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