Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Reason for the Season

I do realize that the title has been way over used. My use of it is to convey a different message. I do believe that Jesus is truly the reason we celebrate this holiday season. I do realize that Jesus wasn't born during December. I also realize that the holiday Christmas is modeled from a pagan holiday.

The real reason I use the title is to convey a different meaning. I believe at Christmas we get caught up in thinking about Jesus as a baby. We spend the entire season of Advent talking about how Jesus came into the world and miss the important question of why Jesus came into the world.

One of the reasons Jesus came is given in Matthew 5:17 "I have not come to abolish them (the Law and the Prophets) but to fulfill them."

God knows the heart of man. He knows that even when we obey the rules, our hearts often aren't in it. He knows that we will obey to keep from getting in troble or because we want others to like us or afor any number of reasons that aren't tied to "righteousness".

When Jesus came it wasn't just to live a good life, it was to live a perfect life. He didn't just obey all the rules, He kept the Spirit behind the rules. Jesus did not come to tell us to forget the Law, He came to do what we could not. He came to be a law fulfiller. Jesus came to fulfill all righteousness not for His sake but for ours.

That is the "reason for the season". The baby Jesus is the only hope we have to fulfill God's law. There is nothing within us that can achieve what Christ does through us.

"O come, O come, Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel." We are Israel and the babe born in a manger came to do more than live a good life, He came to free us to live an eternal life. He knew that we could never do it own our own.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Twelve Years Ago...

I became a mother. I have blogged about Josiah James each year. This year Timbo shared his heart and mine.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

100 things I love

1. dark chocolate

2. little tan boys

3. cuddly babies

4. giggling boys

5. these chocolate pretzel snacks

6. catching up with friends on the internet

7. pilot gel pens in fun colors

8. circa binders

9. being called Beautiful

10. hearing my boys pray "for more people to come to Jesus."

11. Curves

12. Chipotle

13. my mil's nature photos

14. hearing my hubby's heart about adoption

15. knowing my boys want a baby sister

16. seeing my boys eyes light up when they learn to read

17. good friends that God brought into my life through the Internet

18. cute cloth diapers

19. milk chocolate

20. Polish pottery

21. Auburn football

22. Eric Carle boardbooks

23. webkinz

24. my mama and my grandmother's quilts

25. IKEA furniture

26. women's Bible studies

27. knowing my mom and dad pray for my family every.single.day

28. moving to new places

29. Disneyworld

30. Callaway Gardens

31. laughing with dh

32. watching my boys sleep all piled together in the floor

33. scrapbooking

34. new school supplies

35. new notebook planners

36. facebook

37. gmail, igoogle, google reader and google docs

38. MercyMe

39. Casting Crowns

40. The Blind Side

41. CPQ post on Jesus and Chickfila

42. Chickfila

43. Timbo's nicknames for the boys

44. Pork and Black Bean Chili

45. cilantro lime rice

46. homeschooling

47. my boys drawings

48. smores

49. teaching the boys to read

50. our firepit

51. watching the boys learn to ride bikes

52. seeing how much one boy LOVES animals

53. watching God draw my children to Him

54. wondering how some crisis is going to work out and then watching God do a miracle

55. church planting

56. Kidmo and Lil K

57. church at the movies

58. Four Winds Tribe

59. dreaming about our baby girl

60. the smell of popcorn as we set up for church on Sundays

61. Writing Aids from Tapestry of Grace

62. Awestar Ministry

63. blogging

64. my mama's carrot cake

65. old family cookbooks

66. working on family history

67. close to my heart scrapbook kits

68. well trained mind forums

69. amitymama forums

70. scentsy warmers and scents

71. living on a cul de sac

72. my girlfriends blogs

73. trying to love twitter

74. Timbo's baseball hats

75. blue jeans

76. danskin workout clothes

77. yoga pants

78. pampered chef stones

79. easy recipes

80. Math U See math

81. Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading

82. Yellow Box flip flops

83. uggs

84. photos of my boys together

85. caprese salad

86. going to professional baseball games with Timbo and the boys

87. Tim Tebow

88. laptop computer

89. New Living Translation of the Bible

90. my Granny's sewing machine

91. our Train cabinet

92. good friends online

93. good friends in real life

94. YWAM Ethiopia

95.  listening to my boys sing






Saturday, August 7, 2010

Cute and Easy Gift

I found this link for a Tiered Serving Platter and fell in love with it.  I have several friends who love to entertain and this will be the perfect gift for them. 

Now Jamie's pictures and much better than mine.  Excuse the painting/crafting stuff in the background, the kids were creating...  Oh and the weird angles of my photos, apparently I need a little more practice. 

I hope you get an idea of how cute and easy these are.  The total cost for both of these was less than $10.  I found some really cute red and blue plates that I am making another set out of for a local friend that decorates with lots of Americana. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Twenty Years

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Our Curriculum choices for the Year

Not Back to School Blog Hop

Found this fun blog hop and thought I would join in. I have done a couple of posts about curriculum that I love and thought I would show what our choices are for the upcoming year.

Tapestry of Grace

This year TOG will be our spine for history, literature, geography and writing.  I am excited to use this program and am almost ready to get started with it.  We will be studying Year 1 which covers the time from Creation to the fall of Rome.  This has various readers and writing assignments based on their age and level so even though they will all be studying the same time period they will have reading and writing assignments that are appropriate for their ages.

First Language Lessons and Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading

Grammar study for the year.  We will be using three different levels of FLL this year.  Also two of the boys will continue to work through OPG which is a great phonics program.

Math U See

All of the boys will be using different levels of MUS this year.  Graham is switching back after almost of a year of a different math program. 

Classic Science Life

This is our first year trying this science program but I think it will be a good intro to the scientific method for the boys. 

Italic Handwriting

Great handwriting program that all the boys will be using this year.  I really like how legible their handwriting is with this program. 

They will also do art and typing.

For extracurricular I am hoping to get them in some type of music lessons and they play soccer and baseball.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

FREE curriculum choices

I really do think great curriculum is worth paying for BUT there are times when budgets are tight and you need something to teach a specific subject or even to give extra practice on a subject.

This list is posted and updated by a fellow homeschooling mom and it is a great resource. I love that it is broken down by categories and even if you don't homeschool your kids there are great resources for after school learing or projects.

Free Curriculum

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Resources and Curriculum

When you begin to look for homeschool materials it can be overwhelming. There are lots of choices. One of the best resource books is Cathy Duffy's 100 Top Picks for Homeschooling.  She really breaks down learning and teaching styles and then pairs the best resources for each style. 

For more info on the Charlotte Mason philosophy, as well as curriculum and book lists Simply Charlotte Mason is a great resource.  For a free Charlotte Mason Curriculum check out Ambleside Online.  Both of these sites have great reading lists for all ages/grades that are free to access.

We have used several different curriculum choices since we started homeschooling in 2005.  They all have different strengths but are all great choices for different reasons.  We started with Sonlight which may be one of the best known Christian curriculum choices.    We also used Winterpromise and loved their Animal Worlds program.   We actually still read some of the books from this program.  This past year we read some of the books from their Children Around the World program as we studied world cultures.  As I blogged at the first of the year we used My Father's World Exploring Country and Cultures this year for a year of world geography, missions and world cultures.  It has been a fun year and it has been great to learn more about the cultures many of our families and friends are serving.  This year brings us some more changes.  As I started researching different curriculum I knew I wanted to do something that would start a four year rotation of history based on The Well Trained Mind.  We already use many of the resources from Peace Hill Press and love them.  As I researched I knew that Winterpromise wasn't the way I wanted to go.  I really like their choices but haven't been pleased with their Instructor Guides.  I Like My Father's World and love their focus on the Bible but wanted something a little different.  I began to read and research Tapestry of Grace.  I like their Biblical focus.  I liked the four year history rotation.  I like that the boys are studying the same thing but on their own level.  I really like that it incorporates writing into the year.  I also like the independence it promotes in older students.  Then a friend offered to let me borrow her year one and that cinched the deal for me.  I am in the planning stages and am looking forward to seeing how this works for us this year.

Friday, July 23, 2010

147 millions reasons to say yes to God

Do you know how many orphans there are in the world?  There are an estimated 147 million .  Do you know how many Christian families it would take from your church to solve the orphan problem in America?  The statistics state that if one family in every four churches would adopt in America it would solve the orphan issue in America. 

"Saying Yes to God" is the subtitle on Kay Warren's blog/website. Kay Warren and her comments are the catalyst for the journey we are on. In this article, Kay says "Not everyone should adopt, but more should than do. Every family should at least ask the question, 'God, do you want our family to foster or adopt a child?' How do you know the answer unless you’ve asked the question?" OUCH!

When Tim read this it impacted him greatly. We had discussed adoption early in our relationship but put it away once we had children. God has blessed our lives richly with our boys. We began to pray. We contacted YWAM about adopting through their program in Ethiopia. We got an email back explaining that they weren't accepting applications at the time. I breathed a small sigh of relief as I knew this would give me a little more time to process this decision. But as the days went by and I began to read more and more, God began to do a work in my life. I couldn't help but see that this was more than just a decision it was a question of obedience.

A couple of weeks ago we got an email from Becky at YWAM Ethiopia that they were accepting applications. Last week on the day before my 40th birthday I called and started the application process with YWAM Ethiopia. Timbo announced on facebook that we were beginning this process. The response we have gotten has been as varied as our friendships. Most have been supportive but a few have been downright hostile.

I am not going to try to convince anyone that our decision is the correct one. All I can say is that this is what God has asked us to do. I can't answer the question for anyone else but I know that when we asked the question the answer was loud and clear. God has broken our hearts over the plight of orphans.  God has specifically put in our heart the desire and love for a child that we haven't met.  If someone disagrees with us I hope they will take it to God and let him work it out. ;-) 

We have found that we have 147 million reason to say yes to God.  Hopefully soon that will be 147 million minus one.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

10 reasons I love 40

Wow! I am 40 years old today and I am loving it!

1. I am more content.

2. I have four wonderful boys.

3. Being 40 means I have been married for almost 20 years to the awesome Timbo.

4. I am learning to accept the gray hair I have.

5. I am still younger than my brother. :-)

6. If our future follows our past then we will live in another 10 states in the next 20 years. I like moving.

7. I have an awesome accountability partner.

8. I can actually appreciate being more mature than I was at 20, 30 or even 39.

9. I actually remember when Al Gore created the Internet and I appreciate him doing so.

10. God has been gracious to me and I realize that more and more every day.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Preschool Fun

We have had a lot of fun this year using resources from Tot School.  I posted here with photos of our favorite tot book.  I haven't actually made any more books because they were too much work for me not easy for W to use.  But there are some other ideas we have used.  Here are how we used some of the games from Making Learning Fun to use with the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.  W also loves to play with his aquadoodle, blocks from Math U See and the wooden letter pieces from Handwriting Without Tears.

All of these things plus lots of books have made for a fun preschool year.  I am hoping to incorporate Letter of the Week this next year.  I have all the lessons laid out in lesson plans for the year and I think it will be a fun year and will give us lots of ideas of things for W to do while the boys are doing school.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

First Grade, Part 2 in my Curriculum Choice Series

This post is pretty easy to write since we will be starting first grade with J in the fall.

Here is my list of what I plan to use.

Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading

Explode the Code

First Language Lessons

Italic Handwriting

Story of the World

Writing Aids

Classic Life Science

Math U See

We have used some of this before OPG and ETC are both old favorites.  We have used MUS from the beginning for math and love the program.  This is our first year using Classic Life Science.  I chose it for the other boys and because it is free it will be nice to see how this program works for all of them.  We will use Writing Aids and SOTW along with Tapestry of Grace.  This is our first year using TOG and I have a feeling there will be a learning curve but I am excited about it. 

Again there are lots of different options for homeschooling.  We lean toward a classic/Charlotte Mason model and my choices reflect that direction. 

Next time I will post some of the things we use for preschool aka keeping W entertained. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Homeschooling Kindergarten and First Grade, part 1

For anyone who reads my blog you know that it is a mishmash of things that are going on in my life some things on church planting, personal devotionals and revelations, some home making and some homeschooling.

In the past year, I have had several people ask me about homeschooling from the general of "How do you start?" to the more specific with curriculum recommendations.

I really am passionate about homeschooling.  I feel strongly that it is what God has called our family to at this season of our life.  I realize that it may not always be this way and reserve the right to change our focus if we feel like God asks us to but right now we love it.  In the fall we will start our 6th year of homeschooling.  I have done kindergarten three times and have come to love the simplicity of the age and their thirst for knowledge.  This year several friends/acquaintances have asked specifically about kindergarten and 1st grade curriculum choices. 

First, there are a literal ton of resources on the web and in print for homeschoolers.  I realize that my choices are not necessarily the best choices for everyone  but I feel confident recommending these to anyone who wants to homeschool kindergarten, I think the best thing you can do is read, read and read some more.  I firmly believe that a child that learns to read and enjoy books will be able to accomplish anything they want to do.

For reading I highly recommend The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading.  It is a wonderful stand alone phonics/reading program.  We have used this program with three boys and they are all wonderful readers at their own level.  For more reinforcement we use Explode the Code workbooks.  There is a new online version that I am tempted by but so far we have stuck with the workbooks.  These are inexpensive workbooks.  They don't line up exactly with OPG but we haven't had any problem using them.

I have started all the boys using Handwriting without Tears which is a very good program but I don't love the way their handwriting looks.  So I have been switching over to Italic and J will switch to Italic in first grade.  I will start W in Italic and skip HWTHWT is a great program if you have a reluctant writer or one that struggles with correct penmanship.  My problem with it was purely cosmetic.  I will have to say that after almost two years of Italic with G that his handwriting has improved by leaps and bounds. 

Math U See is a home run for elementary math especially if you struggle to explain first grade math concepts to your six year old are not confident teaching math.  We use the DVDs as teaching time.  The boys watch their lesson (usually anywhere from 5-10 minutes) then I go over their worksheets and explain any instructions and they do their work.  If there is something they don't understand I pull out the manipulative's (wonderful Lego like blocks) and we work through the problem together.  Great program developed by a homeschool dad who is also a math teacher.

For science/geography in kindergarten I used a lot of resources recommend by Winterpromise in their Animal World series.  We loved the DK Animal Encyclopedia and also all the books in the One Small Square series which teaches geography and also science.  Again I feel like the ability to be relaxed and read a lot at this age is such a benefit.

I know some people want a box set of curriculum and there are several out there.

One that is free on the net and which I have pulled lots of resources from is Letter of the Week.  Katrina Lybbert has put together a wonderful set of curriculum for teaching preschoolers and early elementary children.  She is developing a science and country curriculum that looks just as fabulous as her original work and the best thing is that she shares her work freely.  Most of the books she recommends can be found in the library or you can easily find substitutes.

to be continued on another day...

Monday, July 12, 2010


I remember when I was little during the summer I spent a lot of time at camps and visiting my grandparents. I enjoyed the care free life during the summer and since I am an extrovert my heart was mostly content to be out and about around people. Every summer it seemed at some point I would reach a point where I would get homesick. I was having fun but I missed home. I missed being around my mom and dad. I was homesick.

As I became a teenager I didn't suffer from homesickness as much. I realized that the time during summer was short and tried to enjoy every day of it.

Now as an adult I am struggling with homesickness again. I don't long for my parents home even though I miss seeing them and love them dearly. I don't even long for the lazy days of summer as a child. I am homesick for my heavenly home.

Funny how you can long for something you have never experienced. I long for the days in heaven when there will be no more tears and no more sadness.

This wave of homesickness hasn't come out of the blue. As we have watched close friends struggle with the loss of a parent. I long for them to be reunited with those loved ones.

We have friends who are struggling with family issues. I long for them to be home and at rest.

We have friends who are dealing with difficult marriage issues. I long for them to be at home and peace.

We have friends that are just struggling and my heart aches for them. I long for home so that these struggles and trials will be over.

I am homesick for myself. I want to hold my baby. I want to see my family. I want to worship the holiness of God with no sin to mar the experience. I want to be made whole and complete. I long for Him to finish the work that he has started in my soul.

Oh, I long for home. I long for the peace and rest for my friends, my family and myself. I long for home...

Filing system

Over at Well Trained Mind Forums there was discussion about the use of a weekly filing system for all your school work.  I was intrigued by the idea and I love any reason to organize anything so I read and read some more and then I decided that this was something that would help me us stay on track this next year.  I already had a box and tons of file folders so I grabbed some markers and all our school work and went to work. 

This next year we are going to be using Tapestry of Grace for our history/literature/geography/writing and TOG is broken down into four units of nine weeks each.  There are roughly nine weeks of summer until we start our fall session, so I put together a summer session and then four sessions for TOG starting in the fall.

I also used colored folders for each of the boys individual work.  So they each have a set of ten folders.  One is a general folder with their names, then other nine are numbered and used each week.  Right now I am pulling out one weekly master folder which holds any work that we do together and then each boys weekly folder and keeping it in the basket by my chair.

This is my file box.  I chose not to use hanging files because I figured that I wouldn't need them at this point.  You can see the master weekly files at the front and the boys files (colored numbers) sticking up in the back.

Here is my weekly box. I am pulling the files and keep them in this box with any books I want to use with the boys and it also is currently home to my master home management binder which will be finished one day in the distant future soon. 

I did decide to take all our manuals apart.  I thought all of two seconds about it long and hard about it.  My decision was based on the fact that some of our books were tattered and torn in need of a little more care.  I decided to take those books apart and put the pages in page protectors.  I hole punched everything and made spine labels and placed everything in the excess binders I somehow accumulated recycled binders.

I went through all of our plans for next year that I had (grammar, math, phonics and handwriting) and divided out the number of lessons by the number of weeks and then put that number of lesson in each week.  For our summer session, I had some plans of some different fun things we would work on so I planned those weeks out accordingly and placed the resources in the appropriate week.

I am a little bit of geek about organization so this system was a lot of fun to set up.  We are finishing up our second week using it and I am finding that having the work divided out in manageable chunks has made it much easier for me to get through the material we need to in a week. 

Also I have been able to look at plans for next week and actually print out some extra worksheets to go along with certain lessons.  This system seems to work well for me because I am a visual learner and this helps keep my perfectionist/ocd tendencies in check.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Thrifty School Room Decor

We redid our schoolroom this week here.  I wanted something on the walls but wanted something cheap unique.  So I took our world map from last year and cut it into continents.  I then took some black frames that were in storage and framed the maps.  Viola!  Unique artwork in our school room.

Then I wanted the boys to have a place to display all their treasures so I found this blog about making Thrifty Dollar Store Art.  I loved the idea of a cork board.  I headed to our local Dollar Store.  I only visited one of the four that we have in our town.  You know because you need four dollar stores before you have a Target.  They didn't have the cork boards in stock.  But I found white display board that I thought would work.  They also had large letters for wall art.  I spent $5.  I cut the display board down to fit in more recycled frames.  I added letters to spell their names.

For other decorations, I found these cute glasses on sale at Target.  The boys each have one on their desks to keep pencils, pens, highlighters and flags in.

Then Ikea to the rescue with these pop up bins.  They were $4 for 3 bins and we keep chalk/boards, science experiement supplies and aqua wonder supplies organized.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

School Room Redesign

Last year I posted photos of our school room.  We loved it for a while but discovered that it was problematic since W loved to explore. When we were tucked away in the schoolroom aka spare bedroom, he was exploring the rest of the house and leaving a mess in his wake. So we moved school to the living area and rearranged bedrooms to give the boys a playroom and Tim an office.

Fast forward a year and we are at the point of needing a school room again. Since we had moved the boys into the master bedroom, we converted their playroom into our new school room.

We still have a few things to do/adjust but I really think this is going to work well for us.

Here are some pictures of our redesign.

The older two boys have a desk with a bookshelf in between them. They have their boxes and most of their books on the bookshelf along with some different activity oriented boxes.

Then J has a desk on the other wall. Right now we have two more bookcases but our plan is to buy one more desk and a taller bookcase. (I love Ikea.) and W will have a place to play and work with the others.

The larger desk with drawers (why is one of them open?) is mine. I spend most of my time in the black chair and the closet has been converted to my resource closet. It holds text books/binders, extra supplies, extra books we aren't using currently, our globe, some games and my printer.

So far (two weeks in) this has been a great new set up for us.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Orphans and my mouth??

I have been reading a lot about what the Bible says about orphans lately. I have also been reading a lot of adoption related blogs but this post is about something else.

This morning I decided to read the verse in James that is actually often times referenced as a turning point for those who decide to adopt.

James 1:27
Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

I usually try to read a verse in context so I decided to read the previous verse since in my Bible it seems that verse 26 and 27 are a paragraph together.

James 1:26
If you claim to be religious but don't control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.

OUCH! and OUCH again! Verse 27 convicted me of one thing and then verse 26 something else. I can't address the issue of orphans immediately in a direct way but I can do something about my tongue.

This week I read an article written by Kay Warren where she says "Not everyone should adopt, but more should than do. Every family should at least ask the question, “God, do you want our family to foster or adopt a child?” How do you know the answer unless you’ve asked the question?"

Have I honestly asked that question of my family? Have I honestly asked God this question or am I scared of the answer? Let me assure you that we have asked that question and we feel like we are getting a pretty clear answer from God...but I will post more about that journey later.

After I read this then I read verse 26 I am shocked. My tongue is a barometer to my religion. Is my faith geniune, how am I speaking to my children, my husband and my friends? Am catty and cutting in my responses? Are my words soft and tender or harsh?

We have been teaching our children about "soft words" the last few weeks. We have been focusing on this verse from Proverbs 15:1

A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.

How often in my life do I make the choice to use harsh words with no care of the result? When if I would chose gentle/soft words then the result would be calm and not anger?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Daniel week 3 Trials

I don't like trials. There I said it. I hate suffering and I especially hate watching those around me suffer. It is hard but I realize that those trials are a necessary part of life.

1 Peter 1:7 (New Living Translation) says "These trials will show that your faith is genuine." Ok, so trials show that my faith is genuine. Genuine means authenic, real, not counterfit. I like the first part of the definition authenic and real sound good. Not counterfit kind of stings. If trials show that my faith is genuine then does my lack of faith during a trial show it as counterfit. Again it seems that God (with Amber's help) has striped away my comfort zone with this Bible study.

God used Josiah to show that even when things happen outside of my control that he will redeem the tragedy. One of the unexpected benefits of our experience happened during the memorial service for Josiah. We had a friend who attended our church. We had shared with her But one of the issues she struggled with was guilt from an abortion. She had made the decision years before she was married and had children. This decision shadowed her life and as she began to experience who Jesus was it was the one thing that continued to haunt her. God had given me the priviledge of sharing with her before we were even pregnant with Josiah. I shared how God loves us and that his forgiveness covers all our sins. At our memorial service we shared our grief but also our hope. One of the priveledges of being a Christian is that our hope doesn't end on this earth. As this friend left the service she shared how she had used the time to accept God's forgiveness for her abortion and as a memorial for her baby. It was poignant as she asked us if it was "ok" with us. OK? We rejoiced in the acceptance of God's grace and forgiveness. It was precious to us to see how God was already using our experience to draw others to him.

Even though I am honest about not liking trials, I know that they cause me to draw closer to God. When I suffer through trials then I draw closer to God because he is my help. When I watch my friends go through trials I draw closer to God as I pray and intercede for their situation. It is amazing to see how God answers those prayers and uses that to strengthen my faith.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Safari through Daniel

I have to admit that when I suggested to my friend Jen that we do this Bible study together I really didn't think it would be so up close and personal in my life. I figured that since most of Daniel is prophecy it would be an interesting study but on a more intellectual level rather than personal introspective level.

How utterly foolish of me to forget God's promise that His Word is a "two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit." This study has already began "exposing my innermost thoughts and desires."

I have been a Christian for over 30 years. The truth of that statement is humbling because I know that at this point in my Christian life I should be showing more maturity than I do. The reality is that God has used the last year to show me how I have been half hearted in my relationship with Him. How I have laid claim to the name of Christ without taking on the full responsibility of the name. I have talked about who God is (irl and on my blog) but my personal relationship was stale at best.

This past year as I began examining my life I realized that it had been a long time since I had been consistently in God's word. I would pick up my Bible and read here and there but had no consistency in my spiritual life. I was dissatisfied with my personal life on many levels and God began to strip away a lot of excess. He began to reveal sins and confronted me with the truth that if I wanted to have a full, deep, meaningful relationship with Him then I would to live a holy life.

I decided that if I wanted my life to be different then I needed to start doing different things. God has promised us that we can live an abundant life in Him. I realized that for that to take place I needed to do three things. I needed to be honest about sin. I needed to find some accountability. And I needed to get close to God.

For me it was easy to gloss over sin and even fall back on the thought that "we are all sinners." That attitude doesn't line up with what God says. First Thessalonians 4:7-8 says "God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives. Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you." God has called me to live a holy life.

I began to deal with sins that were common downfalls for me. The ones that Satan used to continually trip me up. I asked that God reveal the root of those sins and then I began to "weed them out".

When we were first married, we served a church in Tulsa, OK. Many of our members were already at retirement age. One day we were talking with one of the members about yard work. I was moaning about the dandelions in my yard. This beautiful older lady told me that she had a small shovel she used to dig out each dandelion in her yard. I will admit that my first thought was "you have too much time on your hands". God has used that lesson in yard work to show me what I have to do with sin in my life.

Sin is like a dandelion. It takes root and makes a small flower. Eventually this flower goes to seed and then either the wind (or a child) comes along and blows the seed and it spreads. If this cycle continues eventually dandelions will take over an entire area. I found that sin was the same way, once it took root then it would continue to grow and spread. So I began to deal with sin the same way. I sought out the root and dug it out the same way you would with a persistent weed in your yard.

The Bible tells us that if we confess our sins to one another then we will be healed. I know that this verse is often used when dealing with physical sickness but I believe that it can also be seen in light of spiritual sickness. I knew that I was spiritually sick and I needed someone to remind me to take the medicine. I talked to a friend and I confessed the sins I was continually dealing with and then I asked her to pray for me and also to hold me accountable.

It is impossible for me to spend quality and quantity time with God and spend time with sin. Carl Sandburg said "There is an eagle in me that wants to soar, but there is also a hippo in me that wants to wallow in the mud." I found that I needed to spend time every day with God's word. I need to know what He is saying to me today. I need to do it multiple times a day. I began to put some things into place to ensure that this was happening. I began to start and end my day with my Bible. I also put scripture in my phone and refer to it throughout the day. I find that I must be proactive about God or the distractions around me cause me to lose focus.

Daniel was sure about who God was and what God was able to do. I know that if I want that assurance in my life then I must spend time with God and lots of it.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Updated workbox system

I have spent the last week revamping my lesson plans for the rest of the year and also my workbox system. We were only using parts of this system from Sue Patrick. This past week I decided that we needed some more structure in our day and that we are going to give this system another try.

Here are some pictures of our boxes. We do school in our living room and this bookcase holds all our school books and supplies we use daily.

This is a close up of W's box and the contents for this week. I am using file folders to divide their activities/school work up (instead of plastic shoe box containers). There is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and a game for W and J to play together, HWT wooden pieces and the letter F for W to build, Brown Bear, Brown Bear and activities, also included but not pictured is a sheet of stickers, color wonder sheet with markers and a Zootle magazine I will read with W and J.

This is J's box and activities for the week. The first thing in J's box is his schedule card. I labeled his file folders with numbers which match those on his schedule. His schedule card also has some extras scheduled. To save space I am only putting actual work in the folders and then extras get put on the card for him to work on. The next item is his clipboard which he uses to do work since we don't usually sit at a desk or table and on it is his morning routine list. These are things that need to be done before we start school. Then you see a file folder with the number on the outside and his Explode the Code book, a folder with his 100 chart and finally a folder with a reading game. He has a total of about 6 folders with 6 additional items on his schedule. Some of his extras include riding his bike, playing a game with his brothers (Hi Ho Cherry O), reading (which isn't in a folder because I use the same phonics book with E and J right now, and playing a game with W (Chicka Chicka Boom Boom). I expect that he will also participate in some of the things I do with W.

I didn't take pictures of G and E's boxes but they are similar in contents. I have used the schedule cards to add in computer typing games, math drill and art to their daily schedule. So I am hopeful that this will help us complete more work and have fun at the same time.

I am going to post some more photos later this week of our reading area and centers that are also in our living room to give an idea of how we do school and live in the same space.