Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Worth the Dedication of Years

This is a snippit from Diana Waring, inspired while touring a castle in Toronto. She writes:

>> This spectacular building had equally spectacular furnishings, the work of many master craftsmen who had labored long and lovingly over wood or stone or canvas. In a later blog, I wrote:

". . . as I considered the rare beauty of the handcrafted piece before me, the Lord gave me a precious insight--this was a marvelous depiction of what homeschooling is all about! Our children are NOT taught in a factory-type environment when we homeschool. Neither are we looking for "instant" results. Instead, we have taken the stand that this child and that child are worth the dedication of years of our lives. We have committed ourselves to patiently handcrafting their education and their character training. We carefully seek to discover the giftings, talents and passions of our precious and unique children. We prayerfully consider the right path to take with each one. Just as the master craftsman works with the individual strengths and weaknesses of a piece of wood that he is fashioning, so we work with the individual strengths and weaknesses of each of our children, lovingly building them up as we recognize and work with their uniqueness." <<

A well-stated mission statement for home-educating!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Stop the negative thoughts!

I strongly believe that one of the biggest/worst ways a woman can "tear her house down with her own hands" (Proverbs 14:1) is through her thought-life.  Dwelling on negative thoughts is acidic, and it will rob your joy and destroy your view of your husband, your children, and more.  (Trust me, I know this from experience.)

It is so much better to take our negative thoughts captive and replace them with God's life-giving truths!

Here is a snippit on this topic from a three-part series called "Are They Fighting?" from the Titus 2 blog, written by Teri Maxwell.*

>> What you do with your thoughts can make all the difference in your responses to your children when they are not being nice to each other. Second Corinthians 10:5 tells us to take our thoughts captive and bring them into the obedience of Christ.

That means you can think, “I hate it when my children fight with each other. They know better. I am sick and tired of having to deal with them time after time, day after day.” Or you can think, “Lord Jesus, I am so blessed to be the mother of these children. Thank You for entrusting them to me. Help me, Lord, to direct their thoughts and their behavior to express the love You want them to have for each other. Lord Jesus, I know You are working in their lives, and You are working in my life. Thank You, thank You, thank You, Jesus.”

Which thoughts do you believe will help you have a patient and loving attitude toward your children when you correct them for wrong behavior? Which thoughts will give you stamina and determination to be consistent in working with your children? Which thoughts will allow you to put a smile on your face and move on with your day positively after a situation with the children?

I can attest to having done it both ways, and I was way more successful and way happier with myself when I took the route of the second set of thoughts. The first set hurtled me into a pit of self-pity from which it was almost impossible to climb out. The second set put my mind on the Lord Jesus, the gratitude He tells me to have, and the possibility of a brighter future. <<

* Teri Maxwell is the mother of eight children, grandma of seven, and she began homeschooling in 1985. All of her children have graduated from homeschool, and three are married. Teri is blessed to be able to share her heart at homeschool conferences and has been writing monthly articles of encouragement for moms since 1990.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Life is hard, but God is good.

When I think too much about what I perceive are my life's hardships [i.e. become too introspective] this is where my thoughts go:

Why is this so hard? 

What did I do to deserve this? 

If I had made this choice differently x number of years ago, would I have avoided this hardship today? 

If I dwell in that place too long, it is damaging to my joy.

Well, here is a thought-provoking excerpt from a blog called Compared to Who? written by a Christian gal named Heather Creekmore. This is from her post, What Do You Do When it Hurts?

I love the Olympics. I am amazed by the participants. Watching the gymnasts, swimmers, divers, runners, rowers, and athletic powerhouses in every category of competition is impressive. It’s thrilling to see them make it to this moment and, in many cases, to watch them win.

But, I wonder. Could they have ever made it to that medal stand without pain? If they had trained “hurt free” for decades, would they have ever had the opportunity to compete for gold? How many times did those gymnasts fall from the uneven bars? How many years did those swimmers’ arms’ ache after nine hours of training in the pool? How many missed twists off the 10 meter caused a sting to the diver’s body? How many times have these athletes been treated for torn ligaments, strained muscles, or even broken bones? How many times has it hurt SO bad that they questioned whether or not they should continue?

My thought for the day is that working out, if done well, is not pain-free. If you want to succeed as an athlete. There will be pain.

Same with life. Somewhere, somehow, we got the impression that because we are Americans life will be pain free. As Christians we take that one step further, believing that because we have God on our side we are even more immunized from hurt. If it makes you say “ouch” we quickly search for an escape. We assume we should be able to get away because, surely, that’s not what God has for us. We “claim” the Bible verses that speak to God’s protection as our shields against enduring hardships. We ignore the verses that promise things like, “we will be persecuted” (John 15:18-21) or you, “will have trouble” (John 16:33). Even the oft-quoted 23rd Psalm mentions going through the “valley of the shadow of death.”

What we miss is that the promise is that God is with us through the hurt. It is not that life will be pain-free. The promise is that He will never leave us, nor forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5) That He will be with us as we walk through that dark, dark valley. (Psalm 23:4) The promise is that we have no reason to fear because we know God is in control.

I'll be honest.  I want my life to be pain-free. Without annoyances.  No inconveniences. Where everything goes my way.  And since it's summertime, I'll say I'm tired of pulling weeds! both literally and proverbially.  *wink*

But Heather Creekmore is right—do I/we ignore the Bible verses that indicate we will have troubles in this life?  In fact, 1 Peter 4:12 says, "Dear friends, don't be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you."  (That whole chapter gives excellent perspective and encouragement, by the way!)

But she is also right as she points out where our hope needs to lie: in God's promises (especially the ones in bold print above).  He will not leave us!  I love John 16:33—"In this world you will have trouble, but take heart for I have overcome the world!"  Our Savior, Jesus, cares for us—and He wins the battle in the end—and you can take heart in that! :)

(There's also the aspect that troubles and trials build character— halleluiah! our trials are not wasted!— and for that, I call God the Great Recycler!  But that's another post....)

Friday, June 19, 2015

When you just want to quit...

I don't necessarily agree with all the viewpoints presented in the Huffington Post... but I thought this post was particularly grace-filled!

When You Just Want to Quit Being A Mom

Don't give up, Mama.  It's gonna work out alright.  Do the next right thing, and trust Jesus...

"We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan."
~Romans 8:28 (The Voice)

Friday, May 22, 2015

Thinking long-range...

" In our hurry to solve the crisis of the hour, we often fail to consider the long-range consequences of our short-term solutions."

-Liz Curtis Higgs

Sunday, May 10, 2015

THM Vanilla Cake-in-a-Bowl

I recently read the book Trim Healthy Mama, by Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett. My primary interest is keeping blood sugar levels stable—although achieving and maintaining a healthy weight are welcome benefits as well!  (At a physical about 6 months ago, my fasting blood sugar tested at 100, and the healthy range is 60-100!)  One of the primary things this book addresses is how glucose and insulin affect the way a person's body stores fat.
So I was watching a video done by the THM gals (Serene and Pearl)—they have a new "Baking Blend" of coconut flour, almond flour, ground flax seed, etc.—and they were demonstrating a recipe for a lemon cake.  Well, I'm not a huge lemon lover... so I modified it and made vanilla cake (in a bowl—yes, in the microwave) and topped it with strawberries!  Here's the recipe....
Vanilla Cake-in-a-Bowl
1 egg
3 tsp. THM Sweet Blend
1 tsp. butter (I used some oil)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3 Tbsp. THM Baking Blend

Stir together well in a cereal bowl. Microwave for 60 seconds.  Top with strawberries and enjoy!  It tastes almost like angel food cake! :)

Pondering Mother's Day

An unexpected thought occurred to me this morning... how Mother's Day is as much about me (as a mother) feeling loved as it is about my children knowing that I love them

I saw how eagerly they brought in their cards and gifts... their eyes wide and sparkling and watching for my reaction.  And it struck me how they were awaiting my surprise, my excitement, my approval, my adoration of their loving efforts...

How the whole experience affected their hearts as much as it affected mine.

Very sweet... and cool how God uses all these things to shape us and mold us. :)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Conquer! Overcome!

OK. With a strong title like that, I better just cut to the chase.  This is not an exhortation to trust Jesus. This is about spiders.

I hate spiders. As a kid I was afraid of them. Now I just think they're creepy and gross. Blech. [I have goose-bumps just thinking about them.] In a scientific way, I suppose there is some element of interest—I mean, their webs are pretty amazing—but that has no influence my disgust of them.

However, I do not want my kids to be afraid of them as I was—so I have to use my super-mommy acting skills! I calmly make neutral comments like, "Insects may live outside, but they may not live inside my house" as I crush them with a Kleenex, cringing all the while. (For the record, I actually set one free outside last year.)

One of the worst places to find a spider is on the ceiling or on the wall up higher than your head.  Then you've gotta get a chair, and there's always the chance that it might drop on you.  (How would I describe that sort of incident? Terrorizing might be a little strong... perhaps freakish would be more apropos.)

But I realized the other day that my fear extreme dislike of spiders is highly diminished if they are on the ground. (I courageously smashed one on the wall near the floor with a Kleenex without even batting an eye!)

So here's my tip: if it's above your head, first knock it down to the floor. Try using a broom. (I tried using the boys' Nerf guns, but after more than a dozen shots and misses, the broom was a sure bet.)  Then slay the creepy thing. No prob. :)


Sunday, April 5, 2015

A thought for Easter...

“If man had his way, the plan of redemption would be an endless and bloody conflict. In reality, salvation was bought not by Jesus' fist, but by His nail-pierced hands; not by muscle but by love; not by vengeance but by forgiveness; not by force but by sacrifice. Jesus Christ our Lord surrendered in order that He might win; He destroyed His enemies by dying for them and conquered death by allowing death to conquer Him.”  

- A.W. Tozer, Preparing for Jesus' Return: Daily Live the Blessed Hope

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Pondering Life / Walking with Jesus

Becoming a parent almost 10 years ago has brought a whole different perspective to life.  (A friend recently told me, "I realized life will never be about me!")  Parenting involves so much loving, so much patience, so much mercy, so much giving... endless giving... of your time, your energy, your thoughts, your emotions, your heart...
Lately I have pondered (with agony, at times!) why the human maturation process takes 18 years (and beyond)—why couldn't it be half that?  I mean, a giraffe is walking ONE HOUR after it's born—and most animals are adults within a few years of birth! 
But I see what God is doing here... with humans, we're life-long learners.
We don't ever "arrive"—do we.  (Probably because of our free will... a blessing and a curse!)  We're officially labeled "adult" at age 18, but maturation continues on and on and on...
In my mind, I have a picture of how life could be a long, sweet walk with the Lord... if we would choose to walk with Him in humility, and be OK with our failings instead of bashing ourselves (accepting His forgiveness!), and submit our will to His perfect plans (even though we walk somewhat blindly with Him and can't always see what's ahead), and let Him help us process our disappointments, our pain, our troubles... let Him give us perspective, and hope, and joy...
I really think it's kind of like that "Footprints in the Sand" thing.  A lot of the time we can walk with Him side-by-side, hand-in-hand.  Sometimes we might be dragging our feet.  Sometimes leaping with joy!  Sometimes stomping.  And sometimes He's carrying us.

Oh, that we would TRUST in His love for us!  That's why He came to earth—to save us, so we can live with Him forever in heaven!  "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that anyone who believes in Him (Jesus) shall not perish but have everlasting life!" 

So say it out loud now.  (Come on, just do it!)

Jesus loves me.

Jesus loves me.

Jesus loves me.

Jesus loves me.

Jesus loves me!

He wants to walk through life with you and me—every day.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

He goes with us

A quote from Bo Stern, guest on Focus on the Family radio broadcast 1/27/15...

"When trial hits, we think, 'Why did God do this?' And I lived my life for a long time thinking if I show up and pay my tithe and pay my dues and marry the right guy and live my life the right way, things will go well for me; that will be the favor of God.  But I'm just discovering that God is not the God to keep us from all affliction, He is the God who goes with us in all affliction.  And understanding that about His character—not that I won't suffer, but that I won't suffer alone—has been a game changer for me. ... We misquote things all the time. We say that it's the favor of God that I have the good house and the good spouse and the good whatever. And all of that stuff is great, but we can achieve that even without God. So the stuff that really is God's favor comes in our deepest moment, our darkest time, when we see an angle of His character that we've never seen before..."

From "Finding Strength for the Terminal Battle."

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Goals for the New Year?

Welcome to 2015!  Got any plans or goals for the new year?  Here are a couple of quotes to spur you on....
"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."
Jim Ryun
"Goals that are not written down are just wishes."
"By perseverance the snail reached the ark."
Charles Spurgeon
"One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on towards the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." 
Philippians 3:13,14
My biggest goal is to read my Bible every day.