Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Homeschooling basics...gee, schooling basics

Okay....having had some time to myself this morning, well, shopping, getting gas, running errands, I had a little time to think about what I need to "stress over" with my kids and school and life. For us, I think it boils down to just a few things really, the rest is all "fluff". So, here goes:

1. That we try to foster an ongoing personal relationship with God for each of our children. We can't control this, but we can encourage them, share the word, pray with and for them, and ultimately, depend on our loving and all powerful Father to draw them to Him. (By the way, as much as we might want this for them, He wants it ever so much more!)

2. Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic! Yep...that's it! While there are college requirements to cover, feel totally at ease just introducing those topics. I don't need them to totally comprehend them. (In fact, I don't think I will ever get the Math to physics, but, the concepts, to me are just plain "common sense" concepts.) With the 3R's I am now confident, having had children of all levels upon entering college, that they can not only get into college, or whatever trade they want, but that they can do well and exceed "expectations" as educational administrators like to say.

3. I also want them to learn to "love life", and what it brings, to enjoy learning, etc. I pray for this, I try to model it. I fail miserably sometimes, but again, I need to leave it in God's hands (although sometimes, being a control freak, that it hard).

Well, there it morning's mind meandering.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My friend "Susie" or random ramblings on GPS Units

I have a friend, her name is Susie.  Well, ummmm, actually, Susie is not a person, in fact, she's not even living.  But, she comes to my rescue day after day after day after...well, I think you get the point. 

Susie is actually the voice on the GPS service we buy from Verizon.  For me, I habitually get lost, even in places I've lived and been.  Why is this?  Well, when someone is not in the car with me, I get to thinking about what I have to do next, or singing, or praying, or daydreaming or...who knows?!  When people are with me, I get distracted while talking to them, and often pass my exit, etc.  Occasionally they remind me, which is helpful!

Part of the problem is, that when I get off track, I usually decide, "Oh well, I can just turn here, and work my way to where I was going a different way."  Why oh why do I do that?!!!!  I NEVER end up the right way.  I NEVER end up turning in the right direction.  When I should be going left, I usually pick right; when I should be going right, I pick left. 

On the topic of North, South, East, and West; the only time I can pick the right way is if it is sunset or sunrise, and only if it is not cloudy.  Most of the time, I am sure roads are going a different direction than they really are.  And then here in Florida, there are lakes to drive around.  There are freeways that are marked East/West, while they are really North/South.

Okay, back to Susie.  Today, on Facebook, one of my friends commented on how everyone's GPS has been given a girl's name.  Well, I suppose that most GPS units and services use a woman's voice to communicate with us poor, directionless individuals.  Maybe the providers assume that mostly women are using the devices and would prefer to hear a woman.  However, I think a soothing male voice would be good.

I just heard a study that said that women are more likely to remember something if it is spoken in a lower voice.   I'm thinking that to James Earl Jones' voice is perfect for this sort of situation!  His voice is so much more soothing than a higher voice.  I'm thinking that it would calm the panic of those of us who are lost and trying to find our way.  I'm thinking it would keep up was yelling back at our "Susies" when she tells us either recalculating route (I get that a lot, because even with Susie, I decide on "short cuts"), or "take the next legal U turn".

Maybe we can petition for an app. from James Earl Johns......

Saturday, May 28, 2011

"Count it all Joy"

Some thoughts of mine from a study I'm doing with my homeschooling Mom friends on James.

James 1:1-11 (New King James Version)

1 James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,

 To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: 

Greetings.2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. 

9 Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, 10 but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away. 11 For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.
 I find these verses tremendously encouraging.  Trials are a part of this sinful world we find ourselves in, and yet, God uses them to not only make us "perfect" in Him, but to bless us and teach us and take us to our knees, where we should be anyway, to seek Him for direction and wisdom and yes, blessings.   

While I was reading this passage and the comments, I couldn't help thinking of these verses in Matthew 7:7-11

 " Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.  Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!"

I especially think about how God is our loving Father, who only wants the very best for us. 

I also think about how, as I pray, God moves in my heart to trust Him and not doubt Him.  It often takes time in prayer, and God seems to fill me with confidence.  Even if I don't get the "outcome" I am looking for. 

I have also been thinking about the verses in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18,

"Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. "

These seem to go with the "count it all joy" idea.  I can think of no time in my life that this was harder than when we lost our daughter.  I don't talk about it much, but it seems appropriate here.  She died the Saturday before Thanksgiving several years ago.  While, of course, it was incredibly hard, I am so thankful that God planned events the way he did.  When Thanksgiving day rolled around, and I knew the above verses, and knowing that joy and rejoicing were a choice, not a "happy" emotion, I spent time in the bathroom, on the floor, crying and just verbally thanking God for every little thing that had happened.  In so doing, God was able to minister to me and remind me that he has a plan and is in control.  It brought me great comfort and freedom.

While this is a severe situation, sometimes I think I forget to chose to be thankful in the little trials.  I get irritated, etc., instead of "counting it all joy".  And, somehow, by counting it all joy, I think that helps take away the doubt, freeing me to ask God with sincerity.  It is a process and it is difficult, and yet, therein my faith is renewed and God is able to bless freely...even in the midst of a trial....

Would that I would ALWAYS count it all joy!

Monday, May 9, 2011

"Listen to the Sound"

A friend on facebook shared this today and it encouraged, passing it on..
may it encourage you too!

Are you in over your head
Are you in water so deep you're drowning
Do you think you've been left
And there is no one to feel your hurting
Well, everybody has been there
...And everybody's felt lost
If you're in over your head
Lift it up, lift it up

Oh, listen to the sound of hope that's rising
Up over your horizon
Listen to the sound, listen to the sound
And listen to the sound of a new beginning
Oh, this is where the old is ending
Listen to the sound, listen to the sound

I hear you say you're alone
I hear you saying that you'll never make it
I've got to tell you you're wrong
'Cause I have been down this path you're taking
You never know what faith is
'Til you don't understand
Sometimes it takes a silence
To finally hear His plan

Oh, listen to the sound of hope that's rising
Up over your horizon
Listen to the sound, listen to the sound
And listen to the sound of a new beginning
Oh, this is where the old is ending
Listen to the sound, listen to the sound

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
I once was lost, but now I'm found
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
I once was lost, but now I'm found

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
I once was lost, but now I'm found
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
I once was lost, but now I'm found

Oh, listen to the sound of hope that's rising
Up over your horizon
Listen to the sound, listen to the sound
And listen to the sound of a new beginning
Oh, this is where the old is ending
Listen to the sound, listen to the sound

His Grace is reaching for us
His Grace is reaching out
Listen to the sound, listen to the sound
Wherever you are

His Grace is reaching for us
His Grace is reaching out
Listen to the sound, listen to the sound
Wherever you are

Sunday, May 8, 2011

"Sweet Hour of Prayer"

I've been honored to be able to study the book of Habakkuk with a group of online friends that has become quite a community.  Anyway, I was particularily encouraged by this week's study on Habakkuk 3 and thought I would share my thoughts with you all as well.  I also want to preface it with the following verse from Habakkuk 1:5.  Hoping you all enjoy the relationship we have  or can have with our creator!

"Look among the nations! Observe!
Be astonished! Wonder!
Because I am doing something in your days--
You would not believe if you were told."

Habakkuk 3

As I read the following verses, I was thrilled and filled with excitement
and expectancy...looking forward to the future!

3God comes from Teman,
And the Holy One from Mount Paran Selah
His splendor covers the heavens,
And the earth is full of His praise.
4His radiance is like the sunlight;
He has rays flashing from His hand,
And there is the hiding of His power.

These verses encouraged my heart once again...surely the Word of God is
living and active, seeing how the same verses can move my heart, emotions, being..

17Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
18Yet I will exult in the LORD,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
19The Lord GOD is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds' feet,
And makes me walk on my high places.

I think the book of Habakkuk is so exciting because it shows the human process in response to life. It show how he struggles with the things that God allows, but I think one of the important things is that he brings it to the Lord. As he does, we see how God brings truths to mind and reassures Habakkuk of who God is, that He (the Lord) is in charge, that He is trustworthy, that He has a bigger plan. Sometimes, I "know" these things, but, until I labor in prayer, wrestle even, I think I often miss God and His gentle words to me, His spirit reassuring me.

I am reminded of the old hymn, which I just read through again, and it seems so applicable:

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
That calls me from a world of care,
And bids me at my Father’s throne
Make all my wants and wishes known.
In seasons of distress and grief,
My soul has often found relief,
And oft escaped the tempter’s snare,
By thy return, sweet hour of prayer!

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
The joys I feel, the bliss I share,
Of those whose anxious spirits burn
With strong desires for thy return!
With such I hasten to the place
Where God my Savior shows His face,
And gladly take my station there,
And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
Thy wings shall my petition bear
To Him whose truth and faithfulness
Engage the waiting soul to bless.
And since He bids me seek His face,
Believe His Word and trust His grace,
I’ll cast on Him my every care,
And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
May I thy consolation share,
Till, from Mount Pisgah’s lofty height,
I view my home and take my flight.
This robe of flesh I’ll drop, and rise
To seize the everlasting prize,
And shout, while passing through the air,
“Farewell, farewell, sweet hour of prayer!”

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Obedience, Respect and Honor or...enjoy the process

By the way, this blog is a little random in nature, but here it is anyway...

How is it that we "obey" God, our parents, our bosses, our spouses, the law, etc...and what is with this word "obey" anyway?!  

The Bible has a lot to say about obedience, from obeying God's commands directly to obedience or our parents or our bosses.  Yet, what does that mean?  We all know we have all lied...broken some or all of God's do we practically "obey"?

I think, in part, it is in the process. It is in how we choose to approach what we do, how we do it, the attitude we reflect.  We will all fail, we will all fall. Yet, we can choose to "obey" in our attitude.  Are we trusting that God can work, yes, even our failures out for "good"?  Are we reflecting the "same attitude at Christ Jesus":

 Philippians 2
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
 6 Who, being in very nature[a] God,
   did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
   by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
   being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
   he humbled himself
   by becoming obedient to death—
      even death on a cross!

Are we considering others ahead of our actions, our attitudes, remembering that we are all on this "rock" working through life together?

 Philippians 2
1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

When we work to have the right attitude, we obey.  We show our honor and respect to God, to our parents, to our bosses, to each other.  We show that we value others when we choose to have right attitudes.  To choose otherwise shows our shallowness and self-centeredness.  

I struggle with this, we all do.  We tend to think of our feelings and how people are not considering us, how things are not working out the way we planned, how we wish this or that could be different.  We forget to embrace the moment, to enjoy each day.  We forget how much we have!  Those who don't lose sight of this can find joy even in the most horrible circumstances, places we can't even imagine.  From those places, great people have found amazing joy...even from the confines of a prison cell...even when facing death, cancer, loss,...they continue to have hope, they continue to have an attitude that reflects great joy and faith.  

May we all obey by having an attitude that reflects our creator.

Some final thoughts that encourage me...

Hebrews 12

 1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
God Disciplines His Children
 4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,
   “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
   and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
   and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No 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.
 12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,”[b] so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.

James 1

 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. 9 Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. 10 But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.
 12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
 13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
 16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
Listening and Doing
 19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. 22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
 26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

1 John 3

 1 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears,[a] we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

Friday, February 18, 2011

"The Race"

Well, I've been thinking a lot of how to encourage our children who are athletes.  They are all incredibly talented, and yet, such perfectionists.  That perfectionism seems to get in the way at times as they are so hard on themselves, and, at times, don't have a realistic view of where they are, or how God is working in and hopefully through them.  As their mom, sometimes I struggle, wanting to say the right things, encourage them, give them a pep talk, etc.  Often, I feel like I fall miserably short (hmmmm....maybe there is a link there, eh?).  

I started thinking about how one might visualize what they are doing and having the Triune God there supporting their endeavors.  While maybe terribly simplistic, this is what I came up with: 

Holly has a race this weekend.  And, I was envisioning that it was a race toward heaven.  As Holly races to  the finish line, God, the Father is standing, expectantly, excitedly, with His arms open wide, ready to scoop Holly into His arms, swing her around in a circle (like any dad does with his little girl!) and tell her what a good job she did, how proud he is of her and how very much he loves her.  At the sideline is Jesus, coaching and cheering her on; "You got this Holly!"  "You can do this!"  "You can do all things!"  He is excited too, knowing that the Holy Spirit is right there with her, encouraging her;  "We can do strength is made perfect in weakness...God gets the glory!!"  The stands are full of the heavenly host, all cheering Holly and God!! 

Feel Inspired?!  I do.  This is how it is with our life, REALLY!  

Feel Challenged?!  I do.  I want to "run" my life with a childlike faith that desires to please her father, whose faith is such that it leads me and takes me the distance.  I want to impact others in a positive way that gives glory to where or to whom it belongs.  

I know I fall so short, yet, God's arms are still outstretched and he is rejoicing.  Jesus is still leading and coaching, reminding me that it's not me, it's Him.  And the Holy Spirit is there, gently reminding me, guiding my steps, redirecting me each time a stray.  So, I am encouraged.

Run the race in such a way as to win.....

P.S.  First of all, do you do P.S.'s in blogs?  I guess you do now!  Hope you don't mind Holly! :) Love you!  Also, this blog makes me extremely nervous, as I do not often post thoughts like this too many places.  But, sometimes you "just gotta"!  

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

worst run ever...well it would have been

Today I had the WORST RUN EVER....well it would have been, but I was inspired by my trainer, Helga, my marine type boy, and by the story of the Tortoise and the Hare and the Snail swirling around in my brain....that and given the fact that I was keeping my eyes peeled for the fairy from Pinnochio, who I know is around, due to the fact that so many of the plastic birds on metal posts that people usually put in their yards were walking around!!!  Seriously, you should see them!!!

Anyway, I ran around 1 1/4 miles and my lungs seized up.  I ended up walking 1/4 of a mile, about 3 blocks, feeling awful!!  Then, I thought, I just need to run home.  Then, I ran a little longer, wanting to make up that 1/4 of a mile.  Then, I thought Helga might tell me to run/walk the last mile, so I started out running, slowly, and lo and behold, I kept running, slowly, and made it another 1 and 1/4 miles.  Way to go Helga!!

Well, you are probably still stuck back on the

You all know the story of the Tortoise and the Hare...and that the Tortoise won and the Hare was surprised!!  Well, everyone calls it a day and moves on to the next tale.  What they don't know is that at the starting line, when the gun went off, there was also a snail.  They all thought the snail was just "there".  But really, the snail had joined in the race.  Only he was really, really SLOW.  He had spent all winter snug in his shell, trying to stay warm.  He hadn't worked out like he should, and he had DEFINITELY had TOO MUCH fried food while he had company!  But, he decided that there was "no time like the present" to the races.

When the gun went off, he started with the other two, but he went out too fast, and he realized he had forgotten some of his running gear, like his "shell" brace.   However, he was afraid to go back, because he knew himself, and he knew that, if he went back now, he would probably just curl up in his shell and call it a day.  So, on he ran...on and on and on...slowly, ever so slowly...he even felt ill and thought he was going to be sick.

Finally, he made it to the finish line.  There wasn't anyone there to cheer, but he didn't mind.  He hadn't run the race to have fans, but rather, to help get himself fit.  He had the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that comes from "gutting it out".  He moved to the nearest tree, cleaned up and rested....content......

So, as Paul Harvey always said...."now you know the rest of the story"!!