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.