Saturday, November 7, 2009

Love in the House? Part 1

I recently read a great book that my sweet friend Laine recommended and loaned me. Crazy Love. It is an awesome book, and I highly recommend it. Of course, it is very convicting, and it stirred me to consider love and what the Lord has to say about it.

It began to occur to me that just like Jesus said to be witnesses starting in Jeruselem and then on out to the ends of the earth, shouldn't we be making careful observation of our love as it starts at home?

Consider what Paul had to say to Titus:

"But as for you, speak the things which are proper for SOUND DOCTRINE:. . . . . .the older women likewise, that they be reverant in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things--that they admonish the young women to LOVE THEIR HUSBANDS, TO LOVE THEIR CHILDREN, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the WORD OF GOD MAY NOT BE BLASPHEMED" (2:1, 3-5).

Wow. It is sound doctrine to love our husbands and children. It is so important that we learn this and live this because the Word would be blasphemed otherwise.

But the question remains, why must we be taught this? Isn't the reason we married our men because we love them? Why must we be taught this by older women? And what mother has to be taught to love her children? Aren't these givens? Why are these listed as sound doctrine?

Perhaps one reason we have to be reminded and taught this is because it is more natural for us to love ourselves. It is certainly much easier, LOL!

Someone who had sat under my step-brother in discipleship for ten years recently told me that an important concept he had learned is that "Me-ism" will destroy a marriage.

I will venture to say that "Me-ism" (self-love) has the potential to destroy everything.

I want to analyze what I call love and see if it is the same thing the Lord calls love. What better place to learn than the "love chapter."

More next time. . . .

In the Heart of our Home,

Friday, November 6, 2009

Back in the Bloggin' Saddle Again. . .

I had made up my mind that yes, I would get back in the ol' bloggin' saddle again. I would carve out a few minutes in my early morning again. But I knew it had been a long time when I pulled down my favorites list to access my blog and I had to ask myself,

"Now what's the name of my blog again?"

Yep, it's been a long time, Lucille. ;-)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Testimony Tuesday!!!

Last night Big Brother made a great observation for a boy going on 10.

"Mom, we are really blessed to be born in a country where we can have freedoms to be Christian and read the Bible and not born in another country."

"Yes, you are right. We have a lot to be thankful for. . ."

". . . . . and also to be born in a Christian family."

Wow. The things we often take for granted.

"But our God is in heaven; he does whatever He pleases" (Psalm 115:3).

"Praise the Lord! Praise, O servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord! Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forevermore! From the rising of the sun to its going down the Lord's name is to be praised.

The Lord is high above all nations, His glory above the heavens. Who is like the Lord our God, who dwells on high, who humbles Himself to behold the things that are in the heavens and in the earth" (Psalm 113:1-6).

In the Heart of our Home,

Monday, August 10, 2009

Testimony Tuesday!!!

Sitting in church Sunday morning, Little Sister leaned over and whispered, "Mama, is God still making me?"

What a precious question that could take a while to answer. Great theologians have preached mighty sermons and written countless books on such a subject.

So how to answer a little blue-eyed, curly haired blond and explain it so her young mind might understand?

"Well, He is still working on you. . . . . " (This is quite an understatement, if you know Little Sister. . . . .;-)

"Is He still making my eyebrows?"

"No, but He is making you sweeter and kinder, and He's teaching you to obey better."

And she smiled the sweetest smile and nodded.

"Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6).
Little Sister does not have the Holy Spirit residing in her yet, but all of us Believers have that blessing. The Holy Spirit is faithful to work in the lives of His children. He did begin the work and promises to complete it.
There is nothing good in us without Him. I noticed the following verse in 1 Thessalonians 3:12:
"And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you."
Notice in this verse, we cannot even increase our love without the Lord! Paul is praying that the Lord will do it! We don't realize enough how we can do nothing without His work. We are too sinful to even abound in love to one another without the Lord doing the work.
Isn't He good not to leave us like we are?
In the Heart of our Home,

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Investing our Lives

Little Brother is now over 5 weeks old, and I have spent the first 5 weeks of his life enjoying every little thing about him. We all know children grow fast; I see it in our other blessings. I guess knowing how fast the others have grown causes me to cherish every day and hour with Little Brother.

I noticed these verses in 1 Thessalonians:

"But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us" (2:7-8).

Most mamas do cherish their children and are willing to invest their very lives in them. We must not lose sight of this vision.

This very week, when my house was defintely showing the signs of 5 weeks of "baby rocking" instead of house cleaning and I was beginning to fall prey to stress, my best friend Mama Hen reminded me that the vision was to keep the priority on mothering and not housecleaning.

As a mother, I should be "well pleased" to impart the gospel of God and even my own life to my children (not imparting my life to a clean house or hobbies or other less important distractions).

As a Believer, God has you planted in your life to impart the gospel and even your own life to others. Is it your children, your friends, your parents, your neighbors? Paul was willing to leave his comfort zone and impart the gospel and his life to foreigners and those of a different race.

Investing one's life is not easy. But how much more glorious and satisfying to invest one's life than to waste it.

In the Heart of our Home,

Friday, July 17, 2009

Somebody's Having a Birthday. . . .

Today is a special day around here. Today is Middle Sister's birthday!

Middle Sister is such a blessing to each and every one of us.

She is kind.

She is gentle.

She is creative.

She is musical.

She is a delight to everyone around.

We thank the Lord for our precious Middle Sister.
Our lives would not be complete without her!!!
Happy Birthday, Middle Sister!!!
In the Heart of our Home,

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Testimony Tuesday!!!

Spending alone and quiet time with the Lord is so important, and I have found it to be imperative for me to grow in that "gentle and quiet spirit" while being a Mommy. However, "alone" and "quiet" times are hard to come by, especially with a newborn! :-)

But I have been grabbing and snatching them when I can lately, and I have just finished reading Colossians. A short passage in chapter 3 caught my attention last week. In fact, it struck such a chord with me as verses our family really needed to hear that I posted it in the bathroom. (This is a favorite spot for me to post much-needed-verses. ;-)

"Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection" (Colossians 3:12-14).

What a wonderful reminder to me to be longsuffering and to bear with one another. What a great reminder to my children when they have a complaint against another to not run and tattle but to bear with one another and forgive one another.

So when we get up each morning, we need to remember what to "put on." Tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, and longsuffering are not found in our closets or in the dresser drawers (or in the dryer if you are at my house ;-). They are found in Christ and in His Word.

Did you get properly dressed this morning?

In the Heart of our Home,

Sunday, July 5, 2009

ANNOUNCING. . . . . . .

Announcing the arrival of our 2009 model. . . . . .
Little Brother!

AK (to mama) A "Sweet Potato"

We are so thankful to the Lord for this precious gift.

Daddy is one proud papa. Baby #6 is just as sweet &
wonderful as the first!

All the other children are very proud of him and are really enjoying him already.

Little Brother had somewhat of a rough time in the hospital, spending 3 days in the NICU. He had bleeding above his skull which caused a large "knot" on his head. We praise the Lord that He used the blood in this knot to stop the source of the bleeding. God is good.

Thank you for all your prayers and encouragement!

In the Heart of our Home,


Friday, June 19, 2009

What We've Been Up to Lately. . .

We have had a great summer so far. I thought I would share a little update for anyone who cares. . .:0)
In May we enjoyed Middle Sister's violin concert and Big Brother's, Bigger Brother's, and Big Sister's piano recital. Unfortunately, my camera was MIA the night of the violin concert, but I have a few pics from the piano recital.

Our piano teacher likes for the children to dress the part of the songs they are playing. Here is Bigger Brother playing a few Mexican tunes! He did great!

Big Brother played "The Cassein Song," "American the Beautiful," and "Onward Christian, Soldier." He sure looked cute! ;-)

Big Sister played "Ashokam Farewell" along with a hymn. She did a great job and looked beautiful in this Civil War dress we borrowed from some dear friends. Playing the piano is one of Big Sister's favorite passions.

School is still "in session" at our house. Our summer break will begin when Little Brother arrives.

Doesn't he look thrilled? ;-)

Of course, there's nothing like a little manual work to make you appreciate the indoor bookwork!

Bigger Brother has learned to use the weed eater this summer. This is a big help!

So Big Brother was promoted to the leaf blower! This was very helpful after Monday night's storms!
Big Sister is still baking bread for our family and also for her business. She is hoping to raise enough money again to go back to Central America next year for one of the mission trips her Daddy takes.

Don't be misled. It is not all work around here. (Though it sometimes feels like it! :-)

We recently had a circus show in our own backyard. Middle Sister was the Ringmaster!

The boys killed their very first snake last week. Big Sister spotted it on the driveway, and before I could turn around, these guys had their machetes (from C. American market) and sent it to an early (not early enough ;-) death. (Kristi, I guess you have been right all along. We do live where it is "far and snakey." :0)

Before any snake experts say this is a good snake, I must explain I adhere to the policy of "There ain't but one kind of good snake. . . . "

Occasionally, it is a little quite around here. . . . .

And now it seems all we are doing is waiting. . . . . . .

Maybe we will have some news soon!

In the Heart of our Home,


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Testimony. . . . .Wednesday. . . .:-)

I was not able to post yesterday b/c Monday night's storm knocked out my internet. Surprise. Surprise. ;-)

However, I do want to share a passage of Scripture that I found very encouraging.

"For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light" (Colossians 1:9-12).

I notice several things in these verses.

#1 The importance of praying for the brethren
#2 How crucial that we be "filled with the knowledge of His will."
#3 Understanding His will helps us walk worthy of the Lord.
#4 We are strengthened by His might, not our own.
#5 His strength empowers us for "patience and longsuffering with JOY."
#6 A reminder of our inheritance
God's Word is so full and so alive. We are so blessed to have access to the Scriptures.
What is His Word teaching you this week???
In the Heart of our Home,

Friday, June 12, 2009


Summertime is upon us, and Middle Sister and Little Sister have needed swimming lessons! This is something we never got around to last summer, so I wanted to make it a priority this year.

From the recommendation of a dear friend, we managed to squeeze into the class of a lady who has been teaching for over 20 years. And let me tell you. . . .she is not your average swimming teacher.

Mrs. P. does not put up with any whining, crying, "I don't want to get my face wet" kids. As a matter of fact, when a child did cry, I heard her say with my own ears, "Hush now. There's nothing wrong with you!" and "If you don't stick your face in that water and swim, I'm backing up! I'm backing up!" (out in the deep water! LOL) One child who was really showing some defiant skills was told immediately, "You will not act ugly. Either you get in that water or I will throw you in." I didn't hear another peep from him.

Well, needless to say, every child in their class from 4-8 years of age learned to swim these past 2 weeks! I am telling you, it was amazing! (and a bit amusing)

I humbly admit, my 4 year old did her share of crying the first day, not wanting to put her face in the water. But with no sympathy from her teacher and constant encouragement from Mama and Daddy in the form of "No fits. No crying. Obey your teacher," we had no more tears after the first day.

Little Sister began to enjoy the water and became quite proud of her new abilities.
So after 2 weeks, Middle Sister went from swimming about 3 feet to jumping from the diving board and swimming the length of the pool, and Little Sister went from not wanting to even put her face in the water to jumping from the diving board and swimming to the ladder unassisted.

Isn't it amazing what a little tough love and perseverance will do?

Last night we read the story of the little Dutch boy who saved the town by placing his hand in the crack in the dike. The version in our book emphasized that he had to stand there all night long until someone came to help. Perseverance.
Yet, perseverance is not only reserved for fables and fairy tales. As Believers, this should be fruit in our daily lives.
"And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope" (Romans 5:3).

"But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra--what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3:10-12).
"Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord--that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful" (James 5:11).

"But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love" (2 Peter 1:5-6).

So, wherever God has you in your daily life and wherever you may be in your walk with Him, remember the virtue of perseverance. We know the end goal is worth it:
"Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13-14)!
In the Heart of our Home,
P.S. Lest you think too harshly of Mrs. P, every child was loving her and hugging her with happy smiles before the first week was over. She gets a thumbs up from me. :-)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Job's Wife

Ok, dear bloggy friends. I know my posts are getting fewer and further between. Please forgive me. (I know you all are just on the edge of your seats each day. . .;0) I am now 38 weeks pg and, of course, always dealing with a disagreeable internet service.

Anyway. . . .I do want to share something with you that I noticed in the Scriptures the other day. In church Sunday, someone read aloud from the book of Job. Job had already lost his servants, his sheep, his camels, and, worst of all, his children. Then Satan struck Job with painful boils all over his body. At this point, based upon what the Scriptures share, Job's wife becomes not so encouraging.

"Then his wife said to him, 'Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!' But he said to her, 'You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?' In all this Job did not sin with his lips. (Job 2:9-10).

Wow. How many of us would respond to such terrible tribulations with the faith and "integrity" of Job, or would we be like Job's wife and "one of the foolish women?"

And how often do we miss opportunities to encourage and lift up our husbands in times of much less tragedy? I think it often takes so little for us to remove our focus from the Lord and eternal things. When our mind is on the temporal things of this earth, we easily miss the opportunities to be the help-meet God has called us to be.

Consider the following words from the Bible:

"Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established" (Proverbs 24:3).

"The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands" (Proverbs 14:1).

"There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health" (Proverbs 12:18).

"As a ring of gold in a swine's snout, so is a lovely woman who lacks discretion" (Proverbs 11:22). Don't you love that one?

"Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord" (Proverbs 19:14).

"Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman" (Proverbs 21:9). (Interestingly, this verse is repeated in Proverbs 25:24.)

Wow, the Lord is reminding us of the importance of wisdom, discretion, and prudence.

It is easy to see the folly of Job's wife's response, but how easily do we see the folly of our own ways? Let's don't wait until our hubbies have retreated to the corner of our housetops before we evaluate our responses to him and the wisdom (or lack thereof) of our ways.

In the Heart of our Home,

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Testimony Tuesday!!!

I want to share quickly what I noticed in Philippians this past week. Paul is in prison and writing to encourage the Philippian church. What has been on my mind is in Philippians 1:12:

"But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel."

Wow!!! What an awesome result of his sufferings! How many of us can say that our sufferings resulted in the "furtherance of the gospel?" So many times our problems result in our whinings or even bitterness!

Yet, isn't God's glory what He desires as a result of our sufferings? I have witnessed friends experience far more pain and tragedy than I can even imagine, and yet some continue to keep their focus on Christ and continue to glorify the Father. Yet other people only wallow in the least tribulation.

I pray I can be like Paul and be able to say, "the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel."

When we face troubles, we can remember what he says in verse 27: "Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ."

What about you? Is the Lord teaching you this week?

In the Heart of our Home,

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Testimony Tuesday!!!

Often when I read the Scripture, I am encouraged and reminded to persevere. Other times I see the glory and awesomeness of the Lord and am brought to worship. Then there are times, like this week, when God uses His two-edged sword to bring conviction I greatly need.

My reading yesterday brought me to Philippians 1:9-11. When I first began reading it, I fondly remembered a summer or two ago when a dear friend led a Bible study at her house on these particular verses. However, this time when I read them, I found myself being brought back to them over and over as the Holy Spirit convicted me.

"And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God."

The most convicting part for me is the beginning: "that your love may abound still more and more."

It is easy to love those who love us. It is easy to love those who are so lovable. It is easy to love when our circumstances are good. But the lost sinners can love under those situations. The Spirit enables us to rise above those circumstantial variables.

But how often I fall short. Even today, after meditating on these verses for 2 days, I once again saw my shortcomings. I was tired after teaching my children, going to the doctor, and then spending over an hour in Sam's. When yet another stranger made a rude comment about our family size, I let my physical weakness blind me from what I often consider a great opportunity to witness.

Did I let love abound more and more? No, I drove away irritated and bitter. How I need the Lord and His new mercies everyday.

God is good. Even the conviction He brings is evidence of His mercy. Thank you, Lord.

What about you? What is God teaching you?

In the Heart of our Home,

Monday, May 25, 2009

Redeeming the Time

Not too long ago, we were visiting my father. . .who happens to have satellite TV. :-) Since we do not have satellite, cable, or any incoming channels for that matter, it is always a treat to my kids to watch a few cartoons or sometimes Animal Planet.

Now to tell you a little fact about myself---I would be a Fox News Channel junkie, if given the chance. So when we go to Paw Paw's or any other place with digital channels, I love to sneak me some moments in front of the latest "Fair and Balanced."

Well, while we were visiting, I overheard the following conversation between 2 of my girls:

Middle Sister: Do you want to watch TV?

Big Sister: I guess.
Middle Sister: I wonder what we can watch?
Big Sister: I don't know. . .
Middle Sister: (glumly) Probably the only thing on that we can watch is Dora or the news.

(We are very picky about what they can watch. LOL! If it's on Noggin, it's probably OK. LOL! If it's on Disney, it depends (no teeny-bopper, disrespectful, jr./high school junk allowed). If it's on Cartoon Network, maybe if it's Tom and Jerry. :-) If it's on Nick and it's not preschool, don't ask. They do get a lot of Animal Planet. ;-)

Big Sister: Maybe there's something on. . . .

Middle Sister: If you had to pick between Dora and the News, what would you pick?

Big Sister: I don't know, I guess the news. . .

Middle Sister: Oh, no!!!! That means you are really growing up!

When I overheard this, I just chuckled to myself. Middle Sister thinks Big Sister is growing up just because she might choose the news over Dora the Explorer! Of course, I had to restrain myself from calling in there and telling Big Sister, "C'mon girl, let's find Sean Hannity's show!"

But the truth of the matter is that she is growing up, just like all my children are. I just don't always notice it. The time we have with them is so fleeting. One birthday rolls around after another. As I have thought back on their little conversation, I have been reminded over and over to stop and cherish these days and years. We can't get them back.

Consider what the Lord says about our time in Ephesians 5:15-16:
"See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil."
We have such precious little time with our children. We should make the most of it, making sacrifices to spend as much time as possible with them, "redeeming the time, because the days are evil!"

What are some practical changes or commitments you have made in order to redeem the time as you raise your children?

In the Heart of our Home,

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Testimony Tuesday!!!

I came across this verse the other day and marveled at the wisdom of God!

"How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony" (Psalm 133:1)

If you have sons at home (or daughters), you probably recognize how true this is. My sons are best friends, and when they are apart seem lonely and lost. However, it is not too rare to hear bickering or tattling coming from these "2 musketeers." They are still learning the Christlike qualities of "others first--me last" and so forth. After reading this verse, I am reminded to appreciate the harmonious moments and not take them for granted!

Perhaps some of you have siblings of your own and should apply this verse to your relationships. We should even consider our relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Just how much does our Lord value this harmony? Consider the rest of chapter 133:

For harmony is as precious as the annointing oil that was poured over Aaron's head, that ran down his beard and onto the border of his robe. Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon that falls on the mountains of Zion. And there the Lord has pronounced his blessing, even life everlasting."

How can you promote harmony in your home and in your other relationships today?

What has God been teaching you? Can you give testimony to Him this week?

In the Heart of our Home,

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Modesty. This is an issue that has been on my heart and mind lately. A friend is going through a book study that covers this issue, and I believe it to be an area all women should consider and keep in mind as they choose their own clothes and as they guide their daughters in the same area.

The Lord (through Paul) instructed Timothy to teach his church "that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation" (1 Timothy 2:9), yet we need look no further than the next church pew (and perhaps the mirror) to realize that the church is failing to teach this Biblical concept. And perhaps many of us are choosing to ignore the plainly written Scriptures.

We cannot rationalize in our mind why we should buy or keep clothes that are too tight or too low or too short or too whatever. Hopefully, most grown women are intelligent enough to discern what is modest and what is not. Our daughters really are, but we as mamas could and should still give them guidance in this area.

Titus 2 clearly spells out what we older women should be teaching out daughters (younger women), and the word "discreet" falls in the list. The world is teaching our daughters its idea of "beautiful" and boldly encourages them to show off in every way. But God's Word clearly teaches a totally opposite way: "rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit" (1 Peter 3:4).

What are you teaching? What are you practicing?

Hubby came across a great article on this subject last week, and I would like to share it with you.

In the Heart of our Home,

Sunday, May 10, 2009

"'Honor your father and mother.' This is the first commandment with a promise" (Ephesians 6:2).

Happy Mother's Day!!!

In the Heart of our Home,

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Testimony Tuesday!!!

"Praise the Lord, all you nations. Praise him, all you people of the earth. For He loves us with unfailing love; the Lord's faithfulness endures forever. Praise the Lord" (Psalm 117)!

You are my God, and I will praise You! You are my God, and I will exalt you! Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever" (Psalm 118:28-29).

Saturday, May 2, 2009

"Waiting for Hours, Mama"

Isn't amazing to see and feel the seemingly unconditional love a child has for his or her parents? I mean, of course, most parents love their children in such a way, but when I notice the precious signs of love and forgiveness in my children toward me, I really feel very undeserving.

The other night, Hubby took the boys camping. Boy, do they love this! Of course, they always seem to have so much fun camping and fishing and sitting around the campfire and doing guy stuff. Of course, they can have a "guy night" that is practically free, but when they decide to have a "guy night," I have 3 pair of girl eyes looking at me wondering what kind of "girls' night" will we have!?!

Hmmm. . . .we have shopped. We have had arts & crafts nights. We have shopped again. However, it is sooooooo hard to have a "girls' night" that is relatively free (like camping and fishing)!

So this week, when all girl eyes were on me (and I was exhausted from garden work all day), I thought desperately about how I could make this evening special with low-cost and low-energy! Then I remembered, "It's Kids Eat Free Night at Pizza Hut!" Hooray! Let's go eat pizza girls! And then we will come home and watch a movie (from our own private collection ;-)!

Dinner and a movie! The pizza went well, and we returned home for the video. As they were preparing the movie and the "theatre," I was checking my email. Little Sister came into the room to announce that her "baby" was saving our chair for "me and you, Mama."

How sweet. "OK, dear, I'll be there as soon as I finish this."

She came back 3 times to tell me either it was almost time for the movie or the movie was starting. I finally told her not to come back to tell me that b/c I would be there ASAP. :-(

When I finished and entered the "theatre," she jumped up from "our" chair so excited to see me. We snuggled into the rocker and she told me, "I've been waiting for you for hours, Mama."

Well, she immediately became engrossed into the movie, and I thought about what she had said, lettting it sink in. Here I was. . . tired, reluctant to invest the energy into a "girls' night" that meant so much to all of them, and they were eager and excited about just the smallest effort.

How convicting.

Not only did this remind me how our children love and desire time with us and those special memory-making moments, it reminded me of our love for Jesus.

Do we crave time with Him? Do we love Him and desire to spend time with Him?

"And you shall the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength" (Mark 12:30).

Does the time away from Him seem like "hours?" Do we yearn for His return?

" 'Surely I am coming quickly.' Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22:20)!

I pray I will always value and cherish my time with these little (and not so little anymore) ones even when I am tired and spent and also that my love for Christ will always have the expectant love and desire that longs for Him, His Word, and His return.

In the Heart of our Home,

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Testimony Tuesday!!!

Yesterday was a busy, yet productive day. The children and I joined another sweet family at the strawberry patch and picked 7 buckets of yummy strawberries. Then we ventured to another location and selected this year's tomato and pepper plants. (We are going to try a few tomatoes from a different variety this year!)

Once home, the day did not slow down! Sweet hubby was tilling the rest of the garden. Big Brother and Big Sister hoed more dirt around the potatoes, and Bigger Brother dug a trench around the "up and coming" chicken pen! (Hubby decreed since I am 32 weeks pg and "thirty-ahem-something" years old, I needed to put down the hoe. I didn't argue. :-) Sooooo. . .I did what I do best. . . . . . supervise!

After the garden was tilled, we worked at picking up all the grass clumps that were still lying around in the dirt. (The children were tired, but they worked hard b/c I had promised bathing suits and waterhose when the work was completed! ;-)

Of course, I wanted as much of the grass out of the garden as possible, especially while the ground was nice and soft. The Lord has often reminded me in the garden how we should apply this to the training of our children.

Isn't it much easier to help our children with the weeds of disrespect, disobedience, bad habits, etc. when their hearts are still tender? I am convinced we should address and help them pull these weeds out of their character early. As my friend said yesterday about a similar issue, "It must be nipped in the bud." :-)

If we don't tend to the weeds early, when the ground is soft and when we first notice them, it always proves more difficult later. How often I have dreaded going out to my garden because I knew the weeds were about to overtake the other plants! It is so hard then to hoe the weeds without disturbing the precious plants (not to mention back-breaking).

So this Tuesday, my testimony is how gracious God is to gently remind me again to pay close attention to the weeds in these dear children's lives and to guide them and help them remove such nasty things while the soil is tender. (In addition, I must add, it reminds me to pay attention to the weeds that creep up in my own life as well. Now wouldn't that be a whole 'nother blog post! :-)

What about you? Do you have an encouragement to share?

In the Heart of our Home,

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Leading Others to the Treasure

On Easter, our family enjoyed lunch with the grandparents at our house. Sweet MIL brought a basket of plastic eggs, so after eating, the children took to the yard for lots of fun.

I set 2 rules: 1) everyone gets a turn hiding the eggs and 2) no one may bail out of the game after they have had their turn hiding the eggs. (And, of course, no peeking. ;-)

Of course, after 2 or 3 games, the older children are trying to be patient (and wishing they could quit) but keep trying to continue the fun for the younger ones.

Well, when Little Sister had her turn, I migrated from the front porch rocker out to the yard to help her hide the many eggs for her older siblings (you know, so they wouldn't all be lying right out in the grass ;-). We worked hard looking for sneaky and covert places to place a plastic egg.

When we finally had them all hidden (by that point I was ready to roll them out in the grass myself), she eagerly went to the house calling her brothers and sisters. That is when the humor began.

Instead of enjoying them look REALLY hard for all those masterfully hidden eggs, I watched in amazement as Little Sister joyfully lead all of them to EACH and EVERY EGG!!!

It was a riot to see her running around the yard, leading them excitedly to every little treasure and to see her siblings running along after her, laughing and grabbing as fast as they could.

She just couldn't keep it a secret. It was too good to her to keep it quiet!

I have thought about that precious sight many times in the past 2 weeks. It occured to me. . . . do we not, as Believers, have a Treasure that is much more precious than a plastic Easter egg? We have something so worth sharing--Christ Jesus, and yet, how many of us have lost our zeal for Him?

I know I often find myself more caught up in my daily life than caught up in Christ and His Good News.

I pray that I will rejoice in my Treasure daily and continue to point others the right way because of the JOY of my salvation!

In the Heart of our Home,

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Testimony Tuesday!!!

I would like to share what I have learned through the Word this week and also through the book I have been reading, Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit. The author of the book pointed out the difference between worldly and godly sorrow.

With worldly sorrow, we may feel bad about a mistake or sin, but our focus is totally on ourselves. For example, "Oh, I always lose my patience with this child when she does this. When will I ever learn? I just keep failing. I'm just a bad mom." Perhaps there is no real concern or conviction for this particular sin, just a desire for "me" to get it right.

Godly sorrow, on the other hand, focuses on true conviction. It grieves over and confesses the sin, and then godly sorrow repents:

"Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted, but the sorrow of the world produces death" (2 Corinthians 7:9-10).

I do not want to be in self-pity about my mistakes, but I want to submit it properly to the Lord.

I shared this principle about worldly and godly sorrow with my children b/c we all know how children are "sorry" but then often repeat the same grievances over and over. ;-) I encouraged them to join me in responding to sin with godly sorrow instead of worldly sorrow. We even noticed how the night before Christ's crucifixion, both Judas and Peter (as well as the others) sinned in their betrayal and denial of Jesus. Yet it seems obvious that Judas responded to his sin with worldly sorrow and that Peter responded with godly sorrow.

So the Lord is teaching me about godly sorrow this week. What is He teaching you??!!!??

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Testimony Tuesday!!!

The Lord has been taking me back to a somewhat less familiar and certainly less practiced Biblical principle. I have always struggled in the area of "gentle and quiet spirit." (Are you surprised? ;-)

"Do not let your adornment be merely outward. . . . .rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God" (1 Peter 3:3-4).

Many years ago, I would just dismiss this verse of exhortation and say, "Oh, well. God just didn't make me like that."

Of course, He wouldn't let me stay in this ignorance and over the past 5 years or so has gently worked on me and stretched me in this area. I have NOWHERE even NEARLY arrived, and even if He struck me mute, there would be the issue of "spirit." ;-)

However, I can see in little ways how He has taught me and changed me. Maybe I had become satisfied that I was now quiet enough and shouldn't bother to be stretched anymore. What a laugh!!!

So just a few days ago, I began re-reading a book by Teri Maxwell: Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit. Whoa!!!!! What a reminder that the Lord is so not finished with me yet!

She offers this definition of meek/gentle from the Webster's 1858 dictionary: mild of temper, soft, gentle, not easily provoked or irritated. Hmmm. . . I am a little concerned about the not easily irritated part!!!!

Maxwell then shares the definition of quiet from Webster: peaceable, not turbulent, not giving offense, mild, meek, and contented. Ouch. I have been praying that the Lord would help me to be contented in each of the little circumstances through the day that would normally provoke irritation.

So as you can see, the Lord is teaching me a lot; I know I can only lean on Him to help my flesh submit in obedience and in a "gentle and quiet spirit."

What is the Lord teaching you? Please share a comment about how you are growing in your walk with Him!

In the Heart of our Home,

Monday, April 13, 2009

What We've Been Up To. . . .

I thought I would take a few minutes to share with you some recent pics from the past few months. We have enjoyed field trips, learning while traveling, learning with friends, and, of course, our favorite, learning at home.

While in Tennesee, we stopped by Shiloh National Park to learn about the Civil War's Battle of Shiloh.

Some of the kids thought it was great fun to dress up as Confederate and Union soldiers. :-)

We saw the Bloody Pond and were sobered by its role in the battle. (However, I think the boys were secretly disappointed it was not red. . . .;-)

While we were in NW Alabama, we had an opportunity to fish on Wilson Lake.

One night, Bigger Brother played "Rock of Ages" in the church service. Another night, Big Sister played "Be Thou My Vision." These are some of their recital pieces, and I was so glad they could use what they are learning to glorify the Lord.

We have had lots of fun learning science with our Science Co-op Group. We are using Apologia's Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the 5th Day.

We always love going to visit friends. We learn all kinds of things with Mama Hen and her brood!

Learning at home comes in all shapes and sizes. . . . . . .

Yes, that is a snake. Those who know me well know that I have a tendency to kill these as quickly as possible, but since it was so small, I let them play with this one. Can you believe my sons actually thought I would let them keep it? (I'm not that cool of a science teacher! ;0)

Ahhh. . . . .reading on the front porch. Now this is more my speed. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Finally, dear hubby took a few pictures Easter morning that I will share.

I think they're all keepers!!!

In the Heart of our Home,

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Testimony Tuesday!!!

The children and I have been learning Matthew 5 together. At the rate we are going, it will be fall before we have completed it ;0), but we are learning some great truths as we move along.

It is amazing how God's Word is always fresh and how my soul is always in need of more teaching and shaping from Him.

When we came to the end of the Beattitudes, I noticed how the Lord concluded that little section with teaching on persecution and then went on into verses 11 and 12 elaborating on how our response should be to such suffering.

"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (Matthew 5:10-12).

As we learned this together, I realized my attitude toward persecution and suffering for righteousness' sake had been way off target. I could understand verse 10, fully agreeing that those who were persecuted should be considered "blessed." However, the "rejoice and be exceedingly glad," is what cut to my heart.

Before, I had felt compassion for those experiencing persecution and wanted to help our brothers and sisters around the world who undergo such terrible suffering for the name of our Lord. Yet, I would always pray and thank Him that we do not experience that type of persecution in our country. I would remind our children of how thankful we should be for that reason.

After reading Jesus' words, I am convicted that I so want to avoid persecution. According to Him, it is not something to despise and from which to hide; it is something that should bring rejoicing and brings Christ's blessings.

This is so against the ways of the flesh. This kind of attitude and thinking does not come naturally and doesn't even seem to make sense.

I am praying that God would change my attitude and thinking in this area to line up with His.

"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 2:5).

What has God been teaching you lately? Share and comment and encourage me and others with what you are learning in your walk with Him!

In the Heart of our Home,

Friday, April 3, 2009

Milkshakes, Vaccinations, and Sanctification

I know all (3) of you were so worried about my absence from bloggy world this past week or so. We have been traveling with hubby again as he preaches in revival services, and this past week, I did not have internet access.

Yesterday, our first day home, we began the day with check-ups and vaccination updates at the dr. office. We thought Little Sister would be finishing up her rounds of "catching up" and the others were only getting a booster of a vaccination that our pediatrician recently recommended since we travel to C. America.

It was encouraging to see the older ones planning how they would definitely go first and set the example for Little Sister, you know, in order to show her how "big kids" take it. (Besides, Mama promises Chik-fil-a milkshakes for general good behavior during "shot time.")

Well, as many of you can imagine and maybe relate, the conversation continued the whole way there about how Little Sister should just watch them and see that "it's really not that bad."

Oh, to have a camera to catch the looks on their faces when we got there only to discover that Little Sister was actually the one who was all "caught up!" And the funny irony of the fact that it was some of the older children who were really "behind." (no pun intended)

Little Sister sat almost expressionless as the good news of her pardon seemed to sink in. It was almost as if she were afraid to celebrate too soon. After a few minutes, she leaned to my ear and whispered, "I still get a milkshake, . . .right?" :-)

The older children did do well, despite being taken off guard by the news of extra injections. I thought about how we as Believers are so often aware that we are to be an example for others.

"Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1).

What a heavy load this sometimes seems. We know we are to follow Christ in such a committed way that we can turn to others and encourage them to imitate us! I know I so often do not feel adequate for this task.

And isn't it funny that when we do think we are up to it and are focused on the role of "example-setting," in reality, Christ is really working on us? Remember the verse I shared last Tuesday?

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works , which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10).

So while we are called to set the example for others by ourselves imitating Christ, He assures us that He is still working on us! We can trust and rest in that truth. I don't expect Christ would leave any workmanship of His own halfway completed: "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2).

And just think, we have something far greater than milkshakes waiting at the end!

In the Heart of our Home,

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Testimony Tuesday

Praise the Lord for how He teaches us continually through His Word.

He is constantly reminding me how anything good that comes from me is because of Him! Last night I read in Ephesians these awesome words:

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of words, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Not only is the grace from Him, even the faith to believe is "not of yourselves." Praise the Lord for His grace.

Then He doesn't stop! Any good things that come from us is not our own doings. I am not my own workmanship (thank you, Lord!); I am "His workmanship!"

As a Believer, He does not leave us to ourselves. He continually works on us to sanctify us.

Aren't you glad He is the "Worker?"

What about you? What is God teaching you?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

We Have a Birthday Around Here!

Today is a big day at our house b/c it is Bigger Brother's birthday!!!

We were blessed 11 years ago today with our very first son, and he has kept us hoppin' ever since! He is one of the several joys in our life, which wouldn't be complete without him!

Bigger Brother blesses us in so many ways. He is smart as a whip and already works very independently on his schoolwork. He can put just about anything together and makes a fabulous handyman around this house!

He loves to fish . . . . . . .

He also loves to hunt and even put some meat in the freezer again this year. (I guess you guys dont' want to see a picture of that, though. . . . . .)

He has proven to be a great goalie for the soccer team!

Bigger Brother is a hard worker and when given a task, works at it diligently and thoroughly! He can hoe and plant a garden, shovel rock, help mix concrete, and still mop the floor better than me! :-)

What blesses us most, though, is to see how the Lord is working on his heart. He has always been sensitive to others' feelings and kind to others. But I am seeing a sensitivity to spiritual things that I am trusting is the work of the Holy Spirit. He has a strong mind for the Scriptures, and I see a boldness to share Christ that I wish I had!

Whether in Central America or the US, he doesn't mind passing out tracts and sharing the love of Christ. To God be the glory.
We are proud of Bigger Brother and look forward to what God has in store for him. We are blessed to be his parents and thankful to the Lord that He saw fit to place Bigger Brother in our family for these fleeting years of training and stewardship.
In the Heart of our Home,