February 23, 2011

When Things Don't Go As Planned

Last weekend, I distinctly remember sitting down and making a to-do list for this week. I knew this week was going to be a bit busier because we are helping out some of our friends by keeping their 2 year old who is great friends with our 2 and 4 year old. My mister was also going to be leaving to go out of town for a men's retreat. plan....put the house in immaculate order, have 5 homeschool days in 3 so that when Daddy left for his retreat, the kids and I could do absolutely nothing!!! Sounds heavenly, but also...very unrealistic. This is the flaw my sweet mister probably brings to my attention more than any other! (I consider myself lucky because he definitely has plenty he could choose from!)
This week has turned out to be absolutely crazy! And that to-do list is nowhere to be found. I'm assuming I will find it under the piles of laundry (which was completely caught up on Saturday), toys or just plain dirt, but of course, by then, the week will be over, and I'll have no need of it for I will have made another one out!
God has reminded me several times this week that my times are in His hand. He knew what my week would be like. He knew what my plans were, but they weren't His. I can either take this week and complain about the interruptions and chaos, or I can use this week to find opportunities to be a blessing to my family and others around me. Maybe it wasn't just coincidence that I lost my to-do list - maybe it was God's way of telling me He had other plans.
So, will I be a willing vessel who can be used or will I ruin an opportunity that God has for me? Will I be a good example to my kiddos in teaching them how to respond when things don't go my way, or will I show them through my actions that getting what I want is most important? Am I looking at my interruptions as opportunities from God or as annoyances that are getting in the way of my plans?
Here are some Scripture verses that I've found to encourage me this week. I pray they will encourage others who are having the same kind of week as I am.
Galatians 6:10
As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
Ephesians 5:15-17
See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
Colossians 4:5
Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.
Another thought that God gave to me this week is that the interruptions God has brought into my life are so petty compared to others. God has not asked me to give him my daughter. He did ask that of our friends, though. I've been given so much, and I am so blessed! How can I complain when God asks me to change my plans so that I can bring honor to His name? Yet, I do!
God, help me to bring honor and glory to Your name - even when things don't go as planned!

February 21, 2011

The God of All Comfort

Today, our family has been reminded of how short life can be, but we've also been comforted by God's love, faithfulness and sovereignty. Isn't it so sweet to know that God has already planned each person's life from beginning to end and that nothing takes Him by surprise? I was reminded of the verses Jeremiah 29:11 and 13: "For I know the thoughts (plans) that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts (plans) of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart." I am so thankful that I serve a God who knows me and my needs better than I know myself. I am so thankful that even when we go through such big hurt, God knows exactly how to heal our hearts and, more importantly, He helps us grow through the hurt to trust Him even more.
What is even more amazing to think on is that God desires for us His children to bring our hurts to Him. There are so many verses in the Bible that tell us to "cast our cares" on God. I found Psalm 55:22 again today: "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved." God has promised to be faithful to us! We can trust Him because He is "a very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1). I'm so thankful for God's never failing faithfulness to us. I am so thankful for a God who loves me unconditionally and whom I can trust supremely. He is such a good, faithful and loving God, how can I question Him or His plans? Instead I can only say, "My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever." There is nothing I can do in my own strength, but God will be my strength. He has promised, and He never lies. He will supply me with everything I need at just the moment I need it. "My grace is sufficient is for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." (II Corinthians 12:9)
Another comfort today has been the thought that I probably think more than any other when I think of all the what-if's in parenting: God loves them more than I possibly ever could. God loves and cares for every one of His children in a unique, individual way. Psalm 139:16-17 says "Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!" One of my favorite verses that I think describes God in the tenderest of ways is the familiar verse "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints" (Psalm 116: 15). Death is not a random act which stirs panic in Heaven. It is the greatest, most anticipated homecoming welcome a child of God will ever experience. It is something God calls precious.
God now has one more saint with Him today. What a welcoming she experienced last night - seeing her Savior face to face and taking in all the sights of Heaven. There are tears - lots of them - here on earth today, but oh what sweet, sweet comfort, peace and even joy we have also experienced as we have drawn closer to the One who is the God of all comfort.

February 18, 2011

Family Scripture Memory

Yesterday, I told you of my search for a Scripture verse that I can pray over each of my children. Today, I thought I'd pass on a link to a method of Scripture memory that we are trying to incorporate into our family. It is amazing (once you make it a habit) how much Scripture your entire family can memorize using this method. We try to review our Scriptures every night at supper. It doesn't always work, but it is way better than nothing at all. Usually within a week, our Mr. G who is three can even say the verse, and Miss M. (2) can say most of it. We don't have a whole lot of verses to review yet, but we have a TON in the NEW category.
I truly believe that something that would greatly change even our good Christian families is memorizing more Scripture together. It not only allows the Holy Spirit to work in our hearts, but it also opens up some wonderful conversations. We are working on John 14:2-3 (which also happens to be a verse Miss E. is memorizing for a church group :) ). Last night, Mr. G wanted to keep saying it over and over. Finally, he sighed and said, "I really like that verse!" He didn't know why, but I told him it's because Jesus loves him so much, and Jesus is helping Mr. G to love Him back! Isn't that a wonderful way to end supper time?
Just as a side note: make sure you are not just memorizing Scripture but that you also explain it to your kiddos and show them where they can use it in their every day life. Then, use it yourself! :) If you have little, little ones, start now! They are never too little! Like I said, our 2 year old can say most of the verses with us!
Here is a link so that you can check out the Charlotte Mason Scripture Memory Method yourself!

February 17, 2011

Praying for My Children

A little over a year ago, I was challenged to find a Scripture verse that I could pray over each of my children. The lady that gave me this challenge told me to look for verses that matched my children's strengths and weaknesses and to choose a different verse for each of my children. She also encouraged me to find one for my mister. She ended our discussion by telling me to take my time choosing - she took three years!!!

Well, here I am, a little over a year of searching, and I'm still searching. It has been a hard search, but a good one. One that has helped me grow and find a lot of verses that I did not remember or had not thought of in a long time. I haven't chosen a verse for everyone yet, but one passage I do love to use in prayer for my entire family and myself is Ephesians 3:16-19 (the italics are mine).

Verse 16: That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory (his riches are limitless, by the way), to be strenghtened with might by his Spirit in the inner man (with the Holy Spirit's power, any change can be made and spiritual growth will be seen by all);
Verse 17: That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith (I pray my children will continue to grow in their faith even after salvation so that Jesus will be "comfortable" in his home - their heart); that ye, being rooted and grounded in love (I pray they will be self-giving, always looking for ways to serve God and others).
Verse 18: May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

Verse 19: And to KNOW THE LOVE OF CHRIST (I pray that the more my children give of themselves, the more they will know the love of Christ and love Him more for all He has done for them), that ye might be filled (up) with all the fulness of God.
That last part - that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God - is the greatest part of the entire passage. I am quoting from John MacArthur's Study Bible when I say that my prayer for my children is that they "be so spiritually strong, so compelled by divine love, that one (my children) is totally dominated by the Lord with nothing left of self."
Wow! What a prayer for myself, too! I am so thankful for the search this wise lady put me on. It has helped me find many passages of Scripture to memorize and live out in my daily life. Maybe this would be a challenge you could take on for your family or close friends. There is no greater gift we can give our children than that of prayer. Verse 16 reminds us that it is the Holy Spirit who must do the work in our children's lives. We need to train, discipline, teach and example the Word of God to them, but ultimately, it is the Holy Spirit who will lead them to make godly choices that will last. What better way to help that come about than by praying Scripture over our children?

February 16, 2011

A Homeschooling Day

I've had several people ask what my days are usually like, and so since today was a fairly "'normal" day, I thought I'd share. Today has seemed to be a rather long day. We successfully finished school, but this semester, I have felt like I have dragged every ounce of work out of my kiddos. It has been much more time consuming than I had planned. Basically, I spend the first three and a half hours of my day sitting at the table helping them - which is fine except that I have two other kiddos who get tired of spending the morning in their rooms. I've tried having quiet activities for them in the living room so that they aren't so set apart from us, but it has been too distracting for the two who are working on school. I think this area probably needs some "child training," but right now, I think there are more important areas to train in. So, we'll settle for the bedroom thing for now.
The older two kiddos are usually done with most of their school by noon. Then, we get to take a lunch break with Daddy! By 1:00, we are ready to sit and read before going to quiet time. During this reading time, I usually read younger books for the younger two kiddos. From 1:30 until 3:00, we have quiet time. The younger ones sometimes take a nap. If they do not fall asleep but are being quiet, I will let them look at books for the last 30 minutes. The older two can read quietly on their beds or finish up any school papers they have left.
After quiet time, we have history or science and finish up any miscellaneous school work. Then, we move on to the best part of the day - snack time and play time! (You can see my play time calendar under family fun.) After all that, I may squeeze in some time to exercise, clean, blog or-on a very good day-read! By 5:00, it's time to begin supper. (I have to admit-this is the part of the day I dread the most.) 6:00 is supper. Then, on to baths, brushing teeth, a little downtime for everyone, reading (I always read a chapter book followed by a Bible devotional of some kind), then bed time at 8:00 (well, more often closer to 8:30)!
And that would be a fairly normal day - a good day, that is! After the kiddos are in bed, I usually check facebook and blogs, fold some laundry, chat with the mister and crash into bed! My mister always laughs because I need at least 30 minutes after the kiddos are in bed just to unwind. I tell him I can't go straight to bed because I'm not sleepy yet, but he says I always fall asleep within 10 minutes of crawling in bed! :)
I'd love to hear of other mom's days and how you balance house, school, kids and the mister. I really enjoy homeschooling, but one of my biggest challenges has been BALANCE! Let me know if you've found something that works great for you! I might give it a try! :)

February 15, 2011

Reflections on God's Goodness

I love hearing my kiddos play outside! They laugh and squeal and whisper and scream. It reminds me of all the hours I spent outside with my brothers and sisters. I think hearing them play is probably the time I find myself being thankful the most.

~I'm reminded of how blessed I am that I have four healthy kiddos with no problems of any kind.
~I'm reminded of how undeserving I am of them and of what a privilidge and responsibility I have as their mommy.
~I'm reminded of the wonderful man I married and how good and faithful he is to us.
~I'm reminded of the beauty of God's creation all around me.
~I'm reminded of how much my parents love me and sacrificed for me so that I could have beautiful memories of my childhood.
~I'm reminded of my Heavenly Father's unwavering, unconditional love for me and faithfulness to me.
~I'm reminded to savor every moment of goodness from God and to trust that He will always be faithful to me.

I'm so thankful God gives us moments that are easy to be thankful for. I pray that He will use these moments to make me strong in my trust in Him so that when those days of struggle come (and they will), I can stand firm in my belief that God is always good to me and that even if He never gave me another thing, I've already received far more than I ever deserved!

February 14, 2011

Making Your Valentine Happy!

I love holidays! Any day to celebrate something is a great day! I realized, though, that on holidays, I tend to look for what people will do for me. Every holiday should be a mom's day off, right? Unfortunately, my mister is not a big fan of holidays. He could do without them all and would never miss them, I think. So, after 10 years, I'm beginning to realize that holidays are for celebrating the special people you have in your life and finding ways to show THEM they are special. This morning, I got up early and decorated our kitchen, made a special valentine for each of my family members, and put a treat bag beside their place. Then, I made heart-shaped waffles for breakfast. The kiddos loved it! (Unfortunately, with all the extras they also thought it meant a day out of school, too!)

Another thing I have come to realize in the last few months is that in my goal of trying to be a great mom, I tend to forget my most important priority of being a great wife. And wouldn't you know it...that was exactly the subject in our last mommies' meeting! (Our church has this once a month for all us mommies who are in need of some sanity!) I really enjoyed (well, except for the convicting parts that I need to work on) the way our pastor's wife reminded us of all the different roles we as wives have. I thought I'd share them with you.

As wives, we are to be our husband's helpmeet - his completer, his helper. We need to keep our schedules flexible so that when he needs us, we are there! We need to respect and trust our husbands. Show that we support them and stand behind them. We are to be good stewards of the money our husbands entrust us with and good managers of the home he has provided for us. (That would also include training the young heatherns so that Dad actually enjoys being with them!) We are to submit and obey our husbands. Wouldn't you know it? You can never name the roles of the wife without naming this one, but it is an important one - and one given to us by God. I always remind myself that the same definition of obedience that I give my kiddos applies to me in obeying my husband. Sometimes, that doesn't set so very well, is what it is, and it is what makes a marriage work! The last role we discussed was that of loving unconditionally - no strings attached. Spending time with him just because, taking time to do things that he enjoys, showing him in ways that he loves that you love him and only him.

As you can probably guess, I've had a lot of things to evaluate and examine these last few days, and I've found several things that I need to change and work on. But, I'm hoping, that by doing these things, I'll make my mister and my marriage very happy! :)

February 11, 2011

Craziness and unexpected happenings!

Today has been one of those days...full of craziness and unexpected happenings! I woke up this morning with two goals in mind: getting school done with my two oldest kiddos by noon and organizing my coupons and grocery list so that I could go grocery shopping this afternoon. We started off so well - on time, organized, cheerful, but then....

The kiddos (BOTH of them) began to experience serious brain blockages. My goodness, it's a bad day when one goes through this, but two! We finally came to the conclusion that school was just not going to be classified as a success and that whatever we did accomplish was certainly not going to be done by noon!

Seeing that goal number one was not going to be accomplished, I bravely pressed forward to goal number two - couponing! I started off so well, but then the washing machine....yes, never good words...the washing machine did not stop filling, and no one realized this until Miss E. came into the hallway, and said, "Um...why is the hallway flooded?" Like I said, never good words! Thankfully, my sweet mister was home for lunch and spent his lunch break repairing the washine machine and cleaning up "the flood." However, upon returning to work, we had a second flood...yes, yes, a second one...and had to call the sweet mister home from work. By this time, coupons had been scattered by children, a cup of water had been spilled upon the coupons ( a third flood)! My second goal seemed to be going as "well" as the first.

As badly as everything seemed to be, at the end of the day I was still able to count my blessings! My mister was able to repair the washing machine - for good this time! The kiddos did finish all their tests this week, and I did make it to the grocery store with quite a few coupons! And now, my mister and I are snuggled up watching a movie. Although, we are watching it while the washing machine and dryer sit next to us because the poor mister had to pull up our wood floor and air it out. Like I has been one of those days...full of craziness and unexpected happenings!

February 9, 2011

The Kiddos' Shopping Spree

Each of my kiddos supposedly began to receive an allowance around the age of four. I say supposedly because I very rarely remembered to actually give it to them! :) However, now that I have a seven year old who keeps me in line, I decided that if I was going to promise them an allowance then I needed to....well....actually follow through! :) So, at the beginning of this year, we placed their banks in the kitchen window sill - tacky decorating, but we don't forget! Every Saturday morning when their chores are done, my oldest three line up to receive their allowance, and then we also place the church money in their baggies to put in Mom's purse (where they usually stay until the next Saturday when we do this again and remember we forgot to actually give the money to the church - oops!).

On the second Tuesday of each month, our church has a mommies' meeting, and so I promised the kiddos that every second Tuesday after that meeting, we would go to the stores of their choice to spend their allowances. They have had a blast doing this! They really enjoy choosing the stores, and it has been interesting to watch how they spend their money. My seven year old daughter is convinced that everything is "way too expensive" and that everyone is out to get all her money. My five year old man wants every big tractor in sight. He is SLOWLY learning that big = more money than I'll have for a LONG time! :) My three year old man wants to spend his money on every little thing he sees. It was a long shopping trip, but I kept reminding myself that this is probably how they feel while I'm doing my shopping! All in all, it was a great day, and everyone was pleased with their purchases. Best of all, everyone (except the three year old) had some money left!

February 5, 2011

Having Fun Together

One of the many, many reasons that my husband and I have chosen to homeschool our kiddos is that we want to spend everyday life with them having everyday fun and enjoying the everyday moments. I have found that even though I am with my children all day long I still become "too busy" to enjoy them and to have fun with them. This year, I decided to - you guessed it - MAKE A LIST of all the fun things I want to do with my kiddos. That way, I have a plan and a goal to reach. January was amazing! We had so much fun just taking time to have fun! So, for the month of February, I sat down and actually made a calendar with a list of fun things to do each day. Most of the things listed are things that the kids and I do together after quiet time (without Daddy :( ).

However, Tuesday night has become our Family Night, and we all take time to enjoy that night together! This past Tuesday, we had silly night where we all wore silly costumes, played charades and had banana splits BEFORE supper! At the end of the night, Miss E. gave me a big hug and said thank you for having fun! She quickly asked what we would be doing next Tuesday! :) What an amazing reward for only 2 hours of our time!

You can see a copy of my calendar on my FAMILY FUN PAGE. Please keep in mind that this is only a goal. Except for Family Night, plans are subject to change, and we may not even have a fun time one day (OH MY!)! But my philosophy is, if you have a goal you will accomplish more than if you didn't! Some moms are blessed with the ability to have spontanous fun. I envy those kind of moms. Unfortunately, I'm not one of them. I'm learning and growing and trying to take time for that spontaneous fun, but until then....a calendar works wonders for me!

Be sure to let me know what fun things your family does together! I'm always looking for new ideas!

February 4, 2011


Over the last few days, I have been thinking of the word sacrifice. Having children has definitely filled me in on the fact that every person born on this earth is selfish - and that includes me! I first began to see this when my oldest daughter was still just a baby (she is now seven), and I began to work on the selfishness I saw in her and in me. The next thing I know, I'm counting all the ways I've improved in overcoming my selfishness, and I began to think that I'm really not so selfish after all (especially compared to the heathern children :) )! Once again, God has seen my heart and has begun to convict me.

Many times, I am seeing all the things I do as such great acts of selflessness when, in reality, they are only priviledges that come with the great gifts God has given me. I see the mountains of laundry folded, the number of dishes washed and meals cooked, the magnitude of patience that I have come to possess (HA! HA!) as a great sacrifice for my husband and children, when in all honesty, it is my priviledge to have so much laundry to fold and so many dishes to wash because God has chosen to bless with me with a wonderful husband and four beautiful children. What did I ever do to deserve such blessings, and why should I ever think that any of these things I do is more than just an opportunity to express my thankfulness to God and to them for blessing me with their lives? WOW!

That brings me back to the word "sacrifice." If what I have been thinking of as "sacrifice" and "selflessness" for so long is not really that at all, then what is sacrifice? I looked up the definition. According to Mr. Webster, sacrifice is "an act of offering to a deity something precious." Another definition given was "the forfeiture of something highly valued for the sake of one considered to have greater value or claim." So, obviously mountains of laundry and numberless dishes probably do not fit these definitions! Those are my priviledges and my duty. What am I doing above and beyond those to show my love for God and the people I love the most? What is it that I highly value but am giving up for a better relationship with God today? Five minutes of devotion time!!! That is not sacrifice!!! What am I forfeiting so that my husband can have a wonderful day? Cooking him a hot, home-cooked meal!!! That is not sacrifice!!! What am I willing to give up for my kiddos today? A sip of my Diet Dr. Pepper (major no-no in this house!)? That is not sacrifice!!! Do I really see my God, my husband and my children as having greater value than myself? Do I really put them above myself in every thing that I do?

This is not to say that we can never take a break or allow our own selves to be served. But I think it is so sad to hear moms talk about how excited they are that school is starting back or how glad they will be when their husbands go on that business trip. These are our gifts given to us by God! We Christian moms have begun to believe the lie the world is feeding us - the lie that says our relationships will be better if we are happier and get our share of "alone time" or "me time!" The truth is that there is no better thing we can do for our husbands or our children than to be a constant example of selfless sacrifice and service to God, to them and to others. We are to emulate Christ in everything we do, and Matthew 20:28 says that "the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to MINISTER, and to GIVE HIS LIFE a ransom for many."

I will be the first in line to confess that I am the most selfish person I know. God has been working in my heart, showing me some things I can call sacrifice. I am not going to share them right now because I believe that sacrifice is something that is best done in private. It is not such a sacrifice if you are complaining or boasting! I also believe that God will ask different people to sacrifice different things. I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject! Can you give me some examples of sacrifice you or someone you have known has had to make?

One more thought: I've been reading through the book of Genesis, and everytime I come to Genesis 15:1, I get goosebumps! Lot had just chosen the better land to live on and had left Abraham with the much less desired land, but God came to Abraham and told him, "I am thy shield, and thy EXCEEDING GREAT REWARD!" God is our reward. We really need nothing more than HIM! We do not need recognition for the things we do or the progress we make, we only need GOD! How blessed we are that He has chosen to give us Himself and so much more! How can we follow His example of sacrifice?