I love, love, love how beautifully The Gypsy Housewife has captured the essence of motherhood as she describes why she loves being a mommy, so I thought I’d share with all of you!

thegypsyhousewife

Fellow homeschool Mom blogger over at http://www.mommymeditations.wordpress.com has been so kind as to give me a nomination for the Beautiful Mama Blog Award.  I really appreciate that. Motherhood is beautiful and I love when women are able to give each other that affirmation. Every mama is beautiful……..I’m taking Blue-eyes word on that. A new baby in the womb or in arms makes every woman beautiful.Image

So….three things I love about being a mother. I’ve been thinking about that this morning and it’s hard to narrow it down to three things. But if I must then here goes.

1. I love how babies are made, no seriously, I love that a young maiden marries a young man, full of potential,  hopes and aspirations for his family. For HIS family, the one thing that will tell the world who he really can be. With nervous hands and a humble heart he sets out to…

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Spring Cleaning the Hidey Hole

 

Joshua 7:20-21 And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done:

21When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.

Last week the spring cleaning bug finally bit me. If some of my friend’s Facebook pages are any indication, then the bug bit me a little later than everyone else this year, but at least it bit me. I think he missed me last spring. But you know the bug has bit you, because you wake up that morning feeling a little on the manic side, and you have grand visions of what your house is going to look like when you’re done.

As is my custom, I immediately tore into the worst spot of the entire house. The place we like to call “The Hidey Hole.” Now when we moved into this house I was thrilled that in the back of the house, attached to my daughter’s room was an extra little room. An entire spare room with a closet! I had just moved out of a 900 square foot house with little closet space. This was a luxury to me. But this “entire extra room” has become a horrible little burr in my brain. Its existence sort of hangs over my mind all day, haunting me. Because here is the thing about having an “extra room” that did not have any official use in my home: it became my “Hidey Hole”, a gross little catch all spot where I just started stuffing things. It had gotten so bad that you could no longer see the floor. The pile of stuff just started at the door way and sloped upwards.

As I dug through the yuck, I began thinking about “Hidey Holes” in our lives spiritually. Dark little rooms where we stuff things hoping no one opens that door. Like Achan, frantically digging his hole in his tent to stuff in his stolen goods, how often do we slip away to our hidey holes to hide away our sins?

Usually when we think of “sneakiness” or hiding things our minds instantly go to “big” sins, like adultery, fornication, stealing. But our hidey holes can fill up just as easily with bitterness, anger, discontentment, gossip, jealousy. In fact they fill up much faster with these things because these are the sneaky sins the devil most often tempts established “Christians” towards. These are the sins of “moral” people. Let’s look a little closer at Achan’s hidey hole in hopes of shedding some light on our own.

  1. Achan justified the stolen items by thinking they would be “good” for him. “When I saw among the spoils a GOODLY Babylonish garment.”  Humans are very creative at coming up with ways to justify sin, no matter how wicked we can always put a positive twist on it in the beginning.
  2. Achan’s sin affected all the people of God around him. Joshua 7:1 “But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel.” God’s anger was kindled at all the children of Israel because of what one man did! Never ever think the sins in your hidey hole are just “your business.” You are part of the family of God and hopefully a member of a New Testament church and each Christian affects his church. Your sins are not your own, they will reach out and affect others.
  3. Achan’s sin was a hindrance to his pastor. V6 “And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the LORD until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads.” Even before Joshua knew what had happened, he knew something was wrong. True men of God know when things are amiss in their congregation. Our sin can be an unnecessary burden on our already burdened spiritual leaders.
  4. Achan’s “secret” sin came out in a very public way. V20 “And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done.” Take a moment to truly imagine the possible ending consequences of your hidden sins. What type of embarrassment or pain will it cause for you and for others?
  5. If he had cleaned out his own hidey hole and repented, the leaders of Israel wouldn’t have had to do it for him. V 22-23 “So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran unto the tent; and, behold, it was hid in his tent, and the silver under it. And they took them out of the midst of the tent, and brought them unto Joshua, and unto all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the LORD.” There is few things as sweet as timely repentance; knowing in your heart that you’ve made things right BEFORE the Lord had to begin chastising you.
  6. Achan and his family died because of his sins. V24-25 “And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor. And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones.” If sin remains in your hidey hole long enough it can affect the spirituality of your family, especially your children. How sad if our children are spiritually “stoned” because of hidden sin that we refuse to confess and repent of.

 

It is a sweet feeling to get a room like mine all cleaned out and organized. Once my hidey hole was all tidied up, and I got rid of many garbage bags full of junk, I just sat back with a cup of coffee and relaxed, knowing it would not bother my mind any longer. And isn’t that the feeling, times a hundred, when we repent and let the Lord tidy up our hidey holes, throw open the windows and let the spring breezes blow through our spirit? Open up those windows this morning and see if you need to do some spring cleaning of the soul.

 

Beautiful Mom Blog Award

beautiful-mama-blog-award1I was nominated this week for a Beautiful Mom Blog award by Ms. Victoria at Homaking with Heart. Victoria has a great blog with lot of info on mothering, healthy eating (which I really need to read ) and homeschool ideas which have already been a blessing to me as I ordered my Apologia Science just yesterday!!! Please check out her lovely sight at  www.homemakingwithheart.com

Now as part of this I get to share three things I love about mothering.

1. I love morning cuddles. My children have inherited my “morning moping syndrom” which means we get up, but only to migrate into the living room and sit all on top of each other for a while before we are actually able to get going. And perhaps super scheduled homeschoolers might see this as laziness (cause it will still take us another hour to eat breakfast, get dressed and do our chores) we NEED this morning cuddling. It is getting harder as the boys get bigger (and heavier), but even my eight year old stumbles into the living room in the morning, all sleepy in his pjs with his arms open saying, “Mommy, hold me!” I will miss this alot when they are gone so the schedulers can just hush.

2. I LOVE listening to my children read to me! Only my two oldest can read yet, but it makes me sooooo happy to listen to them and think…”Oh, wow! I taught them how to that. I taught them how to do this miraculous thing that will make such a difference in their lives.

3. I love it when my children sense I am sad or upset and start  making up little songs to cheer me up and (my absolute favorite) making up hilarious dances to make me laugh. Usually as they are dancing crazily around they will ask, “Is this making you wanna laugh? This is gonna make  you laugh!” They are so entertaining, and really are my best little buddies.

Now, my nominations for The Beautiful Mom Blog award are:

The Gypsy Housewife over at www.thegypsyhousewife.wordpress.com A really cool lady who is keeping it real and natural with her seven babies!!!

Cristina at www.thehomeschoolmomblog.wordpress.com Tons of good info here on homeschooling and mommyhood

And I save the best for last:

Tiffani at www.tiffibug.blogspot.com My “real life” friend for life. We have literally been friends for…..well after a certain age counting years just makes you feel old, so lets just say a LONG time. Beautiful lady, amazing mother, awsome crafter!

Please check out these lovely ladies, and have a wonderful day in the Lord!

Absolutely had to reblog this great article by J.D. Blom. This is a topic I’ve wanted to write about for a while, but he nailed it so well, I’ve decided to just share this great devotional author’s take on the subject. If you enjoy this devotion. please check out his blog A Devoted Life http://www.boyslumber.wordpress.com

A DEVOTED LIFE

“The vexation of a fool is known at once, but the prudent ignores an insult.”  Proverbs 12:16

“You are going to have to grow some thicker skin.”

That is a saying that I have made to younger, discouraged, engineers on many occasions.  It was a statement that was made to me.  We usually receive this bit of wisdom after someone in our office has experienced a particularly harsh exposure to the public, delivered the bad news to a short-tempered contractor, or had to eat the fruit of a client’s bad day.

Unfortunately, rude and insulting people are not limited to the work environment.  The world seems to have an endless supply of rude and insulting people.  They are in stores, restaurants, automobiles, sporting venues, the internet, family trees, and the Church.  We have all clashed with that person.  If you have not, then you might be that person, which is…

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Books for Our Spirit

It is common knowledge to those who know me that I am a book worm. Unashamedly! In my younger days I thought reading period was virtuous, that there was not a better pass time and it didn’t matter what you were reading as long as you were reading. As a result I was not very discerning in some of the material I exposed myself to. As I’ve gotten older, though, I’ve come to understand how very influential the written word can be on our spirits. This works both positively and negatively. Obviously the word of God is the most influential of texts, but there is much to be said for other spiritual books that can help shed light on our Christian/human experince. I am a firm believer that good spiritual books and biographies of spiritual leaders should definitely be a part of our quiet devotion each day (secondary to the scriptures of course). So every so often I will be reviewing such a book here to share with you little literary treasures that have helped me on my spiritual journey and that could perhaps also be a blessing to you.

untitled Today’s book is probably one of the first spiritual books I ever read as a young lady. My mother purchased it for me when I was 18 years old and I’ve lost count how many times I’ve read it. “Stepping Heavenward” was written by Elizabeth Prentiss, a great Christian author of the 19th century. It’s a lovely, old fashioned book. It is fictional but heavily based on the author’s own experinces as a young woman, wife and mother. Written as journal entires spanning a woman’s life from her young unmarried days, through the early years of her marriage and even down the dark path of losing a child and growing older. It is more than just a diary though, it is a documentation of her spiritual journey through the years, and how the Lord changes us over time into more beautiful creatures. It is one of those books that every time you read it you will learn something new, and see yet more and more you can relate to. Definitely one of my favorites. This is a lovely book to read and meditate on during your quiet time with the Lord.

Homeschool Myths VS. Homeschool Realities

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We had our monthly homeschool meeting last night and this month instead of our children making presentations on topics, the parents were asked to present helpful tips and things they had learned through homeschooling. Well, soon as I heard what the topic was going to be I decided I would NOT be making a presentation. My reason,was that this has been an awful school year for me/us and frankly I do not feel like I’m in any position to share much of anything! Espcially when you consider that our church is full of some very seasoned, gifted homeschool parents. What could I possibly say to help any of them? But then Tracy (who was heading up this month’s meeting) called and said, “So what are you presenting?” I told her nothing and explained why. And then she flipped my reasoning on me (much like her father, my pastor of 25 years, often does). “Well, then you should share something about being discouraged.” Hmm, I had no argument for that. So I began reflecting on why this had been such a discouraging school year for me.  Lord began to shed His light on my frustration and confusion. He is always faithful to do this when we sincerely inquire. He showed me that my frustration is a result of His removing certain fantasies I had about homeschooling and replacing them with cold, hard reality. When God begins to remove our fantasies and replaces it with reality it’s called “disillusionment”- to lose your illusions. This is a very unpleasant, painful and humbling process, but very necessary if we are to ever reach a higher level of maturity and spirituality. I  know my God is faithful to lead me back out of any tough spot He has led me into so I keep getting up every day and keep homeschooling my children even though right now I don’t feel I am at the peak of anything.  I did decide to jot down and share with my homeschool group some of the fantasies or myths that God was trying to replace with reality for me right now. Please know, I in no way think ALL homeschoolers believe these silly, prideful things that I once believed. These are my own personal myths!

Myth- Homeschooling will make me a better parent than the average parent.

Reality- Somedays I’m still an awful parent.

Myth- Homeschooling will my kids better than the average kids.

Reality- Somedays my kids are still awful kids.

Myth- We will always stick to a carefully planned routine in which all of our chores, goals and lessons are accomplished everyday.

Reality- Somedays we don’t get started till noon and somedays we are still in our pajamas.

Myth- I am intelligent and capable enough to juggle homeschooling, housework, church activities, kids activities, husband’s activities, meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking, laundry, my own personal fitness and my own hobbies each week.

Reality- I can usually only manage to hit three or four out of that list each week and even those are exhausting.

Myth- If I very carefully choose my curriculm and teach it right my kids will be  more intelligent and advanced than everyone else’s.

Reality- Each child learns at a different pace and in a different way. It’s not about intelligence it’s about development as a human being.

Myth- If I’m a good homeschooler my kids will love doing school everyday.

Reality- Most kids (espcially boys) do not like structured, indoor activities of anykind. This is the nature of children not a reflection on me as a homeschooler.

Myth- If I homechool my children will have better relationships with each other than the average siblings.

Reality- Some days I am certain my children are going to murder each other and there will be a cheap tv movie made about us called “Homeschool Horrors in Georgia.”

Myth- We will spend the chilly, rainy, winter months doing fun crafts, working ahead in our lessons, drinking hot cocoa and reading children’s classics aloud.

Reality- The months of Nov-Mar are very depressing to me. I can barely mope my way through half a days lessons before I’m ready to call it quits and make everyone take a nap.

Myth- If you are very organized, and run a well disciplined home, and buy just the right books, and do everything just perfect homeschooling will be a breeze!

Reality- Homeschooling is hard no matter what! Most of the rewards will not be realized until years down the road, and even then some of our children will not appreciate what we’ve done for them. Some of our children may even resent us for choosing this lifestyle for them. But we must hope that they will see the value in what we’ve given them and what we’ve spared them from. We must hope, because without hope we will be “of all  men most miserable.”

The only thing I am certain about in homeschooling right now, is this: IT IS THE PERFECT WILL GOD FOR ME TO BE DOING THIS FOR MY CHILDREN RIGHT NOW! Even in my stumbling, imperfect way I am in the will of God and there is much joy to be had in that!

Homeschool Blessing Boomerang

imagesLuke 6:38

38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again

I began my homeschool journey about five years ago with my oldest son Ethan. I was nervous, excited, and felt completely inadequate for such a huge job. A few days before I was to begin “school” a lovely lady in our church, named Angel, who had been homeschooling for years came up to me with a huge purple basket filled with goodies. “Here,” she said, “this is for you and Ethan. You’re going to do just fine.” The basket was filled with crayons, workbooks, snacks, and some candles and chocolates for me. I felt so encouraged and ready to start. I was reminded of this act of kindess a few weeks ago when another mother in our church shared with me that she was about to start pre school with her precious three year old. She was nervous, just like me. I didn’t have time to put together a basket like Angel had made me years before, but I did have time to jot down some preschool ideas that had worked well for us, grab up some books I was no longer using and write a little note of encouragement. I passed it on to the young mother. I didn’t really think about it much after that, just that I hoped it was helpful.
Two weeks later I was having a terrible Sunday. I had been feeling very discouraged about some homeschooling problems I was having with my youngest son, and just generally feeling like “What is the point?” And honestly was glad to be headed home for my bed, when the young mom approached me in the parking lot at church. “I didn’t have time to look at the stuff you gave me till just the other day, and it really encouraged me. I’m so nervous about homeschooling, but I feel better after reading your letter. Thank you.” And she handed me a gift bag filled with goodies as a thank you. I cried the whole way home as the Lord reminded me again, “You’ll do just fine.” Sometimes trying to be a blessing to someone else comes back to bless you on a dark and dreary day.