Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Rise Up, Mighty Women of God!

This past Sunday, our pastor presented a topic that was empowering and encouraging to me, especially in my ministry to women! So often, we hear about the men in the Bible who have accomplished much, had the hand of God present in their lives, and been chosen for certain greatness for the Kingdom of God. But what about the women? 

Today, I'm going to show you several women that God used. Now we of course know of Esther and Mary, the mother of Jesus. But there were so many other women whose obedience to the Lord, both in the Old Testament and New Testament are models for women of today.

First, let's talk about Miriam. She was the sister of Aaron and Moses. She was also a worship dancer! (Exodus 15:20-21). The Scriptures call her a prophetess. She was held in the same regard as Moses and Aaron!
Next, let's talk about Deborah. She was also a prophetess and was judging Israel at that time...she was a judge, too, and the people of Israel knew her as a judge. They actually came to her for judgement. She was with the ten thousand men who were under the command of Barak along with Zebulun and Naphtali (Judges 4:4, 10, 14). 
What about Huldah? Haven't heard of her, I bet. But she was a prophetess, too. In fact, she was the keeper of the wardrobe (not the one from Narnia!), the palace garments. When Josiah was king, his ancestors were so far removed from the Law of the Lord, they didn't even know what it was until the priest, Hilkiah, found it in the temple in one of the cities they purged from idols and images. See, Josiah knew following the Lord was important to his father, David, but he had never done so as his father had. Huldah was the only one who had a word from the Lord for Josiah. (2 Chronicles 34:22)
In the New Testament, there was Anna, a prophetess. She served the Lord by fasting and praying day and night. 
There were women who ministered to Jesus, too. Mary, the sister of Martha, who poured perfume over Jesus' feet and dried them with her hair, Mary Magdalene, and Joanna and Susanna who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities.
Paul greeted Priscilla and her husband, Aquilla, who were joint pastors of the church in their own home. They pastored together!
Philip's four daughters who were virgins and prophesied. God gave them that gifting.
In John 2:1, we read about the greeting given to the elder and to the "elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth..."

You see, women hold a special place in the Kingdom of God. We can change our husbands into the men we want them to be, but we can certainly pray for them, and, as our pastor says, duck, and get out of the way of the Lord! 

Have a blessed week, Mighty Women of God!!


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

When Mom Is Sick: A Resource for Dealing with School

*I originally posted this in 2014, but since I've been sick for the past two days, I felt as though it was relevant to share once again! I hope this helps you in your homeschooling week. Enjoy my glamorous picture, too! 

So many of my homeschooling mom friends have been dealing with being sick a varying levels. I thought I would re-post this wonderful guide and resource for you so you can create your own fall back plan for the times you are not feeling well or need a fallback plan for blah days!

I've created a sort of list of ideas for homeschooling moms when it is Mom that is sick!  After all, some learning can be outside of the box on a day when Mom just isn't feeling well.  So what sorts of things might a homeschool mom have for her children to do when she is down for the day?  As the mother of a Civil Air Patrol cadet, I often hear my son call his element the week before their next meeting and tell them the POD, plan of the day.  But how exactly do you create that in advance?

Well, perhaps when you are feeling well, you can create a "Mom's Sick" folder that has lists of things the kids can do, that have some educational value, while you are in bed, trying to breathe, or not feeling altogether able to school that day.  This folder might include things like a list of games to play such as Sorry, Yahtzee, Scrabble, Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, etc. (this will be dependent on how old the kids are!), watch movies such as Anne Frank, The Hiding Place, Disney movies (if those are something you normally watch), etc. (Again, age appropriate...mine are 10 and up!), writing prompts, math drills, and books to read. Then they are prepared to go to the folder if need be, and everyone sort of knows "the Plan"!

Another thing I did when I was on bedrest with my second son and had a 2-year-old running around was to purchase plastic knives and put the peanut butter and jelly where he could reach it.  I simply showed him how to make sandwiches and put things away and he thought that was the coolest thing.  He made them everyday for about 5-6 weeks!!  Plus, I knew he would eat PB&J.  This  may seem a bit like a "fend for yourself" attitude, but I honestly could not get out of bed and didn't have anyone to help!  So lunch was always taken care of for him.  He ate breakfast with my husband and members of our church brought dinners nightly!

Finally, when mom is sick, this is a great opportunity to teach your children to be compassionate, caring and nurturing.  After I had my wisdom teeth removed a few years ago, my youngest daughter asked me all the in's and out's of caring for my mouth after the procedure.  She made a point of knowing that I needed table salt and warm water after eating, and when I needed to take the antibiotic, that it needed to be taken with food, and how many pills I got.  She was almost five years old and knew not to take any medication unless Mommy says it's okay, but she would bring me the pill bottle and I could take my medicine.
In December 2007 after I had all four wisdom teeth removed!  I know, PRETTY!

These are just a few examples of getting through a school day when mom is sick or otherwise not able to perform her teaching duties, but I would love to hear how you might handle some sick days in your family!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Vision Boards and Dreams: Are You An Owner or An Employee?

We've talked a lot about our visions and dreams and the importance of a vision board in accomplishing our goals. Today, I want to talk to you about how you think about your vision or dream. Have you ever worked from someone else? There's a distinction between being an employee and being the owner, right? Let's consider some of these things:

  • Leaders take initiative while employees wait to be told what to do, where to do it, etc.
  • Leaders identify and address challenges and work to fix them while employees may never really know the full extent of the challenges themselves.
  • Employees ignore problems, refuse to talk about them, and hope they will go away.
  • Leaders focus on their own priorities while employees are made to focus on others
  • Leaders plan other people's future while employees futures are often planned without their knowledge
  • Leaders own their dreams and visions, employees work toward accomplishing someone else's dream

God wants us to reign in life. He wants us to realize the dreams He's placed within us! We also need to take action to do this. We need to seek out successful people and spend time with them. If there is someone who has what you want (increased finances, business owner, author, someone in ministry, etc.), get together with them! They will eventually rub off on you, and you will begin to flourish in all that you do.

But if you sit at home, imagine all that could go wrong, come up with reasons why you can't accomplish the goals on your vision board, and doubt that God not only can but will help you achieve those things, that's exactly what you're going to get.

Change your thinking today! Own that dream you put on your vision board. Sit down and start writing that book. Find out what needs to happen for you to open that business you've always wanted and take a step toward that today! Come up with a plan and don't be afraid to dream BIG!

Have a blessed week!


Friday, February 10, 2017

Friday 'Fess Up

This week I confess, I am FLOURISHING!

The Lord has blessed us more than we could have imaged this week! Some things we thought would be costly or difficult, were less expensive and simple. Tasks that looked complicated were accomplished. And I completed something I started two years ago. And in all of it, I give God the glory for these things being done! We are flourishing like palm trees (Psalms 92:12, NLT).

What has your week looked like? Can you see your One Word in the week? How has your One Word aligned with your vision and dreams for this year?

Take time to get together with the Lord and ask these things:

I'd love to hear how your vision, dreams, and One Word are going so far this year! Comment on our blog or our Facebook page!

Have a blessed week!


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

The children of this generation are confronted with seemingly more than we battled as school-aged children when we were growing up. Bullying has become more intense, standards have been both raised and lowered, and technology usage and knowledge is unlike any generation before! So that leads us to this week's topic: How can technology be integrated in homeschooling? There are good reasons for including technology (YouTube videos, tablet/iPad apps, online curriculum) in homeschooling. Most of their public school peers are learning to use technology, the future of technology is thriving, and we want to give our children every advantage we can.

Screen time is definitely something that you as a family need to determine for your children. But there are some effective ways to use technology in education, too. If your child is interested in batch coding, there is a free, online curriculum for that. Kids can, with the assistance and guidance of a parent, find information on how to do a number of things (like solve Rubik's Cubes!) on youTube, can learn grade level sight words using interactive, engaging apps, students can learn those tough math topics using Khan Academy online tutorials, younger children can learn number and letter recognition and colors and shapes, and older teens can even take online courses from reputable universities like MIT, Harvard, and more through free programs like Coursea and MOOC.

A balance between textbook/workbook learning, Bible studies, and technology is a valuable thing for our children. We can help propel them in knowledge, skills, and topics while preparing them for the future simultaneously.

Online programs and apps for homeschoolers can increase their knowledge and understanding of technology and put them on common ground with their public school peers. Consider how technology might fit into your homeschooling day:

  • Make a plan
  • Set boundaries
  • Have rules for using technology (See image below!)
  • Discuss online safety with your children
  • Determine how (and if!) technology will be integrated in your homeschool program

Be encouraged today, homeschooling mama, that whether you include technology in your homeschooling day or not, whether it is a little or an entire curriculum online, you are making the right decision for your children!

Have a blessed week!


*Our rules for getting screen time. This does not include any school that is online.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Dreams: A Peek Into What God Has for Us

What Are Dreams Really?

(C) 2012 Jade DeGood
How many times have I gone to sleep knowing that I will be battling for something, flying, seeing people I've never met, or journeying to a place I've never been (like an island)?  

I dream almost every night.  As a matter of fact, I dream such action packed dreams that I often wake up feeling tired.  After all, I was running around saving and protecting people or climbing mountains or flying over meadows or driving all over a major city.  Who wouldn't wake up feeling tired after a busy night like that?
Some of the things I've dreamed about were strange, like flying.  Not in an airplane (although I do dream about being at airports often!), but about actually flying, like Superman!  I have dreamed that I was in labor in childbirth, but I was also helping another laboring mom during my own delivery.  And most frequently, I dream that I'm a soldier battling and fighting the enemy.
  • What do your dreams look like?
  • Do you remember them?
  • Are they vivid and real?
  • What do you do when you wake up from a dream--good or bad?
When I wake up from a very real and vivid dream, I write it down as quickly as I can before I start forgetting it.  I keep a notepad and pen on my bedside table just for that.  Once I've written down the basic idea, I pray about it.  After writing your dreams down for several weeks, look back over them.  
  • Is there a pattern?  
  • Do you have a recurring dream?  
  • Have you dreamed something and days, weeks, months or years later actually experienced that thing, that event in your dream?
See, the Lord gives us passions and visions of what our lives can be (as we've discussed with regard to vision boards), but He also gives us dreams, little glimpses of things to come in our lives.  That's the feeling of déjà vu that we sometimes experience.  Only God can tell you or show you what these dreams truly mean, and that is why praying about them is so vital to our understanding.
I used to be afraid of dreams in which I was flying.  But that's really just a rehearsal for our life in Heaven.  God is preparing us for that time.  It's really interesting and inspiring to consider all the glimpses He gives us in our waking lives and in our dreams!
Jacob had dreams.  Joseph had dreams.  Dreams are God's way of showing us things that we can't understand or perceive any other way.  In Genesis 28:12, Jacob dreamed of a ladder and the angels were going up and down it.  Genesis 37, 39, and 41 each speak of dreams that Joseph either had himself or was able to interpret through the revelation of the Lord.  Daniel interpreted dreams as well.  In 1 Samuel 28:6 it says that "Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by the prophets."  In Matthew we read that an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph, Jesus' father, and told him to flee to Egypt.  Joel 2:28 says  And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions."  
Dreams are not to be feared.  As we read in the Scripture, it is often God's way of speaking to us.  So tonight, as you're getting ready for bed, ask the Lord to reveal something to you in your dreams, and thank Him for restful, peaceful sleep. 

Have a great week!!


Friday, February 3, 2017

Friday 'Fess Up

As you know, my One Word for the year is "FLOURISH"! Our chosen word is meant to help keep us focused, keep us looking toward the visions we have, and allow us to work toward the goal of that word.

My confession to you is that this week, I didn't feel much like I was flourishing. In fact, I felt that everything was pulling against me doing anything like that! I wasn't thriving, increasing, growing, abounding, expanding (except maybe my waste line!), making steady progress, or at the high point of my life!

Then I began to take notice of things. I believe the Lord is allowing me to go through a "weeding out" process in life right now, and here is what I can see happening:

  • I've stepped out of a leadership role in the youth organization I work with, and God is giving me opportunities to work with another group of youth!
  • I've reclaimed some of the time that was being stolen from my calling, and God is giving me more women to disciple!
  • I've focused on doing my Bible School assignment more, and God has grown my faith more and more. (Remember the furnace episode?!)
  • The things that were sucking my time and stealing me away from my family and calling, have slowly been slipping away to make more time for the things He has called me to do!
I encourage you today to find synonyms for your One Word! Write them down, print them out, get them in front of you (Habakkuk 2:2), so that you may see it every day. Take survey of how the Lord is allowing you to grow and change. Can you see your One Word playing out in your life even now?

Have a blessed week!


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

In the past several weeks, you've no doubt seen and heard the chaos that is going on in our nation. While it's often easy to hide our feelings, fears, and even insecurities from our younger children, I believe our older children can benefit from knowing what's happening.

My husband and I often talk to our children about the government, politics, and the things the government has done, is doing, or will do, whether we agree with those decisions or not. We want them to have not only a well-rounded understanding of the events but also we want to encourage them to form their own opinions and know what they stand for and why. Then we pray together for our nation, our president, and those in authority over us.

Today, I'd like to encourage you to talk with your middle school and high school aged children about these things. Watch the news, read the paper, and discuss current events. For those of you with younger children, take the time to pray for our nation with those young ones! Encourage your older children to pray, too!

How do you include your children in politics and teach government? We would love for you to share!

Have a blessed week!