Saturday, April 25, 2015

Saturday Scripture, Sayings and Suggestions: April 25, 2015

I am happy to say that I have been gradually recovering this week from the flu that began two weeks ago today.  I am still easily tired and coughing quite a bit during the day, but I cleaned my kitchen this morning, ran errands, and have made dinner a few times this week.  God is good!  And, to make me feel even better, while we had snow for two days this week, the weather forecast for the next 10 days seems to say that Spring is here to stay in Upstate New York. 




"And now…sad news…"The passing of Jonathan Crombie.  

Oh my goodness…Kermit lives!!!  It's the discovery of a new frog species with an uncanny resemblance to our Muppet-friend.  "It's not easy being green."

All of God's creatures have a bad day!

Now, two more children's books recommendations!

This was my favorite book growing up, so I guess the story of this little guy would make it to my Top 5 list.  (Do I have over 5 books in my Top 5 list???)  Back in the day, they called him Poky.  Today, they would say this puppy has ADD.

I absolutely LOVE this story of a bunch of kids and animals tagging along with Mr. Gumpy for a ride in his car.  I love the use of onamonapia while it begins to rain and the group has to push the car out.  My favorite word in the book: Petrol!!  Sounds so European and cultured while reading a fun book. ;) 

Now I am off to do some fun shopping on this beautiful sunny day!!  I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Leaning on God

Originally posted November 30, 2009:  While my children are older, I still do many of the things listed in this post. Thankfully, now all of my children get themselves dressed and make their own breakfasts and lunches.  But, I hope this encourages all of you moms.  I know I still need to remember Who it is that gets me through each day.

As I got the pile of books out this evening to plan our school week, I suddenly realized all I do every single day to keep our family going.

Here's a simplified list:  make sure chores are done and children have eaten in the morning, get little ones dressed, get everyone in their respective places for school (and continue to corral them there during the course of the morning), teach 2 children all of their subjects while fielding questions from the older 3 as they do their independent work, break up fights and instruct the littlest 2, make lunch, delegate clean-up, teach older children their lessons, figure out what's for supper then make it, delegate supper chores, laundry, getting younger children ready for bed, getting all children to bed at their scheduled bedtimes.  These every day chores are always accompanied by other items that need to be done such as:  making grocery lists, cutting coupons, finding time to go grocery shopping, answering phones, running a homeschool co-op, setting up meals for women who have babies at our church, calling friends whom I've not seen in a while, planning birthdays or holidays, cleaning, etc., etc., etc.

I do well when I don't think about all the things I need to do.  I liken it to a piano player. He doesn't contemplate that he's moving both of his hands in opposite directions and that he literally has 10 different actions occuring at the same time.  A good piano player often has songs memorized and does not meditate on each and every note as he plays it.  Everything just moves fluidly with little problem.  However, once he begins to really think about everything he is doing and every single note, that is when the mistakes tend to be made.  That is how I felt today.  As soon as I really began thinking about all the things I do and the fact that I am one person, I began to feel overwhelmed.  Yet, only for a moment.

As my breaths became short as I felt my self beginning to drown under the pressure, I realized that I never can do anything without God.  It is only by His strength that I can keep going. It is only by His grace that the plates can continue to spin without crashing to the floor.  I am nothing without Him.  I can do nothing without HIm.  However, "I can do ALL things through Christ which strenghtheneth me"!!

I gave it to my Heavenly Father Who cares for me so deeply right then and there.  Immediately, the burden lifted and I was able to take deeper breaths.  It's going to be ok - because God is my strength in weakness.

The next time you stop to think of all the things you need to do, realize it is not you, but God who will get you through the day.

It's the only way us moms will remain sane!


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Heart to Teach

The other day, I received a note from a former student.  It was one of those notes that made me realize how blessed I have been to teach throughout the years and influence the lives of young people.

From the time I was in Kindergarten, I dreamt of being a teacher.  Oh, my reasons changed throughout the years, but my goal was always the same.  When I was 5, I just thought it would be cool to write on a chalkboard all day long.  By the time I was in the 6th grade, I had an opportunity to work with a very bright Kindergartner and that is when the idea of really teaching took hold.  By the time I was in 9th grade, I realized that spending the entire day with a bunch of little children that would never understand my sarcastic humor would not do, so I would become a high school teacher.  English would be my focus as it was my favorite subject and, if a certain group of kids were annoying, they'd be out the door in 45-minutes.  When I was in college, I knew I wanted to teach in a public school rather than in Christian and even do some time in a foreign country teaching English.  I wanted teaching to be more than a job, but a ministry.

I know my dreams seemed pretty naive and idealistic…but having a couple of teachers who cared for me beyond test scores and helped me through some critical points in my young life, I always knew I wanted to do more than teach.  I wanted to let kids know I cared.  I wanted to make a difference.

The thing is, I never did graduate college.  I had to leave the college I loved after my freshman year due to lack of finances.  I attended a local college and I struggled academically.  Eventually, my then-boyfriend got down on one knee on a May evening and proposed.  I said "yes," finished my last week of college and never returned.  I received a marriage certificate and turned my back on a degree.

However, a year later, God gave me my first opportunity to teach in a real school setting.  I substituted regularly in a Christian school in Vermont.  I spent a little time in the fourth grade as well as in the high school history classroom; but I spent most of my days substituting for the English teacher.  I also was the Spelling Team's coach and that year we made it all the way to the State Spelling Bee.  (Trust me, you haven't experienced stress until you've coached a spelling team….my nails are still growing back.)  Anyway, I am still in touch with students I had in my classroom back then.

After moving away from New England, there was a 12 year hiatus in my teaching career.  Then, after giving birth to my 7 children and beginning the homeschool journey with them, we began our homeschool co-op and I've since been able to teach in a classroom situation often.  Each year I teach, I love it more.  Each class becomes my favorite.  In time, the students are not just "my students", but "my kids."  We have fun together.  I get to know them.   I learn their individual strengths and weaknesses.  I am a teacher who loves for the kids to talk in class and only have them start raising their hands if the chatter gets to be too much.  I hate to be the only one talking.  A child who talks back to me is a child who is engaged and is learning. 

The blessing of a homeschool co-op is that we get to have the fun of teaching and learning without the politics.  No grades are given, no report cards and, in my classes, homework is optional.  While I have had teachers stress about their students not completing their homework assignment, my theory has always been that if the student wants to get the most out of the class, they'll do the homework.  If not, they'll still get something out of it, if I do my job correctly.  It's up to them to decide if the time doing homework for my class is time well-spent.  If they are struggling with a class at home that is more important to their future goals and choose to let my class assignment slide, I respect that decision.

Last year, I taught a speech class and we did a skit for our end-of-year program.  Working with those who struggled speaking loud enough or clear enough was a joy to my heart as I saw them transform into confident, clear speakers with just a bit of consistent encouragement.  A couple of the students found their niches in assisting me in directing.  They got a taste of leadership and they blossomed.  I realized that, yes, I was The Teacher and "in charge", but truly, these kids had a gift that we all could benefit from.  I've seen too many teachers who have to be The Teacher in Charge and the kids are expected to take orders, no questions asked.  These are the teachers that the kids mutter about under their breath, right or wrong.  I loved the ideas my kids had and they loved the idea that I would listen to them.

While I spent three years in college learning English literature, grammar, some education theories, etc., most of my learning how to be a great teacher was by being a student in the classrooms of great teachers.  Compassionate teachers.  Teachers who listened after class about the trials of a young girl.  My parents split up when I was in the second grade.  That teacher didn't coddle me, but I remember she  cared.  I remember, most of all, her joy and smile when I came back for my third grade year and told her my parents had gotten back together.  My sixth grade teacher kept my secret for as long as I asked her when my parents split up again that year.  I was so afraid of what my classmates would think.  When things got too hard, she asked for our school guidance counsellor - a more compassionate man I still have yet to meet - to come in and talk about my situation to my class while I was out of the room.  My classmates took the example of these two kind teachers and showered me with kindness.  That 6th grade teacher became my 7th grade English teacher and the reason I chose to study English in college.  She regularly asked me how I was doing and encouraged me in my writing and studies.  She became more than a teacher…she was a friend and a confidante.

God has blessed me with the opportunity to teach through the years, even without a degree.  I have learned that it takes a loving heart, not a degree, to make a difference in the life of another.  I had teachers that made a difference in my life, and I choose to pass on the blessing.  The note I received the other day was worth more to me than any college diploma.  I may not frame it, but I will keep it tucked safely away and thank the Lord for the opportunity to touch the heart of a child…just like some sweet teachers touched and changed my heart so many years ago.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Saturday Scripture, Sayings, and Suggestions: April 18, 2015

It's 3:30 AM and I am awake…again.  For the last week and a half, I have dealt with insomnia for all but one night.  For the last week, I have also had the flu.  As in aches, fever, cough, fatigue…positive flu culture.  The works.  While I have been feeling better the last day or  so, I am still quite tired.  Except, I just can't sleep for 2-3 hours each night.  Good thing is with all of this rest - or lack thereof, depending on the time of day or night - I am praying a lot for so many people.  I figured today, I would take the opportunity to do my first Saturday post of the month.  Sorry for the neglect.

As you can see in the above photo, the farm has been blessed with baby goats again.  Pictured is Opal.  She was born sometime earlier in the week.  Two more kids were born on Thursday night.  Along with the birth of these three, the barn doors have been flung open, the tractors are moving, crops are being sprayed and my husband worked his first after-dinner hours of the season last night.  Springtime has officially arrived!  What means Springtime for you?


But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hears: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
I Peter 3:14-15

And when he humbled himself, the wrath of the Lord turned from him, that he would not destroy him altogether…
II Chronicles 12:12

But as for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not forsaken him;
II Chronicles 13:10



It's been ten months and one day since sweet Molly was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor.  She has beat the odds in fighting this long.  It is a hard fight, yet the family beats the odds as they continue to have joy in the midst of sorrow and suffering. This week,  Mom Julie took some time to write about where this joy comes from.

(photo courtesy
Recently, my junior high Sunday School teacher-turned professional Christian Counselor, and a friend of hers began an encouraging blog.  It's one I suggest you bookmark as it deals with some of the more challenging issues that face women daily.  The post that took my breath away this week was Five Ways to Know Your Spouse is Repentant After Infidelity.  We live in a broken world filled with broken marriages.  If you haven't yet, someday you will be face to face with a friend or acquaintance who has been hurt or has hurt another in this way.  This article is an excellent resource.

My fourth grade teacher always had a guitar and a song.  This was one of his favorites and, while I loved it when I was 9 years old, the words have come to mean even more to me as I've grown older and realize what a truly wretched sinner I am.

Lauren Hill.  Have you heard of her?  A friend told me about her back in December.  Lauren was the public voice for DIPG….the same type of cancer that Molly is fighting.  Lauren passed away earlier this month, but her fight was selfless.  I tried embedding the video, but if it doesn't work, please see Lauren's story here.

After some time off….a couple of more book suggestions for the children in your life.

While I grew up never knowing this book, some would say a child's library is incomplete without the story of the mischievous duck who lives on the Yanghtze River.  A marvelous springboard to introducing your child about China.

This tale of a little girl who goes blueberry picking with her mother makes my top ten list of children's books.  What mother and daughter don't realize is that there is a mother bear and cub on the other side of the mountain also hunting blueberries….Get this book.  It's one you'll want to read over and over again…which is good because your child will want you to!

Well, it's now almost 5:00 a.m.  Not sure I'm any more tired than I was when I first began this post, but I am so glad I got to spend some time with you this morning.  Praying you have a restful, happy, and healthy weekend.  Lord willing, I'll hang out with you here on Monday or Tuesday.  Until then….Happy Saturday!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Reflecting on His Death & Celebrating His Resurrection

I grew up and remain in what is considered the Fundamentalist Bible Baptist setting.  I make no apologies for it, for there are none to be had.  I believe whole-heartedly the Bible and its teachings which are preached and have been preached by my pastors, past and present.

However,  many born-again Christians in this circle came out of the Catholic Church, a religion which spends a lot of time focusing on Advent, Lent, and the Easter season. I believe some saved Christians fear that these things smell too much of Catholicism necessitating a complete separation from them.  I am not sure that is the case.

Our family focused on Advent for the first time this past year.  I didn't have to worship Mary or pray to saints or anything like that.  We just took each day in December to reflect and meditate on the coming of the Saviour of mankind.  How much more meaningful Christmas Day was celebrating the birth of Jesus when we spent the entire month anticipating it through reading the prophecies and the story of Mary, Joseph, and the central characters in the story of His nativity.

So it is with Easter or, Resurrection Sunday (Easter was a pagan holiday already being celebrated before the death, burial & resurrection of Christ.  They are two different holidays celebrated on the same day).  While we have not chosen to recognize Lent (though, I will say, our church and family do a month of Sanctification in January, which prepares us for serving the Lord the rest of the year and I find it similar), I think it is important to not ignore Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday.

The "argument" is made that, as born-again Christians who are saved by the blood of Christ and His resurrection, we celebrate His resurrection every day of our lives.  We remember His death, burial and resurrection often in church when we commune around the Lord's Table.  Yet, do we really celebrate His resurrection every day?  I do not.  Oh, I think of it and I thank and praise the Lord for it regularly, but it is not my daily focus, even if it ought to be.  But to take a day to really focus on it and to celebrate I think would be something my Lord would be pleased with.

Do we not, as Christians and Americans, take a day to remember our country's fallen heroes on Memorial Day?  We have parades, speeches, picnics.  Do not the fireworks bursting in air on the Fourth of July remind us of our heritage and give us pause to think about the foundations and beginnings of this great country and the blood that was shed?  How much more so should we take a day or two to truly reflect on the shedding of blood for our very souls?

Yes, I know the debate over whether Christ died on a Friday or not. Quite frankly, I would dare say that  those who shun Good Friday over the fact that Christ probably died on a Thursday don't even take the Thursday to reflect on what happened on the cross.  The point is to take a day to remember the day Christ hung broken, naked, bleeding, dying…for me.  He bore in silence rebuke, scorn, ridicule, mocking...for me.  So that I, a couple of thousand years later, could hear of it and accept His gift of salvation.  Is that not worth a day of somber reflection?

(Good Friday…why "Good"?  Because, what He did for me is so very good.  It is a good gift…a most excellent gift.)

Resurrection Sunday should be a celebration.  It is the remembrance of the very day the soldiers fainted as dead, the stone was rolled away and Jesus Christ, after lying dead for 3 days, walked out of that tomb!!  We put up decorations, buy gifts, feast and make merry on Christmas to celebrate His birth.  How much more extravagant and joyous ought the celebration of His resurrection for the hope of our salvation be?!

Throughout the Bible, God's people are commanded - not given the option - but commanded to hold feasts for Him in remembrance of the miraculous works He did for them.  Passover commemorating the exodus of the Jews from Egypt.  Purim commemorating the saving of the people during Esther's time.  Feasts of thanksgiving.  Feasts of harvest. What more miraculous work has God done for His people than give His only Son, allow Him to die, then raise Him from the grave so we may live forever with Him in Heaven?

Man, I feel like praising Him and celebrating right here at my desk!!!

We are not commanded to set aside a day of feasting etc. to commemorate the Resurrection of Christ, perhaps because we live in the age of grace. Perhaps God would like us to do it of our own free will.   So, this I challenge you, especially if you have been brought up in a church that shies away from celebrating these holy days:  take time today, Good Friday, to reflect on your Saviour hanging on a tree for you. Then on Sunday, celebrate whole-heartedly this truth:

He is risen.  He is risen, indeed!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Throwback Thursday: You Know it's True Love When...

Originally posted April 24, 2008 (and I still feel the same)

You Know it True Love When… want what is best for him, even if it's not you. imagine what he'll look like old - wrinkled, slow, hunched - and still love him. hear the impatience in his voice after a long day and you let it go. can't wait to tell him about that insignificant little thing that happened today. feel comfortable sitting in silence together. see the "hottest" actor and know he's no match for the prize you have. feel sorry for everyone else because you got the best there is. love to hold his hand - even after so many years of marriage and so many kids. can't imagine life without him.