Tag Archives: gratitude

Homeschooling Forever?

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Has our homeschooling journey been that long?  No, not really, but it sure has seemed that way some days.  Way back in 1997 when our daughter was a baby, we decided to homeschool our oldest.  We really didn’t know much about the process aside from what I’d read in a handful of library books.  There were two homeschooling families at our church and I picked their brains for what worked for them.  It still was a walk in the dark and every step was preceded by much prayer, thought and hard work.

We have had many days it truly felt like we were stumbling around in the dark, stubbing our toes on the furniture.  Other days were filled with euphoric moments of triumph when new concepts were mastered!  I think most homeschoolers would agree that their experiences has been a combined mixture of both.

Where are we now?

Our older son was in fifth grade when we began this journey and he graduated in 2006.  Ten years ago?  How can that be?  Time truly flies, folks!

Our daughter wanted to do school like her big brother so she began kindergarten at age four. She’s always been very curious and precocious and we felt she was ready.  She graduated in May 2015.

Our younger son is currently finishing up 10th grade and will begin 11th grade in the fall.  He’s almost 6′ tall and we have a lot of fun learning together.  We use the Abeka video program, which I absolutely love!  All of the video teachers have a wealth of knowledge and experience, which make it worth every penny.  We use a separate curriculum for math, though.  That’s the beauty of homeschooling – you can tailor it to your child’s needs depending on their strengths and weaknesses.

I always say, “One of these days I’m going to graduate!”  🙂  The truth is, I’ve been in nearly every grade four times (once myself way back when and then once for each of the 3 kids).

We’ve had many bumps in the road along the way.  We’ve moved quite a bit over the years, which always throws a wrench into schooling preparation and plans.  Also, I just had surgery.  It’s times like these I’m very thankful for the Abeka video program and the fact that my son is older and can work independently for the most part.  We do work pretty closely with math, however.

Life is always full of interruptions and that is why we have always appreciated the immense flexibility of homeschooling.  For instance, we are not bound by school schedules that prevent us from taking a family vacation if desired.  There are so many opportunities my children would never have had if it weren’t for a home based education.

Has it been easy?  A resounding NO!  But then, nothing worthwhile in life ever is.

Has it been fun?  Yes.  We’ve had many laughs … mixed with tears sometimes.  Mixed with worry that our children aren’t learning enough…or fast enough…or on par with their public school peers… It’s times like these, our kids do something really amazing or we have lengthy conversations that allay all my fears that they will, in fact, turn out just fine.

Has it been worth it?  Every minute.  Every ounce of energy.  Only eternity will tell, but I know that in my heart of hearts, I’ve given it my all.

{Side note:  My 18 year old daughter & I had a conversation about the stresses of raising kids, family size, etc.  I shared how important extended family can be, especially relieving strain when the children are small.  Our conversation went on and she said, “Mom, I have many fond memories of you doing crafts with us and always making things fun.  You’ve done a great job.”}

Well, I guess I should frame this, not that she hasn’t said similar things before, because she has.  She’s always so sweet and affirming.  But, because sometimes those “Mommy fears” rear their ugly head and needle away at any confidence I may have had.

Moms have such a full and far reaching job on their hands, raising a family, taking care of the house, their husband, and whatever involvement they may have in church or the community!  Goodness, we need to give ourselves a break!

You’re doing GREAT, Moms!!

Frame this!  “You’re doing GREAT!”  You really are.

If your hearts’ desire is to be the best Mom possible, I’m confident that you are, in fact, doing just that.  We need to give ourselves grace.  And don’t worry so much!  We worry because we love deeply but really we should transfer that worry into a prayer and leave it there.  I’m preaching to the choir now.

It’s hard to imagine life beyond homeschooling but in May 2018, our youngest will graduate.  And then a new chapter of my life will begin.  But this one has been an exceptional run and one that has been rich, meaningful and a real time of planting seeds into our children.  For that, I am ever grateful.

And to those who are just starting out on this homeschooling journey or are midway through – Hang in there!  Enjoy every step of the way.  Do those crazy art projects and science experiments.  Go on those educational field trips and family vacations.  Find beauty and learning opportunities everywhere!  Enjoy your kids, moms.  Those formative years only last so long and then they’ll be taller than you (like all my kids are now!).

I saw this quote many years ago:

“A parent’s true role is to work themselves out of a job.”

Our job is to raise the next generation to be moral, independent, critical thinkers.  If we have done that, our work is done.

Of course, as a Christian Mom, I have prayed for my children since they were in my womb and I will always intercede for them until I draw my last breath.  I love them so.  So, even when our children are out on their own making their way in this world, our role as intercessors never ends.

Do you homeschool?  How would you sum up your journey so far?  Have any of yours graduated?

 

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The Smell of Rain

The sliding glass door is open leading to the small balcony off the master bedroom.  Rain has been steadily falling since early this morning and the scent is refreshing.  Nothing like the smell of freshly fallen rain, except maybe crunching leaves in autumn up north.  But, today, it is Florida’s version of winter weather – although fairly mild, of course.

The showers not only replenish the earth but invigorate the senses.  This is not our typical rainy season that occurs during our hurricane season from June 1st through November 30th.  It has caused some dead tree limbs to be strewn across the lawn and our swimming pool to be pretty full.  The creek that runs behind our house has become rather full with water gushing as it makes its way over the large rocks, creating a small waterfall.  It’s always so peaceful to look out at the waterfall.

Water is so soothing, isn’t it?  I think of the ocean with its waves that ebb and flow.  Visitors flock to it and find relaxation.  I also think of a warm bath to calm the mind and body.  Waterfalls in the mountains.  People will hike miles just to catch a glimpse of the beauty of majestic waterfalls.  Perhaps the most famous of falls, Niagara Falls, is the destination of thousands of visitors each year.

God certainly knew water would bring mankind peace and nourishment against life’s stresses.

Although it’s very overcast and rainy today, I am thankful for the precipitation.  Everything has a season and today’s season is rain.

Some complain when the weather prevents them from participating in outdoor activities or dulls their mood.  Instead, why not take advantage of a rainy day to do something indoors that you’ve been putting off?  I like to turn on the lights and play some cheerful music on days like these.  It sends a signal to the mind that we still have cause to be happy, despite the weather.

So, today I will enjoy the fresh scent of the rain.  Tomorrow it will be gone.  The sun will be out along with a few clouds, but the rain will be over.

Ah, to breathe in this invigorating fragrance is a beautiful blessing!  You see, there is beauty in the rain.  Yes, unpleasantness too.  Like when you step into a deep puddle.  Isn’t that life?  You take the good and the bad, mix it all together and it is a beautiful gift.

 

 

 

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15 Things I’m Most Thankful For

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  1. My personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the Word of God and the great hope of heaven
  2. My family and their love
  3. My children’s spiritual growth
  4. The gift of motherhood
  5. That my siblings are also my best friends
  6. Wonderful friends
  7. My husband’s job
  8. Good health
  9. Our home
  10. Freedom
  11. A godly heritage
  12. Music
  13. The ocean, flowers and all of nature’s beauty
  14. Photography
  15. Fabric, quilting, sewing machine

Gratitude chases away feelings of discontentment.  It’s difficult to be disgruntled and thankful simultaneously.  Why not compose your own thankful list and reflect on the many blessings of God in your own life?  We serve a faithful God and His blessings are endless.

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An Attitude of Gratitude

Have you ever found that sometimes it’s far easier to grumble and complain than to accept what is and be grateful for it?  I certainly have.  It takes an intentional mindset to simply resolve to be thankful rather than discontented.

Some circumstances we can do something about.  For instance, we may get frustrated with ourselves because we’d like to lose weight.  In reality, there’s an action on our part that can change those ugly numbers on the scale.

However, many times in life there are situations beyond our control.  It is in those times that it is prudent to give thanks to God while placing our concerns in God’s hands.

“In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  ~ I Thessalonians 5:18

Then, there’s just a general attitude of life.  Have you ever met someone that had such a sour expression and just exuded such discontent?  I certainly have.  Are those people happy?  No!  And they make everyone around them unhappy as well!  Who wants to be around a sour puss?  Life is too short to see the glass half empty all the time!

Did you know that you can do most anything you set your mind to?  It’s true.  If you have a made up mind to change, with God’s help, you can do it!  Today, you can decide that from this day forward you will stop complaining all the time and, instead, thank God for the positive things around you.  Thank God for waking you up this morning, for giving you breath in your body, for full function of your limbs, for your family, for resources, for provision, for the hope of Glory!  There are countless blessings we can praise God for!  And, before long, you will see a pattern forming.  Your heart will be full of happiness when gratitude is in your soul and expressed through your lips!  It is hard to stay disgruntled and upset when your heart is thankful.  Ponder that for a moment.

You can either dwell on all the things that aren’t right about your world or you can determine to focus on the good things that God has blessed you with.  Perhaps there are some things you can change to make your world better.  In the meantime, cultivating an attitude of gratitude will bring tremendous fulfillment to your life!

A tool that can help you to do this is a notebook where you write all the things you’re thankful for.  Keeping a journal of answered prayer is also a great reminder of God’s blessings and increases our faith.

When we are constantly grateful to God for His many blessings, for the sunshine, for the rain, for another breath to live … don’t you think it’s His good pleasure to further bless us?

“I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

 My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.

 O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.

 I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” ~ Psalm 34:1-4

 

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God Knows Your Address

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Do you ever feel small?  That somehow you escape the mindful eye of the Creator of the universe?  

“O Lord, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, Lord.
You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too great for me to understand!” ~ Psalm 139:1-6

I bumped into two of my dad’s cousins while I was out shopping earlier this afternoon.  One is 77 and the other around 70; both are very sweet.  I hadn’t seen them since our last family reunion a couple years ago.  I should preface this by saying that I live in an area where it’s unusual to see anyone you really know.  It’s a big, busy place.  The pace is break neck speed, always.

I actually rarely pop into the dollar store, but I needed a gift bag for a baby quilt and pillow I just made for a friend.  So, $1.00 is always the right price for me!  🙂  But, I digress…

We had the nicest time catching up on life for a few minutes and then she said she wanted to talk to me about something.  She said that she has a set of my grandmother’s china that she willed to her when she passed over thirty years ago.  They are just sitting in her basement, so she wanted to know if I’d like to have them.  How sweet of her to think of me!  I was overwhelmed at the thought of having a piece of family history and, particularly, a set of dishes my grandparents used.

You see, I was only ten when she passed away and nine when my grandfather passed, so I never really got to know them.  I do have a bracelet she left for me, which is very special.  It’s likely not worth much monetarily; however, invaluable in my heart, knowing she wanted me to have it.  I’m the sentimental one in our family, kind of the family historian of the younger generation.  I’ve done copious amounts of genealogy research and love interacting with long lost relatives, filling in missing pieces of the family puzzle, etc.  So, for my (second) cousin to offer this set of dishes was just so very special to me.  It really filled my heart with pure joy.

Isn’t it just like God to know exactly what you need?  I have found that God has been answering seemingly unspoken prayer requests lately.  They’re just desires of my heart and then before I know it, God “wows” me with a blessing!  I relish when the Lord demonstrates His love for me.

I love giving gifts!  I really do.  It’s who I am.  I’m a giver.  I’m always sewing a little quilt for someone or making up a small gift bag for a friend.  How much more does our heavenly Father enjoy blessing His children, who are walking in obedience to Him?  I am confident that He wants to bless our socks off!

I’ve been meditating on:

“The Lord is compassionate and merciful,

    slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.” ~ Psalm 103:8

As I reflected on the coincidence of meeting my two cousins at the dollar store today, I was reminded that it was totally a “God thing”.  If I had been thirty minutes earlier or later, I would have surely missed them.  In fact, I was running a little behind schedule today and it took me longer to get out the door than anticipated.  It turns out I was operating on the schedule God had planned for me today.  🙂  I love how God orchestrates our lives.  Because I was at the right place at the right time, there were blessings in store for me.  I think God likes surprises, and He certainly surprised me today.  My heart is overflowing with gratitude and praise.

The wonderful thing about God is that He is no respecter of persons.  (Acts 10:34)  What He will do for one, He will do for another.  He has no favorites.  So, just as He planned for me to be at the dollar store today, knowing it would bring joy to my heart, He has great plans for you also!  Trust Him.  Draw near and allow Him to lead and guide you into all truth today, my friend.  When we are walking in the ordained paths He has for us, blessings will follow.  Be blessed!

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