We spent the weekend out of town for a niece's birthday party, came home Saturday night to no water because the water pipes leading to our home froze. I spent Sunday at home instead of going to church so I could wait on a call from the water district to come fix the situation. Monday was a holiday, so my husband got to stay home and we decided to not do any school so we could have a family day and catch up on laundry and things around the house. So, when Tuesday morning came I felt behind. Very, very behind.
Tuesday is our co-op day and I have certain goals I want to reach before we head over to church around 10:45 a.m. This Tuesday morning was quite simply chaotic and stressful. I had to discipline a child, I couldn't find a school book, I needed to finish packing lunches for the day, and my sink was full of dirty dishes. The missing school book was what caused me to fall apart. I began speaking out loud for both of my girls to hear things like...
"If I could get the house organized better. I wouldn't lose school books. I am a terrible homemaker."
"If I would have gotten up earlier this morning I'd have these dishes done and the lunches packed. I am a terrible homemaker."
"If I had more self-control and patience, I wouldn't get angry so quickly at my children. I am a terrible mother."
I probably spewed off 2-3 more negative labels about myself in the course of this meltdown, but I stopped when I saw Lauren and the tears streaming down her face. I sat down in a chair, reached out my arms, and she came and sat on my lap. My negative self- talk, my self-focused pity party had hurt my daughter's heart. She said, "Mommy, you are a good mommy and you take good care of us. I don't like it when you talk like that." My heart broke for so many reasons at that moment. Instead of crying out to God to calm me and strengthen me, I chose to explode in a self-focused tirade and it did not help me and it hurt my daughter's heart in the process.
We went to co-op and the 2nd period I have free. I sat in a classroom all alone and ate my lunch, pulled out my Kindle to read the 3rd chapter of Lysa TerKeursts' book, "Unglued." Some ladies at my church are reading this book right now and meeting to discuss a few chapters at a time. The 3rd chapter of the book literally brought me to tears because it basically described my morning and how us women tend to speak to ourselves in a way we would never dare to speak to someone else. We beat ourselves up and let our messes define us and how that enslaves us and makes us "prisoners" as the chapter is appropriately titled.
My mind is constantly in a battle. Focused on the Lord one moment and focused on myself the next. Letting God reign one moment and the in the next moment self rears its ugly head again.
Do I need to work on some organization projects in my home? Absolutely! But does that make me a failure in life? Nope.
Do I need to sometimes get up earlier in the morning? Yes. But that does not make me a failure on those days.
Do I need more self-control and patience? Oh yes. But thank the Lord His mercies are new everyday and He is faithful to prune me so I can grow the fruit of patience and self-control in my life. Not in my own power, but in His power (Lamentations 3:22-23 and Galatians 5:22-23).
So, I am going to break free from these labels I put on myself and exchange them for the labels Christ has given me. I am His child, He has a plan for me, He is the author and finisher of my faith, and He has given me everything I need to live a godly life for His glory. Grace, grace, grace, how thankful I am for grace.
I am thankful for my Tuesday morning with Jesus -- mess and all. I am thankful He met me in my mess, cleaned me up, put me back on my feet so I can walk away from my sin and forward with him. I'm thankful for TerKeursts' reminder in the first chapter of her book that "There is a beautiful reality called imperfect progress ... progress wrapped in grace ... imperfect progress."
Friday, February 21, 2014
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Kaitlyn has finished her AWANA book and has begun working on her silver and golds (reviews and fun interactive activities). One of the things she chose to do for a gold section, was to make a recipe from Bible times. She chose to make unleavened bread and then she took it to her class to share with them. We also looked at information about unleavened bread in the Bible.
Do your children participate in AWANA or any sort of Bible memory verse program or challenge?
Monday, February 17, 2014
On Tuesday, February 11th, we had a valentine party at our homeschool co-op. The younger children exchanged valentines, we had snacks, and a fun photo booth, which was a big hit and a lot of fun!
On Friday, we got to attend a cousin's 10th birthday party. This was only the second time we have been to one of her parties since we've always lived so far away. The party was on Friday, and as a result, Heath got to go with us since we could make our travel day on Saturday to ensure he was back in time to preach Sunday morning.
The party was Paris themed since the birthday girl loves all things fashion. The girls designed and made dresses out of tissue paper and then walked the runway for all the family members in attendance to enjoy a fashion show.
All the cousins together.
The boys were just there to drink punch and eat cake pops. They didn't want anything to do with the fashion party.
Friday, January 31, 2014
Tuesdays are shaping into fun learning days. Once the children are done with co-op, Kaitlyn stays for piano lessons and Tyler stays for drum lessons. The day literally flies by. I still haven't managed to take any pictures of the P.E. or art classes the children are participating in, but they are enjoying those classes a lot.
Kaitlyn learned how to use a seam ripper in her sewing class this week. :)
One of Lauren's LEGO challenges was to build a bridge. She is having fun working in teams and it is funny to see all the different personalities in this group. They are having a lot of fun.
Tyler is having fun hanging out with a group of older boys in his handy skills class. He is the one wearing the red shirt in this picture.
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
We've lived in our new home for almost 6 months. In our area, there are a lot of homeschool co-ops to choose from, but there is a co-op that meets in our church (which is literally next door). This co-op is affordable, fun, and relaxed. I tried a co-op once before and I didn't think I ever wanted to do it again, but a new friend of mine (a fellow pastor's wife and my daughter's piano teacher) encouraged me to give her co-op a try. This week was our second week and we already feel comfortable, at peace, and greatly encouraged.
As the children finish up their lunch, the Spanish teacher begins her lesson.
Lauren is enjoying her LEGO club and is having a lot of fun thinking critically and creatively.
Here are the classes each child is enjoying:
- Beginner Spanish
- Handy Skills
- P.E. (he is my helper one hour and then the next hour he participates with kids his age)
- Beginner Spanish
- Sewing (they are beginning with a fleece hat and scarf)
- Dance (with a teacher from a local dance studio)
- Beginner Spanish
- LEGO Club
Does your family participate in a co-op?
Thursday, January 2, 2014
The past couple weeks, I've been reflecting on 2013 and the areas of my life I want to improve in 2014. The words "steady" and "consistent" kept coming to mind over and over. I am really good at initially getting excited or motivated about a new goal (health or spiritual) and then fizzle out at some point. I want to be steady and consistent in my walk with the Lord. I truly respect my husband and when I see the closeness he has with the Lord and the good care he takes of his physical body, I see a man who is steady and consistent in his obedience. He doesn't overcomplicate things -- He simply takes one step of progress at a time and gets results. In searching the Scriptures (thank you biblegateway.com) I came across Proverbs 4:26. I appreciate how the NIV translates this verse:
Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.
I hope to live out Proverbs 4:26 this year and experience the steady, consistent, and victorious life Christ desires.
Friday, December 20, 2013
Praying for peace for myself and others has been a constant theme in my life these past few weeks. Jesus came to be our Prince of Peace and because He came, I can walk through this life with His peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil. 4:7).
Jesus, thank You for coming to be my Prince of Peace, now may I live like I truly believe You are.
Merry Christmas from our family to your family and may we all experience the presence, peace, and power of our Savior this Christmas Season and always.
Saturday, December 14, 2013
Christmas is often referred to as the most wonderful time of the year, but for many it turns into the most stressful time of the year. However, I don't think any of us have faced stress like young Mary, the mother of Jesus.
- She had a face-to-face encounter with an angel.
- She had to tell her finance she was pregnant with God's baby.
- She had to travel away from home close to her due date.
- She gave birth away from home and away from all the women in her life who would have assisted her in the birth and instead ended up delivering her baby in a place where animals slept.
- Shepherds visited her in the middle of the night almost immediately after giving birth.
In Luke 2:8-19, we read about the Shepherds' visit to Mary:
8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.
In the midst of possibly the craziest nine months any young girl in history has ever experienced, Mary welcomed people to come and meet Jesus, even though her circumstances were less than perfect. She had just given birth in a dirty, smelly stable after a long day of traveling. And yet, Mary had the peace and wisdom to slow down, treasure the moments and soak in all that was going on around her. Scripture says she listened to Shepherds, lowly shepherds, and treasured and pondered what they said.
At this moment in time, Mary is holding the promised Messiah in her arms and John 1:14 says she is holding the One who became flesh in order to dwell among us. She is holding Emmanuel - God who came to bring connection so we can know Him intimately and personally.
This Christmas, let's follow Mary's example and not wait for perfect conditions before we allow others into our loves so we can introduce them to our Savior. Mary could have told Joseph to send the shepherds away because she was tired or weak, but she didn't. If we wait around for perfect conditions -- we will never accomplish anything of eternal value this Christmas season. May we all slow down, listen to the people God has placed in our lives, and find simple ways to show them our Savior, just like Mary did with the shepherds the night Jesus was born.
Lord, I pray this Christmas season, we will slow down and simply adore YOU in whatever less than perfect conditions we may find ourselves. Help us to praise you and point others to You in the midst of stress. You came to be our Prince of Peace, so Lord, let us live like we truly believe You are. You are Emmanuel - God with us. you came to connect with us, now we ask you to help us, help others connect with You. In Your name I pray, Amen.
Saturday, November 23, 2013
We spent a very fun and affordable day at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, thanks to an awesome Groupon deal we found a few weeks ago. This was my first trip to Chicago and my first time ever laying eyes on a Great Lake. Due to traffic and construction, it took us around 2 hours to get to the aquarium and we are looking forward to future day trips to Chicago. There is so much to see and do there.
No one in our family had ever experienced a 4D show until yesterday and we thought it was a lot of fun. Our seats vibrated, punched us in the back, and water sprayed out a few times, which was quite a hilarious shock.
A very nice man took this family photo of us with Chicago's skyline and Lake Michigan in the background.
Have you ever visited Chicago? If so, what are some of your favorite places to visit?
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Today is our actual anniversary, but we've been celebrating for the past 13 days. My husband challenged himself to give me thoughtful, small, and sweet gifts for 14 days in honor of celebrating our 14th anniversary. It's not the things he's given me, but rather the thought and care he's put into each gift that means so very much to me. I am incredibly blessed to be married to a man who is generous, selfless, and just plain fun to live life with. I honestly mean it when I say my husband is my best friend and I am crazy in love with him.
Monday, November 11, 2013
Today, my middle child turns 11 and she is looking less and less like a child and more and more like a young lady. I love her creativity, sensitivity, funny personality, and her tender and sweet heart.
One day last week, I asked her if she ever really wanted to do something really awesome for God, but didn't know what or even how to begin. She poured her heart out to me and it was so awesome to hear her share some desires of her heart.
Since I carried her in my womb, I have prayed for her to faithfully walk with the Lord all the days of her life, for that is all that truly matters because this relationship with Jesus has eternal worth and if she keeps seeking Him first, then everything else will fall into place and He will make her path straight (Mt. 6:33 and Pr. 3:5-6).
My prayer for you, Kaitlyn, is for you to always focus on serving and pleasing Christ and not people in all areas of your life (Galatians 1:10). Just because you are a child, does not mean you cannot serve and do mighty things for the Lord (1 Timothy 4:12). If you want to study and teach God's Word, then obey God and do it. Ask Him to give you opportunities to minister and serve in His name and for His glory.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
I've learned giving consistent thanks is the key to being joyful always (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) and November is a great month to focus as a family to give thanks for all our gifts.
I found a free Thanksgiving Scripture printable earlier this week, printed it on cardstock, and found a 5x7 frame I still had packed in a moving box down in the basement. The vase in the background will (hopefully) overflow with slips of paper with our scribbled prayers of thanksgiving.
The display is a simple arrangement to help us keep our focus on Christ, His gifts, and how we owe Him ALL our thanks. I'm thinking the Scripture printable and vase may have found a permanent place in our home. Sometimes I need visual reminders like these throughout my home to keep me breathing in grace and breathing out prayers of thanks.
Are you breathing out prayers of thanks
to help you be a consistent thanks-giver?
to help you be a consistent thanks-giver?
Are you on Instagram? If so, I'd love to have you join me as I try to post a daily #30daysthankful photo each day to document