate and smother it with butter and syrup. This was great for the kid who was not allowed to eat sugar normally.

******Today my grandpa is in an Alzheimer's unit close by after my dad moved his parents out to CA right before getting sick. He sang us "You Are My Sunshine" in such a sweet southern voice last time we were there. Where did the time go?

Next, my mind flashes to teen years. I am sitting in my dad's reloading room. Yes, he loved guns so much, he had his own reloading room. Here dad would make his own bullets. I remember helping pour the gunpowder into he machine that distributed it into the bullets, then it would press the metal down (I think he even melted that down from old bullets...can't remember) and you had a new shiny bullet. The brass casings were shined in a rock buffer machine. I would sit and talk to him and push the lever up and down to press the new powder filled brass casing up around the metal. The lever would finish with a bit of a snap and it was done. We talked about life, and politics, boys and Bill Clinton.
********The day came when I sat across the living room from him in the hospital bed now only able to say a few words and smile at me when he woke up which wasn't very often. I turned a corner and felt like I was in someone elses life. Where did the time go?

Then there was the little baby girl who would wake up in the morning and chat in her crib with her stuffed animals and we could hear her over the monitor. She would talk to Pooh bear and spank him if he disobeyed her. We could hear the little muffled pats. Poor Pooh:(! "Now you disobeyed and you have to get a spanking"....pat, pat, pat. She was about 18 months old.
*******Last night we sat on the bed and talked about behaving appropriately with a buddy who now has a crush on her. No more tickle fights, sitting too close, whispering in ears, and that pair of "shorts" that looks like a jean mini skirt is out the door. Where did the time go?

I was about to be a newly wed, and so excited. I went shopping at the good will for a couch (ugly brown and tan striped thing) a bed frame, and some end tables. I crammed them in my bedroom until we could get the apartment, Rick could move in, and we could put them there. Once we were married, and I was growing with honeymoon baby inside, I would get so bored cleaning because it took no time at all. I counted the rest of the hours till Rick got home.
*******Now I look around and am amazed at the life collected around me. All the things needed for a family of five that fill our 1500 square foot home. There is never an end to the pick up now, nor the laundry. And though I still sometimes count time till Rick gets home, most days I don't ever have enough time to keep up on life at all! Where did the time go? (and where they heck did all this stuff come from !!!!????)

It was thanksgiving 1995. I brought Rick home to meet my parents. We were friends. We sat up in the swing int he big oak tree on the back hill behind my parents house. He was talking. I looked over listening to him talk and was hit with an emotional brick. I was going to marry this man. That was that, I was home.
********Now, that swing sits on some cinder blocks in my yard, too old to swing and no where to hang it. Just a quiet respite under a baby oak, and a reminder of time long ago. Where did the time go?

That's when I pensively ponder. Some change in life is subtle, creeping up on you slowly yet from point a to point b, the difference is stunning. Other change takes you around a corner so suddenly that you think you are in a dream. Where did YOUR life go? Who stole it from you? When will they give it back? Some of the change is good, some of it is so hard to adjust to.
We were made to journey ever forward, without the option of going back whether the next thing is great, or it takes our breath away. Change is non-optional in life. The journey moves on and it has a goal and an end.
As I am about too embark on one of the biggest changes in my life, I seem to be reflecting this truth. This major change of putting the kids in school with re-define our lifestyle, our parenting issues, our schedule, our discussions. It's a huge corner but at least I see it coming and have time to think and pray.
So, I begin to think. What, for the christian, is the purpose of change. It really comes down to the fact that this life that I call "mine" is not mine at all. My life has one goal, a conforming to the image of Christ and the living out of my small purpose in the ultimate goal of His glory. Somehow, this big change is going to work His will to reach that purpose, not just for me, but for my husband, and for my kids.

2 Corinthians 3:18
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

Many times we all wish that life would just stay calm for a good long while. That we would stay on a roll, expect the next thing, be prepared for it, be organized, but life is not that way. Life is all a bunch of minute and massive changes. We can fight them, we can even grow bitter about them, or we can welcome them like brave travelers on a quest for one treasure....the glory of God through us! On that journey, EVERY change is a step in the RIGHT direction.

Psalm 91:4
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Summer Time, Summer Time, Sum-Sum, Summer Time!

Yeah for summer, I love it!!!

I love the excitement the kids get to go to the libraries and sign up for the reading programs. Mine like to do two different ones so we went to both stops yesterday. Superkid was very anxious to get home and start the timed reading one because after so many minutes he gets to go in and get a prize. The other one is my favorite where they do all the reading and then get lots of tickets for stuff. Usually there are some great eating out opportunities after the reading is done! This is always great for us since Chilies with three kids requires something near the sacrifice of a limb. :*

I love that they stay up late and sleep in. The mornings are quiet and warm. Even now it's seven thirty and I 'm clicking away on my lap top with the fan going and the house is silent. I know any minute it will end, but oh, how nice! They stay up late to play outside when it's cool. I remember the playing till dark when I was a kid. Riding your bike till it was too hard to see where you were going. Playing flashlight tag....great summer fun!

I love that we could have sandwiches outside on the patio last night and how the kids beg to go play. Food is not so essential to them. I of course encourage them to finish but when you are having that much fun, who needs to eat? Oh, yeah, me.

I love that the little road is full of bikes. All the neighbor hood comes to congregate in front of our house. There are about ten children playing around. They come in the yard to swing and play with Ebony or yell at her for trying to eat their shoes while they are on the swing. They eat little plums from the trees up and down the street. (not so nice are all the sticky pits on the side of the road that they need to clean up) The basket ball hoop is getting used more as well.

I love that we cleaned up the patio furniture and Rick and I sit out there in the dark when they kids are in bed (with occasional escapee's here and there) and have tea. It's so great to sit and talk under the stars. Last night the moon was red (as was the sunset) because of the smoke from the fire near us.

Summer is just so relaxing, I'm lovin' it!

What are your favorite things about summer?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tami Rutledge Discipling/Accountability Group

I'm happy to announce that Tami has organized an accountability site for christian women. The Site is called "Abide In Christ". I get to have the fun of the organization and template but she is the one leading us.
This site is for christian women to find encouragement and accountability for any area they feel the need for it. From taking vitamins to doing that one load of laundry, from loving our husbands in a specific way to speaking words of kindness to a certain neighbor.
Please read the introduction from Tami and then there are further instructions following:

I Can't But HE Can!
Philippians 4:13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Ephesians 3: 20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen

1 Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

2 Peter 2:19 ...—for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.

Romans 13: 13Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. 14But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

Hebrews 12:11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.12Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13"Make level paths for your feet," so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.

This means... set yourself up for success. Make your paths level, not full of pot holes that will trip you up.

SO .... for those of you who want to join here are the rules.

1. You must start with one thing - you can add one thing each week. But in an effort to succeed we must set ourselves up to succeed. Start small and work up. It may seem slow going but do you realize that in just 2 months that will mean 8 - 9 new things. Slow and steady wins the race.

2. You must give an account daily if not a couple times a day.

3. You must commit for one month and not back out.

4. with each new thing you are wanting to be held accountable you must have a verse to go with it. For example for this first week I want to be held accountable to drink my vitamin drink twice daily.My verse... Proverbs 14 : 1 The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. I am sure if we need it there will be more rules but simplicity usually works.



The site is a private site. Those women interested in taking part are made authors on the site so they can post their thoughts and updates. All you should need is a Google account and password. These are free and easy to sign up for through Google if you don't have one. It may be possible to set up a password anyway with your email. I'll have to look into that. Just email a request to sign up and the invitation will be sent to you!

Requests to join go to :

Tami Rutledge will be posting weekly encouragements there at Abide In Christ, but even if you are not part of this group, I highly suggest you visit her regular blog Rejoice regularly for practical, biblical insite on lifes simplest yet most important subjects of the heart.

Please feel free to post here if you have questions or you can send questions to the emial above as well.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Great Summer Music All On One CD

Those who know me know I love music. I have been very excited as a neighbor of mine has been convicted to come back to the Lord after many years. Their whole family has been, and it's an answer to many prayers. In her excitement, she went out and bought some music. She shared the album with me and I was amazed. I enjoyed Natalie Grant's last album but don't play it often because there are only a few songs on it that really get me. Not this one! "Relentless" is full of amazing music and lyrics. Way to go Natalie! It's honest, it's real, it's very God focused, I love it!
So, as I go out to paint my house today I'll be playin this nice and loud. I wanted to put some of the songs here to share with you so you can get a taste of the good stuff. The words are there too.
"Perfect People"

"I Will Not Be Moved"

"Make It Matter"

"So Long"

Lastly this song has really spoken to me with the pain of loosing dad, and the many seemingly increasing pains the world seems to be experiencing. I don't now if it's that I'm getting older and am more aware of how deep sorrow is, or if thing are increasingly getting tough. Either way, this song speaks of our hope in Christ. I recently witnessed to my neighbor and he did not understand what I meant by hope. He said that either we believed we were saved and heaven was secure for us or it wasn't... why use the word hope? Do you have to keep praying to make these things come true? I explained to him that it is called hope because we have not seen the fulfillment of our promise from Christ. We do not hope that sin is abolished, that as Christ said "Is Finished" through His obedient death on the cross and His resurrection. "Our Hope" is what is set before us, the joy set before us. For that joy, the hope of that joy, we can indeed endure.
The song has a lot of Jesus imagery. I usually shy away from that (I'm not sure why, it's a little Baptist for me, and even from childhood I've never been comfortable with lot's of images of christ. I always seemed to know that we don't know what he looks like and I prefered the image on my heart better) but this was the only version of the song on youtube and I wanted to make it available for hearing. Someone has been touched by the song in how it relates to a loss in 9/11. So, that theme is used. When I heard it, I thought so much of my mother, and of our lives lately.
The opposite of our hope is a life that is defined by temporal unhappiness. Some may call it "unlucky". The tragedies of life are profoundly debilitating without the hope of the redeemer of history Himself.
"Behold, I make all things new!" Jesus

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Little Bit Of Daddy Spread Around

(If you read in RSS feed only, there is a tribute to my dad on the blog that you won't see)

Fathers Day!
Each of my kids is a little like their daddy in different ways. With tomorrow being Fathers Day, I wanted to highlight those very briefly tonight because I don't plan to blog tomorrow.

- Detail oriented in most ways, or at least details are important to her.
- Read at an extremely early age, like her daddy. Was reading Narnia in
Kindergarten. Still loves to read.
- Loves learning/researching new things she wants to know. Key word being "wants".
- Sensitive and thrives on encouragement (her sensitivity is definitely more feminine than daddy of course but still...)
- Cautious, careful. Let's someone else try out the daring things first, then proceeds. (usually her sister takes that risk role).
- Talkative and friendly

- Her love for 80's christian rock long ago recorded by her daddy. She listens to it all the time rewinding the song "People in a Box" by Farrel and Farrel, over and over, and over again.
- Athletic interests.... loves playing sports and watching them with daddy.
- Likes making tiny books and stapling them together, then drawing tiny pictures in them.
- Loves collecting things
- Likes comic books

- Loves tiny toys. Little Lego men, tiny plastic men...the tinier the better!
- Loves knights and castles, swords
- Loves to eat!
- Prefers playing sprawled out on the floor with toys.
- Of course, looks the most like daddy!

So, Happy Father's Day to every dad!

Friday, June 13, 2008

More Talk On Humus

First of all let me explain that the post about summer recipes was for y'all to SHARE some recipes. My friend Tricia and I were joking today that some seemed excited about getting some but no one has posted any yet. So, does anyone have any summer favorites? If not I'll have to start gathering them in, which I'm okay with doing. But if you have any highlights, let us know!

I tried something at lunch today since I'm trying to change some eating habits. I used humus on my sandwich instead of mayo. It was great! I liked it better! It also gave the creamy texture that cheese does so I may just be able to give up my thin layer of dairy for a few meals anyway (I have a thing for cheese).

My friend Tricia's son was not willing to try humus because he did not like it the last time. I encouraged him that sometimes you like something later on that you didn't like before in your life. He tried it and had some more. :) Remember that with your kids too. We have found it to be very true. We are still working on Emma with humus. We don't force it, but we don't offer alternatives.
For humus you need:

· 2 Cups Garbanzo beans (Canned)

. 2 Cloves peeled garlic (crush and let sit 2-3 min before adding)

· ¼ Cup Tahini Paste

· 1 Tsp. Ground Cumin Powder

· 1 Tsp. Paprika

· Salt & Pepper to taste.

· 2 Table spoon Lemon Juice

· 2 Table spoon Olive Oil

· Parsley for garnishing

Method of preparation :

· Drain the liquid from the can & reserve.

· Blend together all the ingredients to a smooth paste.

· Add the reserved water if too thick.

· Garnish with Parsley, little olive oil & serve as dip.

I did find sunflower butter at TJ's. You can use this in place of Tahini if you want to use that in the recipe. Tahini is essentially sunflower seed paste and is used in many Arab and oriental dishes. The purpose for it in humus seems to be to thicken it a bit in texture and increase creaminess. There is the added benefit of more protein as well.

So, there is the recipe. I'll be getting some groceries soon and trying it. I'll let you know. We have been dipping flat bread in it but we are moving more to just veggies. At least , I am. I don't need further reasons to eat bread. I have plenty all ready. looking for some summer ideas to share. Just go back to that post to post one, post one here if you want on this post. Thanks!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Glasses That See God Move

They are essentially eyes of faith. When you step out into something scary, sometimes alone, with the insanity of a person trying to walk on water, you need your faith glasses. I've had mine on and they have allowed me to see God move and bless on this journey from homeschool to the public school. This post is for the purpose of testimony about those and a small update at the end.

Further Messages Changing My Life
Again, our family ministries director, Shane (shows our pastor first, then scroll down a bit) has been pumping out powerful messages still. I have wanted to highlight some of what has been profound to me but I'm not having as much blogging time lately. I referred to one a while back on this post. The next two were just as profound:
Wretched Sinners Living Righteously Galatians 3:1-5
Son's and Daughters of Almighty God Galatians 3:23- 4:7

These messages have been fertilizer to my spiritual growth and further love of God breaking the chains of works I put around myself for years. Further shattering of my "ME" idol, more blowing up how BIG God is and how fulfilling HIS will is.

A Joy Filled Friend
I have been paranoid about telling some people about our move into public school. I wasn't at first, I was overwhelmed with joy of the Lord that we were doing the right thing. Then I got a few reactions that were discouraging. It's okay, no one is obligated to make me feel better and it would actually be better for my faith that they all be negative in extreme so I can be stretched to put my hope in God's leading more and more. Once I realized that, I was overwhelmed by the joyful reaction of one dear lady at my church.
I was sitting in front of her and during meet and greet she asked how we were doing. If school was done and something about next year. I don't remember that part very well. I was afraid to tell her. Now, let me say, she is a wonderfully sweet lady. She does homeschool though and had been encouraging me to strike out independently next year despite the doom and gloom news in CA about homeschooling. So, I had convinced myself that she would be shocked by the change and not understand it.
I'll tell you, this is how you know someone has their eyes on God and what He can do instead of the opinions of man.
I told her and she was overwhelmed with joy for us! He face lit up and she lamented how awesome God is to show us all this! I was dumbfounded. It was like a big hug from God. I knew she really meant it. Even though she was choosing to homeschool herself, she was open to what God had for us and not threatened by it at all! It was a delight to my downhearted spirit.
When we have talked to people about this we have all kinds of reactions. Some positive, some hesitant. Yet, the one that is the hardest for me is the stand-offish response. The one that seems to doubt that God could possibly lead us into public school. The one that seems to say, "well, I'll just sit back and keep quiet, and we'll just see what kind of mess you end up with."
I was so blessed by this woman's love for what God could do! Because God does not lead us and then abandon us. I think Tami R. told me something like "God does not say 'thank you for obeying my leading, now I'm going to screw up your kids'". He is leading us for the purpose of our good and I thank this woman for rejoicing with us. It takes a pair of eyes fully on God to see HIS hand move, to truly rejoice with you rather than just be polite.
(I need to note too that I have had many friends very close to me have the same faith and joy as well, and I thank them, not for my sake, but I thank them for being prayerfully focused on God's will for our family)

A Note From A Friend
My friend Kristen sent me an email yesterday to link me to a brief article "I Praise God For the Public Schools". This was a love gift from God. What Kristen didn't know at the time was that this article was written by the wife of one of my dad's best friends. This friend was the one that took my dad out, feeble as he was, upon his request (my dad's request), to the shooting range two weeks before he passed away. This friend knew him since I was young. I was touched that God reached out through this friend's wife to encourage me.
Please read the article.
(NOTE: I want to say one little thing regarding the article. I do not believe in being motivated to put your kids in public for the sole purpose of them being little missionaries (another term would be so they can be salt and light) alone. It is an element of being in the public school, and a wonderful way for a christian family to minister, but the motivation should be the leading of God alone. For the same reason, you should never be motivated to homeschool for the sake of protecting your child. You should homeschool because you and your husband have prayed and God has led you there. Your child being guarded may be an element of being at home as a result of that decision, but it should never be a motivation. In that same sense, I am not motivated by wanting my children to be missionaries to the school. By the grace of God they will be, if it's his will that we can be, but it is not the reason we are going. The sole reason is that God has lead us there. Many, many purposes and reasons are being shown to us as we go along but they are not in and of themselves our motivations.)

So, On To The Latest
We went up yesterday to let the kids see the classrooms and meet the teachers. I ran into another old teacher of mine who is now the vice principle and we chatted for a while.
Superkid was very anxious to see the room. He was quite shy to talk to the teacher, but I'm sure that's normal. School is a whole new thing for him. He was excited to look around and see what was in the room.
Lilo had to have circled her classroom a dozen times. She said nothing, she just walked around absorbing while we talked to Miss Monarch (as I think we've dubbed her Karen:). She loved all the bug and butterfly stuff. She wanted to open the text books and look in them. She hovered over the craft table for a long time. Later I asked her what she liked about the room, she said everything. I asked if there was anything she didn't like and she said no.
Princess' teacher was way too busy when we stopped by. Evidently she was in a time crunch to get the yearbook in before school is done tomorrow. She greeted her and welcomed her to browse around the room but she had to get her stuff done. Rick and I were a little disappointed with this but we understood that we had popped in on her unannounced. When we spoke to us at open house she was very helpful. Princess browsed around the room. She said it was messy. (definite oldest child). I tried to remind her that school had just ended and the stuff was not cleaned up yet.
We went on to meet the sixth grade teacher too since she will be teaching Princess' math. She was lovely! Her room was much neater and had stuff that intrigued all the kids. She talked with us for a while. We really liked her and Princess was able to get to know her a bit. She has horses and Princess of course was delighted with that common love.
So, again every sense, Lilo asks me how many days till school starts. I reminded her that they have not even stopped quite yet!:)

Final Sharing
This morning I read what I thought to be a great thought provoker over at Life As Mom. I was overwhelmed with reflective thoughts from it.
Here is part of my comment and I'll end with this... I copied it because it was a dumping out of my heart and sometimes you can't say the same thing twice just as well.

God has taken my "mommy mold" that I long so desparately to fit into even when it's uncomfortable, an obvious "not fit", and shattered it completely. He has in essence said to me "you will stop being what you think you need to be and you will walk by faith!" To stop looking for formulas that define "fine accomplishment" and live for the image of Christ. I no longer want to be motivated by what I define as the perfect mom, I want to be motivated by the will of God, the yoke that is easy and the burden that is light, the life that reflects the Father because it is seeking Him for the next step in every way. The perfect mom mold can be a bad motivation, and it can become an idol, set up and worshiped. That is what I did. Praise God for stepping in in a loving and intimate way and throwing it to the floor! He is a jealous God and want's my heart seeking HIM, and I am so thankful. Now I am motivated by obeying His will which brings me joy that goes deeper than temporal performance satisfaction.

Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits-

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Scraping In Some Summer Recipies

Wow, it's all ready hot here! I'm starting to realize it's time to beef up the summer food ideas. I'm going to gather some and post them in the cupboard this week. Before that, I'm hoping you guys will have some to share.

Rick, Princess and I have loved Humus for a long time. I'm happy to say that Superkid is now a major fan as well. So, I'll be looking for the perfect homemade humus recipe soon. It's so cheap to make at home and I use to years ago but when we went through the toddler phase, it was rejected for a while. We also love felafel's. They are great served with some tabouli, which you can also get from a co-op or bulk health food. It can be made from your own Bulgar wheat as well. I prefer the dry mix with all the herbs and stuff. Just add chopped cucumber and tomato (when it's okay to eat them again).

So, I'm hoping you can help me out here with some of your favorite summer foods. Just post comment and you will have your recipes put in the cupboard. I'm looking for crockpot, bread machine, grill, pastas, salad that makes a meal, no-bake deserts, sandwich ideas, smoothie yummies, and so on. Post away!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

It's Two Miles and I'll Take It!

Yeah! Drum roll in my head right now.....

I am back on the monster (my not-so-loving pet name for the treadmill). Triumphantly finished two miles. I have been at my half way point in this weight loss (baby fat I call it nicely) goal for a long time. The last two months have been distracting! Yesterday I turned our last school stuff to the teacher, today I fill out paperwork for next year and I can turn to other goals! I was so glad to walk just the two miles!

My friend and neighbor, Shonda, is starting the Arbonne system too. She wanted to set up a wager and so we have. Four week challenge, winner gets 80 bucks, looser gets 20. That way, the looser does not get discouraged and is somewhat rewarded too! I'm happy to say, the eight week challenge in January really worked great for me (lost 19-20 lbs) and I won it! So, my prize that I picked was 150$ worth of Arbonne product. We started the new challenge today.

Good news is that in this time I have not gained anything except some water weight. That's encouraging and speaks much of the Arbonne system. (ask me if you have questions) Yet, a key ingredient for me is the exercise. It's crucial.

After we break in July and half of August (we are supposed to be going on vacation...if our car gets fixed well enough), we start another four week challenge. I have about 20lbs to go to my final goal. It feels good to say it's only 20 lbs.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Broke The News To The Kids

4:30 this afternoon we broke the news to the kids over cherry pie and ice cream. I can honestly say I was not sure what their reactions would be. Especially Lilo and Superkid. I had a feeling Princess would be excited since she is a social bug. Lilo surprised me the most. She was not only excited, she wanted to know how long it was till the first day of school, what her schedule would be, and how to spell her teachers name. We are very excited about all their teachers but Lilo's is perfect for her. Her classroom theme is Monarch's, and for any of you who know my Lilo, you know that is right up her bug lovin' alley. This teacher has actually been there since I was there years ago and I think may be retiring soon.
Princess had lots of questions. I don't remember them all. She couldn't stop grinning. She said at one point that she felt a little sick but it was excitement. She asked a lot about what her teacher was like. We told her our impressions from meeting her and let her look at the text books the teacher had loaned us for math, science, and American History.
Superkid was not sure what to think. I don't think he knew exactly what we were talking about at first. It was nothing tangible to him. Homeschooling has been all he has been around. He had never set foot on a school campus! He said he did not want to go there because they did not have play-doh. That told me he was uncertain. Precious little guy. We talked about what they do in Kindergarten. How they learn to read but they also play a bit. There are hot wheels, a huge pretend house, desks, stories, and possible even play-doh.... we will have to ask.
There were so into it but the little ones were having a harder time picturing where this would be. So, we threw on our shoes and hopped into the van. It was time to see what we were talking about.
We got up there and a teacher walked out. I recognized her. She was my homeschool teacher through the school when my mom homeschooled me many years ago. I remember her bringing me art samples to look at. She is a very sweet christian lady and it was amazing that I was talking to her here with my kids 20 years later! She was very happy to let us on into the campus and meet us all. She did homeschool when her kids were young but is one of the first grade teachers now on site at the school. She said it is amazing to be there right now because there are so many christian teachers they actually feel the freedom to walk by each other and ask for prayer for things. It was very encouraging to talk to her. I knew that God would do this whether the obstacles were big or small but he sure seems to be blessing us with some postive people up there.
From there we found the rooms the kids would be in. They were locked and the windows dark and hard to see in, but they were determined to try. So daddy picked up one kidlet after another so they could peer in as best they could. Lilo was very excited to see monarch's plastered everywhere in the classroom of the second grade teacher we want her to have. They played on the different playgrounds and drank from the drinking fountains. It was a joyful time. They did not want to go home. We tried to remind them that being up there was not playing all day outside. :)
So, we are encouraged. The journey is one step further and we walk on in faith.

Isaiah 48 :

17 This is what the LORD says—
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
"I am the LORD your God,
who teaches you what is best for you,
who directs you in the way you should go.

18 If only you had paid attention to my commands,
your peace would have been like a river,
your righteousness like the waves of the sea.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Why I Love Sunday's and How I Long To Keep Them

I've been working so hard today to tidy up before Sunday comes. It's something I have found very beneficial to our family to make the effort for. There is quite a bit of value in the old Hebrew law to not do anything on the Sabbath. I don't think many women would have been complaining that they didn't have to cook or do dishes. Really, they were probably the ones most benefited by the law. Now, I don't believe in keeping a Hebrew law of course, but many of the laws were based in some common sense wisdom. Our Sunday's our so much more peaceful and relaxing when we take the time to prep the day/night before.

I have always loved Sundays! Probably because my Saturdays were family work most of the day. My dad had us work very hard helping around the property. I remember some days we were locked out except if we had to use the bathroom and did not come in until dinner. Dad would bring us out a pb&j sandwich at lunch time and always had water bottles going. My mom was in the house doing housework. We dug trenches, brought rocks in from the garden, brought more rocks in from the garden again (gotta' love that CA soil!), pulled weeds, and all other manner of helping dad out. Usually there was a point in the afternoon when I was allowed to go and play but in many ways, I was like an only child since my brother was six years older and disabled. I had a playhouse, my one major consolation in life. There I would hang out, play house, talk to my cat, dress up my cat, read to my cat. I loved that cat!

Anyway, Saturdays were my least favorite day of the week. So, when Sunday's came I was thankful. My dad believed in no working on Sunday. I think he would putter around sometimes but he never made us work that I can remember. We would always go to church which meant some kind of socializing since I was homeschooled for a good long while and there were not many social options for teens back then. We went out to eat most of the time. As I got older it got cheaper, like Taco Bell all the time but it was a Sunday tradition. I remember spending most of the afternoons hanging out in my room, re-arranging or re-decorating it (yes, I've had that problem for a long it from my mom), and listening to music or NPR short stories on the radio.

Now that I'm a mom, I love preparing for a quiet Sunday. I don't make my kids do as much outside work on Saturday (since we have little outside to speak of anyway) but they do help clean up the house and especially their rooms. One of the most wonderful things to me when I can be organized enough to bring it about, is a good Sunday dinner that is ready in the oven or crockpot and a big salad to go with it. Perhaps some ice tea and a dessert with decaf to follow. Then, we always rest for a bit. The kids don't really do much quiet time during the week, so Sunday is the day they know they have to either lay down, or read quietly.

I also love Sunday now for our blessed church. The teaching is ALWAYS challenging and spurring, and the fellowship is always sweet. We are very blessed to have a wonderful church.

The rest of the day usually involves some outside playtime, some family time, and an earlier bed time to start the week off good.

I want to make it my goal more and more to guard the time we have on Sundays. Time to rest and worship the Lord. To stop and recognize His goodness and talk about life casually as we spend time together eating, resting and playing. God knew what He was doing when he made a special day, he knew we needed it.

Friday, June 6, 2008

For My Friends Who Have Netflix "watch now"

Netflix has unlimited viewing for their two dvd level members. I share mine with a neighbor friend btw so it's more doable. I wanted to share that they have some of the "Torchlighters" movies on watch now. My kids are going to watch the one on Jim Elliot this afternoon. There is William Tyndale, Eric Liddel, and John Bunyan. They are geared to ages 8-12 and are in a cartoon format.

Don't forget to tell me who you are today! See previous post.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I Was Made To Forget Myself Entirely

God is using John Piper to blow my mind. The more I read of Him, the more I GET life. The more I see how I can be at the very bottom of life's cruelties and still have joy that is unchanging. I can be led by God into the valley of the shadow, or beside still waters and have the same hope in both.
We have been doing the bible study for "Don't Waste Your Life" and I of course recommend it. I will say though that John Piper is a deep thinker and a poetic, figurative writer. A dear friend of mine told me today she is not getting it beyond the bottom line "let's glorify God". This saddened me since my heart was swelling. I realized though that some people understand things in a figurative sense and some in a literal. We all process information differently which is why our loving God leads us in the ways we will be best taught by Him and for Him. What he can't get through to my dear friend through this book, he will through another means, but he WILL fulfill her purposes in Him.

I just wanted to share what meant a lot to me on the last chapter. What I highlighted in my book.

On understanding the intent of scripture from an objective truth standpoint:

"verses of the bible are not stung pearls but links in a chain....This meant that, in each paragraph of scripture, one should ask how each part related to the other parts in order to say one coherent thing. Then the paragraphs should be related to each other in the same way. And then the chapters, then the books, and so on until the unity of the Bible is found on its own terms.

I felt like my little brown path of life had entered an orchard, a vineyard, a garden with mind-blowing, heart-thrilling, life-changing fruit to be picked everywhere. Never had I seen so much truth and so much beauty condensed in so small a sphere. The Bible seemed to me then, and it seems today, inexhaustible. "

Do you get that excited about how BIG God is and how exciting his word is?! Lately I have been reminded of how many of the people I grew up with in my homeschool community have abandoned the faith as far as walking with the Lord goes (and from public and private...made little difference). It has broken my heart. They were given the information but never took up the delight of God. I loved this view of scripture Piper gives. It is a feast! It is a delight to taste and see that He is good! It is a savoring process that is honey to our mouths and health to our bones! This is what David meant when he said that his delight was in the law of the Lord and it haunted his thoughts day and night in the most passionate way. There was intense pleasure in the greatness of His God and it swelled his heart with joy!

He quotes Dr. Daniel Fuller:

"God ordained a redemptive history whose sequence fully displays his glory so that, at the end, the greatest possible number of people would have had the historical antecedents necessary to engender the most fervent love for God... The one thing God is doing in all of redemptive history is to show forth his mercy in such a way that the greatest number of people will throughout eternity delight in him with all their heart, strength and mind... when the earth of the new creation is filled with such people, then God's purpose in showing forth his mercy will have been achieved...All the events of redemptive history and their meaning as recorded in the Bible compose a unity in that they conjoin to bring about this goal."

Does that not just thrill you! It's something worth investing in! It's a joy to teach to our children. Yet, in the end, it is a thrill put in our hearts by the work of the Holy Spirit ALONE! HE only uses vessels and clay pots like us and other servants. Only through Him can we reflect His glory for it to be seen by our children or others. So, pray for these joys for your kids. When they look out and see the world more and more, pray their eyes will be opened to the delights forever more. May they see the world more and more for the dry, dirty wells they are and see the magnificence of God like living on the very edge of the universe being breathlessly overtaken with awe. Yet, even the imagery of the universe is a pale comparison.

"God's passion was the display of His glory and the delight of my heart." Piper

"Delighting in God was not a mere preference or option in life (for Jonathan Edwards); it was our joyful duty and should be the single passion of our lives. Therefor to resolve to maximise his happiness in God was to resolve to show him more glorious than all other sources of happiness. Seeking happiness in God and glorifying God were the same."

Edwards states:

"The glory of God does not consist merely in the creature's [us, humans] perceiving his [God's] perfections; for the creature may perceive the power and wisdom of God, and yet take no delight in it, but abhor it. Those creatures that so do, don't glorify God.

The glory of God therefore [consists] in the creature's admiring and rejoicing and exulting in the manifestation of his beauty and excellency....The essence of glorifying ...God consists, therefore, in the creature's rejoicing in God's manifestations of his beauty, which is the joy and happiness we speak of. So we see it comes to this at last: that the end of the creation is that God may communicate happiness to the creature; for if God created the world that he may be glorified in the creature, he created it that they might rejoice in his glory: for we have shown that they are the same."

Piper states that in his experience "many who seemed to emphasize the glory of God in their thinking did not seem to enjoy him much."

I have seen this and I think this may be a key element to loosing some along the way. Kids read our hearts, not our mouths. They will see our delight in God in the way we speak of him, turn to him, make much of him....further more, it is found on our very faces. Joy is hard to conceal. Light is hard to hide. So it should be in our delight of God. Make him as big as you possibly can, you will still only be scratching the surface.

I'll have to come back to this more later.

Why I Don't Like RSS Feeds

Okay, I finally put my favs into my Google Reader. I will keep them there for one purpose, to know what I've not read from ya'll yet. I will not ever read them on the RSS feed itself (unless you have a white blog anyway perhaps).
Cause blogs are an artistic expression of ones' self. What we say on them is not all there is, they are a work of art that express us. My friend Tricia loves sunflowers, and every time I visit her blog I feel like I'm in her living room, like I've come over for a visit. Christina loves purple and lavender so her blog speaks of her too, Zimms Zoo's pic of her kids is a joy every time I see it, Kristen's side bar photos of her boys always remind me how cute and little they are, and on and on.
RSS feeds feel like a trip to the hospital, white lights, sterile atmosphere....not personal. You could have a chat, but your not cozy.
I know they are convenient, and time saving, but they lack the sharing element of personality. I love to redecorate the blog every month. I always ask myself what mood am I in? Am I thinking of cheerful tones, or calm reflective ones? Do I long for cool colors or warm cozy ones. It's an expression of my mindset at the time.
I guess it's all in what you get out of blogs. Do you long to build relationships, know who people are, journey as sisters together? Or, do you just look to gather information. Find out how everybody does everything so you can figure if you could do things better (which is fine if you like that). I find that I shy away from blogs that don't tell me about peoples lives. I'm more into the sharing of humanity and the way God is working in our lives. There is already TMI out there and I will never have time nor energy to aspire to it all. If I ever need to know, I'll google it. Plus you can get overwhelmed by how much great stuff some moms use, do, manage, buy, don't buy, recommend (though a personal "i love this" tip now and then is an inspiration!) yada, yada, yada. There is always a better way to do everything. If that is what you are out for in blogs, RSS feeds are for you. If you want to make a personal's cold and uninviting.
So, I won't be visiting most of you there I'll stop by your spot in blogsphere where it's cozy. I will use it to know when is a good time to come by though:)!

(oooo... this post is so opinionated! shhhhh!)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Do you Copy?

My kids have been so funny lately. They have been really into playing with our pair of talkie walkies. It's hilarious the little lingo they come up with:
"Agent Sista, this is agent IC, do you copy? Over."
"Agent what?"
"Agent IC!"
(first agent still unable to hear agent IC clearly)
"Actually this is agent IK, do you copy?"
"Yes agent IK, I copy, over"

It cracks me up and I wish I could remember more. I thought to myself where do they get this stuff? I don't remember them being around anyone using a talkie walkie, or seeing it on a movie. Is there possibly some innate gene that just knows the way you talk on a talkie walkie? Must be.

Poor, Ebony. Poor, poor, Ebony.
Today we went outside and freaked out cause Ebony's face was all swelled up. She has a pretty narrow face but she had the face of some puffy boxer. I thought at first that she had eaten one of the fallen unripe nectarines off the tree. Then, we looked at her food bowl. It was full of food, and swarming, and I mean swarming, with red ants! Poor baby, she got so bit, she was toxic! I had to call the vet. I didn't have a car to rush her in. They said to give her benedryl. We didn't have any. My neighbor was nice enough to go get me some. So we squirted some children's cherry flavored benedryl down her throat (our little town only had children's). She licked her lips though. She wanted lots of cuddles... poor thing, I'm sure she was just miserable. Can you image your face getting swarmed over with red ants biting you and you don't have hands to wipe them off. If I had been able to see when it happened, I 'm sure she was wiping her face in the grass desperately. It was kinda funny though, about ten minutes after she had the meds she looked at me and teetered a bit..... she was dopey. She took a long nap in the laundry room and was much better afterwards. It was kinda comical to see her face look so different. Like a dog version of Will Smith in that "Hitch" movie!

She would not like the new Indiana Jones Movie!

What Will You Do All Day?!

I have a friend I love very much ask me this many weeks ago when this all started. I felt so nervous at the time about that question because I didn't want to be teased about it. This is one of those friends who is like a sister to me and though we are very different in personality, through Christ, we have become as solid as can be. So, I was not worried what she meant by it. I knew she saw the humor in the profound change of my day! It's true... what in the world would I do? I was just nervous thinking about it at all. What Lord, do you want me to do? Rick, what do you want me to do? Where is my place in this change? Now, I've had another friend, Karen, ask me a similar question so I thought...okay I'll tell ya.

".......encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,
to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored."

Titus 2:4

I'll be doing what my "own" husband wants me to do.. focus on being a housewife and mommy. No, I won't be "working" (meaning getting a job)! My heart is at home. My gifts are with the home. The whole point is to lighten the load to make me a BETTER mommy and a BETTER housewife. I think working would just keep me overloaded and not functioning well. That's just me.

Many mom's are very gifted with kids. Gifted to teach them their lessons, to be creative when they don't understand. They have a real passion for schooling. I've discovered once I let go to God's leading, that that is not my main gift. If God still wanted me, and my husband still wanted me to try it anyway... I would, but it is a minefield of frustrations for me. Housekeeping is a sheer delight for me when I can do it (when homeschooling, there has really been no time for it beyond survival mode). In the past year I have gotten so mundane in my meals and organization of that, I look forward to putting on my apron more! That is another area I delight in.
Please don't misunderstand, I delight in my children, but not easily in the area of academics. I start to get to works oriented in that area that I pressure them more than help them. I feel pressure myself too which makes me struggle just to love them. I'm not saying this is a cure for that and the delighting comes purely through prayer and from the Lord because life itself with kids is a growing experience. However, taking off some of my load so I can focus on delighting and cheering is the idea and what Rick really sees I will shine at.
If I could trade a moment of seeing my kid multiply a four digit number for the first time, for a moment of discussion about life issues and turning our hearts to God, I'll trade it. I delight in discussing life, I delight in caring for my family's needs (food, clothes, making a warm haven, etc) more than I delight in their schooling. I delight in sitting with them and talking about God, and how huge he is, and how much he loves them and wants to be involved in every area of their lives. I love talking about how he is conforming us all to his image through trails, how he wants us to find our joy in him as we were created to do.
I have not been able to pursue these gifts with homeschooling.
My husband knows I delight in these areas of life and he is encouraging me now to make them my focus. I think, the more we see how mommy has been off track, the more we look forward to the joyful journey God is putting us on.
I will also be up at the school a lot, in the classrooms a lot. I plan to make that a priority. It has been advised to us that this is an important thing for a mom to do so she can really know not just the teachers, but the kids as well. Hearing what is going on and knowing who everyone is.
I will be praying more during the day. I will be taking time to bring my children before the Lord while they are gone. Rick would like me to pray about the times we take in the evening with the kids and take notes on what to discuss. Pay attention to what is coming home in conversation, pray over it, and formulate biblical discussion ready to go when we sit and share with the kids.
Our plan is to take a little time each evening to "meet" with each kid, and then on other nights just spend that family time we would have anyway. Princess would have one on one more times in the week than the other two since we are sure she will need more discipling. It will be my role while Rick is working and the kids are at school, to pray over these times, and record what in general is going on or asked. These are the channels I was seeking of that we need to open, but not in a overbearing way, we want them to be natural and comfortable, yet God focused.

The main goal will be for me to be diligent with the time in the day, so that any time away from school is relationship/fellowship time. Some chores, yes, but mainly time as a family. Times of delighting and supporting them. These hours will be guarded and honored highly. There will be no cleaning (beyond dinner clean up), no projects (unless they involve the kids), no organizing (menus, schedules, coupons etc), no laundry, no errands or shopping. This will be sacred time. Time to hear where they are, support them.
When they are down .... there will be sacred time for Rick and I. For in the midst of all this, God has been showing me something else I've been slipping at....loving my husband. When we homeschool it is so easy to put the kids above our relationship (for us, again, many couples are good at this balance). Even in the evening there is prep needed for the next day's schooling, maybe even studying of the material etc. So, another surprise God had for me was to show me I was putting things out of order.
More on that later...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

On A Lighter Note....

I'm a little worn out with my intense self.
Moving to something lighter.
Kristen did a meme free-for-all, and Life Adapted tagged me... (ironically similar themes) so I'm here to meme ya'll...
My Five Things:

Five things I was doing ten years ago...

1. Enjoying my precious almost six month old baby girl!
2. Hanging out a lot at my parents house so they could enjoy her too.
3. Getting a thrill out of going through girl baby hand-me-downs.
4. Giving her those yummy, messy, teething Gerber biscuits all the time... she love them!
5. Nursing, and singing.
(can you tell this was my life back then?)

Five things on my to-do list today:
(Rick was off today so it was family project day)
1. Move desk to a different wall with hubbie help.
2. Sort through left over stuff brought in from car and van.... you would not believe how much!
3. Wash our bedding.
4. Make Pesto Tortellini from TJ's for dinner.
5. Do our bible Study wrap up (Rick, Princess and I are going through John Piper's "Don't Waste Your Life" study).. cuddle on our bed and talk about these wonderful deep concepts about God. I'm loving it!

Five Snacks I enjoy (what I enjoy, and what I eat are two different things):

(please people.... this is torture)
1. Potato Chips (Number one bane of mine.... I don't buy them... there is no such thing as "just have one")
2. Hot and Spicy Cheez-it's
3. Holiday Homemade chex mix
4. Artichoke Spinach hot dip w/ corn chips
5. Humus and Pita or veggies

Five things I would do if I were a millionaire:
(I'm with Kristen.. I don't want to be one... I'm not good with money)
1. Tithe a whoppin' tithe baby!
2. Without Second thought, be debt free.
3. Have our home repairs all taken care of and repairs on the cars (or better quality trade in's)
4. Set up Funds for Kids.
5. Travel (all five of us, cause we could afford it!)

Five Places I have lived:
(I'm going to take the liberty to change this since I don't like to post living places especially since most of them are local)

So.... presto chango.....

Five Places I have loved to visit:
1. Moscow...particularly Red Square
2. Victoria BC
3. Lake Baikal, Russia
4. Tegucigalpa, Honduras
5. Anywhere there is snow

Now on to the Meme from Life Adapted
Five Kind things I've done for strangers:

1. I made dinners for a guy who had back surgery and no woman to help him out.
2. I ALWAYS look for doors to help open for mom's with strollers cause I SO remember being there!
3. A lady on my street had a baby and I made her a basket of baby stuff.
.... that's all that comes to mind... I' m home a lot people!

Five kind things I've done for a close friend, partner or child:
(I'm starting to feel a little braggy.... )
1. I always like to grab stuff at the thrift store that I know my friends like. I.E. one friend likes real pottery and I pick it up when I see it.. or I know a few pyrex patterns they are looking for and pick them up too.
2. Same thing with my kids.... mommy almost always comes home from a "me" time with a special cheap something or other.

3. Get up early to have coffee with my husband. He loves that, any you have no idea how kind it is of me. I'm not a morning person and he leaves early.
4. I find great joy helping out when my friends need kids watched or meals.
....drawing a blank now...
Five kind things I do for myself:
1. I use to take a hot bath before my tub broke.
2. I either have an iced coffee, hot coffee, or tea time for myself in the afternoon. I'm not sure if this is kind or surviving.
3. sometimes I exercise...not doing good lately, know..
... what do you know..another blank.

Five things I do for fun:
1. Dates with Rick
2. Reading or watching something real good
3. Trips to thrifting
4. Family outside time
5. Blogging

But you probably knew that by now....:*

OH! I FORGOT>>> I tag.. YOU!

Updates On The Journey

Well, I've been rambling a lot here lately. Here are just some practical steps taking place toward this decision.
Last week we met with an elder and his wife (since our pastor is on sabbatical) to hear their thoughts on this decision. Their perspective was important to us because they have done the whole gamut when it comes to schooling for their three girls. One is finishing college now, one beginning college, and one still in high school.
It seems that the root of Rick's concerns have been with the quality of education attained in the public school. They felt their girls were always getting a good education. When issues ever came to a breaking point, through the Lord's leading they made changes.
The root of my concerns have been with the social/moral challenges I will face by putting them in public school. Oh, how God is stretching my faith! See, having them home really keeps us from talking about these things with our kids because we are padding and protecting them from them. This couple made it very clear to us that we HAD to be prepared that these things would come up and we need to know we will be talking about them. Although this scares me, every time I quake inside trying to find a reason to shrink back into my comfort zone of having them home.. it's almost as if I hear the Lord smiling, clapping and rubbing his hands together in expectation saying "alright, let's get it on!" Here is where I feel so inadequate! I said so, when we were sitting at their table and this wise mom said to me just what I needed to hear "You are not adequate Alicia!" How I need to be reminded of that!
Is it possible that God wants us to step out, and for our children to step out so that things will come up that he can stretch and grow us in and we can be forced to come to his feet more!? I had never considered this when the leading to go to public started. It is all unfolding slowly.
This mom was also an encouragement to me that I was not alone in my feeling over being overwhelmed. I was willing to press on in homeschooling even being a crazy woman since I really felt I needed to fit into that mold no matter what. You need to back up to read past posts to get all that. This mom experienced the same thing and her husband was sensitive to her state. This was very effective with Rick and he said on the way home that he was convicted by this husband's leading his wife in this way. It would seem that many of these things just don't occur to Rick and I until the Lord hits us over the head. I guess I'm just glad he does eventually. She said that whenever she had homeschooled, it was never a fit for her. She felt so much better when she took off the academic hat and focused more on being the mommy. That was like a breeze on a hot day for me. That is where my heart is being moved.... to focus on mommy and wife. A mommy still disciples her children with the nitty gritty heart issues of life and a leading in the goal of the glory of God. I am not giving that up, I am actually embracing it more.
So, this is where the Lord answered my question about the burden to lead them in eternal goals. If any of you have been here for a while you may have read my post about wanting to make God's word more of the core of my schooling. So, you can imagine my confusion at first when he started to lead us toward public school. This seemed like an opposing answer. Yet, what he is showing me is that the hat of academics is actually keeping me from discipling them because by the time I'm done with that, and my housework, there is nothing left in me. There is no "hey honey, let's cuddle on the couch and talk about your day!" and from there just listen and then talk about how all things relate to the will of God in their lives. The only places I have done this lately have been in discipline scenarios which can make children shirk at the conversation of the gospel because every time we talk to them about it, they are in trouble!
You see, my daughter is ten. The Lord is showing me a lot about her. I have not had the energy to disciple her with delight. I'm too overwhelmed! He seems desperate to have me open up channels with her now. Start talking about these life things now. Bring them up, hash them out, show her God's word. Do it with delight.
I had got to the point where all I wanted after we got through school, which took most of the day, was to have a break from them. "Go play guys!". I was exhausted!
Having a girl is also a different factor. Girls need to talk, sit, and cuddle. They need to be able to talk to understand what they feel in the first place. They need someone to delight in them as they walk through the insecurities of growing up. They need a mom. They need a dad too. But what they don't need is a dad, and a teacher. She needs a mom. She needs cookies and tea and a loving listening ear. She needs a comfortable place to talk about growing up. I don't know how on earth I would fit that in right now. Some people might. I'm not good at juggling that much.
Remember, I saw NONE of this when the Lord started moving us. Isn't it amazing that he leads and we have to step out in faith, and then he starts to reveal why and it's so loving of Him! I am so blessed that he cares so much about these details of my life that I could not see! He knows where we need to be focusing, what we should take on, and what we should leave to Him. What an intimate God!
The next day was the big day. Rick and I went up to meet the 5th grade teacher. Now, I am not putting faith in this but it's an ironic point. We did not even know where the 5th grade room was. We went during a big open house BBQ and so we found my old teacher (who met us very joyfully and gave my husband a hearty pat on the back while shaking his that guy!) and asked him where to find 5th grade. "Oh! Yeah, that would be Miss....., Oh, she is a great christian lady, wonderful gal!" I'm thinking no, this is too good to be true. Each kid having a christian teacher? Well, we met her and she gave us her total attention giving us a tour of her room, curriculum and answering all of our questions. We did not tell her we were Christians because we wanted to pull out info from her before she knew our stand point. We did have some pretty important questions about moral discussions in the classroom because we said, we were very conservative. In her reply she said something, something, something, ..."because I'm conservative too so I...." and then she said "In fact, I'm a christian, and my kids know I'm a christian but I don't talk about my beliefs in the classroom, we stick to the academics." Well, I'm all about sticking to the academics! Let us take care of the rest, please! We really liked what she showed us that they did, and I was encouraged as a lot of the math starts to drop into where I drop off if you know what I mean! This has been another concern for Victoria is how much is mommy going to have to study, just to teach her?! Math is not my strength, it's not even close. Get me on Dickens or Hardy and I'm sailin' but get me beyond multiplying fractions and I'm stuck.
Anyway.... Rick was pretty impressed with her academic line up. It turns out that "growing up issues" are not introduced until sixth grade and even then each discussion is under permission signings by the parents and you can opt your child out of them. For now, I don't have to worry about it except what will come from the kids.

Here I want to back up and share the corresondance from Tami Rutledge that my husband and I found so helpful when we first started out. I know it makes this post even longer so you can come back and read it later if you like.
Hello Alicia!! as you know, I like to respond to your words so that your feel that I heard you and am responding to your questions!

soooo.... my words are in color....

I thought it was very nice of you to link me. Thank you.

:) welcome and thank you for the info on linking!

It's unbelievable Tami, God is leading us to actually put our kids in public school next year. I was kinda in shock last week when it started. It's a very long story which I am going to try to start journaling about but can't post on the blog right now.

Love what you said.... "GOD IS LEADING US!" That is my only point in schooling choices, make sure it is GOD, not all the info you get from other people, as wise and Godly as you think they maybe, God wants to have a relationship with you, He is an intimate personal God who wants to lead His children individually. GOD will lead you, you should not lead God.

When I read your letter to me a long while back about homeschooling (if you need me to send it back to you since it was a few months ago, I can), I did not really get it. But, I seem to have stewed on it in the back of my mind and the Lord has used it to show me my living by fear. He started to show me that my motivations right now for homeschooling anyway, were not right.

this is the intimacy of God --- able to reveal! I may have wrote you things but only in God's timing will He reveal what He wants to reveal. Yeah GOD!!! This is soooo awesome!

They were two major fears: fear of what fellow Christians would think, (i.e. friends, church, parents, all the mass of homeschool mom 's who read my blog...etc.), and the fear of what the kids would be exposed to. So, I began to see that I was homeschooling for actually SELFISH reasons! So that I could fit into this "godly" homeschool mom mold I so desperately wanted to portray whether we all hated it or not. What I thought was a noble sacrifice and a wise decision began to look more and more to me like living by works and my own pride, and being driven by fear. Like I said, this is long story that I am trying to condense.

I love this.... even just a seed of wrong needs to be dealt with.

It turns out that my very favorite teacher from my own school years is still up at the school for two more years. He is a wonderful christian and his wife happens to teach kindergarten there too. My husband and I felt led to go up and meet with them and that was even strange to me since I had my whole school year planned out (in outline, not specifics). We really had great joy about the thought when we left.

How intimate God is to prepare a way for your heart...

So, we are praying about it and seeking counsel. We are very unsure still what to do for our oldest. She is going into fifth grade and is our vulnerable seeming child.

Let me tell you something... you know those hand sanitizers bottles that people carry around to squirt on their hands all the time... the ones people use to protect themselves from bad bacteria and stuff? Well did you know that if you use them too much that it actually works against you?

You see, it is good for your body to fight off bacterias because then it becomes stronger in defending itself when bad bacteria comes in. But if it is not used to fighting it actually becomes weak.

It is the same with us. We need to make sure and follow God's leading because then they are exposed to exactly what He wants them exposed to so that they can learn how to fight off the bad.

We like to protect our children, but one day they must leave our home and we want to make sure they are not just knowledgable about the armor but WISE about how to use the armor. The best time to teach them is when they are young. Making mistakes when you are young is WAY less costly then when you are older.

By that I mean, she tends to pick up others behaviors and challenge us more when she is exposed to non-christian kids. Yet, my strength seems to be in talking about life and the Lord to my kids not academics, so I am beginning to wonder if he wants me to clear my slate so that I can actually focus MORE on these heart issues with my kids.

NOW that is the true heart of homeschooling!! Discipleship!! In this life what is more important?
Reading, writing and arithmetic, or knowing how to use all of those to God's glory? If God is leading you to put your children somewhere, no matter where it is just know that it is a part of the intimate curriculum He has intimately designed for them, to begin to prepare them for the ministry He has in store for them. AND TO INCREASE YOUR FAITH!

So, anyway.... I wanted to ask you...
you said you had a time when you put your two in to public for a while. May I ask what motivated that?

Every year we ask God, Where Lord, where do you want your children this year.

How did it go?

Spiritually it went according to God's plan for them and for us! Humanly it increased my faith more then them being home. And it for sure was a testimony to our children of seeking God and not leaning on our own understanding. Prov. 3:5-8

What ages were they?

Kathleen did a partial homeschool and public school when she was in 2nd grade. 3 days at school 2 at home. 6th Grade public, 7th private Christian, 11 -12 Private Christian

Debra 4th grade through 4/5 of 5th. 9th - 10th private Christian 11 - 12 home

Christy 1 - 10 home 11 - 12 private.

Did it become too much after a while?

Obedience never becomes too much when I walk with the Lord.

There is so much more I don't have time to write right now. I am hoping to be able to post some of this shocking journey when I am able to.
I may allude to it until then and you will know what "decision" I am talking about. I was motivated at first not to share out of fear of opinion, but now my motivation is to spare my kids any hearing until the decision is made so that they don't get pulled around emotionally as to what they will be doing next year.

As you walk with God in peace and joy you have to remember too that any responses they get are all a part of God's design to grow them up.

Alicia the key to everything is JOY! Rejoice that God has already determined the responses you will get and they are all designed to do a wonderful work in you. Rejoice that God has already determined who will sit by your children if you put them in school Rejoice that God will never hop off his throne in surprise, nor pace back and forth in front of His throne when something goes "bad."

He is sovereign, HE is loving, He is perfect, He knows the plans He has for your kids.

The concern I have is this..... WHY WHY WHY would anyone ever consider looking down their noses at someone for seeking God's will.

IT is because in our human understanding we have dictated what God's will is. His best has been determined by our human understanding of things.

I know that God has given us a brain and told us to use it, BUT He also said that we are sheep, He is wise, we need to come to Him for the final answer.

No one should say,... but look at the facts, look at all the godly people who say you shouldn't, look at this and look at that... NO - Keep your eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of your FAITH!

What matters most to us? God's "Well done." or man's approval when we do things according to what they think is right. Who do we desire to please more....

And when people question you and say ... How could you... you can reply. I know just what you mean, I asked God the same thing and His reply was.... "How can you? Simply by trusting and obeying and in my strength!"

By the way it isn't as if God plays tricks on us. He doesn't say, "Thank you for seeking my will, but you totally misread me and so I am going to screw up your kids now."

He is a loving God who can lead you. YOu see my friend, God's leading doesn't depend on your ability to hear or see Him, it depends on His abilities. That is why God has no trouble revealing HIs will when we are at peace.

Worry an fear negates who He is so if He were to lead you one way you would negate it as Him and attribute it to some sinful desire.

Be still, rejoice, give thanks.... Your children are always better off when you obey.

AND my children were exposed to sin... GASP go figure. But what is the armor for? The armor is for learning to deal with SIN. God doesn't have us put it on just for a fashion show... it is meant to be useful and used!

So. Whether God leads you to put them in school or at home, the only thing God is wanting you to see is if you are humble enough to be LED.

Isaiah 48: 17 This is what the LORD says—
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
"I am the LORD your God,
who teaches you what is best for you,
who directs you in the way you should go. 18 If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.

Psalm 23
1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,

3 he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.

4 Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

6 Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD

Alicia I am so excited to watch God at work in you!!!


Sunday, June 1, 2008

Pursuing The Beauty Of Unity

For those who don't come around SFE very often, this post is a continuation of ongoing through over the past many blogs (4 or 5 I think). If you care about following the train of thought, I just thought I should heads-up you on that.:)

I don't want to become fretful about sharing as I have here lately on this major change God is leading us in (that being the move into the public school) because I am confident that God wants me to share. However, I am earnestly desiring that I not give the impression that what I am doing is better than homeschooling. If anyone is getting that impression.... IT'S NOT MY INTENT.
It is hard for me to put this into words so I would like to just copy what I just shared with a friend so I don't have to figure out another way to say it.
Here is part of my letter:

"I worry in sharing that we will all do what we tend to, and think we all have to look like that one body part. That is exactly what God is showing me NOT to do. I hope I have not been giving you that impression. I thought Tami Rutledge's post on not homeschooling being sinful (and I just saw whilie linking here that she has a follow up to this post called "Number One Reason Why You Should Or Shouldn't Homeschool Your Child" ... I have not read it.. so I'll be heading over there soon!) addressed this biblically. I don't know if you read it, but it's good.

'The church is often a pit of judgment and division over things that are not supposed to be universally obeyed. Make-up, movies, dancing, clothes, nail polish, music, hair styles, T.V., bed times, dating, allowances…. God leads us all in different ways at different times – focus on your own obedience and let God take care of His other sheep!'

That is where my heart is right now...focusing on the intimate leading of God to my husband first and then to me... show us your will Lord! We ask you lead us, we don't need to worry about others, just our obedience.

'White stands for RIGHTEOUSNESS WITHOUT a DOUBT. For something to be righteous we can prove from scripture that it is pleasing to God. The fruit of the Spirit is a clear example here. But because Christianity is a relationship not a “religion” God has made sure that there are some “gray” areas that require each of us individually to come to Him and say, “Lord, how do I please you in this.” He doesn’t call us to come and ask him how our friend can please Him that is between God and your friend. And He leads us and we are not to make others conform to what God has directed us to do.'

And this is why I want to make sure I am not making readers think I want this to apply to them. It is my story. I don't have an opinion on what others do. I use to. God has been so good to lift me of this lately. I have been shown that what I think is best should really be snuffed out of existence. In it's place should be a goal for unity and encouraging my sisters to seek the will of God, and therefore joy. What I think really doesn't matter at all and really is just a distraction from focusing on what God has for me.

It's a radical new way of thinking that is astounding me. I grew up with such southern/midwestern mentality of everyone sitting around on the porch sipping tea and talking about the Jones'. Through Christ I AM SO DONE WITH THAT!

I don't want to bring across any other impression. How can I best be your a friend? By encouraging you to obey your husband and God and that is your goal so I rejoice in God for that! I want to speak unity, live unity, and encourage unity. I don't want to look like other "body parts" and I don't want anyone to think they need to look like me.

I delight in your desire to walk in the way God has for you. I hope to encourage you always in that. No matter what it practically is defined as.
alicia "

I have so very dear, dear friends who homeschool. I want to cheer them on! I want to cheer ALL my brothers and sisters on to live the gospel out in their lives by walking by faith. Whatever he defines as their path, I want to encourage!

Psalm 133:1
How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!
John 17:23
I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
Romans 15:5
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus,..
Eph 4:3
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Col 3:14
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

It's also interesting again to me, that the passage in I Corinthians's 12, which the Lord lead me to, speaking of the different parts of the body of Christ, is immediately followed by I Cor. 13 and before it starts talking about love Paul states at the very end of chapter 12:
"And now I will show you the most excellent way."

Oh, let us live excellently!

Lastly, this lead me to thinking on displaying unity to my children. It is an issue the Lord is convicting me of beyond this small issue here. Do I speak with an air of unity about families in my church to my kids? Do my kids hear me criticize aspects of families or behaviors of children in my home? Or do I have grace for these children and families and speak joyfully of what the Lord is doing in their lives? Do they develop from me the impression that one way of doing things is the "christian way" and therefore, my brothers and sisters fall short according to me? Not only are they seeing me break down unity, but they will begin to compare their own "righteousness" to their friends "righteousness" (according to mommy and daddy anyway) and therefore they begin the pattern early in life of developing pride.
I can instead, use these opportunities, as Rick and I plan to, when we tell the kids once the final decision is made, to teach them of the beauty of the body of Christ. The intimate God who leads each of us.... HOW powerful is HE! I can teach them about unity and the distraction of our own opinions.
On the surface, I could be motivated by a fear of something being said about what they heard me say regarding someone. Or, that they would tell their little friend what mommy REALLY thinks of them. Telling them to keep it quiet (and yes, I've been guilty of this before!) only teaches them that it's okay to criticize our friends as long as we don't let them know about it. It does not get to the heart of the matter, our pride. Our tendency to take our focus off God and put it on what each other is doing or not doing. This lesson can easily be taught to the Glory of God in the midst of every day living with really no effort at all. Mostly by example, but also by speaking what is pure, and true, right. Speaking unity.