Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Braces, Beds, Bible, and Battles

An epic battle of army guys and cowboys/indians.
Three kids reading in the afternoon. how sweet is that????
Her first lost tooth. I finished her tooth fairy pillow as she lost the tooth! Oh, that is green gum in her mouth, so don't get too grossed out.
A gorgeous sunset one evening. Photos never do God's handiwork justice.

Jacob at the "beach" at bass pretending to be in Florida......oh, to be there right now!!!!! bliss......
She got her braces! The teeth are already moving. This was one hour after they were put on. Bottom ones come in 6 weeks.
New beds for the girls....we like!

It has been a busy couple of weeks as we have had a large share of errands and schoolwork to complete. Much has happened. The girls got new beds, Emily got braces on top teeth, kids got to get some new spring clothes, and got to shoot guns at bass pro and play on their beach, and we have been preparing for LTC bible competition. We are still working on LTC art entries and plan a big week of "cramming" next week before we leave. But there has been a lot of learning as we study botany, and the middle ages, and math and reading. We have seen some great educational shows, planned some get togethers, danced, and had co-op classes. Kids are starting to take responsibility for cooking some meals, so they can learn our recipes. Home Ec class, i say. Not sure how Easter will go. We will be getting home late, and there are some business trips coming up. Also got some big things happening with CHEFS and Timbrel right now. Life is kind of up in the air in some ways, but more grounded in others. God is in it all so it will all work out just fine. Anyway, just a brief and kind of random, messy update of our life.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Trust in the Lord

Life brings changes, and I am often resistant to them. The upcoming fall might bring some huge changes and I am not happy about them, but life will go on and god is good all the time and He will provide.
I have said before, and all who are on the same path know, homeschooling is a way of living more than anything else. It is not something that happens in textbooks from 8-3. And our involvement with the HS community is like an extended family. Changes are on the horizon. No one yet knows how these changes will be worked out, but they are known by Him because I know He is hearing all about them and He will bring about what is right and best for all of us. He works all things together for good for those who love Him. I am anxious, but it is all in His hands, as we pray.
My life motto is Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. So that is what I will do, for the changes are basically out of my control. I know what I wish to happen, but not what He will allow to occur. And through it all, I will choose to count our blessings, whether I like the outcome or not.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Why? For what purpose?

Religion. Homeschooling. Cultural shifts. Family decisions. Morality. Christianity.

I read a lot about these things and have so many views coming my way every day from magazines, facebook, television, acquaintances, and God's Holy Bible. So what do I do with all of this information? How do I decide what parts I put to use in my life, and how can I be holy and lead my children to desire to follow God?

Well, it seems to me that God alone is Holy and wise and He can work His will no matter what I do or do not choose to do within my free will. He has given me the tools to obey Him, if I should choose to do so. But "man" puts so many confusing things out there and so many condemnations of my efforts that I really just want to scream sometimes. Why bother at all? I am condemned if I eat organic, or non organic, or if i listen to certain shows, or read certain books, or wear no skirts, or wear only skirts, or wear shorter slim skirts, or wear shorts, or cut my hair, or approve of immunizations, or disapprove of immunizations, or watch over my kids closely, or don't watch over them so closely, or if I homeschool, or public school, or stay at home, or if I work. Good grief! Please give us all a break!

It seems today that men's private interpretations are exalted over God's Word. That is today's idolatry, and pharisaical behavior of our own imposed rules of godliness. God's word is pushed aside for man's desires, tastes, emotions. And it infiltrates our worship, too. It is degraded to entertainment. Why is all this stuff the new benchmark of spirituality? Are we really so blind? No. Mostly it seems people prefer to lazily accept the teaching of others rather than search the actual scriptures for themselves, and then they impose stricter "rules" than God does and perceive themselves holier than you. And we are resistant to change, and don't like to admit that people can actually be lost while claiming to be Christians. It is uncomfortable. It is a form of judging. But God alone is wise and supreme and in control. His Word stands. Before Him presidents, popes, kings, and emperors, are less than insects. Their words are just words, nothing more. Because they are all just men, humans, just like you and me. They are no more inspired than you or me, which is to say, not at all. God's word is the WAY. It is because He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is no mortal. He is unchanging truth.

So why do we come up with all these self imposed rules of what is the best way to live? Because we are fallible humans and rules are easier to follow. We actually kind of like legalism (beware the Pharisees), because we can see the rules clearly. But God's law gives us freedom in Christ. We are given some black and white truths, and lots of general guidelines. And when we obey those guidelines with our freedom in Christ, we have many options, and God knows our hearts in these matters. We are not supposed to judge others in this. That is God's job. He gave us direct orders to go into the world and teach His Words (that is black and white), though he didn't tell us how to accomplish this (that is a guideline). If people are convicted by His Word, they will strive to live by it and that will be their judge, not us. Our job is to teach the truths of scripture and live for Him to the best of our ability.
An example is to be modest in dress. That is a scriptural truth, but a very general guideline. It is not black and white (though some think it is). Through biblical modesty we are displaying the power of God to a lost world and showing the special wonder of being female, because fashion based on human desires tends to exploit women. But we aren't given scriptural explicits, yet I see tons of judging in this with specific man made rules. I am even guilty here. I have my personal modesty rules for our house. I can't say they are 100% right and I can't impose them on others. But if you ask, I can share gently why I choose this way.
And what about being told by God to bring our children up in the Lord and to teach them diligently? I have my opinions and preferences, but God doesn't give us specifics here, either. I can tell you why I do what I do, but you are free to make your choices. God didn't give specifics. It is not my place to condemn you (or you to condemn me).
We are told by God that our body is the temple of God and not to be defiled by sexual immorality or gluttony, among other things. Again, I have very specific personal opinions here. But there aren't specifics in scripture on how to choose a mate, or whether to date or court, or what an actual portion size is, and what exact kind of food to eat and feed your family, or what kind of medicinal interventions to use. But, man oh man, there are a million specific human opinions out there on how you might be getting it all wrong!
And I won't even touch the topic of politics...that is a raging fire.

I am reminded of 1 peter 2:9 and matthew 5:14-16 as I try to live each day. Go ahead, look them up. It's ok.
I just want to do my best each day for Him and encourage you to do the same. But I can't give you a whole lot of specifics, other than to diligently study the scriptures and obey them to the best of your ability. Don't cave to what others think you should be doing. Make all your choices (if you are a Christian) in light of His words, not men's. He knows your heart and knows if you are ignoring His teachings. He knows when you are searching and trying to do your best, too. And He loves you at all times, even when you mess up. Believe in Him, repent of your sins, and let His blood wash away your sins so you can walk in His light.
There are a myriad of opinions out there that can really confuse you if you aren't careful and discerning. And it is so terribly easy to get sucked in. I get sucked in. Sometimes I think the Christian community has more strict, biased personal opinions than the rest of the world. And I wonder if the outside world sees that, and it turns them off of being "that kind of person" or a Christian. I bet it does. I am trying not to be part of the problem. But I know I have been, and likely I will stumble again. I am human. But each day is fresh and new, praise God!

So be blessed out there and try to be a blessing to those you come into contact with. Remember Proverbs 3 :5-6 .

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring Break Activity

Hey, look! It's me!
Jordan and Kimberly in the van.
Jacob and Emily going to bible class.
Lizzy ready for church. So pretty!
Jordan fishing for crawdads and watching tadpoles.
Kim hanging out at the creek.
A little bit of spelling and writing. And below is building the science project where we are growing basil.

Spring break was a busy week. Not really a break. We did some schooling and had some fun, too. One of the big projects was to go through the kids clothes and weed out for spring/summer. In the end we rid ourselves of about 4 large bags of clothing. I also set some limits and actually stuck to them....for boys they get 3 jeans, 4-5 shorts, 1 track pants, 12 shirts and 2 dress pants and 4 nice shirts and 2 sleep pants. For girls they get, 4-5 dresses, 3 jeans, 4 shorts, 3 capris, 2 culottes, 2 jammies, 12 tops, 4 skirts and 4 nice tops. That may seem like a lot, but it really isn't all that much.
We also went to the movies with grandma and had planned to go to the Heard Museum but it didn't happen. One day we spent filming red Bat Returns with Jacob and his crew. We built a light hut, played outside a lot, headed to the park and just hung out together. Then at the end of the week was the Harry Potter movie marathon. We enjoyed that, too.
Mostly, it was just a nice, easy week. Oh, and no dance classes! Don't get me wrong...we LOVE dance classes and the studio and the atmosphere, BUT it was awesome to be home every evening!!! So much better than a vacation!
So, this week we are back at full time schooling, and full dance classes, and co-op, and such. This week we will fill in the clothing gaps (yep, we had some) and get Emily's braces put on. And we will end with a grandparent visit, and movies to see Hunger Games. Hope your week is fabulous!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

About time for an update

While studying medieval history we let the little ones build a cardboard castle. They rather enjoyed it.
This is the newest Red Bat shirt. The old one got too small.
Jacob was studying pre-algebra here.
Jordan is in my hands on project class at co-op. He and trinity were finishing banks.
Above is Abby, Emily and Jenna. They had a formal tea party at Abby's. They also all dance together. Abby made her dress...isn't it pretty!

Slowly we have been ordering all our curriculum for the upcoming school year. Slowly we are working through the kids clothing with the intent of actually keeping the stockpiles low, for once. Slowly we are moving through spring break and enjoying the days of laziness. Life is good because God Is Good. We really don't have just a whole lot to report around here. There has been some mild stomach yuckiness, but really, we have been well. We have been to the hospital for a tour, had lunch there, went to the movies with grandma and had ice cream afterward, ordered the girls beds from IKEA, been to a formal tea, been involved with filming, been to dance classes, done some sewing, and biking. That is about it. We seem to be keeping our focus at home more and keeping our activities focused on godliness. So far it has been a good spring.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Almost Famous!

All our beautiful kids! *proud mama*
The kids with one of the sets of grandparents. I think this is a great photo!
All four grandparents at the Red Bat Premiere.
Walking the red carpet.....the stars of the evening! Austin created the characters, and filmed. Jacob wrote the script and was the starring role and offered up the editing software. 35 minutes of movie history was made by a couple of talented 13 year olds.
Dakota and Emily
Dakota and Lizzy (Dakota is one of Jacob's best friends)
The table of the filmies
Our stars.
Signing autographs on the programs
Announcing the movie
The Quadrixie Productions filmies all together...planning the next project...

So that was Saturday night, and it was an all out gala. Then IT hit our house....the sickness.
By Sunday night I was feeling bad. By Monday afternoon I was down for the count. By Tuesday Jacob was down. Rotten stomach bug....but it passed finally, though many folks we know got sick this week as well.
Still, sickness can't spoil our week! We had some schooling on Monday, and even less on Tuesday. Tuesday night Emily entered a talent show with an original piano piece. She did great and I will post a video soon. No one missed dance classes, but by Wednesday night our activity caught up with us and we skipped church. We ate at Pizza Hut for lunch on Thursday (and I say "eat" very loosely) and headed to Sam's. It is the first trip I recall in long time where the kids were begging to go home and lay down. Then Friday we had our first co-op classes. Boy, were they FUN! I love all the cool stuff being taught...especially one of Jacob's classes. they are studying "Whatever Happened to Justice?"....a book everyone should have to read. Especially one unnamed current president. And my friend renee came over to give Emily and me haircuts. Emily got about 8 inches cut off. It is really cute!
Last night we just took it easy and played cards and such. Today we had a birthday party, produce co-op, library time, fishing and grocery day. And tomorrow a baby shower for a friend who is having twin girls.
We got a lot of our school stuff in for next year and got that organized. teaching older kids is really a lot of fun. I am truly excited about their work, though it is a whole lot. It is going to prepare them terrifically for adulthood, with a proper worldview. Tomorrow is supposed to be a day of rest, but it is going to be a day to celebrate God's control. You see, some of our friends have been in the hospital with their 16 year old son since New Years and they just came home Friday. This will be their first time back at worship since then. Their son went into cardiac arrest back then due to malfunction in his brain shunt, and almost did not make it. He had a very hard recovery, but through prayer, we have seen God's care in our lives and His intercession on our behalf. This has been a testament to the power of prayer. I personally believe it is the greatest power we have this side of heaven. And all the glory for what happens daily goes to God alone.

Hope you had a great week and are blessed in the coming week. Oh yeah, and don't neglect to exercise your right to vote. Primaries are important!