It's almost over.
Each day there are fewer pages left to complete in their workbooks.
They're finishing the last stories in their readers.
End-of-the-year tests fill their schedule over the next few days.
Next week we'll be wrapping up our second year of homeschooling. This is always a bittersweet time of year for me as the excitement over completing another school year mixes with the realization that our girls are moving up another grade.
They've both become more independent in their work this year, needing my guidance in their school work a bit less, staying on task a bit more.
It's fun to see how much they've learned this year. It's scary that the history they've been studying in the last few weeks are events that I've lived through.
I've not regretted this homeschooling journey for a minute. How long we're called to do this, I don't know, but the extra time with our daughters, the flexibility in our schedule, the slower pace of life have been blessings in this season.
So today I'm celebrating another school year being over and a summer calling us forward, while taking a moment to savor the memories that the last nine months have brought us.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Monday, May 20, 2013
"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." ~ I Thessalonians 5:18
Certain verses in the Bible always speak to my heart no matter how many times I've read them in the past. Those Scriptures seem to contain lessons of which I need to be continually reminded.
As I read I Thessalonians 5:18 yesterday, I decided to break down the first five words of this verse - the command, if you will, to give thanks.
- In. While I'm in the midst of it, while it's taking place; not waiting until afterwards, when it might be easier to find the good in what's already happened.
- Every. All; no exceptions; every single time.
- Thing. This word covers a lot - unexpected circumstance, trial, relationship, spiritual battle, physical illness, emotional upheaval, etc.
- Give. An act of my will; a choice; perhaps even a sacrifice.
- Thanks. Not just acceptance or resignation, but thankfulness, appreciation, heartfelt gratitude.
If ever I saw the need for the Holy Spirit's help, it's right here. Choosing to be thankful through all the things that come into my life is not a fleshly reaction - that would be to complain or to sink in self-pity. It takes the power of the Holy Spirit to give thanks in every thing.
So whatever we face today, my friend, may we choose to have a thankful heart. Thereby, we will know that we are doing the will of God for us.
Saturday, May 18, 2013
I love the Super Summer Schedule that Emily created!
Kat shares A Mom's Guide to a "Geek-to-Chic" Summer.
At Living Well, Spending Less, I found 10 Tips for Getting More Done Every Single Day.
Judy created a Homeschooler's Guide to Free Kindle Books. (It looks like a great list, even if you're not a homeschooler!)
Last night I tried this Easy Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas recipe and it was another winner!
We've had an extremely busy week, so I'm looking forward to staying home all day long - with my husband grilling out for supper and the girls and I making homemade ice cream! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!
Friday, May 17, 2013
I think we'd agree that most mothers want the best for their children.
We may differ in our child-rearing methods, our style of discipline, or the amount of structure in our homes. Yet we all want to see our children grow up safe and healthy, and - especially as Christian moms - with personal integrity, compassion for others, and a love for God.
I rarely know all that's going on in another mother's life as I see her struggling with her two-year-old in the grocery store or engaging in a heated debate with her teenager in the parking lot. Yet I can choose to mentally judge her or to offer her grace.
Perhaps judging makes me feel better about myself and my parenting. Yet I know how often I fail to say the right words or set the right example, so it only seems fitting that other moms are in the same boat.
One of the greatest lessons I've learned in parenting is that each of my children has a free will. I can teach and train and pray and influence...but ultimately, they may choose to disobey, to make foolish decisions.
Each season of parenting has its unique challenges. Having seen other kids in the junior-high stage my daughter's about to enter, I know there will be new trials ahead. I remember some of the dumb things I did at that age and am sure my daughter will repeat at least a few of those - or come up with her own!
As we encounter fellow moms in the trenches of motherhood - from sleepless nights with newborns to tantrum-throwing two-year-olds to young adolescents trying to find their place in the world - let's be patient, forgiving, and understanding.
I have to ask myself, which do I want extended to me - grace or judgement? May I readily show the same to others.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
I like the idea of leaving a spiritual legacy for my children.
While reading Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson, I found this at the end of chapter 12, "Living on Purpose."
"In your journal, list five ways you want to leave a legacy to your children. (For example: loving relationships, moral excellence, a vibrant faith, etc.) Under each area write at least two practical goals or ways you will implement your plan this year. Make a six-month plan for specific ways you will establish routines or traditions to build these goals into your schedule."Since I know I have a better chance of following through on a shorter list, I decided to designate three areas in which I'd like to leave a legacy for my children.
1. A generous spirit.
- Every month, our daughters can do a few extra projects to earn money, with the specific purpose of giving the money to a needy family, a missionary, etc.
- Emphasize sharing with others - inside and outside of the family - with everything from possessions to candy to time.
2. A grateful heart.
- Buy the girls their own "gratitude journal" and each night before we do our bedtime reading, they can write down at least one thing for which they're thankful.
- Have the girls write at least one thank you note a month, expressing gratitude to another person. I need to assign this to the first day of the month so I won't forget!
3. A knowledge of who God is.
- During the summer, we can study an attribute of God each month and work together to memorize a verse about that attribute.
- Continue our after supper family devotional time.
What spiritual legacy would you like to leave your children?
Monday, May 13, 2013
"...what greater rebellion...or insult to God can there be, than not to believe His promises?" Martin Luther in Concerning Christian Liberty
I read this statement last week and have been considering it ever since. Do I really take God at His word?
I decided to study the promises of God during my daily devotions. It's a joy to search the Bible for promises that God has made. One that has been an encouragement already is found in Psalm 84:11c, "No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly." It reminds me that as I'm seeking to follow the Lord, He will not withhold from me anything that is for my good.
What's one of God's promises that's special to you?
Saturday, May 11, 2013
I had to be still and let the words of this post sink into my mind. My favorite line? "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened." From Ann Voskamp, it's 4 Steps to Take When You're Not Ready for Change.
I recently wrote about how to plan a summer learning program for your kids. In a similar vein, Laura gives us Planning for a Summer to Remember.
Scarlet shares some great tips in Fabulous Decor Finishing Touches: Making a House a Home.
If you have a "meat-and-potatoes" guy living in your house (like I do), he may enjoy this Slow Cooked Cheeseburger Casserole. I tried it this past week and my husband and I both thought it was tasty. The only change I'll make next time is to set aside a bit of the grated cheddar cheese and sprinkle it over the top to melt during the last 20-30 minutes.
Our daughters have a piano recital this afternoon, followed by our traditional pre-Mother's Day Night Out which includes having supper at a nice restaurant, then walking on the beach. I'm quite excited!!
Wishing all of you a Happy Mother's Day! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!
Friday, May 10, 2013
I have several friends who are turning 40 this year. As for me, I passed that milestone a few years ago!
In spite of the grayer (or in my case, whiter!) hair, slower metabolism, and dimmer eye sight, I want to assure them that it's not all bad. While I realize that we're each in different seasons of life in our forties, this list of reasons why I'm enjoying this particular decade may encourage others who are just now entering it!
1. My children are old enough to take care of themselves....mostly, anyway.
2. I find myself taking more time to realize - in the moment - how special are the memories I'm making.
3. I've come to a better understanding of what I like....and what I don't.
4. I recognize the value of a true friend.
5. I have a good reason for why I can't remember anything any more!
6. As heaven grows its population with more people I know, my thoughts of going there for eternity are even sweeter.
7. I'm learning to appreciate every day that I feel great and every night that I sleep well!
8. I love and admire the man I married more and more.
9. I no longer force myself to ride roller coasters.
10. Because of what's come before, I believe I'm learning that trusting God and His providence works for the best in every situation.
11. I'm not yet being asked if I want the senior citizens' discount!
What's one of your favorite things about the decade you're in?