Falling Away ….

So many seem to be falling away.  A couple lovely saints of God come to mind. So on fire for God and then suddenly….. it breaks my heart and I know it breaks Jesus heart too. 

It isn’t easy this life that we live. When we choose to live a life that is all for Jesus oh how hard it can be. And yet at the same time it shouldn’t ever be hard. That true that the Lord revealled to me, the thing that God opened my eyes to, those words are so precious. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for my Jesus!

Yes I think of those I know myself who have fallen away. I think of those who are trapped, in bondage to their sins and certain in their minds that there is no forgiveness and peace for them. It reminds me of how blessed I truly am. I remember to cherish these words, to hold tightly to the truth that I know.

Yes we must remember that we too can fall away. If we are not careful. If we do not honor and reverence the Word of God as we should. As I see people who were once so on fire for God now so obviously tormented. As I see those who are hungry for the truth you continually derailed and distracted in their search. I am reminded to hold tightly to his word. I am encouraged to reach out to those who are struggling.

I think of the money who do not have Jesus and I simply can’t imagine. I cannot fathom navigating this life without the Lord at my side. I see so many who fall so quickly when trials come their way and truly it breaks my heart. We must call on him for those who just don’t have the strength. We must reach out with our hands to catch them when we see them falling. Why do we wait so often for them to fall away completely before we reach for them?

We know that God’s Word is precious. We know that every word of it is true. And his book is full of all the the wisdom we ever need. Do we cherish it enough?

image

Let us reach out for those who are lost, for those who have fallen away. Let us love them more. I imagine the sorrow and the pain it must cause Jesus himself seeing his children who he loved so stumbling and falling. Without a hand to lift them up. We need to be that hand. We need to feel that burden. Because I do believe the time is short. Let us love them just as Jesus loves them.

I Don’t Make the Bed

I was so excited when these books arrived! There is something to be said for having a home that gives life to others. If the desire that I have myself. For my small and crazy and loud but fun home to be a place where others can come and breathe the breath of life. And feel a peace and joy the comes only from the Lord.

image

We aren’t there yet but we will be God willing. In the meantime there are a variety of things I am using to help cultivate a home and a person, myself, that is life giving. That gives a sense of belonging and bec
oming for Christ.

There is much that I need to change in order to make this vision of my a reality though. And I was listening to a podcast this morning it became so clear that the biggest hurdle to cultivating and lovely and life-giving home is me. You see right now I don’t make my bed. That seems kind of silly right? For me to say that my home can not be one that is life-giving simply because I do not make my bed. But it goes so much deeper than that. I didn’t realize how deep until I heard someone else speak the words right out of my mouth.

I grew up understanding that there are things that smart people do and there are things that smart people shouldn’t have to do.  I am off and rationalize why I don’t make the bed or fold the blankets but we have about the house. I mean, the kids are just going to mess them up anyway. Whether they make forts with them or decide to jump on bed or practice some gymnastic it’s all going to be about later. So why bother?

I cannot believe but it never occurred to me how silly that exact line of thinking it. When I set up in my mind that there are things about the house silly and pointless to do whether it’s because I’m smart or because I have kids or because I just don’t like doing them, my mind has already sucked the life out of my home.

I do detest doing dishes and folding laundry. But if I see these things as blessings from the Lord, and if I see them as ways that I am serving the Lord and the family that he has blessed me with how I can change the atmosphere of my home. Because truthfully it doesn’t matter what we want to do, it doesn’t matter how we feel, and how is smart or not we are has nothing to do with serving the Lord. After all God himself says that he chose the foolish things of the world. So can we take joy in those things even though they seem foolish to us?

We have to cultivate life in our home. Especially if we want to cultivate life outside of at home.  We cannot so and read outside of our family and still be blessed by the Lord if we are neglecting our family or if we are serving our family with bitterness and hard. There is so much only God can show us of our hearts and our mind. And we need to pray, I need to pray, that he would show me this things that I may come to him and true repentance. Because truly it’s all about cultivating a life that without any words point them to Jesus.

Blogging Through the Alphabet ~~Week 14 ~ N is for New ~

Welcome to Blogging Through the Alphabet!

 

 
This is Week 12 of this series, so everyone is sharing posts themed about the letter “N”.  And as today has been an exciting new day, I feel so very led to blog about on the joy of “new” life!

 

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

 

 

 

This morning I watched someone begin their new life in Christ, being baptized in Jesus name. I saw a friend’s fiancee who has recently begun attending church with her, standing at the altar; hands lifted in praise and worship of a God he is beginning to learn of and walk with. I hear my cousin (who I am helping to learn and understand the Word of God) tell me that she wants nothing more than a true relationship and life in Christ.

 

 

So many things are new. God promises to make things new. When we seek Him, He will answer.

 

 

 

Isaiah 43:19 says:
Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

 

 

 

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary says :  The deliverance from Babylon is foretold, but there is reference to greater events. The redemption of sinners by Christ, the conversion of the Gentiles, and the recall of the Jews, are all described. All that is to be done to rescue sinners, and to bring the believer to glory, is little, compared with that wondrous work of love, the redemption of man.”

 

 

 

I love watching Him do these new things. I love seeing newborn babes desire the Word; desire His presence. I adore seeing my friend’s fiancee who never came until a few weeks ago and now, stands at the altar, lifts his hands with her and his small son. I love seeing them worship together. It’s such a powerful thing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Praise God for the works He is doing and has yet to do in the lives of our loved ones.In the lives of those strangers we meet each day.

May the Lord move upon us to impress the joy and peace that comes from a newness that can only be from Christ, to others.

Let us be more sensitive to His presence; may we move in the Spirit sharing this newness of life with those who need Him so <3

Can’t Sit Still

He can’t focus. He cannot sit still. He cannot stop clapping and shouting and dancing around. How can I homeschool like  that?

ADHD, sensory and focus issues, please make it pretty hard to do school at home sometimes don’t they?

4 super sensitive and very introverted mean there are days but I think I might lose my mind and we have only just begun.

image

 

Now I have a background in psychology in child development so I like to think I have a pretty good handle on things but I have to admit that I am constantly on my toes. We need to actively make a habit of addressing and training the attention and focus.

We have done a lot of unschooling. I have done a lot of deschooling myself. If you’re not familiar with this consider taking the time to do so.  As we deschool ourselves and our children we can get a fresh perspective. We can also unlearn those things we learned from the school, opening us up to new approaches.

My oldest is not a morning person so we don’t do a lot of work early in the morning. I think it’s important for us to understand when is our child’s best time. And then we can plan our day based upon that. I am reminded of the value of rhythm in the homeschool. A good rhythm for as often involves music and drawing or building. Sometimes it’s singing and dancing around the house.

We focus on style rather than curriculum in our home too. When we first started we focused on curriculum and found that it was impossible to find one thing that really worked for us. Currently I use a hodgepodge of things based upon where my sons interests lie as well as what we need to focus on.

 

wp-1454538132226.jpg

 

Through the years that we have done this I have to say for these kinds of kids the best learning, I have salad, is a style that is hands-on. One that is interest based and project focused. I think of unit studies and project-based activities, even some child loves learning. Delight directed learning also comes to mind. These are all ways to encourage our children in a gentle and relaxed environment, to learn.

As for academics, we definitely stress the value of reading and writing and mathematics. But we tend to go a bit slower. We tend to be a little more laid back when it comes to these things. We do a lot of cooking and baking, we like to build, woodworking and wood carving. My boys love building with Legos and K’nex and Snap Circuits so we keep as much of this as we can handy about the house. And the ways you can use these things for learning are just endless.

I encourage a lot of play time too.  Perhaps while we are listening to an audiobook, they can build or draw or write or play with play-doh. Sometimes my kids even use the time that I am reading to them for all kinds of fun science experiments.

Of course we have to be aware of where our children are 2. There are days that I can tell my son is so very focused and well I have things I want to see him do, I know that now is not the time. When he’s engaged, when his attention and focus is so strongly held by something, I want to allow that to continue to attend if at all possible. This means that some days I have to accept the fact that my plans need to be moved to a different day. Off and when it does happen though I cannot say that I regret it.

I read in an article by Peter Gray that ” ADHD diagnosed kids seem to do especially well when they are allowed to take charge of their own education” in his article “Experiences of ADHD-Labeled Kids Who Switch from Conventional Schooling to Homeschooling or Unschooling.”

 

I have to agree! So far in my experience I have found that when I am willing to relax a bit, make some changes and support the interest as we are led to them and through them, we really can homeschool no matter what.

When They Don’t Want to Learn

I have been spending the last few days sitting back and observing my four children. Why? Because I know that there is more, there is always more, that we can do in our homeschool.

Frequently as of late my oldest son has been a lot of grumbling when it’s time to do his work each day. You know how do you homeschool with four children when one refuses to do anything? I chewed on this for quite a while, I really did. And in the beginning I admit we just forced him through his school work. But then I heard him out of the words ” I hate learning” and that’s it off all kinds of panic buttons in me.

I am such a lover of learning. I can spend hours reading and listening to lectures and sermons. I have so much fun learning different languages. And I want my children to grow up eager to learn and explore all that is around them too. So when I hear one of them say how much they hate to learn, I know I need to seriously change what we’re doing. And fast!

My oldest son is very visual and very kinesthetic. Which is completely opposite of how I like to learn. He is active and loud( I guess what boy isn’t? ) and he can spend all day watching videos and playing games. But he hates to read and as much as he loves to create he isn’t a writer either. So how do you encourage learning like that? I have to say, I still struggle with how we have recreated things with him.

But since he loves to draw we try to draw as much as we can. There are so many fun books out there to draw your way through history and through the Bible. Math can be so much more fun when you are solving puzzles and coloring in hidden pictures as you complete math problems. And we have apps that encourage him to learn and explore and build. We even have a few that allow him to record himself, as if he’s making his own movie.

When it comes to learning I believe with all my heart but it is so important for children to find and then follow their passion. Of course we all and do our math, those things are just non negotiable and especially for our kids to do struggle when it comes to learning, if they can follow those rabbit trails and grow the things that matter most to them, they are sure to learn great things. 

So in this season of my oldest son’s life there are lots of audio books playing in our home. There is a keyboard and a guitar there are lots of art supplies for my crafty little man. And we really try to allow him to follow those things that matter to him as much as we can. Of course we still struggle some days with getting through those general core subjects that we all need. But it is fun to sit back and watch him as he explores. From building derby cars 2 wood carving classes, archery and fishing when the weather is good, computer coding and art and speech and debate.

These are all things that matter to him. I’m just a matter to him that these projects are things that he is going to spend time and energy not just doing but doing well. I remind myself that sometimes no matter how silly these things may seem to be, there is strong character being built within him as he applies himself and studies and practices skills each day.

It occurred to me the other day to that perhaps are reluctant learners aren’t really reluctant about learning. Perhaps how we are teaching and what we are teaching isn’t as important for the time as we think it is. While I want my son to know Shakespeare perhaps Pirates matter more.  Perhaps I want to study cells and plant life but if he’s more interested in the manatees and horses of course there will be some reluctance there. So I guess, when it comes right down to it, how about when are children are reluctant to learn, we allow them to lead us at least for a time?

image

Season of Babies in Homeschool

It struck me this morning as I was watching my four kids playing on the floor and going over our plans for the day. There are seasons to homeschooling. For the last 9 months I’ve been home schooling with the baby. And soon I will be homeschooling with a toddler *gasp*

So how do we do it? I think about that often because I honestly I hope that I’m not done having babies. I admit I wouldn’t mind another one or two and our home. It’s probably my favorite stage. I mean there’s things I love about every stage that our children go through as they’re growing up but there’s something about that brand new baby that’s just on like all those other stages. I think it’s the reminder I love simple and innocent and pure life is really meant to be. Baby slow it down. They make us stop.

When it comes to homeschool I admit that I struggle to get it all done. Mostly because I want to do it all. And it isn’t until the last little baby came along that I realized how important it is for me to prioritize things. For me to sit down especially with my oldest son and determine what matters most for him and to him when it comes to studies

We have just started using spiral notebooks in our home school and I am finding it to be such an amazing thing. I was very doubtful I admit when I first came across this idea. It just seemed too easy and too simple to work. And yet as we go to those notebooks each morning and review them before we begin our day I think it helps all of us to see the beginning and the end. It encourages rabbit trails, it inspires a love of learning. There isn’t a question of when we’re done because it’s all right there. In black and white.

With the many sleepless nights but we all know when there’s babies in the house, and with the need for nursing and snuggling it can make it difficult to do lots of formal work. Some days any more than 5 or 10 minutes working with my three older kids is a miracle.  When we just haven’t gotten enough sleep or there are teething issues or sickness in our house, that’s when we go to the little library that I have created. It’s inspiring and encouraging and educational too. Although I don’t think my three older kids know how much they’re really learning when I read them.

I think if we want to homeschool our children well we have babies about perhaps the best thing we can do is just slow down. Just simplify everything. It may be that my son who was a reluctant reader spends his afternoon reading to his baby sister. It may be that my little mathematical boy uses his abacus to show his baby sister how to count to 5. And some days it’s just doing those fun things, creating art and stories, putting together puzzles, just enjoying the company of one another.

I don’t think I have ever struggled more in our homeschool then when there has been a baby in the house. But at the same time I think our home school has been so much richer, we have learned so much more because of that baby in the house. So maybe we are in his academic as I would like to be for the time. Perhaps instead of learning Latin and practicing calligraphy we are building with little blocks and reading fairy tales. We are still learning. More importantly we are growing together.

I reflect on this because I know that’s soon my baby will not be a baby anymore. She will be up and moving about. In fact she’s already crawling and standing and taking steps so long as she has something to hold onto. But she’s still my baby.

I remember that time when I thought, it’s impossible. I can’t home school with a baby! But I assure you if you are having this very thought yourself, you can. Just slow down. Enjoy your baby and enjoy your family. Find things that you can all enjoy doing. There are so many ways that we can learn, we have to remember not to let ourselves  get stuck.

image

Blogging through the Alphabet ~ M for Meekness

 

Welcome to week 13 of Blogging Through the Alphabet!   This is we are sharing the letter “M” and I admit I was quite torn as to what my topic would be but then I heard this little quote that solved my conundrum!  It said this:

“The ceaseless chagrin of a self-centered life can be removed at once by learning Meekness and Lowliness of heart. He who learns them is forever proof against it. He lives henceforth a charmed life.”

– Henry Drummond
I have to say, for a long time when I thought of the word “meek” I pictured someone who is rather abused, unseen, neglected by the world, beat down, never standing for anything or anyone (especially themselves). Yet this is so far from the truth of this word. While it may seem to many to bed such a weak and powerless word, when truly understood it is so very powerful!
meek
According to Strong’s Concordance, Biblical meekness is not weakness at all but rather it refers to exercising God’s strength under His control – “demonstrating power without undue harshness.”   It notes that the English term “meek” often lacks this blend – i.e. of gentleness (reserveand strength.
Psalm 37:11 says, “The meek shall possess the land, and delight themselves in abundant prosperity.” In the Greek Old Testament the words of Psalm 37:11 are almost identical with Matthew 5:5 which reads, “The meek shall inherit the land.” The word for “land” in Greek and Hebrew means “earth.”
If we are meek, as He calls us to be, then we trust God. The know that He SHALL work for our good; we know that we already have the victory. Biblical meekness is rooted in the knowledge that God is for us and.  Because of this we are committed to Him.  The Hebrew word for “commit” means to “roll.” If we are truly exercising meekness, we know that God is faithful  and therefore we will not be moved—our struggles, financial, family, burdens, health, whatever struggles we face—we cast them unto the Lord because we know that He is true and just. We know the God will sustain us and be with us through any storm we find ourselves in.  Thus we are able to be still. We wait patiently, quietly, for His voice to direct our steps.
As we have been learning in the Book of James as a family this year, I am reminded of a verse that, at first glance, didn’t move me yet later really hit me:
James 3:17: “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle,easy to be entreated…full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy…”
Did you catch that too? The wisdom from above (His wisdom) is pure, and peaceable and gentle (meek)…..
Are we meek? As teachers and as students? Is our heart and our mind seeking His wisdom? A pure wisdom?
Are we, as James 1:19 says “… swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath …. “
“Gentle Jesus, meek and mild…..In Thy gracious hands I am;
Make me, Savior, what Thou art… I shall then show forth Thy praise,
Serve Thee all my happy days; Then the world shall always see….Christ in me.”

Let us Learn!

As I was praying and reading this morning this came before my eyes. And I share it now because it is such a true and beautiful word for all of us to remember!

 

 

J. R. Miller:

“Learn from Me — for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29

All of Christian life is a school. “Learn from Me,” said the Master. We are only beginners when we first become Christians, and enter Christ’s school. We begin at the lowest grade. We do not have to wait until we know a great deal before we begin to attend school. School is not for finished scholars — but for the most ignorant. We may come to Christ when we know almost nothing. He is the teacher — and all believers are learners. 

“Learn from Me — for I am gentle.” Gentleness is a lesson which we are to learn. It will probably take us a good long while to learn this lesson — but we must learn it because it is in Christ’s curriculum for all His students.

Contentment is another lesson which we must learn. When he was well along in life, Paul said, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.” It was a long and difficult lesson for him to learn.

Patience is a lesson that has to be learned. An impatient person is not a complete Christian.

Thoughtfulness is a necessary lesson. There are a great many thoughtless Christians. They are always blundering in their interactions with others. They say the wrong word, they do the wrong thing. They are always hurting other people’s feelings, giving pain to gentle hearts. Yet it is all from thoughtlessness. “I didn’t mean to offend him. I didn’t mean to be unkind. I just never thought!” There are few lessons in Christian life that more people need to learn, than this of thoughtfulness.

We have to learn to trust. Worry is a sin. It is probably as great a sin as dishonesty or profanity or bad temper. Yet a good many Christian people worry — and one of the most important lessons in Christ’s school, is to learn not to worry.

Kindness is a lesson we must learn. It takes many years to learn the one little lesson of kindness.

Joy is a lesson to be learned.

Peace is another.

Humility is another necessary lesson.

Praise is a great lesson.

All of life is a school, and it is in learning these lessons — that Jesus says we shall find rest for your souls. Christ Himself is our teacher, and with Him we should never fail to learn, though it be only slowly. Then as we learn our lessons, our lives will grow continually more and more into quietness, peace and Christlikeness.

Christian Devotional Readings's photo.

The Plans I Have For You Devotional & Journal Review

As my oldest son gets older I am on the lookout for creative and fun ways to encourage him to spend more time in God’s Word. He is a very creative young man but he also really struggles when it comes to reading and writing. He loves to draw and he loves to learn and memorize the Word of God….This is all wonderful but I also want to ensure that he knows that these words mean more. That they are alive, that they are meant to teach and mold us.  So I was more than excited to have the chance for us to review “The Plans I Have For You” Devotional and Journal.

 

plans i have.jpg

 

These are great!!!  I love how simple they are; a perfect way to spend time in God’s Word. And the Journal is simple, yet spacious enough to allow you to write or sketch your thoughts and prayers.  My son loves all the “Doodle Spots” where he can sketch his ideas and visions of what he is reading. All of the gentle guides within the journal are fabulous ways to encourage our kids to really get thinking about God and His plans for us. Its also a beautiful way to help strengthen our kids faith and identity in Christ through exercises which encourage our kids to look into their talents and skills God blessed them with. (I do wish the scriptures were in KJV – my son often “fixed them” as he went along).

 

become.jpg

 

 

I definitely see this as being a great tool for any family to use with their children. Its so important for our children to know God, for themselves. They need to not just learn His word but also understand how precious it is. And how powerful it can be for their life. I love how eager and excited my little ones get when it comes to worship and praise and learning the Word of God. And I truly appreciate materials like this that can help to guide them and really show them how His word is for us!

 

 

“The Plans I Have For You” Devotional:
The devotional is an illustrated 90-day devotional written by bestselling children’s book author Amy Parker and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, teaching and inspiring kids to dream about their future, to focus on faith, love, and joy, and recognize that God has a plan and purpose for the plans I have for youeach and every one of us.

Product Details:
Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Zonderkidz (December 29, 2015)
Language: English

“The Plans I Have For You” Journal:
The journal prompts creative thinking and exploration of the talents and personalities that make us special, and then helps explore how God may use the plans I have for youour unique traits to spread love and joy and make the world a better place.

Product Details:
Age Range: 11 – 14 years
Stationery: 208 pages
Publisher: Zonderkidz; Csm Jou edition (December 29, 2015)
Language: English

About the Author:
the plans I have for youAmy Parker has written more than thirty books for children, teens, and adults, including the best-selling A Night Night Prayer, Thank You, God, for Mommy, and Thank You, God, for Daddy. She has also collaborated with authors ranging from New York Times bestsellers to her very own son. Two of these collaborations–Firebird and Courageous Teens–are recipients of Christian Retailing’s Best Awards. But Amy’s greatest reward is being a wife to Daniel and a mom to their amazing sons, Michael and Ethan.

About the Illustrator:
the plans I have for youVanessa Brantley-Newton is a self-taught illustrator, doll maker, and crafter. Her passion for children’s books began when she came across The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats as a child in the 1960s. Growing up in a musical family who love to sing, Vanessa’s illustrations are as fun and whimsical as a beautiful melody. Vanessa currently makes her nest in Charlotte, NC with her husband of 20 years, their daughter, and a very rambunctious cat named Stripes.