This is my second year homeschooling. And although we are only two days into the new school year I am having a ton of flash backs from last year. A lot of “Oh yeah- forgot about that.” When I first planned on homeschooling last year I had this wonderful Pinterest-like image in my head of how it would go. I have only ever homeschooled with toddlers in the house so maybe, just maybe, that Pinterest-like idea of a homeschooling home actually exists. But for the next couple of years I understand and am okay with the fact that homeschooling is…well…not picture perfect. …
Growing up I had a small group of friends that I did everything with. We spent many summer days playing softball, football, kickball, capture the flag, etc. One summer we tried to make our own little street hockey team. We had everything we needed but one thing stopped us: no one wanted to play goalie. It’s not exactly fun to have the ball hit at you over and over again. It’s the hardest position to play in any sport (in my opinion).
Only 364 days to Valentine’s Day! Yesterday I saw so many posts about not celebrating Valentine’s based on the idea that we shouldn’t reserve one day to show our spouse we care, but rather show them love the whole year long. That’s fine. It doesn’t bother me one bit if people choose to not celebrate Valentine’s Day. But I did wonder what those couples did all year long to celebrate their love for each other. Do they truly make an effort to show each other they care all year long? With most the couples, I don’t doubt at all that they make that effort. But what can I do? …
The Isrealites have been numbered “according to the word of the Lord.” They have set up the tabernacle exactly as the Lord commanded. They then bring their offerings and sacrifices to the Lord. After all this is completed Moses enters the tabernacle specifically to speak to the Lord. And what happens? Moses hears the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat. (Numbers 7).
When was the last time you heard the voice the of the Lord speaking to you? When was the last time you specifically went to the Lord to hear from Him? I noticed Moses first followed God’s commands. He numbered the people and set up princes among tribes. He followed God’s plan to make the tabernacle. Then after the sacrifices were given he went into the tabernacle to speak with the Lord. Before we go to the Lord we must make sure we are right with the Lord. If we are not right with the Lord our prayers WILL BE HINDERED.
Then when he was right with the Lord Moses went into the tabernacle. I view this as sort of a prayer closet or war room. Take the time to go to the Lord. A time free of distractions. A time for the Lord.
Then hear the voice of One speaking. Hear from the Lord today.
I could feel his pain. I had been there. Not literally, but on more than one occasion I can remember feeling his sadness, his pain. There he stood, with his face in his hands. Warm tears were escaping his grasp and rolling down his fingers. His hard cry just about broke my heart. I stopped everything and just held him. Sometimes you just have to cry. And there, as William stood over his broken lollipop that he had been so proud of just moments before, he needed to just cry.
As we cleaned up the broken lollipop (which was a giant swirly one, I might add) we talked about it and how we can make him feel better. He looked at me and said, “I know, Mom. We can just find a recipe and make a new one.” I felt so proud of him in that moment. I love making things and I love that his first thought was to make one instead of buy one. We browsed several recipes and techniques and sort of combined some ideas. The original recipe we found here. I am a big fan of these for a couple reasons:
1. They are easy. Seriously…easy. From start to finish they took about a half hour and that is WITH the help of two kids.
2. Speaking of my two kids, I loved this recipe because they could help make it. They did some pouring, some mixing, some laying (the sticks in place). There are a lot of things the kids can do in this recipe to really feel like they made it.
3. All the ingredients were already in my cupboard. We found a lot of great recipes we can’t wait to try. But we can’t try them until we get to the store to get some more ingredients. I love when we can do things spontaneously with whatever we have in the cupboards. Okay, I won’t put it off any longer (I hate when people do that). Here is the recipe for:
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup butter
1 (3 oz) box of Jell-O, any flavor
Lollipop Sticks (we used straws because that’s what I had on hand!)
Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Combine sugar, corn syrup and butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly. Bring to a boil. Boil for 7 minutes. Add Jell-O. Stir until smooth.
Spoon the candy mixture into small piles on the parchment paper. Lay the straw on the candy as you pour it. It cools quickly. If it cools before you finish just put it back on the stove for a few minutes to soften it. Let cool (about 5 minutes). Enjoy!
We are home from our travels! Thanks to all of you who kept checking in here for new posts. I am sorry they weren’t happening! I really thought I would have more time. The Lord put a lot of things on my heart in the past weeks, though, that I hope to share with all of you as time goes by.
I am so glad to have visited with so many of you during my trip to the States. I know I would have loved to see so many more of you but I understand it just couldn’t happen this time. Thankyou to those of you who traveled so far to come see my family. I know many of you sacrificed time (and gas money!) and I really appreciate it.
Before I start unpacking all our stuff and begin the never ending pile of laundry that needs washed I want to share a funny little story with you. I was driving to breakfast one morning and after I had been in the car for a few minutes I noticed a fly flying around the front. Every couple minutes he would make a mad dash for the window (which was closed) and then go back into hiding for a little while. By the third time this happened I thought, ‘Hey, I will give this guy a break and just open the window for him.’ So now my window is open and he is no where to be seen. As soon as I close it guess who comes to smash his face on the glass? That fly is back at it. I think we went through this process 3 or 4 times before I got to where I was going.
When I got out of the car I left the window open for the fly because I didn’t really want to deal with him all the way home, too. I came back after an hour or so, rolled up the window and went on my way. Within a few minutes here is this fly ready to get beat up again. Why did he not take any of the many opportunities to fly away! He was free! He could have been at peace flying around in the manure filled air (got to love Lancaster County)!
But this fly isn’t much different than me sometimes. Before I was saved I was a slave to sin. I served the devil and was in bondage. But when I got saved the Lord set me free from that bondage. I have a choice and the Lord offers strength and help to make the right choices. Yet I act like I am still bound to these sins as if I have no choice but to sin. I am free from sin! That fly in the car was free to go but he acted as if he was still in bondage. The end of Galatians 5:1 says to not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage. You have been set free. Why act as if you are still bound to sin? Why go back to that life of serving self?
I am sitting in my dining room enjoying the smell of a freshly cleaned floor. Lemony freshness. After weeks of needing a good scrub down I finally made time for it today and got it done. I am so glad I did. It wasn’t easy, though. I started around 9 AM in the kitchen and dining room. I moved everything out of there then swept, used the swiffer duster, then got on my hands and knees (reminds me of college!) and started scrubbing the floor with my hot, soapy rag. Kids came in and out to help. They’d stay for a little while then they’d get bored and go play again.
By 10:15 I was done the kitchen and dining room so we took a break and went to the park, came back for lunch then the kids were off to bed for their naps. I got right to it and repeated the same process in the living room. All the furniture was pulled out. I swept, swiffered, then mopped. As I mopped I noticed marks on the walls so I’d give them a quick wipe and continue on with the floor. Finally, at 2 PM I am done. That was hard work and it took all day. I used to do this every week. When I did it that way it only took an hour or so to do all the rooms. As I was doing this I started to think how this day can be applied to my life spiritually.
Our hearts, like my floor, need a good scrub down every now and then. “Create in me a clean heart, O God…” (Psalm 51:10) This takes work. There is no quick fix. I am not speaking of our salvation, that is a gift from God and only requires us to accept the gift. I am speaking to the Christian who is not right with God. The Christian who has things in his/her life that do not honor the Lord. It takes time to clean up that heart. Don’t lose hope just because you aren’t seeing results as quickly as you’d like to see them.
There may be others who seem on fire for the Lord, like my little ones who were so excited to come in and help me mop. But they quickly lost interest and went on to do something more interesting. We can’t let those around us affect how we serve the Lord. Man will always fail us. We need to continue on even if no one wants to join us.
Sometimes while we are focusing on the area in our lives that the Lord wants us to change He will allow us to see another “spot on the wall” that needs some fixing. Work on it and continue on. Don’t get sidetracked from the ultimate goal of having a clean heart before God.
This needs to be done often. As sinners, we cannot expect our hearts to stay clean without continually going before the Lord and asking Him to search our hearts. My floor is so much easier to clean when I do it on a regular basis. When I go weeks without mopping it takes so much more work to get it clean again. Don’t let your heart go weeks without being cleaned and don’t ignore the Spirit when He is trying to tell you that your heart needs cleaned.
Finally, how do I go about cleaning up my heart? Psalm 139:23-24 says “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Ask God to show you where your heart needs some cleaning then make an effort to clean it up. Maybe it means getting rid of some music that doesn’t honor God. Maybe it means getting rid of some movies. Maybe it means getting rid of some friends. Maybe it means stepping back from some hobbies to make sure God is first place in your life. God will show you what needs cleaned up in your life. Remember, you can’t do this on your own. You need to ask the Lord to help you in this.
P.S. This can also be applied to our lives physically. If you have set out to get fit or eat right remember it takes time, you can’t rely on others to do it for you, don’t get stuck on one area, and to evaluate your workouts/meal plan often. And as always, ask God to help you do it!
I am going to start a new series of posts called “Verses for When…” Originally this was meant to be just one post. But as I go through my notes and my most visited verses I see there is much more than can be written in one post. Please note that I did not just google some topics and pick the verse on the top of the list. These are verses that the Lord has given me in my time of need. I am praying that these verses can be a blessing to someone else as well.
” This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.”
Sometimes we are praying for something and God answers differently than we would like. Things don’t go our way. It is so easy to feel that things are just going so wrong. But if it is the Lord’s doing it is marvelous and should be viewed that way. That’s a hard pill to swallow especially when it means that we don’t get what we wanted. We need to remember that “the Lord is on my side.” (Psalm 118:6) He wants us to be happy. He gives us what we need, not always what we want.
I don’t expect you to just read this verse and instantly be restored and happy with whatever you may be going through right now. But let it be a stepping stone to help you across the hard time and become closer to where God wants you to be.
This week has been so crazy. I am not too sure why. It just has been. Some days at the end of the day I sit and look around. The only thing I had accomplished that day was one load of laundry. Some days that one load of laundry was being thrown back in the washing machine for the third time because I forgot to switch it to the dryer…again. One morning this week I sat down and thought I just need a TO DO list. If I make a to do list I can get all the chores done. But, I better check Instagram first 😉 Sounds silly but I am glad I did that day. Anna from Grace Happening had written something like stop making our to do lists and start asking God what He would have us do. What perfect timing, right? I mean, I was just about to make my to do list.
So right there I prayed and asked God what He would have me do that day. He immediately put it on my heart to read my Bible. I usually don’t do this in the morning. I usually wait until the kids are taking their naps so I can have some quiet time. But there, in the midst of dirty laundry, dishes, and children God wanted me to stop everything and read my Bible.
I have been trying to follow along with Women Living Well’s Good Morning Girls Bible study. That day they were on Proverbs 14 so that is where I started reading. It didn’t take me long until I learned what God wanted me to learn that day.
Proverbs 14:4 says, “Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.”
The lesson is simple: If there are no oxen in the stable then the stable stays nice and clean. Yay! A clean stable! (I desperately need a clean stable!) BUT much increase is by the strength of the ox. So if I want the increase from the ox I need to have an ox and accept the mess that comes with it.
My children are messy. They are just messy people by nature. I am thinking mine aren’t the only ones like this. Some mornings they just wake up messy. Then when they walk through rooms toys magically appear all over the floor. It’s amazing the other day I found ketchup in Pepper’s hair…she has never eaten ketchup in her life. I am still not sure where that ketchup came from. Today Jenn was missing her gum for two hours. Shane found it stuck between her belly and her dress. Kids are messy. I could have chosen a clean stable, but much increase is by the strength of the ox.
I need to accept that yes, my house is messy. It may be messy for the next 20 years. But as long as I am giving my 100% in raising these blessings for the Lord they can be a great blessing not only to me but to all those around them. They are worth the mess and I need to invest in them!
I remember as a child we used to always sing in the car. One song that I remember the most is my mom or dad would sing, “oh Sandy, do you love Jesus?” I would reply, “Oh yes I love Jesus.” They’d sing, “Tell me why you love Jesus.” And I’d answer, “Because He first loved me.”
I grew up knowing that God loves me. I grew up knowing that He died on the cross for me and because of this I am to love Him, too. I am so thankful to have been taught the Bible at a young age. But sometimes, when you never know what it is like to not have something, you don’t realize what you do have. There are wonderful Bible verses like, “But commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 10:9) This verse is so powerful stating that God loved me when I was against Him! I was His enemy and yet He died for me! But I can’t tell you how many times I have just skimmed over this verse. I already have it memorized so I don’t need to pay attention to it when I read it. And because we skim over it we miss out on the truth of that verse- that God first loved me. He doesn’t demand a love in return. He did this for us before we loved Him.
When you come to the realization that you are doomed for hell because of your sin it should bring awful grief and heartbreak. I always teach my Sunday School class that as a sinner, I had a problem. I had sinned against God. My sin isn’t allowed in heaven. My sins would keep me from ever entering heaven. That’s the problem. But God, seeing my problem, offered a solution. He gave His Son to die and take on my sin. He would take away my sin! So, I have my sin as the problem and Christ as the solution. When I learn what God has done for me, that’s where that love begins. Then I need to make a decision: Take God’s free gift, believe in His Son and what He has done for me. Or continue on with my sin. When I accepted God’s gift of salvation- I remember that moment- I felt that deep, amazing love for God.
Now, 14 years later, why do I not feel that same amazing love for God that I felt that night at camp? Has God’s love changed? Of course not. Like the church of Ephesus, I have left my first love. I stopped dwelling on how amazing God is and on the love He showed for me when He gave me salvation. That’s my fault. I can’t say that it’s because I have a home now that I need to keep clean, or kids that take up so much of my attention. I can’t blame it on my being too busy in church ministries or facebook or anything else.
God’s command in Deuteronomy hasn’t changed: And thou shalt Love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. Deuteronomy 6:5.
Consider now what you can do or change in your life in order to put God first again. How can you be dwelling on God and His love more? What will cause you to feel for God that love you felt when you accepted His great gift of salvation?