Saturday, December 12, 2009

Fifty Years

On December 11, 1959, two very important people were married. She wore a white gown and he wore a suit. Their wedding colors were red and green. They were married in a small church in Canton, Ohio. It was nothing fancy by today's standards, but it was beautiful. Some of their favorite music was played. Their reception consisted of mints, nuts and wedding cake. Their simple, yet special day was the beginning of a life filled with joy and tears, but many blessings.
It's not a common thing for two people to be married as long as this couple have been. In a day, where people live for themselves and their own interests, being married for fifty years is quite an accomplishment. This couple has had their share of disappointments and years of hardships. It hasn't been smooth sailing all of the time, but they have stayed together, through thick and thin. There has been sickness, loss of jobs, trouble with extended family and days that they simply did not get along, but through it all, they have remained true to their commitment.
They were blessed with three children and are now blessed with ten grandchildren. They still live in the little green house where they've lived for the last forty-three years. They have been a blessing, not only to their family, but to so many others.
These two important people are my parents. I am continually grateful to God for Mom and Dad. They have not only blessed my brother and sister and I, but they have blessed our children with a wonderful legacy. What a testimony their marriage has been. Thank you, Mom and Dad for being the constant support and example to all of us that you have been. Thank you, for staying together all of these years. Thank you, for loving us and our kids. Thank you for all of the memories, the lessons taught and the Godly heritage that you have passed down to us. We only pray, that we can be the example to our children and to others around us that you have been to us. We honor you for being our parents and we celebrate your fifty years together. Thank you, Mom and Dad. We love you.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Home School Days and Mondays

Every day for a home school mom is a new experience. She never knows what challenges will arise or what victories she will win. No matter how well she plans, no day is predictable. No day is the same. For me, Mondays are one of my most challenging days.

Every Monday seems to be my "catch up" day. The weekends are usually full except for school work. I very rarely give the kids homework over the weekend. That may change when the need arises, but for now, I know my kids enjoy the break. Twice a month, I have Bible studies I attend. One is for church and the other is my home school group's Bible study. Both of those studies are early mornings and I usually do not return home until late morning. My dear husband is so good to allow me to go. It is encouraging to be in the Word with other moms and to have a couple hours of break every few weeks. My husband, with the help of our 10 year old will make a nice breakfast and the other kids help by playing with the toddlers. To be sure, I usually come home to a mess, but at least, I know they have been fed and are getting some time with their Dad.

Other weeks, we'll all relax together as a family on Saturday mornings or we may go on a short day trip. Sundays are church days with the afternoons being devoted to naps and small projects or just downtime. On Sunday evenings, we usually plan a simple dinner and an activity for our weekly "Family Night". I find that comical anymore as really every night is family night here, but we began the tradition of Sunday nights being the one night a week that we do something special. It could be a movie, making cookies or popcorn, playing games, having company, going bowling, playing miniature golf or even taking a walk and catching lightening bugs on summer nights. Because of our Sundays being our days to relax and to just enjoy being together, I am usually not able to keep the house very tidy and ready for the school day when Monday comes. I would like to have all of the dishes done, the laundry washed, the living room straightened, the lesson plans organized all by Sunday night, but this doesn't happen often. So, when Monday rolls around, I almost always find myself in the kitchen cleaning up from the weekend, catching up on laundry, straightening and vacuuming the living room and scrambling to gather our books for the day. Inevitably, I find myself a bit tired from the weekend as well, so that lends to a little frustration as I try to accomplish what needs to be done. There have been many times, I felt that it just wasn't worth it to do school on Mondays.
I'm reminded of the old Karen Carpenter song, "Rainy Days and Mondays".
Talkin' to myself and feelin' old
Sometimes I'd like to quit
Nothing ever seems to fit
Hangin' around
Nothing to do but frown
Rainy Days and Mondays always get me down.
As I ponder on my Mondays, I have realized that they are not a wasted day. So what if we don't get to school until very late or even not at all some days? No, I do not have a flippant attitude about teaching our children, but they are learning. So often, we home school moms put unnecessary demands on ourselves. We try to keep up with the school day that we were accustomed to as children. Sometimes, without even recognizing it, we try to model the very system we have been trying to avoid. We should be modeling Christ, not some worldly system. Why did we choose to keep our children at home? Did we simply want to give them an education at home or are we keeping them home, so that we can disciple them? The character of our children is more important than any book learning. Giving them the opportunity to learn life skills like caring for younger siblings, cleaning the house and managing the home are things they will use in this life. Learning to respect authority and how to relate compassionately to other kids of all ages will prepare them far more than getting their "school work" done. Does their mother need to be organized? Yes. Should we be covering our school subjects? Yes, but those things should never replace the most important task of following the Lord. And, lastly, should we give up and quit on the days that seem to be impossible? No. My prayer is that the Lord will give me the strength to seek His will daily, to be a good manager of my home and my time and to perservere. "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." Gal.6:9 I am praying for a bountiful harvest for the Lord.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Just One Day

If I could have just one day, when no one comes to the house, maybe we could accomplish more school. If I could have just one day, where we could stay home, we could finish some housework. If I could have just one day, when the kids were obedient and finished their chores without being asked, didn't dawdle over assignments and didn't expect rewards without work, I would feel like there was more peace in the home. If I could have just one day, when my husband arrived home earlier and the kids went to bed on time, maybe we could have some time just for us. If I could have just one day, when I remembered every little detail about managing the home, I would have less stress. Well, would I really be happy if that "one day" ever happened? The fact is, that no day will ever fit into my "perfect agenda". The piano tuner will be here taking up most of my morning. The midwife will come to check on the new little one that is waiting to be born. The kids have to go to their music lessons. They also do not obey perfectly every time. Hubby comes home late on some nights. I will forget the details that need done. I am not going to get it all done, but am I asking God to bless my days? Am I asking Him what He wants me to accomplish for each day? Or, do I just show Him my lesson plans and hope that He can keep up with me, too? Dear Lord, each day is a gift from You. Help me to seek Your will and not mine. May my children witness Your love working through me, even when our days don't go as planned. Draw my heart to You and help me to accomplish what You want me to. And, God, thank You that one day, we will be with You and it will all be perfect. "When He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is." I John 3: 2

Monday, October 5, 2009

One Month of School Over, One New Horse, One Broken Finger, and One Tired Mama.

Tonight, I sat down to check my email and to add a blog to this site and I realized that I let a whole month slip away without updating Homeschool MOMoirs. As always, our family has had a busy and interesting month. We are never bored here. With God's help, we have completed a month of school. Sometimes, I'm tempted to scold myself for not accomplishing more, but we've learned a lot. We've drawn closer to God, lifted up our country and other countries in prayer, memorized more Scripture, learned through disappointments, finished a report, baked a lot of goodies, harvested our garden, worked on the three R's, learned some American History and Science, and learned more about each other. We added a new horse to our farm and are learning how to care for both horses, not without some pain, however. My husband broke his finger last night after our one horse jerked away from his grip on her halter. The kids turned into little prayer warriors when their Daddy had to pay a visit to the ER. And, then, there's me. One tired Mama. Still caring for a 10 yr. old, a 9 yr. old, a 6 yr. old, 2 toddlers(3 and 2 yr.) and a 10 month old, pregnant, teaching, keeping the home, learning to love my husband better, and drawing closer to the Savior; I am tired! Having said all of that, I am still very blessed in this season of my life. I know God is using each day, each event and each person in this family for His glory. I don't always know what He is doing, but I do know that God has our good in mind. "And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."(Romans 8:28)He gives us everything we need to follow Him and to bring Him glory. From learning grammar rules, to completing a Math lesson, to caring for another four-legged creature, to broken bones and even to a tired Mommy, God is good and He loves us with an unimaginable love. Knowing this, we are ready for yet another month of whatever comes along.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

We're Done with Summer School!

As the school buses are out again and children are going back to school, even most home school moms I know have begun their new school year. And, then, there's our family. We are on break now and loving it. I find every year that there is just too much to do during a regular school year, so we carry on school throughout the summer. Granted, the kids get a couple of weeks break close to our home school convention each June, but then, we are back at the books until about this time every year. I try to keep our summer schedule lighter as we have a garden to tend, animals to care for and beautiful weather to enjoy. I find that it helps the kids to keep their minds fresh throughout the summer instead of letting them be idle until school time rolls around. So, we have begun our break until after Labor Day. We are using this time to play, to organize, to get some cleaning done that never seems to get done during the regular year, and to enjoy other fun activities as a family. I want to use this time to plan ahead for the next school year, too, but I also don't want to fall into the trap of expecting too much out of myself or the children. There are so many things I want them to learn. So much Scripture that I want to sink into their hearts. So many field trips. But, we can only do so much. If all we do this year is a little "school", but a lot of loving each other and loving the Lord, then, we will have accomplished much more than I could imagine. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."(Deut.6:5-7) Yes, we have finished summer school, but we are so excited to continue to learn to love the Lord God!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Country of the Week

During morning devotions with the children, we have been praying for a different country each week. We began with the countries of Africa, moved onto Europe and are now praying for the continent of Asia. We refer to the "National Geographic World Atlas for Young Explorers" and study the population, capital, language and flags of each country, as well as location, industry and agriculture. It is a quick way to get in our geography and a wonderful way to instill an awareness of all of the people all over the world that need Jesus. I originally heard about this idea a few years ago at one of my home school meetings and it soon became popular here in our school. I hope you will enjoy seeing which country we will be praying for each week and encourage you to either join us in praying for this country or to begin praying on your own with your own family. May God continue to give all of us a heart for the lost.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

"Your Best Life Now"..."Oh Really?"

There is a very popular book that has been out since 2004 entitled, "Your Best Life Now". It was written by a very successful author and pastor of probably the nation's largest church in Houston, Texas. His name is Joel Osteen. I have seen his book on bookshelf displays and heard people talk of him, but I was never interested in reading his material. The title itself was a big deterrent for me.
Being the inquisitive person that I am, however, I decided to read excerpts from this book to see where this man was coming from. Perhaps, I wasn't being fair in my assumption that this was just another feel good, self-help book that used worldly wisdom packaged in American Christian fluff. So, with an open mind and an open Bible, and not wanting to buy the book, I read portions of it on the Internet. I only found the first four chapters with some pages missing. They do this because of copyright, obviously, but from what I did read, I didn't care if I ever finished the book.
I read some very convincing messages about obtaining the best life now. There is some truth mixed in with the secular words, but the further I read, the more I realized that this book was just what I thought it was. This was of the "name it, claim it" mentality. "You can have it all now". All throughout, I heard messages of how we should not settle for middle-class. We should be happy and successful and should be enjoying life.
The book includes seven easy steps for obtaining, "Your Best Life Now". Some of these steps include, "Enlarge Your Vision", "Develop a Healthy Self-Image", "Find Strength through Adversity" and "Choose to Be Happy". Sounds very practical, doesn't it? But, where is God in all of this? Osteen does include God, (isn't that nice of him?) and peppers his chapters with some Scripture taken out of context. He says things like:

"Your own wrong thinking can keep you from God's best. Are you expecting to experience the goodness of God? You must look through your "eyes of faith" and start seeing yourself as happy, healthy, and whole. If you have a vision of victory for your life, you can rise to a new level. God wants to do more than you can even ask or think, but remember, it's according to the power that works in you. Stir yourself up; step out of complacency".
To all of this I have to ask, "So what is exactly God's best for us? Isn't God good all of the time? Just what level are we trying to rise to? Where do you get these "eyes of faith?" And, excuse me, Mr. Osteen, what power is working in us and for what purpose? Is it our power so we can obtain things or is it the power of the Holy Spirit working in us, so that we become more like Christ?"
After reading through these chapters, I discovered that others have written reviews about this book and have talked about him. One book is "Your Best Lie Now: The Gospel according to Joel Osteen" A while back, Osteen was interviewed on Larry King Live and although I should not have been shocked, my jaw dropped when I read the transcript. He does not like to talk about sin or hell. He waffled on what the gospel really is. I never heard that the only way to God was through the blood of Jesus. In the interview and in the book, all I heard was how we are to strive for wealth, health, success, and happiness. His "church" claims to have 30,000 members, not including all who have been duped into watching his show, buying his books and sending him more money. My first feeling I had after spending some time on this was anger, but it quickly turned to grief. How many of his "followers" are going to hell? How many people are being deceived by this worldly, materialistic "gospel". Paul called the early Galatians on this: "I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel"(Gal.1:6). This is a different gospel. It is the gospel according to Joel Osteen and in essence is the gospel of Satan.
Alistair Begg, the Scottish preacher, talked of "Your Best Life Now" in one of his latest sermons. He was speaking on what Jesus really meant by following Him and asked if we would tell someone that was suffering that they could have their "Best Life Now". As I contemplated on these thoughts, I began to imagine going back to the early Church and finding the apostle Paul who was whipped, stoned, shipwrecked, and finally martryed and saying to him, "You can have your best life now!" Or, "Hey, Mr.Polycarp, I know you are eighty six years old and you have just been sentenced to be burnt at the stake, but you can have your best life now!" How about the thousands of Christians all over the world today that are being killed for their faith in Jesus? "You can have your best life now!" What about the man who has just lost his entire farm because of the economy? "You can have your best life now!" The mom who just lost her son after fighting brain tumors for sixteen years sure needs this. "You can have your best life now!" God help us. If seeking riches or almost perfect health is our goal; if obtaining the best life now is where it's at, then, why would we even look forward to heaven? Why did our Savior say, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal."(Matt.6:20) Why was it necessary for the apostle Paul to say, "for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."(Phil. 4:11-12) Jesus also said that, "In this world you will have trouble."(John 16:33) James says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."(James 1:2-4) Paul also says, "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ."(Phil 3:20)
God desires that we focus on Him and on obtaining "the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Yes, He wants us to have joy and peace now. He provides for our needs. He promises to never leave us or forsake us, but God is not calling us to rise above mediocrity in the area of finances, status, or whatever else this culture tries to feed us. He is not calling us to happiness or to a comfortable lifestyle. He is calling us to holiness, faithfulness, and a heart that is set on things above.
So, whatever our situation, wherever we're at, God wants us to seek Him. Are you worn out as a home school mom? Do you feel like you just can't keep up with all of the demands of teaching, caring for children, your husband, or your house? Are you looking at that house down the street that just seems perfect for your growing family? Are you wishing you just had a little more? Are you suffering from an illness or have you just lost someone very close to you? God wants to lift you up. He wants you to lean on Him. He longs to have an even closer relationship with you. Remember He is your hope, your strength, and your peace. And, let's remember His words through Paul, "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory."(Col.3:1-4) That will indeed be our best life to come!

Monday, July 6, 2009

"A Heart That Beats to Praise You"

This is a favorite song of mine and I heard it again as I was driving home today. I pray that the words will bless you.

Big Daddy Weave \ Audience Of One

I come on my knees
To lay down before you
Bringing all that I am
Longing only to know you
Seeking your face
And not only your hand
I find you embracing me
Just as I am

And I lift these songs
To you and you alone
As I sing to you
In my praises make your home

Chorus:
To my audience of one
You are Father, and you are Son
As your spirit flows free,
Let it find within me
A heart that beats to praise you.
And now just to know you more
Has become my great reward
To see your kingdom come
And your will be done
I only desire to be yours,
Lord

So what could I bring
To honor your majesty
What song could I sing
That would move the heart of royalty
And all that I have
Is the life that you’ve given me
So Lord let me live for you
My song with humility

And Lord as the love song
Of my life is played
I have one desire
To bring glory to your name

CHORUS

And we lift these songs
To you and you alone
As we sing to you
In our praises make your home

As your spirit flows free,
Let it find within me
A heart that beats to praise you.


We are here to praise our heavenly Father. Every person is created by God to give praise to their Creator. The heart of this little baby inside of me is beating to praise his Creator. Yes, we have purpose. We have a reason to hope. We long to know God. "For in Him we live, and move, and have our being"(Acts 17:28). May we all continue to focus on Him. May we remember why we are here. May we have hearts that beat to praise our God.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

What Freedom Means to Me

Today is Independence Day here in America and I am thankful to live in a country with so many freedoms. I am thankful to be able to own a home, land, and some animals. I'm thankful that we can defend ourselves if we have to. I am thankful that I do not have to fear for my life when I attend church with my family. I'm thankful that I don't have to hide the Bibles in our home. I'm thankful that we can home school our children and train them in the fear and admonition of the Lord. I am thankful that we can trust God for how many children we have and that the government is not putting limits on our family size. I am thankful that I can speak freely and share my faith in Christ. Of course, I'll admit that many freedoms are slowly eroding. We live in a society that insists on tolerance for every religion, behavior, or lifestyle, but when we talk of Christianity, somehow tolerance isn't exercised. The very existence of God is not tolerated. Our government believes that they can decide how best to spend our money, how to raise our kids, or how to protect us. I do not know how long we will be truly free, but I do know this. When we place our faith in Christ, we are declared free. Free from the bondage of sin. Free from eternal death and hell. Free from fear. Free to know the truth. "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed(John 8:36). Praise God that we are free. Even if we lose our freedoms as American citizens one day, we are still free in Christ. "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free"(Gal.5:1).

Friday, July 3, 2009

I am not the mother I wanted to be...

I found this article on another Blog and it really spoke to me. I hope it can encourage you as well.

I am not the mother I wanted to be...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day, Dad!

Dear Dad,
Many years have gone by since I was a little girl. I do miss being a little girl sometimes. I remember so many happy times growing up with you. You were the one who taught me how to tie my shoe and to play tennis. You taught me how to ride my bike and later how to drive a car. You taught me how to dance and to love music and made sure that I could take music lessons. You taught me a love for wildlife and the outdoors and how to recognize different birds. You taught me how to joke and to laugh. You taught me to love "The Andy Griffith Show" and helped me to practice saying all of the memorable lines from the episodes. You taught me to enjoy being your little girl and loved to receive my "golden kisses". You taught me that the most important thing in life was to follow Jesus and to get to know Him better by reading His Word. I remember waking up in the early mornings and finding you on the couch with your Bible opened. You supported me, encouraged me and loved me all of those years and then, one day, you gave me to my husband to be his wife. I know that was probably one of the most difficult things that you ever did.
I am a woman now and have a family of my own. Sometimes when I see my little girls, I see just a little bit of me and remember you and how you loved me. I know you still love me. We may not always agree on everything, but you are always there, always loving me and always my Daddy. Thank you, Dad for making such a difference in my life. Thank you for your love all of these years. Thank you for being my teacher, my friend and my Dad. And, I'll always be your little girl.

Love,
Dawne

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A wonderful post from Jess at Making Home

Here is a great article on Birth Control that I thought brings some important points seldom considered.

Subtle Effects of Birth Control
Lately, I've been noticing some trends that I think are directly attributable to the rise-- indeed the expectancy-- of birth control use in our culture. I'd like to talk through them one by one so it's clear what I'm getting at. I believe that there are consequences that are a direct result of our culture's embracing of the birth control mindset as normative, and here are a few.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"Are We a Pro-Life People?"

I found this fantastic article from insidecatholic.com. I wish more people in the Church would support and encourage mothers of many children. Children, planned or unplanned are blessings, not burdens. Come on Church!

Are We a Pro-Life People?

Adding My Book Corner

I decided to add a book corner on my blog, so I can share the books that I'm currently reading or recently have finished.
As a rule, I used to only read one book at a time, but lately, I usually have 2 or 3 on my nightstand that I try to read. Granted, I don't have much time to read, but I try to take advantage of little snippets of time between school, housework, boo boo kissing, feeding kids and so on. I love to read and miss reading a good book in a day or two, but now I have this little "army" and they need a Mommy, not a book worm.
Reading has become a challenge to me lately. It could be because I have been dealing with morning sickness,(more accurately called "all day sickness"), and I also tend to fall asleep when I sit still for more than a minute. In any case, I love to read and enjoy sharing good books. My hope is that others can pick up a few or all of these titles and be blessed. The Bible, of course, is still the most important Book of all because it's the very Word of God. "The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but,the Word of our God shall stand forever." Isaiah 40:8

Sunday, June 14, 2009

My response to a suggestion for president in 2012

A friend of mine had made a suggestion for president on her Face book page and I responded with the following message:

I wish the Church would wake up. The Church in America is just like Laodicea. It is lukewarm. The culture has crept and sometimes been invited in, so things that are wrong according to God's standards are somehow okay now, because there are suddenly gray areas. I am convinced that the only way the Church will have revival is when persecution comes. That's when we're going to find out who really trusts in the Lord and who just wants to be comfortable. I couldn't vote for McCain because I am sick of voting for the lesser of two evils. I voted for someone that was a Godly man, who really wanted to do something about all of these babies that are being murdered and believed in the same freedoms that our forefathers did. He didn't have a chance, but for the first time, I was at peace with my vote.

I had Christians tell me that I was nuts for not voting for McCain because Obama would win. Well, I pretty much knew he would anyway. I did not want to live or vote out of fear. Fear isn't from the Lord. And, even if McCain would have won, he didn't have the integrity that is needed to be the leader of this country. We haven't had a man like that for a LONG time. I'll go one step further to say that even if our beloved George Washington or Abe Lincoln would run now, they couldn't save this country, and I don't think they would win. This country wanted what it got. America does not honor life, whether it be in the womb, a disabled or an elderly person. America hates God. We have shoved him out of every area of our lives and do not want to be accountable to anyone. God can still work, but the American Church better get serious about their faith and stop playing games. Pray, pray, pray and then, do not be ashamed of the gospel. Romans 1:16

We are going to see some very tough times ahead. Are we going to be overcomers or are we just going to go down with the rest of our society? My heart cry is that we hope in the things that will last and that we will never be comfortable here. This is not our home.

I usually keep pretty silent about things except with my husband and closest friends, but I felt that God wanted me to share my heart. There are so many more things that could have been said, but this is what He gave me. I am not pretending to have it all together. The fact is, God continues to work on this heart of mine. I want to stop playing the games, living in my own little world and forgetting that there are people dying without Jesus. My prayer is that God will stir a passion in all of our hearts to stop fearing man and to keep our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. We are nothing without Him. These are exciting days we live in. Yes, they are scary and unpredictable, but where is our hope? I am going to choose Jesus, no matter what it costs.

Monday, April 6, 2009

"Will You Forgive Me?"

Admitting when I am wrong has never come easy for me. I always hope that I can either minimize what I've said or done and just forget about it or at least, I will just go to God and hope I don't have to deal with the person whom I have wronged. There are so many times I ignore the need to apologize and ask forgiveness from my husband or one of my children. I hope they will just be patient and understanding with me when I knowingly or unknowingly do something that may be hurtful to them. After all, I'm stressed out, right? I have six children now and three of them are three and under. I'm home schooling, trying to keep a clean house, planning meals, paying bills, balancing our checkbook, keeping our schedules straight, feeding a baby, changing diapers and the list goes on and on. I have every right to be just a little short-tempered at times. Maybe I do tend to ignore little things like reading a book to a child or looking at a drawing because I just don't have time. Maybe I have said something in a disrespectful way to my husband, but he'll understand. I'm tired. I can believe that, but the truth is that I have really hurt my loved ones at different times. I can not ignore this and I must ask for forgiveness when I am in the wrong.

During quiet time today, I noticed Jonathan looking at a book and I realized that I had brushed him aside a few times this morning. I was not very patient with him and so, I thought this would be a good time to talk to him. I decided to ask for forgiveness, without giving excuses like I so often do. I was so happy that we were going to have this beautiful moment together as mother and son. I told him that I was sorry for being impatient and for speaking harshly. It was hard, but I did it. We hugged and he gave me a kiss, and in only a way that my Jonathan can, he said, "I forgive you, Mommy!" He told me that he loved me and I said the same to him and just when I thought we were done with our mother and son talk, he said to me again, "I forgive you....now don't do that again!" Whoa! Trying to gain my composure, I used that as a lesson in how often we should forgive and how much God loves us and forgives us each time we fail. I told him that I would probably fail him again and that he'd have to forgive me, just like I forgive him. After recovering from being shocked by his statement, I was reminded again of God's amazing love. When Jesus came, He didn't wait for mankind to ask for forgiveness. "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Rom. 5:8 When we humbly come before Him, He forgives us. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9 We must admit when we are wrong. We must make things right with those around us. We must forgive others, even when we feel they don't deserve forgiveness. We don't deserve God's love and forgiveness, but He still gives it. How I wish I could tell the Lord that I won't do that again, but I will sin. I will let Him down and He will keep loving me.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A recent message to a mom considering homeschooling

The following is an email I sent to a mother that is considering homeschooling. I wanted to share it here in case anyone else could be encouraged if they are considering educating their children at home.


Hello,

Thanks for your message. As far as home schooling goes, first: don’t be scared. There that was easy! No, I don’t want it to sound like it’s a piece of cake, but remember where fear comes from and also remember where we are to turn when we are scared or worried or confused or whatever. “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”(II Tim.1:7) I could give you countless verses about what we should do when we are unsure of the future, but you probably know many of them, so I won’t type them out. I need them myself though, because I often forget to place my cares at His feet or if I do “cast my cares on Him”, I tend to take them back as if I know better than He.

Secondly, think about who is responsible to teach and lead your children. Is it the state? Is it a school? Is it even that sweet Sunday school teacher that loves children? No, it’s the responsibility of Dad,(the head of the home), and Mom,(his help meet). God gave your children for you to raise, nurture and to teach, not for anyone else. Deuteronomy 6 talks about how the parents were to talk to their children when they sat at home, when they walked along the road, when they went to bed, when they got up. It’s pretty hard to do that when they spend a large chunk of time away from us. I remember as a kid, I would spend hours away at public school and then, come home where Mom & Dad basically had to unteach all of the things I had heard for that day. Thank the Lord, I had parents that cared and loved God. I do believe if they had known about home schooling then, they would have kept me home, but it was still so new and there wasn’t much support. Now, there are support groups everywhere, not to mention great organizations like Home School Legal Defense. I’m hopping down a rabbit trail. I’m just trying to say, that we have to rethink who is responsible for our children and not just for feeding them food and giving them a place to stay, but to train them in the Word of God and give them what they really need in this life.

Third, what do you think is really important to teach? We have to get away from the public or even the private school standards. Christian schools may have good intentions, but I don’t believe they are placing the emphasis where it belongs and how can they with so many children to teach? Public schools definitely do not have the interest of the child in mind. Yes, there are some great teachers, even some Christian ones, but they still don’t replace what a child needs from his/her God fearing parents. And, let’s face it, they are teaching kids to get by, to pass those tests that are meaningless, or to strive for things that don’t really last. I’m not against education nor am I against excelling in academics, but I believe the first things that should be taught are to fear the Lord, to love Him with all of their hearts, souls and minds and to have a Godly character. We can attempt to do those things a little, but when we send them off to school, they just aren’t ready to stand firm in their faith yet. I have heard Christian parents claim that by sending them to school, their child can be a witness. Hmmm, that’s a nice thought, but it’s not reality. They have to be trained before they can be sent amongst the wolves.

When you begin to start home schooling, I would encourage you to not worry about measuring up to the school system with academics, grades, social life, extra-curricular activities, or whatever. Their standards are actually quite low. They may offer a variety of subjects or opportunities, but they are trying to teach many different students with many different learning styles, using only a single method and failing miserably. They teach half as much as a home school child learns using ten times the effort.

I forgot how many children you have or their ages, but from my experience, every one of my children is unique. They learn in different ways. They have strengths and weaknesses. You may be able to use the same curriculum for all of them or you may have to experiment and cater to each child’s learning styles. This takes some time, but it’s worth it, not to mention, it is a joy to learn about your children and what makes them tick. I’ve had frustrating times with this, but usually, it has brought me closer to each one and has helped me to appreciate their uniqueness. Also, I can learn what really interests them and can help them to learn more about the things that are important to them. Rachel, our 10 yr. old daughter loves horses. So, I picked up a curriculum on horse history a few years back. Granted, we’ve not been able to finish it all in a year. We’ve taken our time, but that’s okay. We’re not on a time limit. She’s learned a lot from it, but she also studies about horses on her own. That’s one of the things that she absolutely loves. My son, Jonathan who has had some developmental delays loves to learn how things work. So, I bought a book about how things work in a house. He and his dad build things together. We take him on field trips to a Science center or even to Lowe’s when it’s time to fix something at home. Hannah, our precocious 6 yr. old, would probably be labeled ADD or something else. She’s a bundle of energy and has a hard time being still, but she learns. She is doing kindergarten work this year and loves it. I just know when it’s time not to push her anymore and we take breaks. I actually need to do that with all of them.

As far as choosing what curriculum, I would encourage you not to start with a program like Abecka. I know people who have used it and I’ve heard mixed things about it. It may not be ideal for a beginning home schooler. It is pretty labor intensive. My husband had a negative experience with it when he home schooled for a short time. It may even take the fun out of learning. It sounds like you need to take some time to unschool them first. Find out how each of them learn. Find out what they are interested in. Let them relax and take a break. Let them have fun just being kids. Get to know them again. Work on character training. There are many resources for that topic alone, but the best you can start with is the Bible. Set goals with your husband as to what you want to accomplish and why. Why do you want your children to know how to read? Well, of course, they need to read, but why? Just to get a job one day? Or is it because they need to be able to read God’s Word, which is eternal. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”. But, even reading isn’t required to learn the Word of God, although it helps. Our three oldest are in the middle of learning the 8th chapter of Romans and Hannah, who isn’t reading at this level yet, knows her verses. I’m not saying all of this to brag on my kids. I’m simply trying to say, this is not as hard or expensive as you may think. Kids learn so much just by living. They learn about life when they observe your marriage. They learn by watching you manage a household. Yeah, I know, that’s a hard one, but they are watching everything at home and they are learning. They learn just by being outside or reading a good book that isn’t even a part of some curriculum. We do a lot of reading around here. We read the Bible morning and night. We read fun books like Dr.Seuss and Little Critter. We read Laura Ingalls’ books. We read missionary stories and stories of hymn writers. All of this is school. You really don’t have to spend a bundle to teach your kids. I have the problem of wanting to buy too much because I get excited about all of the things I could teach my kids. Home school conferences are my downfall.

After taking a break, I would focus on the basics like reading, writing, math and slowly add the other things. You said something about not being sure you could give them all they need. The truth is, you will never be able to give them all they need. Only God can do that. You can trust that God will provide your needs in the areas of finances, teaching, decisions about curriculum and just wisdom in general. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God”. Those children ultimately belong to Him. He has a purpose for each of them and for you and your husband. Do not feel scared to take on home schooling. Embrace it or rather embrace God and let Him take you for the ride of a lifetime. It is so fun, so hard at times, so exhausting, but soooo worth it!

I literally could go on and on, but it’s late and I feel like I’ve given you enough to digest for one email. If you have any questions about curriculum, home school laws, support groups or anything else, you can ask. Don’t feel that you’ve made a huge mistake by sending your kids to school. God is working in the lives of your family and He will continue to do so. Just keep praying for wisdom and pray that you can trust Him more. He will always give you what you need. Also, don’t feel as if you have to do things exactly like another family. Every family is different and God will show you what He wants you to do. We’re still learning. We fail and we do other things well, but God uses it all to bring glory to Him. I hope this helps you. We may come across a bit strong, but training our children is one of our passions, so we love to share what’s on our hearts.
May God bless you and your family and we’ll continue to pray for you.

In Christ,

Dawne

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Where Do I Hide?
Hiding. That's what I'm doing right now. I have a bad cold today, so my husband has been letting me get some extra rest in our room while he takes care of the little ones. I needed this today, but I'm still hiding. I have found myself hiding many times this week.
We had some leftover Italian bread from our spaghetti night a few days ago and I was craving French toast so much, that I made just enough batter to make two small pieces. Of course, there wasn't enough to share with the children, so I chose to make it when they were busy with their chores. Hannah was cleaning her room and Rachel and Jonathan were outside feeding the horse and cleaning out her stall. The toddlers were busy running around as usual, so I thought I was safe to make my "secret" breakfast before anyone noticed. I didn't quite know how I would mask the smell of something recently cooked over the stove, but seeing as how their chores took a little while, I hoped the smell would fade away. My plan worked, but I still had to hide in my room to finish eating because they were slowly filing into the kitchen. I felt a little guilty, but I also didn't want them to feel left out because I didn't have enough for everyone.
I usually have my afternoon tea time when the kids are having their quiet time, but the packages on the cookies are so loud that I am convinced the cookie companies make them that way on purpose. Loud packages equal kids running to get cookies, so the parents have to keep buying more, just so they can have a couple with their tea. I do share with my children, but not at my tea time. I need those fifteen minutes or so to collect my thoughts, plan the rest of my day, and yes, sometimes to hide.
I am not always hiding from my children. I hide from my husband. I hide my feelings, or at least attempt to hide what's really bothering me. I hide from my friends. Sometimes, I can paint a very rosy picture of how I'm doing, but my spirit may be crushed.
I wonder how often I try to hide from God. I know I can't do this, but there are times I try. When I am about to make a foolish decision or to say a careless word, I hide. When I have sinned, I hide. When I am so low that I have told myself that I can't reach for Him, I hide.
I hide from God in different ways. I can hide by avoiding my quiet time with the Lord. I can hide when I am having quiet time with Him, by skimming the passage for that day and not letting it permeate my heart. I hide when I do not talk to God. I hide in my thought life and can even get lost in those thoughts. I hide by using my time unwisely, whether it be on the computer, a good book, music, or going for a drive.
Hiding can be good. Time away, a few moments over tea, reading, are all healthy things as long as I'm hiding in the Lord. Throughout the Psalms, God is referred to as a hiding place, a refuge, a shelter. He is a rock and a fortress. And, why would I want to hide from Him? I cannot hide from the Lord. "Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence?"(Psalm 139:7) He loves me with an everlasting love that I can't even begin to understand. He knows everything about me and still loves me. He made me. So, I can hide in the Lord. Colossians 3:3 says, "For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God." In Psalm 119:11, it says,"Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee." This makes me long to hide in Him. "Hiding in Thee, hiding in Thee, Thou blest Rock of Ages, I'm hiding in Thee."
So, with my Bible in hand, I am going to put the water on for tea, grab a few cookies and spend some much needed time hiding in my Savior. And, I'll share a few cookies with the kids, too.