“Yes momma…”

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“Mom, can I please take a bath?” She calls to me so sweetly as I am in the shower, clock already ticking closer to the time we need to leave. “Ok, just wait until I am out of the shower and you can use my bathtub while I am getting ready.” “Yes momma,” she replies. I could just feel the sticky, gooey honey dripping from her “yes momma” as she delights in getting the answer that she wants.

Are we compliant and grateful to our Heavenly Father only when the tides have turned in our favor? What if the answer is no? Do we wait patiently in obedience, or stew in anger that God is not answering our prayer in the way we desire? 1 John 5:14-15 says “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.” The key here is asking according to His will…what is that? How do we know that what we are asking for is in His will for our lives? Well, that requires a little backtracking. James 1:5 says “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” So before bringing our requests to God, we should first pray for wisdom, wisdom to know what is in His will and what is not. Then we can walk away knowing that God has every good intention to answer that prayer in accordance with His will, His will…not ours. 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 gives us instruction on what to do next, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” You see, He doesn’t wish for us to just make our best guess at what His will is, He tells us…its right there, in black and white, “Rejoice always…pray without ceasing…give thanks in all circumstances…”

If we do this, we can wait patiently and then respond “Yes Daddy” even if the answer is not what we may have wanted. We can rest in the simple truth that He cares for us and for our lives more than we have the ability to care for ourselves.

John 15:7 “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” So go, abide in Him today…

Circle time

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Some homeschooling families call it circle time or family time or just a plain ol’ huddle before the busyness of the school day. Around here, we don’t really have a name for it, maybe “couch time” could be the name for our time since that is where we do this portion of the day. We like to spend about 15-20 minutes together with both kids and myself before our crazy homeschool day begins. This is a time for us to just hang out and learn and grow together as a family. Below are pictures of some of the things we are currently doing. You can tailor what you include to suit your family’s needs. We may do all of them or some of them each day, and we always end our time in prayer…

This is a devotion book that is dated and has a different life situation for each day. We read through the devotion, they answer a question and then we read the corresponding bible verse together.

This is The Puritan Bible Primer that I downloaded for FREE from the internet! The first lesson is memorizing The Lord's Prayer. The next lessons are Psalm 23, A Beginner Catechism and The Westminster Shorter Catechism. We are going through these not so we can develop a ritualistic type of prayer, but to give our children a sense of theology and to learn more about who God is.

 

These are wonderful flash cards that I purchased from the dollar section at Target (there are some other great ones as well). Each card shows a picture of a president and on the back it gives a description about their life and accomplishments. We usually learn about one new president each day.

Homeschooling a pre-k kid…

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My sweet girl is in between in a lot of ways…in between sizes in clothes because she is so petite, in between moving because that’s what military families do, and in between in age where “school” is concerned. She has a late birthday, at the end of November and she will be 5 this year…oh where has the time gone? So, still too early for kindergarten, and too old for pre-school so we call her pre-k, of course we don’t have to “call” her grade anything because that’s the beauty of homeschooling…however, she is ready. She is always asking how to spell things and loves to figure out “what plus what equals what.” And so, this is what I came up with. Of course as we all know, the attention span of a not-quite 5 year old is, well, not-quite long. So, we do what we can! Below, is an example of what we do for our daily lesson to prepare her for reading in the future…oh, did I mention it is practically FREE?

This is just a composition book that I got at Target for very cheap, and wrote in the lines and letters with red pen for her to practice. Each day will be a different letter.

These are letter flash cards that I made with the capital and lower case version of each letter.

This book is a wonderful tool that you can download for free online. Just google The Puritan Grammar Primer to print these pages.

Impatiently patient

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Patience…it is “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset”, by the dictionary’s definition that is. I have heard this word a lot lately, sometimes handed to me beautifully in a sweet accolade kind of way, and conversely I have had it flung at me as if people are trying to  justify their impatience. So I began to think about it more and I have had this thought swirling around in my mind for several days now, about patience and what it means to posses this trait, because although others see me this way, I sure don’t feel patient. It occurred to me that patience is not something that is innate, it is something that has to be learned, molded, shaped and constantly worked on. If I supposedly posses this trait, can’t others? I mean if they really wanted to?

There are two words that I always thought were synonymous and it turns out, they are not. Character and personality are often used interchangeably, but are two very different words indeed; one requires action on your part, the other requires no action. Your personality is who you are, it is what makes you special, that little bit of extra uniqueness that God placed in you when He was knitting you together in your mother’s womb. This is something that will always make you distinctly you…it is what people love about you. Your character, on the other hand, can be changed. Take a look at Romans 5:3-4, “…because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Did you catch that? It says that character is produced through perseverance.Perseverance suggests an effort. In theology, perseverance means a continuance in a state of grace leading finally to a state of glory. Grace…I love this word, the free and unmerited favor of God.So not an effort on our part but on God’s part as He works through us.

The Bible also clearly demonstrates patience as being a character trait, not a personality trait. This can be evidenced in Galatians 5:22 as one of the fruit of the spirit. When we choose to trust in Jesus and place Him as Lord of our lives, He gives us this wonderful “fruit basket” as a gift. And in this basket are all of these traits, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…this includes patience. So for those of you who don’t believe that God has given you this gift, you must look deeper into your basket. Call upon the Holy Spirit and ask Him to help you with this gift, believe me, I do this unashamedly every single day. Patience is not something that is instantly going to be evidenced in our lives without some work. Patience certainly does not blossom over night. Impatience on the other hand is a bondage issue, but it is something that we are no longer held captive to when we are believers in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

So, while I am on this topic, and after all it is my blog let me just say for the record, that my ability to home school my children has nothing to do with my patience, and everything to do with God and His grace and mercy. I will not boast about being patient, in fact, I do not even see myself in this light, as I know there are strengths in others that I long for. I am a flawed human, just like everyone else. I admit to days when I am all but patient and kind. But praise God that He is constantly refining this gift of patience, along with all the other fruit each day as I humbly come to Him and ask.

 

 

 

Our hearts

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While driving through the remote country back roads that span the sprawling Texas farmland, I notice something…silence, stillness, purity. One stop sign towns that ring of innocence and virtue, so untouched by the fast paced busyness of metropolitan life. And then it dawns on me, rushes over me like a wave…I remember the words of Paul in Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” I can’t help but wonder if he is really speaking about the condition of our hearts? If only our hearts were like these sweet towns, untouched and unchanged, unconformed by this fallen world…to be IN the world, not OF the world. The worn out outer shell of the town beaten and bruised by hurts, heartaches, struggles and pain that come with the wear and tear of life, but inside…a warm, cozy, familiar place where all are welcome, all can sit with humbleness and humility.

As I find my peace and refuge in the Father, may I learn to be a sanctuary in this fast paced world, a beacon in the dark, unharmed and unscathed, unchanged despite the depravity around me…a city set on a hill~Matthew 5:14.

 

How do you know?…and other thoughts…

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Delight yourself also in the LORD,  And He shall give you the desires of your heart.~Psalm 37:4

I know this verse to be true, in fact I have experienced it. I can pinpoint precious moments in time from my life where I stop and praise Him for so graciously granting me what I have been praying for, what my heart desired. But those were instances where His desires and my desires happened to line up. I am sure there were many more whispers uttered and cries pleaded to the Lord asking for blessings that were never bestowed. Yet I will praise Him for not granting those prayers as well, for it is God and only God that can possibly know what is best for my life.

Such easy words to speak, yet so difficult to put into action. What if that which you are longing and yearning for now seems like something that would line up with His will for your life, but the answer never comes? Every tick of the clock irritates and reminds you that your answer is not coming, or maybe that is your answer, the waiting? The waiting is meant to refine and change, not irritate and frustrate. But the feelings creep in, the sadness and worry…this very scenario is dear to my heart right now,at this very moment, consuming my thoughts and burning in my soul. I think and I long for this “thing”, and then reality sets in. This “thing” that I long so desperately for now, is not happening because of choices, choices that I made when I took the wheel from the Lord and said “move over, I am driving now…” He tried to give me this “thing” before, and I said “Not now Lord…it’s not a good time.”

I am humbled now and constantly on my knees in awe of my Savior and His love for me. Despite my pushing away, He keeps drawing me close, pursuing me. I yet again ask for forgiveness for thinking that I could be so independent from His will for my life. He is all powerful and certainly, nothing is out of His reach or too broken that He cannot fix. He gently whispers to me, “be still, and know that I am God…” ~Psalm 46:10. And now…I lay it at His feet and walk away…


Created in His Image

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~I notice her sitting there, a girl not more than 20, already worn and damaged by this world. She curses loudly, as she fiddles with her piercings and runs her fingers over her tattoos reminiscing about relationships and boys and making vulgar expressions as she laughs with her friends. All I could think at that moment was how offensive she was being and that there needed to be rules against cursing in public places.~

That was my experience yesterday while I was sitting at the pool watching my children swim. Of course my children were oblivious and none the wiser as I sit listening while they swim and enjoy themselves. Fast forward to 3am when the Lord wakes me up and gives me a thought, well, a song. The words of Nichole Nordeman’s song, Wide Eyed suddenly began dancing through my head, “She left me wide eyed in disbelief and disillusion, I was tongue tied drawn by my conclusions, so I turned and walked away and laughed at what she had to say, then casually dismissed her as a fraud, I forgot she was created in the image of my God.” Why this song? Why now at 3am? And then it hit me, all at once with one word…judgement. I was guilty of doing the very thing that I would be heartbroken and sad had I been the victim. Then the very last statement kept playing over and over like an anthem, “I forgot she was created in the image of my God.”

Who’s eyes have I been looking through? Certainly not Jesus’. Very soon after the words to the song passed through my mind, I recalled a story in the Bible that we are so familiar with and it so easily flows off of our tongues when we are the ones being blamed. It is the story of the woman in John 8 who had been caught in adultery and the scribes and pharisees wanted justice! They called for her to be stoned to death as was the law in those days. But Jesus, so soft and gently has one statement for them that made all of them turn and go home, “So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first (John 8:7).”” These very words, this very story tells me that I am the embodiment of those scribes and pharisees. It is so easy from an outsiders perspective to be “holier than thou.”

As I punch the keys even now, a scenario from my past is creeping in where I was the one being accused and judged, literally and out loud. The hurt and pain it caused me still ruminates in my soul to this day. I can’t help but wonder if Jesus had me hold on to this feeling so that I would never forget how it feels to be looked down upon.

I so graciously ask for forgiveness and continue to thank the Lord that He has redeemed me and loved me in spite of my past and did not cast stones at me for committing sins too horrible for words. Thank you Lord that you do not see through human eyes.~1 Samuel 16:7 “For the Lord does not see as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

With Love,

Peggy