Friday, September 29, 2006

Early fall days

The air is cool, the breeze is blowing, the sun is shininig, I am sitting out on our back porch with the computer in my lap, the boys are playing in the woods and grass behind our house, Sophie is going back and forth between me and the jogger, where she is taking her baby for a ride... does it get any better?

For a girl born and raised in Florida, "fall" is an unfamiliar concept to me. I am unaccumstomed to leaves changing, temperatures dropping, breeze blowing, the general feel of the changing of seasons. I loved Florida, the beach, wearing short sleeves all year long- but I could get used to this fall business!

Of course, winter is another story. When we lived in Kentucky a few years ago, i distinctly remember wondering when the cold would stop and I would again relish the delicious feeling of the warm sun on my skin.

But for now, we are relishing the early days of fall.

Monday, September 25, 2006

I wasn't quite ready...

Carter took his first solo (sans Daddy) shower tonight. He washed his hair, scrubbed, and rinsed. I kept peaking in, making sure everything was progressing nicely, and it was.

Josh was also in the bathroom, firmly declaring that he wasn't ready for the shower yet (he's still a little scared, and doesn't even enjoy showering with Daddy). I told him he could stick with baths until he is five. Good enough for him.

While Carter was thoroughly enjoying his shower time, I stood amazed at the goodness of God. My child, whom I earnestly hoped and prayed for and joyfully held in my arms for the first time just five short years ago, is growing up! Thank you Lord. Bless him. Save him while he is still young. Give him a hatred for sin and a love for Christ. Give us wisdom and grace and kindness as we raise him.

Carter was so thrilled with himself when he was finished! He wanted to wrap the towel around his waist like he was twenty. He came out and showed Daddy how clean he was nd proudly exclaimed, "I can take a shower all day. I can take a shower for a party."

His last comment especially blessed my heart, "Hey Mom, want to teach me how to wash the dishes?" In due time, Carter, in due time.

Our day

We started homeschooling four weeks ago today. I didn't realize it had been that long! Carter is in kindergarten, and we are starting out with Bible and Language Arts, and hope to add math next Monday.

Here's a little bit about what our day looks like right now:

Our school day starts with all three children around the table after breakfast, when we read a story from the children's Bible (I'm using Egermier's), followed by working on our memory verse. We also review the boys' Sunday School lesson (our church uses Desiring God children's curriculum and they are covering almost the same passages that we are in our children's Bible here at home).

After Bible, Sophie goes to play in her room (which she loves!), and Josh plays legos in his room or plays with Sophie in her room (which she doesn't always love.).

Carter and I hunker down with Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons for phonics/reading instruction. After we are done with our lesson (20-30 minutes), Sophie and Josh join us at the table where they color and Carter works on his handwriting lesson.

Next it's time for cleaning up/putting away, and then I'll let the children choose something to play for a few minutes. Next, we'll read together (not quite narrating yet, but we are working on this) for about 15 minutes and then get ready to go outside. I'll walk Sophie in the stroller and the boys will ride their bikes or scooters. Often, we'll visit the playground as well, where Josh is working on his swinging skills and Carter is learning the monkey bars.

By this time, the morning is gone. Some days, it feels like my mind has gone with it! We eat lunch, and I'll read out loud some more if I'm up to it.

I would really like to do some science in the form of nature studies and using some of the great books we have in our library. I'm not quite sure where the time would come from right now, though.

In the midst of the above order of events, there is a lot going on: heart training, pottying, washing hands, picking up, folding a load of clothes, changing diapers, disciplining, instructing... I have moments of real joy, when I know that this is right and I can feel the strength of the Lord. Other moments, I am full of anxiety and sometimes impatience towards my children.

Over the past four weeks, homeschooling my children has been an incredible opportunity for sanctification, showing love for Christ and my children, and of learning another way to die to myself and live for God. I have been thrilled with Carter's progress and thank God daily for his help, strength, and guidance in this endeavor.

I have so much more in my mind and heart to say, but this post is quickly becoming cumbersome to read, so I'll continue more later. And besides, Scott is almost home for his lunch break!

Friday, September 22, 2006

More love to Thee...

"More love to Thee, O Christ..." This has been the cry of my heart over the past few weeks.

One of our dearest friends and my husband's spiritual father called us last night. I picked up the phone, so we chatted for a few minutes before I got Scott. Brother Jerry, as we call him, asked me, "How's that little red head of yours?" (He knows Sophie is a little spunky.) In reply, I asked him that he would pray for me to love Christ more and to love my husband and children more.

Brother Jerry wrote my request down as we spoke and then added that in all of his years of walking with the Lord he has come to discover that we can only love others as much as we love Christ. In other words, our love for others, including our love for our husbands and children, will never exceed our love for Christ.

And so my prayer continues, that I will love Christ more and myself less. I echo the words of Elisabeth Prentiss' 19th century hymn:

More love to Thee, O Christ, more love to Thee!
Hear Thou the prayer I make on bended knee.
This is my earnest plea: More love, O Christ, to Thee;
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

Once earthly joy I craved, sought peace and rest;
Now Thee alone I seek, give what is best.
This all my prayer shall be: More love, O Christ to Thee;
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

Let sorrow do its work, come grief or pain;
Sweet are Thy messengers, sweet their refrain,
When they can sing with me: More love, O Christ, to Thee;
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

Then shall my latest breath whisper Thy praise;
This be the parting cry my heart shall raise;
This still its prayer shall be: More love, O Christ to Thee;
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Aren't you glad?

Aren't you glad that God is good and his word is true?

Aren't you glad for the promise he gives us in Romans 8:28-30:
"And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also jstified, and those whom he justified he also glorified."

My mom is going through some sigificant difficulties right now. As I was praying for her, I was reminded that there are no accidents, there is no purpose-less happening in the life of the child of God. All things work together, for our sanctification and for God's glory. And God's glory certainly shines when an unredeemed sinner's heart and life are transformed into the image of Christ.

Can you think of a difficulty you are experiencing right now that you would rather avoid? (This should not take too long- we all have such experiences.) Remember, this too is part of the all things.

As Elisabeth Elliot says, "Either we are at the mercy of chance or we are held under the everlasting arms. There are no other options."

God's word confirms over and over that the truth is yes, indeed we are held God's everlasting, loving, good and sovereign arms.

Aren't you glad?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Blog design contest

For all you fellow bloggers- Susie at Bluebird Blogs is hosting a contest for a free blog design. Check it out here.

Even if you don't win the free blog design, Blue Bird's prices are unbeatable.


Settling In

We are officially (I think) settled in- to our new apartment, our new town, our new school (Scott at least), our new job (Scott again!)... I guess our new life.

I can't go any further without stopping to thank God for his grace to us. Of all our blessings, we deserve nothing! God's grace has overwhelmed us as we have moved and 'resettled'.

Our blessings in Christ are incomparable. I've been camping out a little in Colossians- let me share with you just a little bit about this Christ:

"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
For by him all things were created, in heaven and n earth, visible and
invisible...And he is before all things, and in him all things hold
together...He i
s the beginning, he firstborn from the dead, that in everything
he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to
dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or
in heaven, making peace by the blood of his whom are hidden all the
treasures of wisdom and knowledge." (1:15-20; 2:3)

Our greatest blessings are spritual, and are not contingent on what God does for us as much as who he is for us.

I want to be clear that we are thankful for all God has done for us. But I also want to be clear that God is always good, and everything he does is good and right, even when (and sometimes especially when) our plans do not 'work out'.

We have walked through days (and I know such days are also in our future) when we did not understand what God was doing. We have not always seen him work out circumstances in the way that we have hoped and prayed. But his grace was there in the dark times, as well as his presence and his love. How great is our God.