Friday, August 28, 2009

It Comes Before the Fall. . .

HumilityImage by maureenml0521 via Flickr

If you've been reading some of my recent posts, maybe you've picked up on the fact that the Lord has been working in our life in regards to pride.

I woke up yesterday morning feeling, for some reason, like I should do a post about pride. I thought about it, then went about my day, beginning with my Bible study.

I read a chapter of Proverbs every day. Look at the first two verses of yesterday's reading.

"Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth. Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips." Proverbs 27:1-2


It can sneak up on us in so many different ways. There are some very obvious sources of pride - what we accomplish, what we own, maybe even who we know. I've really been more aware lately of some more subtle sources of pride.

We can be proud of how moral we are. We can be proud of how well we've handled a crisis in our life. We can be proud of how kind we are, how forgiving we are, how generous we are, or how disciplined we are.

Let's shift our view a little bit. Pride can keep you from apologizing. Pride can keep you from sharing your heart. Your weaknesses. Your failures. Your humanity.

Pride can make you wear a mask. A mask that tells everyone around you that you're the perfect family, or the perfect parent, or the perfect Christian.

But none of those things are really REAL, are they? There's no such thing as a perfect anything, except our perfect God!

Job 35:12 says, "And when they cry out, God does not answer because of their pride."

Psalm 101:5 states, "I will not tolerate people who slander their neighbors. I will not endure conceit and pride."

Look at Proverbs 11:2. "Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom."

1 John 2:16 "For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world."

It is so difficult to live in this world, but not be of this world, isn't it? It is a daily, hourly battle to live for the Lord, and not for ourselves and our own pleasure!

In my life recently, the Lord has slowly been peeling away layers of pride that I've carried with me for years. Pride in my marriage has been replaced with the knowledge that this marriage is NOTHING if HE is not the daily focus and reason for living for both Ivan and I. Pride in my personality/kindness has been replaced with the knowledge that unless I love my enemies, my general kindness is WORTHLESS. We had to let go of some pride to accept a Wal-Mart gift card from some anonymous friends at church who wanted to help us make it through a tough financial month or two. (If you're reading this, thank you so much! You are Christ's love in action!)

I have to kick pride out the door every time someone comes into my house and says, "What happened to your floors?"

Pride is what makes Satan Satan. Think about that. He is who he is because of pride.

I don't want to go down that road in my life. So, I want to soak up every little thing the Lord wants to teach me about pride. I want to have a gentle, humble spirit. I want to be wise.

Man, I have a long way to go. But my God can do mighty things. I have no doubt He can change this ugly, selfish heart of mine into something that looks a little more like His.

What about you? What has the Lord been teaching you lately?

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Sarah's First

See if you can guess by the end of the video what our dear Sarah is so crazy excited about. . .

Is that not one of the silliest things you've ever seen? I promise you, she's usually not that hyper. My goodness, I wouldn't have any hair if she was!

Here are a few more pics of the exciting event.

This last one is with Big Sissy's tooth fairy doll, Twinkle. See her cute little purse to hold the tooth? Emma was so kind to let Sarah borrow her. :)

I wonder what she'll do in another 75 years or so when she starts losing teeth again?

No Bake Peanut Butter Pie

Oh. My. Goodness. This pie is delicious.

And easy.

You can thank me later.


8 oz. cream cheese
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 c. peanut butter (I used Great Value)
1. c. milk
16 oz Cool Whip
2 graham cracker or Oreo pie crusts

Cream sugar and cream cheese together. Add peanut butter and milk, beating till smooth. Fold in Cool Whip until it's well blended.

Pour into pie crusts and freeze at least 2 hours.

Practice self-control.

Seriously. It's smooth. It's creamy. It melts in your mouth.

When I told Ivan I was making this, he said,

"Well, that will be for you. I'm not real big on peanut butter and chocolate."

He ate it that night.

And the next.

And some more today.

It's that good.

The Jesus Book written by Stephen Elkins

Have you ever had a hard time explaining the life of Jesus to your children or grandchildren? I've had a hard time expaining the magnitude of who Jesus is while at the same time, keeping my explanation simple enough for my girls' little hearts to understand.

The Jesus Book, written by Stephen Elkins and illustrated by Claudine Ge'vry, is the solution I've found! This is the best laid out, most organized children's book about Jesus that I've ever seen. Elkins lays out the life of Jesus in 7 chapters, titled:
1. Who Jesus Is
2. What Jesus Did
3. What Jesus Taught
4. When It Happened
5. Where It Happened
6. Why It Happened
7. How It Happened

Elkins does a magnificent job of simplifying and explaining Jesus' life and ministry, in addition to why this information is important - for a life-long, eternal relationship with Him!

My children both loved the book. Emma especially loved the timeline in Chapter 4.

My only negative thought on this book concerns the illustrations. They are wonderful illustrations, but to me they look like illustrations for a 4 or 5 year old. Meanwhile, I think the writing of the book is better suited for a 7 to 9 year old child. So to me, the two don't quite gel.

Included in this book was a CD consisting of 30 classic children's Bible songs. My girls play this CD constantly, and I love that they are learning these "oldies but goodies".

All in all, I'm very happy to add this book to our library. It's definitely a keeper!

( I received this book from Thomas Nelson Publishing as part of their Book Review Blogger Program).

Homeschooling, Part Deux

school room deskImage by devonbunny via Flickr

Dontcha just love it when the Lord gives you confirmation that you're on the right path, when you haven't even been praying for that confirmation? He is so good!

I've been scouring the internet the past couple of weeks trying to find the girls' curriculum for this year, at the cheapest price out there. Yes, I know I'm a little late in looking for it. Yes, I know we need to start school soon. I've had every intention of purchasing this year's curriculum all summer long. I began in May, checking in on ebay every couple of weeks to see what I could find. I just haven't actually bought anything yet, because, well - frankly - because food has been a higher priority in our budget every month.

I've found myself wondering the past couple of weeks, "Are we still supposed to be homeschooling? Were we wrong in thinking this was the right road to follow? I can't afford the curriculum, so maybe we aren't supposed to be doing this. . . " The doubts would come, and I would shove them away - it has been SOO good for our family this year, and I couldn't imagine putting them back in public school at this time. But still, lingering in the back of my mind, I would wonder, "What are we supposed to be doing here?"

As you know, this post by Dave was in my reader yesterday, and it really touched me. I didn't think of it as a confirmation at the time, I just knew it touched me.

Lo and behold, yesterday in the mail I received the book, Blue Like Play Dough, written by Tricia Goyer. I had actually won it from a dear friend, Ann, whom I'd gone to college with. She's a fantastic book reviewer, and has had a number of book giveaways in the past few weeks. (Go check out her blog, Ann's Thoughts. She writes the most inspiring and challenging posts about her spiritual walk and the Lord's work in her life).

Anyhoo, I knew Goyer's book was about motherhood, but I had no clue that she had homeschooled her children. In Chapter 5, Learning Things Twice and Then Some, she discusses some of the challenges she faced the first few years she homeschooled. She spoke of days where she and the kids were watching the clock, so anxious for "school" to be over. She was stressed, her children were stressed - school had become a chore. Then, along came a spider. . . (and sat down beside her!) :)

"The spider, which had to be as big as a nickel, had just started weaving its web. With the grace of a ballerina, it swung from one corner of the long, tall window to the other. We watched as it worked with perfect precision. The morning sunlight glistened off the web, making it appear like spun crystal.

I'm not a fan of spiders, but I've never seen anything more beautiful. I forgot about the handwriting and spelling words and the other things on my list. Instead, I just watched.
"That's amazing." Cory's voice held awe. "How does it do that?"

"I don't know. Let's find out." For the rest of the morning we looked up spiders on the Internet. We drew pictures of our spider friend. We even went to the library and checked out books about spiders And as we rode home singing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" at the top of our lungs, I felt this inner boice telling me, This is what it's all about.

Not that I didn't need lesson plans to teach math and science and writing, but that I could view our learning as a time of bonding and fun. It wasn't just about inserting facts into my kids' brains. It was about connecting with their hearts. The spider, which we called Charlotte, was just the breakthrough I needed."

Tricia Goyer continues talking about how much she needed the Lord during the homeschooling years. Days that she knew He needed to show up in order for anything to work that day. She needed Him for wisdom, and patience, and guidance as she trained her children. She stated that while she knew homeschooling wasn't for everyone, she believed God led her to this choice in order to make her more aware of her moment-by-moment need for Him. Wow, can I relate to that. The last paragraph of this chapter states,

"My decision to homeschool was a conscious choice to give my children time. Time to learn, time to share, time to grow up together. Little did I know how much the time would teach me. Little did I know how much God would draw my heart to His in the process."

Guys, I feel like that is just what God is doing with me! He has used so many different circumstances in the past 18 months to draw me closer to Him. Some have been very painful. Some have stretched me beyond what I thought I could handle. Some scared me to death. Some STILL scare me to death. But I can tell you, I can't give you another time in my life that there has been so much spiritual growth. I still have a LONG way to go, and I know I will NEVER grow enough. But I'm so thankful for where He has brought me.

And I'm also thankful for the time. Aside from my spiritual growth, my favorite thing about homeschooling is the way time has changed in our family. We have a very simple life. I don't miss the early morning rush. I don't miss yelling at Emma, "Hurry! You're gonna be late!" I regret those yelling mornings, so much. I don't miss the frustration she and I both felt as she began hour 3 on her homework. I'm so thankful that homeschooling has simplified our life in so many ways. Yes, we still have days of frustration. Yes, we still have times that we're running late to somewhere, and I'm unhappily shoving everyone out the door. But, those days are few.

I feel like for us, homeschooling has given time back to us. Nobody determines what we do with our time and our days but us, hopefully with the Lord's guiding. It's a big responsibility I carry on my shoulders, and pretty imtimidating most days. But you know what? For us, it's worth it. I wouldn't trade the simplicity we enjoy for anything.

I'm sure there will be days that the girls won't love homeschooling as much as they do now. I'm thankful that they seem to want this as much as we do. As we said last year when we began this journey, we're taking this one year at a time.

For this year, it's a go. And I'm sure we'll ALL be pulled and stretched, and required to lean on the Lord in the midst of it.

And I'm thankful.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Why We Homeschool

I came across this post today, and wanted to share it! Dave and his wife Christy are embarking on their first year of homeschooling this year. Dave is a public school teacher, and is sharing his heart about his family's decision to teach their children at home.

I love everything that he wrote. I know some people don't understand why we've made this choice, and that's okay. I don't believe homeschooling is best for every family. I don't believe public school, or public school teachers, are evil. :) We're just doing what we feel the Lord has called us to do at this time.

Please go read Dave's post, then come back here and let me know what you think about it. He got to the heart and soul of why we are homeschooling - I really could relate!

Friday, August 7, 2009

It's an Invasion!

See description aboveImage via Wikipedia

Have you ever done something so completely out of character that you thought aliens must have invaded overnight and taken over your body?

That didn't happen to me this morning. Nope. Not at all.

I didn't get in the shower at 11:00 this morning. While in the shower, I didn't take a closer look at the tile floors of my shower. This tile floor has always been a bit 'discolored', which I had concluded was just evidence of the OLD OLD age of this tile floor. You see, I had cleaned my shower many times, and the color of the tile floor never changed. However, after this closer look, I didn't then take my fingernail and scrape said tile floor.


Something scraped off.

I didn't then do what any self-respecting, family-loving wife and mother would do. I didn't march myself right out of my shower and into my haircut supply bin. I didn't take out my straight razor. I didn't commence to get down on my hands and knees in said shower, scraping away, tile by tile, years of soap scum and dirt and whatever the heck else was on that floor until the water ran cold.

Nope. Not me.

'Cause I struggle enough to keep the clutter in my home at bay. A straight razor? To my shower floor?

Who am I, and what happened to the real me?

If you wanted to, you might could eat off this floor.

But I would seriously wonder about you if you did.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

When It Rains, It Pours . . . or Gushes. . .

July 14 2008 - 3rd Round of StormsImage by nebraskasc via Flickr

take your pick!

Have you ever had a bad day? Not a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. . . just a little bad day? That was me yesterday afternoon. There wasn't anything really wrong, I was just a little melancholy all day. No reason, really. . . I think I'll blame it on hormones. :)

Ivan worked late and got home around 8:30. I had the girls bathed and ready for bed. By 9:30 he and I were sitting in bed, chatting and trying to reconnect - catch up on our day. All of a sudden, what do we hear?

Splash! Gush! Spill! More splash! More gush! More spill!

AGH! The hose on the back of our washing machine had detached, and water was SPEWING all over the floor. Folks, we had a little flood on our hands. A little one inch flood. At 9:30 at night. 2 feet away from hardwood laminate floors we put down 15 months ago. Not fun.

We grab every towel we can find, and soak up as much as we can. We don't have enough towels, so we started grabbing dirty clothes from the hamper, trying to save our floors.

To make this long story short, here is my home today. In the hallway, where our washer and dryer are, we've got the wood laminate flooring pulled up, with the liner underneath it exposed, box fan trying to dry it out.

In the hallway entrance, we've got 3 laundry baskets overflowing with WET clothes and WET towels, waiting for their turn back in the washer. (Wish it wasn't a rainy day, I'd hang them out on my clothesline and get it done a little faster).

In the dining room, things look pretty normal except for the concrete floor, looking black and nasty from old glue that's on it. (Water seeped under the wall into the dining room and we had to remove/throw out the flooring we had in there last night). (Which meant we had to move the table, chairs, and 3 other pieces of wood furniture out of there last night after we saved the hallway flooring).

Maybe we could consider it a date night and we'll feel a little better about the whole thing.

Okay, maybe not.

All that to say. . . I was a little more melancholy after we crawled in bed for good last night, 2 hours later.

You always hear, "Sleep on it. You'll feel better in the morning"!

So, here I am today.

I'm thankful that I have a washer and dryer.

I'm thankful for the roof over my head.

I'm thankful for the air conditioning.

I'm thankful I have 3 happy, healthy girls.

I'm thankful I have a husband who loves me, and gives me backrubs after bad days like this.

I'm thankful I have clothes to wash and mop up dirty water. :)

I'm thankful it was the washing machine we had to deal with instead of a fire from the dryer.

Rereading this, it all seems kind of silly, huh? I am so blessed! My life is not horrible because I had to deal with a little water and extra work last night. I'm not trying to sound that way at all. I was just truckin' along, feeling okay, and this seemed to be that little straw. You know, the one that broke the camel's back? I'm so thankful for the life I have, and the life I live. I'm just a little irritated. That's all.

I think the Lord is working on our pride. Pride can really sneak up on you pretty quickly, we're learning. Sometimes our pride causes us to focus on the wrong things, and sometimes it causes us to make the wrong decisions. So, in the spirit of learning and discipline, we're going to pull up our bootstraps, swallow our pride, and deal with an ugly, unfinished dining room floor until we can REALLY afford something new. That something new may not be exactly what we wanted. It may be a whole lot cheaper, and a whole lot more about function than style. However, if the Lord is trying to teach us about pride, I'm gonna try to learn.

Thank You, Father, for working in our lives, and teaching us humility and contentment. And thank You for being with us on our Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Days.

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