Posts from the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
The Internet – A Love, Hate Relationship
Sometimes I absolutely LOATHE the internet, email and all that comes with technology. It seems so invasive at times. Yet, there are other times, like today when I just can’t get enough of it. There is something exciting about being able to have the world at your fingertips especially when it comes to homeschooling……
We are in the middle of studying Ancient Rome and I have been able to instantaneously download lapbook projects, unit studies and much more using the internet. It’s a good thing too…since we are receiving a second foot of snow in the past four days making going to get anything pretty much an impossibility.
Despite the snow, spring fever has set in with all of us so I needed to change up our approach to studying just a bit in order to keep our interest level high enough to continue. Today, in one of the unit studies I downloaded we have been visiting websites that take us through Roman architecture and on virtual tours of Rome. Since we leave for Rome on a “Field Trip” with Master’s Academy in less than two weeks, the subject has become even more exciting.
I thought I would pass some of these links on to you just in case you are approaching your study of history by specific time periods.
Building Big: Shapes Lab http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/buildingbig/lab/shapes.html
Roman Open Air Museum http://www.villa-rustica.de/tour/toure.html
Tour of Rome Monuments: http://www.virtualrome.com/rome/monuments/index.html
Oh….and by the way…..be sure to check out the book review section on the site www.theendinmind.net You will see it listed on the right hand column. This will take you to a link where I am listing all the books I have used and loved over the years in our homeschooling using a time period and arts related approach. I haven’t reviewed them all yet, but I have at least gotten them all “rated”.
You may be asking, what in the WORLD does THIS blog have to do with “beginning with the end in mind”. Well, when it comes to educating and training our children, books, websites and so much more can all help us in our journey…..but then, that’s fodder for another blog on another day.
For those of you enjoying spring weather, think of us out here with four feet of snow on the ground and be sure to send us a comment now and then.
Faith and Courage,
Let Go and Jump!
One time, John and I won a trip to some resort in Arizona. While there, we had the opportunity to participate in a leadership activity…otherwise known as some sort of ropes course. When I found out that part of that “opportunity” included climbing to the top of a pole….and while strapped to some type of safety cord……I would be asked to jump out and off the pole in order to latch onto another rope and swing to another source of firm footing…….
As you might imagine, when I realized what I was going to be asked to do, I conveniently found something else to fill my day and my time. John, however, went with the group and participated. He came back totally pumped and exhilarated and almost made me feel like I’d missed something. Almost!
Today I found myself thinking back to that missed opportunity and wondering once again what it would have felt like if I had pushed myself beyond my comfort zone…if I had trusted the instructors….if I hadn’t been afraid of falling…..if I hadn’t been afraid of letting go of one thing in order to gain another. What would it have felt like to “free fall”?
Do you think God sometimes asks us to experience the feeling of “free falling”? Does He ask us to jump off and out on sheer faith that we will somehow make it to the other side safely? Do you think He expects us to jump even when we can’t feel his presence right beside us ready to catch us? Every once in a while, I get the feeling I’m supposed to leap out….and yet, when I glance down, I see my knuckles white with terror and anxiety, trying to keep myself from falling much less jumping. I see my hands and arms wrapped tightly around what I DO know and not being willing to experience the UNKNOWN.
Funny…I’ve always thought of myself as an adventurous sort of girl. One that is willing to take risks…..but I guess that is true only to a certain extent. Sometimes fear seems to grip my heart…..fear of the unknown takes over and keeps me from experiencing all that God has for me. Oh ME of little faith! Yet, it is so much more comfortable and even COMFORTING to stay with what I know I can count on and the things I’ve grown to expect.
However, I find myself once again feeling like I’m being asked to jump. To let go…and Jump! To free fall with no expectations of the future but a trust in the one who holds the future. Wow…that takes courage……!!!!! Anyone out there feeling the same way?
Faith AND Courage,
It’s funny in which areas I find it easy to be flexible and areas in which I can find it VERY challenging to be flexible. There have been times when I have felt great satisfaction at my ability to flex and yet other times when I feel that if I have to flex or bend anymore I will absolutely break into a million pieces. In analyzing those more “challenging” times, I have to admit that the “more challenging” areas are areas in which I really to control the outcome. How foolish of me to think that I can ultimately control any outcome! Sure, I need to plan, schedule, pray and work, but ultimately, the outcome of anything and everything I do is in God’s control.
This morning I was talking with a dear friend of mine and as we talked I was reminded once again of how much we push ourselves even beyond acceptable limits so that we can stay ahead of the game. Then, one morning, or more likely, late one night, we begin to realize we have been out of sync and out of balance for too long. Why? Because we are pushing ourselves more than anyone else would EVER push us and because we cannot accept our limitations of time and energy. SO, what do we do when the “to do” list is so long that there is no way humanly possible to get it all done. The key word in that phrase is humanly possible. If God has given us specific priorities as women, are we confident that He can do all that we need him to do above ALL that we ask or think? Are we confident that God will work in and through us and our limitations to bring HIM the ultimate glory for the solutions and outcomes of our “to do” lists?
As my friend and I talked about all that was weighing on our hearts and minds this morning, I began to realize that same passage in Proverbs 3:5-6. “Leaning NOT on our own understanding”, isn’t just about making decisions, it is about relying on GOD for the wisdom on what to do when, and what to flex on and leave until later, or what to delegate to others. God does not reward us for “leaning on our own understanding” or on our own abilities. He wants us to stay focused on our priorities, on our God-given desires for the right end result with our marriages, our families, and our ministries. That being said, if something needs to “wait” until a more appropriate time so that we can stay focused on our God-given responsibilities and priorities, then GOD will take care of the outcome of our decision to stay true to HIS principles.
Wow! That’s so much easier said than done. ESPECIALLY, when the to do list is just another name for people waiting on us for answers, direction, progress and much more. With people’s expectations and demands lurking behind our “to do“ list, being flexible can be very challenging. Even harder, is the fear that often lurks behind our motivation to stay ahead of the game. What if parts of our lives or our ministries fall apart or are delayed as a result of our not being able to keep up? The responsibility we feel for these areas is very real. Although it is good and necessary to feel that responsibility, who are we kidding to think that things will fall apart if we have to flex with some deadlines or expectations? Let’s be real! God doesn’t need any of us. IF something is important enough to God that it has to be done right now, and it isn’t something that HE has enabled us with time and energy to do WHILE taking care of our families, then HE can and HE WILL find another way to fulfill HIS purpose.
IF we can keep that in mind, some of the pressure and frantic fear we feel will subside. Remember the story of Jesus in the boat with the disciples! The disciples were caught in a storm and the boat was filling with water FAST! The disciples were frantic with fear and even frustrated with Jesus for SLEEPING in the boat. What were Jesus words: “Peace, BE STILL”. Obviously, Jesus was talking to the storm but I have a feeling that his words were also directed to the disciples. Jesus had control of that storm, the wind, the waves AND the boat the entire time.
The last few days I’ve had a very uneasy and almost nervous feeling. John kept asking me if I was worried about something and of course, I couldn’t figure out what was bothering me. It has been a very busy two months and I KNEW I was feeling the effect of that busyness. However, it was more than that. I was trying to control my time, my energy, my relationships ALL BY MYSELF once again. When will I ever learn. I can’t be everything to everyone! I can’t do everything at once. I have to flex…I have to have patience with myself…but more importantly, once I prioritize, I MUST leave the outcome with God himself and trust that if I’m doing what I can do within HIS priorities, that HE WILL INDEED take care of the rest. My “to do” list has not gotten any smaller today, but I am going to take some things off my plate in order to get a “grip” on some other areas.
Jordan and John have both been sick over the past couple of weeks. John is still sick and Jordan is still not up to par. Jared and I have been traveling on our lovely field trip to Boston. Put all of that together, and despite the fact that I have all my plans for our home school planned out for the rest of the year, everyone is at loose ends regarding being able to focus. Solution: TIME FOR SPRING BREAK!
The minute I decided to let the boys have some “break” time which would allow me some time to rest and restructure after this period of travel, I felt some relief. Yes…school will ultimately get done…but it can’t be done while I’m feeling at “loose ends”. The boys are happy, I’m happy and when MAMA is happy…dad is happy as well…even if he does have a fever.
I’ve had a ton of meetings that I’m supposed to be having the past week or so. In looking at them, they were ALL important and even seemed urgent. However, I also knew that I did not have the brainpower because of my traveling to focus on the subjects at hand and make those meetings worthwhile. Thus, I notified everyone that I was delaying the meetings. Guess what! NO ONE got mad at me. In some cases, they had been feeling the same way I had and were relieved that we had a little more time to get our thoughts and notes together.
I’m directing the community theater’s spring musical and we are NOT on schedule as far as I’m concerned! I’ve been feeling stress and frustration on every level! WHY? I haven’t had time or at least taken the time to really focus and get organized on this production. I’ve been allowing myself to be tossed “to and fro”. Solution: set aside some time to lay out a plan…and then work the plan! RESULT: I’m still concerned…..but more peaceful…if that makes sense!
These are just some examples from my own walk. I wish I had more answers…….but right now, I know that I’m supposed to take this week to rest, restructure and renew in several areas of my life….so that’s what I’m doing. I’m trying to flex with each season as it comes so that I can be what I need to be to my husband and my family. I’m not always successful! In fact, I’ve been pretty disappointed in myself this past week or so……but I’m trusting that God will continue to do his work in me. I can’t control everything…I have to flex……BUT I serve that God that has a plan for me and that controls all the details of life.
Faith and Courage,
More than once during this journey, we have been faced with extended periods of health limitations. For both our 3rd and 4th sons, I was confined to bed during the last half or each pregnancy, I dealt with depression, and I suffered from horrible migraine headaches. It was hard for me to accept help from others during times like that, much less ask for help. Thankfully, people helped anyway and I learned some much needed humility in the process. During these times, we did lots of read alouds, watched a ton of educational videos and literature related videos, and played lots of educational games all from my semi-permanent position on the couch or bed. Looking back, I can see so many ways that God used these times in our family. I learned to not be so pridefully independent and stubborn. My boys learned some important life skills and home related skills out of necessity…something their wives now thank us for! I learned to lean on God’s sovereignty and providence more than ever before. I learned to lean on my husband’s leadership in ways I never would have learned otherwise. And, my boys saw the spirit of a servant demonstrated by friends who helped and by a husband who demonstrated unconditional love in a trying set of circumstances.
But it wasn’t always me that experienced the health challenges. John was confined to bed for a period of time as well. He collapsed with bleeding ulcers and due to the loss of blood was unable to work for a period of time. Once again, it was a great opportunity to pull together as a family. For the boys to begin learning what it means to do the jobs of a man around the house. They learned how a family can form a team and get things done by working together. They learned to serve each other since they now had two younger brothers that we needed to help with various things each day. School was done at odd hours and even content and emphasis was readjusted during that time to take advantage of the teachable moments that were occurring due to our circumstances.
Just in the past couple of years, we experienced a serious illness of a child. Our third son was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis and with that diagnosis came an adjustment of diet, schedule, and for a time school expectations while we traveled to various doctors both in and out of state and while we allowed the time the entire family needed to adjust to the challenges we were facing. It was a very challenging time both physically and emotionally, but with a flexible approach and the beautify of homeschooling, goals were still met just in a way much different than we had envisioned. Again, it was the beauty of having a clear picture of our desired end result that allowed us to flex without breaking, to adapt to the situation and still continue to move forward towards the goal.