A Few of My Favorite Things

  • God and all that goes with Him
  • Time Spent With Family
  • Bedtime Prayers
  • Family/Group Hugs
  • The Beach
  • Good Friends
  • Good Music
  • Laughter

Friday, July 19, 2013

We Finished Our Third Year of Home Schooling.

Once again it seems that I am writing this entry at the end of the summer instead of the beginning. It amazes me just how quickly time flies and that it is now time to get ready for reviews and some FUN practice activities. But the real purpose for writing today is just how much I learned this year.

My little man, who is now almost as tall as me, did very well and learned what we had set out for him to learn plus some. Yet, it always amazes me just how much I learn during the school year. I learned more grammar this year than I ever have. We both enjoyed Analytical Grammar Jr. A definite set of rules for how to diagram a sentence is awesome! This math mind loves to have a formula and this program fit that bill. We’ll be starting their Middle School program this year, and I can’t wait to see just how much we learn about the process of writing a good paper. I learned that we enjoy doing scripture for handwriting practice and that we both remember more scripture when we’ve written it.

I also learned that we are not ready for any type of block scheduling. We both feel less stress and remember more taking a little from each subject each day rather than trying to absorb a whole course in 9 to 18 weeks. I’m so thankful I decided up front to keep Bible, math, and English going year round. I’ve had to accept the fact that we need a definite start time each day. It’s amazing just how easy it is to put off getting started for what seems like good reasons. I found out that even with a special ball chair my little man will still find ways to fall and make noises that irritate me and the migraine (Yes, the public school teacher in me still feels like a chair needs to sit on all four legs, and that fiddling with stuff means that he’s not listening.) I feel like I have made some great strides in this area though as long as what he’s holding doesn’t make a noise and he can repeat back to me what I said I can handle him holding something in his hands and not making direct eye contact. I’ve also learned that if he’s moving when he’s learning facts and spelling words his memory is better. Yes, I know that this would not work in a classroom full of kids, but it is a benefit to schooling at home.

I think to some degree I’ve figured out how he thinks which is one of my favorite things about teaching. It’s so neat to watch him process information and then share his interpretation of the facts. I totally enjoyed history, science, and reading for this very reason. His point of view has had me looking at things in a new way and I love it!.

We set some spiritual and developmental goals for him this year as well. It has been a great joy to watch him grow in faith this year. He has become more helpful and will see a need and fill it without being asked. Those goals were more important than any academic goal we had set for him. I know now that his faith is strong and that hard headed, stubbornness that can drive me crazy will serve him well through this life. He’s also learned how to do laundry and some basic cooking. Both of these have been useful to the two of us, and little man has found joy in doing for himself.

So where do we go from here? Lord willing, we’ll start and finish another school year, we’ll both grow in faith as we study our Bible lessons this year, I’ll learn to let go more, and he will become more of an independent learner. Prayerfully, we start each day seeking how we can glorify the Father in all we say and do.

Once again, if you know me, the what I say part is the one I struggle with. I am not super mom or super teacher. I make many mistakes. There are days when all I hear is the pain and I have to work extra hard to really listen to little man, to be patient and kind. I’m praying that as he watches me struggle to live a life pleasing to God through the pain that he will also learn that no matter what adversity there is with God as our guide all things are possible.

It’s now time for me to finish packing up this years work and get the next year’s plan in ink. I know we will have good and bad days, and it’s my prayer that I’ll recognize the bad day and take the time to turn it around. Sometimes that just means leaving the room for a few minutes, sometimes it means loading up and going for a ride, or it may mean we put some of school in a bag and go to the park to work for a while.

Finally, sweet friends, I ask that you pray for us as we get ready to hit these tween years and Mama is both Mama and teacher. I’ll be praying for all of you too. Whether you school at home or if your children are in public or private school, may God give us the desire and strength to parent intentionally. To consciously make decisions and choices that will lead our children closer to the Father. May He use our mistakes to help us teach our children about grace and love, and may He allow them to see Him in us…and that we can see Him in them.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Can pain be a good gift???

Jam 1:17-20 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures. So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

This verse has become one of my favorites :)
1) It is a reminder of where my blessings come from. It's in the "little" things like breathing in and out, really taking the time to watch my baby grow both physically and spiritually, spending time with my sweetheart just holding hands, the beautiful sound of the children in my life both laughing and crying, and the incredible ability the Father has given us to express ourselves not only in words but more importantly in touch and prayer.
2) He is the Father of lights...when I feel like I'm in a deep dark cave or in the middle of a hurricane...He's there shining, guiding me. Even when it feels like there is only pain, I can know that He will see me through. I am His and He is mine and His word is truth. There are no shadows in his presence and he does not change.
3) It is because of His greatness...not mine...that I must be quick to hear. I don't mean just hearing those around me but really listening. I need to spend the time the person is speaking to me really taking in what they have to say...not just formulating my reply. Maybe...just maybe that means, I'll hear the broken heart, the hurting spirit, or even the absolute joy behind the words not only just what was spoken.
4) I need to be slow to speak...honestly, this is probably the one that gets me the most often. Between the "sound" of the pain in my head and that voice inside saying "I can do it...I can be out and about...I can help!" Between those two competing "noises" is the stream of words that comes out just trying to keep back the tide of overwhelming disappointment that I am no longer who I used to be. (Note to self: Go back to point one and count my blessings and know that good will come from this as long as I continue in my walk with Christ.)
5) I've got to be slow to anger....my sweet boys don't intentionally do things that make me want to remove my head from shoulders. I need to make sure that what I'm angry about is worth getting angry over (I don't know about you but I’m thankful for the examples of God’s anger over sin…it’s nice to know that not all anger is wrong and it’s what I do with it that makes it sin or not. I need to hear the “ I love you so much I don’t want to watch you hurt because you do “X” when my sweetheart goes into Knight mode and tries to keep me from activities he knows I’ll deal with pain from later. (I’m not always good at this and more often I find myself ready to fight because he’s right and it stinks to not be able to do and play like I would love to.)
6) If the wrath or anger of man doesn’t produce righteousness then I need to be in the word working on cultivating the things that do.

The following passages show us how to do it.
Jam 1:21-27 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

Okay so to create the righteousness that I want to have I must put away the filthiness and the overflow of wickedness. I can go back and tie this to point 4. If I am not slow to speak, then all the junk will just come tumbling out. Is what I’m saying kind or helpful or is it full of the foul language I hear on TV, or in the presence of friends and coworkers? If I truly want the righteousness promised here, I must have the implanted word of God in my heart. In other words, I’ve pulled all the weeds out of my life and planted the word of God there. Words are my “sin that so easily besets me”. But not only do I need to plant the gospel in my life, I must share the produce of the gospel and salvation. I have a lot of work to do on me. I know that I will not make it through life’s journey without getting mess on my clothes with the filthiness of this world.

So sweet friends in a week that has been a roller coaster from start to finish, I am hanging on to the promises …that while I may not understand why two sweet little girls will have to grow up without their Mama or the whys of Mickey’s death…we will see Danielle and Mickey on the other side of Jordan. In the midst of the heartache, we have enjoyed many precious moments with family. Time spent in play and the joys of watching nieces try to catch a frog and Aunt Steph actually grabbing it up and giving it to them. The happiness in the faces of nephews as they took on the responsibility of setting off the fireworks this year, but the cherry on the top was heading out to camp to get my boy and hearing them call his name as boy camper of the week. God does answer our prayers. He gives us the light to walk through the dark valleys and His glory shining through others who touch our life are the rainbow of hope that this world is only a temporary place and we have someplace far, far better to go to.

Dear Father, please be with me today as I deal with the frustrations of pain. Help me to express myself appropriately and to not allow my anger to become sinful. Finally, please help me to glorify you in all I say and do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.