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,