Monday, October 28, 2013

One Down Already!

One quarter down....already?
We have officially completed our first quarter of Homeschool!
My first thought is.....that happened REALLY fast!
This journey was only just beginning for us 9 weeks ago.  Today, I can't imagine being on any other!  Being home hasn't made our life perfect, but it HAS made it complete.  I don't want to be in any other place than I am right now, with this man and these kids.  I thank God daily for the joys he's given us.  This being one of the greatest.  I LOVE this lifestyle!
I've really gone against the grain, been the 'rebel', and gone the completely opposite direction the majority of homeschool families have gone in regards to 'schooling method'....TRADITIONAL!!!
  We chose this curriculum route for reasons my husband and I both believe in and stand by.  That part of the decision process is based on our beliefs about academics, accountability, and responsibility.
  I still have complete freedom and flexibility with approaching each child's individual learning style, strengths, and weaknesses.  That in and of itself is reason enough to be the ones in charge of their education. 
But the books are just the beginning.  Our whole family has fallen into a natural rhythm of learning.  The lessons are just the basics, the rest comes out in daily life.  We teach, they learn.  I learn from them.  They learn from each other.  Our classroom has only been a small part of that.... 
The field trips have been so much fun!  Endless opportunities right in our own back yard....and across country as it was! :)
The kids are HAPPY, they are so much more settled than they were in our former "hurry out the door" lifestyle!
Contentment...for all of us!
Curiosity and discovery!
Our little caboose has fallen in love with learning....and his big sister seems to have enjoyed taking over teaching him the basics!  It's so fun to watch them!  They love it and in playing school, she really is teaching him!  He will be ready for Kindergarten next fall, but for now he still comes and goes as he pleases.  BUT, he's in the schoolroom, or asking questions, or singing his ABC's and such more and more every day!
My Mama heart melts and swells at the same time with the confidence I see growing in each of them!  They're still kids-which means we still have our challenges!  What's been the blessing is that each one can get the attention, love, and discipline needed at that moment from the ones who know and love them the most.  It works!
Our family can be a family again when Daddy's home!  Not just on our "off" hours.  That may be one of my favorite things!  So is watching him teach them.  Usually in the woods, skinning a fresh kill, talking about tracks, ect.  But, he's been caught taking over a lesson or two!  :)  The kids get both of us.  And we get time with Daddy.
They're each other's best friends.  That is something money can't buy.  That's something that will last much longer than their school days.  We actually have MORE time to spend with friends than we ever did before.  And it's good, quality time!  The whole 'socialization' argument is actually pretty silly.  It's quality relationships that are more important-not the quantity of them.  And my kids are socializing with all ages-not peers alone.  Last time I checked, that's actually how the real world works and my hope is that this will nurture a natural respect for their elders and interest in everyone.  The last thing I want to build is a belief that only they and their peers are what matter.  Can you say 'fertile ground for entitlement to grow'.  Yeah-not here!
Our life and our schedule revolve around our family.  Because it's the focus, for all of us.  The world is not raising these children entrusted to us.  I am so blessed to have the opportunity to live the life we have.  To have a husband that provides so selflessly to support us all.  My heart is at home and walking around in these 3 little people.  Because family is the center, we all have time to enjoy other friendships and activities on the side! 
He's here to hold his hand.  Not just today, but for the years to come.  Every little boy needs the strength of Daddy's hand. 
Memories are being made.
Guidance is being given.
Lessons are being taught.
Little ones are learning.
Footsteps are being followed.
Hearts are smiling.
All KIND of things are being learned! LOL!
Accomplishments are being made!
And life is being lived...together!

A Holy Experience

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Friday, October 18, 2013

A Week of Wonder

It's been a week

of  wonder....


We enjoyed time with friends at the zoo.  Did you know lion's mourn loss?  After hearing the strangest sound throughout the zoo, a zookeeper explained.... 

It was the lioness crying out.  Mourning.  The loss of her mate of almost 2 decades.  She lost him almost a year ago.  She remembers.

We've been blessed with our own new litter....a little early.  We've been bottle feeding 3 of them. 

Sadly, it wasn't until after we lost 2 of the 13 that I realized they were a bit premature and the smaller ones were having trouble.  This Mama dog mourned too.  She knew where I took the first lost puppy-without even seeing me sneak off with it.  The second, I showed her.  She 'cried' and tried to get to it.  Still, she knows we're helping her.  After feeding each baby, I give them over to Mama through the fence~she licks them off and cleans the messy little drinkers up.  Twice now, when I've been near finished feeding-she tries to get back in.  It's her way of telling me that's enough.  Then, she joins the babies again.  It's been very special.

So I wonder....I've heard it told that animals don't have souls so they don't go to heaven.  I don't know where this 'thought' comes from.  But I'd be willing to argue that this lion, my Mama dog, and other animals we've owned have very real feelings.  Some of the same feelings we have as humans.  Don't those come from a soul?  God gave man dominion over animals, that much we DO know.

(Speaking of Adam and Eve in the garden)
and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.  Genesis 1:28b

Obviously, the animal kingdom is not equal to humanity.  Sadly, many move to protect animals and plants more than the unborn child.  That would be on the Sanctity of Human Life...a topic so dear to my heart, that deserves a post all it's own.  But we do know, that animals are not our equal.  Common sense to me.  But for those who may need a little more assurance...

All flesh is not the same flesh; but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts.. 1 Corinthians 15:39a

That verse by the way, blows the evolution theory out of the water.  When being saddened over the loss of a puppy, it occurred to me that animals WILL indeed be in heaven!  I don't know who it was that embedded those bits of information into my mind, but they were wrong.  So I did what I do-I found the scriptures to prove it!

The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's meat.  They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord.  Isaiah 65:25  (If you don't already know-the author is speaking of heaven)

Psalm 148 talks of ALL of creation praising the Lord....even the beasts, all cattle, creeping things, and flying fowl.           (verse 10)

That's my thumb this tiny pup has his paw up against!

At the end of the day, what matters is that God's creation is living testimony to His existence and care all around us.  The ability of a Mama dog to mourn for and want her lost puppy, the memory of a lioness mourning for a mate that was lost almost a year all points straight to the marvelous wonders of God.  We serve a God that is limited by NOTHING!  A God that loves us enough to leave living, breathing reminders of his wonder in every corner of the world.  Every corner of our lives.  Open your eyes today.  Open your heart.  Stop and see the wonder around you.  Know you are loved.  Loved by the Creator of All.  Saved by the grace offered on 2 beams of wood a couple of thousand years ago.

Grace... did you catch that tiny word?  Five letters.  One syllable.  Heard often.  Rarely understood.  This love is free.  You don't have to earn it, you don't have to be good enough.  Let me give you a hint.....don't even try to be.  You will never be good enough for our God, you never will deserve to be saved by the blood of His one son who came and lived in this dirty, broken world to save you.  You can do nothing that even begins to earn the forgiveness that came from that brutal, horrific, senseless execution. 

And you don't have to be.  God loves you any way.  He's known since before you were created that you wouldn't be (perfect).  So quit trying to be.  Grace.  Free.  When you fully get that, you won't want to be perfect.  You'll instead be set free to embrace your calling.  To serve and to praise with exactly what God gave you!  He loves YOU....incomplete, imperfect, unworthy YOU.  I know because He saved and loves unworthy ME too!!!!  And incomplete, imperfect ME is loving being taught that beautiful is indeed imperfect.  Broken.  Weak.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.  Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  2 Corinthians 12:9

I own my weaknesses, embrace my imperfections, and thank God that Jesus was perfect so I don't have to be.  I don't want to be.  And I'll chase the enemy away with scripture and prayer every time he tries to convince me otherwise.  Will you do the same?

I hope your week is full of wonder. 
 Or rather....I hope you take
 the chance to stop and see the wonder
filling up the life around you!  Know
 Jesus loves you!