In my last post, I shared with you the coming changes to our household. So change is coming, what’s next? Planning. Knowing how much there will be to decide…curriculum to buy, schedules to make out, lessons to create…planning early will be a key to having a good year.
I’ve been reading Isaiah in the Message. (Yes, I am still reading the Message. I have missed countless days in my pursuit, but I will not give up!) In Isaiah 22, it is speaking of a coming attack on Jerusalem. The city is seen making plans to fortify themselves the best they can.
You assessed your defenses that Day, inspected your arsenal of weapons in the Forest Armory. You found the weak places in the city walls that needed repair. You secured the water supply at the Lower Pool. You took an inventory of the houses in Jerusalem and tore down some to get bricks to fortify the city wall. You built a large cistern to ensure plenty of water.
These all were good and logical plans. They assessed what they had, strengthened weak areas, and secured necessities. But God was not pleased. Why? The answer is found in the next verse…
You looked and looked and looked, but you never looked to him who gave you this city, never once consulted the One who has long had plans for this city.
Their fault…they didn’t turned to God for help. They didn’t consult the One with the master plan. They relied on what seemed best without seeking God first.
Don’t you love God’s timing? Yes, I have a lot of planning to do, but there is a lesson here is for me. I need to go to God first and make sure I consult Him each step of the way. I will not make the same mistake Judah made because I know the One with the master plan and I will look to Him first.
Just when you think you have everything figured out, that’s when it happens…things change.
It seems now that we are going to bring our boys (Joshua and IV) back home to homeschool again next year. I started homeschooling when Emily was in 2nd grade and she homeschooled until 9th grade. She spent one year in a private Christian school and has been in public school ever since. IV was homeschooled until 8th grade when he entered the public school system. Joshua was homeschooled until this year when he entered 6th grade at Graham Park Middle.
This year has been starting all over again for me. Emily, IV, and Joshua all in public school, I just had Daniel in kindergarten for homeschooling. Jessica and Chloe are both doing some preschool curriculum.
Last week Donald asked me what I thought about bringing both the boys back to homeschooling next year. As soon as he said it out loud…we both kinda new this was what we were suppose to do. They’ve done well in public school, but they get frustrated about the amount of “fluff” time in each school day. They’ve had both good and bad teachers. There are things they like about public school, but overall there’s more they miss about homeschooling than what they like at public school.
But when I think about what my responsibilities will be next year, it is a bit overwhelming…
Emily – a senior in public school…college applications, financial aid deadlines, senior pictures, prom, graduation.
IV – homeschooling 10th grade…Algebra II (I didn’t do so well in Algebra II in high school, but that was because I didn’t do my homework and I was always turned around talking to the cute guy behind me. Wonder who that could be? :-)), English papers, Biology, etc..
Joshua – homeschooling 7th grade.
Daniel – homeschooling 1st grade.
Jessica – homeschooling kindergarten and continuing speech therapy.
Chloe – most likely will be tagging along learning everything Jessica does.
Then I just have my part-time job with the church and my Sunday school class to teach. It can all be overwhelming to think about. But I can already start counting my blessings…
Emily is very organized with her school work, and her senior year should be pretty easy academically. IV will be thrilled to be back homeschooling and I think both he and Joshua will be ready now that they know the grass is not greener on the other side. We will be in a better financial state by the fall so we can take advantage of more sports and programs for the kids. Many hands make light work! IV, Josh, and I will make a good team and help each other out. I have a close friend who has kids similar ages and homeschools them , so I won’t be alone and will have support. I already have the homeschooling experience so it’s not like I am starting from scratch.
It’s going to take a lot of organizing and planning, but change is good.
This morning I was telling Daniel it was time to start his school work. Daniel would rather spend time on the computer than do school work, so he had an idea. He told me he would just do his schoolwork online instead. I told him his school work wasn’t online…it was sitting on the kitchen table and we needed to get started. Daniel asked me to just try http://www.sixyearoldschoolonthecomputer.com I tried it just to show him it wasn’t there. In Daniel’s world, everything is at http://www.com you just have to type it in.
It’s amazing how different the world is than when I was a kid. My kids are use to pausing live TV and watching their favorite kids shows OnDemand. When my kids are playing and one of them needs to get something or has to go to the bathroom…they yell “pause” and everyone stops playing till they return. They “pause” their real-life play just like TV and movies.
While listening to Christmas music on the radio station, Jessica’s favorite singers came on…Alvin and the Chipmunks…she thinks they are a riot! But when the song ended, she was very frustrated that I wouldn’t “go back” to that song again. She didn’t understand the concept of the radio. In her 4 year old world, all music can be skipped ahead or jumped back to the song you want to listen to.
For my little ones…all cameras let you see the picture as soon as you take it, watching videos made on your cell phone is the norm, and everything is accessible through http://www.com. They don’t understand planning your week around the one showing of Charlie Brown Christmas special each year. They don’t know what it is like to wait a week or more to see if your photos turned out. They have no concept of dialing a rotary phone and how that might work. We live in a instant world! It makes me feel old, but it hasn’t really been that many years. It truly makes me wonder what the world will be like 10 years from now.
This is the time of year when we scramble to finish our Christmas shopping list. Some people just buy something to give while others agonize over “the right” gift. They say it’s “the thought that counts,” but it’s always nice to give a gift that has that “personal touch.”
In Genesis 1, we learn that God created the world and all that was in it. He SPOKE the world into existence. With just a word, God’s vision became reality. How amazing!
But there was something different about how God created man:
The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Genesis 2:7
God seemed to add a more personal touch when He created man. He formed Him and breathed life into Him.
I’ve heard people say that they believe there is a God, but they don’t believe that God is involved in their daily lives. Their belief is of a God who set things into motion and then sits back to see what happens…kind of like watching TV. But I believe that God is very involved in our creation and our daily life. I believe He adds His personal touch to each of us from the beginning:
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13
Dave Ramsey (in his Financial Peace video) said he could picture God with knitting needles knitting together the strains of DNA to form each and everyone of us. Now I’m sure God isn’t really knitting babies all day, but I believe the idea that He is personally involved in our creation is in line with Scripture:
Yet, O LORD, you are our Father.
We are the clay, you are the potter;
we are all the work of your hand. Isaiah 64:8
So what? If God has put His personal touch on you, then you are not an accident. God has a plan for your creation and you can take comfort in the fact that He can use you. We are not cookie cutter people who all fit one mold…we are unique individuals formed with a specific design and purpose in mind. What has God created you to do?
…IT POURS. Sometimes that is so true! We’ve had two major appliances die in less than a week’s time.
First, was the dryer. Our dryer was only 5 years old but with 8 of us, it has done more work than the average dryer. Last year Donald and I replaced the belt on it but other than that, it’s been no trouble at all. But last Thursday, it stopped spinning, drying, and made a horrible sound when you tried to run it. As best as we could figure…the engine was shot so we set out to buy a new one. Don’t you love it when you have to replace things right before Christmas?
I knew I was NOT getting the dryer that matched my front-loader washer. It was going to cost at least $1100! I decided to get an updated version of the dryer I already had. Same manufacture (Whirlpool) and same drying capacity as the $1100 dryer…it just didn’t have the electronic keypad and a window in the door. This one was less than $500.
We bought the dryer, got it all set up and we were back in the laundry business at my house…just in time too.
The next Tuesday night, I pulled dinner out of the oven and it wasn’t as hot as it should be. I just set it back in for longer and didn’t think much of it. Then on Wednesday I went to start dinner (I was going to cook a ham….yum) but nothing happened. The lights didn’t come on and neither heating element heated. I tried several times. The only thing that worked was the oven light.
Of course, we rent a house so my first response was to be thankful we rent and have a good landlord. The oven was probably original to the house (built in the 80’s). We contacted our landlord and he told us we could go ahead and replace it (he lives in Hawaii so he’s not here to take care of those things). Yesterday, Donald and I went out in search of an oven. Sears Outlet just happened to be having a sale on all their built-in appliances. We got a good deal on an oven and got it installed last night. Now we are back in business. I think my taste-buds are still waiting on that ham!
In the last year we have bought a new washer and a new dryer. Our landlord has replaced the dishwasher and oven. There’s only a refrigerator and a stove-top left. Hopefully they won’t need replacing too soon.
Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. 1 Thessalonians 4:1
Am I living in a way that pleases God? Paul tells the Thessalonian church that they are living in a way that pleases God. Certainly that is the way I want to live.
But then I wonder, what are they doing that so pleases God? When I turn back a chapter, I think I discover the answer:
But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. 1 Thessalonians 3:6
Their faith and love…a winning combination. It is not enough to just have faith.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:2
Faith without love does not draw people to Christ. Some people get so caught up in their great faith in God that they become intolerant of those who do not believe. They can be very judgemental and lack compassion and mercy. The message then becomes twisted and turns people off. God wants us to have faith but it must be balanced with love for people.
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Galatians 5:6
And love itself without faith doesn’t produce anything lasting. Yes, there are people who love without having faith in God. But what good does love really do if it doesn’t draw people to Christ? What matters is eternity, and if love is just for the sake of love (being kind, compassionate, showing mercy) in the end, it really doesn’t do any good. I could go through life loving everyone I meet, but if I don’t have a faith that points them to Christ, then although I may improve their earthly time, what about their eternity?
Paul was always commending this whenever he saw it in any of the churches.
For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. Ephesians 1:15-16
We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints— the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth. Colossians 1:3-6
When we have faith and love, then we are reflecting God’s character. The Psalms are full of songs of God’s love and faithfulness towards us. We need to have the faith in God and the love for others that will point others to Him and then we are living a life that pleases God.
I can’t believe it’s been this long since I last blogged! Life has been really busy for us. Here is what I’ve been up to:
I got a surprise reading through The Message. I am just over halfway through. I LOVED The Message paraphrase of the book of Job and I am loving the Proverbs, too. BUT I really got bogged down in the Psalms. I didn’t expect that at all. I don’t know if it is because the Psalms are so familiar or it was just the modern day wording isn’t as poetic, but I really didn’t enjoy the Psalms very much. I found myself constantly trying to compare it to the NIV version in my head while I read which made it difficult to concentrate of what it was saying.
15 years! Donald and I celebrated our 15th anniversary yesterday. It was fun because Donald planned a whole evening out and didn’t let me in on any of it. We drove to Old Towne Alexandria and strolled through the shops. We visited the Torpedo Factory and looked in all the windows of the artist shops. We visited the Christmas Shop and resisted the urge to buy. At this point we also decided it was time to take out our Christmas music at home…not waiting till Thanksgiving this year. I love Christmas music! Then we just strolled through any interesting shops we found on the next few blocks. Donald made reservations for us to eat at a very nice restaurant. The food was delicious. I really enjoyed it!
Running errands, weekly coffee with a friend, homeschooling my little kids, playing taxi for my big kids, planning Bible lessons, attending Life Groups, and just everyday housework…that’s pretty much it.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DANIEL!
Daniel requested a yellow cake with white icing and M&M’s on top. He also wanted ice cream – chocolate and vanilla in the same container. Daniel is very specific in his requests…good thing they make chocolate and vanilla together like that. 🙂
Daniel also requested homemade pizza for his birthday dinner tonight. He wanted one with big, round things on it (pepperoni) and the other to have little black things on it so he can pick them off. I explained that we just wouldn’t put black olives on it when we made it.
We don’t make a big deal about things like Mother’s Day at my house. We might pick up fast food on the way home from church or order pizza so that I don’t have to cook lunch, but no big celebration. Emily always makes me a homemade card and she sees to it that all of the kids make me a picture, card, or something.
Last year when she was helping the little ones color a picture for me, she must have made a big deal about telling the kids to say “Happy Mother’s Day!” to me when they presented their artwork. Ever since then, whenever the my 3 little ones make an art project or color a picture for me, they always say “Happy Mother’s Day!” when they hand it to me. It’s kind of cute, especially in October. I thought they would quit after awhile, but they are still doing it.
Somewhere along the line, “Happy Mother’s Day!” started to mean more to Jessica (age 4). Not long ago she started to tell me “Happy Mother’s Day” at random times and not only when she was presenting me with something.
This week must have been an especially good week in our house because Jessica has told me “Happy Mother’s Day!” at least once a day. This morning, we were waiting for her speech therapy teacher, just standing in a hallway, when she looked up at me and said “Happy Mother’s Day!”
Maybe it’s because she is happy. Maybe it’s because I am in a good mood. I’m not sure why she decides to say it, but I love it when she does.
So to all you mom’s out there…HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!!!
Tomorrow night our ladies evening Bible study begins a Beth Moore study Loving Well. I am so excited about this study.
I’ve previewed the first session and I found it convicting and very applicable to every area of our lives. I can’t wait to start the study and see what God is going to do.
We’re meeting on Monday night at 7pm. Hope to see you there!
For more info, see the Ladies Ministry Blog.