Saturday, February 23, 2013

Elijah's Photo Shoot

Elijah got my camera the other day, and attempted to take a picture of him and Emery together!  I found these pictures on my camera later that day...

I really like these last two...

Winter Woods

Distractions and Interruptions

As my heart has been stirred over the past several months to focus on character with my children, I have continually asked the Lord to show me how to do this.  I felt convicted, but I just haven't been sure how to put skin on it, how to incorporate teaching character into our daily lives.  I felt the Lord asking me to change some things.  I just wasn't sure what things and how.

Then, I got a text from Jen saying that she had really taken a deep breath and slowed down.  She said she was stopping mid-teaching to resolve issues the right way not just pushing them to the side in order to accomplish the task at hand.  She ended with, "It just feels right."  And, as I read this text, an episode of the Duggars came to mind....

Michelle was working on writing their most recent book, and the children kept dancing around her ~ needing things, making noise, etc.  I think one of the camera guys must have made a comment about there being a lot of distractions?  I can't remember exactly what prompted her to say what she said, but I will never forget her response.  She said (my paraphrase)...

"The book is the distraction.  My children are my job."

I remember just staring at the screen.  Such wisdom, and she just laughingly rattled it off like it was common sense.  And, I guess it is, but, oh, how easy it is to forget!  And, I heard His sweet whisper telling me...

"Their hearts are your first priority.  When you are busy teaching or doing laundry or any number of other things and a conflict arises, this is not an interruption, it is an opportunity to teach character.  Stop what you are doing and give them your full attention.  Their hearts are more important than their spelling lessons."

Monday, February 18, 2013

Rise to the Occasion

It is so windy and cold here today.  The sun is hidden by walls of clouds, and there is an eerie darkness lurking over the trees just beyond our neighbor's house.  And, we have done a light school day for President's Day today ~ just Bible, reading, and math.  It is 3:45 and my house is straight and neat and somewhat clean, and I am sipping coffee while little ones play and nap.  A good Monday, I say!

I happened upon a blog last night through a tweet.  It was the blog of the parents of a little girl named Daisy who fought cancer 3 times, I believe, maybe 4.  My memory fails me.  Anyway, she went home to be with Jesus this weekend, and the tweet was asking for prayers for her parents.  I went to the blog link and read back several days.  I read through tears as the mother talked about caring for her daughter, who if I remember correctly was about 7.  The mother talked about enjoying Daisy because she was so enjoyable.  She talked about waking with her all hours of the night and loving it.  She mentioned a number of ways that she was serving her daughter during her last days here on earth ~ listening for her little whispers and meeting every need with joy.

In the next paragraph she challenged the readers of her blog to love with their whole hearts all those who God puts in their paths to love.  She challenged us to love and serve, to pour out our lives for others.  She summed it all up with this wonderful statement that I cannot and, hopefully, will not ever forget.  She said...

"We will never regret rising to the occasion."

How beautiful and true is that simple statement.  No matter how difficult the task, we will never regret rising to the occasion, giving our all for another.  I was so challenged to live my regular, everyday life with renewed passion, infused with His grace and unconditional love.  Somedays, simple things like smiling at my sweet children can take effort. But, I will never regret making the effort to love, even in gestures as small as these.

Friday, February 15, 2013

This Moment...

Pieces of Life

I feel like every time I post I say it.... Life is full!  We are busy, but as much as life seems to be moving fast.... It, also, seems to be moving slowly.  Some days are amazing, and some days are crazy, but, all in all, I wouldn't change a thing about these days. 

Watching Joshua play travel basketball, watching him learn and grow and get better at the game he loves has been such a joy to me. Watching the boys learn and grow in reading and writing and math makes my heart smile.  But, watching them grow in the wisdom of God is by far the greatest blessing of my life right now.  I love teaching them His word.  I want so much for them to understand and learn so many wonderful truths about the God we love while they are home with me.  I love it when we are reading His sweet words, and the boys hear something Erik and I pray over them or something we challenge them with repeatedly.  They look up at me like, "Mom, that is in here?"  And, I just smile and shake my head like, "Did you think we just made it up?  This is the truth of God and not the invention of any man!"  There is no wisdom apart from His wisdom. 

Occasionally Laura reads my blog, so I don't know if she will stumble across this post or not??  But, Laura teaches my two oldest sons Bible.  And, I love Laura for many reasons, but the fact that she instructs them in His word every Friday is such blessing to me. I am thankful for her and her knowledge of God's word.  Anyway, Laura sent out an email earlier this week challenging the parents of her students to make Bible the center of their homeschool.  She wanted to challenge us as parents to not "weary in well-doing." I'm so thankful for the accountability!

God is a powerful force.  He is like the wind ~ blowing, moving, whispering...  He doesn't make His will a mystery, but we must abide in Him in order to hear His still small voice.  And, He is the master weaver ~ weaving lessons in so many different ways.  Speaking slowly, sweetly, a gentle flow, and we must catch Him and hold on for dear life. He is Life and Breath and All we need. His word is precious and holy and wise, and there is not a thing in life more important than planting these words into the fertile soil of our children.

Lately, like a gentle flow, God has been speaking to my heart very tenderly saying, "Character."  I have very clearly felt Him leading Erik and I to focus on character training.  Jen, my sweet Jen, made a statement last week that really hit me.  Out of the blue, she said, "You know, Erin, character trumps A,B,C's every time."  Her point was that our focus shouldn't be so much on academics that we lose sight of our main goal ~ raising children who love Jesus and seek with their whole hearts to be His light in this dark world.  And, Sarah, my sweet Charlotte Mason friend, encouraged me to not just study history with the boys but to look at the character of those we are studying, to really focus on the life lessons and applications not just the facts.  And, then in a sermon by our interim pastor and a post by Sally Clarkson and in a dozen other ways, God kept repeatedly whispering... "Character...."  I heard it everywhere I turned. 

Then, the email from Laura came.  And, I thought about how character takes root in the foundation of God's word, His wisdom.  Wisdom to discern, wisdom to make good decisions, wisdom to see this fallen, broken world for what it is, wisdom to know that we are broken messes ourselves, and wisdom to trust in Jesus and the grace He offers.

Okay, so I didn't plan to write all that!  I really only planned to post a bunch of pictures of our life lately!  So, here they are in no particular order....

Eriky helping me with dinner.  I love these little ones all around me learning and growing...

We made snowflakes one day in January and hung them from the light in our schoolroom...

Our new hobby is watching birds.  We are identifying birds in our yard and making a list.  James is stalking a woodpecker ~ trying desperately to identify him!

I made this fun little craft with my favorite kindergarteners a couple Fridays ago.  Today we made an owl puppet, and it was so cute!!  I'll have to take a picture of Lijah's.

Ya'll, I found this the other day and had to take a picture....

I opened the silverware drawer and there it was!  Pb among the clean utensils.  Love it!  One day I won't find funny things like that!!  JACK!!! :-)

I don't know if she will be girly.  I don't know if she will like princesses.  I don't know if her favorite color will be pink, if she will want to take dance, or if she will like bows and sparkly things.  But, I do know one thing.

She will be tough.  Jack will make sure of that.  This started out as a hug, but it turned into a tackle.  He took baby girl down!

Sweet visits with Pop...

My little bookworm...

Can you tell how much she loves her baby doll?  Hands. down. Favorite. Toy.

Fell asleep playing...  Love her!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The boys first hunting trip....

Elijah made this for me...

And, last but not least, will I ever tire of making lesson plans???  They are such a joy to do!!!  I look forward to them every weekend.  I guess it is the planner in me.  But, the colored pens!!  The blanks to fill in!!!  The boxes to check!!!  OH, happy, happy, happy!!! :-)  I make a page for the two big boys, and I promise you, they get the same intense satisfaction from checking things off as I do!!! Maybe it is genetic???

And, so now I will come full circle.  I do not consider myself to be an amazing teacher.  I am not qualified by the world's standards.  Some days I feel in over my head and completely inadequate.  But, my heart has this steadfast knowledge that this is right.  I don't pride myself in the fact that they are advanced or exquisitely educated because they aren't.  I'm a simple mom who loves her kids and is following the leading of a wild unpredictable force that continues to spur me on day in and day out.  And, one day they may find that they are behind in math or that they don't write a paper as well as so and so....  I can only lean in and trust... trust that He will fill my gaps.  And, while they are here in our home, I will do the only thing that I know to do, the thing that I feel called to do ~ immerse them in Him and His love.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Boys Birthday!

And, so the partying begins.  We have two birthdays in February, one in March, and two in April... then Eriky has to wait until August for his!

While Erik, Joshua, and James were away at duck camp.  Elijah, Eriky, and I arranged a family surprise party for them upon their return!

I made cupcakes with their favorite sports teams logos...

And, a few of these for my little Star Wars lover...

 Elijah made this sign for them.  We put it on the backdoor to welcome them...

So fun!

I love that these two share a birthday!  I think they enjoy it, too!

A fun family evening to celebrate my dynamic duo!!  I love these two young men so much, and I am so proud of who they are growing into!

My photo
Hi! I live in a sweet country home overflowing with love, laughter, and little ones. I have been blessed to journey these days beside a man that I love, respect, and admire. He is my soul-mate and best friend. Together we are seeking to raise our seven children to be lovers of God, to be wise and discerning, and to be all that our sweet God created them to be. I am in the goldfish and cheerio stage of life, but I am keenly aware that these days are slipping right through my hands. This blog is my attempt to keep our memories safe for years to come.


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