Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ponderings ~ Karen

My week was last week, but just did not get to it. Better late than never :-)

What am I cooking?

I have NO idea. After being sick for 2 weeks, and on meds that make me sick for a week, I have no energy for menu planning. We are surviving.

What am I reading? - When I am not brain dead from everything else I have to do ;-)
The Open Adoption by Melina and Roszia,
The Backyard Homestead edited by Carleen Madigan - Produce all the food you need on a quarter of an acre. Pretty cool, but I am not milking goats,
The Reluctant Entertainer by Sandy Coughlin ( who has a blog by the same name) - I highly recommend this book to anyone who identifies with the title.

What am I praying today?
For a past friend who is not honoring her marriage vows, that God will charge her heart and bring back reason to her mind. Also, for God to help her husband and children. Our hearts can slip so little at a time, we can fall so easily and not even realize it. Please Lord, keep us all from such a fate.

What can my children do instead of watching TV?
There are about a million things at Christmas time. We hope to make peppermint smelling snow play dough when our white paint and iridescent glitter arrives in the mail. Got to love Amazon Prime.

Oh, and I wanted to explain the question. It is not the TV is a bad thing or that I am picking on TV. It is just that too much of it is bad, and sometimes it is hard to think of other things to do with your children.

What is one product that has made my life a little easier?
baseball card holders - to hold my coupons neatly in my coupon binder

What am I grateful for?
a helping husband, yes, again - He has been a great help while I have been sick.

What have I done for my marriage lately?
Not much. I am spent. But I did get my husband some nice things on Black Friday and a nice new coat that he looks very handsome in.

What's challenging me lately?
Everything. I am behind in every which way. It is so hard to catch up when I am so worn out. Hopefully it is from my antibiotics, and once that is done, I will feel better.

How were you a mission minded family this week?
My husband plans to do Action Christmas with my daughter at our church. They go out with the youth group and buy presents for kids who other wise would not get any.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Post Holiday Chaos: Transition Days

Teaching your kids after a holiday brake is enough to drive you insane. Everything is messy from the holiday rush. We are all off our schedules. The kids are hook on the expectation of fun and exciting days, where not much of anything is required of them. Those days pale in comparison to the highly focused work of homeschooling, which while shorter then public school, is much more intense. Not to mention the change of Daddy not being home, that alone can make us all a little grumpy.

During my 5 years of homeschooling, I have never believe in teaching the children on days when they were not going to learn anything. I might be able to check it off my lesson plan that I taught such-and-such, but I know that very little, if any, information stuck to them. Today is such a day.

Today was my husband's first day back after Thanksgiving weekend, and I should have know better than try to do school today. So instead of going crazy, I stopped, and went over the basics of our daily schedule. The reason being is that without the children meeting certain basic responsibilities, like getting breakfast or brushing their teeth on time, we cannot get our school work done on time. Also, I did have them do some light school work, but very little. Of course, our general rule of no screen time before lunch.

For our homeschooling day to be successful we need to have our rhythm, when holidays, sickness or vacation throw us off our rhythm, all of our spinning plates drop. It takes a day to set aside to focus only on getting all those plates up and spinning again, to get our rhythm on the right beat. It is well worth the time, and is nothing to feel guilty about.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Good Stewards: Stewardship vs Frugality

This Saturday I will be speaking to the women at my church about being good stewards of their money, so I thought a blog post would help me get all my thoughts in order. The subject is quite vast. I am choosing to focus on the stewardship verses frugality, and how to go about that in a practical manner. FYI - when I am speaking of stewardship, it is in the monetary sense.

Good stewardship of our money looks different for different people. Cable TV would be frivolous for us, but not for my sports loving friend. There are seasons when time is short and we need to spend money on time savers or hired help, or risk insanity and poor health. How you spend your time can be as important as how you spend your money. It is important to keep in mind that spending time saving money can be well worth it, as it is adds income, which is untaxed and free to save or spend. It is a way in which a mom can stay at home with her children and still add to the household income. Our motives that steam from our hearts defines our penny pinching ways as either stewardship or frugality.

Stewardship and frugality are sometimes the same things and others times not. Frugality becomes bad stewardship when we give cheap gifts people really can't use. Hoarding goods we can't possible use, when someone else really needs them. Donating essentially junk like canned beets or stained clothes. Putting other members of the family under constant scrutiny of money spent. The motive is not to please the Lord, but of self reliance and selflessness.

A good steward lives generously, while using the money in the most efficient way possible in their circumstances. They view everything they have as belonging to God, and their love of God causes their thoughtfulness regarding how they make use of their resources in their charge. They also take time to enjoy life and the blessings God has given them in a balanced manner. A good steward lives their live in such a way as to be financially open to the plans God has for them, whether it be going on the mission field or adopting a child.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Turn! | Catherine

Hi Friends,
This is Catherine posting.  I hope you enjoy getting to know me a little better through the following questions. :)

What am I reading?
 In the Bible, I'm going through Deuteronomy right now.  It sounds like a dry book to read, but I loooove Deuteronomy!  It's actually filled with quite a lot of drama and woven throughout is the amazing faithfulness of our God. 

For fun, I'm also reading my camera manual (yes, I think that's fun!) and anything and everything related to photography!  Check out I Heart Faces and ILP for some great photography forums.  You can also visit my blog to see my latest photo shoot.

What can my children do instead of watching TV?
We're not a no-TV kind of family.  I do permit them to watch one show in the morning and one show in the afternoon.  But when they're not doing that, they can do chores!  Seriously!  The more I involve them in doing chores along with me, the happier they have been.  It sounds strange, right?  But there has been less bickering, more joyful attitudes about helping Mommy (not so at first!), and I just enjoy their company. 

What am I grateful for?
I am grateful for all the little things I take for granted each day.  Healthy children, a roof over my head, food and water, heat when it's cold, and clothes that we're literally swimming in (and have bought literally none of it).

What have I done for my marriage lately?
We're going through Love Dare. :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Room for One More

The Christmas season brings to mind the Scripture that details Mary and Joseph's search for a room in Bethlehem to shelter them from the night. Though they knocked on many doors, they only received the reply that there was no room for them. Finally, they found a place that made room for the expectant couple. It recalls to me the birth of my own children and makes me ask myself, do we have room for one more?

There was a time when my husband and I thought we would have a specific number of children, a kin to objects you plan to acquire in life. "How many children do you think you will have," is a question often asked of couples. God has changed our hearts not to see our family as a specific number, but of questioning ourselves if there is room for one more. It leads us to be open to what God may have for us. Now, we take it year by year, child by child, just having our hearts open to another child.

One reason for this was seeing children as a gift, a blessing from God. You can search all of Scripture and not find any evidence that children are a curse, though the demand of day-to-day reality easily leads people to think differently. In fact, children, in the generic term, are always referred to as a blessing in the Bible. The idea that children are an inconvenient drain is completely a worldly notion. While being a lot of work, children are also very valuable. The work they require is really an opportunity to serve and grow in God. Now, that does not mean you have to have 16 children to be deemed truly righteous. It simply means, that whether you have 2 or 20, you are blessed to have children. It also means as a church family, we are blessed to have children in our congregation.

Parents are not the only ones who need to view children as a blessing. While the parents are called to disciple their children*, the church plays many important roles in bringing up the next generation too. One way is by seeing children as a gift to our congregation, celebrating each addition of a new child to our fold with joy. The attitude of the Church on this matter will determine the direction of its members. It is amazing what a little encouragement can do. The cards and presents we received after the birth of our 3rd child gave me tangible evidence that he was a blessing to be celebrated, not a misfortune as the world may think. So, when we meet a family of 6, instead of being shock and feeling pity for them, we can comment on their great blessing.

If the Church does not see the addition of children as a "good thing," then believers will see a family of more than 1.8 children as a misfortune. Making room for one more will not even be on the radar of options. Encouraging adoption will be difficult, or it will be seen as charity at best. Picking up on our negative response, the next generation's perfect family size will shrink and they will not know to delight in children.

Personally, getting a Biblical attitude adjustment towards seeing my children as a gift has made one of the biggest differences in me being able to delight in my own children. By delight, I mean that I truly enjoy spending time with my children, not because I ought to or because they are "good," but because God has changed my heart. So, yes, we have room for one more. There is a lot more to be said on the subject, but the point is that children are a gift from the Lord.

*You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. Deuteronomy 6:7

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. Psalm 127:3-5

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 136:13-16

When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. John 16:21

See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. Matthew 18:10