Titus 2:11-13

"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus."

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Homeschooling: Bonding While Learning!

We are now in our sixth week of homeschooling with Sonlight, and while the initial over-excitement which drove Abel to lay out the next day's special clothes every night at bedtime and to urgently wake me up in the morning with, "School, Mom!" has worn off, all of us are still looking forward to--and loving--every moment of school.

As I was telling Travis a few days ago, I can tell that homeschooling has already been good for our family.  Abel and Amariah both seem to be becoming more well-mannered, Amariah is becoming more self-motivated and more articulate, and Isabel and Elliana are becoming book-lovers by observation.  All of this, I believe, directly relates to the increased amount of purposeful time the kids and I are spending together (which is, of course, a perk for me, too!).

It is in part this purposeful togetherness which the Sonlight curriculum fosters that has made homeschooling such a blessing and enjoyment to us all.  The time we spend side-by-side on the couch with a stack of great books has become for all of us a special time of bonding, learning, laughing, and loving; and I wouldn't trade that for the world!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Few Changes

I've been busy... messing with my blog, that is! After 2 1/2 years, "Angela's Blog" finally has a name. :-) Eternal Outlook is the name of the website that houses both Travis' blog and mine and was in fact named such based on the content and focus of our blogs. Therefore, it only seems appropriate that angela.eternaloutlook.com also be named "Eternal Outlook." Check out my new About Me page, linked at the top of my blog header, for a brief explanation of my blog's new name! Also accessible from that link bar is My Bookshelf--books I have read or am currently reading and which I highly recommend--and My Testimony.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Lesson Learned

This morning I was excited to go to church. Having missed the service for the past three Sundays due first to being out of town and then to illness, I was extra ready to worship God in the corporate setting today.

After a great morning of waking up to smiling faces, coming downstairs to an already prepared breakfast (Thank you, honey!), and leaving the house ON TIME (even a little early!), we arrived at church a happy family. Travis and I worked together to get the kids dropped off in their respective classes, and somewhere in the midst of that, I lost track of him. Not sure where he had gone, I hesitantly headed on in to the sanctuary and remained standing in the back, knowing that, wherever he was, he would find me there.

In a short while, he caught up with me, making his way into the sanctuary; and we found a seat as the worship service began. Out of curiosity, I leaned over and whispered to Travis, "What happened to you?" His less than gracious reply came just as the congregation was asked to stand and join in singing. Travis stood, but I didn't. I didn't feel like it. I was "hurt" and "offended" and I "didn't deserve" to be treated that way and the last thing I wanted to do was to stand and worship God and get over it and blah, blah, blah.... So I sat and sang half-heartedly while I wrestled with the irony of how excited I had been to gather with the Church in worship and yet how unwilling I momentarily felt to participate in it.

At the end of that song, the congregation was told to be seated; and as Travis took his seat next to me, I coldly turned my shoulder from him and refused to let my eyes meet his, all the while thinking, "I'm going to make him realize that he mistreated me!" I sat there like that, separated from my husband by the invisible wall I had constructed between us, when suddenly God spoke to my heart. "Stop trying to be his conscience. Don't you believe Me?" Immediately, I repented of my actions and my attitude and silently resolved to let it go and to let God deal with Travis IF he saw fit. Exactly following that instant, Travis leaned over and put his arm around me, pulling me to him in what felt to me like a silent apology. I smiled inside as I thanked God for His timing, realizing that apologies are so much better when made and accepted with right hearts.

Tonight, I picked up Created to Be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl and began reading from the chapter at which I had left off many months ago. Chapter 7 is entitled "Wisdom--While There is Yet Hope." A couple pages into this chapter, I read, "When God gave Eve to Adam, he was giving him a helper, not a conscience. Adam already had a conscience before his wife was created" (pg. 67); and I smiled at God. A few pages later, Debi poses the question, "Were you mad at your husband this week over something he did, like... speaking to you rudely...? Did you seethe with bitterness and intentionally avoid looking into his eyes so as to express your disdain? You know what I am talking about. You remember the ugliness of your own heart and soul" (pg. 72). Yes, I did remember. And, I smiled at God again.

That same chapter is subtitled with the following statement: "A wise woman is always learning. She is open to change. She is ready to hear. She pursues knowledge."

Thank You, God, for giving me the wisdom to HEAR and to CHANGE. And thank You for forgiving the ugliness of my heart this morning!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Grace and Good Medicine

It must be that time of year again. Everyone seems to have illnesses running through their families. We had our round of it last week. Each of the kids took his/her turn running fevers and requiring a lot of extra rest; and with my motherly love and compassion kicked into high gear as I cuddled and comforted my sick children, I found myself praying, "Please, God. Let me not get sick."

When I was growing up and would come down with an illness, I remember my own mom always saying, "Oh, I'd give anything to be the one sick instead of you." How selfless! How loving! But that's not what I was saying to my kids. It broke my heart to see them not feeling well, but the thought of me feeling like they did scared me. After all, mommies don't get Sick Days. "God, please let me not get sick. How will I care for these four kids if I get sick?"

Well, sure enough, I got sick. I knew for sure when I went to bed Sunday night that things weren't looking good. Travis would be back to work the next day, and I would be on my own with four small, dependent children. The thought of having to serve them when I knew all I would want to do is lay around and sleep brought a feeling a dread. My prayer turned from "God, please let me not get sick" to "God, please give me grace to get through this."

Sure enough, He did (and is). When Travis got to work Monday morning with the hopes of being able to come home early to help me, he discovered that his office was having Internet issues and had only four working ports for five people. They actually needed someone to leave and to work from home so that everyone would have Internet connection. So, Travis headed home around noon and picked up lunch for all of us on his way. I fed myself and went straight back to the couch to sleep while Travis did my job and his own. Thank You, God, for giving me grace!

Tuesday morning I still wasn't feeling any better, and I knew there was no chance of Travis being able to stay home. However, by God's grace, the kids slept in about an hour later than usual and then compliantly laid down for naps only three hours later when I just couldn't stay awake any longer. And, the same scenario played out today, as well. Thank You, God, for giving me grace!

This evening, it was the cheerful phone call from my friend Amber and the joy and laughter of my children through which God's grace came. Tonight, I truly experienced the truth of Proverbs 17:22a: "A joyful heart is good medicine." Thank You, God, for giving me grace--and good medicine!

I'm still not feeling up to par, but tomorrow is a new day! Instead of dreading it, I will be rejoicing in it! For, God has shown me once again that, "The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:22-23)!

Friday, September 17, 2010

15-Month Stats

Wednesday I took Isabel and Elliana to their 15-month well child exams.  Their stats are as follows!

Isabel (15 months)
Weight:  16 lbs 9.8 oz (< 3rd percentile)
Height:  29 in (10th-25th percentile)
Head Circumference:  45 cm (25th percentile)

Elliana (15 months)
Weight:  19 lbs 8.2 oz (5th percentile)
Height:  30 1/2 in (50th percentile)
Head Circumference:  46 cm (50th percentile)

I've been wondering how Isabel and Elliana's sizes compare to our older daughter Amariah (who was also small at birth even though born at 39 4/7 weeks gestation); so I pulled out Amariah's 12-month and 15-month stats.  So, just for fun...

Amariah (12 months)
Weight:  18 lbs 12 oz (10th-25th percentile)
Height:  29 in (50th percentile)

Amariah (15 months)
Weight:  21 lbs (10th-25th percentile)
Height:  30 1/2 in (50th percentile)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Last night, when my husband walked in the house tired from his 14-hour work day, he hugged me and said, "Thanks for working hard."  Blessed and humbled by his acknowledgement of my equally long day of cooking, homeschooling, laundry, chiropractor appointments, and caring for four children (two of whom were sick), I replied, "Thank you for working hard."  Still hugging me, he said, "We're a team, right?"

It's true.  We are a team.  If Travis didn't get up every morning and go to work and give his best for his .boss/co-workers/colleagues/clients and then come home at night and continue giving his best for his wife/children/home, I couldn't get up every morning and give my best for my husband/children/home by staying at home to raise our children and to care for the affairs of our household.  Likewise, if I didn't give my best by taking responsibility to mother our children and to feed and clothe my family, etc., Travis couldn't be his best when he gets up and goes to work every morning.  So, not only do I say that we are a team; but I also say that it takes a team--especially with a family of six.

Considering the big-ish size of our family, I would say that our household runs fairly smoothly.  I say this not to boast (Our family is far from perfect, and some days "smooth" just means we are running too slowly to notice the bumps!) but merely to make the point that teamwork in a family really does make a difference in the overall operation--and atmosphere--of the home.

As I see it, teamwork in a family simply means loving one another.  What does that look like?  John 15:13 says, "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends."  And how do you do that?  Philippians 2:3-4 says, "Do nothing from selfish or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others."

This is, of course, easier said than done.  It's hard to deny self.  When Travis asks me to prepare him a snack at 10:30 p.m., after I have in my mind "checked out" for the night, a joyful jumping-to-it isn't always my first response.  But, when I stop and consider the meaning of my life, I am compelled to make that plate of nachos with joy, knowing that I am fulfilling the second greatest commandment to "love [my] neighbor as [my]self" (Matthew 22:39).  (Do I fix myself something to eat when I'm hungry?  You bet I do!)

I find it interesting that, although we do consciously work to instill this mindset of "regarding others as more important than yourself" in our children, they seem to--at least at their young age--do this by nature.  Not only do they play on Mommy and Daddy's team (doing chores or favors); they also team up with each other.  Here are a couple snapshots of some "teamwork" that happened in our house this morning.
The "A Team" playing Go Fish, working together to play by the rules and to create fun

I guess that makes them the "B Team."...
Isabel (L) spent most of her morning on the couch keeping her sick sister Elliana (R) company.

And, just for fun, one more portrayal of "team" work...
Travis and Abel on their annual father-son Cardinals baseball trip

I am pretty thankful to be on such a loving team!
(L to R) Abel, Isabel, Elliana, and Amariah

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Lead Me

From the moment I married my husband I have been thankful to God for giving him to me.  But, as with any other blessing, there are times that I unknowingly slip into taking him for granted--failing to realize just how blessed I am to be his wife.

This past weekend, I listened to a song I've "heard" several times before; and as I really listened to the lyrics for the first time (with tears in my eyes, I might add), I realized once again just how thankful I am to have married a man who truly strives to be all that God has called him to be.  Thank You, God, for leading Travis; and, thank you, Travis, for leading me....

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...