Monday, August 31, 2009

What's for Lunch?

I've never been really good at cooking a good Sunday lunch. We leave around 8:30 for church & don't get home until close to 1:30. So whatever I cook for lunch has to be a crockpot meal or baked before we leave.
On the way home from church yesterday, Scott asked what I had cooking at home for lunch. I said I had beef tips & gravy in the crock pot & I had roasted some potatoes before we left. Then it hit me, I didn't remember turning off the oven before we left. The potatoes had been sitting in an oven at 450 degrees since 7:30 a.m. and it was 1:15 p.m.

I had visions of smoke going through my head. I knew I would come home to find a smoke filled house, but I was hoping it was still a house & not a pile of ashes! As we got closer to the house we couldn't see smoke so we were hoping that meant that I turned off the oven.

NOPE!

Oh well, we still enjoyed beef tips & rice & gravy with the smell of burned potatoes filling the air.


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Letting Our Children Fly

For many parents, this time of year is a hard time. High School graduations are over and now these young adults are heading off to college. For a teenager it is an exciting time of their life. They see the potential for freedom and independence like they have never experienced before. Finally, they can be the "adult" they have been trying to be but couldn't. :o)

For parents, it is a heart wrenching time. (Well, at least for most parents.) We pour our lives into these kids for 18 years. We spend countless hours training our kids for life outside our house, but when the time comes to actually let them leave, we panic.

Our oldest child graduated from our home school this year. She is our first for everything. First child, first teenager, first driver, first graduate... first everything. With each new season of life she has come into, it has been hard as a mom to watch her grow and become independent of her parents. But, if I am doing my job correctly, when it is time for her to leave our home, she will be ready. I am blessed that she is not leaving us yet. She is staying home instead of going to college. She is working 5 days a week and babysitting when she can. She recently got a job at our church as an assistant to a coordinator in our nursery. We go to a big church, so she will be plenty busy.

But, I have several very close friends who also had their first born to graduate this year and their kids just left last week for college. My friends emailed telling how difficult it was & they could never have been prepared for the emotions of leaving their children at a college with strangers. They didn't want to leave them there, but knew that they had to. It was time to let their children go. No matter how much we moms would like to think that our children will need us forever, they won't.

With all the recent talk among my friends of how difficult it was to let their children go, I couldn't help but think about other parents in the Bible who had to let their children go. It was never easy, but they knew they had to do it.

Hannah is the first one I thought of. In 1 Samuel 1:11 we find the barren Hannah vowing to God that if he would only give her a son then she would "give him to the LORD all the days of his life." Later in the chapter we read that God answered her request for a son and she kept her promise to God. When he was weaned (maybe about 5-8 years old) she took him to the temple to live with Eli the Priest. Can you imagine how difficult it must of have been for Hannah to take the son that she waited so long for to live with someone else. She didn't even get 18 years with him. I can tell you that if weaning was the deciding factor on how long my son stayed with me, I would have tried to nurse him as long as I could. I can picture Hannah savoring every moment with her young Samuel knowing that those moments would soon only be memories.

Have you ever done that with your children? Have you ever found yourself just watching them, knowing that one day very soon they won't be there to watch anymore. Gut wrenching!


The other parent I thought about was the father of the 2 sons in the parable in Luke 15. He had 2 sons and one asked for his part of the inheritance. Some time later he decided it was time to leave so he left to make his mark on the world. I can see this father standing in a window watching his young son walk down the road, not knowing if he would ever see his son alive again. Most of us have a child like this who is anxious for the day when they can finally break loose of our home & enter the exciting, adventurous world on their own. I have one and when the day comes for him to leave, I pray that I let him go.

This father in the parable lets his son go. He knows that he may not be ready to leave, but he lets him go anyway.

As parents, if we have raised our children according to the ways of the Lord then when it is time to let them fly the nest, they will be ready. We may not think they are ready, but the Lord's timing is so perfect. His grace is so abundant that it is mind boggling to me. In spite of all my failures and goof-ups, my kids will still accomplish the purpose that God had given them.

I don't know the feeling yet of leaving a child at college or seeing them move out of our house. I do not look forward to the day. But I pray that when my day comes that I will let my children fly out of my nest as they fly to make their own, knowing that they do not go alone, the Lord is guiding them all the way.

3 John 4
"I have no greater joy then to hear that my children are walking in the truth."





Tuesday, August 25, 2009

No Weeping or Misery~Our First Day of School

I had not planned on starting back to school until September, but when some of the kids found out that their friends were starting back to school, they wanted to start also. Ugh! I was not totally ready. I don’t have everything yet & didn’t have it all planned out the way I wanted to. But who am I to tell my kids they cannot start school?

So, yesterday was our first day. Of course I couldn’t get up as early as I wanted to get up, but it was before nine o’clock.

I had enough time to catch a quick glimpse at my devotional book before Sam (the almost 3 yr old) found me and wanted breakfast. I opened the book, hoping for a great encouraging word from the Lord. Something like, “I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10) or “I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” (Psalm 16:8)

My devotional started off by saying, “I have seen the misery of my people” ( Exodus 3:7)

I thought, “oh no God! What kind of day am I about to have? Maybe it get’s better.” So I kept reading.

When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, he was moved with indignation and was deeply troubled. I am overwhelmed, and you alone know the way I should turn. (Daily Light by Tyndale. August 24th reading)

“Ok God, this is not funny!” I thought.

I managed to get everyone up & eating breakfast before 9:00 for the first time all summer. Scott gathered us all together in the Living Room for prayer. Then he & 2 of the boys left for work and the rest of us got busy.

Things went pretty well.


Here is Morgan listening to music(she says it is classical) while she works on her grammar. This is her 9th grade year. She was excited to be in high school until she saw her lesson page.





Sarah wouldn’t let me take her picture so she took a picture of her books on her bed. She is in 11th grade this year.







Here are 3 of the boys that I keep at the kitchen table with me so I can help them & keep a closer eye on them. Austin is in 6th grade this year, Ben is in 4th & Zachary is 2nd.







Here is Sam. He will be 3 the 2nd week of September. He just wanted his picture made too so he jumped up.






And here is Gracie. She is almost 5. She is holding our neighbors lizard. We were lizard-sitting for them while they were out of town.

Gracie is doing some kindergarten work this year and she is thrilled to be added to the roster.

We had everything done by noon. There was no weeping or misery like my devotional caused me to think would be and I didn't even have to retreat to my closet for an emergency time of prayer and chocolate! Of course we are only doing a few subjects. Experience has taught me that even though the kids are eager to get to their new books, we only do half our schedule until September. After our September birthdays(7th, 8th, 10th & 13th) we will add the rest of the subjects. Maybe in a later post I will tell you what all we are doing this year. God was so good to provide almost all my curriculum for free this year!

The kids are glad to be back. That is such a blessing to me. Their friends were not excited about going back to school, but mine were. That is one of the blessings of homeschooling, we enjoy learning!



Monday, August 24, 2009

A few of my favorites

Do you have favorites? I do.

My favorite drink is a vanilla Dr.Pepper from Sonic. I don't get them very often, but when I do it is so yummy. I tried for a long time not to drink soda's & I did a pretty good job of it, but I couldn't stay away completely.

My favorite food is chocolate. Yes, I say it is a food, not just a snack. I tease people that dark chocolate has kept me out of therapy, but it isn't really a joke. Many years ago I struggled with depression & someone mentioned dark chocolate. I found that it actually worked for me. It some how clears my mind enough to recognize what is going on. It also helps to calm an anxious mind. When I am nervous or upset, dark chocolate will help.

I love music. I love to listen to it, sing it, worship with it, pray it! I love it. I put a playlist together on Playlist.com of songs that I can work to. These are my favorite songs. Some are worship songs, some are classical songs...I like variety. Here is my playlist.

I love blogs! I love reading what my friends are up to. I have several friends who I go to church with and they keep great blogs. I will read things there that I didn't know about them.

I have a bunch of favorite blogs that I try to visit fairly often. One blog in particular is Grasshopper Momma. Mary is a young mom with 3 kids who has been married for 4 yrs. Her blog is so honest, practical, cute & informative. She loves the Lord and she loves being a mom. She is a great encourager to my teenage girls at church and I can always trust her council to them.

Another blog that I really enjoy is a devotional blog, Selah~Pause, Ponder & Praise
My friend Laura is a mother of 3 who has a passion to share her love of worship with other women through her writings. She is a new friend to me, but has become an already cherished beloved in my life.


Another favorite of mine is A Holy Experience. I do not know Ann, [the author] personally, but through her blog I feel as though I do know her. Her words are so inspiring, intriguing and intuitive! She loves the Word and you can tell she studies it with a passion.

holy experience


I love studying the Word. Don't you? I love the new mysteries that are revealed every time I dig into it. I love how I can read a scripture that I was taught as a child and it come alive in a whole new way. I have found a few resources online that I like to use when I am studying.

Some of my favorites are...

Bible Gateway is great for searching for a scripture or key word. It also has commentaries available.

Bible.org is a great place to go for articles and Bible Studies. It is full of tools you need to study the Word. I love how I can go there and get free audio's of some of my favorite women teachers like Vickie Kraft & Gwynne Johnson.



Do you have any favorites you can share with me?



Monday, August 17, 2009

This is what it is all about!

My 2nd oldest daughter went to our church preteen camp as a counselor. She had 10 6th grade girls to keep up with, pray with, lead in Bible study and just have a great time with. She had a blast. There was one girl in particular that really touched my daughter's heart. Her name was Sarah. She trusted Christ that week as her Lord & Savior. Sarah(my daughter) had the pleasure of praying with her when she told the Lord how much she loved him and needed his forgiveness for all her sins. Sarah said it was one of the sweetest & most confidant prayers she had ever heard a new believer pray.

Below is what she posted as her Facebook status the day after they returned from camp. I just had to share it with you. Pray for Sarah as she begins a new life with her Jesus!

There is one thing I would like to announce to you all. I have made a life changing experience the one week which has changed me forever. For a long time, I have always thought the wrong doing I've done was all my fault, and that I've had something wrong with myself. I would sometimes cry myself to sleep every time I would get mad, and think, "why did God put me this way?" So things started changing for me. I started talking insulting, and having a bad attitude. So after a while, after I found out my gramma was about to die, I thought "no, God couldn't be real." And then I came to Stonebriar church camp, the place that changed my whole life and my... perspective of God. I suddenly felt so apologetic to God of how i treated him, and that if I believe in him, i will not perish. I met the most amazing people there, and I became friends with the most wonderful person: Jesus Christ. He is there for everyone no matter one, and he loves everyone no matter what. He died on the cross for US!!!!!!!!! amazing! I just want to thank Pastor Joe, my counselor (the awesomest one) Ms.Sarah Bailey, my cousin, cabin mates, and my friend Emi who has been there for every step of the way. God bless you all!





Saturday, August 15, 2009

Meek & Quiet Helper


Genesis 2:18, “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Have you ever asked God for a meek & quiet spirit?

God showed me Genesis 2:18 through a book I was reading a many years ago. I would love to think of myself as meek and quiet, but, I’m not even close most of the time. My meek and quiet spirit will jump right out the window as soon as my husband comes home and does things like....well, nothing! You know what I’m talking about; they come in and get in their chair instead of rolling up their sleeves and helping me finish whatever housework or schoolwork that didn’t get done for that day. I looked over that verse and read it and reread it and then the light bulb went on. I got it! God didn’t create the man to help the woman; the woman was created to help the man. We are to be his support and encourager, his cheerleader. The Hebrew word for "helper" is "ezer". The KJV has translated it as the famous word we have all come to know and love as "help-meet". But ezer really translates to more of a support, much like an equalizer.

I grew up with a very traditional, non-feministic mother who truly believed in serving her husband out of love and respect. I never questioned that and I also love doing the same for my husband, but I still wondered why the Bible didn’t say that the husband should help do laundry or dishes (my version of Proverbs 31) I hear other women talk about their husbands doing laundry, bathing kids...neat stuff like that, and I kept wondering, “What is wrong with my husband?”

I realized that this verse is saying that he wasn’t created for that purpose. It doesn’t mean he can’t do it, but I shouldn’t expect it from him. When I expect him to help me do something and it doesn’t get done, no longer can meek and quiet fit my description! My husband does help me a lot and I try to let him see my appreciation, but I have to admit that there are times when I am wishing for more help. I often wonder if he realizes how much I try to accomplish, but fail everyday. Things happen like kids getting hurt, windows breaking, toilets overflowing and meals not getting finished on time, marker on the wall and that is just in one hour! My husband does care about all of that! That is why he still comes home everyday to our house of chaos. I have learned that believe it or not, our husbands cannot read our minds! If I need his help, all I have to do is say, “I need your help” and I get it. It is so great how that works.

I have been praying for the Lord to show me the true joy I can receive in my sticky floors, stinky kids and a really tired husband who works so very hard. I ask Him for a meek & quiet spirit so that I may be a blessing to my family. Day by day He is showing me that joy.


How Great is His Faithfulness!



Some of my Favorite Links

If you have a blog & you enjoy reading my blog, I would appreciate you sharing my button somewhere on your blog also.  If you do, please let me know.  
Thanks!



Click Here



Here are a few sites that I have come to love to visit often. I'm still collecting and adding more buttons.

I am a contributing writer








MomsTheWord 



 A Group Blog for Christian Moms 







From Dates to Diapers 1+1+1=1


 Sprittibee holy experience





Frugal Places


  


Homeschooling

 










HOTM Magazine  FamilyFree Coloring Pages



Redecorating again

I have been redecorating. I never really liked the white blog, though I loved the pink gerber daisy. But, I knew I wouldn't leave it.

I told a friend the other night that I really think I have a problem. I love tweaking the blog by experimenting with the codes. I'm learning, slowly which means that I end up spending a lot of time on it & don't realize how much time I have spent. It becomes a time zapper. Gotta be real careful of that. Could I be called a blog addict?



So, what do you think? Is it too busy or is it inviting?


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Planning the new school year

We will be starting our 14th year of homeschooling. I can't believe we have been at it this long! I tried this summer to make some changes to our upcoming school year so to help me feel a little more organized. I'm still leading Mom2Mom at church & that still feels like a full time job. I'm trying to get as much planned out now so that when Mom2Mom is in full swing, our school is ready to go also. My students this year are:
Sarah - 11th grade
Morgan - 9th grade
Collin - 8th grade
Austin - 6th grade
Ben - 4th grade
Zachary - 2nd grade
Gracie - PreK/K (Ashley will help to teach Gracie)
Josh is 10th grade, but Scott teaches him. I don't even have to plan out his lessons!

A few changes...

Terms
I have sectioned our year off into 4 terms, 8 weeks each. I have allowed for holidays & birthdays. We will go for 32 planned weeks, but I'm sure for some of the kids it will be longer, or shorter depending on how well they do their work. Collin, Morgan & Sarah have to read at least 1 book per term that is not related to another subject. 2 fiction, 1 biography & 1 Shakespeare play. I'm encouraged by how they are already getting excited at picking out their books for the year. I'm really hoping that my don't-like-to-read kids will do this and read beyond.

Weekly Planning
For my older kids I have planned out their work by weeks instead of daily plans. I have planned out 32 weeks of Math lessons & History lessons, etc... They are independent enough to get their work done by the week deadline. If they don't, they know there are consequences & most are natural.

I spent some time on Ambleside Online this summer to get some idea's for my older kids & was surprised by the excellent reading lists, so I am following some of that. For example, Sarah is reading Knowing God by J.I. Packer for part of her Bible. Morgan is reading, Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowel. I feel silly for not thinking of having my children read more good books like this myself.

For my younger kids, I have enough materials left over from the older kids that I don't have to buy much. I have learned that until they are in about 3rd grade, you don't even need a math book. Anything they need to know can be found in your house. Once they begin reading on their own, you can get them a math book & let them begin to do independent work. I always love it when they can read independently! FREEDOM!


I never know how the year will actually play out, but I am praying that I will be sensitive to the Spirit's leading and sensitive to the needs of my children. I write the plans in pencil, knowing the Lord will probably change them.





Biblical Womanhood by Voddie Baucham

My husband & I have come to respect the teaching Voddie Baucham. He is a pastor in Spring Texas, an author & speaker. He & his wife have 5 children.


The links below are to a message that he gave on Biblical womanhood. I listened to it today & was so blessed by his straight forward way of teaching with the scripture has to say about what the role of the woman is today. He goes through Titus2:5 as his passage of scripture and breaks it apart going into detail as to how we as women should be training and teaching the younger women.

I love that it is broken up into small bites because I don't have time to sit at my desk for a whole hour and listen to his message. But because it is broken down into 8 parts, I could listen to a part, then take care of other things & come back and listen to another part.

I hope you enjoy & are blessed. Let me know what you thought about it!

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Monday, August 10, 2009

Thankful for unusual provision


Today is Monday.
Yesterday, I was dreading Monday. No real reason, I guess just because it is the start of another uncertain week. Our life feels pretty uncertain these days.
The Lord reminded me of one of my favorite verses this morning and I kept it before me all day. What a blessing it was to me.


Lamentations 3:22, "Because of the LORD's great love, we are not consumed."

I have felt a bit consumed lately which is a result of not trusting in the Lord's love for me. Scott's business is slowly beginning to pick up a little, but he doesn't get paid until the deal has closed and is funded. That will not happen until the end of this month, maybe. So in the mean time we just live day to day, moment by moment, remembering that because of the Lord's great love for us, we are not consumed.

Just when I begin to feel consumed and overwhelmed, the Lord tosses in a little blessing that serves as a reminder that he has not forgotten about us.

I am working to prepare for our new school year. I can't afford to buy any curriculum so I am trying to be very resourceful and creative. I had just about figured out what I could do for most everyone, but would still need to purchase a few things, mainly for Sarah. She will be in 11th grade this year.

Scott & the boys were working at a rent house today. The tenants moved out suddenly so Scott & the boys went to mow & clean things up. Well, the people trashed the house & left all kinds of junk. But one thing they left was school materials. Very strange. Scott boxed it up & brought it home. This has been one of the perks of being a property manager, tenants often leave furniture or other things behind & we get to keep it. Anyway, he brings these 2 boxes in, it is dusty & messy. Sarah starts going through one of the boxes & finds a grade 11 Science curriculum. The same one we were going to buy. It had a few markings in the workbook, but not many. YAHOO! One less thing to buy for her. That saved us over $50.00.

I continued to go through the other box and found random workbooks that I couldn't use, but were not marked in. Tonight, we took them to Half-Price Books to see if they would buy them. While the buyer was going through the books, I found a history book I needed for Sarah, practically brand new! It was $7.98. They called my name to say that they had a total amount they would buy my books. "I can give you $8.00 for your books, Mrs. Bailey" YAHOO! Just the amount I needed to buy the history book.

2 school curriculum's provided by tenants who moved out in the middle of the night. God has an odd way of providing for us, but who are we to argue with his methods.




Oh Holy God, how thankful I am for your unusual ways of providing for us. You are a God of uniqueness and originality and you delight in providing a way for us. May we keep our eyes on you and not forget your love and faithfulness to us. You are able to do more than we could ever ask or imagine. Praise Your Name!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

You Will Be Strengthened

Originally posted 10/2008 at Living Stones Blog

My youngest has been sick with a cough & cold for several days now. He is now waking up in the night because of drainage that is putting him into a coughing fit. He sometimes begins to cough to the point that he throws up. He will wake up around 2:30 & not go back to sleep until 5:00 or 5:30 a.m. By the time I get him back to bed I lay down hoping for a few hours of sleep before he wakes up again.

Needless to say, I am tired. I struggle with not having a short temper with my other kids. It isn't their fault that I am so tired. My early morning quiet time has disappeared because Sam keeps waking up before I can get up.

Today, I was really feeling the affects of not getting enough sleep. I found myself in the laundry room ready to completely burst out in tears this morning. My children were not getting their school work done without a fight. I had so much to do today & I didn't have the energy to do any of it. As I loaded the washer with more clothes I cried out to God.

I can't do this. Sam is keeping me up at night, I can't get up early enough to spend time in prayer or devotions, I don't want anyone around me, I just want to sleep. I'm not only physically exhausted, but spiritually dehydrated. I want so badly to have some time for myself to read your word & pray, but I just can't get it. Your word says that you will strengthen those whose hope is in you. You say you will uphold me with your righteous right hand. I need to feel your strength right now. I need you to hold me above my physical exhaustion. You are my God & I love you.


I finished loading my laundry and began preparing lunch. An argument broke out between 2 of my boys & I very calmly sent them to their separate corners. My sick little one came in & wanted to be held, so we rocked for a bit. My little girl came in & insisted that I let her play with bubbles. With a little compromise I let her blow her bubbles on our front porch with the front door open. She & I sat outside while she blew her bubbles. I walked back in & realized my exhausted feeling was gone. I no longer felt as though I would explode with emotion at the next person who confronted me. I felt an amazing peace & calm that I had not had 30 minutes earlier.

Lord God, my Holy Father, thank you for your mercy & gift of strength for today.


I don't know if my little Sam will sleep all night tonight. I hope he does. But if he doesn't, I know that my strength will come from my God & he will uphold me with his righteous right hand, because my hope & love is in Him. (UPDATE(10.21.08); Sam slept all night for the first time in weeks last night!!!)

Isaiah 40:10

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.



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