Give-a-Way

There is a book give-a-way going on Scroll down to the bottom of the latest blog article to see details.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Smelling the Roses

This week we took time to smell the roses... literally.  And I am so glad we did.  This nose-to-the-grindstone mama has to schedule rose-smelling adventures and I can't say that is a good thing.


As summer goes into full swing, our to-do list seems daunting.  Preparing for fundraising, considering packing away what remains of our household for what seems to be (at this time) an indefinate amount of time and preparing for traveling to a still-as-yet undetermined house....

... "Daunting" only scratches the surface!


But it is in these times that I remember verses like the [recently re-occurring] one in Luke:


“Consider the lilies [roses ;-)], how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. “But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you?
- Luke 12:27-28a (NRSV)

I left out "O ye of little faith" because that is just it... every time I start to worry I pause and consider all the big, and little, things God does... if he can do all, hold all, consider all.... if HE, creator of the universe, has called us to pack up and drive across the country... surely He has all the details covered.  HE, won't let us fall.

I'm grateful for this summer to prepare.  It may seem "daunting" at times... but it is all Covered and because it is covered I can stop to smell (and consider) the 'roses' of the field.  I can enjoy resting in Him and His creation as we prepare in this season for the next season.

I pray you are stopping to smell (and consider) plenty of roses this summer!







Linking up with Sue and the iHomeschoolNetwork today:


as well as Kris:
 
 
 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Specks, Spots, and Nobodies

I am nobody.

I am coming to despise the idea of "self-confidence" and "MY desires"... as radical as that sounds.  But here is the fact...

I am nobody.

If you zoom out from this great big world I bet you can't find me... not even with the strongest view finder on your zooming space-ship!  Nope... I am a speck... I am the speck on a speck!

Nope, can't see me!

I am nobody.

Yet God picks nobodies all the time.  People who don't amount to a hill of beans in the eyes of man... but become great to the Kingdom of God.  And while I don't even consider myself "great" to the Kingdom of God because I humbly acknowledge...

I am nobody...

I know I am somebody to Him who has called me.  My obedience to all that he calls me to do is crucial.  My whole-hearted submission to His plan is the speck that joins with the other speck that joins with another speck... and before you know it you have a spot!  Yet, still..

I am nobody...

... and I can be plucked out - put out of the way for some other nobody to step up and fulfill His call if I decide my specky little spot is nothing... not worth the energy.  Yet, this nobody desires, more than anything, to be within His grace, to be part of the spot making.  Even if...

I am nobody...

... and so I choose to shed the ideas of self-confidence and put on confidence in Christ... shed MY desires and instead strive for His desires through me.  Because if I give up myself and declare:

"I AM A NOBODY!"

I become a somebody in Christ.  I no longer belong to myself - or anyone else - It is the specks of nobodies forming spots of somebodies which eventually transform a world.


“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
- Galatians 2:20 (NRSV)

I don't know if God has picked me to transform a world... but He has chosen me to take care of my little spot. 

Just think - all of Christianity got it's start with 12 specks.

May our specks be spots - us nobodies become somebodies in Him... for him.

Blessings,







Linking up today with
P.S.  This wasn't my intention in blog content today! But I prayed, God led, and this is just what fell out there!  I pray somebody is encouraged to know they really aren't a "nobody" when they have Christ working through them.



Saturday, June 23, 2012

Adventures Off the Designated Path

I'm big on adventures.  As far as I can tell... childhood should be an adventure and the joy of parenting (especially homeschooling) is to embark on daily adventures.  Summer is especially good for this!

Last summer we set out to adventures with the aid of a great book called "How to be an explorer of the world; portable art life museum" by Keri Smith.  Through her book we learned to respond to the inevitable question of "What are you doing?" with:  "We are conducting research"... we are adventurer explorers!!


This summer we continue with Keri Smith's suggestions in mind as well as the preliminary implementation of a more Charlotte Masony method of homeschooling to begin in the fall.  Summer is an opportunity to "learn" though the kids think they are just playing and exploring... setting out on adventures each time we step out the front door!  


I won't write here today about how wonderful and perfect our maiden voyage into predominately Charlotte learning is.  Because it has not been easy!  But it has been fun.  Example?


We set off to the park last Wednesday with backpacks, field guides and journals in hand.  Our mission?  To observe, draw, and learn about TREES.  After all, we LOVE trees... they give us air to breath, they are GREAT for climbing, they provide wonderful shade on sunny warm days and they are so varied - there was no way the topic could be dull.


Our first challenge entered when mom forgot to keep the field guide accessible and then learned we had lost our first sample when we found somewhere to stop and chronicle.  The second challenge came when mom learned that "Maple" is not simply Maple... No, according to David Allen Sibley you've got your Sugar Maples, Silver Maples, Norway Maples, Striped Maples, Rocky Mountain Maples.... and on and on and on.  Even if I hadn't lost the sample, there is still the overwhelming amount of earmarks to each varied species.  Karen Andreola made this seem so much easier in "Pocketful of Pinecones".  I'm thinking 1930s New England fostered only a few species because "Carol" seemed to find what she needed in her field guide fairly quickly... not I!!!


Through the confusion the kids were 'distracted' by what we lovingly labeled 'the goose and duck nursery' we found at the West end of the park's pond.  They collected feathers, drew geese and eggs with amazing detail and observed interactions between the parent birds and children birds.

 

My oldest remembered from a year old lesson how the varying size of feathers directly corresponded with the placing of the feather on the wing and its specific function.  She regaled the group with her narration of her understanding on the topic.  She even labeled various parts of her picture and all three did find help in "Peterson's Field Guide to Birds" where we learned and recorded the scientific names for Canadian Goose, Mallard Duck and even the Common Loon.



It took until yesterday to fully understand that our adventures to the park for 'research' on remarkable trees was not a failure... it simply took a different direction.  And the fact is, our seemingly failed ambitions for weekly adventures to do our "research" have not actually failed either.  The business of packing and preparing for all that lies ahead for our trip this fall is an adventure and our directed excursions will have their time and place.  Remembering 'Carol's' excursions with her children in "Pocketful" helped me realize; they were not able to journal daily -or- weekly either.  And some entries were simple... not as complicated as I first presumed every lesson needed to be.

We need to just let learning happen.


Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 
-  Matthew 6:26 (NIV)
 

God has called us to this direction with the Mason Method in mind... he has already blessed the beginning stages of the process.  It will not look perfect from the beginning... as a matter of fact, it may never take on the image of perfection.  But we will move forward and we will have wonderful adventures in this [possibly last] Montana summer!

I pray you know peace even when things don't seem to be going as planned... that you have wonderful exploratory adventures no matter where you are this summer!

Blessings
 





Linking up with Sue and the iHomeschoolNetwork today:


as well as Kris:

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Faith of an Apostle

 The faith of an apostle is often a 'given'... after all, they were chosen by Christ himself.  Yet, as I read Acts 7, the faith of an apostle has never before been more striking to me.

Brought in on charges of teaching about that.... [shhhh]  "Jesus" guy again, Stephen doesn't back down.  Instead he gives a chapter long testimony History lesson! 

{Ummm, I don't mean to bust your bubble Steve, but these guys teach this stuff... you're preaching to the choir here!}

Seriously though, there is a point.  Like all of scripture (and all of life really) repetition is for a purpose - it draws out a point.  Telling the High Priest and his entourage a story about history is for a purpose - he is drawing out a point.

And when this point comes, my muscles tense, my hair stands on end, and my heart races:

"You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in Heart and ears, you are forever opposing the Holy Spirit, just as your ancestors used to do."  
- Acts 7:51 (NRSV)

Youch, Steve, thems some strong words!

But

he was bold and he didn't stop there...
Which of the prophets did your ancestors NOT persecute?  They killed those who foretold the coming of the Righteous One, and now you have become his betrayers and murders.  
- Acts 7:52 (EMPHASIS added)

Accusing... but it is the truth he speaks.  He is essentially saying WAKE UP!!  It happened before and it is happening again.  YOU, teachers of the law, YOU above all people should SEE the Truth here... yet you are blind... as blind and def as your ancestors.


You are the ones that received the law as ordained by angels, and yet you have not kept it.   
- Acts 7:53

My oldest walked in from youth group last night.  They had a student teacher and we asked about the Bible message.  He explained it had to do with Love and how we should just love everyone.  This child of mine, with the HUGE heart so easily seen on his sleeve, seemed to almost distastefully release those words.  So we asked, 'what do you think?'

He stepped slowly through his reply until he saw the warm reception of his audience then momentum built.  'If we just love everyone without telling them about Christ, how are they to know who is really loving them?  How are they to know He is in us?  After all, isn't that the great commission?'

Yes, son, Go and make disciples.  Not dive-bombing love hoping people 'get it'... no, it is TEACHING the Word and the Message of salvation.  It is TEACHING not just about our savior but how to walk with him.  Love isn't the goal, it is merely the vehicle with which our testimony should come.

Reading about Stephen this morning I don't see an irrational apostle shouting at a council of serious looking, bearded elders who should know this stuff.  No, I see a calm, love-filled man testifying boldly to the truth of their ancestors and how that truth leads to the ultimate Truth. 

He did not fear bold decelerations or simply roll over to a fuzzy lovey version... NO, he stood firm, spoke truth with love and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.

He may have been stoned afterwards but he went strait to the arms of Jesus and from there, Christianity began to spread... the message was no longer bottled up in Israel.  It was roaming to the ends of the earth so that, today, I could sit here and share this message with you.

All because of one man's boldness - the faith of this apostle, speaking the Truth in love with no care for the consequences, only the obedience.

Yes, love, but don't hide the Truth behind your love... Love with the Truth... and watch that Truth spread!

Be blessed, be loved by Him, be bold
 







Linking up today with


Friday, June 15, 2012

One of Those Weeks

It has been one of those weeks... recovering from events... looking at a long list of to-dos and desiring our summer routine to really take hold. 

God has blessed this week... he has also done something else... answered one of those hard prayers where you say, like David, "Lord, search my heart".  One of those prayers you want him to answer but you don't want him to answer all in the same! 

And then He does.

"Submit MORE to me... you don't submit it all... and ALL is what I want"

Prepping for our trip in September we have enough to focus on without... you know... everything else that comes into life. 

But that is wrong.  God doesn't remove us from trials and frustrations, He, instead, uses them to grow us and strengthen us.


Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him; do not fret over those who prosper in their way, over those who carry out evil devices.  
- Psalm 37:7


My husband shared all of Psalm 37 like we share this journey... we both need the reminders and strength.  



And when my daughter sent this video today I was reminded of the study the children and I are doing right now on the Holy Spirit:  He is ONE Spirit shared by all.  She may not know what she sent today... but the Holy Spirit does.

Yeah, one of those weeks.  And I praise God for every minute of it.

Be blessed, be one in the Spirit, Submit with me... we aren't the ones loosing.





Linking up with Sue and the iHomeschoolNetwork today:


as well as Kris:

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Not Ashamed


His name I am not sure if I can share because of the sensitive areas he sometimes serves.  He is a dear Christian Brother and missionary in Africa.  We pray for him and his family each night as they minister in places where they may not be welcome.  We were blessed to come to know them when they received training at the local missions base a few years ago and attended our church at that time.  His heart... his Love for our King inspires me daily.


We invited him to be part of baptising our children 2 summers ago.  We also asked our dear friend, Gerard, to provide 'mood' music at the ceremony as guests arrived.  Gearard inspires us as well.  His selfless obedience and sacrificial love.  His heart for Christ shows on his sleeves, but he is more quiet and tender... still, he humbly said yes.

Our other brother came and saw the guitar and was so moved by the spirit... he ran into the house and grabbed a drum because he just HAD to worship along in something more than simple mingling or swaying.  This brother of ours is humble too... but he is not quiet or reserved... when he worships, EVERYONE is touched by more than the beauty of the music or words.  They are touched by the passion of his heart.

He listens intently, speaks purposefully, and when he worships the whole room moves.  He worships African style:  he jumps, he lifts holy hands, he cries, he shouts for the Lord... He is not ashamed.

I often think of him and his worship when I stand in church on Sunday amidst stoic figures mouthing words and waiting for the sermon.  The Holy Spirit is HERE... NOW I want to shout sometimes.  Maybe if I yelled FIIIRRREEEE, my brothers and sisters in the pews would move

But instead, because of my brother, I have determined to "be the change I want to see" and nothing does it more than this song:


What are we afraid of?  Criticism?  That people will think we are crazy if we jump and shout and dance for our Lord?  Jesus declared...

If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.  Luke 9:26

So you may say... you are not ashamed of declaring the Bible... the words of Christ but this whole dancing and carrying on is just craziness.  Really?  Consider David as he brought the Ark of the Covenant back:


David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the Lord with all his might, while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets.
2 Samuel 6:14-15

Does this sound like a celebration or what?  Over what?  Essentially, over the Word of God... the Law was in that Ark... God's blessings and presence road with the Ark for those who believed (his curses with those who didn't!)  And did people think he was crazy?  Actually... yes!  His own wife was ashamed of him!  But listen to his response:

David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the Lord.
 2 Samuel 6:21

Who did David celebrate so exuberantly for?  Not himself... not his brothers... not his family... No, he celebrated before the Lord.

YES, we will be rejected for our faith... Christ guarantees this.  But that is ok... because the rewards for living out the Word, for not being ashamed, far out-weigh any criticism or rejection.

They played the above song at church a few Sundays ago and I practically jumped out of my row of seats (my husband has figured out to set me on the end now so I have room to move about!)  If I kept the energy in I think I might shake apart from it!  And any time I am tempted to keep that fire inside, I think of my brother... I think of his heart which inspired a congregation to MOVE.

Are you on FIRE for the Lord?  Are you ready to MOVE for the LordKLove posted a wonderful sign on their Facebook page last week:


I know... I am radical... but I am not ashamed.  Will you think about being unashamedly radical with me?

Be blessed, no matter how you worship






Linking up with Michelle at Intentional.Me :


Scripture today is from the 1984 NIV