..."popsicles on the porch"...what a great afternoon treat and our favorite way to spend time together! These are simple and precious moments! Princess #1 and Princess #2 along with Little Man #1 and #2 are my inspiration for most of these writings.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Portrait of A Foolish Woman

"She has cast down many wounded, and all who were slain by her were strong men." (Proverbs 7:26)

The portrait of a foolish woman is painted in great detail in proverbs 7. Most presume the foolish woman presented here is the adulterous or promiscuous woman. We skip over this passage assuming it doesn't really speak to us.

However, as I was reading through this chapter I was surprised at how this verse relates to so many of us; not just the adulterous woman.

I love how God breathes a fresh word into old and familiar passages!

As was highlighted in chapter 5 of Biblical Womanhood in The Home,"although we may not be physically adulterous or promiscuous, most of us have unwittingly adopted some of the characteristics that ultimately could lead to the ruin and downfall of the men around us."

Nancy DeMoss goes on to say:

 "The Foolish woman can be an instrument of casting down many men. She may do so by means of sexual seduction (as the woman in proverbs 7), OR she may do so subtly, by means of discouragement, spiritual pride or intimidation."

Wow! What a sobering truth that "I could be the instrument of any man's undoing, no matter how strong he might be! Even men who are spiritually mature can be brought down, controlled, wounded, and destroyed--by a foolish woman."

As I reflect on my relationship with Tim and my role as a pastor's wife, the weight of this can be very challenging at times. There isn't a "rule book" given to Pastor's wives to know how to fulfill your pastor's wife duties, yet there is an unspoken one that exists.  It can be difficult living in the tension of people's expectations of you and what the Bible calls us to.

As I think about the call God has on my husband's life as a pastor, I realize the huge part I play as his helpmate. It's sobering to think that I could intentionally or unintentionally "cast down" the mighty man God is creating and calling him to be. Not to mention, the effect I could have on his ministry and the calling he has been given. Wow! Talk about accountability! I can choose to be his cheerleader or the anchor that "cast him down." Ultimately, it is my choice and one that I will have to give an account for.

Questions I often have to ask myself are:  How do I build him up?  How do I honor and respect him as the spiritual leader of our home? How do I honor him in front of others and behind closed doors? How am I at cheering him on and praying with and for him?

You may not be a pastor's wife, but you too are called to be your husband's helpmate. How are you honoring him, cheering him on and praying that God uses him in a mighty way? As you imagine yourself before the Lord one day, would you be considered a wise woman or a foolish woman?

I shudder at the thought of having to give an account for being a woman who "cast down" her husband.

Challenging read Ladies!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Remember the Alamo!"

March 2nd was Texas Independence Day! Knowing we had a trip planned to San Antonio I decided to capitalize on both and strayed a little from our normal curriculum to do a study of Texas history!

The kids had fun learning about The Texas Lone Star Flag, our state bird, and flower!

We also checked out some great books from the library and had fun
 learning about heros like Davy Crockett! 

The girls really enjoyed learning about the Alamo, but there is nothing like seeing the real thing in person! Isa was especially ecstatic when she spotted Old Betsy, Crockett's rifle on display.  I of course enjoyed seeing them ooh and ahh as they connected the events we had been learning about.

Here are the girls having fun shooting their own pics with their cameras!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

How we Found Classical Conversations:
Have you ever known you were “supposed” to do something, but were scared to take that next step?  Isn’t it amazing how fear and doubt can creep in and keep you from all the good things God has in store for you on the other side?  All the “what ifs” seem to flood your mind i.e. “what if I mess up, what if I can’t do it,

what if,

what if,

   what if!!!

It’s a battle for your mind and heart! A test!

What will you choose?

Will you choose to stay put because it’s safer, it’s easier, more comfortable, it makes the most sense, and etc….

In every major season of my life, there has always been a battle for my mind and heart. This is where I found myself yet again when I felt the call to homeschool.

 Even though I was convinced of the educational and spiritual advantages to homeschooling  (see previous post)I was still afraid to let goThe thought of swimming against the culture (even Christian) was really scary.  But, just because something is the “norm,” doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the right thing.  Public education was not right for our family because God had distinctly moved in our hearts and called us to be a homeschooling family. Therefore, it would have been wrong for my family to go public. We would have been deliberately disobeying the word God had given to us.
However, as the new school year was approaching, I started doubting the word God had spoken to our hearts. The "what ifs" flooded my mind. I recognized this battle for my heart and mind unfolding before me as I had been there many times before. Yet, despite my fear and lack of faith, God still met me. I love His patience with us!  

He knew I needed a little push out there and that’s just what He did!

How God Continued to confirm His word in our hearts
My family was in the middle of a big move. If you’ve ever experienced a move with little ones in tow (including a newborn), then you know just how difficult it can be.

Not wanting to put my 5yr old in kindergarten, just to uproot her in a few short months, I knew it was time to take that leap of faith. God was pushing me out there and using our move to do so! I finally had the courage to step out in faith. Besides, I thought, "how bad could I mess up kindergarten?!!" ; )

Little did I know that selling our house in such a tough market would take 10 long grueling months. I say grueling because my husband had to commute every day 1.5hrs each way for 10 months! We’re talking almost 1 full year!! It was brutal; especially having such small children and a newborn in the mix.

Despite the challenges of moving, we had a very successful first year homeschooling. My kindergartner learned how to read in just four short months, was writing well, and really loving learning in general. I couldn’t have asked for a better year!

My husband was very impressed with the results of our first year homeschooling and encouraged me to try another year. He wanted to see what another year would look like now that our move was behind us. I was curious too, but still a little nervous. Fear started to creep back into my heart.  Kindergarten was one thing, but how far would we take this? I began doubting the word God had put in my heart, yet again. 

Sidenote: Do you ever feel like an Israelite? They were a bunch of whining babies always forgetting God’s miracles? Always grumbling about all the whys and hows?

 Oh wait….that sounds like me!

Fear of the unknown had crept back in. I was just so scared to have the education of my children rest solely in my hands. I know that sounds terrible, but I am a product of the public system, it’s all I’ve ever known. Yet, the reality is, there are other ways. We do have other viable options.

Needless to say, going against the grain was causing me to have to “unlearn” a few things.  Not only was I learning how to homeschool, juggling the storms of fear, but then the infamous “what about socialization?” question crept in. 

I know this is the first question that most people ask in opposition to homeschooling, but honestly that had always been the furthest from my mind. My children are highly social, boisterous and competitive little beings that aren’t afraid of meeting new people, and love  to talk your ear off if given the chance! With our involvement in church and other extra-curricular activities and friends we hoped to make in our new neighborhood, I knew my kids would have plenty of opportunities in time. 

However, the “in time” part was the problem. My children had left behind all of their old friends. Developing relationships takes time. It's hard to make friends in a new place and takes even more intentionality when you homeschool.  I wanted my kids to jump in and feel connected so badly, I rationalized that it would be much “easier” and “better” for them to go to the local public school. However, in my heart, I knew I was wrong. God had been directing my steps and now I was faced with a whole new bunch of “what ifs!”

Fear brings doubt. It causes you to question God and exalt your own strength instead of His. It blinds you from the truth and keeps you from doing what you know God has called you to do. (Can we say disobedience!)

I was SCARED!!! Summer was coming to an end and the new school year was starting. I needed answers and I needed them fast! I began pouring my heart out to God and begging him to confirm the word He had given me. 

The next day, I received an e-mail from a friend, whom I hadn't spoken with in quite some time. She e-mailed me out of the blue just to tell me about a new program that her family had started. She said she thought I might be interested and gave me the website for Classical Conversations (CC). After reading through the information, I knew this was exactly what I had been praying for! I couldn’t believe it!

Then it hit me. I was slowly connecting the dots that another trusted family friend had once mentioned CC to us about a year prior to this unexpected e-mail. God had planted that seed back then through another friend, and a year later had redirected me back to CC . 

As I read through the material it seemed like God put before me everything I had been looking for.  It was first and foremost Christ centered, economical, and not only was there an opportunity for families to connect socially, but there was a strong sense of accountability and a challenging academics program with a biblical worldview. This is what I had been looking for!

I knew God was speaking.

And wouldn't you know the very next day after receiving that e-mail, I  had plans to attend my first homeschooling convention. It was there, that I had the opportunity to speak with a CC director to learn more about the program. Afterwards, I felt a sense of peace and joy. I knew God was speaking and working on my behalf!

With tears in my eyes, I turned to leave and was surprised when I looked up and saw two familiar faces coming my way. It was a couple I had known and worked with several years before.  I hadn’t talked with them in years, much less did I know they were a homeschooling family. God had brought familiar faces and a safe place to share my heart.  I shared with them what God had been doing and how scared and unsure I was to take the next step. After listening, they encouraged my heart and the new adventure God was leading me on. It was another sense of peace that God was giving me. Some might call all of this coincidence, but I know better.

God speaks when we take time to seek and listen! 
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened
unto you. Matthew 7:7
This has been our first year in CC and though our community is still forming, my girls have learned so much! I am overjoyed to be a part of their learning process and so thrilled to be a part of their “light bulb” moments. Sure we have tough days, but anything worthwhile is never easy!  We hope to kick off the upcoming school year with committed families and can't wait to see what God has in store for us on this great adventure we call homeschooling! ; )

Monday, March 14, 2011

"So I need 13 more birthdays until....."

Since our big girl's birthday is a few months away she has been thinking through things she wants for her birthday and "future" birthdays. Oh goodness!  The other day while we were playing at the park she randomly articulated her request for a....

While her math is a little off, I'm thinking 18 sounds good to me! Tim thought it would be a good idea to capture it on video just in case she should ever need help remembering how many birthdays she has left to go! : )

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Who Me? Homeschool??

I never thought in a million years that we’d be a homeschooling family, let alone that I’d be a Director for this awesome program!  I wanted to share my journey on how God led us to this exciting adventure and hope that it encourages those who may be considering homeschooling too!

It was NEVER on my radar to home-school. N-E-V-E-R!!!  I was the typical person who thought homeschooling was weird. Besides, I thought, “what qualifies me to be a teacher?”  Sure, I have a degree, but being a certified teacher is a entirely different story.

So, how did homeschooling get on my radar? Simply put...
God broke my heart. 

As my oldest child began reaching the school age years, something in me just wanted more!  I don’t know why, other than God just put that desire in me. So, I decided to do a little research. I consumed just about every homeschooling book I could, I read blogs, went to conferences and picked the brain of many homeschooling mothers. The more I learned, the more God began to challenge every preconceived notion I had about homeschooling. 

Through my research, it was easy to see the educational and siritual benefits to homeschooling, but there were still a few hang-ups I had. The first I have already mentioned above and that is...

1.    What qualifies me to be a teacher and educator for my child?

And the second was…..

2.    How would Homeschooling allow us to Live on Mission? How could we effectively share our lives and tell people about Jesus if our children were not in a “public” setting?
As my husband and I began to ask God these questions, it became very clear for us where He was leading our family.

1.   What qualifies me to be a teacher and educator for my children?

To my surprise, this question was rather easy for me to work through. Becoming a mom has made me more in tune with the "others" in my life. As moms, God has given us the ability to know what is best for our children. From the moment I knew I had conceived, I have been making decisions for my children and providing for all of their spiritual, emotional and physical needs. So, I guess it was a natural progression for me to begin thinking about their intellectual needs as well. Why couldn't I take care of their intellectual needs too? Their well being in "every" area of life is my responsibility.  

I am convinced that no one is going to care for and love my children more than me. No one will care more about their success and their well being than their own mother. Plain and simple. Aside from God, I am and will always be their biggest fan! 

Therefore, I AM qualified. I certainly do realize my own limitations, but you better believe if there was a subject I couldn’t teach, I would do everything in my power to get them the help, class, teacher, and etc…they need just as I would anything else. That being said, I am also realizing the importance of being a lifetime learner and staying ahead of my pupils. This excites me! I have the opportunity to take advantage of things that I was just too busy or uninterested in before. 

I am also discovering how far homeschooling has come and the amazing community of families that resource and network together. Not to mention, God led us to a national homeschooling group whose founder, Leigh Bortins was an aerospace engineer!  She is passionate about equipping parents all over the country on how to be home educators, but more on that in a later post. ; )  

All of this, coupled with a faith that God prepares those who are called, helps me to have faith in knowing He will prepare me for the tasks ahead, just as He always has.

2.    How would Homeschooling allow us to Living on Mission
My husband and I try to actively live our lives on mission. Sharing our lives, building relationships and hopefully building bridges back to the local church.  We love to “fish” and want to share this same conviction and passion with our children.

Living on mission is something we are VERY passionate about, but how would homeschooling allow us to live out this conviction? In the beginning, I had a hard time reconciling how we could effectively live on mission if we were not allowing our children to be among those who are lost and don’t know Jesus.   

Living on mission is not defined by a specific place, but rather how we live each and every moment of our lives. We live on mission with our families, our friends, at gymnastics, at baseball practice, at the gym, at the check out line, in the parking lot, taking a walk around the neighborhood just so you can meet your neighbors, being keenly aware of the lost and hurting right around you and then responding to their needs, and etc…It’s not about a specific setting like a school. It is your lifestyle! I want to teach my children to have this “other” centered lifestyle everyday regardless of where they are.  

Tim and I firmly believe and see our children as little disciples in training.  Just as an athlete trains everyday for a race, our children are also in training.  An athlete has no idea what it’s like to compete until he actually gets out there and does it.  With that being said, he doesn’t jump out onto the field without training before the big day. No, he must first spend time practicing, drilling, exercising, studying, and etc... 

My kids are learning about Jesus. They are disciples in training. They are learning “about” Jesus but they don’t “know”, “know”, “know” Him just yet. They have head knowledge about God, but haven’t yet had the heart experience. 

They need both. Without this, how can I expect them to properly take a stand against sin when it presents itself? How can I send them to a battlefield when they haven’t fully learned how to put on the full armor of God yet?  

They need to have a proper knowledge and understanding that God is who He says He is.  As they begin to experience this truth for themselves, they will learn how to recognize His voice, see Him at work around them and discover His unique plan for their lives.  When they have truly experienced this, they will have the strength and more importantly the desire, to live out their faith in a world that blatantly sets itself up against the knowledge of God.

I’m not saying they will always make the right choices. While that might be my hope, I am not that na├»ve. As I began wrestling with God through these tough questions what convicted my heart the most is the process of building. Building a strong foundation takes time and it’s hard to build when outside influences are pulling for their attention all day, every day.  

Am I sheltering? No, I don’t believe that sheltering is the answer, rather it is being cautious and cognizant of the fallen world we live in.  Matthew 10:16 says, “See I am sending you like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

I love the way Dr.Voddie Baucham articulates this thought, “Our children will engage the culture. The only question is, will they do so as lambs going off to slaughter, or will they be sheep among wolves who are wise as serpents and innocent as doves?" (Matthew 10:16)

This is not a post to convince you to homeschool, although I hope it may have encouraged those who may be considering it. If you are indeed considering it, but still scared to let go, my encouragement to you would be to visit with other homeschooling moms, sit in on their homeschooling days, and keep reading anything and everything you can about homeschooling. 

Most importantly pray! And keep praying until God gives you peace one way or another. I wouldn’t say homeschooling is for everyone, but I do believe it should be seriously considered, researched and prayed about by everyone! ; )

Whoever said walking with Jesus was dull and boring!

Loving the journey!