Tuesday, August 30, 2011

CoMiNg sOoN!

I love Crafts!!  The only problem is finding the time in the day to make some of the super adorable things I find online. And I have found some SUPER adorable things online. These are my top three (so far).

Living With Punks: Floor Cushions

Ruffles and Stuff: Easy Ruffled T-Shirt Scarf

The Handmade Home: Regina the Rabbit and Lulu the Lamb

I am hoping for some time to start sewing again once we settle down into our homeschool routine and after I complete this project....

Next on the agenda for September will be the 31 Days to Clean - Having a Martha House the Mary Way. This is a super challenge to do some spring cleaning tasks (in Fall) but to focus also on 'WHY' we clean and keep our home for our family. It does not profit anyone to have a super clean home, if we have a sour attitude about keeping it tidy.

There are daily Martha tasks (which require rubber gloves and bleach) and Mary tasks (which require an open heart ready to be transformed by His Word).

God does not care about how clean our floors are - only where our hearts are while we are scrubbing (but you still have to scrub -- ha ha!).

Day 15 will even be featured over at the Homemaker's Challenge.

31 Days to Clean - Having a Martha House the Mary Way


And don't forget about our giveaway that ends on Sunday. Click here to find out more about the handmade bracelet giveway.




The Church

We have been praying for this little baby, Micah, that was having a hard time surviving. He has a fragile body that is in need of some repairs (hole in his heart and various other challenges).

The family does not attend our church, and I am not even sure how we learned about his needs, but we have been praying for quite some time for his life and praising God about the testimony his parents have had with the medical staff. They have had several opportunities to share the gospel (God's love story) because of Micah.

Micah went in for open heart surgery yesterday (this was his second heart surgery).

Our family decided to join a homeschool co-op this year. This week is our first week. There have been a few prayer requests that have been emailed already. Yesterday, one came through for Micah. His family is also associated with the co-op.

As I prayed for Micah and plead for God to be glorified through his tiny, frail life, I also praise God. I praise Him for the gentle reminder that we do not just belong to our local church, but we are all members of His Church - and it is global! The feeling that we are part of His family and knit together with His love is amazing! It brings me to tears.

So baby Micah made it through surgery and now we continue to pray for his recovery. Our church prays. Our co-op prays. We all pray and God hears our prayers.

Amen!

How Deep the Father's Love



Do you know the song, "How Deep The Father's Love For Us"? It is a fantastic reminder that God, who is the Creator and Sustainer of the entire universe, really does love us. And this love is not as a collective whole, but individually, in spite of our weaknesses and nearly constant sins.

He loves us so much that He sent His Son to die for us and save us from our sins. We were trapped. Without God's intervention, we were on the path that leads to destruction.

I sang this song to God this morning to worship and praise Him. I am not even super fond of my voice, but I figure He gave it to me, so He must like it.


How Deep the Father's Love For Us

How deep the Father's love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He would give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross
My guilt upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no powr's, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom 


And I personally love it that the last stanza is repeated to remind me that I am not worthy of His reward, which makes Him even more precious to me.

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom






Monday, August 29, 2011

Attention Wives


I don’t know about you, but I was raised to be an independent thinker and a leader. I was told that being aggressive and bold were good qualities. I was told that it was better to be informed so that I could have an opinion and then to not be timid about sharing that opinion. I was told I could be anything I wanted to be and more. That was going great for a while.


Then I got married.

Do you know what I found out? God has a different plan for women, for me. He wants me to be strong but gentle. Confident but meek. Diligent but submissive.

Wait, what was that last word? Submissive! Even in the year 2011 women are expected to be submissive to their husbands?

That’s right. It’s right there in God’s word.


Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. [Ephesians 5:22-24]


In EVERYTHING.

Is it getting hot in here?

I know, this is hard. It is hard to feel like you know the right way to do something or the what seems like the better direction for your family to move in, and then for your husband to have a different idea and just because he is the man of the house, he wins…..ugh! That’s hard! Let’s be reminded (excerpt from the Excellent Wife book by Martha Peace) that there is true joy in following God’s command to submit:

Joy results from trusting and obeying God’s Word.
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments,
and His commandments are not burdensome. 1 John 5:3


Joy results from knowing that God is working to accomplish His purpose even in difficult circumstances. Consider it all joy my brethren when you encounter various trials… James 1:2


Joy results from following the example of the Lord Jesus in difficult times.
Jesus, …who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame…  Hebrews 12:2


Joy results from a Spirit filled life.
Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:19-20


Just a reminder, God does not think men are more important than women.


For there is no partiality with God (Romans 2:11).


Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:17


So here is an application point. As we start making plans for the school year ahead (school plans, extra-curricular for the kids and/or parents, ministry and service opportunities at church, home fellowship groups, bible studies), let me remind you wives to submit to the choices your husband makes for your family.


It is certainly ok to voice an opinion (Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. Proverbs 15:22), but in the end, it is your husband’s decision.


How about we look at a couple of examples?

Your husband may tell you that the men from the home fellowship group (small group) are deciding to meet on a morning when you typically go to the gym. What to do? Gently remind him (and I do mean gently and lovingly) that you normally have plans that morning, but if that is the only day they can meet, you will figure something else out. Who knows? Maybe God has a special blessing in store for you that you might have missed if you had forced your own way. Maybe you will find out another friend goes to the gym on a different day and you can go together.

A couple of your girlfriends have mentioned they will be in the same small group. You love them and all your kids are about the same ages and play wonderfully together. But your husband decides on a different group. What to do? You might mention in a loving manner that you would prefer to be in the other group. With an open mind, you need to also ask him why he has decided on a different group for your family. Lovingly, you need to respect the decision he has made, without trying to manipulate him into changing groups (you know what this means – pouting, yelling, crying, silent treatment, sleeping on the couch). God has a plan for your family and God has placed your husband (and mine) as the leaders. The safest place to be is in God’s will and that means submitting to your husband’s decisions.

Little Bobby really wants to play baseball in the fall and you think that the extra practice will help him prepare for the spring season. However, your husband remembers that Bobby had problems keeping his mind focused on school last year and decides that it is best for Bobby to not play ball in the fall season. Being the Mom, who is home with Bobby most of the time, what do you say? You see how disappointed he is when he talks about how much his friends are having fun at practice and how they are winning the games. You support your husband. You need to encourage Bobby to focus on school and maybe this  will not be an issue next Fall. If you do not have the same opinion as your husband, then pray that God will open your eyes and give you a submissive, humble heart to follow and support your husband’s decision.

Last year was very rough for you and lil Jenny. You were homeschooling her and there were many discipline issues. She was very argumentative and disrespectful and after much prayer, your husband decides to send her to the local public school this year. What to do? What to do? Wow, this makes you so anxious! Meditate on "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God" (Philippians 4:6) and know that God may have an extra blessing out of this change. Maybe there is a little girl that will be in Jenny's class that needs a friend and desperately needs to learn about Jesus. Maybe this will cause an attitude change in Jenny and she will grow in her love and respect for you since the teacher/student conflict is removed?


There is safety and security when we are in God’s will.

This is difficult. Therefore, I encourage you to read your Bible and look for encouragement right out of God’s word. Meditate on scriptures that describe how God designed the Christian family to look (Ephesians 5, Colossians 3, 1 Peter 3). Pray for God to show you the areas where you might be failing to submit, confess these as sin and then pray for the wisdom and strength to humbly follow your husband’s lead. I also greatly encourage you to find a faithful, trustworthy Christian girl friend that will hold you accountable and encourage you in this walk. Having the ability to see that other women share in the same struggles, encouraging each other to fight the good fight and lifting each other up in prayer is a blessing straight from heaven!

And lastly, I want to remind you to do this out of a spirit of love.  We need to do this because we love God, we love our husbands and we love the testimony this presents before the world. Without love –

…I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
1 Corinthians 13:1





And don't forget to enter the giveaway!
 Click here for more information.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Unfailing Love

Last Sunday night, we sang this song at our church. I had not heard it in such a long and had forgotten how much I L.O.V.E. it!! Listen and think about His Unfailing Love  - and how He is always there for us. Always.

How much time are you making for Him? I encourage you to not let your weekend get so full of other things that you neglect time with your Savior. This is a good reminder for myself as well.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Alphabet Rocks

My daughter loves crafting! She also loves rocks (they both do actually). When I saw this craft idea on Momtastic, I knew it would be a hit. See for yourself. The only problem is we should have used bigger rocks. Our 2 year old must think they are "rock candy".


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Healthy Tuesday - on Thursday

So do you need some motivation? Are you the type of person that needs a goal in orde to get off of the couch? Well, then, set a goal.

Why not volunteer to walk or run in a local charity event? One of my favorites is the 5k Run or Walk for Lifecenters.


Maybe decide that you are going to run in the local Drumstick Dash this year for Thanksgiving? Doesn't that sound great? Run a couple miles before you sit down for that gigantic plate full of super yummy food? One plate or two? The other great thing about the Drumstick Dash is that it benefits the local Wheeler Mission. Everyone is a winner!

And even better, get a friend to sign up with you and train together.

Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
 
Everything is better with a friend. So call that friend up today and sign up to benefit a local charity and yourself  today!
 
And don't forget to enter the giveaway for the handmade bracelet from Haiti.
 
This will be linked up at :
day2day joys

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Prayer Increases Love

When someone is hurt or diagnosed with a sickness, we cry out to God on their behalf for healing. When we know someone who has lost their job or has an upcoming decision to make - we pray that they will have an extra dose of wisdom. When we have a loved one that does not have a saving relationship with Jesus, we pray even more. Our heart breaks at the thought of this person that we love spending eternity apart from God.

We pray for people we love, just as Jesus did in the garden (John 17) when He prayed for his disciples and all believers.

But do you pray for people who you do not know very well? Or do you pray for people who you are not fond of? Maybe someone at work rubs you the wrong way? Maybe someone at church always seems to say something to you that ruffles your feathers.

Do it. Choose someone you do not care for or do not know well and pray for them. Do you know what will happen? You will start to love them. You will start to care about what is going on in their life.

God increases our love for others as we pray for them. It is amazing! It is especially amazing when it is someone we do  not seem to get along with. We can pray for God to first give us the desire to even pray for them. Then when He does this (because He will), we can pray for an increased love for this person.

So who will you pray for starting today?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Giveaway - Bracelet 4 Haiti

(picture from National Geographic One Year Anniversary of Haiti Earthquake)

Can you imagine what it is like to live in a third world country where you would have to live on about a dollar a day? I mean, what could you buy for a dollar? Sometimes (a lot of the time in fact), they have to live on even less than that. They do not have the privilege to eat 3 squares a day (and don't even think about snacks). They most likely won't even have clean water to drink.

This is what it is like in Haiti. It is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere (that is where we live). It is less than 700 miles from the white sand beaches of Florida - where countless Americans drop hundreds of dollars on the all-American vacation - way more money than a typical Haitian would make in an entire year. If you have been to Disneyworld - you probably paid more to get in for one day than a Haitian makes in a year. Gulp!

What is it like to live in Haiti? It is hot, wet, stinky, trashy, poor, oppressive, and did I mention hot? Three quarters of the people live in extreme poverty. They are tormented by hurricanes and many still live in tent communities after the earthquake in 2010. Now can you imagine living in a tent when a hurricane hits?


It is an island, so there aren't a lot of options for trash. Think about how many bags of trash you send to the curb each week. Even though we recycle a lot of our trash, there is still a lot of trash. I hadn't thought about how much cardboard we used until we started to recycle it. We eat a lot of cereal! In Haiti, they have started a craft from these discarded cereal boxes. They turn them into beads - beautiful beads! It is hard to imagine this beautiful bracelet was once a box of cereal, but it was! And I'm giving it away (see what you need to do in order to be eligible below)! The bracelet comes with a tag that tells you who made the bracelet with a short description about them. This particular atisan is Beloni and is a twice a widow.

Now, you may be wondering how, living in the middle of corn-ville, USA, did I get my hands on this wonderful bracelet from Haiti. Some of the people in Haiti are making this jewelry (bracelets, necklaces, earrings) as a trade. How wonderful that they have an opportunity to make something and sell it in order to buy food for their family and send their children to school!

You can help!

You can host a jewelry party and nearly all the proceeds go directly back to Haiti. It doesn't cost you anything except opening your home (or church) to people so they can shop. The details can be found on the Three Angels website.

This is how easy it is…



1) Contact Krista McCarty about scheduling a party. Have an idea of the date & approximately how many might attend.
2) Krista will ship your jewelry to you.
3) Host your party and track your sales.
4) Collect the proceeds and send them back to Krista with any unsold jewelry.




This is how you can enter for a chance to
WIN THIS BRACELET.

I will randomly select a person from the comments on this post on Sunday, September 4th.


** You can leave a comment for the following **

** One comment after you start to follow this blog.
** One comment after you like our  new Facebook Page.
** One comment with a story of how your life (or someone in your immediate family) has been impacted by the people of Haiti (mission trip, impacted by the Earthquake).
** One comment telling me that you shared this story on facebook
** 5 comments if you decide host a jewelry party of your own

You are an automatic winner of another bracelet if you decide to sponsor a child to attend the Three Angels Academy (please either leave a comment or email me directly). How wonderful if you would decide to impact the future of a child and that child's future family by sending them to school for an education! What a blessing that would be!

And lastly - please join me in praying for the people in Haiti. They live in an environment that we cannot even imagine. At a minimum, let us all lift them up in prayer.

 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ 
Matthew 25:37,38,40



This has been linked up at:








Friday, August 19, 2011

Awesome God

Have you ever taken time to think beyond your neighborhood, town or city? Have you sat and looked out at the ocean waves on the beach and really thought about how the horizon is SO far away? Have you ever gone up in an airplane and been impressed by the amount of land you can see?


Now take it a step further. Have you been to a planetarium (our favorite planetarium is at the Creation Museum) and watched the presentation about our solar system, Milky Way and the universe? It is just breathtaking! And to think about the fact that it is all there, in perfect order, made by God on the fourth day of creation.

And have you ever wondered why? Why did God make put all those galaxies, stars, moons, planets, comets, asteroids, black holes, supernovas and much more out there? I heard someone suggest that it is all there to show us, men and women, just how awesome God is.


It worked. I agree. God is awesome!


Take a minute to meditate on this scripture:

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.  Colossians 1:15-17


Our Lord is awesome! How dare we ever think He is anything like us. We are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. (James 4:14)

How do you grow in your walk with the Lord, increase your love for Him, and decrease your love for yourself?   One way is to focus on how incredible He is and how insignificant we are. Our needs, wants and desires do not seem to matter when we think about how small we are compared to how vast God is. In our “it’s all about me” culture, it is great to start off each day by reminding ourselves about how awesome God is. It is a great reminder that it is not about me at all – but about Him.

If you get the opportunity, grab your kids and go out into the country one night, away from all the lights and look up at the stars. Take a telescope or binoculars and just revel in the creation that God put there to shake our souls and stand in awe of Him.

Our God really is an awesome God!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Do you love Jesus?

Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless GodI am listening to the audiobook, "Crazy Love". Wow, it is sure convicting! Francis Chan has hit it right on the mark in so many different ways. Here are a couple things he said that took courage to say - but speak to the heart of so many different problems with "Christianity" in America. Since I am listening to the audiobook, this is a paraphrase...

In speaking of the parable of the sower, Francis Chan said that WE SHOULD NOT ASSUME THAT WE ARE THE GOOD SOIL.

 Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”  Mark 4:1-8

Ouch!

He also pointed out that the term "lukewarm Christian" is misleading. There is no such thing as a lukewarm Christian. If you are being spat out of the mouth of Christ, you are not His follower.

To the Church in Laodicea - Revelation 3:14-22



“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation.  “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!  So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.  For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.  I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.  Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.  Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.  The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

If this describes you, pay attention to the solution - open your eyes. Repent. Open the door and let Jesus in.And then Francis Chan asked this question. If you could have this Earth, without any tears or pain, without heartache, without sin, without the decay and a life filled with only good things, but without Jesus, would you take it? So if you could have all the benefits of heaven without Jesus - would that be OK? Or would that be a devastating thought? Is the reason you want to go to heaven for the "stuff" or because you truly love Jesus and want to spend eternity with Him?

Oh this question just broke my heart for Jesus! He suffered and died for us and I believe there are so many that feel this way - and I am convicted that sometime I have acted this way. I pray that God would increase my love for Him and open my eyes when He is not my focus. I love Jesus and pray that I never make Him feel differently!





Friday, August 12, 2011

Take a minute...

Do you know any children with special needs? Maybe you do and do not even realize what they have overcome with the help of therapists, doctors, nurses, specialists, Dads, Moms and most of all, the Great Physician. We are surrounded, in this fallen world, with hurts and pains that are extremely difficult to endure. The hardest thing for me as a parent is when my children are hurting (or I see other children who suffer). We know that in heaven, they will have perfect bodies and there will be no more tears or pain. For now, we can make a difference in the lives of children who have special needs. Here is one way.

Please take a few minutes to watch this video (and the others as well if you have the time) and vote for Emma - a special girl who has overcome many challenges in her life through the help of First Steps and the United Way. Our own little girl was involved with First Steps to help with her swallowing abnormalities (aspirates) and so I personally know what a blessing it is to have the therapists come to your home and give your child the hands on therapy they need.

If you feel so inclined, you could also donate money to the United Way, but at a minimum, please vote. That is free!

Click here to see the video of Emma. She is the beautiful princess with a crown and pink dress (picture above).

Some details:


 
  • The site will allow 1 vote per person per day.
  • Votes for videos will be cleared at the end of each month (August, September, October and November).
  • The top vote-getter for each month will be awarded a prize (see below) and become eligible for grand prize voting.
  • Grand prize voting will take place December 1-11, 2011.
  • Users must create an account consisting of their name and email address to add comments.

 
Donations:

 
  • Donations may be given online to United Way of Central Indiana in honor of specific video submissions.
  • Donations are processed by PayPal. You do not need a PayPal account to donate using a credit card.
  • The top donation-getter each month and for the entire competition will be awarded a prize (see below).
  • Donations will be ongoing for the duration of the competition and tracking will not be reset each month.
  • For purposes of the competition, only donations received by December 12, 2011 will count toward determining the overall top video. United Way will continue to accept online donations any time of year, even after the competition has ended.

 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Solomon's Wisdom

I have been reading through the Proverbs and now Ecclesiastes. Not that this is my first time through these books of the Bible, but this is the first time that I realized something. We read in 1 Kings 3:5-15 where God granted Solomon a discerning heart.

At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”
Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.


 “Now, LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties.

Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number.

So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this.

So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice,

I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be.

Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings.

And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.”

And it is very apparent, when looking at Solomon's life, that there has been and will not be an equal among kings. I cannot even imagine what it is like to live in a monarch society, but I believe there must have been an incredible sense of grand when you saw the King (if you ever saw him).

Of course, this thought instantly makes me think of  God on His throne in heaven and I know that He is truly the King of Kings and Lord of Lords - and He has no equal on Earth or in Heaven. Talk about majesty!!

Ok, I got a little off track.

Now for the thought that hit me. When we think of Solomon, we not only think of his great wisdom, but also of his great folly - He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray [1 Kings 11:3].  These wives were given to Solomon as gifts - because he was such a great king - by other countries. These wives were given out of respect and for pleasure.

Now remember, Solomon asked for a discerning heart - wisdom - and with that gift, God also granted him wealth and honor.

Now as I read Ecclesiastes, I see that because Solomon had the wealth and the honor and the wives and anything else he wanted - he learned a great lesson.

“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”  Ecclesiastes 1:2


Solomon learned that this life is not about pleasure - but about God. He learned this the hard way, but I am of the opinion (now this is me talking, not God) that God allows certain experiences in our lives (painful and difficult experiences) so that we will gain wisdom. Think of the difficult times in your life. Now that you are through that difficult time, think about how you can relate to someone else in a similar situation. Your heart has compassion. You have the wisdom that comes with experience. The view is more clear now that you are looking at it in the rear view mirror.

This is how Solomon's life was - clear as he was looking back. He wrote this book in his later years, after he had that valuable experience that lead to true wisdom. And the conclusion of his life - the life spent chasing after pleasure....

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
The conclusion, when all has been heard, is fear God, and keep His commandments because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.

 
It all goes back to the greatest commandment.


You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Deuteronomy 6:5

 
So I urge you to learn from others' experience. Learn from Solomon - the wisest man who has ever lived. Learn that seeking after earthly pleasures is "vanity and striving after the wind and there is [was] no profit under the sun." 

And use the experience you already have endured to help others, just as Solomon has done in the book of Ecclesiastes.

Seek God and love him with all your heart.  

 


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Healthy Tuesday - On Wednesday

Apologies for being a day late. There are so many things going on in my life right now that I am lucky to be posting at all. Being a homeschool Mom, this time of year is pretty stressful. There is a lot to think about and plan. Speaking of stress...

One thing that happens when we are stressed is we start to take shallow breaths. This becomes a pattern. Do you notice it? I mean as you are reading this, can you feel that when you breathe in, you are only filling the top portion of your lungs? Can you see your chest moving at all when you are breathing? That's not how our lungs are made to work.

Your lungs are like big balloons, but there are different sections (lobes) in each lung. So it is like having smaller balloons inside of a larger balloon. Inside of each of the lobes, there are even small balloons (lobules) and then the alveoli - which take the oxygen to the veins that carry it to your heart to be pumped to the body.

It is true that we don't really have to think about breathing - this is something that our body does on its own. However, we all may need to train our bodies to take deeper breaths. Think about it. If you never use the lower lobes of your lungs, what will happen to them? What happens to your legs if you are on bed rest for a year? Atrophy. The muscles break down. If we do not use the entire system that is in place for our lungs, it could atrophy or fail to work at full potential. What is the impact of this? Well, the main functionality of the lungs is to bring oxygen in for the body to use. What does oxygen do for our bodies?

Oxygen feeds our cells. It is used to burn the food we eat in order to create energy for our bodies (aka metabolism). All of our cells need oxygen in order to stay alive. Now let's look at a couple of key areas that might help you realize why taking in more oxygen is so beneficial:

BRAIN. You know, your think tank. Yes, your brain needs oxygen in order to function. So if we are shallow breathers, we are sending limited amounts of oxygen to our brain, therefore, limiting its ability to function. This also applies to stress. Sometimes we are so stressed out because our brains need to be more "organized." We need to form mental lists. We need to mentally prioritize. Are you one of those people who walks into a room to get something, only to forget what it was you were after? Hmmmm - take 10 deep breaths and think, think, think.

SKIN. Does your skin ever feel dry, scaly, flaky, wrinkled, aged? Maybe it needs some oxygen? Oxygen is a key element in cell reproduction. Breathe deeply, slough off that old skin and start making new skin cells.

So what to do about this? I recommend taking 10-20 super deep breaths twice a day (I mean inhale as much as you can, and then exhale it all the way out. Completely fill and empty the lungs). I like to do this when I am in the shower. I get the added benefit of that moist air. If you can, get your arms working as well. Open them up and as you are reaching for the sky, breathe in. Then when you take your arms back to your sides, breathe out.

As you are thinking about breathing, and how vital oxygen is to your body - meditate on how God created man and then breathed life into him. And then worship our great God for the gift of life.

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. Genesis 2:7


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Shout Out

A quick shout out to Jacinda at Growing Home. I was a winner of some Ad space on her blog and would like to thank her for making the button link. If you get a chance, you should take some time to head over to a Growing Home and read some of the wonderful posts.


A super convicting post for me was Has Your Blog Become Your Idol - Ouch!


Thanks again, Jacinda!




Growing Home

Monday, August 8, 2011

Soul Music

Got a favorite song? Can you pick just one? I have a few, in a few different genres. My favorite type of music are instrumentals - preferably piano or guitar. My favorite pianist currently is Sam Rotman. He is such a talented and dedicated performer - and his testimony is even more powerful than his music (and both are extremely powerful!).


In the car we mostly listen to Kid's Worship and Praise Music or Toddler Tunes. I have little kids and life is just easier that way.


When the kids are in the car and I need to listen to something other than "their music", I turn on Christian Radio. I love Laura Story, Casting Crowns, Chris Tomlin, Keith and Kristyn Getty, Sovereign Grace, Natalie Grant, Steven Curtis Chapman and many more.


Since it is such a rarity, I love the time when I am alone in the car, (if the weather cooperates) with the windows down, hair blowing in the breeze, sunglasses on, Diet Coke in my hand, and jamming to music that brings that happy feeling to my heart. The feeling of being younger. The beat of the drum that just speaks to my soul. Unfortunately, it isn't always God-honoring music. Some of my favs are Sister Golden Hair (America), Deeper than the Holler (Randy Travis), Dust in the Wind (Kansas), Dream On (Aerosmith), and pretty much anything by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, the Beatles or Simon and Garfunkel.



I am sure you have a list of music that just reverberates with your soul. God made us this way. He gave us ears to hear and a love for music.

Music calms our hearts when we are feeling stressed out. In 1 Samuel 16, Saul has a distressing spirit. His servants advise him to have someone play music to soothe his soul. He does this and it works (for a while at least). 

Verse 16
Let our master now command your servants, who are before you, to seek out a man who is a skillful player on the harp. And it shall be that he will play it with his hand when the distressing spirit from God is upon you, and you shall be well.”



Verse 23
And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him.


We love to play music and dance (well, some of us like to dance) when we are happy and full of joy. Just thing of your wedding day - all the focus on that first dance to that special song as man and wife. Think of David dancing when the Arc of the Covenant is returned to Jerusalem.

Then David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet. 2 Samuel 6:14-15


God gave us the gift of music to praise Him. He knew that music would speak to our souls, and this deepens our love for our Father in heaven. Oh, how I love to sing worship songs on Sunday morning at church! What a blessing to sing praises to our God in the midst of fellow Believers!

Let them praise His name with the dance;
Let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp.
Psalm 149:3

Back to me in the car, windows down, diet coke in hand and music blaring on the radio. If God gave us the gift of music to praise Him and soothe our souls, then shouldn't all the music that we love be God honoring?

It is hard to change this once we have formed memories. When you hear certain songs, floods of memories just pour into your mind.

But what we can do is motivate our children  form these musical memories with music that praises God, and not man. Music that speaks of the unconditional love of God. Music that reminds us that we are sinners in need of a Savior. Don't get me wrong. We don't always need to listen to "church music". There are many songs that honor God that are wonderful! Here are a few:

Our God - Chris Tomlin

Oh the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus, 2010 High Seas

Every Move I Make, Cedarmont Kids

Lead Me, Sanctus Real

Glorious Day, Casting Crowns

Salvation is Here, Lincoln Brewster

Whatever genre you and your children like, I am sure there are songs and artists that honor God. Let us be diligent and seek first His kingdom, and that includes music that might be played if were in the Kingdom now.


If you enjoyed this, you may also enjoy reading:






This has been linked up at

Growing Home




Homeschool Year Drawing Near

Wow - I am anxiously anticipating the start of the new school year. This year, my darling daughter will be a 1st grader - which is hard enough to believe!! That means that we will be spending just a little more time of our day to school activities and learning (more than Kindergarten). That also means that, after much prayer and discussion, we decided to join a co-op. I am not sure who is more excited about this adventure - myself or my daughter!

The curriculum we decided on this year is:

Sonlight - Introduction to World History - Part 1 with grade 3 readers. This will be the History, Geography, Reading, Language Arts (spelling, vocabulary and grammar) and Handwriting

Singapore Math - Primary 1A/1B

Apologia - Exploring Creation with Astronomy

And then these will be the classes that she is taking via the co-op:

Ballet - Beginner 1-4


This class is for girls to who have little to no experience in ballet. In this class students will learn the basics of ballet. Students will also learn how to use their dancing to worship God. We will be preparing a dance to perform at both Celebration nights. This class will include stretching and warm-up exercises as well as dancing. The girls are expected to participate in each part of the
class as the exercises help strengthen their legs for dancing as well as prevent injury. Ballet is something beautiful to watch but requires lots of hard work as well.


Keepers of the Faith 1-4


The purpose of Keepers is to teach girls “to learn to walk in the steps of our Lord and Savior,
Jesus Christ, day by day, moment by moment, in every situation.” To earn charms, the girls will
be memorizing Scripture, building Godly character and learning new skills while completing fun projects. Additional Information at: http://www.keepersofthefaith.com/


Spanish 1-3

This is a beginning Spanish class which emphasizes oral communication of a variety of topics at a basic level. Students will be taught basic vocabulary and an appreciation of the Latin culture through visual, oral, aural, games, songs and activities. This class is designed for students with minimal or no previous Spanish.





Since it is called a co-op, that means it is a cooperative effort between hired teachers and parents. So for the sessions I will be in the nursery, parent meeting and then helping teach "Faithfully Fit". You might be wondering what this is. Well, it really could not be any more perfect for me. If you follow my blog, you'll know why. Here is the description:

Faithfully Fit


This class (for girls only) is a combination of fun and challenging exercises set to upbeat,  contemporary Christian music to get the heart pumping! Exercises will include cardio kickboxing, hilo aerobics, strength training, Pilates, and more. A strong emphasis will be made on the need for students to be equipped with God’s truth, in order to protect their hearts from the world’s lies on what true beauty really is. Students will be encouraged to pursue holiness and purity in their lives with thoughtful class discussions related to pleasing God in areas such as fashion, modesty, self-control, gossip, friendships, and godly relationships. A related devotional or workbook may be used; students will have light homework, including the use of a log/journal to record assignments of physical activity (usually 3 times per week).

Also this year, my daughter is moving up with the big kids in our Wednesday night program at church. This is a huge change for her and I am sure she thinks she was ready a long time ago. I am not sure if I am ready to send her up there with the other kids (ages 6-12). I am anticipating a lot of tears. So if you think about it on Wednesday evenings, you might send up a little prayer of protection for my darling daughter who just doesn't understand why boys like to play rough.