well….

I was supposed to sitting down to write to you about a Chili Verde recipe that I made in the crock pot.

But I can’t.  Chili Verde seems lame and trivial right now.

Sometimes things happen in the course of a day that are, unexpected, painful and yet, they are still part of God’s plan.

Writing is cathartic.  So here I am.  Raw, Transparent….. aching, sorting it all out as I go along.

Our dear Pastor has gone home to be with the Lord.

I am sad, and full of praise all at the same time. I know that is a dichotomy that many will not understand.  I know that equally as it is confusing to some, it makes prefect sense to those who know the Lord.

I know confidently  where my Pastor’s hope was; it was firmly in Jesus and His work on the cross.  I know my Pastor is in heaven celebrating.  I am so sad for his family, who will miss his laughter and hugs; but I am elated that he is with Jesus.

When he announced his diagnosis of Leukemia to the congregation a few months ago, not one of us saw the end as today.  Yesterday’s update was full of hope and anticipation of him being moved to a long term care facility today.  He would be awake, able to do Physical Therapy, and heal from the Pneumonia that had set in.

Yet God in His wisdom, decided to heal him completely and bring him Home.

Thank you to all who told me they were praying, please pray now for the family as they work through the day to day changes that this loss brings…. Pray for our church as we transition…. may we display Christ’s love through it all.

pastor p

Thanks Pastor for being our Leader and Under Shepherd, for teaching us how to Love Jesus.  You will be missed.  Psalm 32:1-2

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so long summer…. My Homeschool Mothers Journal 8.19.11

In my life this week…

It’s official, we are back to school.  We made it through nearly one complete week of learning.  Only one day missed due to extra kids and a sudden Dr. appointment.

I am the mom of a graduating Senior, a Junior that is attending community college and working through High School classes, a 4th grader, and a Pre-Schooler.

I remember the year the Senior started school.  ***heavy, mom, memory sigh***

In our homeschool this week…

we started!  That is saying something isn’t it?  We have never began the year so early before.  Most years the big kids travel in late August/early September so I work with Hunter one on one through the month, but all of us home, this is a rare treat to start together as a family.

I am not sure why but the starting of this year finds me with a heavy heart. Maybe because it is an end of an era with my oldest….. and he will soon be flapping his way out of the nest.

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…

you really can homeschool through high school.  I promise.  Call me. I’ll talk you through it.

I am inspired by…

The quiet strength and reliance on God, of our pastor’s wife.  Friday he started his fourth week in the hospital.  On and off of ventilators, on and off of antibiotics.  Ups and downs.  Tears and Joy.  Her 50th Anniversary was spent at his bedside.  You don’t weather things like this with the grace, and courage she has, unless your roots run deep in Jesus. 

I want My roots to run deep in Jesus.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

The fair is this next week. Hunter earned a free day at the fair for all his reading this summer….. Maybe we will go and spend an evening there.

My favorite thing this week was…

Watching Evan with his new car.  He worked all summer mowing lawns for a church family in exchange for one of their older cars.  They dropped it off yesterday.  He has pulled it into the driveway and re-parked it 4 times.  He has cleaned out the interior, and washed the outside.  It is really cute to see his excitement for this car.

Now, if he would love to clean his ROOM that much…….

What’s working/not working for us…

This week we had a few, “No you may not leave the table.”  “Please finish your math”  “It really helps to look at the problems on the paper.”  “Staring at the tree is not helping to divide by 2.”  “Where did you go?  Please come back to the table.”  Sorts of days.

These days are long.  Arduous. They drain me.

These kinds of days do not “work” for me. 

I’m cooking…

lots of crock pot meals.  It is so nice to have dinner done at 6 and not have to stand at the counter from 4 o’clock on to get it done.

( a few of the meals are already on here and I will be adding more in the next week.)

I’m praying for…

a friend who feels overwhelmed.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

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I love the Farmer’s Market.

 

See you next week!

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My Homeschool Mothers Journal 8.15.11

The Homeschool Mother's Journal
Link up and share your week at The Homeschool Chick
 
 

In my life this (last) week…

somehow, without my knowledge or prior approval, my calendar went from blissfully empty, to what-sort-of-whirlwind-rollercoaster-ride-did-I-step-on????? 

There were library book club and McDonald’s book club endings, there was piano lessons, church, Thursday was long, and ended with a great time fellowshipping with a friend over dinner and WAY too much coffee Smile.

In our homeschool this (last) week…

Little bits of testing happening.  We will be done with it by the end of this week and have it ready to mail off. 

Friday we had friends over and we did a day of school.  Partly to help them get their brains in gear for public school and because we are still lightly schooling through the summer.  I really, really, really, like having multiple grades at the table learning together. I *coulda* been a one room schoolhouse teacher…

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…

buy a laminator.  It turns cheap consumable workbooks into non-consumable, re-useable wipe off books.  If you have a multi-level homeschool…. you will thank me. 

My favorite thing this week was…

seeing Hunter receive his certificate for reading over 900 minutes this summer.  I have signed him up for the Pizza Hut reading program during the school year.  Here is to reading motivation!!!

What’s working/not working for us…

I have started working with some Dianne Craft flashcards….. I will keep you posted.

Things I’m working on…

Consistency.  I seem to need to work on this often.  At least I know my weaknesses.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

The other night we were talking about a friend that has two toes grown together.  Ever in the effort to assure us that this was a real thing…. Hunter says, “ Really! it’s true!  They aren’t stuck together just like when your feet are sweaty, they grew that way!”

This of course was during dinner…… **sigh**

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My Homeschool Mothers Journal 7.29.11

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

Link up and share your homeschool week with the Homeschool Chick

In my life this week…

there was some upheaval.  We were called late last week by the trustee that represents the owners of our home.  Turns out they will be facing foreclosure soon (the process hasn’t started yet…. it is just eminently looming) and that means our permanent residence in this house has been called into question.  We spoke for hours with this man who patiently answered our questions.  His advice is to see if we can scrounge up the money to purchase the house in CASH at the foreclosure sale.

We currently do not have that sort of money lying about…. so we are prayerfully considering our options.  We would covet your prayers on this matter.

The upside was that my house is IMMACULATELY clean!  When a lawyer calls and tells you he wants to do a walk through…. it is amazing motivation to de-clutter! Smile

In our homeschool this week…

Not much happened.  The big kids were on a trip for the first few days of the week and the rest of the week has been spent in recovery mode.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

I have been itching to camp. 

yes…. in a tent.

…and possibly without a shower.

Today I spent some time looking for places close to home to spend a day or two overnight and I have found some within 30 miles of home.  Very affordable, and doable on what will become our new beans and rice budget so we can try to save the house.

My favorite thing this week was…

It was a toss up between:

1) Listening to the big kids harass each other about their telephone voices.  One is polite, sunny and secretarial in her phone dealings…. the other sounds like he is caressing the microphone with this voice and introducing Love Songs on the local radio. 

2) Hunter’s shark adventure dream

3) Jeremiah telling me he gets quesadilla when he has too much green bananas.  ( he really meant diarrhea, but his version was hysterical)

Things I’m working on…

Curriculum, Curriculum, Curriculum….  and VBS.  VBS is next week… and if I survive that, it will be back to planning next year out.

I’m grateful for…

My church family.  Our pastor is in ICU fighting a major infection with no immune system because he just received Chemo for his Leukemia.  The way our church body is rallying around the family, drawing closer to each other and the Lord is a blessing to me.

I’m praying for…

My Pastor, and for those I know who are going through some hurtful situations.  I pray that they will seek refuge in the Lord.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

little jars

Old photo from the days of two separate blogs, and a post called “Confessions of a Tupperware Killer.”

I just love the way Mason Jars look.  …. happy sigh…..

 

See you next week!

   name gif

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My Homeschool Mothers Journal 6.24.11

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

Link up and share your week at The Homeschool Chick

{ In my life this week… }

I have operated somewhere near to the threshold of chaos. 

There were friends who dropped by and we had a wonderful visit.  There were VBS meetings, errands to run in preparation for a 5 day wilderness excursion for the bigger kids. Until Friday afternoon there were no less than 6 kids in my house at any given moment every day of the week.  Everyone one of them a blessing…. but they were a noisy blessing.

{ In our homeschool this week… }

we didn’t do a darned thing…. sigh….

Oh wait!  Evan did complete all of his science for the year on Wednesday!  YAY! EVAN!!!! So, yes there was work done! 

I was going to test….. really I was!  I am not just making things up!  I really did want to test this week!….but the tests are still sitting and waiting for us.  We will test on a quieter week……. which is hopefully not code for never.

{ Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share… }

Sharing things online with other people can sometimes bite you in the rear.

{ My favorite thing this week was… }

Waking up on an unscheduled Saturday morning, with nothing on the agenda but a cup of coffee and some quiet time.  Ahhhhhh…. it was sweet bliss.

{ I’m grateful for… }

Good friendships.  It was such a joy to have our friends in town.  It was only for a few days…. and we had to share them with their family, but it was a great time of fellowship.  It was great that after nearly a two years since really seeing each other, it was like they had never moved away.  I am so grateful for friendships that don’t wither over time.

{ A quote to share… }

“A man who complains about his wife, pours salt in his own garden.”

 read about it here

 

Happy Summer!  See you next week!

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Salt in the Garden

A very wise man said,  “A husband who complains about his wife, pours salt in his own garden”.

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I can hear wives across the world cheering as they read those words;  it is such a true statement!  We want to be nurtured, to grow and flourish…. and the words of complaint will over time, wear us down, and inhibit our growth.

Oh how we long to have our husbands speak well of us to others. We hope to hear praise coming from their lips, and not criticism.  How quick we are to demand greatness, kindness and complete acceptance and unending forgiveness from our husbands…..

……..but do we give to them the same?

I ask you, are you kind and polite to your husband?

Do you offer praise first or critical comments?

Do you look for the good in the things your husband has done?

I know, I know……. I hear you….

You say, how am I supposed to be kind when my husband doesn’t do… well, anything!!?

How am I supposed to trust him when he doesn’t follow through?

How do I find the good in things that have been done wrong, or not the way that I would do them?

I can’t speak for you, but I do know that I do NOT want to have salt in the garden of my marriage.  I want to nurture it, cultivate it, inspire it to grow.  I do NOT want to watch it shrivel with the sharp, salty, cutting words that can flow so quickly from my mouth.

I sat in my kitchen recently talking with a friend.  Having this exact same conversation.  I asked her when the last time was she thanked her husband…. I got a blank stare.  I asked which was first to flow from her mouth, praise or criticism?  More staring…. with lots of blinking.

Maybe you are in the same position as my friend, knowing that your current actions and attitudes are not the way that God wants you to behave, and you want to change…. yet, you don’t have the first clue where to start.  I know I have been there in that very conundrum.  I have been angry, hurt, and bitter toward my husband, but stuck in the behavior that is perpetuating the anger, hurt and bitterness….. 

So how do you stop the cycle?  The short answer is obedience.  Obedience to God.

I could charm you with the “Sunday School” answer, and tell you to read your Bible and pray….  but if you were really doing those things all along, I am pretty sure you wouldn’t be so hurt, mad and bitter. At least that is how it works for me.. Smile  I could offer up a few verses and stop there, because the Bible has all the tools we need, but the truth is that many times we need understand the practicality of the Bible, to help us recognize and change the behavior we are stuck in.

One of the blessings of being friends with the woman who was recently in my kitchen staring at me and blinking….. is that she needs to hear practical ways to put verses into action.  I love that about her.  Her need, forces me to think, not only about how to help her apply the teaching of the Bible to her life, but I am forced to evaluate my own situations and how I am applying the Word of God to them.   When we talk, I need to have one or two ideas on HOW she can apply a verse to a situation, because isn’t that really what it is all about?  We have to not only hear the words, we have to DO them.

James 1:22 ~ “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

So what does that look like?  How do we become a doers of the word?  How do I use a verse (or verses) to change the way I am currently acting and reacting to the pressures of life?

well……… come back tomorrow for part two……  and I will talk about that very thing.

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My Homeschool Mothers Journal 7.18.11

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

Link up and share your homeschool week at www.thehomeschoolchick.com

In my life this week…

I had a spur of the moment trip!  I traveled across the state to visit a friend, and the excuse was her 3rd child’s First birthday.  The car ride was great.  I got to know my traveling companion better. 

We survived 10 hours of driving with 3 kids in one suburban. No small feat I assure you.

Seeing the pine trees and the craggily snow capped mountains; smelling the freshly washed air, tinged with a hint of the sea, made the trip even more of a blessing.

In our homeschool this week…

Last week was pretty status quo.  Just keeping up on the basics. 

Evan and Tayler are sailing along finishing up their Math and Science for the year.

I was able to order some of Dianne Craft’s flash cards.  (the phonics, and math sets)  I am waiting for them to arrive.  I really am excited to see if these will improve Hunter’s reading speed, and Math Drills.

This upcoming week will be spent on Testing.  uggh. 

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…

Have a goal.  We need to have something to aim at in order to be effective.  Without a goal in place, there is nothing to reign you in and keep you on task.

I am inspired by…

People’s hearts for God.  Even in attending a small church, it is difficult to set time aside to meet and get to know everyone, and we tend to stay in our own circles of friends.  I was blessed to spend hours traveling with someone I knew, but didn’t know, if you understand my meaning.  We laughed and cried, and were able to share our hearts with each other. Her heart for God, and her family, inspire me.

 

Things I’m working on…

As always, I am working on consistency.  In my walk with God, in my training of my children, in my housekeeping.  In the goal of consistency, I am currently working on organizing the homeschool shelf in the garage.  If you don’t hear from me in a couple of days, you may need to come and rescue me Smile.  Bring coffee and chocolate to help resuscitate me.

I’m praying for…

Marriages. 

My own, and the marriages of those we know.  I read a quote the other day, “If Satan can destroy your marriage, he has a clear shot at your kids”. 

Oh how that resonated with me!  My husband and I are praying that the trials of a marriage draw our friends together, and to the Lord.  We also pray that we are ready to help if the Lord wills, and that our words be seasoned with Love, Grace and Encouragement from the Lord and not ourselves.

 
A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

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Our own version of the “Sleepless in Seattle” forgotten backpack scene at the Empire State Building.  Just another of the amazing moments we had in NYC last year.

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My Homeschool Mother’s Journal 6.26.11

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

Link up and share your week at The Homeschool Chick

{In my life this week…}

Has been all about the build up to Friday. You see, Friday was the tonsil removal day.  We officially have a child who is missing a portion of his OEM parts.  He already sleeps better even with the swelling.  So we can only go up from here.

{In our homeschool this week…}

Hunter is enjoying his weekly book club.  I enjoy that I don’t have to pester him to read.

{Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…}

do something.  Even just one page of math, is better than nothing, because one day of nothing somehow grows into a week of nothing before you know it.

{My favorite thing this week was…}

While he was on the Pediatric floor recovering, Jeremiah really took a liking to his nurse.  When she came in to tell him that he was well enough to go home….  He looked at her and said, “ But I wuv you.” as if his sweet declaration of love would prompt her to let him stay. 

It was precious. {Things I’m working on… }

Consistency.  Doing the next thing that comes along.  Lots of times I get lost in all the ideas, and lists of things to do….that the more mundane of tasks are set aside. I want my family to receive the best of me.

{I’m reading…}

I just finished Persuasion   by Jane Austen.  What should be next?  Pride and Prejudice?  or Sense and Sensibility?

{I’m grateful for…}

Friends who arrive bearing popsicles, books and robots.  Friends are God’s special gift.

 

 {A photo to share…} A mud bug with Jazz hands…. what does this mean?  Could I have the youngest cast member of Glee living with me?

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Is the Cross the Attraction?

Why is it we do all we do? What is our motivation?   With all our many job descriptions: mommy, wife, homemaker, teacher, laundress, seamstress, and chief boo boo kisser…. our lives are busy, sometimes to the point of distraction……….

 
Recently, I read a book about Amy Carmichael, an amazing missionary woman who ministered in India.  This biography was written by Elizabeth Elliot, an equally amazing woman of God.  To Amy, everything was God’s work.  Changing a diaper, or sweeping a floor, preparing a meal, even laundry, was as important as leading a person to Christ.  It was BECAUSE of her passion for Christ that she did the cleaning and caring.  I was challenged to consider how many times I see these things as separate from God’s work…..instead of the very task He has given me?

As Amy Carmichael labored, caring for the lost temple children of India, she often received letters from those who were looking to come and work with her.  She was ever careful in those she chose to labor with. Her work was hard, unglamorous, full of sickness and pain.  The workers needed to be carefully chosen. She wanted them to have a clear understanding of the work they would be doing. 
Here is a list of questions that Amy asked those applying to work with her on the mission field.  It was said that Amy would sum these questions up with one statement, written to the applicant:  Do not come unless you can say to your Lord and to us, The Cross is the attraction.

I challenge you to answer these questions as if Christ Himself is writing to you….. as an interview to your position of motherhood.

1. Do you truly desire to live a crucified life? ( this may mean doing very humble things joyfully for His Name’s sake.)

2. Does the thought of hardness draw you or repel you?

3. Do you realize that we are a family, not an institution?  Are you willing to do whatever helps most?

4. Apart from the Bible, can you name three or four books which have been of vital help to you?  Apart from books, what refreshes you most when tired?

5. Have you ever learned any classical or continental language?

6. Have you ever had opportunity to prove our Lord’s promise to supply temporal as well as spiritual needs?

7. Can you mention any experience you have passed through in your Christian life which brought you into a new discovery of your union with the crucified, risen, and enthroned Lord?

Do you think your answers would have won you the job?

When reading this list of questions, asked of those who felt called to a life of missionary work, I was compelled to examine my own life and heart for God.

I have often said that raising my children is my mission field, but really, in the middle of the everyday craziness of it, do I act like it? God has given me four precious gifts; to teach, train and admonish in His ways…. but is the cross the attraction to my work?  Do I care for a sick child because I have to?… or do I care for them with Christ’s love?
( I will confess to you that at 3 a.m., when there is a cranky baby up for the 3rd night in a row… or my 8 year old has barfed over the edge of the bunk bed… again.  I am surely not feeling Christ’s love for that child!….  I am selfishly wanting my sleep!) 

I was ashamed, that as I searched and examined my motives behind the countless little things that are done each day………..

Christ was not my attraction. 

I am prone to grumble about the dishes in the sink.  I will roll my eyes and sigh loudly when my teens have walked by the laundry pile for the 7,000th time that afternoon.  I whine to my husband about how I am the only one who does anything around here…..  I am not as selfless as I would like to think.  I needed to be reminded; unless Christ is first, I am just a selfish and bitter mom, playing the role of a martyr, complaining about the work God has given me to do.

As I reflect on The Cross, I need to remember who hung there.

My Savior did. Jesus, God’s son.

One who didn’t deserve a death such as that. 

I know that is the level of sacrifice that is called for from me………..  I need to be THAT selfless, that humble. 

I need to let go of me, and my rights…. and let more of Jesus be seen in the way that I talk to and serve my family.  I need to love my family like I love Jesus. 

Through the humility that was displayed on the cross, I am saved. Saved from having to whine and complain when my laundry is high and my house a mess.  Saved from having to lose it when the school day doesn’t go as planned.

So, I hope that you will join me, in seeking to see the everyday “mom stuff” as the work the Lord has given to you.  It is likely that we will still be the only ones that do anything around here, but we can choose to do it all humbly and joyfully, because we love Christ more than anything else in this world.

***originally posted as a guest post for The Gabby Mom’s Blog ***

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My Homeschool Mother’s Journal 6.14.11

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

better a bit late than not at all I suppose.  Welcome to the Homeschool Mother’s Journal…. SUMMER STYLE.

In my life this week…

My mom and sister were here for a visit last week.  It was great to hang out and laugh with them.  We cooked and shopped for antiques and sat by the river and laughed till we were in tears.  Evan got to drive his aunt’s convertible and loved every second of his job as chauffeur.

In our homeschool this week…

pretty non-existent.  with the family here, who wants to sit and do math?  NOT ME!

I am inspired by…

My husband.  Someday, with his permission, I will share with you why.

Things I’m working on…

I think it is time to organize the ooooze of school material in my garage…. it has slowly began to creep it’s way off the shelf and is slithering across the floor.  It is time to organize it before it reaches the door outside.

I’m reading…

Jane Austen, Persuasion.

I am enjoying it, but it is hard to follow.  Mostly because I am reading it in 5 minute snippets, every few days.  Eventually I will get through it…. maybe by Christmas :)

I’m cooking…

food? 

I’m praying for…

in our morning prayer time, Big Daddy and I are focusing on praying for our friends marriages.  All of us have “stuff” going on, that is unique to our families.  We just pray that our friends will learn to rely on God, and let the “stuff” of life draw them closer to the Lord, and each other.

Until next week…..

~julie

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