December 2008

tornadoIt took me forever to go to sleep last night…I had so much swirling around in my head…I couldn’t shut my brain off…church was AMAZING yesterday…how awesome it is to be in the midst of God doing amazing things through His children…! We had our annual Gift for Christ at Christmas offering yesterday…and well exceeded our goal…flew past it really! Looking at the small congregation of people that are part of this church and seeing how big their hearts for others…how trusting they are in God to provide for their needs so that they freely give to others sends me to my knees with my hands raised in praise for the awesomeness of a Mighty God!! What an honor to be a minute part of God’s plan!!
Meanwhile…in another part of my brain…
I am watching my son turn into a teenager…with the good and bad that goes with it…he’s currently being paid for a pet sitting job at our neighbors house…3 cats, a dog and a lizard…and mail…I have to make sure that I don’t do the job for him…it would be easy to say “sure hang out with your friends, I’ll let the dog in tonight…” but what am I teaching him…? And if he lets his sister help him, then I need to make sure he compensates her for her time…and make sure he understands why he should not to mention why he should NOT roll his eyes at me when I mention it! (One of the bad side effects of teenagerdom :-} )…on a side note, I am so glad that he actually decided to spend time playing basketball with his friends yesterday…he’s never been a big sportsman…and it’s great to see him play and have fun doing it…even if he’s “not very good” to quote him…I love that he is willing to try for the sake of having fun…this is a new thing for him and I’m grateful for his friends and leaders that are bringing out the adventurer in him!!
Still…as the tornado swirls about…the girls come to mind…my middle child, the natural athlete, with a competitive streak and a very hard head is really needing to learn how to be a good sport…I will say she is learning what it means to be a good teammate, and that helping others succeed for the good of the team is as important as doing well yourself…but she gets so frustrated (angry even) if she thinks she needs to win a game of front yard football and doesn’t…part of it is wanting to be better than the boys…she sees herself as really tough, and really good…and would take on Jevon Kearse and get mad if he stopped her. Mad is not quite the right word…hmm, all I can think to describe her anger is a cartoon I saw of calvin6Calvin & Hobbs, where Calvin got really frustrated and in the bubble over his head was just a great big scribble…she gets a big scribble in her head and can’t think straight or listen and always gets herself in trouble…I can SO remember being that way as a child…getting so angry that all I could see was the big scribble in my head…and all I could think that would make it go away was getting what I thought I needed…now this was short-lived…as it is in her…she’ll cool off (after having driven her parents to the point of insanity) and won’t even remember that she ever had a scribble…what? I wasn’t angry? I didn’t get mad…when? Oh, yea…that was ages ago…(10 minutes ago)…let’s make some cookies! How do we get her to control her temper so that the scribble never takes over the brain…?? I suppose being spirit controlled is what made it happen for me…so lots of prayer for her to learn to be spirit controlled…! My 4 (going on 30) year old…spends most of her time in her laboratory (bedroom) devising an evil plan to take over the hearts and minds of those in her path with cuteness…so far it’s working with most people…I have not yet succumbed to her power completely…and believe my will is stronger…but she does have a mighty arsenal at her disposal…and those victims that have already fallen are like her little minions always telling me to “give in”…”she’s not that bad”…”but she’s so cute”….NOOOO!!! I will not be shaken…she will bend to the will of her parents who know what’s best for her…which does not include candy in the bed, tv all night, or surviving on chocolate milk alone!! I will prevail!!
And then there’s the smaller thoughts in the swirling tornadic activity of my brain…the must do laundry tommorow, need to buy milk, wrap the packages, finish Christmas shopping, (do I need more gift wrap or tape?) I must clean my bathroom, mop the kitchen, don’t forget to homeschool, have you read to McKenna today? Look in that new catalog for a bible curriculum for the kids, do I really on have 11 days left til Christmas? Did they say it was gonna snow again…Don’t forget to check on so & so tommorow, is there anyone else I need to check on? Am I doing enough for others?…seems like you focus a lot on yourself Mary Bea…do I have a show tommorow night? Does JR have his bible study tommorow? I really should put a wreath on my door at least…am I really too busy to put lights outside for the kids??… Stuff like that, swirling swirling about…until I think about 2am…the swirling either died down, or I passed out from the dizziness…I’m not sure I’ll ever really be sure which it was!! (Whew, aren’t y’all glad you aren’t in my head…)

Speaking of Calvin and Hobbs…here’s a little Christmas giggle!



I got another email this morning (from The Homeschool Minute–and I’m pretty sure I signed up for it on The Old Schoolhouse website–if you’re wondering) anyhoo, I’ve finally gotten around to looking at…titled “Are We Making Progress”…With doing 3 shows since June, working on props for some of them…and the start of basketball practice…driving a pretty far distance for ballet lessons…and various other things that life throws at you…We’ve done our best to keep a steady schedule…but we are by no means perfect…Now, we have getting Christmas shopping done, and all the busy stuff that happens this time of year…so I was feeling pretty horrible about myself as a homeschooling Mom this morning…thinking I may be the worst homeschooling mom on the planet…and while I still may be the worst homeschooling mom on the planet…this email made me feel better…it’s several different commentaries answering the question “Are We Making Progress?”  If you are a homeschooling mom…and somehow happen upon this blog today…maybe it’ll help you too!

Well, it’s December now and there just seems to be an internal clock somewhere that drives homeschool moms to look at where they are with their lesson plans and bookwork with their children. 

While some of you might be tracking right along with your lessons, others might be struggling – the new has worn off, life has gotten hectic, and the bookwork has taken a backseat. 

So, what do you do? 

Well, first of all, you don’t try to “catch up” by cracking the whip and cramming in fifteen lessons a day. That will make both you and the kids crazy. (Trust me, I’ve tried it before.) 

I think you start getting back on track by asking God what He wants you to do with each day and just starting small. Stop beating yourself up and begin just putting one foot in front of the other. Your goal isn’t to finish the curriculum on time, is it? Pray about what God wants you to focus on and then just keep your eyes on Him. God can do so much to bless our humble efforts. He works with imperfect moms and imperfect kids all the time. Just follow Him and start anew. 

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Enjoy every minute, no matter where you are in the books!


The baby is really fussy. The preschooler is whiney. The kindergartner wants to do a word search with you right now. The 2nd grader wants to be timed on his math page. The 4th grader needs help with division. The 7th grader wants to compose a complaint letter and is asking for your guidance. The 10th grader is baking a new recipe and needs your help deciphering it. The one in college needs to be driven to class. And all this within a few minutes. Progress? I wish I could stop the progress some days and just go backwards a bit. Progress normally isn’t the problem, it’s our perception of progress that needs help.

The answer to the question of whether we are making progress is, yes. We are here together, we are learning together, and one day at a time – one minute at a time – we are making progress. Some days it is too slow for our liking, some days it is too fast. But in the end, what is important is that we are all together under God’s blessing and direction.
To keep our focus on what God has for us and not on what others are doing is key. To keep our eyes on what our child is doing and not on what someone else’s child is doing is key. To keep our eyes on Jesus when it is too much for us is key. Keeping our eyes on Jesus when the progress seems too slow is key.
God’s Word is the real key to peace of mind in all things:
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3
 Trusting Him,

The question that plagues modern homeschoolers, in the same way that men and women in the middle ages wondered if the world was flat, is: are we making any progress and are my kids really learning anything? I say ‘modern homeschoolers’ because I don’t think the pioneer homeschoolers asked that question.

For them, it wasn’t about whether their children knew enough, but about ‘what’ they knew. They used God’s standard in the Bible as their standard. In the last couple of decades, we’ve changed that standard.
Now the standard used is the level of academics a boy or girl should be at by age 8, 12, or 17. We look towards the “experts” who say a child should be reading chapter books by age seven, doing algebra by 9th grade, and taking Chemistry in 11th grade.
“Sez who?”
It certainly isn’t God. The truth is that some children don’t read until they’re ten, struggle to learn algebra, or never make it to Chemistry. And that’s OK!
Your children are learning! They will be well prepared for whatever it is God created them. That doesn’t give us license to blow off school; instead, it gives us grace to enjoy our children at whatever level they are.
I think it was one of the THM readers who introduced me to one of my new favorite quotes.
“Everybody is a genius. But, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein
It’s not just good. . .it’s TRUE. So believe it, and. . .
Be Real,

I’ve been so busy these last few weeks I’ve been neglecting my poor little blog…(I think I might be a better blog reader than a blog writer–but anyhoo)…I got this in my inbox today and it inspired me…so I’m sharing…

Love God With All Your Soul!

The Promised Land lay before the children of Israel, and they were armed with the presence and power of God. They received clear instructions from the Lord to not make any covenants or intermarry with the inhabitants but rather to completely destroy them and all the altars of their pagan gods (see Deuteronomy 7). God also warned that if the children of Israel failed to conquer these mighty nations, in the future the people and their false gods would be a snare to them (see Deuteronomy 7:16).

There are striking parallels between the Promised Land and the souls of people. Each has inhabitants with false ideas that must be conquered so that sin does not reign. If we fail to conquer them, they will be a snare in our lives, pulling us away from the Lord.

The battleground between God and Satan is our souls, and each wants to be in control.

The soul is composed of three elements: the mind, will, and emotions. The English word psychology, which refers to the study of the mind, will, and emotions, is derived from the Greek word psuche, which is translated as soul. In its natural state, the soul will not be subject to the will of God. However, God wants us to surrender the will to Him so that He can work in us that which is well-pleasing in His sight. (See Hebrews 13:21.)

In our souls, we “surrender ground” to Satan through bitterness, greed, lust, and other sins. These produce fears, guilt, depression, and a host of other destructive emotions. The good news is that we can have victory over these sins as we delight in God’s Word and meditate on it day and night, because the soul is “transformed by the renewing of our minds” (see Romans 12:2).

With the Holy Spirit directing our minds, we must carry out relentless campaigns in our souls. This warfare is described in II Corinthians 10:5: “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” As the truth of God’s Word fills our minds and we purpose to obey it, we will be able to bring unpredictable emotions under the control of God’s Spirit.

To love God with “all thy soul” is to build all thoughts around His Word.

When I feel my soul straying from the Lord and lose my delight in God’s Word, I can always experience a revitalization of my love for the Lord and His Word by reading the Psalms. Reading and meditating on Psalm 119 is a special source of restoration of my delight in God’s Word. Psalm 25 is another one of my favorite psalms and I often express my soul to the Lord by praying verses 1-2 back to God: “Unto thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me.”

Loving God with all of our souls means that we love His Word and delight in making it a part of the mind, will, and emotions. James instructs us to “receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21). Are we delighting our souls in the wisdom and treasures of God’s Word every day?

Through Christ our Lord,

Bill Gothard

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment” (Matthew 22:37–38).