November 25, 2009

Many Reasons to Give Thanks

Psalm 69:30 I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.

There are so many reasons for me to give thanks... when I attempt to count my blessings, I invariably lose myself in the warmth of God's great love for me and my family.
I have an amazing family.  Yes, I know I am a bit biased on the subject, and we are not perfect by any means, but I think they are all pretty terrific. 
My parents are supportive and loving.  Doting grandparents who would try to move the stars for the kids if there was a need.  They have given me a great example of a loving marriage and caring parenting to carry forward.
My husband... well... it's hard to know where to begin when talking about Steve.  He is one of the smartest men I know, he makes me laugh, is a great Dad and loving, caring husband.  He has been gifted by God with discernment that can be disconcerting at times, but is always direct and kind.  He is firm in his beliefs without reservation or apology.  He is a fantastic role model and teacher.  Strong athletically and intellectually.  He even likes my cat! :-)
My children... I have three at home now.  
A is our oldest boy, in his first year of college classes locally.  As many young men his age, he has his amazing heights of maturity and then those days where...well... we will just say "those days".  He is kind, helpful, strong and driven when his interest is piqued. I know that God has great plans for his life and we are all waiting on the Lord to reveal those plans.
J is our beautiful daughter on the brink of young-woman-hood.  She is smart, funny and loving.  She loves to read, loves animals and at the moment even loves math (crazy baby is enjoying learning Algebra!). God has also given her the gift of music through playing the piano.  J is very helpful and is learning where God has gifted her for service to others.  Her passions run deep, her heart is soft, her convictions very strong.  There is not a part of her that is swayed easily to change if she cannot be shown that the Lord requires such change.  Now she is embarking on the journey of becoming a godly young woman who seeks to please God and find His purpose for her life.
B is my baby... though he really doesn't like it when I call him that anymore.  He is a decade from baby-hood now and won't let Mom forget.  He is my warrior knight.  Willing to slay dragons and bad guys, as long as they don't masquerade as a spider in the bathroom.  He is working diligently to memorize scripture and hide God's word in his heart.  B has inherited his Daddy's logical mind and is often astonishing in his abilities in those areas that require that particular talent.  He also loves to read and his battlefield tactics in the computer animated world of historical warfare are stunning.  Athletic endevours are a growing interest and he has exhibited some natural talent there, though it is secondary to his God given musical gift with the piano. 

This has turned into a post of just my family - I love them all so dearly and could talk about them forever. They are the beginning of my song of Thanksgiving to the Lord as each is a gift and a blessing from above in my life.  My prayer is always that I remember to thank the Lord for every good thing in my life, and even for those things that are not so good at the moment, but that I know ultimately will be used for His glory.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 20, 2009

A Weekend Away

Today I am taking J and we are going away for the weekend.  We will have some special mother-daughter time at a nice resort up north.
Her birthday is next Friday - my baby girl will be 12!  ACK!  How did time pass so quickly!?
Seems I can remember holding her as a newborn and marveling at how beautiful she was and being so thankful that God had blessed Steve & I with such an amazing gift.  *sniff*  Now she has grown into a smart & beautiful young lady - growing in God's grace.  I am very proud of her.
I have gotten some wonderful God-honoring materials to go through with her this weekend - for the "big talk".  I also had gotten a special Mother-Daughter bible study book Raising Maidens of Virtue to use with her and we will start that on Sunday morning before we come home. It is from the wonderful people at Vision Forum - they have SUCH great stuff!  I have a very large number of things marked in their new catalog for my 'wish list'.
Steve and the boys will man the fort at home.  B has his 2nd indoor soccer game this weekend and I think they may even get to help a family member move on Sunday.  Sounds like 'guy stuff' to me. :-)

November 11, 2009

A Journey

Life is a journey and education is a big part of that journey. At least these statements are true for me. I am only 6 months from turning 40, a milestone in my head, but not a big deal really. The journey continues and gets more interesting as each day passes.
I love to read and have since I was a child. At one point I read a lot of fiction, now the fiction is less and is sprinkled among the reading I do relating to home schooling or study relating to my faith in Christ. This past year I have been doing a tremendous amount of reading in an attempt to be better equipped in my role as a Christian wife, mother, and teacher for my children. It is an awesome responsibility, one I take seriously and strive to do well.
Proverbs 12:4 says; A wife of noble character is her husband's crown,but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.  Pretty heavy if you take it seriously.  I've always known there was much in scripture that directs a woman on her role as wife/mother, but this year I have been working to study these passages and apply them more diligently in my life.  It has been a journey - a difficult one some days, but generally it has all been very positive and I feel like I am working to glorify the Lord in all I do - which is, of course, my ultimate goal.
Being a good wife isn't something you "do" on any given day, but more of a lifestyle & mindset.  I've read a lot of articles written by Nancy Wilson this year and found them very helpful and encouraging.  Her blog is and you can link to some of her books - excellent reading!
Elizabeth George has a great Bible study & book called A Woman After God's Own Heart that I had gone through with a dear friend several years ago and at the time - found a lot of guilt.  Today I can say that my heart wasn't where it should have been at the time I read it and that was the reason for the guilt.  Guilt doesn't come from God.  Conviction of sin comes though the Holy Spirit, but that conviction should lead to repentance and forgiveness.  I'm sure when I go through that study again, it will be a completely different experience.
My heart now is focused on the high calling of being Steve's wife and the mother (and teacher) of our children.  Our culture doesn't generally see these things as particularly noble or worthwhile and that is so sad. Women who would otherwise joyfully embrace these roles are ridiculed and marginalized.  It is my hope that someday God will be able to use me somehow to encourage other women in their roles as wives and mothers - becoming what is known in Christian circles as a Titus 2 Woman.  One who mentors younger women in following biblical principles in their homes.
Something important I learned recently is that there is a big difference between "principles" and "methods".  Christian principles are the things we are given in the Bible from the Lord and we are to apply in our lives.  The methods by which we apply these things can vary widely and one method is not more "holy" than another.  It is important when we are seeking to encourage others, that we don't present our methods as principles.  Scripture is Scripture and everything else is interpretation and application and edification.

In addition to learning more about how to better carry out my roles, I have also been doing a lot of reading about education - mostly theory/style/method type reading.  I have become increasingly drawn to the Classical Method espoused in the Well-Trained Mind.
Home schooling allows us to find things that work best for our children and their individual learning styles.  It also allows us to fine-tune what we believe are the truly important parts of education and focus on those things.  Every education has gaps or holes - regardless of the methods used or location of instruction.  The key difference with home education is who makes the decisions about the gaps.  As parents, we have the freedom to decide what & how our children learn.  Will they learn Latin & Greek roots or simply study the standard spelling list for a given grade?  Will they read great literature whole or simply excerpts from that literature in a textbook? Will they use primary sources for studying history or only a synthesized version of events written from one point of view?  Should they move along with a subject at their own pace or are they required to follow some rigid time-table for progress because of an arbitrary standard?
What does it mean to be truly 'educated'?  This question is vital as it drives all the other questions.  A person's individual definition of 'education' even changes as you learn more, read more and experience more life.  I am not nearly as educated as I would like to be.  This does not necessarily mean I must attend a class someplace or that I must read some specific list of books.  It means to me that God is not finished with me yet.
There is so much in His world that I have yet to absorb.  I just pray that I can filter it appropriately and learn the lessons that I need to live according to His will for my life. That I can stay on the path He has marked for me - since He is perfect and I am not, I would be foolish to pretend to have a better plan that the one He has for me.

November 5, 2009

A new favorite

Steve sent me a link to this song a while back and I instantly loved it. Now the album is released and I can't wait to get it for our collection. God has certainly blessed His servants with the ability to touch hearts.

November 4, 2009

Testing some photo stuff

Trying to figure out some new photo stuff... testing it out with pictures of our pets.

This flattened pile of fur is Grace - our very spoiled cat. This is her preferred position, next would be eating, meowing at one of us and then 'making bread' on someone's chest.

This is Molly - our 'cranky old lady' - she is an equally spoiled pet. Coonhound mix, 9 years old, also in her preferred position. 2/3rds of our pets like to sleep more than anything.

This is Piper - our newest addition. She is an enormous yellow lab (between 90-100lbs) and pictured here waiting for someone to pick up her favorite ball where she has dropped it off the deck. She is HIGHLY motivated by a red kong ball - it is her favorite thing.

This is Piper in her 2nd favorite activity. Yes, that is a stainless steel dog bowl in her mouth. She LOVES to chase the bowl in the snow - because the ball gets lost underneath while the bowl will slide along the top and is easy to find. It also makes a highly annoying clang-clang-clang sound on the deck as she bangs it around repeatedly.

November 2, 2009

Learning Something New

I learned something new! This morning I learned how to download free templates for my blog! I also learned how to tweak them to make them work for my purposes. How exciting!
Ok... maybe not for anyone but me...but that is alright because it's my blog.