Sunday, December 16, 2012

Before Time Began

The Christmas began long, long ago...long before time began. It began in the heart of the Creator who loved. He loved before He created, before He spoke in to being all that is. He loved enough to know how the creation would choose to love something other than his Creator and to create anyway. Man, that first man and every man after him, would indeed choose...choose to disobey the one thing he was forbidden to do.

I was recently reading with Jacob from his little children's bible the story of the fall. It hit me right then: most people don't get it. The person who interpreted this story and put it into words for children didn't get it. God did not punish Adam and Eve by putting them out of the Garden of Eden. No. He protected them - He showed them mercy. He desired that man should not live forever in his fallen state - unable to have the relationship with his Creator that he was designed for. He desired to restore. Imagine if the Giver of Life allowed His creation to reach up and eat the fruit of the tree of life and live forever...forever separated from His Creator, forever powerless against sin and Satan. Imagine the heartache of a world without hope. Oh...we have heartache now...but we have hope...hope that the Creator, who loved us before He laid the foundations of the world, before we took our first breath, before we were even a blip on the screen during an ultrasound, hope that He is able to accomplish what we are powerless to do. good of the Creator that before the world existed, before that first sin, He made a way through Christ for us to conquer sin, to live even though we die, to walk and to fellowship once again with Him.

And that way came in the form of a baby who lay in a manger that holy night. His love came down...His love spoke healing to the hurting and invited those who were far away to draw near. His name is Jesus the Christ. Emanuel, God with us. Savior. Messiah.

My prayer for you this Christmas is that you will know and understand the depth of your Creator's love for you. May you experience His mercy and grace. YOU were on His heart before the world began.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Our Little School at Home: Rev to Rev Unit 17, LHFHG, Unit 1

Rev to Rev Unit 17

Joshua is continuing to thrive in Rev to Rev. I am wondering about adding the extensions because he finishes so quickly - a point of prayer. His written narrations are taking on a life of their own. No more complaints on Day 1 of the unit about it!! HOORAY!

My favorite time of the day is that time when he needs my help. He spends most of the day independently, except for needing some math help occasionally, language arts, biblical worldview and story time. I know that he could totally complete story time on his own, but I love my time with him...and my time of homeschooling him is growing short.

We both enjoyed Marie's Home, even after his original, "Ah this is for girls..." attitude. LOL. Both of us were sorry to finish the book. We began Seaman and are enjoying his journey with Lewis and Clark. Having studied this before, it is fun to discuss what we already know and how it fits with what we are learning now.

Joshua continues to enjoy the inventor study and the state study. The only thing he really does not like to do is to cut out the pictures of state flower, etc., to glue into the state study. He "forgets" to do it often and is sent back to complete it correctly...and he does.

Grammar is progressing well. I was so afraid to switch to Rod and Staff after using a different program since we started homeschooling. I am so thankful we made the switch. Joshua is excelling and enjoys (YIKES) sentence diagramming. We have fallen slightly behind in creative writing, but not because we don't like the program. But, since it is only scheduled once a week, I have a tendency to forget to check over it. Anything that doesn't get immediately checked suddenly doesn't get complete.

Joshua only finished half of Unit 17 because he is taking a wood working class. He has Christmas presents he is working on, so he spent extra class at the wood shop completing them. I am not allowed to see them, but have been told that he did a really great job!

Little Hearts for His Glory, Unit 1:

So, if you did not hear how miraculously God brought us the curriculum we needed for little Jacob, you can read it here! He is always good to us and I thank Him for His generous provision!

We began LHFHG immediately. We are not quite doing half pace, but are working on it. Jacob is loving the math activities. We filled a plastic bag with lotion (okay, I did not have hair gel & used what I had), and practiced writing our numbers in it. He did it until he had worn multiple holes in the bag. I also taped all the numbers on the floor and we traced them with our feet...umm...the numbers are still there. I am only slightly concerned that the tape may leave a sticky residue, but Jacob is having fun daily tracing

We also learned about history - His story. Jacob had fun with the creative activity, tearing up construction paper and making a sort of collage with the cross in the center. He also learned that it takes the earth one year to travel around the sun. But, probably his favorite activity was the we leaped like deer, hopped like kangaroos, stomped like elephants...well.. you get the picture.

I am most impressed with how easily he memorizes Scripture. We have done this outside of school and I was amazed. After going over the verse three times, he knows it...he can recite it clearly and without stuttering over words. WOW! Wish that I could memorize that easily!! Then, we get to have so much fun with it!!

We started Reddy Fox. What a crack up! We read during lunch and my 13 year old is asking me to read the next chapter, "PLEASE!" LOL. He said, "It's not fair. You did not do this with me." Oh, but I did read excellent books to him...but he did miss some gems!! Well, he is getting them through his little brother. (SMILE)

Really thankful for the gift of LHFHG. God has truly blessed us by providing just what we needed.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

God's Gifts

God's gifts are always above and beyond anything that I could think or even imagine. As I prepare for my day today, I just want to proclaim His goodness and mercy.

My family, we are struggling. Is it any wonder that financially, we are a mess? Todd has been out of full-time work for more than three years - that's when his company "down-sized." He has tried and been denied full-time employment more times than we can even count. He works two part-time jobs and I work part-time just to keep this boat afloat. Top it off with my medical issues, no insurance and bills that just won't stop coming. Yep, God moves mightily in our lives frequently...He has to, or we would be living in the car. So, for each and every provision I give Him thanks! Each meal is a gift. How kind, how thoughtful, how good of God. Electricity, running water, gas heat? All His generous gifts. We can't afford to think we had anything to do with them. Christmas gifts to open? Oh, how the hand of God moved someone to buy things for our boys...why? Because God's love is extravagant.

Don't believe me? Haven't seen it lately in your own life? Look at the cross. Without all the fluff of life God has so graciously provided, it is there...right there, when God sent His Son to die on the cross for the forgiveness of my sin. What kind of extravagant love is that?? Send the Perfect to die in the place of this sinner. Allow the Blameless, Unblemished to bear the scars of my shame. Oh, that there, in that moment, on that cross, all the love God has for man is revealed. And so, I give thanks. What He did on the cross is enough, but God is the Giver..and so He gives MORE! Truly amazing!

This morning, I am so overwhelmed by His goodness and humbled by His rememberance as I prepare for Jacob's school day. Someone, who knows me only through a homeschool board gifted us with Jacob's curriculum. How do you give thanks for that? How do you tell the woman who sent it or the God who prompted her "Thank you for being thoughtful beyond anything I could ask or imagine"? How? Words are inadequate and hearts are full to bursting.

We started Little Hearts for His Glory immediately (my littlest one was so excited to have his own school)...and we just keep giving thanks to God for providing this sweet little curriculum for our family. And thanks to the woman who read into my post and saw the need beneath it all! May God grant you and your family a day filled with His joy and a real sense of His presence. May He bless, strengthen and encourage you as you lead your little ones to the Giver of Life! May your eyes continue to be opened to His amazing gifts!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Broken Open

God gave me the opportunity to share my testimony with a group of women three weeks ago. I did not want to....I was not jumping up and down for joy...I was not wanting to break myself open for all to see the darkness that lies beneath. But then, God (don't you love how every good story starts with that.."but then, God...") But then, God moved in my heart. He reminded me of the tragedy and the heartache He had carried me through, and He opened the door for me to share my ugly so others could see His beauty. I am humbled that He would use my sin, my failings, my inadequacies and my deepest sorrows to make known His saving power, His sufficiency, His ability to reach in to the depths and save, to bring great joy.

I wondered when He first began to whisper what He intended me to do. Why would He ask so much of me? Why would He ask me to speak of such awful memories, memories that I intended to lock in a box and put in a closet, for none to see? What were His intentions? Then, the moment came...I was there in front of forty women. I was trembling with anticipation and fear. The words poured out, a few tears, and then, the victory that He gave me broke forth from my lips with great joy. I told them how I had wanted to hide and refuse God what He asked, but He cleared the path for me to be there anyway. He wanted His light to shine in the darkness of their lives, just like His light shines in the darkness of mine. He wanted them to know His love reaches the unreachable, His Son's blood covers the unforgivable and His mercy and grace rescue when nothing else can.

His will was made known that day. He showed me that He had a perfect plan. I was broken open, but not only for my own sake. The women responded - many of them were broken open, also. They came up afterwards, hugged me and whispered their stories. It was truly overwhelming to hear so many say, "I have never told anyone..." or "I have lived with this shame and guilt for my entire life..." I wept with them...shame and guilt is not how the Lord wants us to live. When we put our failings, big or small in a box, we begin to feel it: SHAME. GUILT. The enemy has power over us. But, when we are broken open, He sheds His light and writes His Truth in our lives. Then, the shame is transformed into victory and the guilt is washed away by the blood of the Lamb. Only God could cleanse such sorrows as were whispered to me...only He could allow freedom to speak of tragedy so that His goodness could be made known. Only God could give me the strength and courage to give testimony of His amazing grace in my life. So, I rejoice. I give all praise and honor and glory to the One who whispers my name, who covers me in His love and who is mighty to save.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Our Little School at Home: Rev to Rev Unit 13

This week, Joshua began unit 13 of Revival to Revolution. He only made it through day 2. We began reading Marie's Home. He looked at me and said, "Okay, Mom, this is a good seems like it is for girls." I chuckled and then gently reminded him that we could still learn from it. By the end of the assigned reading, he asked, "So, do you think that maybe you could read another chapter? This is kinda good." Hmmmm...of course, I did not read on, but I did get another chuckle.

In his history spine, George Washington's World, Joshua is studying the French Revolution. His written narrations are growing in length and depth, but his oral narration this week was a little shaky. That seems a little strange to me, mostly because it used to be the other way around. On Monday, I am planning on having him reread the selection and try again. His history project is tied to the French Revolution. He is making a cockade of red,white and blue.

Joshua is enjoying his inventor study. Currently, he is studying Eli Whitney. Growing up with an uncle who is an inventor, he himself takes a great interest in the men who came up with ideas to solve everyday problems.

He hit a roadblock in math this week and I gave him a break. Typically, if I give him a few days off then he comes back with a renewed understanding. It is like his mind continues processing the information, even thought he isn't actively doing it. So, instead of pressing ahead in math, we played some math games daily.

Of course, the question is, why in the world did we only complete two days of our curriculum? I worked ten hours on Tuesday, which only affected the things that were teacher directed - we completed those on Wednesday. My parents needed help this week making repairs on their home for winter. Joshua is pretty handy, and whatever he doesn't know, my dad teaches him - from pin tucking brick to using a circular saw. So, he spent many hours crawling under their house, helping Grandpa install a pump to alleviate the flooding in the crawl space. He then leveled the dirt, insulated and worked in Grandpa's wood shop. By the end of the year, he will have enough hours and experience to have earned a shop credit. I am so thankful that Joshua has a good work ethic and wants to bless his grandparents by helping them.

Probably my favorite memory of the week was Jacob snuggled up on Joshua's lap, completing his reading lesson. Jacob was so excited to be reading to his older brother...and Joshua was so thrilled to be the one to help him. I did take pictures, but I am not computer savy, so I have no idea how to even post them.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Our Little School At Home: Rev to Rev Units 10-12

It has been a crazy couple of weeks! Both the boys have been sick on and off, I went out of town for an annual event and work took me out of the house a few days. Needless to say, I am behind in posting and the boys are slightly behind schedule with school. Gotta love homeschooling!

Joshua continues to love his curriculum. We finished reading The Reb and the Redcoats a bit ahead of schedule because it was the one thing we could accomplish while ill. We both were delighted with the story and enjoyed getting to know the characters. So blessed by all the great books we get to read!

Joshua made hasty pudding one day - I have no idea which of the three units it was in. No one in the family liked it. Even so, Joshua had a lot of fun preparing it. We so appreciate that cooking skills are occasionally included as a History Project.

We both are thrilled with the Worldview study. The discussion time is so great! In the last unit we looked up verses and matched them with the characteristic of God that they confirmed. Joshua LOVED it. He told me that he so enjoys God's Word. I see him growing in the Lord leaps and bounds this year. Praising God for His work in each of our lives!

Today, while checking Day 3 of unit 12, I realized that Joshua and I had never completed his writing. We will have to complete that tomorrow. When we get out of our groove for more than a day we seem to lose our momentum!

He also has missed his music appreciation lessons - at least part of them. Somehow Joshua misplaced the disc he needs to complete the projects. I did find it, but I was not a happy camper! He will be making up the work the week of Thanksgiving - it was scheduled time off.

Joshua is continuing to memorize the book of Matthew for Bible quizzing...but again, he is behind due to illness. Hopefully, he will be able to catch up in the next week since the next quiz is just over a week away.

He also is practicing with a neighborhood church for their Christmas cantata that he was invited to be part of. Poor guy, he is one of the few teen boys that is participating..and since it isn't our home church, he doesn't really know anyone.
But, he is a trouper and doesn't complain!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Our Little School At Home: Unit 9

Jacob sat in Daddy's lap today and read a book to him. Daddy was SUPER impressed that his little four year old could read it all by himself! He has been working on it all week because he wanted to be able to do it "right" for Daddy. Loved it! The only mistake I made was not capturing it on video.

Although we haven't been able to purchase his curriculum yet, he is still enjoying The Reading Lesson and other little workbooks. Last week, we read a book from the library called Pop and Toot. This week, he has been writing Pop Toot on the whiteboard. It is kinda funny how he writes Pop. His second P is typically backwards. So cute!

Well, we made it! Unit 9 is complete of Rev to Rev. Joshua is celebrating his success - and we are, too! For the most part, this year is the smoothest we have EVER had in eight years of homeschooling. He is taking ownership of his education...but more importantly, I see him growing leaps and bounds spiritually. It is so fun to hear him connect his Scripture memory to some lesson he is learning in another subject. LOVE IT!!

We finished reading John Paul Jones: The Pirate Patriot. His life was so sad, in the end. Joshua pointed out how Jones' story demonstrates that not even fame or being a hero lasts.

I love the World View study. Joshua surprises me sometimes with his depth of insight. So thankful that HOD introduced me to the Who is God resource and I look forward to it!

We decided at the beginning of the year that if Joshua finished nine units without skipping things, then we would take him out to eat at his favorite restaurant. We rarely eat our. So, he is SUPER excited that he has earned his reward.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Our Little School at Home: HOD Rev to Rev Unit 8

This unit we continued reading John Paul Jones: The Pirate Patriot. We both are really enjoying the glimpse into this man's life. At one point, Joshua said, "Aw Mom, are those tears - do you really need to cry?" I was just so moved reading about the founding of our country, the sacrifices and hard decisions made.

One day, following his history reading from George Washington's World, Joshua came running to me, put his arm around my shoulder and said, "Hey, Mom, did you know that Daniel Boone was a real guy? He lived at the same time as this other guy...ummm...Fray..." Then, he continued to give his oral narration with great enthusiasm. :) What a crack up! He quietly admitted that he is enjoying the history spine this year.

Continuing his state study, Joshua learned about New York and North Carolina. For some reason, this is one of his favorite activities - along with Hebrews study for Bible Quiet Time. Watching him grow through both of these resources is such a blessing.

Joshua completed the history project without complaint. It is a painting that looks like stained glass with a church steeple in the middle and is by far the best he has ever made. SO much growth since we did watercolors alongside poetry in Creation to Christ. I am thinking about framing it with Scripture to hang on the wall.

Probably most exciting in Joshua's week was an invitation he received to be in a play. He loves performing and has been in several productions. He is so thankful for the opportunity - even though it will be a lot of hard work.

Although interrupted by my dad's lung biopsy (still waiting on the results - prayers always welcome) and his other health issues, school was doable. I even got to spend time with little Jacob painting, working on The Reading Lesson and some other little workbooks I picked up.

Praising and thanking the Lord for His leading us through another week!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Just Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is easiest to give when you are in the midst of easy things, things that take your breath away for all the right reasons. So much harder to give is the sacrifice of praise in the midst of the trial, in the midst of anguish. Yet the same God who created it all, who opens the door of it all in my life. Today, I am practicing the hard thanks-giving...the one that breaks my heart and causes me to lean harder on Him.

Thank You Father!

*little one's game of pretend this morning.
*Dad's doctor appointment today -thank You that in the midst of fear, Your love is stronger.
*The masses on Dad's lungs were discovered by the doctor, already known by You.
*For my Dad's faith. (Strengthen him, Lord.)
*For my Dad's time with Joshua woodworking in his shop.
*For the carving and woodworking skills Joshua is learning with my Dad.
*For the path of loss we walked ten years ago, as we said good-bye to Howard, a good father-in-law and father, a missed grandpa, a faithful husband and friend to many. *Thank You that only You truly know the destiny of a man's soul.
*For the husband who got up early and went to work.
*For the job he has to go to...for Your sufficient provision, even in the midst of lack of work.
*For the migraine that has slowed me down, and the relief You have brought - enough, thank You Lord, to accomplish Your purposes each day.
*For the wee one's temper tantrum today & the lessons he learns.
*For Your grace, running through my veins, that enables me to say, "Thank You for the trial, for the pain."
*For the crisp of the autumn air as we kissed Daddy good-bye before he headed out to work.
*For the burning red tips of leaves on the maple tree, just a tease of the beauty yet to come.
*For the lessons of Job spoken at church yesterday.
*For loneliness that creeps in and drives me closer to You.
*For the acceptance of that I have found at the foot of the cross.
*For the babies who never breathed this side of Heaven, but who are always remembered. My arms ache to hold what my heart has loved.
*For the flowers I got to share with Carol and Courtney - digging them up in the yard.
*For the skill and the time to hem my Dad's pants.
*For You, bringing life to my heart...for my heart, being birthed in You.
*For the cat greeting me with a foot rub this morning.
*For the boy-man who still sleeps.
*For the Delight Yourself in the Lord event last night, the speaker who touched my son's heart and confirmed all that we have been teaching him...thank You Lord for instilling it in His heart in ways we could only pray for! You never cease to amaze me!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Migraine Madness

Monday found me on the couch. The nausea came with the worst headache of my life at about 2 a.m. I tossed and turned, trying to rid myself of the pain. No relief came while sleep eluded me. The incredible man I married lovingly left the comfort of our bed, retrieved my meds and a glass of water before slipping silently back into bed. It took almost an hour before the meds made any kind of dent in the headache.

When sleep finally came, it was deep and brought much needed relief from the pain. I slept fitfully for maybe four hours before the phone woke me. The ringing phone echoed in my aching head. Again, the fury pounded. The kids began fighting, their words erupting in my head. UGH. They needed me. I couldn't baby this headache any longer. I climbed out of bed and moved to the sofa. Older boy fetched me something to drink and fixed everyone's breakfast & lunch. I ignored the pounding in my head the best that I could for the rest of the day....

I was sure this headache would drag me to the hospital. This one stole my words and jumbled my thoughts. It flipped me mercilessly from one end of the bed to the other and robbed me of sleep. Beating my head with its fury, the migraine has worn on into one day and then another and another.

And here I am, four days later...headache still pounding. I haven't been myself.

Oh, God, thank You for Your love and mercy. Thank You for Your provision and Your help in my time of need. I am asking You and counting on You to bring relief in Your good time, to give me the grace I need to complete Your will for this day, to enable and strengthen your humble servant as this war wages in my head. Please, God, give me what I need for this moment. Amen

Our Little School at Home: HOD Rev. to Rev.- Unit 7

The weeks pass too quickly! Joshua completed another unit of Rev to Rev. I looked at him and said, "Do you realize that you are one fifth of the way through your school year? Pretty amazing, right?" He gave a little grin.

Even when it is not required in the guide, I expect Joshua to give an oral narration. Mainly, I do this because I discovered in years past that he was not reading unless there was some form of accountability. Today he learned about Olaudah Equiano from Nigeria who purchased his own freedom. During his narration, he compared Equiano to Amos Fortune whom we read about during Storytime several weeks ago. I love that he has opportunity to make and is making all those kinds of connections!

He also made an origami rigger ship and copied his Haiku about a hurricane onto it. He did mention that the origami was way too easy. I blame HOD. Several years ago, HOD assigned origami & Joshua was hooked. He checked books out of the library, bought origami paper & has been developing quite a talent for the art. As for the poem, I will paste it at the end of this post. :)

Joshua is still enjoying Music Appreciation. I think that his piano practice has taken on new energy as he studies the great composers! Now I need to find a piano teacher who can teach him beyond my meager abilities.

Overall, I am so thankful for the incredible progress Joshua is making in school. I am also thankful for how easily he can complete (most) activities on his own. This week I have been suffering with a terrible migraine...four days and counting. We never could have completed school successfully if it weren't for his diligence and independence!!

Joshua's HAIKU:

Raging at the beach
Across the seas, out of reach
Raining waves go on.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Our Little School at Home: HOD Rev to Rev Unit 6

What a fun week! Joshua baked cookies this week. Although it is not expected in the guide, he always copies the recipes into his own recipe book. He started this discipline last year with Resurrection to Reformation. Eventually he will have his own little cookbook. How great is that?

He finished Michael Faraday and began reading about Thomas Edison. Joshua has studied Edison so many times in the past that it is exciting to listen to him compare the books he has read in the past with what he is currently reading. We are trying to figure out if a short field trip to Edison's birthplace would be worthwhile next week.

Another hit this week was the Music Appreciation study paired with the Story Time book we've been reading. The book is a fictional account of Nannerl Mozart. Joshua has been captivated by it and researched her true story, as well as that of Wolfgang Amadeus. In addition, he wanted to "hear the music." So, we have heard classical music playing throughout the day. How wonderful!!

Joshua was doing dictation and disagreed with the punctuation used. He discussed it with me. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was right, but just in case, I called my sister. Being a former English teacher and a writer, she is the expert we call whenever we have a question. She agreed with us. I was so excited! And, no, not because incorrect punctuation was in the passage, but because my son recognized it!! WOW!! I know that I am overusing the exclamation point, but WOW!!!!!

Love, love, love that Heart of Dakota isn't just "schoolwork," but is igniting Joshua's love for learning. He is growing so much. I am amazed at this incredible, godly young man that he is becoming. All praise and honor to You, Lord!

Thank You, Jesus! And thank You, Lord, for leading us to HOD!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Our Little School at Home: HOD Rev to Rev Unit 5

This week ended pretty uneventfully. Joshua is still enjoying the curriculum and completing it with diligence and integrity. The history project was the only thing he neglected to complete - it was a mapping activity. I did intentionally have him skip one day of dictation and grammar. Again, my favorite thing in our day is the Biblical Worldview study. The discussions are so in depth and it is exciting to see Joshua growing so much spiritually.

One of Joshua's favorite activities continues to be the Inventor study. I have to admit that we are not doing all the activities as listed, but even so, he is learning so much. He frequently runs to me and narrates what he read in Michael Faraday, even if it is not scheduled. Too funny.

Saturday, Joshua spent the day working in his Papa's shop. He was complaining about the menial tasks he was given instead of being permitted to use the woodworking tools. I smiled and reminded him of books we have read about apprentices and how they trained. He sort of sighed and replied, "I know, Mom, Papa is just training me like he would an apprentice. I just wonder, when will I be allowed to use the machines and do something more than sweep the shop, copy the pattern to the wood or clean the tools. It gets kinda boring just watching him all the time." And, he is learning how to operate and care for the woodworking tools.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Exchange of Robes

Standing before a holy God, I have no defense. I am who I am, I have done what I have done. I wear it printed on my robe. All the cleaning up of myself that I have tried to do over the years has failed. The sin that stains I can not hide. Marred with black for all to see, I weep nightly, wondering if a way exists to climb out from under the weight of it. My spirit is crushed, hopeless.

Reading my life is like watching an R-rated movie that offends. The robe I wear bears my sins: sexually immoral, lies, cheats, hates good, does evil, disobeys parents, rebels against God, ruled by anger, controlled by alcohol and drugs, steals, self-centered, worships self, money-hungry, selfish, covets, hates and murders....and the list goes on. I stand in front of the crowd for all to see...but the only One that matters is the Holy God. And He is the only One who does not gasp in horror at who I am and at what I have done. Amazing, since He is the only One who is without sin - He alone truly understands the magnitude of of my sin.

The holy God takes off His snow-white robe to cover my sin. He offers it to me. The exchange of robes, this symbol of covenant, is unbelievable to me. Who is this God who would exchange His robe for mine? Why would He choose to do such an incredible thing as take my marred, dirty robe and give me His snow-white one? What has the Perfect to gain from the imperfect? What does the Holy need from the sinner? Why does a King enter covenant with the lowliest of low?

I am stunned as I contemplate the answers. I have nothing to offer this holy God. He can gain nothing from me for His robe. Covenant, usually entered into by two equals, is being entered into by the Holy and the helpless...the One who needs nothing and the one in desperate need. He will not clean my robe, He will take it. He will wear it to the cross that is prepared for me because of my sin. He will take the punishment for what I have done. And what do I receive in exchange for the pain I am sending him to? I receive His robe, His righteousness, His blood washing away my sin. And I am humbled, overwhelmed and trembling.

Will I choose to enter into this covenant with Him? Will I choose to leave my life of sin and trade it for His life of holiness? Will I choose a new robe, not marred by sin, but white as snow? What is my response to this Holy One giving His robe, His life for me?

Covenant: His promise to make me into what I can not make myself, His promise to enable me to be what I alone am incapable of being. Oh, yes, I will enter into this covenant. He will take this robe that is heavy laden with sin from me and He will place boldly around my shoulders His blood drenched robe that is snowy white. And my response is one of could I ever begin to thank this holy God?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Treasures in Christ

I sat there, looking out at the beautiful scenery, listening to the waves crash against the shore. Smile on my face as we talked about college, I was filled with grief in my heart. What if...what if we give our children a good life by man's standards, but miss the most important thing? What if all we give them is a life that leads to death? For surely, I know, this life leads to death. No matter how healthy I eat and live, no matter what my career or income, one day, God is going to call me to His throne. That day is the only one worth living for...that day I am going to answer for what I did with the riches He offered me in Christ. Did I accept or reject His greatest gift? What did I do with Christ?

What if the choice is not a SeaDoo or a JetSki, a beach house or a camper, college or the Navy, live with the man or marry him? What if the real choice is life and death, deny Christ or give myself to Him completely? What if the only thing that counts is whether or not I have given my children the best thing which isn't a thing at all? What if all that really matters is Christ?

I sat there, trying to stay engaged in a conversation, but thinking these things. Looking around me, at a beautiful house on the lake, filled with beautiful things, but missing the one thing that truly mattered...and I was broken-hearted. "This could be me, but for the grace of God," drifted through my mind. "I could have a life full of things, a second house at the lake, a jet ski, the latest model car. But would I trade Christ for it all?" I felt myself shake my head slightly, deep in my own thoughts, as a question called me back into the conversation.

Grief overwhelmed me. How do I keep smiling, talking, engaging in meaningless chatter, when I know they do not have Christ? How do I explain that yes, my niece should live in the dorms for the whole college experience...but that is really only because I know that it was in the dorms of State University, that I myself found the greatest treasure when someone introduced me to Christ? How do I offer them what I have been freely given? How do I explain to them that in all of their loveliness and all of their things, they have missed the greatest gift? How do I make them understand, His love is worth giving up myself for?

On the way home, my thirteen year old was bubbling over with excitement about all that he had experienced. Seeing his cousins from Florida, tubing, speeding on the jet ski, swimming and fishing in the lake, riding in the paddle boat...can we do it again experiences. And his chatter went on, until he asked me, "Mom, did you have a good day?"

How do I explain to this boy-man all that I experienced today? The joy of the wind coming off of the water, a caress from my Creator...the soothing sound of waves crashing on the shore, a song of praise to Him from His creation....the gratitude in my heart to the One who generously gave me Christ. But, none of this came out. What poured out at his question was the raw emotion of watching a family who denied Christ...who chose to give their children and grandchildren a good life now, but who did not know how to give them the one thing that truly mattered: Christ. I am rich in Christ, though I am poor. I am strong in Christ, though I am weak. I will never have a cottage on a lake. My children will never have a jet ski or a vacation to Hawaii, but by God's grace alone and through His mercy alone, they have a mama and daddy who show them heaven's treasures everyday, teaching them the Truth of the Word of God. Oh, yes, in Christ and the Truth of His Word, we are strong. In Christ, we are rich. Our riches will not pass away with this earth, but will be revealed to us that day we meet Him face to face. How do I talk through my throat, tight with tears? How do I explain all that I experienced today? The words tumbled out choked with tears and my son quietly responded, "I thought that, too, Mom."

Thank You Jesus, that all is not as it seems. May they know You. May I be the light that shows them Your love. Help me Father.

"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1

Friday, August 31, 2012

Our Little School at Home: Rev to Rev Unit 4

This week was a struggle. We had ATTITUDE issues...unfortunately, they were mama attitude issues, so...if you think to pray for me, that would be GREAT!! Won't go in to all the struggles, just need more of Jesus and less of me. And, no migraines would help, too.

Joshua completed Unit 4 this week of Revival to Revolution and had a great time. He painted a Chinese vase and it is beautiful. One of many things HOD has fostered in my child is an enjoyment of art. (No pictures of his vase...I haven't figured out how to get them to this blog yet.) That was probably his favorite activity.

I still read to Joshua. I know that he is thirteen and could be doing it himself, but it is sooo hard for me to let completely go. And, he enjoys me reading to him. Paired with the Biblical Worldview study, reading aloud helps us maintain a close relationship. Anyway, for the read aloud, we finished reading Songbird and started The Secret Wish of Nannerl Mozart. Joshua liked Songbird because of all he learned about the King's law. Joshua compared the court system now versus then.

Whenever we start a new book, we begin by identifying the genre it is. Joshua always wants to know if it is a true story and is disappointed when it is not. :) The Secret Wish of Nannerl Mozart was no different. The relationships between the children and their father made for an interesting discussion as Nannerl dealt with jealousy.

Joshua did one day of the unit at his grandparents' so that I could take a road trip with my husband for work. I am so thankful for the diligence he demonstrated in completing everything according to the directions. He is showing so much growth in this area.

There were yummy looking brownies in Who is God? but we did not make them. I have all the ingredients, but we ran out of time. Joshua and I ended up discussing the reading far longer than I have scheduled. But, because he has discovered a love for baking and he loves brownies, I am expecting that our house will be filled with the aroma of baking brownies at some point this weekend.

We are working on memorizing the book of Matthew for Bible quizzing as well as the assigned chapter of Hebrews this year, but are falling short. If anyone has any ideas how to help with Bible memory, please, please, please, would you share??

For history, we studied China's Quinong to Britain's Lieutenant-Colonel Washington. It is always an "oh, yeah" moment when we are reminded that George Washington was trained as a soldier in the British military.

As a mom, I love that the guide reminds my son to pray according to ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication) and includes prayer starters. I am blessed to have found this curriculum!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Because it is never too early...

to give thanks!

It was far too early to crawl out of bed when the thought hit me that I still had a cake pan that belonged to Mama. In fear that I would forget to return it, I stumbled out of bed around 3 a.m., pulled it from my cupboard and added it to the "Return" pile. Now sitting on the bottom of several other dishes that belong to her, it was quickly emptied by my guys of its brownies.

And, so that is how I come in the wee hours to give thanks to the One who is the Giver of all good things, whose grace is poured out on me every moment I am permitted breath.

Praise and thanks to God for:

the pan of brownies Mama brought to the kids.

the sleep my youngest is finally getting. It is 5 a.m. and he still sleeps after a chain of sleepless nights.

the warm sunshine and cool breeze yesterday as we worked and played in the yard.

the gardening, almost finished now, only to be weeded again.

the sunshine yellow flowers that are blooming in the flower beds around the house.

the strength and health to throw the frisbee & football with the kids.

the rocket, stuck in the tree after only 10 minutes. It was fun while it lasted!:)

this house that You gave us so long ago, Your provision through the many storms You knew we would have to face.

Todd's job - even though only part-time is your sufficient provision for our family.

Your wisdom, poured out on us. Oh, Father, we need that wisdom now as we try to follow your voice - show us what way is right to go and we will go.

the warm bed that is calling me back.

the husband who will reach out his arms and embrace me when I crawl back in bed.

Mama, who is caring for the kids today so that I can take a day trip with my love.

the One who cares for my kids and our family in ways that I can only begin to imagine.

the broken womb that made me choose whom I would serve, even in the midst of deep sorrow...thankful that even when I could hold on no longer, His hand firmly held me.

the cat, sitting elegantly on the floor, paws tucked under him.

the chair and ottoman that nestle me in my sleepless hours.

Dr. Sue and the excellent medical care our children receive.

the medication for my migraines that enables me to sleep through the night & function through the day.

the oldest boy growing in wisdom and love, as he matures into a man.

Todd's sister and her children coming to visit from Florida.

peaceful school day yesterday.

repentant heart of Joshua after he disobeyed.

for pouring love and patience out on this Mama when she desperately needed it in the midst of her child's rebellion yesterday.

Your Word is true and You are trustworthy.

the privilege and the joy of homeschooling.

guitar lessons for Josh.

God's amazing grace and provisions never cease to amaze me!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Our Little School at Home: Rev to Rev Unit 3

I must confess, when the Lord brought us to Heart of Dakota curriculum, there were a couple of things I refused to try. Then, this year, apart from science (using Apologia with the HOD Inventor's Study), I decided to completely follow the plan.

We began Rod and Staff 7 for grammar. Joshua loves it! The only complaint he has had was the day he had to write a character sketch - not surprising, since writing is his least favorite subject. I feel like I am more on top of grammar this year than in years past because I have to do the lessons with him daily. Not only are we both amazed at how quickly Joshua is growing in grammatical proficiency, but we also enjoy the Biblical references and connections. One day he said to me, "Mom, this has to be a Christian book. It is so obvious." I, of course, chuckled my agreement

Our favorite time has been Biblical Worldview. This week when we read and discussed the book Who is God? Joshua asked such thoughtful questions that he shocked me. His thirteen year old brain is finally making connections that I have been praying he would make for Y.E.A.R.S. I praise God for this wonderful study, as well as the Hebrews Bible study he is currently completing. I am so thankful that the Holy Spirit is working in his heart.

We finished reading Amos Fortune, Freeman this week. Joshua and I had such an interesting discussion about this book and what it means to live free. So many good lessons are contained in this book.

Joshua learned about Johann Sebastian Bach, assembled a Composers Timeline for Music Appreciation and made coins for his history project.

Overall, this was a great week. To think, we have painlessly completed three units and are ready to go on Monday!! School is such a joy this year.

Bowed before His Throne

I sit and I watch....these two amazing ones who somehow came from my womb. Tiny bits of breath, once lay gently in my arms, grown into running, jumping, learning boys - the first now reaching to be a man. Time sprouted wings and flew from us; thirteen years have passed. Now the one who fought and cried, struggling to learn he was not the center has become a strapping boy-man who gives to everyone he can. His greatest gift, I'm glad he grasped this young, is the one of time. Mowing Grandma and Papa's or trimming at Great Grandma's, helping Grandma complete some gardening or Papa in the shop, using skilled hands to form balloon animals for an outreach, volunteering at VBS...a summer well spent, a life well-lived. He did not get a vacation or go to summer camp. He asked for little entertainment and gave of himself rather than took. I am humbled to be his mama and awed at what God does with a boy-man bowed before His Throne.

And, here I am again...repeating the same lessons with the littlest one, now four. He holds his head back and cries whenever he hears the answer "No." When will his tender heart understand to be loved is to give love, to find grace is to give grace and that this life he lives is given to give away? How will his life look when he becomes a man bowed before the Throne? There are lessons no man can teach, but must be heard from the Spirit in the soul. I am praying he hears and heeds these lessons, growing into a godly man.

Oh, that my heart would be bowed before His throne...that this Mama will continue to lay these two growing children constantly in the arms of the One who holds them faithfully. Trusting, thankful for the One who breathes life into my very bones.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Music In the Wind

The wind sang for me today,
the trees joined the melody.
Leaves rustled to the beat
and flowers danced along.

The water, not to be outdone,
lifted voice to sing.
I in silence sat to hear
the river splash the tune,
listened to gull's call,
geese honking happily.

This music in the wind
was written just for me.
No need for piano accompaniment
or written notes to know
the Composer of this piece
walks on Heaven's shore.

My turn quickly came to lift
voice in praise to the One
who created wind, water, tree
thanksgiving to the Living One
whose breath lives inside of me.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Being in Covenant

He looked at me, those blue eyes teasing, mouth twisted to hide the grin....and my stomach fluttered...just like it always has. How could this incredible man love me, even now? The once thick crown of dark brown hair, thinning gray. The thin firm body now sagged with neglect and years. The creases from laughter and tears growing around my eyes. He, who knew me little on that day we entered covenant...that day we whispered, "..until death do us part", did he regret that day? Now that he knows that I came with a broken womb and white hot temper, that our life together would be more marked by tears than by laughter, more by struggle than by ease? Now that he knows that I sometimes snort when I laugh and snore when I sleep - would he change his mind? Nineteen years married, and nothing is hidden. If he could, would he change that day?

Would he marry me NOW?? His answer a confident "YES." His love for me is not determined by who I have become or who I once was, whether the womb would bear children (it did) or remain barren, whether I would grow in width (I did) or remain thin. His love and commitment are determined by this incredible covenant he made with me before God on that life-altering day. And, he has never questioned it. His only question is to me: why do I doubt? What has he ever done to make me wonder if he had changed his mind? He asks the questions with hurt. He should. His love has been beyond my understanding. His strength has upheld me through many sorrows, and his arms have been my refuge through the loss of two children. If a human can love unconditionally, he has done it. Never have I doubted that he loves me.

My insecurity has nothing to do with him. He has been a husband far beyond anything I could ask or imagine! Isn't that so like God - give me more than I could even think to ask for? That blue-eyed man who stirs me just by glancing my way is a gift I don't deserve. He demonstrates God to me everyday. He loves selflessly, giving beyond what he has and providing for me before himself.

Oh, how I love that man and thank my God for the gift of him in my life. Thank You, Father, for the gift of this amazing man!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Boys and Snakes

Okay, so I know that God made them...but I still don't like, not boys...they are wonderful, joy-filled blessings! I mean snakes! UGH!! But for some unexplainable reason they intrigue my oldest son. Double, no triple UGH!!

Today the boys and I had a little adventure walking across the river rocks. It is one of Joshua's favorite things to do - thanking and praising God that he is such an easy to please twelve-year-old! Actually, what he really likes to do is hike to the old, broken down dam in the river and climb around on it.

Today, as we were hiking, that little alarm went off in my head: you will encounter slithering, slimy things if you venture to that old dam. So, I told Joshua that we would be skipping the old dam. In his excitement, he ignored me and led us straight to the dam. (How many times have I shrugged off the Holy Spirit's leading in much the same way?) As Joshua climbed boldly around the dam, little three-year-old Jake and I followed him...carefully picking our way across the rocks. Joshua, about four manly steps ahead of us, excitedly shouted, "Mom, a snake!" And sure enough, on the rocks between us was a slithering, wriggling SNAKE!! Apparently, Joshua had stepped over it! WHEW!

That instant, I did what any wise mother would do: I picked up Jake, screamed and high tailed it out of there! Thankfully, that snake, wanting nada to do with us, wriggled and splashed into the water and hid itself in another rock formation. At that point, I told Joshua that IF he wanted to continue, he would do so alone. While Jake and I were headed back to shore, what do you think that sweet boy-man did? Well, exactly what any reasonable boy-man would do: he continued climbing and investigating the rocks. I watched him, gently sighing my warning, "You know, that snake was catching the sun on these rocks. He probably has friends..and you saw how easily he slid between the rocks...ummm, others may be hiding just like he is." Then, I lifted my voice to Heaven and placed this boy-man in his Creator's hands. And, of course, he continued his bold exploration. He was practicing that "Be strong and courageous" verse in the first chapter of the book of Joshua that we had just looked at - ahem! I am not so sure he was applying it correctly! But, I must confess, each step he took after the little snake encounter was more watchful, cautious...studying where he was going.

Anyone smiling with me? I am so thankful for this spirit of adventure that lives in the sons that God has blessed me with...even if it stretches this mama W - A - Y out of her comfort zone!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Weeds in My Garden

It's hard to remember that this place, this orb spinning through space is not my home. I seem to get my feet caught up in the weeds that grow here often enough, though. They tangle around my heart, only because I unwittingly plant them. Maybe you don't know what I am talking about: the weeds of doubt, the thistles of despair, the nettles of carelessness, the dandelions of self-centeredness, envy...and I could go on and on. They pull at my feet and trip me, until I inevitably stumble and fall. With my face buried in the earth, I raise my eyes up and can easily identify the source: Me, I have nursed them in the depths of my heart!

They are ugly...they make me ugly. How could I choose to let something so...temporary, so hideous, to consume me when I could choose to let the Beautiful One consume me, the One who is good, pure and true? I don't know...but, there is only one word for these weeds I have planted and watered: SIN. There, now I've said it. I am a sinner. No. I am a sinner saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. He is all that is good in me. These weeds that tangle, He has put to death. I need to choose to live this Truth. To live this live His Truth takes strength and courage. I lack both. I am a weakling and a coward. Oh, another truth about me!

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things Phil. 4:8

Be strong and very courageous
. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Joshua 1:7

Butterflies and Broken Wings

If I were a photographer, I would slip outside and click a picture of the little butterfly Jacob chased this morning. He raced around the yard, arms outstretched to the sky. Every time he came close enough to draw his hands together the butterfly fluttered away, or soared out of his reach, only to land gracefully on another blossom.

Slowly, God began stirring my heart. He reminded me of our butterfly house. We raised painted lady butterflies when Joshua was little more than six years old. I remember how the tiny little wormy looking caterpillars slowly grew into stronger caterpillars - five in all - crawling to the top of their little netted house. The six-year-old was watching, anticipating with wide-eyed excitement, checking constantly to see if they were moving on to the next stage. Joshua drew pictures periodically of the caterpillars, made a little book of it, labeling each stage.

Then, the day came. The caterpillars were no longer visible, safely hidden within the chrysalis. We waited and watched. Several times a day, Joshua rushed into the school room to see if anything had become of his little caterpillars. Everyday I reminded him that the caterpillars were indeed still alive, but they were undergoing a amazing process that would change them into butterflies.

Finally, one morning, Joshua's voice rang urgently, "Mom, you HAVE to come see this."

And there it was...a butterfly emerging gracefully from the chrysalis. Beautiful wings stretching, filling slowly with fluid, until she could fly. Four of the butterflies emerged that day. The fifth came the next day, not exactly as graceful as the rest. Something was wrong with one of her little did not look fully developed, making it impossible for her to fly like the rest of the others. Joshua and I watched, waiting, hoping that as time passed her wing would fill with fluid, would open to its full potential and enable the little lady to fly. She became very dear to us.

Three days later, after feeding the butterflies a steady diet of fruit and juices, it was time to release them. We prayed and celebrated...we took the butterfly house outside into the warm sunshine. Joshua ceremoniously unzipped the top and said a somewhat sad goodbye to his friends. All five flew out of the house, lighted on the grass, flew a little way, fought the soft breeze, as if learning something new. Four - the healthy ones, of course - fluttered by Joshua, rested on him a moment and then flew away. It was almost as if they knew him...and they were saying their good-byes too.

The fifth one flew back to Joshua, landed on his hand and stayed for several moments. Then, she flew away again, only to return to his hand. By this time, the rest of our Painted Ladies were out of sight, having slipped away in the wind perhaps drawn by the bright flowers. But this little lady, she had no intention of going. Four times we tried to get her to leave, each time she came back and landed gently on Joshua's hand. And so continued our loving relationship with the broken butterfly.

What seems strange to me is that she recognized her hurt and knew she needed us. She sought refuge with Joshua. She knew from experience that he offered safety and security. I told him that his butterfly would live a small life in the butterfly house, but that it would be good. We brought her flowers from the garden, continued feeding her fruit and juice, gave her water.

This week, for Bible study, we have been studying control. And perhaps that is why God brought this story to my mind. I am so like that broken butterfly...and I have come to understand that brokenness is God's gift. It reminds me of how desperately I need Him...and how adequate He is to meet all my needs. You see, that butterfly KNEW Joshua was a refuge. She somehow understood that Joshua would care for her and meet her needs, keep her in safety. She did not have to fly off on her own and risk hurt. She could choose to stay in the safety of Joshua's care and control. I am no different, I can choose to stay in the safety of God's care and control. His boundaries are not established to keep me caged, but to protect me from the harms of the world. Today, I choose to live like that little beautiful butterfly. I choose to live in the refuge God provides for me! And I know from experience that God will gently lead me...He is good and His provision is always good...and it is always enough!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Thankfulness in My Heart

Oh, as silence surrounds me, thankfulness fills my heart! The dizziness and fainting spells that have plagued me vanished for a time. I felt energetic and free...a bird who had just learned to soar. The sun shone brightly and the birds serenaded us as we had a picnic lunch out on the patio. We talked about God's gift of lovely of Him to teach us song through the birds that sing, the wind that blows,the leaves that rustle. Yes! Everything gives Him praise.

Jacob and I worked played outside...pulling weeds, planting flowers, slipping down the slide, digging stones, . Every stone the little guy found was a new treasure, met with squeals of delight, priceless to his little hands! When he ran out of new, he buried what he had already discovered and searched for it again. Then he would squeal anew and say, "Mama, mama! Look what I found!" Who could withhold a smile? Not I.

Joshua is so motivated to finish school that he completed two days today. It might have something to do with not having television until school is finished for the year...not sure! Chuckle, chuckle. He then joined us outside, to read and talk. Calling little stones treasures or pulling weeds play has long since become silly to him. As a twelve year old, he is happy to announce that pulling weeds is dirty work and little stones are without value!

And for so many things I give thanks:
*birds singing
*puffed up robin - does she have a nest nearby?
*little mister celebrating his treasure
*dirty little hands washed clean
*Joshua diligently completing school
*Joshua taking the initiative to mow the lawn
*sunshine with a cool breeze
*dizziness has passed - almost a complete week with out blacking out!
*wisdom from God to mother these two boys another day
*the joy of reading aloud to my sons
*eyes to see the page
*ears to hear His voice
*when no one sees or hears me...He does
*His mercies are new to me every morning
*the compassion of my groom
*the new ladies that have joined our Bible study group

For these I give Thee thanks, Lord. Praise to You who allowed me such beauty today!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

For Mom

Mama worked when I was young...nights. I don't remember her much in my little growing up years. I know that she had warm hugs, kind words and laughter...laughter that echoed through the house and scared the loneliness away. She cried to leave her babies, but sacrificed because money was scarce. I remember Mama sending me out to play, knee deep in mud, grasping orange-black fish with my hands, which would undoubtedly end up in her utility sink along with a full bucket of creek water - maybe two. One more mess for Mama to clean up - she did it without complaint, mostly. Crush my inquisitive spirit or squelch my searching soul? Never. Instead, she sent me out...encouraged me to explore God's creation. Years passed, I lost interest in the creek, catching fish with bare hand. She sat across the table from me, a Scrabble board in between. She taught me how to lose...and how to win...with grace. We talked over those games, about school, and death. Years passed, Mama, her aged hands, held mine. She wept with me as I mourned the loss of my first child. Her tears were bitter, her questions were too hard: "Why? Who is this God you serve? How do you still praise Him?" Answers filled my mind, but my voice failed. I had told her not to come...but she did. I knew she would ask questions that had no answers...only God...only by His grace...only Him. Please God, hold me...hold Mama. A year later, Mama, her aged hands held him...the baby as he cried. She laughed with us and rejoiced and said, "How good of God to bless you with this child." Tears flowed down our cheeks, thanksgiving flowed...only God..only by His grace...only Him. Please God, hold me...hold Mama...hold this child. What I learned from Mama, can't be written with pen and ink. The lessons that she taught were in love written on my heart. She spent time with me, when she had little. She bought me new shoes when hers were more than worn out. She taught me I had value in a world that screamed I did not. How do you put a thank you for that into words?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Blind

When the white coat gently whispered
"You'll slowly lose your sight"
I felt the darkest night press in.

As clear turned to teary blur,
I wondered when the light
in my eye would no longer shine?

My life flashed before me
and memory brought the thought,
"To this world you entered
in without sight to see...
to see the One who granted
all this beauty and love for you.
To your eye, the light of the sun may grow dim, but the Light of Him who loves you will shine through all eternity, allowing you to see more, deeper, than you ever did before. >

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Giving Thanks!

So many gifts, so little time:
*the white lasagne baking in the oven, aroma filling the house
*the money to buy the food necessary for tomorrow's shower
*Joshua helping Papa
*wisdom of a sister who helped me figure out how to preserve the lasagne for another day
*the love of a husband who hugged me through my brokenness, through the self-loathing
*the thoughtfulness of this incredible man who put my favorite Mary Mary praise cd on repeat, so the words of grace and thankfulness would be playing over and over in my head...erasing the thoughts of ingratitude and self-hatred
*the accepting arms of love of my little mister
*God's forgiveness
*Difficult situation making me more aware than ever of my desperate need for God - the difficulties had me on my face before a holy God, crying out to Him, only He could do this thing!

In the hurt and in the pain,
I acknowledge You again!
You are the anchor of my soul,
the Light in my darkest night.
Thank You Lord!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Mama's Joy

Tears of joy slid down my cheeks as I watched my oldest son in the play Bullfrogs and Butterflies. By God's grace and according to His goodness, He has chosen to overcome that one obstacle in Joshua's life that we never thought we would see victory over this side of Heaven. How can my heart do anything but rejoice in God's goodness, mercy and love? The Lord has been good to us beyond anything we could hope or imagine.

There are many things in life that define us, but I never wanted my son's illness to define him. I pray and weep at the feet of Jesus for this incredible boy He has graciously allowed me to mother. I ask that above all the things this boy learns, he would know and understand the incredible love that God has for him...that he would be defined by who God says he is and not by his diagnosis, not by what his doctors say, not by what his peers say. When I saw him on that stage, unafraid, bold and animated, dancing and singing...I knew...I knew that Truth had been planted, was rooted and growing. I was so overcome with emotion. How does one woman have so much grace and mercy poured out on her? How is it that one undeserving mama gets to see her child growing into a godly man? And, so, I continue my practice...

I give thanks!

*for healing in brokenness.
*for a boy-man who is beginning to see the love of the Father and what it means.
*for the boy-child, enthusiastically racing his car down the track
*for the husband who calls me his beloved
*for the doctor's accurate diagnosis for me...this is where my healing can begin.
*for the God who gives me the eyes to see His majesty
*for the God who is Majesty and Grace
*for the friends who remind me that He has given me enough - not what others have or lack, but what I need...what is right for me
*for the pink blossoms on the crab apple tree, almost open today
*for the one white tulip the squirrels did not steal
*for the mourning doves making a nest nearby, frequenting the bird feeder
*for the gift of words, spoken and heard, written and read
*for the arms of a husband that embraced me awake this morning
*for the boy-man who came, as he does every morning, to be hugged
*for the joy of the boy-man when he received his new watch - a gift to celebrate his success in the play
*grass turning green
*purple mountain lilies blooming in the garden
*spring: God breathing His life into the earth, into me...refreshing me, calling me, never leaving me alone, but pursuing me with His relentless love
*wisdom whispered from the Word ( much wisdom)
*for the littlest one who hugs freely, forgives easily and loves uncontrollably

For all these things I give thanks to the Father, Maker of Heaven and Earth, Author of my life and the One who dared to call me Beloved.

Mama's Superpowers

With or without a cape
the superhero role she chose
was motherhood.

To the son moaning scraped knee and loose tooth,
Superpower healing is in mama's kiss.

To the daughter weeping first lost love,
Superpower comfort is in mama's hug.

To the boy whose bullied and beaten at school,
Superpower protection is in mama's arms.

To the girl rejected and made fun of by friends,
Superpower encouragement is in mama's embrace.

To all of her children longing to be cherished and adored,
Superpower acceptance is in mama's love.

To the little ones seeking to know so much more,
Superpower wisdom mama gets from above.

For all of the cape's she's worn through the years,
her most super powers came (and were needed)
when she chose motherhood.

Cape-less Superhero

Little girl falls,
her weepy voice calls
her cape-less superhero.

Quickly he flies,
to answer her cries-
her cape-less superhero.

When she was born
his heart had been torn,
could he be her superhero?

Daddy's the name
but to this little dame
the cape-less superhero.

Laughter and tears,
through all of her years,
Daddy, her superhero.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Anger weary hearts
fall cold,
While bodies wrinkle
But still a glimmer,
still a glance
Slim shadow of
Love’s last dance.

Written in response to photo prompt @


She looked at him with hollow eyes.
His love seared painful -
"Could her mind not recognize?"
Bodies failed - he knew they would,
her lovely frame had faded,
even still swan-graceful young to him.
Whispered promises were useless
She could never recall
the vows she had spoken
somewhere in yesteryear.
His mind could clearly see her
dancing on their wedding day
Giggling warm entwined bodies, arms...
His joy-filled memories
of maiden turned to wife
grant strength from day to day
to care for this love who does not recognize...
Hoping, praying to one day again, reclaim
a shadow of their song.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

What is to be Thankful for?

Counting, counting...every good and perfect gift, from the Father's hand. There are so many, they add up so quickly...I this how Abraham felt when the Lord told him to count the stars, if he could...count the grains of sand on the seashore? My gifts are like that, innumerable!! But here goes...

.Sweet worship in His presence today.
.Family worship, listening to my sweet husband lead the family in reading Proverbs.
.Gas in the car.
.Twelve year old's repentant heart.
.Clean dishes, stacked neat in the drainer, ready for tomorrow.
.Sick baby, crying for Mama - something I can give.
.Rented movie night, all watched together.
.Twelve year old applying his lesson on pain from Boyhood and Beyond when he was injured tonight.
.Tired man, sleeping soundly...gaining rest for his day of work.
.Sun shining on our watching fishermen at the River.
.Dinner out tonight, rare treat! And, my meal fit into this new diet!
.Three pounds lost, freedom from cravings found.
.Week one of no carbs behind me!! Only seven more & the rest of my life to go!!
.Poem written for a prompt, first time ever posted & kindly received.
.Heart bursting open wide with love for the little ones in the nursery today.
.Sharing laughter with friends and new moms while working in the nursery.
.Clearly hearing the Voice of the One who Made me, calling me to do something new.
.Heart wide open to respond, "Yes, Lord...only by Your power."
.God-given hope growing anew in my heart.
.Grace when I goofed in Sunday school.
.Sloppy kisses on my lips, sticky fingers entwining my hair.
.Medicine that makes my body do what it fails to do on its own.
.Music, reminding me that to wake and breath is a reason to give thanks.
.Littlest one sick, makeshift bed on living room floor. Couch for mama to sleep on.
.Backache gone -answered prayer.
.Family leader making a tough decision that made waves everywhere, but we think not here.

Oh, Lord, open my eyes, that I may see Your gifts, more numerous today than I can even record. Show me how to see You in all things!

Broken dreams

Fractured heart,
broken womb.
Clinging, crying,
to understand
that even this
is good
from Your hand.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

An Extra Chair at the Table

This week has been so blessed. We pulled up another chair at our table, as we were joined by my nephew for the week. He is staying with us while his mama is in Haiti. She is livin' on the edge for Jesus...sharing her faith in Christ and He is winning souls. I get to be a part...a small part...of what God is doing through her, by giving her son a place to is so small, and yet I am blessed!!

Homeschooling is a little more interesting...with an extra chair at the table...and all of us sick. His grace carries us...His strength fills us...His light shines in us. We have LAUGHED...oh, how we have laughed. At the store, the twelve year old walked away from us, not even knowing we weren't there. We were behind him, nephew and I, zipping coats, calling to him. He walked on. I can't guess how far he was before he realized that we were not there. Him, walking, talking, waving his arms. Us, watching, calling out to him, asking, "When do you think he will notice?" It wasn't until he asked a question no one answered that he realized he was alone. A leader with no followers. He ran back, laughing, embarrassed. We all joined his giggling...and each of us told our own stories. "Well, one time I ..." Almost couldn't drive home for the tears of laughter streaming.

Nerf fights, building Lego cars, studying, laughing, movies, nothing exciting, just enjoying...enjoying nephew...thankful for the time we have with him! How blessed we are to have a home for him to come visit!! How blessed we are to have time with him!!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Finding Grace

A tear sliding down my cheek, joy filling my heart, is God's grace and mercy to Cystic Fibrosis...severe allergies, yes, but

My wee one, "Mama, it okay, God gave you Jacob." How do you explain tears of joy to a three year old?

My heart cries, "Thank You God for Jacob...for the miracle of him, the gift of him, the surprise of him!" I am consumed with gratitude....

I whisper my thanks...I remind God that I don't deserve such grace...such mercy...such joy. He reminds me of His incredible love...the love that consumes me...the love that has held me through trials and joys...and that He acts, always acts, according to His mercy, His grace, His goodness. I have found perfect love, perfect grace, perfect God my Savior...and He does not fail...even when it hurts.

For now, for this moment, I know and understand His perfect love, His mercy, His grace. I soak it in...I soak Him in and I enjoy sweet communion with Him.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Father's Heartache

Today I saw my Father's heartache. He revealed to me what it is like for the child He loves to experience pain for her own benefit. And, He did it through allergy testing....

Jacob had allergy testing today. It was so painful for the little guy. He wrapped his legs and arms around me as the nurse made his back into a pin cushion. Blood oozed from the spots. Immediately, several of the spots welted up...he cried...he shook...he sat extremely still...waiting for it to end. The last needle came...he whimpered, "It hurts mama." "Yes, but you are being such a good, brave boy." "Mama..." came the little voice. Arms entwined around my neck, tears streaking down his face...I whisper a prayer with him. We cry together. How can I tell him that this...this pain...this for his own good? Does he care that the results of this pain will help us find out what ails him, why he can't breath, why his lungs are inflamed? Will knowing that this test is going to be helpful in the FUTURE help it not hurt in the NOW?? NO. All he needed, all any of us need in the pain, is comfort and unconditional love. He needed to know the comfort of my arms. I held him, clutching him to myself...whispering my love to him.

At that very moment, I saw God. Many trials in my life...much heartache, but...each trial, each heartache, each child lost, each month barren, every tear shed, He was there...He was holding me, clutching me to Himself. He was brokenhearted with me. He was crying with me, He was doing what was best for the long run...but I did not get it then. I don't always get it now...but today gave insight...into my Father's perfect love, His perfect goodness, and I am overwhelmed. He does not let me alone in my pain or in my heartache. My tender Father always does what is best for me, even when it hurts. He loves me so much that He will not spare me pain if it is for my gain. Would a loving Father do anything else?

Just like God allows pain to heal me, I could not spare my son pain that would work out for his own good in the end...but I have to tell you, it HURT hurt my heart to watch him, feel him shake, glistening tears on his cheeks, mottled skin, blood seeping...but would love have done anything less?? I think not.