Friday, March 31, 2017

Friday 'Fess Up

When you put first things first, the enemy will immediately begin attacking you! He's jealous of God. He wants to distract you from focusing on the Lord and will stop at nothing to keep you from fulfilling what God has called you to do for His kingdom.

We daily have to battle distractions that aim to take our focus off the Lord, off of our goals, and off our productive plans for the day. How many times have we said that we were going to purpose to eat correctly? What about those times we've said we would begin working out more regularly? And devotional time we promised the Lord and ourselves that we would put first? How often have those things taken a back burner or have we gotten to the end of our day only to realize those things we set out to accomplish, we had forgotten about?

I'm so guilty of all of the above! That's my confession to you today. I found this true this week in two areas: my devotions and my workouts. I'd get to the end of the day, getting ready for bed, and sit and get a bit bummed that I was only now remembering the devotion and the workout that I had planned to make a first priority each day this week. I began to beat myself up about forgetting time with the Lord. 

But that's not what the Lord does to us! His Word says that His mercies are new every morning! So, if your week turned out much like mine, don't get upset, don't beat yourself up about it, and don't stop aiming for those goals! Know that tomorrow is a new day, and it is our opportunity to begin being intentional again.

Have a blessed weekend!


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

Spring Break! It seems everyone goes away or takes a special trip during this time. But what about homeschoolers? Should we take Spring Break and other breaks and holidays when public schools do? I say no. Here's why.

One of our family's favorite vacation destinations is Disney World. We really enjoy our time there. For me, it's all about seeing the dreams of one man manifested in this one place. It's about getting away from the busyness and chaos of home life and also about going when fewer folks are visiting.

Enough about that! What I really want you to take away is this. When our kids are working more on completing their lessons, they will complete that textbook or workbook, and they will advance more rapidly through grade levels. I believe that our children have an assignment placed on each of their lives. It is up to us to prepare them for that. There is still time for family trips, but not at the same time as their public school counterparts.

As you know if you have read my blog for a while, we homeschool year-round. It is for the reasons mentioned about that we do this. Education is necessary in every child's life. Some may need more math and science, other more English and writing for their future careers, but allowing them to explore the world around them and to set them on the path that God has for them is our priority.

We don't want homeschooling to look like public school at home necessarily, so we are diligent in working throughout Spring Break as well as most of the public schools' Summer Break.

I'd like to hear your thoughts on homeschooling and taking traditional breaks off!

Have a blessed week!


Monday, March 27, 2017

Righteous: Why Being Right Is Who We Are!

Ask any of my close friends and they will tell you, I do my research, and I know that I'm right when I'm right! Sometimes, I just feel like I have to be right! Can anyone relate? Have you ever met someone like me who just has to be right? If you have, I'm sure you've gotten frustrated with us as we argue our points, complete with data and facts. Am I hitting a nerve? Well, did you know there is a Biblical reason why people like me are like this? Let me show you!

You see, God created us to be right. He made us righteous. Here's what righteous means:

God made us to be right! Now that doesn't mean we are free to argue with each other. But it shows that being right is part of our DNA; it's who we are, and who He made us to be. We can strive to be right by filling ourselves with the Word of God. He is the One who grants us wisdom when we ask for it (James 1:9), and He made us righteous (Romans 10:10, Psalms 98:2, 2 Corinthians 5:21).

Have a blessed, righteous week!!


Monday, March 20, 2017

Redeeming Our Time: A Friday 'Fess Up On Monday

This past week was very stressful for me, more than usual. I'm not just talking about the normal busyness that I live in but those "Oh! I didn't realize that was an all day thing or that this assignment was due THIS Sunday" kind of stressful. 

I missed posting the "Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement," and I realized on Friday night when a friend mentioned how much she loved reading my "Friday 'Fess Up" series that I hadn't posted that either! Then I learned late Thursday that an assignment I thought was due next Sunday was really do this past Sunday! On top of that, an event I had committed to back in January turned out to be an all-day event, not just a 9 a.m. to noon thing like I thought. I could literally feel the hours in my weekend being stolen from me!! Have you ever felt like that?

Well, today, I want to confess to you that I did something on Sunday afternoon that I should have been doing this whole week: I sought the Lord--FIRST--today. I know, I know! Some of you are thinking, "DUH! Why didn't she do that in the first place?" Well, sometimes, we just get so fixed in doing life and going through the motions of all we have to do, that we forget that we need to intentionally seek the Lord.

You know what happened yesterday when I set time aside to be with the Lord? He redeemed my time so I was able to finish that assignment ON TIME, I made it through a successful event on Saturday, and here I am writing a sort of double-duty post! It's amazing what the Lord will do for you and help you accomplish when you simply seek Him first, isn't it?

What have you seen the Lord do in your life when you put Him first?

I hope you all have a great week! Catch me again on Wednesday for "Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement" where we'll be talking about assessment testing and the homeschooler!

Have a blessed week!


Monday, March 13, 2017

Where Do You See Yourself 5 Years From Now?

Every year since 2013, my husband and I intentionally go away just the two of us to talk about and pray about what the Lord has for us for that year. Sometimes, it's far away; sometimes, only an hour away. But we have come to realize the importance of getting together, away from other influences, to talk about and plan our goals and vision for the new year.

This year, we discussed many things from our ministries to getting our physical house in order to planning for 5 years from now. We wrote those plans down. Detailed ways of accomplishing those goals, and prayed over them. Today, we start on one of those plans: Cleaning out the garage! Now to you, that might now seem like a big deal or a real vision. It is the start of the plan to get my husband back to his woodworking, and without a clean, functioning garage, he just can't do that. So you see, what you plan for today, will directly affect an area tomorrow.

If we don't plan to start or don't start at all, that other goal, creating a Celtic cross for an upcoming art show, won't be realized either. If you don't start setting money aside for that family vacation, you won't go on it. If you don't start walking, buy the gym membership, or invest in a workout DVD, you're not going to get moving. If you don't sit down at the computer and start writing that book, you're not going to get it published. If you don't look into creating, renting, or buying that office space, you won't start your business. Do you see how what you do today affects what happens tomorrow?

If you're like me, you don't want to be in the same spot, doing the same thing 5 years from now as you are today, right? Have you ever taken the time to write down where you see yourself in 5 years or where you'd like to see yourself? Matthew McConaughey said once that his hero is himself 10 years from now. Let me share some statistics with you about some well known companies. 

Did you know:

  • Whole Foods grew by 1000% in just over 6 years?
  • Qualcomm (cell phone maker) grew by 1000% in 6 years.
  • Staples, the office supply store, grew by 1000% in less than 5 years.
  • Coffee giant, Starbucks grew by 1000% in 3 years!
  • Yahoo! grew by 1000% in 2 years.
  • grew by 1000% in just ONE YEAR! 
  • Auction powerhouse, eBay, grew by 1000% in just 6 short months!!

If these companies can grow, flourish, and become thriving entities in around 5 years, what more can your Father in Heaven do for you and your vision? Psalms 37:25 says, "I have never seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed out begging bread." Read Deuteronomy 28:3-14 and see what the Lord will do for you! See that He will make you FLOURISH this year!

I want to encourage you, if you haven't yet this year, to sit down and get with the Lord and, if you're married, your husband. Talk about the things you want to do, write down plans for doing them, and pray about accomplishing them. Don't talk yourself out of it or you won't do it at all! You don't have to figure it all out right now. But you do have to start with a plan and you DO have to start!

Have a blessed week!


Friday, March 10, 2017

Friday 'Fess Up

This week, I was met with many challenges and trials. My knowledge was challenged and even the content I posted on my youth organization's Facebook page was questioned. Well, dear sisters, I'm human. I privately emailed the person in charge and told her of the things that had been done to me. Then, I stepped away from the organization. Sadly, I did let my emotions rule me in those moments I was composing the email. However, I have forgiven those involved, and I'm moving on. I have a renewed peace and freedom in stepping away, and I'm now ready for whatever the Lord asks of me next.

Maybe you've been taking a lot recently. Maybe you believe that, as a Christian, it's your duty to be a doormat and to allow yourself to be walked all over. Sister, let me assure that is not the case! We don't have to fight battles because the Lord will fight for us. If we react in anger, as I did, I think we need to humble ourselves, admit the wrong, and ask forgiveness. We're human. We react, we speak, we more than likely regret what was said, sometimes we get angry, not with people but more the situation. There is forgiveness for us in the Lord. It is in these times we must strive to be more Christ-like.

Today, I am committing to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. What area do you need to practice this verse?

Have a blessed weekend!


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

When you think of homeschooling, what are the first things that come to mind? High academic scores, well behaved children, proficiency in playing instruments, and dedicated parents are what I think of. When one of those areas is lacking, there needs to come a time of remediation or retraining the children.

Recently, a friend posted that she had taken a month off of schooling to work on attitudes, correct bad behaviors, get back to eating healthy for the whole family, and work on creating habits of daily chores like making beds, cleaning the bathroom, and doing dishes.

You see, homeschooling goes beyond just teaching academics and seeing how much information our children can retain each year. It is an opportunity for us as parent educators to sew into our children's lives and into their spirits. We can teach things like forgiveness, compassion, hospitality, servanthood, obedience, love, integrity, leadership, humility, and patience as part of our homeschool education. 

Today, I want encourage you to assess your children's attitudes. 

Do they argue often? 
Do you find you must ask them to do a chore several times before it is completed? 
Are two or more children angry with one another?
Do you see them looking down on others, like the homeless?
Do they change plans spotaneously to fit what they want to do?
Are they frustrated with school work?

Make the decision today to work on fixing those character flaws and assist them in striving for stronger, Biblically-based traits.

Remind them of the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Take time for daily prayer time encouraging your children to forgive and ask forgiveness, too. Book learning will come, but these years that our children are in our care are short. Take this time to build and empower our children to be full of the love of Jesus and walk in the fruit of the Spirit!

Have a blessed week!


Monday, March 6, 2017

The Power of the Name of Jesus

This week I want to share with you the power of the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. The name of Jesus has such power. Here are just a few examples that I found as I meditated on the Word.

  1. At the name of Jesus every knee will bow on earth, in heaven, and those who have died (Philippians 2:10). That's power! Power to have everyone bow to Jesus no matter where they are, alive or dead.
  2. Demons have to flee at the name of Jesus (Acts 16:18).
  3. Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13). The Name of Jesus has the power to save, the power to grant salvation to all who call on Him.
  4. Our help is in the name of the Lord (Psalms 124:8), and He is our defender (Psalms 20:1).
  5. The name of the Lord has the power to bless us (1 Chronicles 16:2).
  6. There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).
  7. Whatever we ask the Father in Jesus' name He will give us (John 16:23).
  8. The name of the Lord is a high tower and the righteous run to it and are safe (Proverbs 18:10).
  9. The power of the name of Jesus will make us whole, healed, and restored (Acts 9:34).
  10. His name gives us the power to do what Jesus did and greater works we will do (John 14:13).
  11. We are baptized in His name (Matthew 28:19) and justified in His name (1 Corinthians 6:11).

Everything we have need of, every bondage that needs to be broken, relationship that needs to be healed, sickness that needs to be overcome, the very name of Jesus can and will restore!

Yes, there is power in the name of Jesus!

Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them! (Joshua 1:8)

Have a blessed week in Jesus' Name!


Friday, March 3, 2017

Friday 'Fess Up

I am usually pretty transparent with you all, and I don't want today to be any different. The past few weeks, I've been more emotional than is typical for me. I can't read one of those "missing my mom or dad" posts or reunions with soldiers or fur babies who have died recently without tears flowing uncontrollably. When I hear of friends and loved ones whose marriages or relationships have ended, I sob as though I were going through it! I get easily angered in situations that I have no real control over. And I feel like I'm drowning in this sea of emotions. I don't know why I feel this way either. And that makes me even more upset. 

I realized a few things during this time of contemplation of my emotions. 
First, I believe I am having these emotions because I'm choosing to not deal with other situations in my life. I recently stepped down from a leadership position within the youth organization in which I work and suddenly feel as though I'm not really needed nor appreciated. That should be okay to not be needed! After all, that's one of the reasons I stepped down! But that has me upset. 
Next, my best friend is moving. Not just a few blocks away or a few miles away or a few hours away. She's moving 18 hours away! I'm so happy for this adventure she's going to be on with her family. But I'm also going to miss her very much...
Finally, I've been missing my step-dad an awful lot lately. "That's normal," you might think. And I suppose it is. But this is the 11th anniversary of his passing, and his absence is so strong to me that I can't ignore his missing so many exciting things that are happening in my life, my mom's life, and the lives of my children. It's all so overwhelming to me, and I think it's just spilling over in my emotions.

My confession today is that while God gave me free will and emotions, I should not and cannot allow myself to be ruled by those things! Derek Prince says that the Bible " life as it is. It takes account of human weakness" ("Through the Psalms," Derek Prince). He goes on to say that in the life of faith, there is a conflict between our spirit and our emotions and that our spirit will not yield to the dictates of emotions. Rather our spirit says we will turn to God and remember what His Word says, finding the promises of God that meet our needs. That's what I'm going to do starting now! 

Today, if you find yourself stretched, frustrated, overwhelmed by emotions, and in need of the Lord, declare the promises of the Lord over your situation! Just open up the Word of God and ask Him to show you!

Have a blessed weekend!


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

This is a special encouragement for those homeschooling families who may be moving to new areas and faced with new challenges with homeschooling in a new state.

We have lived in a few different states while homeschooling. I have learned some valuable lessons along the way that I'd like to pass on to you today. First, find out the laws in your new state. This will keep you covered legally and allow you to continue your homeschooling journey without intrusion from local school officials.
Next, find a local homeschool co-op, support group, or other homeschooling entities. This will help you get clarification in the laws, options you might have, etc. Plus, it's a great way to make new friends! They might also be able to suggest a local church that you can attend and get some homeschooling support from there.
Finally, be confident in your decision to homeschool in your new area, too. Nothing has changed with your schooling, only the location has become different. 

Have a great week!