Saturday, October 27, 2012

Organizing the Path...

Upon seeing  the Trail Guide to Learning series and hearing about its unique set up, I knew this would be a great fit for my youngest.  I received my lovely shipment of materials in the spring and couldn't wait to get started!

Over the summer, I spent a day printing out all of the pages for the first semester and organizing them by weeks of the school year. 
                           These weekly folders are stored in the container below

I printed out the first semester, sorted it by week, then by day and then labeled each day's work with a post-it note.  

 I'm SO glad I did this!  

Once we started our school year, I only have to move that week's pages into daily work folders and I'm ready for the week!

                        (my version of workboxes since I don't have room for actual workboxes)

This has been an awesome way for me to cut down on my prep time and I'm so glad I spent some time up front to organize each week's pages.  Of course, I can't take all of the credit!  Paths of Exploration is well-organized and is very user-friendly.  Taking some time in the beginning, though, to familiarize myself with the curriculum and the general flow has paid off tremendously!

Because of this, I was able to prep the games for each unit so I wouldn't be left scrambling the week of or the day when needed.  My Sunday's are not filled with printing off worksheet pages or cutting out bingo pieces because the prep was done during the summer. 

 I highly recommend doing this upfront prepping if you attempt Paths of Exploration.  Not that going week by week would be laborious since I know several bloggers who function successfully in this manner.  For me, I find my Sundays fill up with last minute dinner plans with friends and our church activities, so it has worked to take the stress off by prepping prior to the school year.  Prepping before each unit, could be another way to do the upfront prepping without attempting to concur an entire semester.

Geography Matters' Trail Guide to Learning series has taken the time to put together a well thought-out curriculum that flows together nicely.  I'm so grateful this curriculum is organized so well that I'm able to organize how best it works for me and my family!  I cannot say this for many other curriculums I've tried.  Some seem to leave both the parent and chil suspended from day to day or week to week, tied up in a knot of instructions.  Not so with Paths of Exploration!  I have the freedom to prep as much or as little or as often or infrequently as I want and still arrive at a successful outcome!

Stay tuned for my next post on how our first unit went!

*Disclaimer: I receive a discount on the complete package in exchange for an honest, unbiased opinion on this curriculum.

Friday, October 26, 2012

On being still and knowing He is God...

My Pastor put put a challenge to our church last week to take 5 minutes a day to be still before God and just focus and meditate on Him.  This isn't the first time I've tried this but it had been awhile so I was looking forward to some quiet, concentrated focus on Him.

Here's what I've learned so far:

1) 5 minutes is MUCH longer than it sounds.

2) Despite my overall disposition of being a somewhat focused person,  I am amazed at how distracted I really can be.  For it is the forced quiet moments that reveal how much my mind shifts focus on the multitude of activity that typically surrounds me.

3) I do not believe it is accidental or just for poetic purposes that God states, "Be still and know that I am God."

4) Undivided attention is not only a discipline but a lost one in our fast-paced society.

5) In those moments when my mind quiets and my focus is on Him, I am in awe of what He has done for me.

6) In those same moments, I recognize just how unworthy I am of any kind of relationship with Him.  My pride, my selfishness, My ugliness, my imperfection, my sin. All of it makes me so unclean.

7) Despite my sin and ugliness, there is hope.  By grace, I have been given a gift of a relationship with Him, even though I don't deserve it.

8) God's ways are so, so very different from my own... and I'm so happy about that!  It's hard not to exercise my ideas and my will but when I lay those before Him, He has a far better plan than I could have come up with.

9) To be still is counterintuitive to what the world's mantra is... "Go! Go! Go!". To step off the wheel and out of the rat race is not what the world wants.  To say no to the next activity -no matter how great and worthy it is- goes against our culture's belief. We fill our "free time" with all that we can.  Why?

10) I have discovered I have a long way to go in developing this spiritual discipline of being still and meditating on Him.  Yet, despite my amateur beginnings, I am grateful for these first wobbly steps in re-acquainting myself with this practice.

 I want to make this a lifestyle that leaves enough space for intentional stillness to remember that He is God, instead of the quick whispers of "He is in control" that I tell myself as I rush from commitment to another commitment. This isn't an easy discipline - this being still before the Creator of all. It's hard. But anything worth doing usually is.

Won't you join me in setting aside 5 minutes a day to clear your mind of all that consumes it and turn your eyes to the One who can calm any storm and bring peace to any overscheduled and busy day??

Let me know how it goes!

Thursday, October 11, 2012


All of my life I was taught that all a man had in this world was his reputation, so I needed to guard and protect mine.  In times of attack, it was my job to defend it and make known the truth in a situation.  My reputation, so I was told, was the only thing I really "owned" in this world.

As it turns out, though, that's not really true.  A reputation is something others create FOR you; not something you create for yourself, necessarily.  Sometimes our actions contribute to a reputation but, I would argue, most of the time, our reputation is created by the talk of others.  Whether the words spoken are true or not.

What I've learned is that people are going to talk.  In spite of what I do or my intentions. There is not one thing I can do about that.  There's not a single action I can take to prevent, convince or otherwise, stop, someone from thinking poorly or speaking poorly about me (of course, there is one thing - NOT give them a reason to do so).  If my conduct has been appropriate and someone is still wanting to openly discuss me in a negative light to others... there isn't one darn-tootin' thing I can do about that.  Sure, my reputation may be tainted by this; yep, others may thing less of me, however, that is out of my hands.  I can't control what other says or think.  More importantly, my reputation isn't worth defending.

Over the past two years, God has opened my eyes to this  false belief that I held as truth for so long.  He has shown me time and again that it is not MY reputation that I am called to defend; it is HIS.  I have had my share of stings come from the false talk and accusations of others - drawing my reputation in a particular situation into question.  It would hurt.  It would upset me.  It would make my blood boil, at times.  And if I'm honest... I still have those reactions today, although, they are short-lived and given over to prayer more readily than in years past.  Time and again, God keeps telling me my reputation is not worth defending.  To take up offense on behalf of myself is actually quite conceded.  Unless the reputation of Jesus is at stake, my reputation is not enough to warrant defense.  It is not enough to climb into the ring with someone who is slinging mud and try to convince them that I am more than what they say I am.

And there is the truth...  WHY?  Why do I feel the need to try to convince someone that I am different than what they claim??  I think in part because I was programmed to "defend my reputation" but I also think it stems from the need to please and be accepted.  God has been working on this area of my life too.  A LOT.

In times of conflict, in the past, I've had this impulsive need to correct the untruth about me but now, I hand it over to God. And you know what??  He takes care of it... EVERY. TIME.  HE defends and protects me.  NOT me.  He reveals the truth about my character and heart in HIS timing, NOT mine.  He comforts and protects me from the slings and arrows of others' words.  I don't try to do this myself anymore. As unnatural as it feels, I'm learning to run to the Lord in times like these and let Him dry my tears and extend forgiveness, even if ever so quietly in my heart, more easily. Without Him, I am an emotional wreak, seeking to lift up my reputation to the point of an idol. With Him, I submit to His will and His way which is far different than mine.

In the end, it is not our reputation that we "own" but it is our reputation that will "own" us if we believe it is our job to defend it.  In the end, I stand behind my God, while slings and arrows that this world throws, fly all around me.  Instead of picking up my bow and arrow, I step into the shadow of  the One who promises protection and who took all the pain and suffering that I should have bore as His own.  He stood in on my behalf once and He continues to do so all the days of my life.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Overlooking offenses...

This concept and I.  We keep crossing paths.  I feel like in some ways it could well become the theme of my life over the past two years.   And please...  Don't read that as "I've got it all together and have this idea of overlooking offenses down pat."  Hardly.

Yet, in these past two years, God has chosen, again and again, to put this concept in front of me. Clearly, this is a concept I need to learn.  It's not something that comes naturally, in all honesty, to humans, though.  We live in a society that encourages and puffs up the idea that we should be offended at EVERYTHING.  And if we don't have a current offense to brew over, we should take up our friend's offense.  You know, become outraged on THEIR behalf.  Our world is quick to offend and slow to forgive.  

That is not how I want to be.

That is not what I was called to be.

God's plan for us believers is to live together in unity; sharing each other's burdens as well as joys; learning from one another; being vulnerable and transparent and being willing to be held accountable to each other and with each other; and overlooking offenses.

After having tasted the sweet, healing of forgiveness how can we not extend that very same forgiveness to others?  God didn't withhold Jesus' sacrifice on the cross for only those who ALREADY had their act together.  No! "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us".    And praise God for that, right?  Yet, we tend to look at each other and demand a certain level of behavior; a 'jump-through-my-hoops' kind of expectation before we are willing to extend forgiveness. Yet, that's not forgiveness.

 God wants us to give  TRUE forgiveness.  The kind that can joyfully, humbly pray for the person who hurt you.  The kind that can mourn when the offender mourns and be joyful when they are.  The kind that keeps no record of wrongs.  THAT kind of forgiveness.

For us humans, overlooking an offense, extending forgiveness... the kind that God speaks of and shows time and again to us... That is so, so foreign to us.  It's usually the LAST thing we want to do.  It's much easier for us to dip our toes (sometimes our whole body) into the pools of sin by gossiping; harboring resentment and anger; allowing a root of bitterness grow in our heart; wishing ill-will to our offender.  And this breaks my heart.  Why, oh why do we default to our sinful natures when we have been made new in Him??

Thank God, though, He forgives us, anyway.

Offenses come in all shapes and sizes.. and with all sorts of intents.  Some offenses are unintentional and some carry a malicious overtone that can't be ignored.  So often, though, I see fellow believers in Christ taking up offense over things that, in the end, really don't matter.  They are easily overlooked.  She didn't say 'hi' to me today; His tone was down and negative when he should have been friendly; She gave me an instruction I didn't like; He spoke directly and bluntly to me; She took the last book that I had wanted..



Unnecessary, in the end.

God has called us to seek to understand first and be slow to anger.  Through Christ's sacrifice, we are called to forgive as He forgave us.... and we are to do it over.. and over... and over... again.  70x7.

Overlooking an offense, I'm convinced, cannot be done in MY own power.  It must be through the Holy Spirit working in my life.  It is when I obey the commands of scripture and the tugging in my heart, then I let God work through me as well as let Him mold me.  He is the potter, I am the clay.  I must remember this.

For it is not in my own power that I can overlook an offense and rid my heart of the unfairness of a situation and the hurt; it is only through Him that He can accomplish that through me.  

Over the past two years, and specifically the past few weeks, it is when I have let go and let God work, that I am freed from the bondage of being offended.  It is then that I can let Him purge my heart of the hurt and frustration of a situation and let Him mold me into the person He wants me to be.  

When I submit to Him, I become so free and so joyful, even in the midst of conflict, because only then can He be glorified in my life and through any situation.

I would encourage you.. if you have been offended (I'm not talking physical, sexual or verbal abuse), seek God's help to overlook it.  Seek His wisdom.  Extend true forgiveness and let God do some amazing work in your life.

Here's a great post about overlooking an offense that I read this week -

Saturday, August 11, 2012

2012-2013 Curriculum plans for 8th grade

I still can't believe that our high school years, once so far off, are just around the corner now.  With Josh being in 8th grade, I feel the need to up our game play a bit in preparation for not only high school and college but the "real world".

Here is what I have on tap for this school year.  Things may change once we get into our routine but, for now, this is the plan.


Curriculum spine:

 Mystery of History, Vol. II
Josh completed Vol. 1 for 7th grade and we enjoyed it so much that we will keep this as our primary focus and build around it (similar to what Paths of Exploration does).

Before we begin that, though, we will be exploring WWI, WWII and possibly the Cold War era, via unit studies that I'm piecing together through some wonderful resources online.  My son has BEGGED me to learn about these two wars for several months now.  I minored in History in college (actually I'm a semester away from a second degree in it), so I'm linear and chronological when it comes to tackling history.  Because it tells a story (and you can't put the cart before the horse), I don't like to jump around too much nor do I like to skip ahead.

I've had to get over this, though.  Paths of Exploration for my 5th grader, is not chronological and it just seems silly to stomp out the love of learning about the World Wars in my eldest while we WAIT to get to that part of History (we are just beginning the Middle Ages this year, remember; He'd have awhile to wait!). So, I bring in the lovely beauty of unit studies and delight-directed learning!  He's so excited to begin the school year learning about something that he really desires to understand more... and I'm excited that he's excited!

Math: Undecided.  We will begin with refreshers in fractions with Keys to Fractions, however, after that...  I'm looking at Teaching Textbooks - Pre-Algebra or PLATO pre-algebra course.


 Both boys will be working together through a new curriculum from LearnChrist called "The Disciple curriculum".  Learn more about it here.

To help gain a better knowledge of the books of the Bible, Josh will also be reading "The Barebones Bible Handbook for Teens: Getting to Know Every Book of the Bible"

For his personal quiet time, Josh will be continuing his work through this highly recommended study. It is curriculum from Positive Action and you can learn more about it here

Language Arts:
We are switching gears this year from Shurley English to some other resources that will better fit our family, I believe.
For an well-structured writing program, we've chosen WriteShop I.  For formal grammar, we are switching over to Easy Grammar.  It's the same material as Shurley English but presented in a less convoluted manner, I feel.  Then, we are adding a gem that I found over at Rainbow Resource - Daybook of Critical Reading and Writing!  Once I got this in my hand, I KNEW this was an excellent resource!  Short, daily assignments in learning to critically read,write and think.

Both of my boys will work through English from the Roots Up together as well as well as be required to produce monthly research reports, write their own poem and short story.  My eldest will be working through The Grammar of Poetry one day per week. This will be an exciting course!

My 8th grader is a VORACIOUS reader, so to keep him challenged as well as tie his literary devourings to History, I've come up with a list of History readers he'll be working through this year. This is large but completely within his capabilities.  If he doesn't finish one or two, I'm fine with it but I must be prepared for his need to read!

* The Eagle of the Ninth (he can read the rest of the trilogy in his free time)
* Attila the Hun - A Wicked History book
* Black Horses for the King
* Beowulf
* Son of Charlemagne
* The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow
* A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver
 * King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table
* Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
* If All the Swords in England
* Robin Hood
* St. George and the Dragon
* Canterbury Tales
* A Single Shard
* Joan of Arc
* Otto of the Silverhand
* Castle
* The Great and Terrible Quest

In addition to this list of historical fiction, he'll add these to his literature line-up:

Science: First semester - Forensic Science.  We will be using a variety of resources for this that I've pieced together.  Detective Science book, Crime Scene Investigation kit from HomeScience Tools, and a unit study from CurrClick will be our materials.  Several years ago, my son read the entire Sherlock Holmes series for fun.  Like his mother, he has an interest in crime sleuthing and so we'll chase this interest during the first semester.  Consider it "Career exploring"!

Second Semester - Botany (along with my 5th grader).  Typically, 8th graders are knee-deep in a General Science, Physical Science, or Biology course at this point but I wanted to incorporate some interest-led learning here.  This is our last year to homeschool before all of it "counts" (In California, you don't have to record anything you do for school until High School).  So, I figure, we have 4 years to cover Biology, Chemistry, General Science and the like.  California only requires two years of Science but we'll do it all 4 years of High School, so that gives us the opportunity to explore now!


* The Art of Argument - We'll be working through this with a group of friends in our home each week.  I'm excited for this topic and group of kids!

* Piano lessons - we are still considering whether we will include this again this year or not.

* Various unit studies throughout the year

* Homeschool Computer Programming course that the boys will work through with their Dad

*Art - We are fortunate enough to have an artist in our family, so "Nana" leads the boys through various art lessons one time per week.

That's how our 8th grade year is shaping up around here!  Join me at the Not-Back-To-School Blog hop with!

Friday, August 10, 2012

2012-2013 Curriculum plans for 5th grade

We are entering into our 5th year of homeschooling and I can't believe it!  What once was never, ever on our radar has become a fixture in our life.  My husband, ever-so supportive, has been a huge cheerleader and champion of our homeschooling journey, despite being the biggest skeptic of them all in the beginning!

Hearts have been changed (praise God), knuckles have re-gained their pinkish color and no longer white, and relationships have been strengthened.  With each passing year, God reminds us that our job isn't academic so much as spiritual.  This is not to say we don't have high goals in the area of academics but they are not the end result that we are focused on when we wrap up our homeschooling journey!

Curriculum choosing and lesson planning always bring a mixture of excitement and information overload for me!  This year was no different but we've settled on our plan for this upcoming school year.

5th Grade

Curriculum spine:  Trail Guide to Learning's Path of Exploration complete curriculum -

We are very excited to be using this curriculum this year!  Having flipped through the lesson plans, we can't wait to get started!  Check back for more posts, updating as we go along and move into the curriculum!

 (please note: the supplemental items below are of MY choosing; not because I felt POE was lacking but because they meet the needs of my own child and our schedule best).

Math:  Math Mammoth  -
Easy. Well-laid out. Helpful to both parents and students!

Learn Christ curriculum.   After attending our state homeschool conference and listening to the creators of this curriculum, I knew I had to implement this!

We are also still working through this curriculum from last year - a chronological study of the books and people of the Bible.  If it is too much, we will put this on the backburner to work on Learn Christ curriculum first.

Science supplements: 
Truth in Science -
We'll be finishing up this curriculum from last year as we work through the nature studies POE provides.  I highly recommend this little known, excellent curriculum!

The Story Book of Science read-aloud  -

Additional Language Arts resources:

Just Write workbooks to introduce the formal writing process in bite sized chunks.   We will be working through Books 1 and 2 this school year.

English from the Roots Up is something we started a few years ago and let fall due to illness, crazy schedule.. well, just life!  The boys enjoyed it and retained the roots well and because I'll have an 8th grader this year, I knew I needed to insert this gem back into our school days.

Thanks to  Cynce's Place - - all the planning and prep has been done for me!  I printed out her schedule, tests and games and we are ready to go!

We are BIG readers around here! My 5th grader... not as much, so I want to add some fun tales to peak his interest more.  In addition to the wonderful historical fiction my 5th grader will be reading through POE, I'll be adding these classics to the line-up:

We'll be doing some delight-directed unit studies here and there throughout the year as well but this is it in a nutshell!  As always, things can change as we get into the meat of this plan!

Stay tuned for my post on our curriculum plan for our 8th grader!

Join me in seeing what others are doing for their curriculum this year over at

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Where the intolerance lies...

I'm sorry.  I can't do it.  I've zipped my lips, bit my tongue and buttoned up for far too long but all of this bruhaha... well, I find I can no longer keep silent.

Here are the facts as I've read them:

* Chic fil a donates money to various organizations that promote the Biblical definition of marriage (one man, one woman for life)

* Dan Cathy, upon being asked by a Christian reporter his views of marriage, states plainly that he believes in the "biblical definition of marriage".  He further states that he feels that society should be careful in trying to redefine marriage in a differing way then God, implying that we know better than He does.

* Various LGBT groups call for a boycott of Chic fil a upon the discovery of donations being made to support the definition of Biblical marriage

* Several actors and politicians proclaim their disdain for Chic fil a and vow to not eat nor allow them into their cities (which the latter is illegal, discriminatory and INTOLERANT)

* Mike Huckabee calls for an appreciation day on August 1st to support Chic fil a for all those who support Dan Cathy and his bravery in speaking openly about his opinion.  For those who believe that marriage, as Christ proclaimed it, a religious ceremony between one man and one woman, a call to show our thanks and support and counteract any negative boycott affects

* LGBT groups called for "infiltration" of Chic fil a to "make them (LGBT) hangouts"; protest outside their buildings; become a nuisance to Chic fil a until they stop giving money to opposing organizations.  Further, they've called for the LGBT community to stage a "Kiss in" on Friday (tomorrow), calling for kissing and making out in and outside Chic fil a establishments, as a way to counteract Wednesday's "Appreciation Day"

Here are my thoughts:

1)  Believing that marriage should be only between a man and a woman DOES NOT CONSTITUTE HATRED OR BIGOTRY!!!  Just because I  hold a differing opinion, does NOT mean that I am a "hater".  Nor does it mean I'm ignorant, bigoted, or any other name you want to call me.  It simply means that I hold a DIFFERING OPINION from you.

I found Dan Cathy's statement to be respectful and positive.  Not once did he say anything that was "anti-gay".  Only the LGBT community labeled it so -
 "Anti-gay philosophy"?  Try - an opinion that doesn't agree with yours.  Or, Pro-traditional family?  It's all on how you spin it.  He believes marriage is not for anyone other than one man and one woman.

2)  I, as the consumer, do not get to dictate how a company chooses to donate or use their money, once I've handed it over to them.  Period.  The only thing I can control is if I give it to them in the first place.  So, if you don't like where they use their money on the back-end, don't give your money to them on the front end.  Simple as that.  You don't get to bully, boycott or otherwise, tantrum for how they designate their money AFTER you've handed it over.  Period.
Yet, the LGBT community can "give thanks" to those who support their cause without expecting any sort of incident.  Notice the last line of the first paragraph - " an effort to give thanks to Starbucks for supporting marriage equality".  So, it's fine for  the LGBT community to stage Appreciation days, just not others.  Got it.

3) The maturity that has been displayed in this sandbox tantrum is truly eye-opening.  Much like dealing with a tantruming toddler who isn't getting their way, so acts those who would try to protest an "Appreciation day".   Come on.  Really?!  This Chic fil a employee below had more tact and respect and TOLERANCE than this guy had in his little pinky.  Grow up.  The biggest sign of immaturity is not being able to cope with a differing opinion.

UPDATE: This person was fired from his job yesterday for his poor behavior in this video.

4) Amazon donated $2.5 million dollars last week to help pass the same sex marriage law in Washington state.

Where are the "haters" and "intolerant", right-winged bigots?  Where are the protest signs?  Where is the boycott of Amazon?  Where is the Twitter and Facebook comments calling for the pressure to be put on Amazon (or Starbucks or Microsoft... to name a few) until they change their stance?

I guess there wasn't a huge bruhaha made because people with DIFFERING OPINIONS than Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates believe in the 1st amendent still and, disagree as we may, still have the right to hold an opinion that differs from mine.  And I don't have to launch a protest or boycott to make that known.

I'm getting pretty sick and tired of hearing those in support of same-sex marriage call me and fellow traditional marriage opinion holders "bigots", "ignorant", "haters" and... wait for it... "intolerant".  Really?  Shall we review the definition of "intolerant" because I'm seeing a whole lot of it against those who happen to believe the Biblical definition of marriage.  I'm seeing a whole lot of intolerance launched at Chic fil a, NOT because he made a negative comment against the LGBT community, (in fact, he never speaks of any group, organization or lifestyle),but that he stated his opinion, like mine, is that marriage, defined by God, is between a man and a woman.  THAT'S NOT HATE.  That's a DIFFERING OPINION.

I don't jump down your throat when you express your thoughts on same-sex marriage.  Nor do I look at you as though you've grown a third eye.  I don't shun you and I certainly don't call you names.  I happen to hold a differing opinion than yours.  Civilly.  Respectfully.  Humbly.  Many who've known me for years know that I rarely speak about political and cultural issues (unless you count pop culture, then I speak about that).

I simply believe that marriage is sacred.  Sure, I agree with those who scoff at this.  Has marriage been made a mockery over the past decades?  Yep.  By Christians and non-Christians alike?  Yep.  Yet, that doesn't change the position of marriage just because broken humans messed it up.  To God, it is still sacred.

Jesus described marriage between a man and woman as His relationship to the church.  It is a sacred unification. For those who take God's word and try to apply it to their life, it is very, very serious.
Just as a Ramadan is a sacred ceremony and tradition for the Muslim community, so too is (or should be for those entering it) marriage for a Christian couple.

Let's face reality... the rite of marriage is exclusionary. It always has been.  Laws prevent more than one person from being married to others at the same time.  Exclusion.  Laws further exclude marriage of certain ages, between certain ages.  Exclusion, right there. What about family members?  There are laws forbidding siblings, 1st cousins, etc. from entering into marriage as well.   It is because marriage was designed to be between ONE man and ONE woman. And if we add on a zinger that might make some squirm - marriage between that one woman and man is supposed to be FOR LIFE.  Those are Jesus' words.   That is not my rule. It's God's.  He set it up that way.

So, where are the Polygamists trampling down the door for equality in marriage??  Where are the old men wanting to marry that 13 year old??  Where are the two 12 year olds who are convinced they have found their soul mate??  They have been excluded from the ceremony of marriage also.  It is because marriage was created and set up with clear boundaries (found all throughout the Bible).  (I'm NOT talking a civil union, recognized by the state here either.  I'm talking about the sacred act of marriage). Because some don't agree with those boundaries, we then must do away with them.  I suppose because one community doesn't have a sacred tradition, none of us can.  I suppose to hold a differing opinion nowadays is considered hatred.  To hold to a belief that one believes to be true is cause for name calling, and a whole bunch of label slapping.   So, I hold a differing opinion than you.  Does that actually make me a "hater"?  Or intolerant?  Or a bigot?  Because I disagree with you?  That's sad.   And intolerant.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I made it...

Yes, sirree!  I survived a week without the boys.  Sure, I missed them. I wondered what they were doing, how they were behaving, what they were learning.  I even hoped they were having fun!  Knowing they were in capable hands, I enjoyed my time to refresh and clear my brain!  Sadly, I had two (yes, two!) dental appointments that week but all in all, a great week!

The boys came home a little sun-burned (ok, one, a lot burned) and bubbling over with stories and funny happenings to tell.  They deepened friendships, developed new ones and added a new layer of spiritual maturity to their demeanor.  The Biblical truths each walked away from camp with were awesome.

I missed my boys but enjoyed time with my beloved, time to myself and time to catch up!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

lessons in letting go...

Both of my boys left for church camp today.  BOTH of them.
                               (why, yes, my son does have blue hair.  Team spirit!)

 Josh, my oldest, is a pro at this week-long camp thing.  Between his stint in scouts and other church camps, this is not his first time away.  Jake, however, has never been away to camp.  He is a ball of nervousness and excitement!

       (my oldest is a MUCH happier person than it looks; just not when a camera is around)

While I have my fleeting mom moments of worry, I couldn't be happier for both of my boys to experience this time with God, time with great friends and great leaders/friends in our church. I hand them over to people I trust and who love my children and care about them... as a family should.  In reality, though, I hand them over into God's hands.  He will protect, lead and stretch all of us this week.   I am excited for them for I wait expectantly to see how God will use this week.

            Josh and one of the leaders, an amazing woman of God, teasing him!  Love it!

                                              Our awesome youth pastor!  He rocks!

          Jake, his friends, and the great camp counselors from our church!  Great group of people!

My prayer for both boys is for friendships as deep as David and Jonathan forming on this trip.

I pray for  faith as solid and un-moving as Peter and Paul's.  I pray for the godly examples that are the adults that have sacrificed their time to help my children know Him better. I know my life was forever changed by a persistent youth pastor and his wife.  I pray that they return home with a renewed heart that responds "I am here" as Samuel did. Mostly, though, that they would unashamedly bow before the One who formed them and saved them and that, whether all or none go with them, they'd desire to go it alone, anyway.

I am confident that they will both have a memorable time and I hope, life-changing.

Yet, this mama, through these little experiences like this, is learning to let go.  I'll be honest.. it's sad and a little painful.. similar to lifting a band-aid off skin very slowly.  It is easy to forget in their little years that our purpose as parents is to train them to leave us, to "Go into the world...".  The world says our goal is to raise them to be successful but God says our goal is to teach them to be followers and fishers of men.  The success part, I'll leave that to God to handle.

So while it stings a little, I must remember that the boys are not truly mine.  They don't truly belong to me.  They belong to Him.  I could snatch them out of His hands and bubble wrap them and never let them out of my sight or experience life but I know I would only accomplish stunting and debilitating them. Trust me, I've tried this a few times.  Major parenting fail here.  Don't try this approach!  Besides, a mother's heart isn't to hurt or hinder her children but we must be careful our parenting tactics don't do that very thing.  I know my heart is not to handicap my boys from the life they were called to live... I want to help them achieve it.  And that begins... by letting go.

In all truth, though, my mom heart aches.. not to keep them home with me (ok, maybe a little) but to slow down my time with them! It is speeding by so fast.  It seems like just yesterday I was teaching Jake to talk and helping him walk and now, he walks out the door, away from me and Chris, on his own.

 And this is a great thing.  It really it is.  Josh has these deep thoughts and opinions that he came up with ALL ON HIS OWN!  When did that happen?!  :)

 So, while I stay behind and fill my days with overdo tasks and some overdue rest and relaxation, I know confidently that when I let go and let God take over, amazing things are going to happen!  My prayer is that my boys will be forever changed this week as they meet Him in a new environment and in new ways!
                                    First time at camp; last one to leave!  Love, love my boys!