Surprise!

We recently had an incredible surprise… We are unexpectedly expecting baby #5! Ironically, we discovered this precious little miracle within days of scheduling the appointment that makes adding to our family impossible.  Paradoxically, we’d been grieving the end of our … Continue reading

Five Years Ago Today…

It’s our 5-year anniversary for one of the sweetest miracles we have walked through. Joshua Iason Noah was born in the evening of September 17th, weighing just barely 6lbs, being induced early for safety reasons and deciding to arrive so … Continue reading

About Our Back-to-school Plan

It’s here!  

The school year has kicked off with enthusiasm and hope.  Actually, we are in our second month of school, being the homeschooling family that we are… Ambitious?  Maybe.  However, we sat the kids down and explained a basic principle.

~Regardless of when we start, the same amount of work has to be done.  We can start early and finish early, start on time and finish on time, or start late and work later into next summer. ~

They chose to get an early start!

The school system we use is 24 weeks long.  We use a classical curriculum and once a week we meet with a large group of students, breaking into age appropriate classes.  We also meet with a smaller group of friends – other moms and their kids going through the same system.  This is the first year we are doing this, and it’s been wonderful!  The best part is we came up with a point system that challenges each of our kiddos to raise the bar in family life.  The kids spend 7 days earning points for specific goals and each time we meet they bring their accumulated points to add to the group’s goal of having a party.

We gave them fun names:

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With descriptions we all agreed on, and each of us tweaked for our specific family dynamics:

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They each get chores to check off daily.  Bigger chores for big kids, little chores for littler kids:

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And chores are explained and posted so there isn’t any misunderstanding:

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Which makes the side of our fridge into our points station:

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So far it’s been a really good start to the year.  I should add that my older two are in a challenge program working toward earning a special incentive trip at the end of the year for mastering all their school material. That’s 24 weeks worth of history, english grammar, geography, math, science, latin grammar, US presidents, and a passage of scripture memorized in english and translated in latin!  This is on top of writing & presentation assignments, memorizing grammar charts and dissecting sentences…

Have I expressed my mommy-pride loudly enough?!

It has been a handful, I have to admit.  I’ve had to become more routine and disciplined than I ever was while we were in a traditional school system.  With a kiddo just starting his school journey, two kiddos entering a new phase of their learning and development adventures, and a toddler enjoying life in the mix, a routine has become our life-line.  So has our support system – the other mommies and homeschool kids who understand both the sometimes intense pressures, responsibilities and amazing freedoms that come with a homeschooling lifestyle.  Gratefully we have both families in our classical system of homeschooling, and families who are pursuing different methods – both are refreshing, adding perspective and creativity I wouldn’t have on my own.

Whatever your schooling adventures are this year, we hope you are having a wonderful start and are full of hope and joy each day, overcoming hardships and enduring through the challenges in order to taste amazing success and victory!

Bound{aries} a line where the bound-up are set free

“Saying no to something actually means I am saying yes to something more important.” (KV)   When we first got married, my husband and I encountered one of the biggest challenges we have faced in our married life.  How to … Continue reading

You Are Invited to Celebrate

There is something about celebrating.

I mean, when we make it a priority and put it on the calendar.  Decided.

Even when there is nothing to celebrate… yet

My husband recently made the decision to change his employment.  He spent time in prayer.  A lot of time.  He’s loyal and tends toward being the ‘yes’ man, finding ‘no’ very difficult to say.  This was not an easy or quick decision on his part, because of who he worked for and his affection for his employer.  He sought the Lord for strategy and wisdom.

He heard the Lord’s advice.  It was not logical, practical or ‘natural’ to our senses. Standing strong on the words he’d listened to, against sound currents of practical advice flowing freely around him, he gave his notice.

Perspective: He’d been talking with recruiters for several months, and networking with local networking groups without any real leads.  It was a gigantic leap of faith that my husband took; resting on the words he heard in his prayer closet.

The next day his recruiter called to set up an interview.  My husband then proceeded to so impressed the person he interview with that the recruiter who’d connected them was speechless, having never seen this particular client of his as impressed with past prospects.  As events unfolded, my husband found favor with a new company. However, as his last days at his former job came close, he had to continue in the illogical choices, putting into writing his intentions to leave his then current job before any kind of formal offer came through.  It was nerve wracking.

Pause.  It was in this brief moment of time, in the midst of complete unknowns and letting go with both hands, that the Lord gently prodded; celebrate with Me!

Without sure and solid evidence to stand on, without any real tangible reason, we did just that.  We took our family out and celebrated!  We rejoiced in the goodness God has already shown us, and we thanked Him for His character that never changes.  We celebrated His trustworthy promises, and thanked Him for providing for us the things we hoped for and hadn’t yet seen.

Monday of the last week at work came, and no formal job offer had come through yet. Friday, the last day at his former job, loomed ahead full of all kinds of uncertainty.  We continued in hearts decided on celebrating God’s goodness.  Our kids had been asking us to take them to see Toby Mac in concert and he happened to be in our town the Sunday following my husband’s last day of work.  We bought the tickets, anticipating more celebration.  Hoping…

Thursday morning rose and I walked into my room where my phone was on it’s charger.  My husband had received a formal written proposal for a job offer, starting the beginning of the following month, one week away.  It was exactly what we needed and had hoped for.

We had been celebrating for a week, something we hadn’t yet seen come to pass and on the seventh day we saw it. 

There is something about celebrating… it aligns our minds with His heart.  It sets up the atmosphere for anticipation of miracles and wonders beyond what we can imagine or comprehend.  It places us under His grace, in perfect partnership with His nature, where all things come from Him ~ where our working meets His ability and what is accomplished is indeed the miraculous.  Celebration is a joyful display of complete reliance on His nearness and interest in us.  And it is so important to Him that He actually set it up in His ancient law, and decrees it for those He loves, who love Him.

Intercession

I can hear it…. my fingers feel it… a melody, and a song written somewhere just beyond my reach.

My fingers touch the keys. Stiff. Longing. Untrained. Aching…

So many things well up within me.  Things I don’t have the words to speak, or to write.  Wonderful things.  Mourning things.  Things heavy with both joy and sorrow; the ache of loss a friend has to face… the triumph of a victory for a family member… desperation for one to understand and another to find relief, to find escape.  To speak to all the love that is power, compassion, comfort and strength.  To say clearly the perfect words each ear needs to hear, each heart needs to feel… to know.

I will my fingers to fly over the keys, to pen out the things I contain deep inside, to reach the impossible depths and retrieve the unknown language locked away… Literally just beyond my grasp!

There is mercy, favor unmerited, and grace, the power to be what we cant possibly… the link is belief. The key is faith. The force is love.  And it is right here… right here.

And so, I lift my hands and rest my palms.  I pray.  I lift my heart’s cry to the One who hears, who knows without being told, who understands that language I cannot fathom, and who has all the answers.  I pray.  And I pray.  And I pray.

The tears run for those who are hurting.  Praises leave my lips for those who are rejoicing.  A silencing ache fills my chest for those who are suffering.  And for those who are lost, loosing their way… for them I let out a shout.  A plea.  A sound in the dark, in hopes their ears might hear and they might know they are not alone.  Not even close to being alone.

I see their faces.  Many I know.  Many I love.  Some I’ve never seen before.  For everyone I let my heart speak… His words covering my own, His thoughts reaching the depths of emotion, His love flowing farther than I can imagine…

In this way, together, His hands over mine, we write the melodies and we sing the songs that bring the changes we long to see.

Holy are You, Lord.  Holy are You! Above all else, and every other name. You are I AM, the One who cares.  The One who loves.  The One who saves. Mighty is Your name.  You are like no other.  Mighty is Your name!

 

Reflection {the change in direction}

“You are brave and strong.  You are My pride and Joy.  You radiate with My love.  Remember, you are not who you think you are.  You are who I created.  I know you. You are every bit the perfect one … Continue reading

{the silence} In a Heartbeat

In the background are the faded noises of busy laughter, the business of getting dinner on the table, dishes unloaded, and the day’s events downloaded by each tiny muffled voice.

A heart beat thrums steadily in my ears.

Beautiful.  Life.  Steady.

A grounded, rhythmic lifeline to all that seems so incredibly important, and so indefinably fragile… a heartbeat thrums steadily in the silence… 

The flutter in my chest rises.  I should be with them.  Did I tell them I love them today?  Did I yell at them too much?  Do they know that I love them?  What memories have we made?  Will they remember that I love them? Does he know how grateful I am? Will he know how much I love him? Does he know how important he is to me? More muffled laughter and clinking plates…

Anxiety flitters around, searching for a place to land… NO.  I breath in.  I breath out.

A grounded, rhythmic lifeline to all that seems so incredibly important, and so indefinably fragile… a heartbeat thrums steadily in the silence… refusing a resting place for anxiety.

I breath in.  I breath out.  A heart beat thrums steadily in my ears.  But one persistent question looks for a spot to land…

Am I doing enough?

My Bible and three books that I long to read lay tossed around me.  My journal just a few inches away.  Tears roll down my cheeks as I realize how much I long to do more, to soak up more, to understand more and to live from a depth that draws my family in… to envelope them in the same love and life that has begun to consume me.  I long for my husband to know how truly head-over-heals in love with him I am; to show him every day the love that builds him up and pulls him closer, always closer. To shower my children with adoration in measure with the miracles that they are.

Longing.  Is it all just a longing?

A stream of scenes roll across my mind as this questions looms larger than life. Feelings… less than loving… rush like rapids over my lungs, and I am gasping and choking on the tears as I recall words, thoughts, attitudes, emotions, all proving me to be completely lacking.  Failing.

For a fleeting moment I am trapped in this tug-of-war with anxiety…

The rhythm… steady… beautiful… life.  I breath in. I breath out.

Life steadily pounds in my ears.  I hear my name.  Just a whisper.  A life-line.

What do you want to say, Lord?

“Daughter, you measure up.  You do enough.  You are amazing in My eyes.  I am pleased.  So much more than you know, Child.  I love that you are here, with Me.  Waiting, listening.   Daughter, you are forever searching out My thoughts, seeking My heart.  I know your deepest desires and I love you for them.  Daughter, you treasure Me and what I think. You keep Me in the center of all you do, even when you forget, you are quick to remember.  I look at you and I see Perfection.  Thank you for coming away.  Thank you for valuing Me enough to step into the quiet places, to trust Me with the welfare of those babies I knit together.  Thank you for loving Me.  You are enough.”

In the quiet, steady, silence I can hear it.  His heart beating; beating steadily for me.

Beautiful life; His living in me, His power at work through me, on my behalf.

You Speak – Audry Assad

Finding God

Let us be determined to look for God in all things at all times.” –Joyce

Sometimes the evidence that God is at work isn’t the blessings that fill life, but the struggles.

Sometimes the evidence that we are making progress, spiritually breaking ground and acquiring the victory, is the hours of turmoil; financial stress, emotional heaviness, mental battles and physical calamities that fall at exactly {what we perceive to be} the wrong times, or in those “random” moments.

The Lord said to me, “When I move into action, you will see your enemy’s reaction.

He spoke this to me too, “I tell you this so that you will not be taken by surprise, but be aware and be alert.  For what I AM doing will at first be unseen, before your eyes will be able to grasp all I have accomplished for you.

So often when turmoil stirs up the dust in life, it is easy to only see discomfort and unrest.  It is so easy to focus on how the enemy is reacting that we often forget to look for God.  To look At God.  

There are times when the blessing is that God is at work in such ways as to cause our enemy so much fear that he reacts – seeking to get us so caught up in his ways that we forget Who deserves our attention.

The blessing in these times is that we have an opportunity to express faith.  It isn’t what God is doing for us, but Who God is {what motivates Him to do on our behalf} that is critical.  His greatest desire being that He is known by us, in relationship with us; intimately engaging in knowing us.

As with any relationship on earth, there has to be a willingness to risk faith that a person is who they say they are as we get to know them in all kinds of circumstances.

 

Knowing the God who Created us intimately, being known by Him, will change this world.  It is this that our enemy fears.  He fears this because he knows the truth of who God is.  And, it is this truth that motivates him to manipulate, disguise, disrupt, even destroy, as much as he is allowed to  touch.

My prayer for myself, my family and for you, is that we take every opportunity, every circumstance, every challenge and hour of turmoil to risk faith in God being Who He says He is.  That in this way, as our enemy reacts to His actions on our behalf, we engage in relating with, knowing and being known by the God who created us and then loves us.  That the blessings that fill this life fill every moment, whether in calm or storm.

Knowledge: Know or Known?

“…While knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church.  Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much. But the person who loves God is the one whom God recognizes.”  ~1 Corinthians 8:1-3 NLT

“…Knowledge puffs up while love builds up.  Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know.  But whoever loves God is known by God.” ~ 1 Corinthians 8:1-3 NIV

“… Knowledge causes people to be puffed up (to bear themselves loftily and be proud), but love (affection and good will and benevolence) edifies and builds up and encourages one to grow [to his full stature]. If anyone imagines that he has come to know and understand much [of divine things, without love], he does not yet perceive and recognize and understand as strongly and clearly, nor has he become as intimately acquainted with anything as he ought or as is necessary.  But if one loves God truly [with affectionate reverence, prompt obedience, and grateful recognition of His blessings], he is known by God [recognized as worthy of His intimacy and love, and he is owned by Him].” ~ 1 Corinthians 8:1-3 Amplified Bible

The question I ask myself today is; Do you know God or are you known by God?