Friday, March 26, 2010

She Speaks Conference

When I was in first grade, I sat in my living room one afternoon with my parents.  I can remember it like it was yesterday instead of 30 years ago.  That afternoon I prayed and told Jesus that I knew I was a sinner and asked him to forgive me and come into my heart.  My dad told me that as a Christian I now had a responsibility to tell others about Jesus and the importance of trusting  Him so that we can go to Heaven.  I never knew my Daddy to lead me wrong so I took what he said very seriously. 

My next memory is of me standing in front of my first grade class and telling the whole class they really needed to ask Jesus into their heart because he loves them and wants them to go to Heaven.  I'm sure that I even told them if they didn't do that they would surely go to Hell and no one wants to go there because it is awful- from what I've heard.  I don't remember how my classmates responded to me but I do know that my teacher never let me make another announcement in class again.  I still laugh when I think back to my childish boldness.

I have learned over the years that God creates in each of us a story that He intends to be shared with others in one way or another.  It is a story of His redemptive work in our lives.  It is often a story filled with heart ache and disappointment as well as victory and joy.  It is a story that is unique to only you.  My story may be similar to yours, but it will not be the same.  Some feel the call to tell their story by speaking to groups.  Others may prefer to write it, while others just live it out for others to watch.

For years I have known that my gift is to teach and speak.  Every time the Lord shows me something new in His Word, I want to tell someone.  (That is where my blog comes in handy.)  It isn't that I feel like I can teach everyone something new, but I just want to share the amazing mysteries that the Lord has revealed to me.  I just can't keep it in! 

God has blessed me the past 2 years with the amazing opportunity to lead a ministry for moms in my church called Mom2Mom.  I spent the first year completely in awe that God would actually trust me with such a responsibility.  Among the many things I have done, my favorite has been to prepare and teach the Bible study.  It takes so many hours and every time I think I am not going to get it together in time, but God is so faithful to put together something for me to teach that I know I could never write on my own.  This experience has only deepened my desire to speak and teach women the wondrous truths of God's Word.

Proverbs 31 Ministries has created a wonderful opportunity for women like me who desire to write, speak & teach the truth's of God's Word.  This conference called, She Speaks, is held every year in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Hundreds of women from all over the United States descend upon Charolotte and they all come together with the same goal, to learn how to fine tune the gifts that God has given them, whether it is writing, speaking or leading a womens ministry.

I have never been to the She Speaks Conference, I have only heard about it.  The things I heard about it were blow-me-away wonderful.  My friend, Laura Lee Shaw, went for the first time and she talked for months of all the things that she learned and took away.  She now has a speaking ministry in addition to her writing ministry and I am so excited to see how God is opening doors for her to share her story to other women.

I've thought about this conference through out the year, but knew that I would never be able to go since Scott's main source of income this year has been his unemployment check.  There is no wiggle room in our budget for me to buy a new outfit, much less make a trip like this.

About an hour ago Laura Lee told me that they are giving away a few scholarships to the conference and all you had to do is write a blog post about the conference, but the catch is that it has to be posted TODAY. I knew this would be my only chance to go.  I can write a blog post, I write them all the time.  So here I am asking the Holy Spirit to guide my fingers across my keyboard to type His words.

If for reason God see's to it to create a way for me to go I can tell you that whatever he teaches me through the She Speaks Conference will be used to His Glory!  I want to use the gift He has given me to the fullest and best ability that has He given me.

At the conference they provide opportunities that I have never seen provided at other conferences of this kind.  They allow you to give a presentation to be critiqued by a seasoned professional speaker.  If you are writing a book or trying to, you can actually sit down with publishers and give them your proposal.  Among the many opportunities provided, there are many workshops available to cover just about any topic that a newbie speaker would need to know about. Opportunities abound at She Speaks Conference.

I serve and love an amazing God who has created in me, what I think, is an amazing story of freedom and redemption.  It is a story that I cannot keep to myself and if given the opportunity to fine tune the method and presentation of my story I can't wait to see how God can use it!  If I don't get to go, I will continue to share my story when He gives me opportunities and pray that my words will be His words, penetrating the heart and bringing revival to a tired soul.
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Are You Over Committed?

I had a great day today.  God has richly blessed me by placing godly older women in my life of whom I can turn to for counsel and friendship.  Today I was able to chat with 3 of those women in separate conversations.  Three separate conversations that all fell on the same topic with out my prompting.

The topic? Lack of commitment because of overloaded schedules.

As I have mentioned before, I coordinate a ministry for moms in our church called Mom2Mom.  We have on our roster about 150 moms, but our average attendance is only 75.  I'm not complaining, I'm thrilled when anyone shows up!  But, when talking with 2 of my "older" friends today we discussed the reason for low numbers.

When talking over lunch with my other friend she brought up the issue of young moms today not following through on commitments.  In her ministry, she see's it as a problem for the next generation when a mother is so over committed to a lot of really great things that she sacrifices time with her family, with her husband and can't follow through with all of the great things she intends on doing.  Her children learn from her how to manage their lives. 

That got me thinking.

Does today's young mom see her busy schedule as badge of honor?  The busier you are that greater your title of "Mom" becomes.  Do we think our crazy schedules make us more acceptable and beautiful in the eyes of others?

I think we like hearing people say, "I don't know how you do it all!", especially when we think we are doing it all.

Be careful moms.  That is a dangerous road to travel.  Pride brings self destruction.

Peter warned about this to the women who would read his letter.
1 Peter 3:3,4

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 

 In the days when Peter wrote this, the braiding of hair & jewelry were a big deal. It had become a consuming factor in the lives of many Christian women.  No longer were they more concerned with their biblical roles as wives and or mothers, but only by they appearance.  Peter was not saying that they were not to be concerned with their external features at all, just don't let it become the only beautifying you do.
He wanted them to be more concerned with their inner beauty than their outward beauty.

So what does this have to do with over committed schedules?  I think we adorn ourselves with over committed schedules.  It makes us look really good to others when we have an insane schedule & yet appear to have everything under control when reality is much different.

We can fill our time with events that give us opportunity to bring glory to God and grow in our relationship with Him or we can fill our time with events that don't.  {I won't give my example of either.  I'm not in the mood to start an argument.}

Psalm 90:12

Teach us to number our days aright,  that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

If we are to be wives & mothers with a gentle and quiet spirit, we can't be running from one thing to another.  We have to learn to be still occasionally.  Actually, daily.  We need to create in our schedule a daily appointment with our Heavenly Father.  It is essential if we are to be the wives & mothers our husbands & children need.

We need to be active in saying "NO", not to our children when they need us, but to others who know if they ask you to do something it will get done.  Just because you have 1 hour available on Wednesday's doesn't mean you need to fill it up.  Leave it open & let God fill it up.

We need to constantly re-evaluate our schedules.  Are you over committed?  Are there things on the calendar that can be taken off, at least for a season?  Is there something that is taking you away from your family more than you should be away?

If you are not sure, ask your husband & your children.  They can give you a big hint.

Adorn yourselves with a gentle & quiet spirit instead of an over committed schedule.  Your family will be pleased.  Your husband will be pleased, but even more important than that, your Holy God will be pleased.  His opinion is what really counts at the end of the day anyway.







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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Snow Tulips

First day of Spring in Texas!

My neighbor planted tulips this week.  I don't think she expected this.

Zach, Gracie & Sam jumping on the trampoline that had about 4-6 inches of snow on it.

Definitely not what one would expect to wake up to on the first day of Spring in Texas.




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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Fascinating Video of Momma Owl

Yesterday we found a link of a live video feed of a momma barn owl sitting on 5 eggs that are due to hatch any minute.  We found ourselves sitting & watching this owl sit on eggs, standing up, turning around; just doing barn owl kind of things.

Today we listened to a classroom of children ask questions & get some very fascinating answers.  While we were listening to the Q&A time that was live, we lost the video feed.  When it came back the owl was eating a rabbit whole!


Here is the video. 

If the screen goes black it will come back.  They just lost their video feed for a little while.

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Friday, March 12, 2010

The Fruit of the Spirit is Love

Do you remember the first time you fell in love?

I remember my first love affair, just like it was yesterday.  When I was in 2nd grade there was a boy in the class next to mine named Kyle.  He was a year younger than me, but that didn't matter to me because we were in love!

In our elementary school all love affairs started on the playground in the old hollow tree.  I knew that Kyle liked me, after all you don't share the teeter totter with just anybody!

One day as I was walking out to the playground during recess with my friends someone ran up & told me that Kyle wanted to talk to me at the old tree.  Well, we all knew what that meant.  This relationship was about to go deeper than sharing a teeter totter.  This meant a serious commitment.  I was thrilled!  No one had ever invited me to the old tree before.  I had dreamed of the day when I would be invited to the old tree and here I was, walking to the old tree with my piggy tails blowing in the breeze feeling so special and loved.

I walked up to the tree and there stood Kyle, Mr. Dreamboat!  Mind you he was only in 1st grade, but age didn't matter to me.  I walked up to him.  I don't remember what I said (this happened about 30 years ago) but I know that I was nervous.

Then he did it!  He popped the big question,
"Will you go with me?" 
Oh my goodness!  He really wants me to be his girlfriend!  What do I say?  What do I do? 
"Yes!" 
is about all I could muster up as a response.  And then he showed me the most beautiful ring a bubble gum machine could produce.  I was in awe!  I was in LOVE!  Kyle was my first true love!

Well, of course there have been many "true loves" in my life since then and I know now that they never were really true loves.  They were only silly infatuations.  The kind of love that I thought I was experiencing is also known as the greek word of eros.  This is the root from which we get words like erotica.  This type of love is not the kind of love that we are to have for each other as Believers or for God.

1 John 4:7 & 8 says, Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

We live in a world where the term love  is passed around a lot and we don't really understand the full meaning of it.   We are so quick to tell someone, I love you, but in reality we are just infatuated with them.

1 John 4:7 reminds that we are to love each other, but what kind of love is it referring to?

Agape is the greek word for love in this verse.  This is NOT an erotic kind of love. It is not whimsical or random.  Agape love is intentional.  It is more than a mutual affection, it is self-sacrificing, unselfish.  Voddie Baucham calls agape love "an act of the will, accompanied by emotion"

This is the kind of love that is mentioned in Galatians 5:22.

The fruit of the Spirit is love...

And also in 1 John 4:7 - 8.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

According to this verse, agape love comes from God, not from us. It is not something that we can try harder to do.  That is why Paul listed it as a fruit of the Spirit.  He didn't say it is a fruit of being really good & trying really hard.  He said the fruit of the Spirit is love.

Simply put, it means that it is only by the Spirit indwelling in our life that we can love others with the agape love.  It is only when we are right with God and walking in His Spirit that we are capable of loving other the way God loves us.

How do we know that God loves us?  I have heard it said to me all my life, God loves you, but do I really understand what it means that He loves me?

Romans 5:8 tells us that because we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  How many people have you had hang on a cross & die so that you wouldn't have to? Christ is the only one that I know of for me.  He didn't have to die, but he chose to...for me...because his love for me is so deep.

John 3:16, a verse that most people grew up hearing if they grew up in the church, For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son...  Another sign to me that my God loves me.

Eph 1:4,5 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.   In love he predestined us for adoption as sons & daughters through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.

God chose me.  He was never forced to love me.  He chose me.  That is agape love.  It is intentional.  Because he chose me, I believe in him as my Lord & Savior.  It is because of him that I desire to know him more.  It is because of Him that I am adopted into his kingdom!  He chose me knowing how much I would mess up my life.  He loved me in spite of all the mistakes I would make and all the pain I would bring him.  He chose to love me anyway.  How can I not love him & commit my life completely to him after all He has done for me?

And lastly, I know God loves me because He forgives my sins.  When I come to him humbly and repentant, he will forgive my sins.  Only God can do that and he does it because he loves me.

Because of his love for me, I can love others with this same kind of love.  I can love others with an agape love.  Some are easy to love and others are not.  But it is only through His Spirit am I able to love at all.  I can't work for it.  Even if I followed every law in the Bible, if my heart was not right with Him I would not be capable of loving as He loves.

Who is your true love?

How do you love others?

Do you expect anything in return?

 1 John 4:19 We love because he first loved us.
If you have someone in your life that you feel is unlovable, remember how lovable you are to God.  He chooses to love you and by His Spirit enables you to love those who seem unlovable.

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Monday, March 8, 2010

Copywork

Copywork is something that we have done in our homeschool for many years with great success.  It is an easy activity & accomplishes a lot at one time.

If you have never heard of using copywork before I will briefly explain how we use it in our school.

Once my children are writing all their letters well, I give them simple short things to copy as handwriting practice.  An example of a copywork assignment for a young child would be a short Bible verse.  The child copies the verse exactly the way it is written, including the punctuation and capitalization.  I will read the verse to my child and tell them that they will copy the verse in their very best handwriting.  Once they do this, I check it.  If they miss a punctuation mark, I show them & explain why we use that mark there. It they don't capitalize a letter that needs it or vice versa, I explain to them why we capitalize there or why we don't.  It is more than copying a verse, it becomes a lesson in Language Arts.

Once the child get's older I give them more difficult things to copy.  Famous speeches, complete chapters of scripture, poetry and anything I can find that is an example of fine writing.  You will soon find that copywork becomes simple and natural lessons in proper sentence formation, proper grammar usage, punctuation, capitalization & vocabulary.  It can be an introduction to a hero from history or science.  The opportunities that copywork provide are endless.
My children who were consistent in their copywork have made great writers and readers.  The transition into upper level Language Arts lessons have been easier then for those who were not so faithful in doing copywork.

This morning, I found a new copywork assignment for Benjamin (10yrs).  He is learning about the presidents & I found a list of guidelines that was given to President Garfield when he was a boy to be read everyday.  So I will have Ben copy the list in his best handwriting the week that he is learning about President Garfield.


Here is what Benjamin will be copying.

President Garfield’s Principles

Never be idle.
Make few promises.
Always speak the truth.
Live within your income.
Never speak evil of anyone.
Keep good company or none.
Live up to your engagements.
Never play games of chance.
Drink no intoxicating drinks.
Good character is above everything else.
Keep your own secrets if you have any.
Never borrow if you can possibly help it.
Do not marry until you are able to support a wife.
When you speak to a person look into his eyes.
Save when you are young to spend when you are old.
Never run into debt unless you see a way out again.
Good company and good conversation are the sinews of virtue.
Your character cannot be essentially injured except by your own acts.
If anybody speaks evil of you let your life be so that no one believes him.
When you retire at night think over what you have done during the day.
If your hands cannot be employed usefully, attend to the culture of your mind.


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A Christian's Garden

 

 
First, plant five rows of peas:
Preparedness
Promptness
Perseverance
Politeness
Prayer.

Next to them plant three rows of squash:
Squash Gossip
Squash Criticism
Squash Indifference.

Then five rows of lettuce:
Let us be Faithful
Let us be Unselfish
Let us be Loyal
Let us be Truthful
Let us Love One Another.

And no garden is complete without turnips:
Turn up for Church
Turn up with a Smile
Turn up with Determination.

—Moody Monthly

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