Sunday, February 27, 2011

Guiding my girl

Whatever is pure , whatever is lovely ,whatever is excellent or praiseworthy, think of such things -Phillipians 4:8

My daughter is 9 and she beginning to start ask some really big questions. In all of these questions, what I am noticing that the "world" is having a strong impact on her thoughts. She comes to me and usually starts off with, "I don't know why I thought this but,...". I too am usually left to wonder why she thought such a thing, but glad she trusted me with her thoughts because I am now able to guide her. Just because we have unwholesome thoughts doesn't mean we are stuck with them and it doesn't mean we can't fight back. I wrote out a scripture to help my daughter fight back when her mind seems worldly. She is repeating in her head Phillipians 4:8 everytime she has unwholesome thoughts. It seems to be working for her, helping her refocus on what is appropriate to think of. What she also enjoyed was when I explained that this verse it telling us to think of things that are noble, right, lovely, pure and excellent because we probably won't. We must guide our minds and hearts , not follow them and who or what better to guide us than God's word? God's word doesn't change over time, we do, but it doesn't and the answers to our problems are still there in those pages and I want her to see where I got the answer from, to see how God knew what we would struggle with here on earth, but he gave answers, always anwers if you look. Parenting three girls is tough in todays world but I feel like I win against the world when I am able to guide my girl in God's word with practical ways that help her.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

what makes you happy?

I sit here this afternoon feeling rather joyfull. I have just had a day with my husband and three giggly girls playing outside in this amazing weather. I have a moment to myself to take a deep breath and write and I just feel content and happy for no particular reason, I am joyful. So it made me wonder what makes me happy?
One of the things I notice is that when I am able to be myself and not care about the role I should be playing is when I am most fufilled and happy. The activities that when I am doing them make me feel more like my true self than any other time are not particulary special events or the things I thought they would be. When I am just being the me God wants me to be, I feel unstopable. When I am playing a role I feel others think I should be fufilling, I am left empty and not particularly joyful.
Being a "good girl" , a girl who pleases everyone else's expectations definitely is not a role that I should ever try to fill or even want to fill. , but it has happened over the years. So what activities are there that make me feel more like my true self? Honestly, it is taking time to experiment and allow myself to leave these roles that I have created and find where God is truly leading me. It's kind of funny, these roles have made it difficult to recognize my self, yet I created them.
These days I just want to see my own soul shining through and to know the smile on myself is there because I am truly seeking things that make me a little more like me and today I found that in just playing and laughing and relaxing with the most amazing family God could share with me! What makes you a little more like the real you?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hybrid School

I was reading over women Living Well and she has been doing a series on homeschooling. I have to say that the online homeschooling community has really been an encouragement to me since I have started homeschooling 4 years ago. Without the honesty and suggestions of other moms sharing their day and ideas, I would of felt isolated. What I love most about homeschooling is the freedom to choose what works best for educating our children. In the past few years what works for us has changed and evolved into being part of a hybrid school.

What is a hybrid School? A hybrid school is a bricks and mortar school that my girls attend on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and then on Tuesday and Thursday they are homeschooled by me using the lesson plan their teacher has created. There are many benefits for me to this model and it has worked beautifully for our family. Some of the benefits include:
  • Complete Curriculum and lesson plans, no planning
  • Grade level friends and participation in social events with like minded families
  • Families that share the same values
  • small class size
  • Classical and christian education with a high value on moral training
  • Still being the main teacher/guidance in my child's life
  • electives including violin/art/choir/latin/PE/archery/golf/guitar/keyboard
  • Even though they homeschooled 2 times a week they are considered by the stat to be in a fulltime, private school.
  • Being accountable to finish the work on time ( I need this, LOL)
  • More time to play with siblings rather than just friends, promoting their sibling relationship
It has just been amazing for me and our family. I had a my third little girl the same time we started homeschooling and I struggled alot with creating lessons and being able to keep my girls on task and keeping a baby entertained. For this season of my life, I feel my girls are getting the benefits of homeschooling as well as amazing socialization of like minded families. The one challenge is it is private so there is tuition. I am actually a teacher by trade and was given the opportunity to start the preschool program at their school, so I am able to bring my youngest and work as the preschool teacher at the school on Monday and Wednesday. This covers the cost of the tuition for my other two girls.
What I love about this school is that it is just another amazing option to school our children. We do not have to accept the options that are offered to us as parents. We can choose the training of our children and grow our families the way we wish and feel lead. Right now this hybrid shcool is working so well for our family and our children are blooming. At each season of my life I will reevaluate what will work best for my family and make the best decision I can at that time.

Monday, February 14, 2011

love letter from my husband

This is my command: Love Each Other -John15:17

My love language is not gifts, it is time and words of affirmation. To me the best valentine gifts from my husband are not things but a handwritten love letter. My husband and I have been together since we were 12 and our love has grown so much over the years. Perhaps the most noticable change has been in my husband, who did not know the Lord when we first met. Infact, my husband has just begun to grow in his relationship with Christ in the last 5 years. It is truly amazing what God can do to a man. As strong as he is, his gentleness is stronger. Here is the love letter he wrote me for valentines day today:

To my Precious Love,
When I am with you the world seems miles away,
I get lost in your smile, those sweet shimmering lips,
When I gaze into your eyes, I see a soul full of light,
When we embrace, I feel your love pouring into my heart,
We have a bond that I could never find with anyone but you,
There is no corner, no dark place in me that your love cannot fill,
Your tenderness encourages me to be a better man,
I feel unworthy of a love so pure, a woman as stunning and incredible as you,
I thank God for you everyday, and pray to be the husband my beauty deserves,
When I am with you forever is where I want to stay.
Forever your lover,

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What do you desire?

Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambiton when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at sea. We are far to easily pleased. -C.S. Lewis

I remember being about 8 or 9 years old and my aunt, a teacher, would come and visit and bring with her the most amazing gifts. Not dolls and silly toys but paper. Yes I said paper. Before every home had a printer and reams of paper at their fingertips, my aunt would come through the door with an abundance of paper from her school. I remember the joy that I felt as she lay all the papers infront of me on the table. I couldn't wait to get my hands on it and see what I could create. I didn't know what would become on those blank pages, but the idea that my creations and ideas would become real on those pages before me overwhelmed me. The opportunities in a blank piece of paper excited me.

I knew early on that God had planted a desire for words and paper and writing in my soul. I could see that not every girl my age was so passionate about such things, infact I didn't have any friends who shared that passion. So as I grew, I swept the passion for writing under the rug and only brought it back out when no one was around. Adults would ask what I wanted to do when I grew up and for a long time I told them it was to be an author and write, but overtime I discovered that many people had the same dream and began to think my passion was just a silly dream.

I began to "reshape" my desire to write and create on paper into a more responsible career choice, teaching. I loved kids, I was able to still be around paper and creativity and it seemed a more acceptable answer to those around me when they asked what I wanted to do when I grew up. I didn't understand at the time that I was begining to create my story here on this earth by finding acceptance of my desires from others. That is how we loose our joy. Thankfully, God would help me see this mistake and help me follow the desires he placed within me.

26 years later, that 8 year old girl who got excited about paper and the blank page before her is still there and she wants to come out and play. God placed a desire in my heart and I tried to squish it and make it more acceptable and useful to this world. As I grow to know God more, he makes this desire stronger and reminds me that this desire is one of the things that makes me uniquely me. I am blessed to now not care if anyone finds my passion for writing silly or without practical purpose. The joy I have recieved from personal journaling alone has made this desire worth its weight in gold. God wants us to have follow our desires, he does not wish for us to be passionless and uncreative. Our God is creative and passionful and he placed those same things in us to explore.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Be the encourager

Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love
God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason and I am trying to learn that. I am often to quick to speak completely forgetting what God has called me to do ,"quick to listen and slow to speak". As I grow in maturity along this walk with God, I am convicted of my quick tongue that I once was so proud of.

I am well spoken and have always been able to win almost any 'spritited debate' that I have been in. In college this seemed like a gift, as a married woman trying to show God's love it is the source of much regret. My lips are almost raw on the inside as I have been biting them so inorder to tame my tongue. I am not mean or sharp with my tongue, but how much fun must it be for my husband to be married to someone who is "always right". Doesn't really matter if I'm right if I am not being encouraging and loving.

Being an encourager to my husband takes more than biting my tongue, it takes prayer to be more gentle and less selfish. To care more about him than myself. To care more about him walking away from me encouraged than me walking away a winner. As I show more encouragement and love from my mouth rather than champion debating skills, I see my husband respond back to me with more tendernous. I will write more about this in my series of posts - "I am learning to Submit"- Part 2!
I am also linked up here:

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I want to be BRAVE

I want to be brave. Brave enough to find out who exactly God wants me to be. Brave enough to sift through all the layers that this world has piled on me and find the core layer that God wants to shine. But it takes bravery to peel off those layers and find what has been whispering to me all these years.

I want to be brave enought to not care what I look like , what someone else thinks, what someone else wants me to do. I want to be brave enough to not care about the car I drive, the house I live in, the hair dresser I use. I want to be brave enough to say, "these things don't matter". I want to be brave to live the life I was meant to have, brave enough to follow my soul when it calls to me with the things it craves.

I want to be brave and show my three girls how to be humble. Humility is where I realize how lucky I am to be so blessed but question how I am able to do nothing of the two thirds of the world that has none of the luxuries I take for granted. I want to be brave enough to challenge my comfort, my friends comfort, my families comfort. I want to be brave enough to write in the pages of this blog these things that were planted in my heart.

Brave enough to follow God, no matter what. I want to be brave enough to give to anyone who needs it and not get a callused heart and decide who I believe deserves help. I want to be brave enough to not judge those around me by my own standards. I want to be brave enough to remind my church friends that Jesus came for the sick. I want to be brave enough that when my pride in my children, home, education, blog post, raise, begin to swell, that I am umong the sick that need Jesus.

I want to be brave, what do you want to be brave enough to do?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My decision to homeschool

I began homeschooling 4 years ago. The homeschooling adventure has changed my family to the core and I love it. When we made the decision to homeschool non of my friends were homeschooling, I wasn't sure what to do, where to go for help, but I knew I needed to do it. I felt such a tug in my soul to keep them home to educate that I didn't care what anyone thought.
As a good girl, who USE to enjoy pleasing the people around me, deciding to homeschool even though those around me thought it was strange was the best thing I ever did, for a few reasons.
First, homeschooling has allowed me to be the guide in my children's moral training and incourage the enjoyment of school.
But another unexpected blessing of deciding to homeschool was the power it gave me to stop caring about what anyone else was thinking. I felt convicted that I was making the best decision for my family and the fact that I had no support but still wanted it so badly, only made me more certain.
Over the years I have made many other decisions to help support and encourage our family and not let my decisions be swayed by what anyone else is doing. Homeschooling is a blessing and joy in our family! Today our homeschooling looks a little different as we belong to a hybrid school which has actual school on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and homeschool on Tuesday and Thursday. The structure and moral training of the school helps this creative, non structured mom stay on task but also the extra days of staying home to school and being blessed to have more time with these amazing giggly girls.
What made you begin your homeschooling adventure?