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Friday, March 31, 2006

Thursday at Home

Today was simply gorgeous. The temperature was in the 70's, low humidity, a beautiful sky and no pollen (yet). I walked this morning with friends Kristy and Kathy and we went two times around the neighborhood. I'm not sure how far that is but it took us an hour. I'm so excited about walking with a partner--two partners! The time has gone by so quickly.

After I got home, it was time to hit the books. Actually JK had finished most of her school and we just needed to do math. We were working with fractions and she is doing well. Monday morning starts our new curriculum. I wrote out lesson plans but am remaining flexible. I know it will take some time for us to figure everything out.

After looking at the science Lifepac, I decided not to do it. It is full of sooo many experiments that need to be done. Ugh! I wish I would have had a chance to look at it before I bought it. Oh well, it's new so I don't think I'll have a problem selling it. I pulled "Christian Kids Explore Biology" off the shelf and I'm going to use that.

After school I went outside for about an hour or so and worked on the yard. I did a lot of tree and bush pruning. One of our dogwoods is definitely dead so we'll have to cut it down. I pulled up a lot of weeds, too. The dandelions are already in bloom.

I also filled up my hummingbird feeders and replenished all the bird feeders. Our yard (front and back) has been full of birds. The goldfinches are back and starting to turn bright yellow. In the past few days we have had one Carolina wren, and many of the following: Carolina chickadee, robin, tufted titmouse, nuthatch, flicker, mourning dove, cardinal, sparrows, purple finch, junco, downy woodpecker and, the ever-present squirrel. It's not a bird but it's right there with them all the time.

Later in the afternoon, we went to a local library booksale. We were pretty late going so I didn't find much. JK picked up some books for herself. Here's some of my finds:
~The Wit and Wisdom of Snoopy (we love Peanuts)
~My Utmost for His Highest (brand new!)
~Choice Notes on Psalms by F.B. Meyer

Next Friday is Richmond's library sale and I usually fare better there!

The day was wasn't over yet! JK still had to pre-bowl for her league game since this Saturday she is in a tournament. I didn't think she should bowl her regular three games and then only have an hour to rest before bowling three more. She did very well today and beat her average each game: 100, 100, 90. I hope she does as well Saturday.

Once bowling was done, we stopped at the local grocery store to eat dinner and shop. We came home and I finished up some of the pruning while JK played with her Legos.

Tonight was game night so we played many rounds of the Bug Game and Smart Mouth.

And that was our busy Friday! How was your day????

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Choices

O God
Though I am allowed to approach Thee
I am not unmindful of my sins,
I do not deny my guilt,
I confess my wickedness, and earnestly plead firgiveness.

May I with Moses choose affliction rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin.
Help me to place myself always under Thy guiding and guardian care,
to take firmer hold of the sure covenant that binds me to Thee,
to feel more of the purifying,dignifying, softening influence of the
religion I profess.
to have more compassion, love, pity, courtesty
to deem it an honour to be employed by Thee
as an instruments in Thy hands,
ready to seize every opportunity of usefulness,
and willing to offer all my talents to Thy service.

Thou hast done for me all things well,
hast remembered, dinstinguished,indulged me.
All my desires have not been gratified,
but Thy love denied them to me
when fulfilment of my wishes would have proved my ruin or injury.
My trials have been fewer than my sins,
and when I have kissed the rod, it has fallen from Thy hands.
Thou hast often wiped away my tears,
restored peace to my mouring heart,
chastened me for my profit.
All Thy work for me is perfect, and I praise Thee.

(from
The Valley of Vision)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Changes Ahead

Monday morning the mailman came to the door with a big box. Our Alpha Omega Lifepacs had arrived! This is a major change in how I homeschool but over the last few months I've know that I needed to change something. I have found it difficult to only homeschool one child. I just don't have the motivation. I talked with my dh and friends, prayed about it, researched various options and the Lord led me to the Lifepacs. I believe this will help me stay accountable and on track but yet give me the freedom that I want! I also think the work is more challenging than what I'm doing with JK now. She needs to grow and stretch and think and I have been taking it easy in that department.

I have read criticisms that this curriculum and other workbook/textbook approaches are boring. After years of trying to make school interesting, fun, etc., I think it's ok to do boring. I don't mean making it so boring that JK won't like school but boring the fact that school is not all fun and games. The truth is school is work. Work can sometimes be boring. (I mean, how excited can I get doing the laundry almost every day for the past 19 years????) But work must get done, boring or not, and I think this is something JK needs to learn.

I ordered Science, History and Language Arts; all for 6th grade. I'll still use BJU for Math and Christian Liberty Press for Bible as they are working fine. I've been looking over the teacher's guide and a book called "Mastering Lifepac Management" to get a feel for how the program works and what is expected of me and JK. I'm looking forward to getting started on Monday and so is JK (well, sort of ). I know it will take some adjustment and tweaking but since we're starting early I have breathing space.

I will keep you up to date on our progress!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Busyness

As I was reading some blogs this weekend, I came across one (not here) that was written by a 16-year old girl. It was filled with the typical and not-so-typical teenage musings. One entry caught my eye. It went something like this: We are going out again this weekend. I think I'm going to ask dad if we can stay home just one weekend. I have not been home any Friday, Saturday and Sunday in six months. I like the activities we're doing but this is getting to be too much.

It made me wonder who the activities were for: the girl or her parents. All of the activities she mentioned seem to be good things: lessons, civics classes, sports, dances. But are they excellent? I can't judge this family; I don't know them.

I have always tried to live a quiet, simple life here at home. My children are involved in activities; they aren't keep prisoners in our home! But there comes a point when it's too much. I know for me that I can't be away from home too much or things just don't get done. Well, they might get done but in a sloppy, get-it-out-of-the-way fashion. I don't think that way is how the Lord would want me to keep my home. He calls us to excellence.

When I've been involved in church ministries, I've tried to do things that wouldn't take too much time away from home and family. My youngest is almost 12. I know that in a few years I will have more time to devote to certain activities. I encourage all you young moms to spend time at home with your children. Select actitivies wisely. Show them to your husband and let him decide! Children need time to play and think. How can they process all the new things they are learning if they never have time to think about them? I feel sorry for today's chldren that are taken from this activity to the next with never breathing room in between.

Ok, off my soapbox now!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Sunday Hymn

Take Time to Be Holy

Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God's children; help those who are weak;
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.

Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Much time spend in secret with Jesus alone;
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

Take time to be holy, let Him by thy guide,
And run not before Him whatever betide;
In joy or in sorrow still follow thy Lord,
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.

Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul;
Each thought and each motive beneath His control;
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.

(William D. Longstaff)

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Today at Home

I've been working at my desk this morning and have accomplished quite a lot. I had eleven Mailbox Club lessons to grade and mail out, correspondence and some bills to pay. All is ready for the mailman to come and take it away!

This week I've been home during the day and all laundry and chores are caught up. What a great feeling! Today I've errands to run: grocery shopping, library, post office, bank, etc. I know my feet will be sore.

I'm still waiting for our Lifepacs to arrive in the mail. In the meantime, JK is continuing to work on math and language arts.

Thought for the day:

Everything I think, every decision I make, every word I speak was meant to be shaped by humble acknowledgement of His claim on my life. I was created to live for His glory.
(Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands)

Monday, March 20, 2006

Sunday Hymn....a day late

Be Thou My Vision

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me save that Thou art--
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou My Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son,
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise,
Thou mine inheritance, now and always;
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heav'n's Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

(Ancient Irish Hymn)

Monday, March 13, 2006

C.S. Lewis and Narnia

(this is a little dark!)


On Friday, JK and I went on a field trip that was wonderful. It was the theatrical retelling of author C.S. Lewis' life by a professional storyteller. In between stories, we:

~had a lesson in archery

~a lesson in fencing, along with some medieval history, taught by a master fencing instructor (one of only 54 in the U.S.!)

~experienced a British tea party, featuring samples of British foods and Narnian treats, including authentic Turkish Delight

~designed and painted our own family "royal crest" on a take-home plate.

After the field trip, we drove to a local motel where Children's Books was set up, convention-style, and having a great sale on their books. JK picked up C. S. Lewis' space triology and has been reading it ever since!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Sunday Hymn

I'm starting a new feature called "Sunday Hymn" where I'll be posting a different hymn each Sunday evening. I love hymns! There is so much doctrine in them. I always thought if someone took away my Bible but left my hymn book, I'd be ok. One of things I like to do for my quiet time is go through the hymn book and sing my favorites.

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ, my God;
All the vain things that charm me most---
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See, from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down;
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
Tht were a present far too small:
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Serving Him at Home

The March edition of the Serving Him at Home newsletter is now up. You can join and read it here: Serving Him at Home

I hope it will be a blessing to you!

Snickers







This is my oldest daughter's new puppy, Snickers. Isn't she cute (well, both of them are cute!)? We have really fallen in love with her.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Update

I realize that I haven't posted a personal entry in quite a while so I wanted to update what's going on with our household!

After much prayer and discussion with some homeschooling moms, I am making a major change in my schooling. I'm going to start JK on Lifepacs for Language Arts, History and Science. School is just not going as I would like right now and I need to face that fact! So after lots of prayer and research, I've decided to use the Lifepacs. I think it would help keep our schooling on track and keep JK and myself more accountable. I'll be ordering them as soon as my dh gives me a check. I'm already more relaxed thinking about it. JK is keen on it also. I'll update in a month or so to let you know how it's going.

In my Bible study with my friend Trish we have been working on our Personal Mission Statements. What a challenge that has been. We've spent the last two weeks working through about a dozen questions to help us discern God's calling on our lives. This week we are taking those questions and what we learned in our discussions and putting it down on paper. One of the things we had to do was write down our favorite, most meaningful or "life" Scripture or passage. I came up with three! Romans 12:9-13; Colossians 3:12-17; 1 Thessalonians 5:13b-22. After reading over those Scriptures, it seems like an impossible task but I was looking at it the wrong way. I was thinking I would work on one thing, then the next, etc. But during our study tonight, Trish and I realized that if we are in the Word like we should be, then those things will come naturally. We will be walking in the Spirit and not in the flesh and those characteristics will flow out of our Spirit-filled lives.

On the home front, I am getting ready for some spring cleaning. We have switched some bedrooms around and we want to turn one into ???? We have decided yet. Perhaps a den, craft room or guest room. But before we can do any of that, it needs to be totally cleaned out, rugs shampooed, walls washed, etc. So....that is on my project list for the next few weeks.

JK has started taking karate lessons and she loves it. Some friends told us about this karate instructor who is a Christian and they highly recommended him. He does not talk about Eastern philosophies or religion and I'm thankful for that. She's only been to two classes and she definitely wants to continue.

My dh will be staying at his job but also expanding his computer repair business on the side. He has been slowly adding more clients and we are praying for more. He's really excited about this and, Lord willing, if anything should happen with his job, he would be able to go into business for himself full time. We are looking forward to what the Lord has for him.

I'm so thankful for all the Lord has done for me. I deserve hell and He has given me mercy and grace. Praise His name!!

A few weeks ago one of our Bible study assignments was to write down some what we can be grateful for when we are tempted to grumble or complain. Here's part of my list:
~thankful I can stay home when I am sick (I was about to complain that I wasn't feeling well)
~thankful for dh's job re: that I am able to stay home
~thankful I'm able to teach the children about the Lord (when I was discouraged over a child's disobedience)
~thankful for all the Lord has given me (after wanting to complain about things not working right in our house and then seeing a show on the devastation still left from Katrina)
~thankful for the right to homeschool (when we were having one of "those days")
I'm working toward having an "attitude of gratitude" in all that the Lord brings into my life!

In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus-1 Thessalonians 5:18

Monday, March 06, 2006

Addiction to Activity

Addiction to Activity
This devotional was written by Jim Liebelt

You may say, ‘I am allowed to do anything.’ But I reply, ‘Not everything is good for you.’ And even though I am allowed to do anything, I must not become a slave to anything. — 1 Corinthians 6:12 (NLT)

What is all the commotion about? It seems that everyone is rushing about, trying to work through their “to do lists” so that they can… add more items to their ‘to do lists”. Please – people – let’s have some perspective here! We are not doing ourselves any favors as a society by living life at supersonic speed. Today, we cram more and more activity into our lives because our culture encourages us to do so and because we can.

This addiction to activity has also infected the church. It’s wonderful that so many churches today can offer a wide variety of ministry services in order to address a wide variety of life issues. But, far too many Christ-followers cram their schedules with too many (good) things: ministry meetings, program meetings, small group Bible studies, accountability groups, recovery groups, and even meetings to plan more meetings! And, as a result life loses its balance. Remember, just because we can do something, doesn’t mean we should! Busyness for busyness sake – even when the busyness is ministry-oriented – is counterproductive at best – and just plain sinful at worst.

When I look at Jesus’ life, I see a man who was not ruled by His schedule. He seldom seemed rushed. For instance, I love that while He pursued plans, he would welcome interruptions from people in need. From what we know, Jesus never said anything like this to anyone, “I’m sorry, I can’t help with you. I need to be in Jericho by sundown.” Wouldn’t it be refreshing to cut back on our pace of activities and actually live more like Jesus? Wouldn’t it be helpful to become more of the salt and light that Jesus called us to be in our neighborhoods and communities and spent less time in activities and meetings just talking about it?

Today, give some thought to the pace of your life. If necessary, begin the process of weeding out activities from you life that may be good, but actually prevent you from living a balanced life.

GOING DEEPER:1. What good activities are you involved in that could actually be (or become) obstacles to your spiritual health and effectiveness in serving Christ?

2. Are you simply too busy? If so, what steps can you take this week get your schedule under control?

FURTHER READING:Luke 7:11-17; 10:38-42; Matthew 5:13-16; Psalm 46:10

Saturday, March 04, 2006

A Fun Afternoon!


This afternoon JK and I went to the Landmark Theatre to see "Lord of the Dance". A few years ago I had taken her older sister, JL, to see "Riverdance" and this was just as good. We were only eight rows back so we had wonderful seats! I really enjoy Irish dancing and Celtic music. We both enjoyed the show very much and didn't want it to end but I'm sure the dancers were glad for the break!! You could tell how tired they were when they were taking their final bows.

Besides the show, I had a full day of errands and I'm exhausted. I'm taking my book (The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins) and going to read in bed for a while. I wonder how long I'll stay awake?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Look to the Lord for Direction

A few months ago I was asked to give the devotional at our homeschool support group. Here it is:

This is the time of year when homeschool moms or future homeschool moms are looking in various directions. Some are looking behind—at all the work that you and your children have accomplished this year. Some are looking forward—to the convention, to finishing the school year. And some are looking down—not sure they want to continue homeschooling, wondering if all this sacrifice and hard work is worth it or are anxious as they begin their first year of homeschooling. But I would like to encourage you all to look beyond your discouragement and anxiety.

God showed me the other day what should be the main focus of my homeschooling. I need to be reminded of it regularly. The other day JK and I were cleaning the church and she started asking me some questions about our teaching elder and about Jesus. I was able to stop to talk about those things. It reminded me of the verses in Deuteronomy 6: "These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."

One of the benefits of homeschooling is that I am with my children at home; we're together most of the time. When questions concerning the Lord come up, I'm able to talk about them when I sit at home, walk along the road, in the morning and in the evening.

Our children’s most important education isn’t math, spelling or language arts. It’s learning to love the Lord. It’s learning all about Him so they can come to know Him as their personal Savior and if they do, it’s about following Him.

As moms, we should regularly be in the Word. We can’t impress on our children hearts what we don’t know. Before you write out your to-do list, your weekly schedule, your children’s assignments, take time to read the Bible. God gave us in His Word “everything pertaining to life and godliness”. If you are discouraged, then go to the Word. If you are feeling anxious, go to the Word. Encouragement and peace can be found in its pages!

As you are planning your next school year (or your first!), I would like to encourage you not to have your days so full that you miss all the opportunities to teach your children about the Lord. He can get lost in the busy-ness of the day. Our children’s most important education, the teaching of the Lord, is accomplished best not in a formal teaching period each day but when we make God and His Word the natural topic of a conversation which might occur anywhere and anytime during the day.

This time of year you are going to start receiving a lot of homeschool catalogs. Every description of every item says “must have”! They all can’t be “must haves”! Prayerfully consider all the purchases you make as you plan your homeschool year. Show your schedule and “want list” to your husband and ask him if you are doing too much. God doesn’t want your days so full, so planned—even with good things—that you miss out on the real reason for homeschooling: to teach our children to love God with all their heart, all their soul and all their mind. Academics are important but they are not the most important part of the day.

God has promised in His Word that He will give you the strength needed for this journey:

1 Thessalonians 5:24 says “The One Who calls you is Faithful and He will do it”.

Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

Isaiah 40:31 says, “Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.

The world (and even other homeschoolers) will tell you that your children need to read this book or take this class or achieve this score in order to be successful, but listen to what Solomon said about that:

“Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the soul: Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter; Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”

Trust the Lord to show you the way He wants your children to go. He is faithful!!