Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Heart of A Child

I have to share this. Before I do though, I gotta tell you what a pain my son can be and that he's rowdy and loud and FAR from perfect, as I am myself. I don't want anyone to think we are better than we are. We are hugely flawed and it's only by God's grace that we can do ANYTHING. My hope here is to show God's faithfulness and love toward ALL who will open their hearts and lives to Him, not to present a false picture of perfection.

This past weekend, Xander's piano teacher held a mini recital at one of the nursing homes we use to sing at in the past with our last church. Now, I don't want it to sound like we went ALL the time. We went when I was off work, which wasn't much. Not as much as I'd like. However, the last time we went (months ago) I was touched by how much the elderly people loved having us (Xander) there. They loved on him and he loved on them. I didn't have to encourage him to speak to anyone or shake their hand, he just did it. lovingly. Even telling them he loved them! I was so moved as I watched him and pray to be more like that myself. {I'm an introvert. We have bubbles.}

I have posted before about my belief, and Xander's claim, that he was created to sing and worship God.


He doesn't have any natural talent for it, but he doesn't care. I no longer think those things matter anyway, really. God looks at the HEART. He will use whatever we let him use to bless others and glorify Him. 

He was very excited to play his piano Saturday. Yes, I know, I'm his mom and am blessed by ALMOST everything he does, but I was brought to tears as I watched him play from his heart. He was feeling the music.



When the sweet voices of his audience hummed and sang gently along, it was....a blessing. Just a huge, huge blessing. 

We may not think we are talented or equipped to serve others and speak of His love, but having those things are just bonuses. It may make it easier, but people really just want a genuine heart. Someone who will pray with them, encourage them, love them. I spent a long time praying I was better at singing, speaking, NOT being socially awkward, but I see now that those are just vain wishes. Something to make ME feel better about the transparency of truly sharing my heart with others. When we just let go of those things (self) and honor the One we are claiming to serve, He will do the rest and He will get the credit for the blessing! That's really what we want anyway, right?! It's so simple. Lord, help us to have the heart of a child. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Freebie!

2009 Holiday Digital Supplement/Idea Book

Get this 180 page digital magazine FREE from the folks at The Old Schoolhouse Magazine! Great holiday craft ideas, TONS of recipes, and even printable Bible verse copywork for FREE!

 ~ can you tell I'm impressed?~

Get your copy HERE and enjoy!

Mama Time

Don't think by the title that this post is solely about us mamas. I believe everything we do affects our children so we all need to lead by example. As a mom, I try to encourage my boys to be creative and give themselves time to pursue their interests. Somewhere along the way though, I realize I've neglected my own hobbies (that just comes with the MOM title, right). So, I've decided to allocate time for myself to improve and enjoy my own interests!

I recently signed up for FREE online writing classes through our local library (love those guys!). And have committed myself to reading and writing a little everyday. I figure I can do this during my hubby's football games {insert eyeroll here} after the kids are in bed.

I also love to paint and draw and am hoping to incorporate more of that in our homeschooling since Xander loves it as well. Here's two of his faves from his KONOS obedience study last year...the topic was light...

Learning and hobbies should be a life long passion of ours! If I'm teaching my kids that, then I should lead by example and share the joy it brings me with them. I'm sure, if we are a little more diligent with our time, MOST of us could find a little to spare each week on our passions and talents. Doing so may bring a bit more joy to our lives, and possibly others too. God is creative and passionate and He has given us all gifts and talents for a reason! Let us glorify Him in everything we do, with all He's given us!

Friday, November 22, 2013


Oh, how great it is to know Him! What a blessing it is just to think of His love for us! How can I do anything, but praise His name. He is the Lover of my soul. The Calm in my storm. The Mercy in my corrupted heart. He is the Restorer of my hope.

I can do all things through Him, yet nothing without Him. How humbling it is to know that His face shines upon me, that I am called by the Most High. He has a will and a purpose for my life that would overshadow anything I could accomplish for myself. In Him, there is joy unspeakable. In Him, there is a fullness that once was empty. There beats a heart that once was silent.

Through all things His praises will be in my heart, for He put them there. He knew me from the foundations of the earth and He loved me when I was unlovable. He didn't ask me to conform to the LAW to win His love. Instead, He sought after me. He showered me with His love until I couldn't resist Him any longer. He filled me with His spirit and caused His desires to become my own. My hopes and my dreams are woven together with my faith and love for Him. My heart's sole desire is to be a good and faithful servant to the One who's faithfullness to me far out shines any faith I had in Him. How great is our God <3

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Homeschool Cooking

This week, Xander has been learning to cook. He has been asking to learn for a while now. I have to be honest, most of my mama years have been filled with take out and boxed cake mixes so this is new territory to me as well. I'm thankful for all the great homesteading bloggers out there that have helped spark my interest in all things homemade. Giving such detailed instructions that it is almost impossible for me to mess up. Almost... 

Hmmm...not exactly how they looked in the picture...

Xander has had more success than I have in this area...

Making pizza dough

Finished product! It was yummy too!

Making oatmeal cookies...

These were SUPER yummy! In fact, we were too busy eating them to take a picture!

Today we will be making bread and (hopefully) some cinnamon rolls!! 

I have come to really enjoy cooking for my family, especially with Xander's help. It's such an easy (and yummy!) way to serve :)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Hearts of Praise

As I have mentioned before, we are currently in our second year homeschooling our 9yo son. Our first year was more successful than I could have anticipated. Not only did he grow mentally and physically, but spiritually as well. I praised God as He revealed a heart of service and praise in my little man. A desire to do what is good and right.

 He developed a love of hymns as we learned them in our daily God time. I was so blessed when he told me he believed God called him to sing. I laugh as I remember him being so sure of this that he walked up to our worship leader one Sunday and all but demanded to be allowed to share his calling with the church. When that day came, he was so excited. As a singer myself I was certain he would need my support as he faced the crowd so I walked on stage with him. Ha! was I ever wrong. I was amazed as he boldly picked up the microphone stepped to the podium and  lead our church in his favorite worship song. He never wavered. Even when snickers and laughter broke out because of his determination to sing even after they stopped. I will cherish that memory forever! Thank God for churches that allow and encourage children to praise Him!

I've noted before that my main focus on homeschooling is to teach my child to love Christ. To prepare him for whatever my Lord has for him. I remind myself daily that he's only mine for a little while. A precious gift from my Father in Heaven. I pray for wisdom to guide him everyday.

I was wanting to write about our homeschool day, but I guess this is just closer to my heart at the moment.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Musings of a Novice Homeschooler

I am a horrible blogger! Although, in my defense, I do this more to sort out and organize my thoughts than to keep an audience. So obvious right? I did think though that I would like to share some of the issues, revelations, and joys I've experienced in this last (our 1st) year of homeschooling.

 Note: I'm still a novice so if you're more experienced this blog may be of no importance/help to you ;)

*Homeschooling isn't just a 4 to 5 hour a day hobby, it's a lifestyle!

      For years I sent my kids to school and let them do whatever when they got home; watch TV, play video games, etc. However, since we started schooling my youngest at home, I am trying desperately to create a continual learning environment. It's hard to reprogram people, but I've noticed that they are actually HAPPIER when they apply themselves, are creative, and use their time wisely! I know, I know, that's probably a duh-huh to most, but the difference really is amazing!

*It really is a sacrifice for the whole family....but so worth it!

      We aren't able to go out to eat or buy all the fun things (junk) that we use to, but our family life is so much richer! I'm more available to my children now that I don't work 50+ hours a week as I had done for most of their lives. It's amazing how happy you can be without all the 'stuff' society in this country seems to think are necessities! A walk in the park on a beautiful day with the ones you love is way more fulfilling than watching any TV show! Remember, they're only ours for a little while...

*I have come face to face with my own shortcomings.

     That may not sound like a positive, but I feel God has really used this time to show me areas that I need to work on....a lot of areas. I've always approached life as a free spirited woodland fairy frolicking through fields of wildflowers. At least that's how I considered it. My friends my describe it more as 'flaky' but we'll stick with my assessment :)  In this area, homeschooling has definitely been a WAKE UP call! I didn't realize before how much I needed to be organized, structured, and diligent. Life is better when you're focused and have goals! Again, a duh-huh for most I'm sure.

*I'm growing in my walk with Christ

   This should be a given as well since I already stated that I use to work 50+ hours a week. However, it just astounds me how God has shown His provision for us. It may not look that way on the outside and we are still growing for sure, but He has put loving people in our lives to encourage us in hard times and even in some cases supply a need or two. This has been a truly humbling experience that I wouldn't wish away for all the money in the world. I have to admit though, last week I was having a slight pity party and decided to remind God that this homeschooling business was HIS idea and I needed Him to make a way and reassure me that it was STILL His will for us. -yes, I can be whiny too. still working on that shortcoming!- Within the hour He had multiple people ask me for photo sessions (I'm a photographer) and in the span of a day two people spoke to me individually about the type of mother they saw me as...this was especially sweet to me. My two main concerns were addressed and I am now even more certain that I am in His will and that He WILL supply ALL our needs. Praise God!

Provision isn't the only thing He has shown me. My own Bible studies are more revelatory than they have ever been! I'm sure I will post more about the things He has shown me in the future, but WOW! The freedom we have in Christ is like nothing that can even be explained fully! It really just has to be experienced. To know Him is to want to know Him more.

Oh gosh! I just realized most all of these things have been about ME and my growth! Ooops! Ok, refocusing!

*Learning more about the heart of my children.

    If we positively pour into the lives of our children it's awesome to see the changes in their moods and actions. When we take time to understand them and present ourselves as ever ready, fully attentive, loving, and encouraging sources of hope and truth they start to *gasp* open up their hearts to us. My sister once told me "If you have their hearts, they will listen to you". This changed my approach all together. My job IS to love them. They get enough criticisms from the world. Home should be a safe place where they can feel free to open up to those that love them most. When we have issues, we talk about them...talk...not yell. No family is perfect and there are days that they drive me nuts, but this is a HUGE deal to me! I hope to always put their needs and upbringing above my own feelings. I pray to be more like Jesus. To edify and encourage with my words, no matter who I'm speaking with.

Oh no! I made it about ME again! I promise they are seeing benefits too!

*Just about the boys!

    Hopefully since the heading here is just about the boys I will stay on that topic! I only homeschool one child, but me being at home has been positive in the life of my oldest as well. First though, I will talk about my 9yo homeschooler. When we started last year (2nd grade), one of the first things I noticed was his attitude towards learning. He would seriously freak out over Math and call himself stupid through angry, relentless, tears.-especially if a timer was involved.- He had NO confidence! It took a while, but today while we were birthday shopping, a salesman asked him his favorite subject. His reply? Math! Woohoo! Victory!! This is only one area of improvement. In my opinion though the most improvement I have seen is in his character. He truly has a heart for others and has realized a love of singing for the Lord. He told me once that he believed God blessed him with 'such a good voice' so that he would praise him. Music to my ears! We're working on the humility ;)

My 12yo has also grown in confidence. My once 'lock myself in my room and read' son has become much more extroverted and willing to hang with the fam! He's even taken up archery with some friends he met through our homeschool connections AND his grades have improved! I've also noticed that he truly wants to be honorable. I know the road ahead of him in public school may look bleak to some, but the knowledge and wisdom God had given him encourages me. He is stubborn and hard headed with a heart of gold. This is one case that may prove those attributes helpful! We talk a lot about walking in truth and I pray God strengthen his convictions even more as he gets older. He knows WHO he wants to be when he's grown, I just pray God helps him to get there and be a witness to others in the process.

Conclusion: Homeschooling is the hardest, most frustrating thing anyone can do....and I absolutely LOVE it. The benefits (for me anyway) far outweighs any negative. Praying for all those attempting to start. It can be overwhelming, but there is a plethora of HS moms ready and willing to help and advise. Most of all, if God has called you to do it, He will provide. He has to! It's His nature! Mathew chapter 6 has been a staple for me through the hard times. I pray you get encouragement from His word as well. Blessings <3

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Ruth's Garden

My friend Joni had an idea a few seasons ago to start a community garden at our church. It was decided to call this ministry Ruth's Garden based on the story of Ruth in the Bible and the Jewish rule to leave the corners of the fields for widows, travelers, and the poor. Together with Alvin, an avid gardener and fellow church member, the two of them have been filling baskets with beautiful veggies and bags of rice/dry beans along with simple recipes and a Bible. Baskets are then hand delivered (by herself mostly!) to many of the elderly and needy in our area. God has blessed the work as they have given away over 80 baskets in just the first 2 years!That's a bunch of Bibles and blessings!

Today they were planting for their 3rd garden, so we decided to go help...or at least try to help!! Xander was very eager to dig holes, even where they didn't belong! It was a great lesson on LISTENING and following directions! Plus he got to play in the dirt, so it was a win/win! We look forward to helping again soon...if they allow us back ;)

Xander digging and planting


Then watering!

Overall, I was impressed at his willingness! He planted 3 jalapeno plants all by himself!


Homeschooling: Training A Servant's Heart

When my husband and I decided to homeschool our 8yo son this year, we were so excited…and very nervous! Not only is it a huge responsibility, but it would mean giving up most of my income. I praise God for His provision through all of our trials this first year and look forward to what he has in store for us in the future! One thing I have learned so far is HOW I want my children raised. It’s not enough to me anymore that they earn good grades and enjoy their careers (although we wish that for them too!). My hope for them, is that they have genuine, compassionate hearts. A servant’s heart.

The world is in need of Love. Not selfish love, but the never wavering, never condemning love that only God can provide through Christ Jesus. The love of God far surpasses any feeling that we could have for one another. Just as I understood more about the depth of love after having my children, I understand even more how to love others because of the love God has poured into my life. We are not called to condemnation, but to freedom in Christ! Freedom from sin and shame! How do we show this love to the world? We use Christ’s example and serve others. Help the hurting. Love the broken. Invest our lives and our love in people. Show them the love of Christ. His love is patient and kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. (His) Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

It is my sincere hope that my children will learn and grow in wisdom, knowledge, and love through our homeschool experience. I plan to post about our experiences throughout this journey and hope to encourage anyone out there who may feel that God is leading them to homeschool as well. There is so much to learn, hope you decide to join me :)