Monday, November 28, 2011

Spiritual Thinking

Well, I would normally be giving the Thanksgiving holiday photos and events, but I didn't load my photos, and sadly I only took photos at my house. We had lots of illness last week and a little school, and tons of good food, and some holiday decorating. That is all I have to say about it until later.
But I had a lovely talk ,with a couple I greatly admire at church, last night, as I was sharing a book called Heaven is for Real with them. And I suppose that is what is sparking this post. I attend the specific congregation I attend because as far as I can tell, they organize and conduct worship biblically according to what was occurring in the first century churches (and for that reason I wouldn't attend a different congregation). However that does not mean i hold to all the varying beliefs about our spirituality and traditions (churches of Christ). They are about as varied as the sand of the sea. Nor does that mean I believe everyone at my congregation is going to make it to heaven , or conversely that people in other congregations or even denominations won't make it to heaven---I know that may shock some people. But believe it or not, the churches of Christ don't have all the answers, and most likely neither do other religious groups, though I suspect many, if not all, who call themselves Christian are doing something right, and I am pretty sure we are all doing some things wrong whether we realize it or not. One thing that greatly disturbs me is the notion that our personal/individual brand of religious legalism is the only way. I think when we come to Christ it has to be according to what is required of us in scripture (not necessarily an "Americanized" version of religion), but I also strongly believe that those who are seeking diligently to obey and become more like Christ are heard by Him, too, and blessed by Him. I also believe (hold onto your hats for this one) that God cares about the specifics of our daily lives and works in them in ways we don't understand, due to prayers we or others offer to Him, and that angels are working in this world and helping people, and that some who are on the verge of death have seen Jesus and God and maybe even Heaven, and lived to tell about it. There is a whole realm of the spiritual world that has not been revealed to us and that is beyond our explanation or understanding. That is why we are required to have faith and to pray and trust in God. And I do strongly believe that God changes the course of human history based on prayers made to Him. You may not believe all this like I do, but that is ok. I am not your judge. I am here to walk in His ways as best I can and grow daily, just like you. And I firmly believe there is no other way to God's kingdom that through being washed in the saving blood of Jesus. Remember what Jesus said...the greatest commandments are totally loving God and loving others as yourself. Love flowing from a desire to be like Christ is the essence of life. It is what we are here for and made for. And there are many ways to show it. It isn't just looking nice, being nice, and attending church. I don't know that that will really get you anywhere. I think a tribal person in the jungle in his loincloth who is seeking to be more Christlike after a missionary comes and brings the news of Jesus to him in terms of his own culture is probably just as saved as those in my congregation. Granted, he isn't wearing Amercianized clothes or meeting in a chruch or sponsoring missionaries, but in his own way if he is seeking and serving and living for Jesus with all his heart in order to please God, well, you see where this is going.
Some would call me super liberal (though i see myself as conservative) and some would just plain call me wrong, but I am truly, daily seeking God's will for my life and for the children He has blessed me with, and I do it all according to His word and with his love as my motivator. I am sure I am getting things wrong daily. In fact, I know I am, but His grace covers me on my walk. And praises to God for His grace because I am not the same person I was 10 years ago, or even 5 years ago, and it is because of Him. And I will be constantly changing every day of my life, trying to be more like Him and failing daily, until i can rest in Heaven with Him.
So I just had to say that.
I totally believe in Jesus and God and their saving power, and I believe prayer is our strongest power this side of heaven, and I plan to tap into it daily. I also pray that daily I can be an encouragement and an example of godliness, with love, toward those I come in contact with.
I apologize for my times when I am judgmental of others and their ways. That is not my place unless they are a brother or sister in Christ (not just in the churches of Christ), and are scripturally, specifically sinning, and putting their soul in jeopardy. Otherwise I will diligently try to show LOVE. May God bless all who diligently seek HIM.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Twas the Week Before Thanksgiving...

And boy has it been a week of eventfulness. Above are the holiday decorations Emily and I have been making.
And here is EMily teaching Kimberly some piano skills.
And this is the stash of fabric that I cut for Christmas projects...well, most of it. Some has already been sewn. this is all that is left to do. I got quite a bit sewed on Sunday since we missed church due to illness.
This is the cabin we stayed at Friday night at a local state park. We debated not going since Jordan had been sick with a stomach virus, but he seemed better Friday morning so we headed out, only to have Kimberly fall ill that night. We came home early Saturday and Clay and jacob were ill by Sunday. Today is Monday and Kim is better and so is Jacob, but Lizzie is beginning to feel a bit bad, and Clay says he is not quite over it.
This is Jordan and Kimberly working on some schoolwork together.
And Jacob and Elizabeth doing their reading one afternoon.
So that is what has been happening. Last week we got our bulk/co-op order and that was fabulous! I have been baking bread and using the apples all week. Today i set out our turkey to thaw. It is going to be big! But it will be good. We made a run to Hobby Lobby for lots of goodies last week, too, and have been crafting a lot. School is going just fine. I really don't worry about being behind at all, not that we are really behind. I have learned to just relax and take life as it comes. If we are diligently working toward the goals it will all be fine. The kids are all doing well and progressing at their pace, and the character is coming along well.....most days. The kids still want us to look into a used travel trailer, but I am just not sure we'd have the time to justify it...and finding one in decent shape for the price we'd be willing to pay is tricky. Then there is the matter of storage...and stocking it. And the upcoming expense of auto work and braces and LTC, and church camp and dance recitals. Maybe when the time is right, the Lord will set it before us. And if not, that is fine too. Honestly I do not like to travel much. I definitely don't like sleeping away from home. I just really want a simple life at home with the family. If i never travel it won't matter to me, because in the grand scheme it just isn't of any real importance to me. Now, if the kids all move off in different places not close to here, I will travel to see them as often as possible. Maybe that is when I need to look at travel trailers...hmmm. That will be worthwhile travel for me. That is what i want my later years to be about anyway--family, not adventure. Though to tell the truth, this family brings plenty of adventure in its own way. But an adventurous roaming spirit, I do not possess.
Ok, so that was a bit of digression. The week was good and we are looking forward to thanksgiving this week. There is truly MUCH to be thankful for!

Friday, November 11, 2011

I am not a very good blogger. Just not terribly interesting to read about for the average person, i guess. But here goes another week of our life!
The monster party was fun. I enjoyed cleaning the kitchen, as strange as that sounds! It was relaxing while all the kids played. We also had a nice visit with my parents that evening. But alas, the stomach bug reared its ugly anuseating head and by bedtime i felt positively ILL. But I went to church Sunday anyway, just didn't say much or eat much all day. It has kinda passed thru the house. Just a bunch of upset tummies. Schoolwork has gone exceptionally well. The kids are reading lots of neat thing for discussion and we are entering Medieval history which is fascinating! We have read and discussed the bible, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, The Fire Cat, Little Women, My Name is Not Angelica, and Stories from Grandma's Attic this addition to several readings of Bill and Pete/ Bill and Pete Go Down the Nile. Been teaching one to sew and one has been crocheting more and sewed a piano bag. One is learning to read and loving every second of it. One prefers to read his bible over all other books. Singing has been lovely this week and song book use has been coming along well for the younger ones as they figure out those large numbers. We love the weather changes for fall and all the rehearsals for Nutcracker. That is about to get intense. Karate seems to be going well, too. We joined a bulk/organic food co-op this week and are looking forward to picking up our order. Also snagged the Thanksgiving turkey for $13 (23 pounder). This was our final week of homeschool co-op classes and all went well. We already have some great class selections for spring. And we attended a harvest carnival with another homeschool group. That was pretty fun, too. Oh, and I cut about 3-4 inches off my hair...well, Renee did. The time change has been nice because we get up and going earlier, but not liking the dark evenings so much. But we play lots of games and hang out together so it is good. So that about sums it up. Tomorrow is full already with fun stuff with church friends, so here's hoping Sunday is relaxing.
Hope your week has been blessed, because ours has.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Long Wait for a New Post

Well, I haven't updated in about two weeks. Life got a little bit busy...but it was all fun! The costumes finally got completed, and Emily decided to plan a costume party the Saturday before Halloween, at our house. i provided cookies and kool-aid, and she ran the show. The kids all had a blast and the above photo is most of the attendees, minus David and Josie who came later.
Right before Halloween weekend we took a trip to the zoo in Tyler. It was quite chilly that day, but the kids had a great time. They are posing for me above. We had all school completed early that week so we could take the day off, and there were no co-op classes.
This is Kimberly and Rocket sitting on Clay.This happens almost nightly. That dog loves Clay, and so does Kimberly!
Here are the kids gazing at the giraffes and elephants. We really had a fun day. Also stopped by the Brooksire's World of Wildlife museum. Free and fun. My kind of trip!
With the cooler temps, the kids get outside a lot. They also haul our blankets into the yard every day to make playhouses and other such things. I think there are many adventures taking place outside!
But our poor new little dog has short hair and very little body fat so the cooler weather was harder on him. We decided he needed a coat. Have you seen the outrageous prices on dog sweaters and costumes??? They are nuts! i googled "dog coat pattern" and found one by Martha Stewart, and enlarged it manually to my dog's measurements. Then i drove to Walmart and found some sherpa and velcro, came home, cut it out, sewed on the velcro, and VOILA'....a warm doggy coat! He is much warmer now! And all for under $7.

So that is the news here. School is going quite well and we are enjoying piano lessons (mainly because we get to hang out with the Smith's every other week!), and dance classes and karate. It is almost time for Nutcracker rehearsals to begin and that will be crazy! There are so many more kids this year I shudder to think how crowded the green room is going to be! And locating all my kids after the show...well, I shudder at that too! Gotta devise a plan for keeping up with them...4 kids in the show this time, two with two parts each!

Anyway, today is my nephew's 5th birthday, so we are going to have a monster party this afternoon, and I need to get myself ready! Hope your life has been blessed!