Thursday, September 14, 2017

When hard things happen focus on your race!

For the last 11 days, my extended family has been dealing with a tragic loss. It has taken me 11 days and a funeral( the hardest funeral I have ever attended, yes this was harder than my own sisters funeral) to come up with words for this. 
Suicide is hard no matter what but when there are no warning sign or letter it makes it even harder. The loss of a man that has two children in the times that they need a dad the most as early teens and a young adult is beyond comprehension to me. A wife and siblings that are still in complete dismay on how the one that always smiles could do this. I have lost a sibling but as I expressed over the past 11 days for us my sister had a terminal illness that had taken life from her long before her last breath. I have always said the death that is a shock is much harder than the ones expected.
We need to love on everyone we meet not just because we love them but because we don't know the struggle they are having inside. We need to send that prayer or even lay a hand on them whether we know them or not. God calls us not to be quiet about our faith but to live out what love he showed us through Jesus. Jesus has shown us so much that we need to be like-minded for his passion of the people and be willing to speak up about the inappropriate things that are hard to talk about. I have been weighing a few things on my mind lately with all of the things that have been in my path over the past few months and even years God has really been showing things to me that I am not good at and putting new passions in my heart.
The passion is not that of what I can do for my church or what my church does for me but my passion is for those that have struggled with the feeling of not feeling like they are enough. God has to lead me to the door of teen girls dealing with depression, he has brought me to people that have been persecuted by the people that are supposed to be leading them to love others as Christ loves them. I don't know what the road ahead has for me but I do know I have strong convictions to LOVE people for Christ, not for me but that Christ will be known. This past 11 days I too have thought what could I have done from 5hrs away and not having seen this man for years face to face, what more could I have do but then I know that what is done is done and I can't dwell on that, no matter the hurt it causes but that I must step forward with the question "What can I do?".
What can we do? We need to realize that money is not ours, it's not something to strive for it is just part of life that comes and goes. Family good or bad is family and we never know what tomorrow brings. You have a chance to make amends with a family member that is still living, DO IT!! I have seen friends forgive a father that has abused them in ways I can't mention and then complete forgiveness and relationship mended was granted after years of prayer. We need to reach out to those that are hurting and know that the Lord is the only place we can find full peace. I have said in many posts over the past three years how I have had to turn away from finding my value in my husband and others thoughts about me. I learned that I can only find value in "Who God thinks I am!". Song of Song 4:7 is a huge one to hold on to because God finds no fault in us because Christ has died and given up his perfect life that we can come to know heaven. I know that we all view Christianity in different ways but I ask you to truly search what God is calling you to know it as for yourself; not what others tell you it is.
In the past three years, I have been digging deeper in my faith and had an amazing conversation yesterday that lead me to the point of realizing where I was with my faith 7 years ago and where I have come with it since. I have lost friends to drugs, I have lost friends to depression, I have lost people to Cancer and more but I have gained friends that have up lifted me in my faith and helped me through those tough things. With that today I just want you to know that God is with you and you just need to seek his word. The past 11 days he has brought me verses that I needed at just the right time.

Lord,
I ask that we seek out your word for us today what is it that you are bringing us too, who is it that we are to share your love with and how is it that you want us to look at others. Help us through our lack of understanding that we will know that we are to focus on our race and how to finish it strong for you!
In Jesus Name AMEN

Friday, February 17, 2017

“This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.” Mark 9:29

    Have you ever been to that point that you just don't know what the Lord is asking of you? You feel hopeless in what your next step is on your life path?  There seem to be branches of the path going everywhere crossing over each other every few yards.  Do you cry out to God not sure if he is listening to what you are asking?  This is a frequent thing that I struggle with.  Just when I think I have a plan he takes his eraser and says, "Wait I have something much different in store."  I planned to go be encouraged by my friend that always has great things to say to me.  Today I was the one listening and finding out that she had hard things in her life too.  

      I sat there in her living room watching her on the verge of tears and knew there is only one thing we could do.  As the kids were calling on her, and at her feet, I took a hold of her in a hug and prayed for our families and our spouses. We prayed that God would grow both of us in ways that we can't imagine today.

Habakkuk 1:5  English Standard Version (ESV)
“Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told."


  When we finished I knew that God had prompted me to text her. He nudged me to meet with her even though I had not seen her since before Christmas. I had not had time to call and chat but I know that God touches our hearts with friends that need us in difficult times. I have truly been touched by the fact that I have a God that knows my friends and their hearts enough to prompt me to be there when they are in need.


      Who have you put off, being on your knees for?  I have, to be honest, I am not good at getting on my knees in prayer.   I long for that closeness to God, but feel uncomfortable in the position like it's holy but know we are to be so amazed by his power that we fall to our knees.  I feel that prayer is a very powerful tool.  I too often forget it's the first and easiest tool in my tool box that I can pull out anywhere without anyone knowing.  I can stand in at the gas pump and witness something hard to watch and just pray for Gods peace in that situation. 

     I am not always good at this, but I know that God has more power than I give him credit for. I have watched prayer bring momma's babies when Dr's have said it was impossible, heal marriages, calm spouses when hard things were brought up, and I have witnessed healing in places that others thought were not possible. I love these verses that talk about how we struggle to believe.

Mark 9:23-29 English Standard Version (ESV)

23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out[a] and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” 25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again." 26 And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. 28 And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” 29 And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”
      Wow, there are things that can only be relieved by prayer POWERFUL stuff.  What is it that makes me not pray? Why am I afraid to lay hands on my friends and family when scripture says so clearly that there are things that can only be brought out with prayer.  Prayers of the believer's that truly trust that God has amazing power so for you today I pray that God helps heal your unbelief.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

How can we put God's plan into play togeather?

The burning of old grass has a good purpose to help the new growth.  
     How has God set you apart from others in his body more or less what do you think your role is in his body?  Are you an organizer, worker bee, or creative person?  Some of us are more than one of these I for one can't do the organization part.
   This past week I have looked at this with new eyes I thought i was a worker bee for what other people put together but I have realized that I love to come up with new ideas but I am not an organized person that can make the ideas come to play.  The other night my husband and I sat at our friend's table and told them a few ideas I had that I would love to see happen in our community.  This is great I love coming up with Ideas and I love seeing them happen but to organize them into play is not a gift I have been blessed with.  
    I am to come up with the idea lay out how I think it could work but to make all the details come togeather that is not the person God created me to be.  I need to look around and pray that God will make the details come togeather through others.  If it is something more than picking up pizza and dropping them off I am overwhelmed just like I am supposed to make a meal for 60 people in our church tonight and here I am sitting at my computer telling you about how this scares the daylights out of me because I am not good at making it all come togeather.  Tonight I will grab a few bags of salad and serve brownies my daughter made with a few pans of baked spaghetti or Chicken pot pie simple most would say but that's about as elegant as I get.  The sound of blessing our AWANA families always sounds good but it is not one of my talents that are for sure.
    I want to see many outreaches happen through our church but I am not able yet to know how to take something from my mind and make it into a reality.  How do we teach our kids to do these things if we first are not willing to step up and show them well I realized early on that because of circumstances I was not shown how to do many things my family was way too busy for my mom to have me come along side her to learn the skill of how she organized her gatherings and parties for family and friends.  My goal is to become that mom but I struggle with the idea of how when it is not a skill I can fathom myself.
    Other have often told me you have a great passion for what is in your heart you just need to see it through.  At 34 years old I want others to know that those of us that have very creative passions sometimes fail to follow through because of the way our minds are wired to be creative we lack the organization skills and the wiring just don't connect with the organization part of the brain. My husband would tell you that in my brain that organization part is smaller than most brains may have.  If you are an organizer than seek out those of us that are creative and let us know you want to do something in the church you just don't have an idea of what you could help build our outreach. In that though don't forget who the author of the idea was and twist the idea completely so you can take glory in it as yours.  Those of us creators don't like when the artwork we had in mind is skewed completely for the benefit of others. I think we have all been in a classroom when ours or our friend's artwork was defiled by someone in words or actions and know the hurt that causes.   If you want to be a team member and get me the best colors or tools to finish the job that's really what I am looking for not someone to tear my idea down because it really was not my idea to being with God put it on my heart.
   Sometimes in the church others are not willing to accept the new creative ways that bring growth of faith by stepping out and seeing things in a new way so like the fire helping new growth this is how a new idea can play out a new growth in faith and in how God wants you to look at the community outside of the church.  If you are asked to step out in faith with something new look at what you may miss if you decline the movement God has put on others hearts.  

Friday, January 6, 2017

We made a switch to HOD mid year and here is week one review.

Well I can't do a complete review being We didn't do all of it but here is the history part of the curriculum as we are still waiting on some of the other books still to arrive.  Heart of Dakota is what I used when I first homeschooled my oldest back in 1st grade and I loved it then and in 3rd grade. this year we started something completely different but on January 2nd we switched back to Resurrection to Reformation with my younger two and really I only did Unit one with my middle child and my youngest will start doing it with us next week.
  How I do things different before we get too far into this.  I have the Rod and Staff books for language and just work through them lesson by lesson I got the workbook and tests for them.  For math we use teaching textbooks and that works well for us.   Bible I use the Awana and for the devotional bible time I have a book called Maidens of Virtue that I wanted to do with my daughter so we are just working through that. (Mainly because this is technically my second curriculum I have purchased and the budget doesn't fit everything anymore.) We are not doing Shakspere for the same reason I just stated we will maybe do some with him later in life.

 Day one was a lot of fun for us as we looked through photos of my grandpa in Rome in WWII with some of the arches.  Knowing that her Great Grandpa that she knew was in the places they talked about in the books make it so much more interesting for her. She loved the living books rather than the textbook style we tried before.  She loved making the dry clay and forming it into the pieces.

  Day two was a little rough as we took off the Tuesday for her birthday and restarted it on Wednesday.  Again she enjoyed the living books they did get a bit graphic but out kids love the Lord of the Rings books and movies so we didn't skip it.  The backdrop drawing she got a little ahead of me on and made a modern Rome city behind the arch so I guess I am just going to let it go as she had the road right
 
    Day three My son was also thrilled by the Forbidden Gates book and what all she was doing so he was right with us after he finished his school and that is when we decided to add him in next week.
 
  Day four I struggle with reading myself so it needs to be quiet and peaceful for me to pronounce some of these names or not get distracted.  The kids were getting a little restless so we pulled out the drawing stuff and here is what we ended with at the end. I love how my creative girl can use the things she does with her hands to remember the important parts of her school.  Notice the shields symbols that is a huge part of the reason they won the battle.
   
    I really enjoy the way this is all laid out for the teacher too. I was visiting with a friend a few weeks ago and though oh my that is too overwhelming but no we can do it as long as I know we don't do all the boxes because we have other things we do.  I am very happy with unit ones results.  The layout for the teachers guild is on the Heart of Dakota website I have it linked HERE.  We love it hope you check it out and I can't wait until we have everything and look forward to years to come wiht this program.

What I learned in the first 16 weeks of homeschooling

In the half a year of schooling I have been asked about so many aspects of homeschooling. The number one question is why do you homeschool and there are a ton of reasons people homeschool so we will touch base on why and how we homeschool in this blog post.
True homeschool Christmas gift is microscope!
He has asked to pull it out on his own a few times 
   I have heard people homeschool for very different reasons and some have one reason and others like us have a variety of reasons we homeschool.  Let's start with some of the most common reasons people homeschool.  One of my friends homeschools strictly because her child struggled academically in the traditional school.  We have friends that do it for the fact of Christian values they want to instill in their children and the peer influence that comes from the other classmates in the traditional school whether public or private school. Other people, I have heard of homeschool for health issues that their kids may have low immune systems.  There is also the fact that the child may be advanced in their academics and want to advance faster that the traditional classroom can push them.
   For us it was all of these issues at once that brought us to homeschool.  It was just under a year ago when I was tired of my oldest causing trouble in school and finding out that it was her lack of a challenge that made her board in the classes she had quite doing the work because she figured out how much she had to do just to get through then would ace the test to make up the rest of her grade. Her peers had pushed her to a point that she would come home so stressed and anxious that our house was walking on egg shells. The opposite was my son he struggled with his reading but was getting the help he needed and we getting caught up to his class. My middle child was another story of being the one that the teacher used as a buffer for the naughty kids. In the past 3 grades, she was the quite one that didn't let the boys get her involved in their schemes. She also came home stressed by what they would say and try to get her to get upset. She is my low immune system child that has been the healthiest in the past 16 weeks as she has ever been over the Christmas break, (yes I know I may get in trouble for posting that).  I wanted to also instill in my children the Christian values that had been taken a beating in the public school system.  Last night I was at the grocery store and I was questioned, again on this and I know many people think of homeschoolers as a cult type thing that we just brainwash our children to think and act in a certain way.  I have my kids in the 4H and public school for band and sports in Minnesota we can do that so they are not closed off to the world.
   That brings me to the next question i have been asked a lot in the past 16 weeks as our community realizes that we homeschool. How can your kids be in the public school for band and sports well in our state we have the right to anything our school offers the other citizens. With that I report my grades on a weekly basis to our AD at the school so that we meet the school's participation standards.  If my DD were to fall under the ineligibility grades she could not participate just like any other student in our district grant it She is currently in 8th grade so we will have to look at what is required in 9th and up next year. My other DD has band three days a week so every Tuesday and Thursdays I bring her in at the end of the day for 45mins and Wednesday its a 15 min practice in the morning. Next year my son will have her schedule and she will be in Wed and Mon afternoons and every other Friday.
 
This is our Friday educational movie cuddle!
   The hardest thing to answer for me is "Where do you get the books?" I have three kids that learn differently and I have already figured out that what my plan at the beginning of the year was, didn't work for my younger two so they have switched. We started with what some friends had recommended.  Less than a week in I realized that didn't work for my son the science was way too advanced and history was deeper than he was ready for so I ordered him the Abeka Books 4th grade Science and History WE LOVE IT for him.   My middle one tolerated the science for a few weeks longer before we switched her Science to Abeka also. She stuck with the history for half the year and is now just getting switched to a curriculum called Heart Of Dakota and we are only a week in and it seems to be such a good fit and my son is following along with it to the point I am going to switch him over too. I can now concentrate on both of them more by doing the history and Science from that curriculum and it will be less work to have the two togeather. we have peeked at a few other HOD mom blogs and they are loving the hands on stuff they see so for a boy and a girl that learns kinesthetically this seems to be a good fit. My oldest will as I said earlier stay with her same plan since day one. Notgrass From Adam to Us for her world history. I do love this curriculum it was just not sticking for my middle child and was above my 4th grader. For science my oldest is still liking Exploring Creation with General Science from Apologia This also was just advanced for my younger two and hard for me to dumb down. I love the Student Notebook that came with it. I did keep my other two kids notebooks and will probably have them do it in 7th or 8th grade. For Language my oldest is online with Monarch from Alpha Omega publishing this also works very well for her as she can just go on and do her lessons each day and I pretty much just grade her essays. My younger two are doing Rod and Staff this program is very in depth and well written. I don't do every problem with them and we do 75-85 %of the problems orally or on the white board they do all the workbook pages and the tests. I will have to say that my language has never been a place i did well with as you can tell on reading my posts.   Math we have stayed with our original plan as well, of my kids are doing Teaching Textbooks for math another program that is well worth the cost in my book. I didn't change any with our math and don't plan to.
 That is our option but there is a whole world of things that you can do for homeschooling from online public schools like K-12 or Connect Academy, there are so many resources at Rainbow Resources. The best thing I would say to do is look at the style of learner your child is. I took the quiz for each of my kids as I have watched them learn how to do things in the past and what stuck with them the best.
   The next best thing I hear is I could never do that homeschool thing you do. Well that is true many people can't and back when my oldest was in 4th grade I could not do it we had done it her 3rd grade year and the younger years but know that she is mainly independent on her classes we are much better off she has been a faster reader than m since she was in 2nd grade and that made it very hard along with other life circumstances.  My kids have also been much better after having 4 years of traditional school they realize the benefits of being at home. We start anywhere between 8-9 am and last until noon or 3pm depending on their work effort put forth.  they love that we run our school on a 4 day a week schedule that gives us Friday for appointments, group, or like today educational videos. If we have disrespect there is the consequence that is enforced and they are quickly reminded that I am the teacher and have the same respect as the teachers in the school did. (I was told most of the time my kids were very well behaved.)
   So all in all this is what we do and why we do it if you would like more to know more about homeschooling feel free to ask I am open about almost everything in life.  I hope to do a week by week post of our history as we go from Resureccion to Reformation in the next year. I guess we just switched our curriculum to a calendar year vs. a typical school year and that ok because we school on and off during the summer to have more freedom in the winter when my husband is home.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Setting my heart on fire for him!

When my heart is overflowing you hear it.  We have had great sermons the past few weeks after a crazy summer I feel blessed to be filled with a passion to spread Gods word.   Week one and two of being back at church after spending almost a whole month away from our church pastor preached on using our workplace as a place to find Gods joy and share it.  I am now a stay at home homeschooling mom. Hmmm that's funny I don't think I have been home a full day other than maybe two Saturdays in the past month.  Well then that opens up my mission field.  I see an average of even just 5 people a day in my little stops here and there that I can share the truth of Gods word with just a smile and kinds words because God says the greatest thing is to love.  Here is my story of how a mission field expands to way more than I can touch in just a month.
   I have had many people struggle with the fact that I have been to Ukraine twice on a mission trip how come I spend all that money and time to travel halfway across the world to share the gospel with people that have an amazing faith.  The thing that hit me more this past month and a half since I have been home is the amount of people I have shared the stories of faith that the people have there and how God provided for us each step of the way.
   The first place I shared was with the kids in my group in Ukraine which was 12 kids they went home shared with their families.  I would guess even if they  just had two people each of them shared with that is 24 more people that got to hear about Jesus.  The youth night I meet 26 youth plus 6 adults and if they each shared with one more person that I was saved because I wanted to go to heaven after finding out my sister was dying than that is now 66 people that have heard about Jesus. We also had a ladies night that my teammate shared at that had 16 or so people at that we hope shared with up to one person about where they went that night that brings it up to almost one hundred people that learned about Gods love for the first time or just a reminder when some of them may have been down and needing to have hope from somewhere. On our way through the airports, we were asked by 6-10 security personal about what we did on our travels along with the people on our flights that asked us. When we got back in the state my family and friends found out about a few things that I shared on facebook so that is another hundred or so people.  We shared with our Church and the women's group here so they could once again see the results of what God was doing through their time and funds they put into the trip we are now well over 400 people that heard about it.  Then I shared with my dentist and his assistant, the hair stylist, our waiter was shocked I like straight up tea well that came from the trip to Ukraine so I shared with her.  So would you spend $10 to share with someone about the gospel because when it comes down to the $ which we Americans put in such a high standard on  was it worth the money? NO Doubt in my mind it was!
   My team member and I could go in secret and give the food shelter $6000 worth of food but then how does that spread the gospel?
   We could and I now hope to see something more done here with less.  I hope to see things
open up to do family movie nights at our church to open up the doors that we could use the building to bring his people in and fellow ship that they would eventually come to hear and see Christ lived out.  Today what do I feel God is calling me to do? I feel God is calling me to just love everyone I meet no matter what the background they come from or the clothing they wear.  When you don't think you can share the gospel remember that you are the gospel if you have a story where God showed up when you least expected it.  I have lots of hard thing in life that I have been through and I could sit and dwell on them.  Trust me there are days where I know Satin is wanting me to do just that.  I find the days that I feel the most like pouting and staying in bed are the days I end up having the most doors open and see God at work after it is all said and done.

 My prayer for you today is that God would put a fire in you to share with just one person one thing that he has done in your life that you can't help but know that you were blessed by.  This can be as simple as having a friend call you to as big as a life changing event that you know God played a huge role in.  Look for the little things and you will find big blessings.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

What are your calm waters?

      This summer has been a hard one for me. It started with a close friend pulling out of my life. Then another dear friend passed away weeks later. I was just coming to grips with all of that and I travelled across the globe on a mission trip that had both very high moments and times we hit rock bottom. With jet lag, it just seemed even harder for us to process everything. I got back home and our family had 8 days before my husband left for his 6-8 weeks of traveling for the harvest.  
   In the midst of it all, I am learning once again hopefully more permanently that God is my peace in troubled times. We also started to homeschool over this summer. The past week and into next week we are looking at Psalms 23. 
A Psalm of David.
1The LORD is my shepherd,
            I shall not want.
      2He makes me lie down in green pastures;
            He leads me beside quiet waters.
      3He restores my soul;
            He guides me in the paths of righteousness
            For His name’s sake.
      4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
            I fear no evil, for You are with me;
            Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
      5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
            You have anointed my head with oil;
            My cup overflows.
      6Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
            And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. 

    This passage has hit me with a much deeper meaning this past week as I have been digging into it. I always looked at it as something that calmed people but I never really looked closely at it as they are verses I have known all my life. In fact, I am sure they were part of my sister's funeral along with many other funerals I have been at. I just looked at it as the funeral verses.  
     This week I see that when I want peace I do tend to look for two things, water and fields. I am not surprised by this as I grew up with both close by.  I grew up on a dairy farm that had out on the back 40 acres what we called the cow pond. It was just a pond that had enough water for the cows to drink from even in the dry years.  This was a place of peace for me along with the lake just down the road that my aunt and uncle lived on and my parents later purchased their house.  It is now my favorite place to be at the lake on a mostly quiet day. I can still feel the peace that lifts everything away that comes from the quite sounds of his creation. God speaks and draws me closer to who he is in those moments. 
    What about the valley?  I think of that as the part that the pasture is in a lot of the times. At least for me, I picture a valley as a beautiful place. To think of the valley of the shadow of death I have to picture it covered with the storm hanging over it.  Even in the moonlight skies, you see the glory of the heavenly father's stars.  This valley is a valley of storms that Christ needs us to encounter to look at him to become our peace. 
     I struggled with moking and could have even said I eat at the table of my enemies in the past few months. These have been some of my times of storms. I know that God walked alongside me and covered me in his peace.  This was when I saw how god filled my cup to overflowing with his love because it was with his love that I could still be kind to the people I felt anger towards.
     As far as verse 6 goes I can't claim that one as mine yet I still struggle with knowing that goodness and kindness will cover me all of my days because I am human and I will fail myself and others. I know also that Jesus has carried all of my sins on his shoulders that I can be white as snow in Gods eyes not because of what I have done but that I have put my trust in Jesus as my savior.
     What do you think of when you hear these verses. What does the quite water or green pastures look like to you?  

Lord, I pray that you give each reader a new perspective on what you have provided to be their quiet waters and green pastures. I pray that if the valley is covered with a shadow of death you will turn to the only one that can bring the quite waters to you in that time. 
In Jesus name, I pray,
   Aman