Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Rainy Day


Sometimes you just have to stop and smell the roses....   Or in this case... 
DANCE IN THE RAIN


Babygirl and I had a BLAST together, making the most of a spring shower.


We danced until I thought we couldn't dance anymore...


but when the rain renewed it's pattering, so did our feet.


I'd like to think these will be the kind of memories that stick in her mind and bring smiles to her face later in life.


She definitely brings one to mine.  <3




This post is linked up with
Raising Mighty Arrows - Proverbs 31 Thursdays

Friday, February 24, 2012

Child Training Bible - GIVEAWAY!

There is a wonderful giveaway happening right now over at http://www.childtrainingbible.com/

What is the Child Training Bible, you ask?  Here's a word from the creators:

"This Bible is designed for parents and children to seek answers from God’s Word on common sinful problems.  Topics include: disobedience, selfishness, anger, complaining and fear.  The Child Training Bible makes it easy for parents to bring the truth of God’s Word into times of instruction.  Simply use the key on the inside-front cover of the CTB to locate the sinful behavior and find the section and color flags to go to.  Read the highlighted verses with your child and explain what God says about the behavior that needs to be addressed.  With the CTB you can make the most of your time with your children by using Scripture to instruct them in righteousness".  Source: http://www.childtrainingbible.com/p/what-is-ctb.html

Head on over now and enter for your chance to win!
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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Change Your Mind

Why do work-out instructors feel they must constantly chat on a work-out video?  I mean, really.

I was fussing in my television's general direction as my "instructor" proceeded to talk away.  He aggravates me, to say the least.  Does this happen to you, too?  Maybe it's not because of a guy on an exercise video, but we all have those folks who just get under our skin a little for one reason or another.  And then later, we find ourselves getting aggravated all over again as we replay it in our minds.. even if we don't admit it.

My husband said something very interesting as he listened to my fussing.  He pointed out that I need to give some forgiveness to the poor guy.  What?... What do you mean?  He can't hear me.  I'm only griping at a screen, technically.  Forgiveness??  But it only took a second for the Holy Spirit to nod his head in agreement and help me realize that seemingly crazy notion was right.  I needed to forgive a man I'd never met for something he never even did to me personally.  I think my face is a little red.

How about that family member that really pushes your buttons?  What about that co-worker whose voice just feels like nails on a chalkboard?  Or maybe, let's hope not, the fellow church member your eyes seem to follow while your mind makes assumptions and, let's be honest, judgements!

Isn't that what we're doing?  Be honest, now.  When we boil off all the excuses, the reasons, the sugar-coated-oh-it's-not-as-bad-as-all-that nonsense, that's exactly what we are doing.  We are noting (in likely too detailed an account) wrongs and mistakes.  We are inferring a pattern of said no-no's.  We are judging their hearts according to those perceived realities, and I do stressed perceived.  And we are laying down the verdicts.  (If I'm not mistaken, that's God's job!)  Wow.  We sure do a lot in a VERY little time.  In a matter of a nano-second, we've done all this AND copped an attitude.  An attitude that then sets the course for how we love, or don't love, them.. how we treat them.. how we do or don't pray for them.  Would it surprise you to know that all of this could be different if we would just guard our minds and pray over what we find there?

We don't realize how often this occurs, unfortunately.  We neglect the previewing, or scanning of our thoughts before we allow them to take root.  We don't guard our minds!  This is what we did before the Holy Spirit changed our hearts and made us new creatures.  The second chapter of Ephesians tells us as much.  This is a slavery from which we've been set free.  Being set free means we don't have to go back to that kind of thought life.  Our hands are not tied.  We CAN change these sinful thought patterns.  All glory to God for it!

Romans 12 is one chapter that addresses this so thoroughly, and it all starts with our minds.  Renew.Your.Minds. (Romans 12:2)  That is exactly what the Word tells us will transform us.  Read on in the same chapter and you'll see that not only are we to change the way we think by striving to align our thinking with that of God's, but we are also to love others - outwardly!  That's right.. even those others mentioned earlier.. the ones about which we are a little embarrassed to admit our thoughts.  We are to love with a love that outwardly shows the kindness of Christ, our Saviour.

But all of this starts with guarding our minds.  That is where sin begins - first as a thought that, left unchecked, takes root in our heart and flows out in our actions.  Through prayer and careful examination, not to mention a little bit of quick-slow-slow (James 1:19-20), we are called to fight against these evil thoughts toward one another.

"But," you rebuttal, "you don't know this person!  You don't know how bad she is, what she's done.  I just don't know what I can do to change the way I feel about her."  Maybe you can't, but we know God always can!  Here are a few of my most trusted passages when I think of excuses just like yours: 
  • Galations 5:22-23.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (ESV)
  • Philippians 2:13   ...for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.  (ESV)
  • Philippians 4:8-9     Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.  (ESV)
What does this tell us?
1) Anything good in us, anything we need to please God, will be a fruit of the Spirit and God himself works in us.  Conclusion:  Submit! Pray! Have faith then that God will help you change your thought life.  Then keep praying, submitting, repenting, rinse and repeat.
2) A good place to start when changing our thought life is to change the specific types of thoughts on which we choose to camp out!  We have to push out the ugly as soon as is comes in and instead hunt down and trap the good.  "But," you again rebuttal, "that's hard!  I tried to tell you there's nothing gooood to find!"  Yes, there is.  You just have to be willing.  God gives me grace, and I am to extend grace to others.  My sin was not too great for God to forgive; no sin should be too great for me to forgive.  Hard, but true.  (See the parable of the unmerciful servant in Matthew Chapter 18 for more.)  Think on the good.  Love on purpose.

Another encouragement before I go...  I know it's hard sometimes.  I feel the way you may many times.  One thing my Father has shown me is that it's entirely impossible to harbor ill feelings toward someone that you are praying for with a Godly-jealousy.  In other words, when you're choosing to want Christ's love, grace and mercy poured out in another's life... when that is what you're praying for, thinking on, and wanting for them... there becomes no room left for sinful thoughts toward them as well.

Pray for me as God works on conforming my thoughts, mind, and heart regarding these things.  Leave me a note below so I can pray for you, too!  God Bless.


This post is linked with Women Living Well Link-Up Wednesday!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Homemade Felt Board

     If you're like me, penny pinching is something you try to do around every corner.  There are so many ways to save when you're homeschooling.  A homemade felt board is one of those ways!  There have been so many times I've needed or just wanted a felt board for Babygirl's lessons.  Finally it hit me... Just make one yourself, silly!  I had this wonderful white board I'd purchased at Walmart at the beginning of the year that has a wooden frame around it.  I realized the back would be perfect for a do-it-yourself felt board.  This way I also don't have to have more than one large, awkward object when we're taking our homeschooling on the road for family visits or whatnot.  I just flip it over and there it is.


What you'll need:
  • A board of some kind .. the back of a white board, a piece of plywood, or even a foam board would work.  (Cost:  $10 or less.  My board was around $8.)
  • 1 yard of fleece or polyfelt fabric.  (I did not use the entire yard for the approx 2x3 foot white board.) Both fabrics work well with felt cut outs.  For this project, I chose fleece.  Choose any pattern or mix it up to make it fun and lively!  (Cost:  $5 or less.  My material was around $2.)
  • Hot glue gun and sticks.
  • Scissors. (Fabric scissors work best on fleece.)
  • A straight edged object.  (A ruler or butter knife would work nicely.)

     I recommend cutting your fabric in the basic shape of your board.  You will want to cut it a little larger than the actual space to which it will be glued.  Glue only one side at a time, using the straight edge (if you're using the back of a framed white board) to press the fabric into the crevice as you go.  This will help seal the material to the board and its frame, ensuring a better hold.  Slightly stretch the material, especially as you are finishing the last side, to make sure there will be no bubbling/extra material in the middle of your board when your it is complete.  Trim off any excess material.  If you're feeling extra crafty, finish off the back of your frame with a nice ribbon, or other such decoration, for a fun look.



 







As you can see, we make our own felt objects and numbers, too.  Just another way to save!  If you're kiddos are able, asking them to draw and/or cut out your objects/numbers is an easy way to get them involved.  Enjoy!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Oh, For Grace To Trust Him More!

'Tis SO SWEET to trust in Jesus.  ...This will always be true, no matter what. 

I've been struggling with some things for a very long time now.  Troubles don't go away overnight, y'know.  But then again, neither does my almighty Father!  Yesterday was a struggle, but my Father finally convinced me to pray.  So, in desperation I (literally) cried out to him for help.. repeatedly.  I couldn't find the words to pray.  Instead, I chose to play a mental picture reel of my struggles and each time ask.. well, beg.. Him to help me, knowing full well that only He could.

How I've proved him o'er and o'er!

Now, this example may not be exactly what the author of this lovely hymn had in mind when it was penned, but it came to mind last night and today as I saw my Father prove himself faithful to me through my husband and other circumstances.  My Father is faithful.  He is mighty.  He is compassionate.  He is all I know of him and more.  Sometimes I just fog up my field of vision so skillfully with doubt, worry, and fear that I temporarily can't recall His character, much less know beyond a doubt that I can TRUST it.  But He never lets me forget for too long.  And how I love Him for it!

Oh, for grace to trust him more!

You might be wondering, "Do her struggles compare to mine in any way?"  To which I would reply gently, "Does it matter?"  Don't look for comfort here in the thought that we may have common ground in our heartaches.  Join me instead in knowing and trusting, that our Father is the same for you as He is for me.  Same promises.  Same character.  Same love.  Same compassion.  Same FAITHFULNESS!  Join me in stepping out in faith and trusting Him with your immediate load.  Join me in praying He would grant us an ever-increasing faith, as well.  Because, as I'm sure we've already agreed, troubles don't go away overnight.  Thankfully, neither does our Father!

I'm so glad I learned to trust him .. Precious Jesus.  Saviour.  Friend.

Just in case you're not familiar with this beautiful song ...

'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take him at his Word;
Just to rest upon his promise,
And to know, "Thus saith the Lord."


Refrain:
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust him!
How I've proved him o'er and o'er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust him more!


Oh how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust his cleansing blood;
And in simple faith to plunge me
'Neath the healing, cleansing flood!

Yes, 'tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease; 

Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.


I'm so glad I learned to trust thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.


'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus
Copyright: Public Domain
Main subject: Trust
Scripture: Proverbs 30:5
William J. Kirkpatrick, 1882
Source:  http://library.timelesstruths.org/music/Tis_So_Sweet_to_Trust_in_Jesus/



Friday, February 3, 2012

Adam and Eve Activity

Genesis chapter 2 was the focus of our Family Worship Time tonight, focusing on how God created Adam and Eve.  Babygirl really liked this chapter!  She quickly picked up on the one rule God gave:

"You can eat of aaaallll" <sweeping hand motion> "the trees EXCEPT...."
"The Tree of.... the Knowledge" <point to head>
"of Good" <thumbs/happy face>
"and Evil" <thumbs down/scowl>.

She also really enjoyed the activity we did to wrap it all up.  We used Play-Doh, toothpicks, and a little imagination!  It turned out to be a very fun, quick project to do together - all hands helping. 

Adam:  mid-surgery :)

Adam:  all patched up :)
Meet Adam.  God formed and made him from the ground.  Using the doh seemed to help her connect to this foreign concept.  We even had her breathe into his nostrils.  Then Daddy stood up like Adam might have, and to our suprise he wasn't made of dirt... he had flesh, muscles, bones, etc.  If you look closely you'll see where God removed one of Adam's ribs to make Eve.  (Babygirl liked making rib marks.  I tried to snap a pic before too many were made.)

Eve
Meet Eve.  God made her out of a rib taken from Adam.  Babygirl got pretty giddy about Adam having a wife to marry.  I don't think she liked him being alone, either! 
The Happy Couple :)

We had a great time with this!  I don't know about them, but I'm looking forward to doing lots of other hands-on activities to help her connect with God's Truth!

Nerdin' It Up!

I'm nerdin' it up, homeschool style :)  Haha!

God has really been blessing this last week or two as far as finding resources.  I've been going a little crazy with sites, blogs, and pins.  But!  I've been able to find an abundance of free material and future resources for multiple grade levels and subjects.  I've also been sucked in by Pinterest.  It's a love/hate relationship.  Check out my boards/pins for a collection of homeschool ideas and sites.  And don't be afraid to throw more my direction!

I keep a running tab on the left side of the blog of all the sites/blogs that are helpful for spiritual or homeschool reasons.  What I'm loving is that most, if not all, of the homeschool helps I'm keeping up with are Christians, too.  Because of this, I'm also finding tons of Bible time/story/craft ideas as well.  Like I said - God is blessing!

In other nerdin' it up news, my home laminator will be here next week!  Picture Monica (Friends) with her label maker.  Yes.  I'm serious.  By the way, Amazon is my shopping haven.  I highly recommend shopping there first for nearly everything.  Yay for saving money!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Joy

My goal for this blog is to edify others the way God uses others to edify me.  After all, that is part of what we are meant to do, all for his glory.  Today I read an article that God used to spur some thinking, and I wanted to continue the discussion.  You can find the article here - http://www.truewoman.com/?id=1996. .

The article is titled "Dear Grumpy Church Ladies."  That's the sort of title that just makes you grin.  That's right.. I admit that when I first read the title, a smirk crept into the corner of my mouth.  My first thought was, "Heh, she's gonna stick it to 'em.. those folks that just aren't very welcoming at church."  What an embarrassing confession!  Especially when I realized a few moments later that it wasn't the topic at all.  The topic was ME.  Well, not directly, of course, but the Holy Spirit may as well have been pointing his finger in my face as I read it... it sure felt like it.  But as scripture points out, he shines the light on my darkness because he can do something about it, not just to leave me to wallow in it.

I do all too often wear a frown, my outlook often sour and jaded, my hope just kind of stuffed in a corner so it's out of the way while I throw a pity party.  Thinking of those truths hurts because of the affect it has on those I love, not to mention the damage it does to me spiritually.  But the realization that I am not allowing the joy of the Lord to fill me, and that that's a big part of my frequent frowning, hit pretty hard as well.  So how do we get this joy?  As the author pointed out, our joy springs from our salvation.  What could bring us more joy than the knowledge that we have been spared from the wrath of God for his glory!

So, really what we're talking about here is a change of framework, a change of FOCUS.  After all, as the song says, this world is NOT my home.  This is not the end of my story.  This life, and all the ups and downs it offers, is NOT the best I'll ever have.  What we focus on does matter.  So, we start by focusing on what our Father has done for us through his Son!  It was pretty amazing.. as I was pondering this earlier, the song How Great Thou Art randomly popped in my head.  It was what you call a God thing.  (Don't you love those moments?)  There is a verse in that song that says, "And when I think that God, His Son not sparing, sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in.  That on the cross, my burden gladly baring, He bled and died to take away my sin."  Wow.  How can that not open up a well-spring of joy!

From that moment to this, my heart has felt different - joy.  Focusing on that truth, and praising God for it, re-framed my mind and my morning.  What a blessing!  So, where does this come from?  Why does this work?  Why is it that pondering on the truths of scripture, on the character of my God, on what he does and provides, on the beauty of the cross... why do those things work joy in us?  Galatians chapter 5 tells us that it is all the work of the Spirit.  He asks us to feast and meditate on his Word, on his truths, and the Spirit then works and cultivates the fruits in our hearts.

Stop and take stock of what Christ has done for you.  Pray and ask God to quiet your mind and fill your thoughts with truths about him.  If you need a little spurring, read the first three chapters of Ephesians, or revisit the account of the crucifixion in any of the gospels, or search the prayer of Jesus in John 17 as he prayed for all of us just before He was betrayed and crucified.  And pray.  Pray.  Pray.  Pray.  Ask God to use his Holy Spirit to sear these truths on your heart and open that well-spring of joy!

And when you find tomorrow that your joy has dwindled, do it all over again, and ask God to renew it. (Psalm 16:11; 20:5; 51:12; 90:14; 92:4; 119:111; 143:8)