Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thankfulness and Need

I love that Thanksgiving precedes Christmas as we take time to realize our blessings in a purposeful way.  Every year we make a "Thankful Tree," that we fill with leaves of written blessings.  It's hard to compare our Salvation to "sparkly clothes," but they're right there on the tree together.  Jesus is the author of all our blessings - a job, and education, a family - and even sparkly clothes. :)

Maybe it's all the cooking in the cool fall weather, but my girls seem to grow out of everything they own about this time.  So we've been shopping the sales for warm winter dresses, jackets, and shoes.  Thankfully, a good friend with good taste gives us bags of clothes every year, so we only have to buy what's missing. :) Grandma loves to come along as she knows our girls will always agree to join her for fast food.  (unlike Grandpa)

Our local shopping area is decorated with lights and is fun to walk around at night.  Big brothers join us  for pizza in between exams.  It's so fun to have the entire family together and hubby likes the male companionship. :)

We persuaded a policeman to take our picture together as someone is always missing from our pictures.

With all these blessings, it's easy to get lost in every day life and forget about so many who are missing the greatest gift of all - a family.   Much is made about medical and education opportunities, activities and material things for our children, but what all children really need is to know that they are loved and not forgotten.  That their hopes and dreams matter to someone.  That someone cares when they are challenged with homework, make the wrong choices, or get hurt on the playground.  That their shoes are too small.  That they are needed and wanted.

That without them, the crucial job of gravy making won't get done. :)

With the increase in older children on the waiting lists, the harsh reality of how many children age out each month hits home.  Our heart breaks for each and every one that we hear about - and there are many more whose names we never know.  But broken hearts aren't enough, and the magnitude of the problem calls for great prayer.  Prayer that God will raise up more willing hearts, that more resources will be available to those who are called to help, and that cultural conditions will improve so that families can stay together and continue to parent their children - both here and abroad.  That we would readjust our considerations of what is truly important and lean more on the provision of God rather than ourselves.  That we would have the heart of Christ and see as He sees.



Sunday, November 17, 2013

Fall Odds and Ends

Trying to homeschool four children on many different levels (due to English learning issues, etc.) has been a challenge.  The days slip by so that Saturday is here before we know it, and sometimes it feels like drinking out of a fire hose.  When everyone learns easily - the days are easy.  But when everyone struggles with a math concept - on the same day - it can be challenging and frustrating.  So I haven't had much time to blog as any downtime is spent on fun activities, cooking and cleaning, or just peaceful reading.  My morning time in the scriptures has become essential as it is a living Word - full of power - and the source for all my direction and energy.  So what have we been up to?

Ice Skating outside in SC was interesting:  the skates don't "cut" the Pam or whatever slick stuff is sprayed on the plastic surface of the ice rink - so I counted myself blessed that we only had one bruised tailbone when we left.  Disney Princesses was fun only because Sarah and Jenny were in awe of their first "show" - as they likely will be when we attend our first ballets in the coming weeks.

We spent quite a bit of time at the beach in the afternoons this fall.  When school is in and the tourists depart, we have it almost all to ourselves.  It's peaceful and restful - once you're packed and on your way - and a great way to end a busy school day.

We've had plenty of fun homeschool projects which requires constant shopping lists and running to the store for components to make things like earthquake proof structures above and edible cells below.

The writers of our curriculum clearly favor sweets - and we create our own additions such as gummy worms to the edible pudding and cookie soil below.

Katie had a birthday and Jenny showed how creative she's become by "exercising her imagination" - something we learned from Ben Carson's biographical movie, Gifted Hands.  It took me a moment, but if you look at the gift she made, you'll see it's George Washington (on a dollar bill) sailing the Delaware in his (origami) boat.  This is the same child who had zero imagination when she came home.

So she WAS paying attention in US History.... :)

The highlight of our fall was when Sarah decided to make Jesus the Lord of her life.  For those who know this little powerhouse of a girl,  this is not an easy thing.  She is confident, strong, capable, and bright - and not often in need of a Savior from anything.  But God clearly grabbed her attention and drew her to Him - and she asked to pray with me in tears one day.  I thank God for our Bible lessons (from BJU Press) that help me to disciple my children in a consistent way.

There have been some frustrations along the way this year - trying to address everyone's immediate academic needs on a daily basis - and I am trusting that God will give me the strength and wisdom I need to meet them.  But seeing my children grow in their knowledge of Christ and His Word is a blessing that can't be measured.  Providing them with stories of beauty and sacrifice in the lives of such as Eric Liddel, Mary Slessor, C.T. Studd, David Livingstone and more is worth the momentary struggles with long division or percentages.

Our prayer is that we will learn to live a life that abandons self and looks to the needs of others - near and far.  Not an easy thing to accomplish in our very materialistic, "busy," and self centered culture.  God is faithful to work in our lives and change us into His image when we seek him - we are counting on that.



And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.  Philippians 1:6