Thursday, April 17, 2014

LTC time

Tomorrow is the North Texas Leadership Training for Christ conference (www.ntltc.org). It is an annual competition on bible knowledge, and skills that youth need to develop, to be leaders in the church when they are adults.
Our schedule is rather full with four of the five kids competing. Our oldest two compete in more categories than the younger ones. It is a fast paced, fun 24 hours. Today we pack, and quiz and finalize art projects.
It is a great time. My prayer is that the patrons of the hotel where we compete will see Christianity something they would like to be a part of. it is a chance for us to shine as light, give witness to the world, conduct ourselves for His glory. It is for me, the most important aspect of my life, and my prayer is that my children will each choose to make following Christ their number one life purpose, too. But ultimately it is their individual choice. If you read this blog and are interested in learning about the love of Christ or want to know about God, or want proof of God as creator or that He exists at all, I am suggesting the following books:
The Bible (ESV or NASB)
The Case for a Creator
Investigating Christian Evidences
The Case for Faith
The Case for Christ

If you want to grow as a follower I recommend:
The Bible (ESV or NASB)
Crazy Love
not a fan.
The Hole in Our Gospel
Do Hard Things

And lastly, explore the links on the sidebar labeled reference. Talk to people. See if what they say contextually agrees with the bible. I was once a non believer. I wasn't able to use the bible at first, because it was just another book to me until I heard/read evidence that there could actually be a God. If you don't believe in God, the bible may not be the best initial starting point for you, but I still recommend reading it--all of it--as you seek. Psalm 118:8
I will pray for open hearts for all who seek truth.
God's Not Dead...find Him.  One day it will be too late.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Aging has its perks

Odd title I know. But as you age, some things just get better. You really come into your own and feel much more comfortable with who you are, and your past experiences and your current status.
I think as I have aged I have become less and less concerned with what other people believe about me and more concerned with what God thinks about me and how I am doing personally, rather than measuring myself against others and their narrow definitions of what a Christian is.

 I know more than I ever did before, yet I realize how little I really know and how far I have to go. I post what I want on facebook because it is my page, and i try to make sure I say things that I can fully stand behind. Then I don't look back. Rarely will I check back on a post if I have said what I need to say and it involved my opinions. If it is a biblical fact check, maybe I will go back and discuss.
I have found much wisdom in the words of Edna Mode from The Incredibles, " I never look back, darling. It distracts from the now."

Living in the past is not living. At least not for me. I have too much going on in my incredibly blessed life of a great husband, great kids, and wonderful friends and activities. I have no time to compare my life to what others think it should be, without detracting from living my own. Not worth it. Besides, I encounter far too many people who are too much like the old me (and I wasn't very pleased with the old me). She was judgmental by her own legalistic ideals, she was saved, but not doing much good to lead others to Christ in a loving example. She put a very bad taste in many people's mouths with her legalism and I am pretty sure she caused a few families to want to find another congregation and sever ties with friends. She was bull headed, tactless, harsh, and came across as holier than thou, because if you weren't thinking like her, you were probably not very Christian! Repelling is how I would describe her in retrospect--at least that is my opinion of her. I think she was probably tolerated as a member rather than actually befriended. But thanks be to God that some people did try to tolerate her until she changed. I am trying to have love and patience with those who are like I used to be, because I know (or at least hope and pray) that their day will come when they see the light. None of us are great at seeing who we truly are or how we are perceived by others, in the moment.
NOTE: Just because "I believe" I am a far better, kinder, person than I was in the past, by no means implies that I am good. I am not. I am a sinner, a work in progress, and will never be what I should be or all that I need to be. I need TONS of work. I just forgive myself now and start fresh each day. Grace is awesome!

Maybe I am not exceedingly better now, but at least I am not "her" anymore. I think that shows growth and that is what I am after. Always growing and trying to be more like Jesus wants me to be. Loving others and being kind in word and deed. I think all that came with age. Not finished, and never will be...and that is ok. It is supposed to be that way.

Age also brought wrinkles, gray hair and more body pain, but it has been good. It brought an awareness of who I am and what I am supposed to be doing. I started taking care of myself, which in turn set a great example for my kids of a healthy lifestyle. I started leading, and sharing and all that was good, too. I started sticking to the scripture rather than making up rules about how I think we are supposed to be. I found a few hard and fast keepers, but found many guidelines where we have freedom to choose as long as we aren't using it as opportunity to sin. Rarely will I judge anyone anymore. I don't know their struggles, circumstances, how far they have come, what the day has held. I just try to offer a smile and a kind conversation. Even when bad stuff happens with my kids, I don't jump all over it when others have different reactions than I would like. I just pray and try to keep perspective and kindness at the forefront.
So I am getting older and blogging much less. But that means I am reading more, exercising more, staying involved in life-- being in the moment. That leaves less time for stuff that distracts from the now. I may not be perfect (who is?) but every day I wake up and try to be the best I can be. Whatever others think, is fine.

I don't wear a superhero cape and never will. But I like "me". I am a work in progress and thankful for the journey. And that being said, I will probably talk more in a few months. Lots of life to live.

Side note: This started out as a homeschooling blog, but most days I don't want to write about that. I just want to share, like a diary. I am living the home school life every day and to write about it would be very tiresome. You can check it out on facebook instead...at least the things I decide to tell. ;)
Have a good one!

Friday, February 14, 2014

OH!!! Sweet, Sweet Baby!

Babies are just delicious! I love they way their skin feels, the little way they curl up, the way they look at you. Preciousness. And today I got to savor some sweet baby! She doesn't have a name yet...well, she did, but it was Timothy. Because she was thought to be a boy, until she arrived and surprised everyone. What a great surprise!

She was born yesterday to one of my dearest friends, who is my age. Her momma called me early this morning to come visit this afternoon and I was glad to oblige! I love visiting with my friend, but oh, to hold that sweet bundle and feel her and smell her, and see my girls hold her and her siblings hold her.... It was love.

I am so perfectly content with my five kids, but for years I felt a constant yearning for more. After the last child was about three, I realized it was not a yearning anymore, but a strong sadness and longing for the days that had passed by, missing the wonderful time of babies and toddlers. But yet, I had a contentment with the ones I had been blessed with. Part of me will always be joyful at the thought of another baby, but the larger part is content to meet the daily challenges of the five I have. And that can make me feel very overwhelmed at times, and like I am not fully equipped to do what I need to do to raise them well. So I am content.

Also, we as a couple originally decided to have four kids. And truthfully, my dear husband would have agreed if I had felt that motherly contentment after two were born. But God had different plans for us. We "planned" two of the kids, hoping for four, and the Lord sent the rest. Five in all. And even if I were not content, my husband is. His quiver is full. And I am good with that. Dads can feel content, too. We love every kid and want to be fully present to focus on the raising of these blessings.

However....should the Lord ever see fit to bless us again, I certainly would not be distressed. I would rejoice and be exceedingly glad. Babies, little humans, are such a gift to the world. I am so happy for my friend and her sweet family!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Snow Day

Well, today is slow. Because it is snowy. SO I am blogging again. This has been a colder than normal winter. I am kind of enjoying it. I like a good, cold winter with snow. Especially here in the suburbs. A definitive change of the seasons does my heart good. Although there are things I like better than others in each season.

Winter: love the cold air, the snow, the playing in the snow--do not like ice storms
Spring: love the blooming plants and cool/warm temps--hate the severe weather, insects, snakes, and high pollen counts
Summer: love the sun, time at beaches and pools, being outside, lots of daylight, wearing shorts and dresses and sunglasses--hate temps over 95, sunburn, bugs, creatures and bugs (especially bees/wasps), heat, heat, and heat
Autumn: love the temps and the colors of things, being outside a lot, fresh air and open windows--don't like...ummm...if I think of something I'll tell ya (besides football season)

One thing they all have in common is God's beauty of a changing creation. It is like watching those kids grow up. Seasons of life passing by, each one with good and bad times, likes and dislikes.

Today, on this snow day, I already drove to the store once, and am about to go out again, just for the fun of it--and to get CANDY. All that playing in the snow needs sugar energy!
And I want to get out of the house for a bit--and see if the teen can learn a bit of snow driving :)

My biggest concern is that tomorrow is our co-op orientation and our standing policy is that we close if ANY surrounding ISD's close...and several shut down today. I really hope they don't close tomorrow. We need to have orientation. Otherwise we will have to do it on an alternate day next week, which messes up the schedule. But it has to be done before Friday the 14th, first class day.

Anyway, I am off to get some candy, then settle in for the completion of homeschool work, watching movies, eating good food, and hanging out with the family!

 Hope you enjoy the day, whatever it is bringing.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Growing Up

The kids are inevitably growing up. I have loved watching it each day. Their development fascinates me. Ok, so sometimes it makes me scream and want to throw stuff in frustration, but mostly it fascinates.
A real truth is that the older your oldest gets, the more you realize they have to learn to start breaking away with their friends and becoming their own person rather than a family unit member. not that family isn't important. Our family is with us always. We will most likely see them on holidays if not more often, for the rest of our lives. But once we are grown, we each should be ready to be married, develop careers, become parents...and our kids rapidly move toward that. It really hits home when they turn 13 for me. I realize that in 5 years they have to be independent people.
While they were all young I had them as a family unit most of the time, and they played together daily. Where one went, we all went. Not all the time, mind you, but I reinforced family togetherness often. But to require always being with family...it just isn't healthy, or fair to them. It gets really  awkward when they become teens, if not before. Continuing to move as a unit and stick only with family members, in my opinion, really hinders development toward independence and outside relationships.  I don't want that for my kids.

I know when kids are really young, like under age 10, they do better moving with family units --most of the time, (and I did that, often for convenience), but I want my kids to know that they should have their own friends, they need them, and to be able to interact well socially, apart from parents and their siblings. Siblings should never expect that because brother or sister gets to go here or hang out with this group, or do this activity,  it is appropriate for them to be there too. That goes for always being in the care of their own parents too. As a parent I am also someone's wife who wants time away with my husband. I am a woman with my own interests that don't always involve  them, and one day it will be just me and husband again. I won't be mom all the time anymore. And my kids need to understand that my life involves raising them to be independent humans that can make their own life in the world, not wrapping myself up in their every need. Our world should never revolve totally around the kids, and they need to know that.  They fit into our life. Then they find their own life.

We are blessed to  have a large group of friends who get their kids together regularly for social time and learning time, with distanced parental supervision. They are all comfy interacting with each other, and the adults alike, but mainly amongst themselves. Our church youth group is similar. I never have to worry about where my kids will go or if they will be well supervised when they are with our youth minister. He is great at appropriate supervision and fostering them toward independence. It starts when they are 12, and it has been excellent for my kids. Our older ones are still very close to family, but they are branching out very well. I don't have worries about my oldest two entering the adult world. (The youngest three are works in progress ;) ) They know how to be sociable and work hard and choose right paths.

I often pray for some of my friends whose kids don't seem to do well without all the siblings present. They almost always move as a unit--even though some have kids close to teen years and some already have teens. If the family can't all go, no one goes.  I wonder how the ones who leave home first (if they go) will be able to form appropriate outside relationships for marriage or workplace. 18 is an awfully late age to start getting used to being apart, to learn how to fit in to your own social setting.  I just pray for them.  But it is their choice of how to raise their kids into adults.
It is hard to walk that line of protecting/sheltering, and letting go, as a parent.
It caused me many tears, and I am sure there will be many more to come, but watching our kids grow and become wonderful, well adjusted,  faithful, Christian adults with careers and marriages and families will be so rewarding! Each season has its many blessings.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The End of 2013....

It is New Year's Eve and I am home with my husband, and 4 kids, one of whom is sick. The fifth one is at a friend's house, beating her at Mancala. We have no plans as usual. Generally we just stay home, eat pizza, watch TV, and play games. Last year we went to an English Country Dance party, and that was fun. But we are low key this time.
As is the custom, I suppose I will make my list of goals for 2014...here goes...wait, my cake is done. Be right back!
Ok, had to make a glaze, too.
So here is my list.

1.Try to jog 3 days a week, and walk with kids 3 days a week, and have PE at the park 3 days a week.
2. Do a better job keeping up with grading and correcting kids schoolwork.
3. Make sure we focus ourselves each morning with the devo's we have done for years.
4. Keep the family eating mainly real food and as little processed and restaurant food as possible.
5. Focus more on my husband and our relationship.
6. Maintain a well rounded life, that reflects that I am a christian woman, wife, and also a mother.
7. Think on the Word daily, and post it more often on social media, and keep up my prayer life.

As of right now, that is about it. Simple and focused. This is a year to be content in the current season of life, and make the most of opportunities and relationships, while not losing sight of who I am.

So without any fanfare we will ring in the new year, probably watching Psych or laying in bed. And we will live life for God's glory to the best of our ability, trying to share the truth and His love. Here's wishing your family a wonderful New Year.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

It's Been Such a Long Time.....

Had to start with a tribute to Boston (one of my all time favorite musical groups).

Well....it seems I am way behind on blogging since the last post was October 8th. But hey, Facebook is just too quick and convenient for posting about life, and let's face it, that is where almost all my family and friends are located. Internet is a great way to share life through pictures and posts.

So here is the lowdown on what life has held for us. October was the starting point for the busy activity season with the kids. Our homeschool co-op was in full swing and I was teaching a machine sewing class and working on the costuming for our dance studio production of Nutcracker. Needless to say, i did a ton of sewing this fall. Also, I had 4 kids in dance classes and all five in co-op classes and two in a radio drama. And the youngest boy had four birthday parties to attend and we had Nutcracker to prepare for. It was a wonderful season of activity that we all got involved in.

Schooling was going pretty well, but we are tweaking it over the holidays to be ready for spring. That always seems to happen. It is a good time to re-evaluate and see what needs to change. Speaking of which, we have got to get more PE in the mix each week, and we need to mix in more grading by me and more writing skill for everyone---including writing in math. We talked about signing some up for soccer, but they have changed their minds, so a step up in PE it will be. That is fine. I can easily manage to fit park time in, but precise weekly practice schedules?? Not so easy. And Sonlight for high school....it is a fabulous program, but super heavy on reading which its burning out my kids on reading for pleasure. Not a side effect I enjoy, so I think I am going to do some serious modifications (more than I already did). I am not the biggest fan of core 200 anyway. And especially when my NLD kid arrives in 9th grade, it will HAVE to be severely modified.

In other news, Christmas was yesterday. We had a small Christmas this year in terms of gifts, and it was great. We have the kids draw a sibling name and buy something for them for $15, then we get each kid something from us parents for about $30, and they each get a stocking of food and other small dollar store items and a couple of small gifts from Santa. Jacob got a camera lens coffee mug, a t-shirt, a Teavana insulated mug and 3 flavors of tea, a computer game (Half-Life) and a keychain that is a movie camera with house keys on it. Emily got a backpack, a t-shirt, a portal keychain with house keys, an antique teacup with fruit tea, a Teavana infuser mug and peach tea, and a daily bible. Elizabeth got a peacock pillow, peacock fetather lamp, a -t-shirt, a bible with cover and highlighter, and bath and body items. Jordan got a Halo game, a lava lamp, skateboard, and airsoft pistol and hot wheels pack. Kimberly got a 12 set of my little Pony figures, a stuffed my Little Pony- Cadence, earrings, ceramic tea set, and makeup set from Claire's. We were definitely blessed and had a Christmas Eve prayer before bedtime.

Today I am ready to get rid of all Christmas sweets, go for a run, finish the laundry, and take the kids shopping with the money from Grandma. I think they all got around $40 cash to spend--give or take.
So maybe next year I will have time or take time to post more....or maybe not. We'll see how it plays out. Hope your fall and winter were wonderful.

I will probably do a New year's Eve post next week to wrap it up :)