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."

Monday, August 27, 2012

Needless Fears

As we begin our third week of the new school year, I can say that we are officially back in the swing of things!  Despite my once-a-year fear about how in the world I'm ever going to handle the next school year, our first two weeks have gone amazingly well.

My biggest fear with the approaching of this school year was that I would now be down to just one more year before I would have to add two more kids to the homeschool mix.  I had no idea what homeschooling four children at three different levels would look like, and not feeling at all ready for such a challenge, I fully intended to wait until next year to face it.

That's what I intended, but it's not what happened.

Somehow, instead of teaching just two again this year, I've ended up teaching all four.  Granted, school for my 3-year olds is mostly about them developing better listening and other developmental skills and tolerating an increased level of structure; but, it is education nonetheless... and more than what I thought I could handle.  However, to my initial surprise, I'm handling it well.  The credit sure doesn't go to me, though.  What was I so worried about?!  Of course God would give me the wisdom and grace I need for the moment.  It is only because of Him that this, my most feared year of homeschooling yet, has so far been the best and most fulfilling.  I can say that I truly look forward to the coming weeks with absence of fear, for I know that His grace is sufficient.

Monday, August 13, 2012

You Might be a Homeschooler If...

You might be a homeschooler if...
  1. Your heart beats with rapid excitement as you purchase and prepare school supplies for the new year.
  2. You choose to sharpen old crayons instead of buying new ones because you have to draw the line on new supplies somewhere.
  3. You spend part of Date Night with your husband sitting in Barnes & Noble reading through your new Instructor's Guides.
  4. You have to strategically organize your bookshelves just to make everything fit.
  5. You know as the school year approaches that your house is probably the cleanest it's going to be for the next nine months.
  6. You didn't have to add "clothing," "backpacks," or "gift for teacher" to your shopping list (but you may have purchased the teacher an electronic dictionary...).
  7. You see a useful page in a workbook, and you pull out your handy dandy laminator.
  8. You know what HSLDA and CPI stand for.
  9. Your Kindergartner still takes naps.
  10. Your kids don't "go" to school--they "do" school.

Happy first day of school to us! :-)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Family Pictures 2012

(L to R) Amariah, Angela, Isabel, Abel, Elliana, Travis

(L to R) Elliana, Abel, Isabel, Amariah

Abel Ray, 6 years

Amariah Grace, 5 years

Isabel Hope, 3 years

Elliana Faith, 3 years

(L to R) Elliana and Isabel

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Beautiful Hindsight

My husband and I are in the middle of a three-week Spiritual Gifts class at our church, and boy has it been eye-opening!  I can't help but feel like God is just waiting to nudge me in the direction He has in mind for me, not because of anything I'm learning about myself but because of what I'm learning about Him.  With each assessment or exercise we've done in the process of identifying our spiritual gift(s), one thing has been validated time and again:  God is near, and He always has been.  Despite the times I have felt like I'm just blindly going through the motions, or the times when my belief has been sustained purely by faith and not by sight, God was there.  He hasn't left me.

Do you ever just go back and look at the big picture of your life thus far?  I hadn't really, until recently.  Seven or eight weeks ago I was working on my homework from Beth Moore's James: Mercy Triumphs Bible study.  On this particular day, she asked us to choose a period of time from our own lives that had proved to be very strategic in our journeys toward or with Christ and then to make a timeline of that period of our lives.  She told us that this exercise would "remind [us] how faithful and intentional [our] God has been toward [us]," and she was right.  I was so blessed to see in hindsight the progression of my Christian growth and how it was all because of God being intimately involved in my life every step of the way.

Again today God reminded me of His nearness as I completed some homework for my Spiritual Gifts class.  The exercise was to list my top five to seven most meaningful and positive life experiences and to explain why each one meant so much to me--and then to search for any recurring themes among them. I listed five things that would at first glance seem fairly disconnected.  But as I looked at why these experiences were so meaningful to me, I saw a common thread running through them all.  All five experiences had resulted in a validation of God's nearness.

I am humbled to think that the God of the universe wants to be with me.  I am overwhelmed by the thought of Him knowing me intimately and having specific purposes for my life.  As the Psalmist said, "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain" (Psalm 139:6 NIV).

I know full well that taking a Spiritual Gifts class is not necessarily going to bring upon me some grand epiphany that will suddenly alter the course of my life.  But I also know well that this is all part of the beautiful process of walking with God through life.  Slowly, patiently, and purposefully He is molding me into the woman He wants me to be.  The most I can attain to in the meantime is to simply cooperate with Him in the process.

"The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth." (Psalm 145:18)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Kids Say, vol. 15

Amariah:  "My foot fell asleep."
Me:  "That's because you're sitting on it."
Amariah:  "No, it's because it got really comfy."


Earlier this week, the kids all had their first ever routine eye exam.  Isabel was particularly intrigued by a model of an eyeball that was sitting on the desk in the exam room, so I was explaining to her that that is what the eye looks like if you could take it out.  Truly wanting to know, she asked with a hint of excitement, "How do you take your eye out?!"


Amariah, praying during family devotions:  "Dear God, thank You that Mommy and Daddy love each other.  Amen."

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I Was a Basket(less) Case

I did something today that I haven't done in six years.  I've known the time was coming; and, while that maybe should have just purely excited me, I've instead had mixed feelings at the thought of its approach.  To say the least, today proved that those mixed feelings were well founded.  That's right.... Shopping without a stroller is kinda nice.  And then again, it's kinda not....

Think back, fellow moms, to when your first child came along.  The only way you could get out of the house with your precious new baby was to take a stroller along, right?!  Suddenly, you had to relearn how to navigate the mall.  Opening doors became a magic feat involving parts of your body that had never before been used for such a task.  And the impossible undertaking of navigating through the aisles of crowded stores without catching tires and knocking garments off racks made you wonder if you really needed to get out of the house all that badly after all.  And then when the second child, complete with a double stroller, came along... forget about it.

But... on the other hand... navigation difficulties aside... you found out there are some perks of shopping with a stroller.... You know that handy little cup holder that made you feel like it was okay to take a drink with you into stores?  And that blessed little basket that held all manner of things including coats and purses and shopping bags and whatever else you didn't want to carry?  Yeah, maybe shopping with a stroller isn't such a bad thing after all....

And that is just where I was at.  After six years of pushing single strollers, double strollers, umbrella strollers, and hating every wheel-twisted moment of it, I sort of fell in love.  I knew that.  What I didn't know (until today) is that I forgot how to shop without one.  Today, I successfully abandoned a shopping bag from one store at the cash register of another; left items I intended to purchase... and my purse... sitting unattended and forgotten in the middle of a third store; and deserted McKenna, Amariah's $100 American Girl doll, in the dressing room of the same.  If not for the honesty of the finders (and my success in creating a fabulous family picture ensemble :-)), I would say my first stroller-less shopping trip in six years was an utter failure.  At least it was just my stuff I couldn't keep track of and not my kids....

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