Friday, January 29, 2010

"Just" Lunch

I'd had it in my car for awhile, a ziploc bag tucked neatly under the seat, with no visible opportunities to share it presenting themselves. And now certainly wasn't the most opportune time. My neighbor was following me, and we were on our way to purchase school supplies and do a free craft at a nearby learning store. I was hoping to do what I needed to do and make it home before naptime.

Yet there he was, standing on the street corner, holding his cardboard sign.

~Will Work for Food~"

I wanted to ignore him. I wanted to drive by. But here I was stopped at a traffic light at a busy corner, with my preschool son in the car and my neighbor following along behind. Should I open the window? What if it wasn't safe? What if he asked for more? Why, oh why wasn't the light changing?

"Alright LORD," I muttered under my breath. "If you really want me to do this, I will." One more quick glance at the light showed me it wasn't going to change, no matter how much I willed it to.

Slowly, I put down my window. "Excuse me?" I called. "Would you like to share some lunch?" He quickly came over to the car window, and I handed over my offering--the
ziploc bag, filled with bottled water, a granola bar, and ready to mix chicken salad and crackers. "Thank you ma'am" he said quietly, and turned and walked away. "God Bless you," I called feebly after him as the light changed and we went on our way.

"Mama, why did we give that man food?" piped a small voice from the back seat as we continued on towards our destination.

"My son, God has given us everything we need. Everything we have is from Him, and because we love Him, we share what we have been given with others. That man had no lunch, and we did, so we shared a lunch with him".

My eyes filled with tears as I reflected on the opportunity I had almost missed, at the attitude I had at serving my King. It was "just" lunch, but it allowed not only me, but my family to share with the "least of these" in the hopes that in some small way, I was serving the King. And the double blessing was that in sharing "just" lunch, I was able to share the upside down values of the Kingdom of God with my son; demonstrating God's love and justice, and His desire for us as His followers.

We made it to the store, completed the craft, and even got home before naptime was over. But all that faded into the background as I realized that I am called not only to be available to my children, but to always be available to my Lord. The time is His, not mine.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Life is Not a Photograph

Looking at a blog site today, I began to think - this woman's life looks like those pictures that comes with your frame. How does she get those bows to stay so neat and prim in girls' hair? Where is the mess? Where is the disobedient child? Where is the toilet left unflushed or worse?

It is easy to look only at pictures and see a perfect life that we do not have ourselves. Life in not a photograph. Do not believe Satan's lie that your life is so much worse when compared to others. No man is perfect except Jesus. Everyone is dealt a different hand. I very much doubt a women would post such pictures only to make others jealous and covet, that would not match the Godly statements that are so helpful and encouraging. While thinking the best in others, be ware of your own sinful thoughts. When negative thoughts pot up, squash them and chose positive thoughts and God's truth.

There is a difference between getting ideas for your own household and putting yourself down. We can view successes of others without being too hard on ourselves because only the picture is perfect. The photo was taken with the purpose to show the good side. No one has it ALL together.

Use Godly successes of other people to make chances in your own life, but remember patience, God's provision for you at this time, seek God's wisdom and apply it to your life. Again, remember not everyone is dealt the same hand. I must say, the woman from the blog mentioned above only has GIRLS, boys are so different. She has a large modern home, which is much easier to keep clean. Perhaps she lives in another state where taxes do not take up 1/3 of their mortgage payment. Or maybe they were determined to live without debt, and are able to afford so much more without owing others. On the other hand, they could be up to their eyeballs in debt too, though I hope not. Maybe she has a maid. You get the idea. I must admit, I really want to go back to the blog to look for an I don't have it all together post!

Once I heard a homeschool speaker talk about a photo taken of his family. It was a beautiful picture with smiling, well-behaved children. Then he told us that it was taken shortly after a huge family argument. There is always a story behind every photograph, and it is not always a perfect one.

The Myth of the Perfect Family
Follow this link to an article on perfection that I stumbled upon while looking for a photo for this post.

Photo at top taken from here.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Homeschooling with a Toddler in Tow

REPOST - Sorry link was missing

Teeny Tiny Tot School

This post gave me such a good laugh and encouragement, I wanted to share it. My 3 year old is not really a toddler at all anymore, he is a preschooler now. But, ahh - I remember those days. Maybe I am crazy, but I would love to have a teeny tiny tot again!

Photo of my "baby" during his toddler years.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Sound of Family

This past Sunday, we were attending a christening service. At the sound of a child crying, the Deacon officiating the service pointed it out. He said, "Do you hear that? That is the sound of family and it is okay." He went on to explain that you expect those noises where families are present, and that the church (in this case the Catholic church) wants families as apart of their service, noise and all. I mentioned to my husband that the Deacon's statement was a nice change. He said, "Yeah, that sure does beat -'Umm, Did you know we have children's ministry ma'am.' "

My husband grew up in the Catholic church, and he remembers going to church as a family. He remembers babies crying and the adults just learned to block it out. I think Protestants could learn something from our Catholic brothers and sisters on this issue.

We are fortunate that our Pastor is fine with children in the service because not all pastors are okay with that. Once when our 5 year old went through a period when he wanted to stay with us in church instead of going to his class, our pastor came up at the end and congratulated him for sitting through the service. However, there are people at our church that have mention to me that they do NOT like children in the service. In fact, a number of home groups do not let children to be present, the children must be in a separate room. When our home group had low attendance, one of the elders of our church explained it might be because we had children present. I understand how any noise can be distracting, but I think a little noise briefly should be tolerated, especially during a training process. There should be no screaming and running down the isles. As long as the noise level or behavior is not over the top, let the little ones come. It does not mean families rule and adult single are left ignored, but that the whole community worships together. We need all parts of the body.

People will say to me, "But it is different with you, your children are well behaved." Let me tell you, my children are VERY Normal. If they do behave, it is from training and God changing their hearts toward Him. Parenting is hard and heart work! If I can do it, I am sure any Believer can too. The 5 year old I mentioned above happens to be very bouncy by the way - he is ALL boy. Self control is a very good trait to learn, but not an easy one to teach. These things are true for single parents too. As the church body, we should help them any way we can offer as not only Christian behavior, but as a Pro-Life statement as well.

After all, is not one of the ways we are building God's Kingdom through having and raising children in His Church? We want to encourage family - right? We are Pro Life - right? Do we want families to go to church together? Why do we always have to be separated by age? Do not my children need to see their parents worship in church and listening to the sermon?

My children do enjoy kid's church, but sometimes I long for a family church service with children's classes at a different time. I also felt very encouraged by the Deacon's words, and wanted to share they with you.

Postscript by my husband~
I wonder if the ubiquitous images of the Holy family prevalent in Roman Catholic art have influenced the RCC to maintain the family centerness though the years. Of course, I cannot speak for all Protestant churches, but it seems to me that the culture in many modern Protestant churches have adopted segregation policy concerning children.

Painting above:
The Holy Family with Saints Anne and Catherine of Alexandria
Jusepe de Ribera (Spanish, 1591-1652)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Now is the Time to Shop

Here is a reminder to take stock of what you have in your children's sizes for next year. Now is a great time to buy what you need for next year. You can get new items for the same price for used ones.

I personally like Children's Place. When their monster sale goes to the additional 50% off, then I buy (You can see this on main page of their website). Since Mr. Z has a January birthday, I also can use a b-day coupon the store e-mails me. By using the coupon and my store credit card discount I saved an extra 20% off my bill on top of the sale price. Gymboree has some good deals too. Look for the rack with deep discounted prices, like $6 for a jumper dress.

It does not really matter what store, most have wonderful deals this time of year on clothes. Just carefully calculate, it is not a deal if you do not need it. Less is more! Also, using a store credit card can save you money, but always pay the credit card as soon as you get home by paying on-line. If you use on-line banking, this is very easy to do. Interest or late fees will blow your savings, and I must say I really prefer using real cash at all times.

What deals have you found?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Bit Too Much

These GAP carpenter pants for kids come with paint splattered on them, they could be yours for the bargain price of $30.99 - on sale from $34.50. Or you could just burn your money, at least it will give you warmth for a few seconds. It is ironic, you could buy this pants or feed a family of five for a month in a 3rd world country. I suppose people who would buy these pants hire someone to pant, so their kids would not have the opportunity to get the "worked in" look. Wealth is a blessing, to be enjoyed, used wisely, bless others less fortunate and to further Christ's Kingdom. Even if you are not a Christian, how could you buy these pants and sleep at night. Buying ripped jeans okay, but pants stained with pant - come on!

Paint splatter carpenter khakis

Monday, January 18, 2010

Because We LOVE You!

Our hearts are a-flutter with visions of red and pink for Valentine's Day. Visit DaisyBows, the cutest little Etsy shop, (ok, we're a wee bit biased since it's Sara and Catherine's shop) for the most adorable hair bows for your little darlings. :)

And because we LOVE you all, the shipping is on us when you enter "I LOVE DAISYBOWS" in the Message to Seller Box upon checkout. Your shipping charge will be manually refunded to you through Paypal.

Catherine and Sara

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Half a Poison Pill

It's hard to blog when I can barely peel my face off my pillow and roll my fatigued preggo body off the couch. In fact, it's hard to do much of anything practical or functional. Little mountains have begun to pop up all over the house. Mountains of laundry, toys, dishes, and tumbleweeds of golden dog hair. Thankfully, I have a husband who has done a great job of playing Mr. Dad and Mr. Mom while I've been slightly out of commission so things aren't nearly as bad as they could be.

I haven't been desperate for a nap for three days now and I'm hoping it's a lasting trend. I am still pretty zonked by 8pm though and I'm perfecting the art of being an evening couch potato. I hate every minute of it.

I've been too tired to read the mountain of books I'd like to read, so I've been defaulting to watching TV the past two nights. This is a pretty unusual thing in our home because we never turn it on in the evenings. I mean really, seriously never. (Ok, except for the seasons when LOST is on. Then it's on one hour per week! By the way, are you so psyched about the upcoming last season!? Are they going to answer all of my questions???? What is the smoke monster? And what else are we going to find out about Locke? Ahh!)

But anyway. To make my new couch potato status totally and completely worse, the cable company decided to bless curse us with free cable even though we don't want cable. It's all part of their evil scheme to get you sucked in to watching shows you don't normally watch. Then they take them all away with the hope that you will then upgrade your package. I keep telling Rachel, "Now hunny, the nice evil TV company is just letting us borrow Dora for a little while. You know what borrowing means right hunny?"

But truthfully, I don't think Mr. Dad is going to let this continue for much longer and I have to agree. Have you ever not eaten sweet foods for a period of time? And then when you taste something sweet again for the first time after a long time, it tastes insanely, sickeningly sweet? Well, our eyes and ears have been away from cable TV for a long time, and the reintroduction has left a bad taste in our mouths. And I'm just talking about the commercials on supposed "family" channels.

A few years ago I went to a conference and heard Joshua Harris speak on the topic of media and its influence. I remember being floored by what he had to say. It was so off my radar screen at the time. Confession: I was the girl who didn't go to the Christian Fellowship because Dawson's Creek was on at the same time. (I'm totally serious.)

Harris says, "The obvious problem for Christians is that much of modern media’s content ignores or even demeans Biblical truth. The less obvious problem for Christians is that our relationship to the media is not all that different than that of the unbelieving world. The mind set of many believers is “trying to figure out how much sinful content from media they can handle and still be okay.” He likens that attitude to taking half a poison pill. “When it comes to what we watch or read or listen to, we shouldn’t ask how many halves of poison pills we can take without dying. We need to examine the cumulative effect of our media habits on our attitude toward God and sin and the world.”

Harris then gives 3 questions based on 1 John 2:16 for examining the effects of media in our lives:

1. Cravings of man – Are my media habits encouraging me to want my own way?

2. Lust of the eyes – Are my media habits stirring up covetousness in me?

3. Pride of life – Are my media habits encouraging me to exalt myself and value such worldly things as social status, athletic achievement, fame or wealth?

This is so worth thinking about if you're a Christian. Even though what I watched last night falls into the innocent category (a National Geographic show on wild dogs - ha!), I could so easily slip right back into bad media habits and making a poor use of my time.

So hun, you were right. I resisted for two days, but I think it's time to call the cable company. :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

What to Do When Your Child Hates Doing School

Some of our children are driven and/or people pleasers, so they do their school work with joy and efficiency for the most part. Then there is the bouncy ones, the ones that just want to have fun. They love school when it is easy and there is no work involved. It is frustrating when they are goofy and answer silly when they know the answer quite well. Like when you ask them, "What letter is this?" And they point to the letter M and answer, "Bus." It is disheartening when their sibling or another child you know is excelling, while you are wondering if homeschooling is going to work with this kid. You know the bouncy one would never behave like this for anyone else but you. Should you sent him/her to the school up the street?

Not necessarily. While homeschooling is a personal decision for each family and child, sending a "problem" child to school is not always the answer. Putting the child in school would be easier for you, and the child might even like it, but it does NOT get rid of the problem - it just hides it a whole lot better. The heart issue is still there in your child, the laziness and disobedience are still apart of his/her character. What you need to do is work on the character traits that need to be taught and trained, which you have discovered through homeschooling. Also, think of the reasons why you homeschool. Do they apply to this child? If your child has a fit when asked to do their chores, you would not hire a maid for them, right?

So what do you do? Losing your mind is not a good choice, and you want to be sure your child is receiving a good education. Here is a list of problem causers:
  • Are they hungry? Protein is a must for a child to be able to control their emotions, as well as for them to think. Taking the trouble to provide a good breakfast before school will help. Maybe it is something else they are eating. Think about when the bad behavior happens and what food they had eaten before. Some children are very sensitive to red or yellow die.
  • Are you schooling at their best time? I use to school Mr. Z at 10 or 11AM, after I got Ms. G on her way. Now I start with Z while G does seat work and reading.
  • Is it too hard? Maybe you are trying to have them do something that they are not developmental ready for. Slow down, it is not a race. Better to have adult that loves to learn than one who is pencil and book resistant.
  • Do they need a break? They may do better if you take brakes during schooling. Maybe their brain has been overloaded and their behavior is a cry for help. I have found 15 minutes at a time with my bouncy Kindergartner to be the best.
  • Would a different curriculum work better? One of mind really hated math. We tried different ideas, but nothing worked. Then I switch to a different curriculum, and now math is a favorite subject. That is why there is not one curriculum that is best for every child.
  • Are you doing too much? Maybe school is too long.
  • Did they go to bed on time? If they do not get enough sleep, it will be hard for them to think and keep their behavior in check.
If you have addressed all those issues, and those aren't the problems, here are some ways to cope and train your child to love school, or at least do their work obediently:
  • If it is not physical, it may be spiritual. Pray for your child, especially for the character traits of God pleasing work(their best done for God) and obeying their parents. God can change their heart. While you are at it, pray for the character traits you will need to teach your child, such as patience and peaceful spirit.
  • Training involves consistent discipline. We use a behavior chart, which I will have to post fully about another time. There should be a consequence for not behaving and not doing their school work. Watching TV or playing a computer game is a privilege, not an entitlement. They will learn soon enough, that if they want the good stuff, they need to do as they are told. Of course, they will needed to be reminded of that next month all over again, but they will get it.
  • Have a heart to heart with them and share a scripture with a SHORT explanation. Keep it short, sweet and to the point or they will turn off their ears. Remember this step because otherwise you can change their behavior, but NOT their heart!
  • Praise good work. Praise them for their good work in front of others too. This year we will have a party at the end of the year where family members will get to see their work on display.
  • Find ways to add fun to school. Maybe it is candy bingo, which is using their school bingo games with candy as a marker. It depends what your child likes - to be read to, puzzles, Legos, games. Use those things to teach them.
  • If they hate workbooks, do hands on. If they hate the crafts, do not do them. Find something else creative instead. My bouncy son actually loves worksheets, so I make sure there is always at least 1 "pencil work" item to do.
  • Put the part they love after the part they hate. It makes them motivated to get it over with. It also teaches them, "Work before pleasure."
  • Buy a exercise ball for the bouncy one to sit on, it may help them listen better.
  • Put them in an outside activity that will teach them discipline and hard work, like a sport or club such as 4H, Keepers of the Faith, Alert, or boy/girl scouts. This should be something they like doing after trying it out for a while.
  • Have lots of books around, - wonderful, quality children's books. Make a book nook to cozy up in. Display some books by their front covers. Put some books in a basket on the floor. Get books out at the library about your child's current interest. If you can give them a love for books, a love for learning, they will teach themselves for the rest of their lives. If they miss something in their education, they will be able to learn the answer on their own.
  • Remember the reasons why you homeschool. Write them out, reading them on a hard day will encourage and strengthen you that you may the right choice.
  • Put on your armor (armor of God) because this is going to be a recurring battle. You do not learn to obey God the first time, your children are no different. Follow the link for a refresher. Your children are a blessing, but they test your patience too. Be ready, as you should always be.
  • Look at this as an opportunity for God to build patience into your character. And we thought we were weaving character into the tapestry of our children's lives, while all the time, God has been using our children to weave His character into us.

Please add more to my list through the comments. All of us will go through a day when our child does not want to do school, so being armed and ready would be helpful.

While sometimes your child takes you for a ride, it is all that more rewarding when you see the child learning and enjoying school. Children are a blessing.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Laundry Soap Update

My last batch lasted me 3 and half months and I have a top loader washing machine, which requires twice as much as a front loader. We do about 12 loads a week at least (3 of those are clothe diapers).

It is green (environmental) and saves you lots of money!

If you have not tried making your own laundry soap, here is the recipe I use from the Duggars':


1 Fels Naptha soap bar, grated
1 cup washing soda
1/2 cup borax


Grate the soap bar into a small saucepan. Cover with hot water*. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring continually, until the soap completely dissolves.

Put washing soda and borax in a 5-gallon bucket. Pour in the hot, melted soap mixture. Stir well, until all the powder is dissolved. Fill the bucket to the top with more hot tap water. Stir, cover securely, and let set overnight. The next morning, stir the mixture. Mix equal amounts of soap concentrate and water in a smaller laundry-detergent dispenser or container. Shake before using.

For top-loading machines: Use 1 cup of the soap mixture per load.

For front-loading machines: Use 1/2 cup per load.

Here is my original post:

Homemade Laundry Soap

*On their family website they say 4 cups.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


This cold winter weather makes me pile on all these layers of clothes, it makes me feel so frumpish and sloppy. Even with the heat up high, I freeze without fleece. My coat has permit stains and makes me feel like Mr. Puffy. I really need a good haircut, but I never seem able to set aside the money - I always see books I want to buy the kids for school. We are making headway with the house now that I am not working, but it has FAR to go in clutter control. There is a pile of mail to open, I don't even want to think about e-mail or laundry piles. So, I feel like I am living, breathing frumpiness. I want clean and simple!

It must sound like I am complaining about what I do not have, but it is really about how mess and bulk bother me. I cannot fix the problem right now this second, even though I want to so badly. We cannot pay down debt and buy the clothes I want too(even used), and the same goes with the hair. It is going to take time. It is a season, spring will come and melt my frumpies away.

If my kids were complaining to me or discouraged, I would tell them to look at the problem as an opportunity to change and improve the situation - an opportunity to do something about it. There is not much I can do about the money needed to change things, but I can make the best of what I have on hand. I can get rid of the things I do not love by valuing fashion over frequency. I love to get rid of things, it feels wonderful!

After all , I wonder sometimes that control we seek as moms, should really be handed over to God. We get frustrated when things are out of control, when we should relax, give it to God, seek His wisdom, and do something about it! Besides, fixing my frumies one grain of sand at a time will teach me patience. In addition to being in control, God uses our problems to teach us things too!

Any fashion hits to stay warm and not frumpy would be highly welcome:)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

What I Love about Irish Dancing

Here is a list of what I love about Irish Step Dancing:
  • Modest dance and modest dress compared to current dance schools such as tap, ballet and jazz. While Irish Dancing does "kick but," there is no "shaking your thing" or polka dot bikinis (recital number of a tots class!). Some judges do not even like it when you put make up on the little girls.
  • You get more time with your child. Unlike other sports, you only sit on the side-lines for a short time while they dance, the rest of the time is spent together. Either as a special mother-daughter/son day or a family outing.
  • Curly hair and dressing up is fun for girls:)
  • Though Irish Dancing has some roots in pagan tradition, modern Irish Step Dancing is influenced by Christianity. There are Christian symbols on some of the dresses. Christian imagery is used in some of the group dances, like in the St. Patrick's Day parade.
  • Our school lets us decided how much we want to be involved and spend. Lessons for us are less then they would be at some other dance studios.
  • While you may shell out for the first pair of shoes or dress, the items retain a lot of their value for resale ( about half the original price ). You use the money from selling the old items to pay down the cost on the next item.
  • The people we have meant are really nice. Great sportsmanship and encouragement. It is a community.
  • As a sport, it gives you a great work out.
  • It is beautiful to watch.
  • For homeschooling, it is a competitive sport completely outside the school system ( at least in America).
  • Getting your first real dress is a great motivation and good practice in delayed gratification.
  • Out of every 8 dancers, 5 will not win a medal or trophy, losing is an important lesson and hard to come by in our "everyone gets a trophy so we don't hurt their self-esteem" age.
  • With hard work and perseverance, you win medals and move up a level.
  • The dancing itself is lots of fun.
  • If you are Irish or Scots-Irish, it passes your cultural heritage down to your children. Experiencing different cultures is wonderful too.
  • It is a sport for everyone - there is no one body type, look, style, etc. There are no scales or pressure to lose weight, at least that is not our experience. You do NOT even have to be Irish. Desperate to fill teams, boys are adored too.

Some downsides:

As far as I see, half the feiseanna ( Irish Dancing Competitions) are on a Sunday. That means we have to go to another church that has a Saturday night service because our home church does not have one. As she gets older, my daughter will compete later in the day and so we will be able to go to the early Sunday service, I hope. You go to a feis as often as you want to, so you determine what feis and the frequency (unless you are on a team). At least here you have a choice!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Essentials

All of life comes down
To just one thing
And that's to know You oh Jesus

And make You known

"One Thing" by Charlie Hall

It's a new year; a fresh start on life, a fresh start in all my roles: of being a Christ-follower, a
woman, a wife, a mother, an educator, a pastor, a church planter. With each new year, however, I continue to realize the truth of the above lyrics, words that I've known (and hummed) for over 10 years.

It's all about Jesus. My single priority in life, the foundation in all the roles I fulfill, in all the hats I wear, must be about Him and Him alone. There are always "good things" that I can focus on, there are always pleasant distractions that life has to offer, but if my heart is truly His, then all is for His glory. Each role I've been called to will call me to know Him more intimately, each relationship I'm part of will challenge me to constantly point to Him.

And so I'm challenged...and humbled. How can I know the One who sang the earth into being and yet walked (and skipped, and jumped) upon the earth as a little boy, not so different than my own little boy? How can I deepen my walk with the One who I can't wait to spend eternity with; and how can I know Him better this side of eternity? And how can I become a woman, a wife, a mom, a pastor, a homeschool teacher, who makes Jesus known in all the roles that He has called me to? What needs to drop away in my life, that I can focus on the essential? When I'm knee high in dirty dishes, when I'm building lego towers, when I'm sharing coffee with a friend, how can I bring it all back to this "One Thing"?

All of life comes down
To just one thing

And that's to know You oh Jesus

And make You known

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Disaster Days

Bad days. You know, the days where you want to pull your hair out and scream. Things are very NOT perfect, and you feel like a failure. You swear somebody gave something to your children to make them act this way.

You become unhinged, and lose patience. There just does not seem to be enough time to do everything, an overwhelming feeling comes on. If you homeschool, the school up the street looks very appealing to you or you try to calculate if you can afford private Christian school. You search desperately for When Homeschooling Gets Tough.

It is true, we do not have enough patience. We do not have enough of anything. In order to succeed as Christian parents we need God to change our hearts. Since no one is perfect, we all have refining to take place in our spirits. We cannot do this without Jesus. This is not a sign of weakness, but a recognition of the weakness found in all people.

The Psalms that David wrote while he was being chased by Saul remind me the battles of motherhood. I am not alone in my struggles, God is with me. I may feel exhausted, but I can find rest in the Lord. Though as hard as some days can be, I know life can be much harder than not getting my way. I also loved reading the same passages during my husband's strokes and recovery. Our bad days are really not that sort of bad, they are really about our own desires not being meant the way we would like them to. The desires are usually good ones, like having respectful children, but they are our wants none the less.

When I cry out to the Lord, He show me where things went wrong in my day. Here is a list of sure fire disaster day starters the Lord has shown me:

1) Getting up late - You get up late, you are behind all day. If there is not enough hours in the day to start with, making less is really going to make a mess of things.

2) Failure to Pray - Start the day with prayer is a MUST DO. Get on your knees, cry out to the Lord, because the day will be hard, your patience will be tested to the limit, and you need the Lord to give you strength and wisdom.

3) Not Reading God's Word - His Words will refresh you like nothing else. Read it in the morning and at other times in the day. I love reading the Bible before/at breakfast and after putting the kids to bed. Sometimes I need to read it in the middle of the day during my refreshment time - if I get one (that is another blog post!).

4) Scheduling too much in one day - When you say yes to one thing, you are saying no to something else, which may be dinner or laundry or some needed rest.

5) Losing focus - You can only really do one thing well at a time. Multi-tasking is a myth, except maybe if it is listening to an audio book while you do the dishes. If your focus is homeschool, you need to focus on that one thing - you cannot answer the phone, and fold the laundry too. While you are folding the laundry one of the kids will start coloring instead of doing math and the other will reenact the Flood from Genesis in your bathroom. Kids do need to work independently, hovering like a helicopter is bad too, but you still need to check on them (expect = inspect) - which is hard to do if you lose your focus on something else.

I remember one homeschool mom telling me, "I can either clean the house or homeschool, but I can't do them both on the same day. If I do, then I end up feeding the kids cereal 3 times a day."

6) Forgetting to Eat - My husband cannot believe that I could get so busy that I completely forget to eat a meal, but I do. A hungry mama is going to be less likely to have the patience needed for her task.

7) Insufficient amount of rest - This could be staying up too late, and not getting enough sleep. Or it could be not taking a refreshment time during the day. You can't pour from an empty pitcher! If an infant is the reason, it best to simplify until the baby's sleeping habits improve or get some help - both would be better. It is a season, enjoy your baby while you can - they don't keep!

What are some causes to bad days that God has shown you?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Modern Pharisee

Homeschooling or family Bible time alone does not guarantee salvation nor Godly character, your children need to experience the Gospel daily. They need to see you living for the Lord and applying the Gospel to everyday circumstances. All the other things are just means to end, they make it easier for us to teach the Bible to our children. We cannot be like the Pharisees, who simply wore the uniform on the outside. Whether that uniform takes form in homeschooling, Christian private school, or long skirts.

Sometimes a Christian can be like a Pharisee when they try to control what the "uniform" looks like. If you do not have a TV in your home, do not verbalize superiority on those who do. If a women feels called by God to dress more feminine and modest, do not get mad at her for wearing a skirt. On the other side, do not wear a skirt just because everyone else is doing it, and you want to appear the super Christian. If you know someone who homeschools, do not tell them that sending their children to "school" is better for them or that their children will be dangerously unsocialized. Nor if you are a homeschooling mom, do not tell other people homeschooling is the only way for a Christian to properly educate their children and build in them Godly character. If someone admires something about you, praise God for using you.

The point is not to pass judgement on others, we cannot see their heart. As long as it does not go against the orthodoxy of the Bible, just mentally agree to disagree. We do not need to think, "Oh my goodness, I can't believe they are doing that." I always love a good debate, I wish more people could participate in a friendly discussion without being rude or offended. Do not be offended by the way others feel called to live out their Christian lives, if they are acceptable Biblical ways. Thinking the best of people has really helped me in this area, with my strong opinions often come strong judgements! Show grace to other Pharisees because we have all been like a Pharisee at one point or another.

Very thankful to have many friends who do not behave like Pharisees to me. They always leave me feeling encouraged!

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Invisible Woman

A friend emailed this video to me this morning. It's a very encouraging 6 minutes for Moms. :)

Here is a quote from the video that resonated with me -

"At times my invisibility has felt like an affliction to me. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life; it is the cure for the disease of self-centerdness. It is the antidote to my own pride. It's ok that they don't see. It's ok that they don't know."