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A Little "Vaca"

>> 12.06.2011

Wanted to update you all and say thank you for joining me this year as I've started to get up and running a bit.  I've really enjoyed learning about this world of blogging and the affects it can have on others and myself.  I have, however, run into a bit of internet trouble in the last few weeks and that, coupled with the extra time pressures we all face over the holiday season, has left me unable to update and post as I'd really like to at this time.  There will be a change in my residency come January 1st at which time I hope to get to a place that has REAL internet (the kind you don't have to wait hours for) and then I will be able to revisit my blogging goals/vision and move forward from there.  Until then, I wanted to wish you all a

VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!

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GIVEAWAY DRAWING!

As updated in the last post, those who started following Aware to Care, a blog dedicated to educating us about the plight of those trafficked, were added to those eligible for today's drawing.  And, the winner of the unique and beautiful ornament/sun catcher (using random.org) is...


Heidi, member # 1 from AWARE TO CARE!!


Congrats, Heidi!  You will be contacted and as soon as we have an address for you, this will be sent out to you asap so you can enjoy it's beauty on your tree this year. 


May you all have a blessed Christmas season!  

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A Great New Blog!

>> 11.24.2011

I am very proud to announce the start of a great new blog dedicated to teaching us about the plight of those trafficked in our modern days.  Please take a moment to read these short, informative blogs and then take a step of faith and get involved!  There are tons of ways to do this that won't even take you outside of your front door-- the first, of course, is onto your knees to pray.  God sees and hurts those taken advantage of and cares for them more than we can imagine.  Let's answer His command to take care of the poor, the needy, and those who have no voice. (Jer. 6:8)

CHECK IT OUT!!!!!



Don't forget:  Giveaway for the unique Christmas Ornament will close December 2.  If you haven't spread the word yet leaving a comment along the way, do so today!!!!

AND:  Update for the Giveaway:  anyone signing up to follow or receive the blog in the inbox at Aware to Care will be entered into the giveaway too!!!

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Reading For Hope!

>> 11.14.2011

Instilling in our children the desire to be life-long givers is very important to my husband and I.  It has been exciting to watch the children grow and begin to learn to think of others before themselves. This year, as we did last year, we wanted to have the kids participate in a way to give a gift to Jesus for Christmas, since, after all it is HIS birth we celebrate!  After discussing which organization(s) they wanted to give to, we talked about ways they might earn this money.  Taking a spin off of other "pledge"- based giving, (i.e. walk-a-thons, etc.) we all decided that since the kids could read, they could read to earn money.  They wrote a letter to their close relatives and friends, addressed the envelopes, stamped, and sent them in the mail.  After a 30 day challenge each child was able to reach their goal.  One child had really wanted to be able to purchase a goat through World Vision and the other children wanted to collect their money for a girls' orphanage we are connected to in South East Asia that keeps young girls out of the enslavement of human trafficking. After a total of 152 books, I'm happy to say that the goat will be able to be purchased (and perhaps a chicken or two) and we will have a part in purchasing a much needed washing machine and other household items desperately needed for the orphanage.  God's kingdom will expand through these meager gifts ~ what better Christmas gift could we offer?

I pray your family will enjoy the blessing of giving to others and be excited about expanding God's Kingdom in whatever way He leads you to do.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Mama's Mission, November 11

>> 11.06.2011

Update on October's:  stay close to God -- MORE accomplished than the month previous...but I still am falling short of my desire of DAILY reading His Word and praying.  (I want to get this posted, so no pictures to go with my post=)

Overall, since moving, I think I've felt like an increasing failure-- failure to pay enough attention to my husband, failure to get school stuff straight for all children (even the two that "count"), failure to get my business back up and running, failure in all things organized,...I really could go on-- but that would be a downer.  So, where to I go from here? 

Thankfully, I know that the Lord is walking with me through this.  Afterall, this blog is entitled, "My Soul Waits" and I find myself returning to the Psalm that started it all, "My soul waits for God only, from him alone comes my salvation...Trust in Him at all times, pour out your heart before Him."  Discouragement is an arrow of the enemy and so I am trusting in the Lord Who can extinquish those flaming darts and trying to find my shelter and hope in Him.  He will not fail me, though I fail Him...His mercies are new EVERY MORNING!  Great is His faithfulness! (Lam. 3)

November's Mission:  Enjoy my family, stay close to Jesus.  (If not for these two things, I think I'd have to say "survival."=)

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Christmas Gift Idea #1 (AND a GIVEAWAY for it!)

>> 11.04.2011



Beads to Bless, a not-for-profit small business that assists women and children around the globe by supporting free trade products (operated by my mother, no less!=), has come up with the great idea for Christmas tree ornaments. This very unique glass ornament is truly one-of-a-kind. Handmade, each ornament displays 27 large orange beads and various smaller ones.  ORANGE is used because it is the color that represents FREEDOM.  The 27 large beads represent the 27 (+) million men, women and children that are trafficked to date. (For more information and current stats you can visit any of the sites listed below.)

Beads to Bless has just opened their Etsy shop and there you will soon find other beaded products such as earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and some other home decor items!  If you are NOT the winner of this product, you can still purchase an ornament for yourself or for family and friends for just $12.  ALL PROCEEDS, 100% of it, goes directly back into supporting real women and real children helping them to make a living in order to support themselves to stay away from becoming or every being again a victim of human trafficking.


Great Sites To Become More Informed:
International Justice Mission, www.ijm.org
Not For Sale Campaign, www.notforsalecompaign.org
Free the Slaves, www.freetheslaves.net

If you are in Indiana, Sherry Searles is an AWESOME advocate and teacher who puts on "Freedom Parties" helping us to become more aware and equipped with what we can do to help those being trafficked Stateside and Abroad.  Check out her facebook here for more info!
HOW TO BE A WINNER:
Mandatory:
1) Leave a comment and letting me know you are "following" My Soul Waits
2) Leave a comment letting me know you "subscribed" to My Soul Waits
3) Send this post in an email (Sorry, my other sharing buttons are not working and I haven't had time to fix them yet!) and leave a comment letting me know you did.

Extra:
4)  Go check out one of the sites listed above and come back and let me know you did!
5)  Blog or post about this product or the plight of those trafficked and come back and let me know you did! (If you blog, please leave the link.)

Just one step in helping those in need and those who don't have a voice to be able to stand up for themselves-- AND you can get ready for Christmas!  Happy Giveaway!

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Treasuring Life, II

>> 10.28.2011

In her book, Feminine Appeal, Carolyn Mahaney shares the following as she talks about the struggles of keeping a right attitude in motherhood.

"Because mothering requires constant sacrifice, the temptations to resentment, complaining, and self-pity are always close at hand.  But such selfishness will quickly sap the strength of our love for our children...As mothers, we have a choice. We can either resent the challenges and demands that accompany motherhood and persist in our selfishness, or we can draw from God's grace and receive his help to cheerfully lay down our lives for our children..." (p52,53)

There is no question about it, and anyone who's ever done it will agree, mothering is the hardest job there is to do.  If we let all of the demands that come with the job overcome us and if we try to tackle them all in our own strength, we WILL be unhappy and we WILL resent our children.  If, however, we look to the cross, and see (and learn from!) the example Christ gave us of serving day in and day out with abounding love for even complete strangers, we'll find the strength we need to get us through each difficult day and season of mothering.  I find I am most satisfied in life (and in those given to me) when I allow the calling of motherhood to take its rightful place of center-stage (in priority over other life responsibilities-- after God and husband, of course) instead of resenting it compared to whatever "else" I could be doing at the moment.  For me, discontentment in motherhood and in this stage of life, appears when I allow myself to dwell on "other possibilities." 

I've always been a dreamer -- somewhere in my the depths of my heart I've wanted to do something so big for God that it is as if it were impossible to do.  I recently heard a broadcast (don't ask me which one!) where a quote was made about God working in impossibilities; something to the effect that Christ-followers should live everyday doing the impossible because as Believers we should be living fully dependant upon Him -- and doing impossible tasks require relying on the God of impossibility.  I sighed at this thought and revisited the "oh, I wish I were doing something impossible for God" thought-- and then it hit me (I'm pretty sure it was the Holy Spirit that hit me, but ya know, not in a harmful way, lol) -- as a mother, I AM doing an impossible thing for Him!!!!  Raising children who will love the Lord and follow Him and lead their families someday to do the same IS an impossible task!!!  And, to do so successfully, can ONLY be done WITH the Lord!! Only HE will draw my children to Himself and only HE can give me the strength to keep going on the many days when I want to give up or "do something else." 

If you are in this with me, and feel the same way, let me encourage you; you, as a mother dedicated to her children, are attempting the impossible -- and we know that WITH GOD, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.  Keep on leaning on Him.


 
"Attempt something so impossible that unless God is in it, it's doomed to failure."  ~ John Haggai

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On Behalf of Desperation

Recently, one of my good friends had a baby increasing her "quiver" from one to two.  I remember this transition in my own life very well and remember how every minute seemed to drain my body by the physical demands made on me to provide for the constant needs of an 18-month-old and a newborn.  Sleep eludes its normal cycle and you are forever (it seems) sleep deprived and running on empty. 

I saw a Facebook post of this friend that described her 18 month old playing in flour on the floor while around her was strewn a dirty diaper (maybe two!- GASP!=), laundry baskets full of undone clothing, dirty dishes in the sink...on it went.  And my heart went out.  Oh, those memories!  I wanted to reach through the computer screen to just hug her and let her rest a minute.  (If I were at her house, I'd have done the dishes and laundry and then made supper!!!)  No words of "oh, it will get better" or the awful response that I sometimes got, "Oh, these are the good days, honey!"  or the often heard "enjoy it while they are young.  It'll pass so quickly!"  Really?!?  Those are the responses that hit like bricks and are as welcomed as words of "comfort" so often offered after the loss of a loved one.  As we get further along in our parenting journey we do see that the days pass quickly, but while one is in the middle of it, those words only make you feel guilty for being as tired and overwhelmed as you are.  They are of no comfort.

My challenge and request as a mom just a few years more into this is to women who have older children and are a little more independant-- give some time to a young mom!  Show up unannounced and do not take "no" for an answer to your offer to help.  Clean those dishes, prepare a meal, rock a crying baby, and let mom get some much needed rest!  I believe this was one of those things women in the days of old used to do for younger moms as they sought to obey the Titus 2 command to "train younger women to love their husbands and their children..." (Titus 2:4)  How can a woman continue to pour out and out and out without the proper rest her own body and soul needs?  We all know it is almost impossible to give the right responses to those we love when we are "out of steam".  So give the gift of rest to someone you know today.  (And then come back and let us know if you did!)  You will be blessed.  The momma will be blessed.  And all her family will be blessed as well. 

GO BE A BLESSING!!!

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And the Winner Is...!

>> 10.24.2011

The winner of the Education Cubes giveaway courtesy of Mama Jenn is...

Angela, from Mama's Two Cents Worth!!!!

Congrats, Angela!  Please send your email addy to me via mom2iek@gmail.com and I will get your info. over to Mama Jenn so she can add you to the membership list and you can start enjoying your Education Cube printables right away! 

Thanks to all who have participated. I'd still encourage you to add Education Cubes and the Photo Stacking Blocks to your "resources-to - buy" list for school or maybe even your Christmas list.  This past week we reviewed our Spanish greeting phrases with them and studied our sight words from Child 1st Publishing with them.  (I'd have pics, but part of my busyness was having my camera "tied up" a bit with my photog business.  Next time, right?!)

Still working on the next giveaway!  I have the product here and I'm SUPER excited to share it will you BUT I've got to get a few more details in place before I do so...hopefully by THIS WEEK'S END!!!


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Treasuring Life

>> 10.20.2011

These past few weeks have been a blur -- the moments have only been interrupted by changing yet another load of sheets or towels or clothes that show the wear of my sick family members.  I think I've left the house maybe 2 or 3 times in the last 14 + days?  Usually, my response to this would be unmentionable, but this time around, as I've prayed for a better heart attitude, I'm finding peace amidst the mess and strain of caring for others and I've come to the point where day upon day I can see that God is answering my prayers and I've actually enjoyed every moment with my children and husband.  I know this should be characterizing my entire life, but let's face it-- sometimes those you live with drive you the most crazy and inside, out of pure selfishness, your heart can begin to cry "Get Me Outta Here!"  The last thing you want is one more person touching, clinging, calling, blah, blah, blah-- all for you.

In a small group I'm able to attend during our homeschool co-op mornings, we've been reading through Carolyn Mahaney's book, Feminine Appeal.  It's been out for a few years now and had been on my "to read someday" book list so I was thrilled to find out that we were going to read through it together and study Titus 2.  I've studied this passage many times before, and each time I have blessed by the awesome reminder of my responsibilities -- and PRIVILEGES -- God has granted me through motherhood.  If you would, take a moment to read through the passage and if I'm allowed another post anytime soon, I'll comment there.  (Verses 3-5 are the emphasis of the book.)

1 You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine. 2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.
3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. (taken from here)


 

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HOD Spelling

>> 10.10.2011

Since I decided to go ahead and make these up each week for our spelling, I thought I'd make it easier and just create one page that included the links.  I hope this helps any of you out there that may use Heart of Dakota for your curriculum -- specifically the Beyond that we are using and to which these lists coordinate.  (I will add on going back and forward as I have time. This is what I have for now=)

Unit 8, short words ending in 'y' (i.e. try, shy, etc.)
Unit 9, long 'a' words (with silent 'e')
Unit 10, long 'i' words (with silent 'e') List One      List Two



Happy Word Tiling!

Kristen J.

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Welcome!

Just wanted to give a warm welcome to my new followers and subscribers.  I appreciate your interest & am looking forward to drawing a winner just two weeks from today!  I had great plans of posting each day this week one way we use Education Cubes in our home -- but alas, the flu has decided to run amok here and I'm not sure what my week will entail!  (I know you all completely understand=)  So, as I am able, I will be posting some pics and hopefully spark your interest and enthusiasm even more for this product.

Also-- be on the lookout for a great Christmas idea coming very soon through this MSW blog.  It will be educational (for the adults in your life), God-honoring, and look really nice around your home...any guesses?  (I don't think you could even guess if you tried!)  More details will come by weeks' end (along with another giveaway!)

Until then,
Kristen J.

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This House Speaks

>> 10.01.2011

What a disaster this previous month seems to have been!  Everywhere I looked these past few weeks there were visual reminders of what I felt was going on in my heart-- cluttered table-tops, laundry baskets full of dirty (and clean-- but unfolded!) clothes, paper and book piles in just about every corner...whew!  You know the verse that states, "...Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks?"(Luke 6:45)  Well, I think maybe the verse could also be stated, "out of the overflow of the heart, the house speaks."

We've all been here before, discouragement sets in and we don't pay attention to the whisperings of His Spirit and so we go on about our days doing this and doing that and we keep wondering why we feel so...so...disconnected and overwhelmed.  Sometimes we "get it" early on and change our ways, sometimes we don't.  Well, after a month of serious disconnectedness (which = overwhelmed-ness, which = discontented-ness, which = self-pity, which = self-centeredness...you can see how this goes!), I've come back to my understanding that I seem to grasp for oh too short a time and I finally sat down with the Lord this morning.  One of my favorite ways to redirect my focus is to sing praises to Jesus while playing the piano.  Some times I use the Scriptures to direct my words and some times I use other people's words & music.  Last night, in my attempt to straighten some of the piles in my corners, I found a folder of Keith & Kristin Getty's music.  These people are truly led by the Spirit when they write music and I often will play their music to comfort my wandr'ing soul so this morning, this is the music I sang and played.  I trust God received it as a humble offering from a child of His who was seeking His forgiveness for forgetting how good He truly is to me (to ALL of us!) and I know the praise for Who He is will be honored.

Here are a couple of those songs for you to enjoy.




Lord, my You be the center of all we think, do, and say and may our lives not revile You, but may they been seen as tesimonies of Your daily, abundant, and sufficient grace.


Momma's Misson of the Month for September:  I failed in all accounts! (That's what I get for thinking I was doing so well!!!!)


Mission NOT Accomplished YET


October's Mission: To love the Lord through spending time with Him in the Word and allowing His presence to be my focus throughout the daily tasks I have at hand.

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Education Cubes GIVEAWAY!!!!

>> 9.28.2011

I'm SOOOO excited to bring you all my very first GIVEAWAY!!!  Mama Jenn, over at www {dot} MamaJenn {dot} com, has been an inspiration to me ever since I found her last spring.  I had been using large dice made out of cardstock to reinforce new concepts such as word families and the kids' spelling words.  They happily played games using these dice, but the affects of many happy game times was, unfortunately, broken dice.  Also, I always had to keep a blank copy of the form and then hand write (which I despise my own handwriting so I hate to use it) all the review concepts out on the dice, tape them, etc.  It was a lot of work and it left me wondering if there was a better solution. 

Enter: EDUCATION CUBES

I don't even remember how I found her, but as soon as I saw her product I knew it needed to be added to my small and growing educational recource collection.  Mama Jenn, a homeschooling mother of 5 and fellower blogger (she has several sites) and guest blogger at Totally Tots , had come up with a brilliant (imho) idea: use photo blocks as dice and slide whatever concept being taught into the see-through pockets instead of photos.  She took this idea one step further and offered her growing collection of concepts (language, math, science, Spanish, etc.) to the public for a very reasonable fee.  You can learn more about the education cubes and how others are using them by clicking here.

THE GIVEAWAY!!!
Mama Jenn has graciously agreed to give away ONE FREE MEMBERSHIP to her site to one of my lucky readers!!  If you already purchased a membership to her site, she's even agreed to let you in on the fun and will refund your membership money should you be the lucky winner!  (hmmm...can I enter my own giveaway? =)  Ladies, this is a GREAT resource for your students.  I've used it for reviewing word families, spelling, and currently in our Spanish and Months studies.  There are many more concepts covered in her collection and she's constantly adding to them.  What is so nice for me is that I can conveniently go to her "members only" page, log-in, find the concept I need, click, and waa-la!  Print them out!  No more taping, no more writing, no more time consuming game-time prep! 

THE "RULES"
Okay, to enter you must do one of the following:
  1. Subscribe to my blog via the "subscribe" button and comment letting me know you did!
  2. Start following my blog (and, you got it!, comment and let me know you did! =)
The winner will be chosen via the sequence generator from Random.org on Monday, October 24th at 12 noon -- so HURRY!  Subscribe or start following today and make sure you get in on this great offer made possible by MamaJenn.



Mama Jenn

(NOTE: This giveaway is for membership to MamaJenn's Education Cubes site and does not include the photo blocks.  To purchase those separately, click herePhoto Stacking BlocksBaby Stacking Toys) .)

Below are some pics from last week's Education Cubes activities.  I used her Alphabet Movement set to start our day out on the right foot-- er...stomache, as was the case when one of my kiddos rolled "I" and they all had to act like "inchworms."  They loved it-- and so did I b/c they all sat and did their studies really well after getting so many wiggles out!  AND, doing some fun alphabet games in the morning has been a great way for me to involve Little Lady and still have the boys engaged, too!






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WORD TILES (for Heart of Dakota Spelling)

>> 9.27.2011

I've been working on a growing number of Word Tile sets to go with my children's  letter tiles.  I actually picked our set of letter tiles up from Meijer when we were shopping there shortly before school started for us, but I can't seem to find that exact set online anyway.  No biggy-- they actually were a bit more expensive, but if you have any set of square letter tiles(as can be found here), they should fit pretty well on these same sets if you'd like to print them out.

I use these sets to help practice their spelling for our Heart of Dakota Curriculum that just happens to (usually;) match up with our regular language lessons.  This week it's words that end in 'y' and next week it's words that have the long 'a' sound made by using a silent 'e' at the end (with a few "exceptions").  Take a peek-- if it's helpful, great!  If not, go on with life as usual=)

A NOTE ABOUT LETTER TILES
I find that using letter tiles helps alleviate the frustration child # 2 has with writing and helps change things up a bit for child # 1.  In the picture below you can see I made a little "tool" with foam to help create a window that they can slide the word stripes through.  This also has made the kids feel more like they are playing some sort of "game" instead of just doing school "work." 



You can find my HOD Spelling printables on my 4shared account.  So far I've only got Unit 8 and Unit 9 done, but will add more if I hear from others that this would be helpful to them.

What are YOU doing that helps make school seem a little more "fun"?  I'd love to hear!

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A Unified Philosophy

>> 9.25.2011

I was thinking this past week about the original idea of starting this blog, and I feel a bit like I've gotten lost along the way=)  Never mind, though, as it's all a part of our family and what we are going through.  However, I did have a few ministry thoughts floating around in my mind recently that I thought might be worth sharing. 

When my husband and I last did the "candidating thing" almost ten years ago now (WOW! Could it have been that long ago?!), we didn't have children.  Our questions were different, our answers we looked for were different, and our observations were also very different from our most recent experience. We asked certain questions this time and made certain observations and were obviously pleased with all of the responses, but since moving we've made a few more and I wanted to pass on our lessons learned with anyone who might be in the "same boat" at some point in the future.  The best place to start with this process, I think, is talking about something I'll title "Philosophy of Ministry: His, Hers, & Ours"

Philosophy of Ministry Defined (According to Ma-wah!=)
Jason and I knew going into this new position our personal and familial philosophy of ministry. (If you're not familiar with this terminology you probably haven't done that yet! No worries, if you aren't in ministry yet, great-- you've got time! If you are...um, make a date ASAP and talk this over!) Philosophy of ministry can be defined a couple of ways, but for us mainly means "why we do what we do in ministry" -- our driving beliefs that shape our everyday actions and decisions.

A Unified Philosophy
Having a unified philiosophy of ministry will aleviate so.much.frustration. in a ministry marriage (or highly involved lay ministry marriage) and is necessary for unified familial decision making.  (To see our philosophy click here.)  Coming to this unified philosophy has been done through initial pre-marital discussions about our upbringing and expectations of church life and home life, trial and error during marriage, and some reading and class discussion done along the way.  Some important questions to answer in this area (especially if you have children or are thinking about having them sometime in the future) are:

  • How did you see ministry played out in your upbringing-- how much time was devoted in your home to serving God specifically through various church-related activities (as this will most shape your attitude towards your husband's ministry job).
  • What did you like about your up-bringing, what did you not like about that involvement?  How do these observations about these questions make you feel? 
  • Ideally, how would you like to see ministry-related activities affect the home?  (i.e. "it's your job, don't bring it home," "I'll come too and maybe teach once in awhile," "I'm all in!  Where can I serve with you?!  What?! A call at mid-night-- well, OF COURSE you'd better answer it!")
  • Ideally, how would your husband like to see ministry-related activities affect the home?
  • Do you have other outside responsibilities that may take away time from your avilability?
  • If you have children: how do you want them to see God/church/service?  What might that mean for them at the various stages of growing up. (i.e., it's okay with you, mommy, to take little 1 yr. old Timothy out to the church-wide famiy movie night even though it'll mess his next day schedule up -- OR -- NO WAY! Little Timothy and I are staying home!  No questions about it, dad!)
  • Children's involvement: will they be expected to attend everything whenever the doors are open, or, do you never want them to feel expected to do anything at all?!?
Really, the list could go on and on...everyday I am faced in my home with decisions that are related to ministry-- and my responses to those decisions will come from my philosophy of ministry.  My husband can be confident that when he has to make a last minute decision about a ministry need without my input (and I stress "need"),  since we've talked at length about our philosophy, that I will be supportive of his decision.  That aleviates his concern that I might be unahappy with him when he tells me of his decision-- which sometimes may be after the fact and have caused some iconvenience to me or the kids.

As you are talking all these questions over, please don't forget to seek out what GOD has to say in His Word about ministry.  Full-time vocational ministry, after all, is choosing to serve God and His kingdom as a way to support your family while on this earth.  This allows you more flexibilty and time to devote to those in your communities and congregations, and allows you more time to be in His Word, as described by Paul numerous places in his Epistles. (One that comes to mind is 2 Timothy 2:15 "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." NIV)  After serving several years in "part-time ministry" (aka, working a secular job and trying to rightly full-fill the needs of a full-time congregation), we came to a personal decision that is wasn't feasible for us.  There really is no way to devote the necessary amount of time to people and spending time in God's Word in order to "correctly handle the word" if you have the concerns of spending 40-50 other hours of your week to a "regular" job.  For this very reason, Paul affirms the position of full-time ministry laborers when he says, "...the Lord has connanded that those who preach teh gospel should receive their living from the gospel." (I Cor. 9:14  -- for fuller context, click here.)


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Our Philosophy of Ministry

As Christ-followers, we believe that we must be students of the Word, seeking to apply the truths contained in the Bible in ever-increasing measure to our daily lives.  We must be learning to grow in our love for God and for others and this will show itself through the fruits of our lives.  All Christ-followers should seek to do the same as this is part of eternal life: "Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." John 17:3 (NIV, 84)


As a full-time vocational ministry family, we believe that

  • Our whole family has been called into ministry-- not just dad
  • The purpose of our family is to grow our children into disciples of Christ (Through His power)
  • We will be "inconvenienced" at times by ministry and church-life -- that's why it's called "service"
  • I, the wife, will seek to serve alongside my husband where I can, thus being an example to our children of serving Him
  • I, the wife, will seek to make my home a resting place from the often times discouragement that can come from working with people -- let's face it, as they say "ministry would be easy if you didn't have to work with people!"
  • I, the husband, will seek to make my family a priority above the demands of the job (i.e. 24/7 meetings) and will seek to make boundaries as discussed between my wife and I
  • We, as a unified front, will seek to present church as not a "thing" of competition between dad and the rest of the family, but as one place that we can all learn to love and serve God more.
  • We, as parents, will seek to present all service for God as ministry-- and not just the work done inside the church walls-- most true ministry happens outside of those walls (when it's not so easily scheduled.)
  • We, as parents, will seek to protect our children from the unnecessary knowledge of inter-personal relational issues, inter-church conflicts, etc. We will do this by being careful with our words and where and what we talk about regarding the church and the people we serve
  • We, as parents, will do our best to demonstrate that a life lived for God's glory can be done in any vocation-- not just through full-time ministry -- but that God is pleased with doing everything as unto the Lord. (I Cor. 10:31, NIV, 84)
Our goal, as it pertains to our children, is to pray-up, train-up, demonstrate-up (I made that up!=) disciples for Christ who willingly and joyfully serve the One True Living God, Jesus Christ!

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Unexpected Sancutary

>> 9.19.2011

For so long I've dreaded that machine, you know the one-- the one that has this giant belt that runs along the bottom and causes people to act like little gerbils?  You got it-- the treadmill.  (Shh!  Don't say it too loudly!)  Many people have joined me in my loathing of that great machine...but recently I've begun to change my mind.  You see, since we've moved we no longer have access to a wonderful Y facility like we did in our old town, and this had set both my husband and I on a quest to find a good solution.  Thus, Craigslist...and thus, that great giant machine (aka treadmill), sitting in our already over-crowded home.  So, while it sits there, I thought I might as well try to use it!

Well, I must say, I have been unexpectedly surprised by the benefits it has given me (the whole handful of times I've used it so far).  Last week and this morning I got on it, mid-day (which is great for that awful blood sugar drop that happens to all of us at that time of day), and for 30 UNINTERRUPTED glorious minutes, the Lord and I have walk/jogged together.  Perhaps similar to those that say you should try praying in the shower (I did that once-- too weird for "conservative" me=), I have found that exercising and listening to upbeat praise and worship music has allowed me the opportunity to worship the Lord while treating my body that He has given me, the way in which I should treat it.  When I wanted to give up, I thanked the Lord for creating me "fearfully and wonderfully" (Ps. 139) and that I am able to use my body to glorify Him.  I air drummed (yep! good for the arms, right?), raised my hands when led, and sang (though I'm sure my kids were a little confused since I harmonized most of the way-- when I wasn't puffing, that is=).  It was the highlight of my day and I was glad I was able to have a little "God and me" time-- away from the distractions of my world.

What about you?  Where have YOU found an unexpected sanctuary?

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SEE it! COVER it! WRITE it!

>> 9.13.2011

We just finished up week six for school and I'm beginning to figure out what it takes to make my days go as smoothly as possible: "entertain" Little Lady with school stuff-- and LOTS of school stuff! On our best days, I've spent a good 2 hrs. (minimum) preping for the next day. This would be no different than any other normal el. ed teacher-- only they would be preping to teach 28-30 little bodies and, I'm only prepping for ONE! (Yeah. I know, I'm not even getting to the two that really need to be in school yet!=)

Anyway, after downloading LOTS of materials from my sites listed over on the right (thanks, confessions and 1+1+1 ladies) I've begun to realize that there are other materials I already have and other reading programs I want to use and need to create some other documents of my own for this purpose.  If these aid you in someway, great!  If not, maybe they will give you ideas for your own or lead you to sites that help you with your prep for that child(ren) that may need LOTS of hands-on "busy work"! 

We'll be working on the ltr. D this week so this is one activity that I've applied to that letter. It's called "SEE it! COVER it! WRITE it!" (very original, I know, creativity in this way is not my thing) The object is to SEE a word, then COVER it with the dollar store magnetic letters for refrigerators, and then WRITE it in the LARGE space provided, made especially for children who are not yet used to writing in any small space at all. Print out and laminate, or simply print on paper and put in a sheet protector for binders.  (I find sheet protectors are easier to remove expo marker from.  For papers that I won't plan on using over and over, I'll probably just stick with these.)

I will be adding many more of these printables using this activity, so be sure to check back for more!

Here are some examples of SEE it! COVER it! WRITE it!


(Stars are for privacy reasons;)  She wrote her name below the fridge magnets but was a little...um...unsure of using the whole space, so I dotted the next word for her as can be seen below.


Adding the dotted lines for the letters really helped, and I'll probably do this until she's a little better with her writing.  oh, and she liked to cover the TOP letters...I wasn't too picky about that.




If you find yourselves using these print outs, let me know! (And make sure to pass them on.)  I'll be adding many more as we continue to learn.  She LOVED them!!!


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Let's "Git R Done"

This saying, "Git r done" (say with a strong southern accent) is a bit old now (Can you imagine?! We call 5 years ago something "old"?!) but still sums up how we as (Northern) Americans often times approach life. We are in such a hurry to fix all things and change them all to how we see fit and AS FAST AS POSSIBLE! This can cause much conflict/frustration in ministry because ministry is defined by working with...well, PEOPLE! And people (and programs) "change" and are "fixed" slowly. It's so easy to stand by and judge what needs changing in someone (or something, if it's a program) and forget to even consult with their Maker-- the Lord.

Most people start into ministry because they love the Lord and want to see others grow in their love for Him. (There are exceptions, I know. We're not talking about them today=) Just like a student fresh outta high school, we think we're going to some how "do great things for God." We're all good-hearted in this adventure and we mean so very well, but we loose sight of the fact that God has called us to live in a sin-filled world shining His love to all and telling people of His offer of forgiveness if they repent and believe. Oh-- and do so unaffected by that sin-filled world. Simple, right?! HA! NEVER! In our eagerness, we boldly plow into a new ministry and start the mental list of all that needs to "go" or "stay" or "change". And, in all honesty, it is usually easier to see necessary changes from a more outsider's perspective than once we've been on the "inside" for awhile when we, too, have gotten used to "the way things are." BUT, we must be careful to asses our motives and approaches honestly before the Lord. We must bring ALL THINGS before Him and offer them up with surrender asking Him for clear guidance as to what to do about either the person in question or the ministry in question. When He clearly guides us, then we may act, and not a moment sooner. He is so much more wise than we'll ever be (or even know we need to be), and He's so much more patient than we are. His timing truly is perfect. (And so is His strength while we wait, right?)

Isaiah 55: 6,8,9 "See the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your way my way, declares the Lord. For as the heaven are higher than the earth, so are my ways, higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (ESV)

Before I go, I wanted to get back to one more thought I brought up just a minute ago. The concept of "doing great things for God"; it's a good concept, but a bit faulty. I understand the idea behind the words, but the words demonstrate a self-centeredness and a self-reliance that is completely incorrect in God's economy. It is only through Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit that we, as finite human beings, can affect anyone or anything for good. For our own hearts, at their very core, are filled with sin and "desperately sick." (Jer. 17:9 ESV) If you want to be used mightily by God, then you will have to follow a road of complete reliance upon Christ. I know I am terribly far from this and I am just at the beginning of a journey of surrenderedness in all areas...I'm pretty sure this is going to be a life-long journey, but I hope there are many others who are starting theirs as well and we can trust that God will provide and send to us those that are further along this same journey to encourage us along our way.


Let's get a fresh start "done" and let the Lord renew our spirits. If anything needs "gittin' done," that's certainly a good place to start.


The Promise of a Fresh Start:
Psalm 51: 10 "Create in me a clean heart, oh God. And renew a right spirit within me."
Matthew 5:8 "Blessed are the pure in hearts, for they shall see God."


Thank you, Lord, for cleaning my heart and being patient with me. Help me to extend that same grace and forgiveness to those in my life to whom I have not been merciful.

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Christ Giveth and Giveth and Giveth Again

>> 9.07.2011

After talking with a good friend from seminary days who has been struggling with a bit of discouragement, I was reminded today of an sweet hymn that is laced with the most wonderful Truth-filled encouragement that it is GOD Who provides all we need for our earthly journey.  This is for that precious soul, a true friend who loveth at all times and in whom I know I can confide when my soul needs a place to go.  Hope you all enjoy as well.


He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

(by Anne J. Flint)

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Draw-N-Sort, A, B, C

>> 9.04.2011

Hey, ladies!  I've been working with my dd "Little Lady" learning/reviewing letters and their sounds.  So far this school year we've covered A, B, and C.  I thought it'd be fun for her to have an activity to do really working on sorting sounds, etc. so I came up with this printable.  Hope you are able to use it for your family!  Let me know if you do!

Draw-N-Sort, A-C

(Not sure how to post a picture of my docs yet...working on that!=)

Enjoy!

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Mama's Mission, September

>> 9.02.2011

Hey, fellow Mamas!  So how did you all do?  I think I did pretty good.  Let's see:

* Waking up before kids at consistent time: HALF check (it's the "before kids" and "consistent" part that was a little tricky some days=)

* Daily Time with the Lord: I'd say about 70% of the month I did-- and that's 70% more than in July so, I'm giving myself a CHECK with that one, too!  (Oh, and it was such sweet time I truly missed it when I did not get that done in a day.)

* Kitchen counters cleaned: CHECK!  (sad to say, but this happened like 90% of the time and I don't think that should have happened more than spending time in the Word but...it sure did make every morning go better.)

* Bedroom cleaned before bed: Half Check, and a good one at that.

Overall I feel like I'm in a much better place routine and discipline -wise than i was at the beginning of the month, so although I didn't do all things 100% of the time, I'm giving myself a Mission Accomplished sticker for the month!



Mission Accomplished


I'm feeling a little more routine-like starting to happen around here.  I told several people at my church that we've been schooling for 5 weeks now and I just had the two best days so far=)  At least it's going in the right direction, right?

For this month, I'd like to purpose that I add in exercise to the routine and stick with the three other areas I struggled with and are most important:

1)  Waking up before the kids (if I HAVE to, sigh...)
2)  Daily Quiet Time
3)  Daily exercise (started C 2 5k today=) at least 30 min.

OH-- and one more I find very important to my mental life:

4) get this blog in order! =)


Mission of the Month


What about you!?!  Drop me a comment and let me know what you are hoping to accomplish this month.

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D. Bonheoffer, (As Read In Memoirs) in "The Cost of Discipleship"

>> 9.01.2011


“Dietrich Bonheoffer was born in Breslau on February 4th, 1906, the son of a university professor and leading authority on psychiatry and neurology.  His more remote ancestors were theologians, professors, lawyers, artists.” (p. 9)  He had three brothers and four sisters, one of which was his twin.  His parents raised him in an atmosphere of sober-mindedness and are described by G. Liebholz, author of the memoir included in The Cost of Discipleship, as “cultured people and uncompromising in all things which matter in life…From his father…[he] inherited goodness, fairness, self-control and ability; from his mother, his great human understanding and sympathy, his devotion to the cause of the oppressed, and his unshakable steadfastness…Whenever others hesitated to undertake a task that required special courage, Bonheoffer was ready to take the risk.” (p. 9)

Bonheoffer entered the university at age 17 and by the age of 24 he became a lecturer in Systematic Theology in Berlin University.  Nachfolge (the Cost of Discipleship), one of several books written by him, was published when he was 31 in 1934.  Liebholz says, “Bonheoffer was a great realist.  He was one of the few who quickly understood, even before Hitler came to power that National Socialism was a brutal attempt to make history without God…Therefore, in 1933, when Hitler came to power, he abandoned his academic career” and then moved to London where we pastored two congregations. While there, he tried to warn people what the “true character of the German Church struggle” was really like. (p. 11)

Bonheoffer was completely opposed to fighting in the war and so it seemed inevitable that when the time came for war he refused to fight.  He had moved back to Germany by this time and American friends got him out of the country in June of 1939 but he did not feel right about leaving his fellow country-men.  He felt he had no right “to participate in the reconstruction of Christian life in Germany after the war if I do not share the trials of this time with my people.”  With that, Bonheoffer chose to return to his country and face what may come with a courage that not many of us could even pretend to have today.

On April 5, 1943 Bonheoffer was arrested by the Gestapo along with his sister and her husband.  There are many recorded accounts of the character Bonheoffer continued to exhibit in the face of terrible brutal treatment in the concentration camps.  He wrote many poems and papers while in prison which were then smuggled out by guards of whom he had won their respect.  One such set of words we have recorded from him say, “I am sure of God’s hand and guidance…you must never doubt that I am thankful and glad to go the way which I am being led.  My past life is abundantly full of God’s mercy, and, above all sin, stands the forgiving love of the Crucified.” (p.13)

You must read this book! to find out just how much great, Godly character was contained in one man.  There is no way I could begin to adequately express the absolute love he had for Christ to literally go to his death on behalf of his Lord and master.  Shortly before his death, almost 2 years to the day after being first arrested and imprisoned, Bonheoffer penned these words,

“Come now, solemnest feast on the road to eternal freedom,

Death, and destroy those fetters that bow, those walls that imprison

this our transient life, these souls that linger in darkness,

so that al last we see what is here withheld from our vision.

Love did we seek you, freedom, in discipline, action and suffering.

Now that we die, in the face of God himself we behold you.”



On April 9th, 1945 just a few days before his concentration camp was liberated by the Allies, Bonheoffer was executed by special order.  Liebholz says of him, “from his faith the breadth of vision came which enabled him to separate the gold in life from the dross and to differentiate what was and what was not essential in the life of man.” (p. 17) 



Oh, Lord, that I may seek You so much, so often, in every minute, that You would clearly show me the dross—of which I know I so oft’ settle into all too comfortably and willingly-- and show me Your BEST, Your “essential,” separating it from the “good enough,” “good,” or even “better.”

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Necessary Endings Precipitate Beautiful Beginnings

>> 8.30.2011

I really can't take all the credit for that insightful title, although I did "spruce" it up a bit.  This comes from the title of one of Henry Cloud's newest books, Necessary Endings.  I heard him recently at a Women of Faith event and the phrase has been rolling around in my head ever since. 

It came back to me this morning as I was struggling with myself over whether or not to give my two- year- old his paci back .  You see, we had gotten him off of it earlier in the year but with the anticipation of the move he had begun to have terrible night terrors and our ped's doc scolded me after asking if he had anything else to comfort himself with and said, "[since he doesn't have any other security blanket] give him back his paci!  And don't take it away until you are good and settled in your new place."  With that, we gave him it back and the night terrors stopped.  {I was felt happy to be able to "comfort" my child.}

I'm struggling with this thought again this afternoon as I desperately want a Mt. Dew {I can feel the "calming" effects it gives me now=} and I keep telling myself "tomorrow"  i can "go off" of it. You see, I had also been off of that myself for months, and enjoyed the freedom from headaches that caffeine and major sugar buzzes actually give a person, but when the stresses of life had begun to add up -- I caved in and began "drinking" again.  {It really is an addiction-- and I felt happy to be able to "comfort" myself.}

And then, during our post lunch quiet time {start of a routine} today, as I'm reading through Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship, this thought was once again brought to mind as he says, "The first Christ-suffering which every man must experience is the call to abandon the attachments of this world.  It is that dying of the old man which is the result of his encounter with Christ. As we embark upon discipleship we surrender ourselves to Christ in union with his death...Thus it begins; the cross is not the terrible end to an otherwise god-fearing and happy life, but it meets us at the beginning of our communion with Christ.  When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die." (p. 79, 2nd ed., 1960)

Hmmm...a necessary ending of me in exchange for the beautiful beginning of what Christ wants for me to be.  This sounds inspiring...but in reality it is painful.  Really painful.  And I'll want to give up.  And so will you.  {Because this won't always make me feel happy and comforted.}  But that's what true discipleship, truly following and seeking after the Lord, is .  It is not cheap-- but costly.  It cost Christ everything and, as a student is not above his master, so shall it cost us everything if we are truly His disciple.

I will be posting on this book regularly in the coming weeks.  Please join me in reading the book if you have never done so.  If you have, a refresher never hurt! lol.  Tomorrow I hope to post a little bio about this man who will be given the highest honor in heaven {as told us in Revelation} for he was a martyr.

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Lessons from Anger, (Part II)

>> 8.28.2011

I can say I know for certain there are people praying out there for me because in a matter of hours, it's as if the Lord has put a salve over whatever wounds, past or present, bring this ugly thing of anger out of me and He's put a new spirit within me restoring myself to Him and to the ones I love all around me.  Now, I'm well aware that this is the way it is today-- and there is no guarantee for tomorrow with the issue, so I'm taking a minute to explore some basic principles to anger.  (These are not earth-shattering, but just something for me to come back to when this rears it's ugly head another day.)

1) Anger is not a root issue-- it is an expression of something rooter deeper.
2) Finding that "thing" rooted deeper is important -- not just important, VITAL -- vital to the health of all other relationships.  I must not seek this "thing" apart from Christ, because only in Him can I find the truth of whatever is so deep-seated that it continues to bring about anger in me.
3) Being truthful with someone else who is able to hold me up in prayer is important to "keepin' it real" so that there can be accountability. 
4) God gives grace greater than anything else...and where there is true grace, it leads me to holiness that continues to refine and mold me.  It's a slow process, but He's patient with me while I am being crafted into the masterpiece He is creating me to be: I can be patient with myself, too.
5) I must not choose to take this out on those around me, most especially my children. 

As to the last comment, I heard recently that developmentally children need a place to categorize everything or else their brain creates trauma due to the inability to process what is happening around them.  Obviously I am no where near a psychologist, but I am a mom who has seen the look in her little child's eyes that stare wide-eyed in terror as I get so angry that I pitch a spoon at the wall.  I know that there is no place for them to understand what just happened when they ask "can I have a drink" and I respond in anger.  It doesn't even really make sense to me!  I'm thankful to say that I have never physically hurt my children nor have I even considered it for a moment, but this anger that sometimes welds up in me causes me to understand how others may do something irrational and in a split second can change their whole lives forever.

I am thankful that God has created children to be easy forgivers.  No, they aren't "forgetters," save for the grace of God (I guess I've forgotten some similar stories so says my own mother), but they have been ever so eager to hug me and say "I forgive you" when I've come to them (and many times so lately) and asked for their forgiveness.  My heart hurts for the sin I've committed against them and against God and I pray there will be as few scars as possible from the words I've spoken and the actions I've taken in anger.  (Talk about "mommy guilt," right?)

Thank you, Jesus for my four beautiful children to whom you've entrusted to me while on this earth.  (I don't know why sometimes...=)  Help me to lean into YOU when I'm hurting so that I will not inappropriately take it out on others.  Thank you for the cross where I can lay it all down and you've promised to heal -- and where You've already granted forgiveness!! 

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The Swirling Mire -- Anger (Part 1)

>> 8.27.2011

Wow—seems like forever—for me anyway. I was getting used to scribbling out my thoughts for the world to see. There has been a lot going on, as is the case for many who blog and then “disappear” for awhile, only to resurface again somewhere along the line. (Like my one of my homeschooling buddies whom I THOUGHT was done blogging, only to realize she just blogs during the school year—smart woman! Summer gets too crazy! Shout out to ya, Bec-mama!) This past week was one long disaster-- or so it felt. (Let's see there was the running over the violin...the melting of the food processor on the stove...finding sour cream and pork n beans on different occasions in the microwave days after they'd been used...hmm...and I just finished cleaning up shmashed zucchini from all over the kitchen sink, walls, beneath the sink: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME: zucchini peels do not belong in the disposal!)

Anyway, over these past couple of weeks a lot of emotions, thoughts, etc. have been running through my mind. I haven’t come to any conclusions about the swirling mess that is seemingly taking control of my brain, but I think…no, I know, God is leading me through it all just the same. {If I seem a bit distracted tonight, I am. I volunteered to take my first stab at bringing Sunday school “snacks” and I’m up against a tough crowd! These rural women bring like Easter brunch e-v-e-r-y week! So, I’ve got two kinds of zucchini bread baking {chocolate and, um, well, “boring”=} a blueberry crisp {that I’m actually doing a small test version on first because I consistently forget to write down and KEEP the one my mom gives me over the phone—which she’s done I think 3 times already} zucchini mini-muffins {I had three large zucchinis to use and the kids gobble up the minis} and getting ready to start sticky buns. {I’ll cut the fruit up in the morning and hope all that tides over the masses;}

Back to God’s leading. I discovered a pattern this past week—actually, my very bestest friends in all the whole world over discovered it for me. I had fortunately (Divinely, really) scheduled a meeting with my good buddies from seminary so our kids could get together this past week. During the two weeks leading up to this point I had begun to sink into what I (hate to) call my “angry mama mode”. Everything anyone did, said, tried to say, tried to even think, caused me so much irritation and well, anger, that I just exploded!  One of my friends asked if it was a particular behavior (i.e. someone actually doing something wrong) and sadly I had to respond, “no.”

(I just took out my first ever most perfect bread loaf!)

So I was lamenting my heart to them and one friend spoke to me the gracious words “do you think you could just give yourself a break since you just moved and everything?” and others nodded their heads in agreement. And then I said, “yeah, but if that were the case, why does this seem to happen every 18 months or so?” To which another responded, “because every 18 months for the past however many years you’ve been moving and changing.” And with that I paused, thought back, and realized she was right! Ever since I’ve had kids things have been changing and there have been frequent moves and transitions…burdens I think I’ve picked up and tried to carry on my own without even knowing it. And isolation is so easy. I mean, the inside type of isolation that keeps you from even acknowledging to yourself how you feel or what you are dwelling on. On the outside you may very well look busy and surrounded, but on the inside you are very much alone…

Well, that’s a lie, really.  And I’m beginning to realize this. I never thought about it before {as I said, I wouldn’t even tell myself that was how I was even feeling, right?!} It’s a lie only if you are a follower of Christ because as His child, I have His Spirit with me always. And as I’ve said before on here, His Spirit is specifically called “the Comforter”.  I must allow myself to be comforted by Him—which means I must bring everything to Him. This is truly not easy. It’s easier, so it seems, to wallow in the mire of ourselves, the sinful nature self-pitying self.

Through all of this there are two things which stick out the most:

1) How absolutely wonderful is the gift of my friends which the Lord has given to me. Though they might not be a minutes’ drive away, they are always close enough to lean on {isn’t technology wonderful? Though nothing replaces being in person WITH someone}.

2) The reminder that God created us for COMMUNITY! NOTHING substitutes the body of Christ for which He designed us. Yes, there is the Holy Spirit and Comforter which we desperately need like nothing else, but, while on this weary, tiring earth, God knew we would need each other. 

Thank You, Jesus for the truth of Your Word brought to light through wonderful women who are journeying with me. You knew I needed them this week and You fore ordained that we would be together. How cool is that?!?

I’d love to hear any praises you all might have from this past week. We need to encourage one another along our way…

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Mama's Mission Update; Everything For HIS Glory

>> 8.18.2011

Even before this latest release from Steven Curtis Chapman came out, I have been able to see a distinct change in my perspective just due to getting into God's Word on a more regular basis.  (I'd say daily, but these last couple days of have been crazy and to be honest, it just hasn't happened!)  But I most noted the change yesterday when I was, for the 7th time during the day, once again filling the washing machine and I caught myself quoting the very verse that SCC's new song is based upon: I Corinthians 10:31 "So...whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."  I also read earlier this week one of Paul's writings (I've been all over the place in Scripture, so I'm not sure at this very moment as I'm trying to just write a quick post where exactly it was=) as he says he is spending himself for his children...that he is giving all of himself for his spiritual children for their growth and edification.  Whew.  I'm not sure I always (or even more often than not) spend myself for my biological children!  Needless to say, I sure have been in need of a change of perspective.  And I'm thankful the Word gives that to us as it promises to do when we seek THE TRUTH.

If you haven't already heard his newest release, here is the official video of SCC's "Do Everything."  Enjoy!


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"Motherhood: the Guilt that Keeps on Giving"

>> 8.16.2011

As Julie Anne Barnhill would say, “Motherhood: [it’s the] guiltthat keeps on giving.” I honestly could never comprehend this phrase {mommy guilt} so when I had my second child and was attending my first Hearts At Home event, I thought, “Well, what on earth could I have guilt over in motherhood?” HA!  I just hadn’t been a mommy long enough to have acquired anything much of which to be guilty for -- yet.  All I needed was a little time.

And “time” I’ve now had.  I am just now beginning to understand this phrase “mommy guilt."  I’d say I now “completely” understand it, but I know there are moments in life yet to come that I have no ability to comprehend right now that will continue to shed light onto this phrase as I continue my journey of motherhood.  I know because I listen to the stories of those who have tread the path before me and who share with me their own stories of “mommy guilt”… some of those stories bear so much heart ache and pain.  Those hurts may have appeared to have healed only to be torn open again by a word, a thought, a song, a smell, a sight…and they are laid bare again. 

Julie Anne Barnhill wrote an entire book devoted to this idea, my title bore the title of her book:  Motherhood: the Guilt that Keeps on Giving.  Here is part of her first chapter:

“I consider guilt…to be a vast, take-your-breath-away, geographical landscape that will sit squarely in my backyard until the day I die…That’s why I make no promises of “conquer your guilt”…within the pages of this book.  I am so over thinking I can do the impossible – and then feeling even guiltier when I cannot. 

Yes, guilt will always be part of the mothering landscape. 

But pay attention, because this is important: It doesn’t have to dominate your landscape.  It doesn’t have to ruin your life…or rob you of peace of mind.  More important, it doesn’t have to erode your confidence and cripple your effectiveness as a mother and human being.

Instead of hunkering down under Guiltmore’s shadow, you can learn to scale her slopes and move on to where you were really meant to live—on the sunny plains of grace…” (21-22;189,190)

My own mommy guilt was added to today as I left the curling iron on to fix my hair later, only to have it dropped and picked up by my youngest.  After an hour of straight crying {from the babe} and trying to fix it with constant cool water, we ended up in the walk-in clinic nearby having a bandaged applied and having the doctor documenting that they had gone over the safety precautions with me.  Of course, I already knew what I had done was wrong…and had left my little one vulnerable to the possibility of pain.  And now we both suffer the consequences.  I am thankful his little hand will heal and there most likely will be no scars and he will be no worse off for it—only it will be added to the small {but growing} list of regrets that amount to my own personal “mommy guilt” mountain – “Mt. Guiltmore,” as Julie B. calls it. 

Satan would love to leave us there.  Using that guilt to remind us of how “bad” we are; how “horrible” we are; and surely God could not love us or use us anymore because of that! Right?  While there are no spiritual stigmas that I have attached to this particular event, Satan does use other events in our lives that do cause us great emotional and spiritual pain to be his inflicting arrows that he throws at us often. 

BUT, As Christ-followers, we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us—Christ called him our “Comforter” that he was sending until we would one day be with Him again in heaven. {Why else would He have sent a “Comforter” if not that we would need to be comforted?}

Christ has sent us a comforter AND Christ himself came to die for just those situations that cause us all that guilt.  Galatians 5:1 says, “it is for freedom that I have set you free” {KPB—Kristen’s Paraphrase Bible}—This is the truth we need to cling to, and sometimes I really mean cling to minute by minute, when we feel all that “mommy guilt” creeping up on us.  When it threatens to make us shy away from doing the very things in life Christ has called us to do (live in community with one another, serve one another, love one another, etc.), then we need to cling to the Hope we have in Christ and allow Him to enter those painful places and give us healing and therefore we will be able to reflect His kingdom to others around us {our main created purpose}.

What “mommy guilt” are you struggling with today?  Place it at the foot of the Cross where Christ can place it upon Himself, for it does not belong to us once we belong to HIM.

More importantly, what did you do RIGHT today (or yesterday or the day before)?  Me?  I have been getting up before the kids {most days} and have been in His Word more…that is definitely RIGHT, always.

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Partnering Up With a GREAT Company!

>> 8.11.2011

Child-1st Publications, LLC is a company I learned about through a fellow homeschooling mom who had MUCH more experience with many different types of learners than I and I was blessed to have received her advice on this! (And other things, too!)  If you have early elementary learners in your home {even if you're not schooling them at home}the materials this company comes out with are so much fun for children, you won't want to miss them.  I, personally, use their sight word program called SnapWords (which my husband had to inform me is because the kids learn them "snap", just like that-- I'm a little NOT snappy, I guess and a little slow on the draw, as they say.)  All their products are used to provide a more multi-sensory approach to including all types of visual, kinesthetic, and auditory learners.

Materials cover a wide range of approaches suited for teaching at home or just supplementing what your children are learning at school.  These materials are especially suited for "right-brained" learners, as I have said, and have found proven success with children who struggle with dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, as well as any children who may register on the autistic spectrum.  As I said in my previous post, my kids really do love using the sight words and playing our sentence making games using the cards.  Child-1st Publications, LLC also has a math program but as of this posting, I really do not have much experience with it to review it well.  Perhaps that will come in the future! 

child-1st.com AND, I have to tell you, though I hope to have a giveaway soon from Child-1st, currently you can receive 20% off (through Sept. 5) all their educational products.  Click through my sidebar button (I learned how to do that today, too!=) and you will be sharing your product love back to me.  (I believe a legal disclaimer now has to be posted somewhere on here, sigh...all the hubbub around legalities...lol.)

Let me know what you guys think of these products-- I hope you love them as much as I!

Enjoy!

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