Jesus' Precious Little Lambs

A Charlotte Mason Christian Home School: Preschool – 3rd Grade :)

The Legacy of Homemaking

Is homemaking a lost art?

I was at a baby girl shower recently and I loved overhearing my friends mother in law encourage her to keep the art of homemaking alive with the things our grandmothers did so beautifully–gardening, canning, quilting, embroidery, knitting, crafting, soap making, etc. Her gift to her new granddaughter happened to be a sweet handmade baby quilt made from reproduction vintage seed sacks. She also provided the favors for the party–hand harvested honey from her bee hives packaged in apothecary jars! I love to see and hear from women the refreshing originality and thoughtfulness they pour into the everyday lives of their families. Sitting there listening, I felt inspired again to keep the dream of creative homemaking alive and well in my own heart.

Whether moms work as a stay at home mom or out in the work force, God has made mothers the hearts of our homes. Strong homes must be made, they do not happen coincidentally–strong homes require home”makers.” I have come to fashion my definition of the art of homemaking as: a timeless expression of living life beautiful in Christ as wives and mothers with the high calling of nurturing hearts at home.

I think its wonderful that we can carry out even the most mundane tasks of homemaking as a holy expression of our life in Christ, but personally, I get even more excited about imprinting my little daughter with the aesthetic aspects of homemaking in Christ. That’s the fun part for me! Good homemaking surely consists of both the mundane and the aesthetic, with both being of equal importance; the latter without the former makes a chaotic home, and the former without the latter makes a home that is void of personality and sparkle. In order for a home to thrive, both must be in balance, so we shan’t forget to add the sparkle nor to take joy in the mundane!

Some have come to feel like homemaking is mostly mundane or dull, and I have heard many a mom say, “I am just not creative!” But I believe we all can light up our homes in different ways, and we are all indeed creative because we are all made in the image of the Master Creator and Artist. However, creative muscles and joints must be used, or they become stiff from disuse. For both creatives and creatives-to-be-discovered, I encourage you to make a list of what are you good at and also what would you like to learn. Then find some women who can invest in you, and find some women you can invest yourself in as well!

Here are some ideas to help you make that list and build more ‘Homemaker Culture’ into your life – creative activities that nurture your heart so that you may in turn nurture the other hearts at home.

Singing, musical instruments, choral music, calligraphy, computer skills, administrative skills, writing, sign language, public speaking, blogging, problem solving, wood working, making/refinishing furniture, hospitality, gardening, working with children, photography, teaching, floral design, foreign languages, homeschooling, marriage, family, financial stewardship…..

Etiquette, tea parties, cake decorating, home decorating, baking, cooking, preserving/canning, scrapbooking, basket weaving, candle making, soap making, essential oils, card making, quilting, embroidery, sewing, quilting, knitting, cross stitch, needle point, holiday celebrations and traditions, cleaning and housekeeping, planning and organizing……

Field trips, camping, hiking, nature, health and fitness, artwork, drawing, ceramics, oil painting, pottery, watercolors, nature, health and fitness, drawing, reading……

Serving, spiritual warfare, Bible study, devotionals, missions, evangelism, journaling, leadership, community service, counseling, special needs, elderly, homeless, needy, giving, encouraging, mentoring….

 

The week after my friend’s baby shower, I was excited to meet with some friends at Mom’s Night here to learn how to crochet and discuss Proverbs 31. Sounds like a Christian homemakers dream night, right? I have never done much sewing of any kind, and was eager to learn from a gifted friend how to crochet for the first time. It was really fun and a little challenging too; so far I have crocheted a bookmark but somehow its supposed to turn into a washcloth if I just keep “yarning over.” 🙂 The best part of the night was studying the Bible together in a very relaxed atmosphere with friends who had searched their hearts before the gathering for answers to questions such as:

  • How does this proverb apply to me today?
  • How can I apply these principles to my life to improve my marriage and family life?
  • What does it mean to be a diligent wife and mother?

The first several times I read Proverbs 31 in my personal study time, I was pretty much a blank slate, but many readings later, ideas began to form as the Word penetrated into my understanding. Bible study felt more like the “study” that I imagine it should be, rather than simply the “reading” I usually do, and getting to discuss the passage with friends afterwards was a very motivating cherry on top for me. It was so enjoyable and rewarding that I am hoping deeper Bible study can become a more regular part of my life as well as Mom’s Night discussions!

I was convicted that I have only read Proverbs 31–all about being a Godly woman, wife, and homemaker–a handful of times since getting married 10 years ago. So along with a friend, I challenged myself to memorize verses 11-31, and I challenge you to do the same if you are a wife wanting to be inspired by God’s Word! Perhaps your homemaking or marriage could use some refreshing at this point dear one? I can attest that hiding the Word of God, the living active Word, in our hearts works in unexplainable ways in refreshing our perspective and moving us out of stuck places. For me, as the verses of Proverbs 31 have begun to permeate my consciousness the past week, I actually felt a difference in the way I felt towards my husband and those mundane tasks around the house – a little thrill of delight at the kitchen sink returning like a long lost friend.

As homeschool moms, many of us give our kids memory verses, but many of us have never really taken up memorizing the Word for ourselves. Sunday School was a long time ago ladies. “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:9, 11) Our hearts are easily sickened with sin–wrong thinking, misaligned priorities, idle ways–so why not let some intentional internalization of the Word be like healing medicine to the inevitable infection? I think as Christians we can become disillusioned that we are “in” the Word, but we are actually just dipping in and never really internalizing it and being transformed by it.

Shall we dig in?

Proverbs 31

The Woman Who Fears the Lord

10 An excellent wife who can find?
    She is far more precious than jewels.

11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
    and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
    all the days of her life.

“Doing good to my husband” is an area that I specifically want to grow in, and since prayer is likely the most precious ‘gift of good’ wives can give husbands, I am currently reading and using the prayers and principles in the book The Power of a Praying Wife, which was recommended to me by moms at Mom’s Night.

I approached Proverbs 31 with a desire to be inspired in my homemaking and family life, but it struck me how Proverbs 31 is far more about being an excellent wife, than it is about motherhood. I think it serves to convict us supermoms of our relationship priorities at home! I am convicted of how much more I thought about growing in my ministry as a wife before I had kids. Then I let those adorable bundles of joy come and take up so much space in my heart.

In fact, I think its very easy to have a child centered home these days, rather than an “excellent wife” centered home, as it seems to be prevalent in our culture to run our lives around our kids. In some senses it is good and noble and sacrificial the way we give to our kids, but perhaps we have taken it too far and actually become overly devoted mothers? We think that intensive mothering makes us better mothers, so we are willing to sacrifice our own well being because we think it will enhance our children’s lives.

Some of us don’t have time to exercise because our schedule is so full of kid activities, even the weekends revolve around kid birthday parties and games and an extravaganza of other fun kid stuff. Some of us don’t go on dates with our husband because kid activities are the priority or sometimes because we are reluctant to let others help care for our children. Some of us spend great amounts of time preparing and providing for our kids education and intellectual stimulation, but we can’t seem to find any time to read books and develop our own minds. Some of us schedule hours of extracurricular activities each week and taxi the kids to a myriad of enrichment activities but can’t find time for any of our own interests, that would actually develop us into more interesting mothers with more to give, especially making us more relevant in the teen years. Some of us make kid food to please picky palates and thus find meal time a time we dread. Some of us let the kids bedtime preferences (“I don’t want to go to bed!”) or long ceremonial routine (brush, floss, bathe, 5 books, stuffed animal round up, a prayer and a snuggle) encroach on husband and wife time and sanity in the evenings so that we aren’t having enough quality grown up time or intimacy anymore. Some of us allow our children wake us up too much in the night and we feel tired and strung out during the day. Some of us have a hard time saying no and aren’t very good about disciplining our kids. Some of us spend all of our emotional and mental energy on the kids and feel much closer to them than we do to our husbands. I think you get the point; we can “love” our kids to the detriment of ourselves and the exclusion of our husbands. 🙂

13 She seeks wool and flax,
    and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
    she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night
    and provides food for her household
    and portions for her maidens.

At first glance, it seems that there are a lot of “outdated” things that don’t apply to the modern woman in Proverbs 31. For instance, there is a whole lot of sewing happening in Proverbs 31 (and its not just a hobby)! However, I think that the message of “working with willing hands” is relevant and needed for all times.

I see the Proverbs 31 woman as someone who is not afraid to work hard, and the modern woman as someone put off by things that aren’t convenient. For example, deep down we know cooking from scratch is important to the health of our family, but we pour bowls of cereal in the morning, make never ending PB & J for lunch, and get take out food for dinner more than we would like to admit, all for the sake of convenience. On the other hand, our Proverbs 31 woman of wisdom is willing to “bring her food from afar,” and she gets up early to make sure everyone is well fed for the day. Many of us seem to be “burning the candle at both ends” despite all the convenience options we have taken advantage of. Life feels too full to make food from scratch, clean our house ourselves, or do our own gardening, let alone to take up sewing or other handicrafts! What is filling our time instead? Selah.

16 She considers a field and buys it;
    with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She dresses herself with strength
    and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
    Her lamp does not go out at night.

I see the Proverbs 31 woman as someone who is productive in many ways, including her pursuits out of the house, but especially and first of all in the home. As I have mentioned many times on my blog, I sense that our modern day “family life” takes us out of the house in an endless array of too many activities. Our busy lives, in combination with the pull of technology, certainly plays a big part in zapping our time. Not ironically, my house sits in shambles at the moment so I can finish this blog post. Ahem, moving on then. . . . 🙂

Very interesting to me is that though the God fearing woman of Proverbs 31 has many interests and involvements, her home does not sound child centered, as previously noted. Instead I imagine her daughters learning the same skills she has so finely honed over time in herself, and they are coming into her life and adding to her life, perhaps more than vice versa. What if a child’s life revolving around the parent’s lives and interests is the way its supposed to be, for their own good, and ours too? It may be more important for kids to tag along with Dad as he goes about his weekend business, than it is for Dad to tag along with them as they go about theirs. I really feel that the former lifestyle (including both parents) is a model of discipleship that promotes maturity in our children, and overindulgence of the latter lifestyle results in immaturity. We can require them to do grown-up things well before they grow up so that they don’t feel ill-equipped and inadequate someday. What if parents were free to enjoy thriving marriages, lead healthy active lives, and pursue their own hobbies–all with their children close by their side leaning in to learn? Bringing kids into our world where they learn the skills that will enable them to thrive as adults, is homeschool in its essence, even more perhaps than the academics and books and field trips. I think the Proverbs 31 woman’s strong personal development emphasis puts a healthy balance in her mothering style and definitely contributes to her success in “looking well to the ways of her household” (vs 27).

19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
    and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor
    and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
    for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes bed coverings for herself;
    her clothing is fine linen and purple.

I see the Proverbs 31 woman as someone who makes stuff, and the modern woman as someone who buys stuff. We have “no time” or desire for making things when we could just buy instead. If we are “fortunate” enough, we can pay for household services to be done for us, and we can certainly buy most everything that the Proverbs 31 had to make herself. In fact, we buy mountains of expendable stuff, until we are frustrated with how the house just isn’t big enough anymore, and flustered that the kids don’t know the value of a dollar.

23 Her husband is known in the gates
    when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
    she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
    and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
    and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Good homemaking requires us to “look well to the ways of our household.” My diatribe is not against us as homeschool moms who minister day in and day out from the heart of our homes, but I do wish to remind us that the ancient paths of truth are sometimes the better ones. For example, many of us Christian homeschoolers have decided to school our children at home because we believe and have come to see that the old way of educating is better. We have personally experienced the benefits of this crazy homeschool adventure that has ultimately served to tie our hearts into family and home, just as God desires, more than we ever realized it would. Even though wives do sometimes struggle against that urgency to escape and be free to go and do and be, we must admit that it is ultimately satisfying when we learn to embrace our calling at home, and that when we have done it well, we can be happy knowing that we have contributed to our husbands success as one who is “known in the gates.”

So we realize that school at home has blessed blessed blessed us in life changing ways- like giving us an amazing discipleship opportunity with our children, for one example. Perhaps then, we should ask ourselves, what else could be a huge likewise blessing to our husbands and families as we further consider and implement the ways of old outlined in scripture? If homeschool has been wonderful, I wonder what else once added (or eliminated!) might help us to more passionately build up our homes? The Proverbs 31 woman is a blessed woman living a blessed life, which is something we all desire; God is calling us wives of today to reflect on how we might practically follow His ancient pattern for blessing.

28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
    and let her works praise her in the gates.

The feeling of a life wrapped up in store bought items simply can’t replace the warm feeling that comes from covering our children and homes in handmade things by moms and grandmas (even if we can purchase the items for less than we can make them!). We may cry that we would never have time for such things, but what a keepsake we have when our own Grandma’s quilt or artwork is passed down to us! If she was a Christian, her work becomes part of her legacy as “a woman who feared the Lord,” and we cling to those beautiful things she left behind for us, those things she made with willing hands, those things that tangibly express the beauty of a life spent with Christ. When we see all she has done, we “rise up and call her blessed.”

Will there be beautiful keepsake items to pass down to our children someday? Will our daughters learn how to work with willing hands? Or will the art of homemaking be lost in this generation? Proverbs 31 ends with, “give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates;” in other words homemakers, the work of our hands shall be part of our reward and legacy. May God bless you with willing hands to love on your home and family.

XO

September and October Pictures

First Day of School

Family History Book Letters

Mary and Joseph learning to address envelopes for the first time (Christmas has started early here)

img_0875

Making Lasagna, a Family Recipe, with Grandma

img_0674

Story Time with Grandma (Family History Project)

img_0830

Learning Embroidery Skills, Even the Boys Were Excited

Learning to write his name in cursive

Daniel Devising His Own School Work

img_0621

Learning to draw faces. 🙂

A Great Math Lesson on Number 6

img_0640

Noah Enjoying Model Trains; He Wants to Be a Train Driver When He Grows Up

img_0249

Fearless Faithy, the only one in our family who would hold a tarantula

img_0331

Bless His Heart

img_0379

Daniel’s 3rd Birthday Party Prayer

img_0707

Jammin’ in the Morn

img_0821

Art with Aunty Tara and Cousins

img_0844

Putting on His Own Shoes

img_0824

Painting the 7 Days of Creation

img_0916

The Bubble Lady Show inspired these two bubble makers

img_0932

Prayer Journal Time

img_0975

Map Making in Geography

img_1048

Waaaay Too Much Fun at School

img_1070_2

Helping Mommy Make Breakfast Everyday

img_1081

Our Apple Hill Tradition Tripimg_0020

A Cooking Project Success!

img_0008

Preschool Table

img_0009

School Table

img_0013

Our Completed Monet’s: Water Lilies (you have to stand back to get the full effect of the impressionism) 😉

img_0022

Air Show

img_0037

Devotion Duo

img_0133

A Trip to the Zoo for Faithy

img_0095

A Geoboard Bomb Disposal Robot

img_0140

Making a Growing Pattern that Grows by 8’s and then Charting it

img_0065

Oh My

img_0076

Love our Ameraucana Chicken Eggs!

img_0153

I assigned Imaginative Narration based on the book Yellow and Pink, so Noah and Faith excitedly scurried around the house preparing for a “Puppet Show”

I was proud of their adorable first attempt at a puppet show (although the house sounds like it was falling down, thanks to babies and preschoolers; Noah has to whisper Faith’s lines to her most of the time; and Roman is looking backwards the whole time because I am holding the picture book up in the back. Good stuff. The second video is a little more interesting perhaps.)

Strobe Light! (Red Light, Green Light)

img_0093

A Baby Ladybug

img_0170

Autumn Fire

img_0159

“Funny things happen to me whenever I wear this shirt.”

img_0166

Happy 6th Birthday Faithy Breakfast Was Soooo Yummy

img_0142

A Sweet Shower for a Sweet Friend and Her Baby Girl

Mom’s Night – Crochet and Proverbs 31 Discussion – Nourishment for our Souls

img_0298

Leave a comment »

Hearts of Gold

Months ago I noticed that my children were somehow finding and pouring over toy catalogs and lego manuals, and becoming obsessed over material desires and activities. At the same time I sensed a spirit of dissatisfaction and look of emptiness, like a shadow cast over their natural childhood joy and enjoyment of God, as hearts began to prize and idolize “things.” Dean and I are not “stuff people” and we are careful to keep our kids protected from the massive marketing to children and commercial mindset, so we weren’t sure where this was coming from, other than the enemy’s schemes and the fact that hearts are idol making factories, as we know too well. We all must be careful to assess the desires of our hearts that are so prone to wander, because the enemy prowls around seeking to devour those who are not alert. For months we have had to fight and pray for our children’s undivided hearts, which to me was astounding at their young ages. However, through prayer, the shadows have shifted, and we have seen their joy again in simple things–joy in nature, joy in swinging, joy in chicks, joy in Thomas trains, joy in the dollhouse and castle and other toys we ALREADY own that weren’t being used and appreciated much anymore!! As it should be! Praise God!!

I will give them an undivided heart and

put a new spirit in them.

Ezekiel 11:19

As I am typing, I just recalled how I posted an example of prophecy last September for a child in “false or empty or aimless occupations.” Interestingly, it seems like that very word was tested long and strong this school year.

For example, if I sense false or empty or aimless occupations trying to take residence in my children’s hearts, my prophetic declaration (preceded by some Bible study) might sound like this:

“My children desire God above all else, and pursue Him passionately in prayer, worship and the Word. As the Spirit hovers over our school, my children creatively display God’s glory through art, writing, singing, nature study and other academic and creative means. They articulately discuss the scriptures during family discussions, growing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. In meekness and grace they share the truth and defend the truth in the world; blameless and pure, they shine like stars as they hold forth the Word of life. The eyes of their hearts are open, the deep mysteries and secrets of God’s heart are revealed to them, and they know their unique calling and rich inheritance. They perceive who they are created to be in Christ Jesus and boldly pursue the calling on their life. They are heroes for Christ who serve their generation. They are ministers of love in our family and circle of neighbors; God has them right here, right now, for such a time as this.”

Thank God He is always working in everything. What would happen if we chose to align ourselves with His work, and stopped worrying when our children are in a hard place, as if He is not using every opportunity? Parents must take courage because uncomfortable tests will come, and they must come, to produce hearts of gold that clearly reflect the face of our Refiner. Did you know that gold must be purified in the refiner’s furnace many times, and only when the refiner looks into the crucible and sees a clear reflection of himself is the process complete? What if we would ask God to test our children’s hearts in His refining fire, that they may come out like pure gold?

When he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.

Job 23:10

During this same season I began to ask for the Lord to give me an undivided heart too. To expose impurities, unknown sin, erroneous thinking, divided priorities, vain and empty things that distract me. I specifically asked the Lord, “What is blocking your presence?” As I asked for holiness, and for the impurities of my life to be burned up in His refining fire, uncomfortable heat and adversity was part of the process. He began to reveal possessions that could go, selfish attitudes and excuses, and even Easter traditions that could change. I will share one story about the conviction of one of my “comfy sins.”
 .
The kids and I have been talking about truthfulness and self control in school, which has presented some great and somewhat unexpected moments of conviction in the area of holiness for mom in particular. Love how the Lord makes sure our character studies here include everyone in the family. Like the other day when the kids asked me to find this little bag of clothespins buried in our messy garage that was oh so important to their fort building project. Sigh….. I tore the garage apart only to find them in the bin that was right in front the whole time. Murphy’s law my dad would say.
 .
But something was different…..I felt the approving smile of the Holy Spirit, and a brightening of the entrance of the Spirit of Truth in our home. He started showing me that normally my M.O. with the kids’ “inconvenient requests” is to put just a bit of effort in, and then report that, “I tried, but sorry….” I especially loathe looking for lost stuff and use every excuse possible to get out of it. Plus, moms have more important things to do with their day anyway than find clothespins for a fort- a little rationalization helps with any possible misgivings.
 .
Yet how often do I ask for “best effort” from my children, and honesty too of course? Hypocrisy has such a deadening effect. So when I saw the smile on their faces, and the awe in their voices–because I was looking so hard–I realized that I was earning the honor of being an example of truth in their lives. Funny, I love to get out of work with excuses and less than honest effort, but for what? I could have missed an encounter with, and increase of, the Spirit of Truth in my home. Next time my kids are called to act with integrity, they may choose to let Jesus shine a little brighter through their character too. Thank you Holy Spirit for being my teacher in all the little everyday things with my children that threaten to tarnish my witness of the power of Christ. Without Your guidance, holiness would seem so elusive. Reveal those sins that we get so comfortable in we don’t even notice anymore, or perhaps have never yet become aware of.

Be holy, for I am holy.

1 Peter 1:16

What is the reward of purity? Sensitivity to see and hear God. The Holy Spirit makes our hearts tender and fit to receive impressions: this is His work. Hearing His voice is an exquisite gift. He removes stony hearts hardened by sin, and gives new hearts sensitive to hear, and discern His perfect will. As He purifies, He softens our heart, He renews our mind, He realigns our passions so that we may have an undivided heart for Him. We let go of the old, the tattered, the dirty, the common–we thought we needed so much–to instead receive the surpassing exquisite.

I desire to seek the Lord with others who are hungry for holiness and to intercede for God’s increasing power to pour out in the purity of homes and families consecrated to Him. Tomorrow at Mom’s Night, I am looking forward to going into the sanctifying presence of the Lord in a worship circle of friends hungry for the same. We will humbly offer instruments, dancing, acapella, prayer, and discussion heart to heart. We are asking the Holy Spirit: is there anything holding back Your presence in my life or home?? If we want to know, He undoubtedly wants to answer. Perhaps the Lord is calling you and your community to a similar place?

Lord, we desire to be Your pure, beautiful bride upon whom You can pour out Your anointing and Your power. We desire undivided hearts!! We ask that You expose impurities, erroneous thinking, divided priorites, and vain things that charm us most. Purify our hearts, let us be as gold, pure gold.

Blessings on your home!

 P.S. It was amazing to go to church today and hear a prophetic word that we are in a Kairos moment of coming into His presence in a greater way if we will sanctify ourselves and press into Him. God often confirms His word through the messages at The Father’s House, and I love that!! (The video for the message is called “The Invitation,” and will be up on the TFH website)
IMG_0402

“I found an enoooormous frog!!” Faithy’s fabulous nature find at Sunol Regional Wilderness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0271

In love with Pooh Bear. So sweet.

 

IMG_0344

1/2 hour later…….it worked!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0367

Daniel eager for a taste.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0361

We also made dried apples and learned how Pioneers preserved their food in a great book called A Pioneer Sampler.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0224

Daniel planting sunflower seeds on a field trip to Clayton Valley Farm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0157

Chickie Kisses for Noah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0093

Nature Journal Time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0070

Faith loves to paint rainbows lately

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0016

Cousins hanging out in the sandbox

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0867

Jesus wrapped in TP and place in the tomb on our Good Friday family worship night

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0900

Garden time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0916

Poking holes for seeds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0934

And tramping down the soil over the seeds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0977

Playtime with Chickies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_1002

Goofy Girl

 

 

IMG_1016

I love dressing up my sweeties for special occasions

IMG_1055

5 year old Faithy on Easter wearing Great Grandma’s necklace

IMG_1079

The whole crew on Resurrection Sunday

IMG_1087

Got my scroll and my money bag– all set for Bible times

IMG_0045

Woodbutcher, our cabin on a trip to the Lord’s Land with the kids

IMG_0415

Hauling wood in for the wood burning stove

IMG_0452

Learning to use a hatchet to make kindling

IMG_0515

First time holding a banana slug!

IMG_0574

Hello Lizzy

IMG_0653

Aaaand 50 photos later……ha!

IMG_0811

Beachy Kisses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0804

Easter Homeschool Day at our house

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0790

Jesus AND daffodils light up my life

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0610

Handwriting Lesson Time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0589

Setting up the terrarium again

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0557

Our Pacific Tree Frog from Round Valley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0527

Keeping each other safe in the current of the creek

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0436

When Chickie was just a ball of fuzz. They grow up so fast!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0408

Rainbow love for mommy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0403

Noah’s Newt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0390

All geared up for play time in the rain!

 

Leave a comment »

A Hallowed One-Piece Life

Earth is crammed with heaven,
and every common bush afire with God;
but only he who sees takes off his shoes.
The rest sit around it and
pluck blackberries
.”

~Elizabeth Barret Browning

Anne Voskamp curiously likens a life lived all for God to a one piece garment with no seams, no tearing, no fragmenting. A beautiful, well made, one piece garment was a rare and special possession for Jews living in Palestine. The analogy: when the eyes of our hearts open to see how much heaven is present and active with us all the time, we begin to realize God has been intentionally weaving our passions, relationships, dreams, and circumstances like threads in a beautiful “One Piece Life.” Every passion has a purpose. Every dream is for His glory.

I love what Anne says about homeschool and some of the other unifying threads in this One Piece Life.

Homeschooling is about going higher up and deeper in, for you will learn to sacrifically love in ways you have never loved before. You will know your own heart in ways you never imagined, the souls of your children in intimate, very real ways. For you will be together, making memories together, laughing together, crying together, praying together, and asking forgiveness together. Throughout your day, you will worship God, together. And you’ll learn to die to self together. There will be no fragmented scraps of learning, home-life, friends, work, God.

You will make a one-piece life–hallowed threads of parenting, love, education, living, creativity, wonder, sacrifice, and God all woven together. You’ll wear it, and it will fit: Grace, Love, Gratitude.

God has been speaking to me about how the opening up of our home to share lives, dreams, and passions with others can be a unique means of iron sharpening iron; its the “iron thread” in the fabric of our lives. I believe God is doing a work of revival through homes, families, and His people similar to what happened in the book of Acts house meetings. As His glory fills our homes and families with irresistable beauty and strength, He will draw in the lost. So many have looked to the church alone to fill the role of ministry. However, the intimate and personal nature of in-home meetings present a very authentic platform for ministry. The informal fellowship over a cup of tea in a home can be so much sweeter, practical, and interactive. The role of church meetings and ministries are indispensable, but they can’t always fill the need for deeper, warmer, relational interaction that we all crave, and God designed us for. My dream has been for our home to be used in God’s vision of drawing people together.

In the last several years, I have been in a lonely “wilderness season,” yet all the while God has been planting vision in my heart for something more than the quiet struggle and lonely ache. As the vision became clearer, He placed the next thread of my One-Piece Life on the loom, and called me to make a move towards forming intentional “iron sharpening iron” relationships with other moms. He opened my eyes to see needs all around me for support and encouragement in my community of moms, especially homeschool moms. I realized that if we become a few straggling isolated families trying to hold up the cause of Christ in homeschooling, pretty much each to our own, it is not a good thing. We need to unite as a strong army moving forward together in perfect unity to strategically and powerfully battle against the enemy, who would love to keep us paralyzed in isolation.

In response, I started up Mom’s Night meetings this month at my house to help grow relationships between moms and provide a place for iron to sharpen iron. I have ached for the right mom’s group for years, but like author Sally Clarkson says, if you can’t find one, make one because meeting with other women regularly is critical to our spiritual growth as moms. Sally’s Clarkson’s heart for moms and meeting together regularly for soul filling discussions, relationship building, and to celebrate life together with food and fun has influenced me, and given me a desire to do the same.

Every month we will plan a variety of activities at our meetings, because a moms heart is so full of variety: chat time, prayer, scriptures, worship, focused intentional group discussions, games, paint night, book share, crafts, etc. This will be a group where everyone ministers spiritually and practically to each other, using their gift or area of special interest to sharpen others and create “soul cultivating” experiences at Mom’s Night. I like how Karen Andreola advises, “Mothers should cultivate their souls so that in turn they may cultivate the souls of their children. Sally Clarkson encourages mothers,One of the marks of a godly woman is that she takes responsibility for her soul’s need for joy and delight. A woman is a conductor, who leads the orchestra of her surroundings in the songs and music of her life. God is a God of creativity and dimension, and so He is pleased when we we co-create beauty in our own realm, through the power of His Spirit.” I am excited because Mom’s Night will provide a time for heart to heart talk and good soul filling fun too!

Out of strengthened relationship and vision, I believe our mom’s group will go forward as a united force fighting family heartaches, isolation, inadequacy, fear, temptation to quit, and many other road blocks that we commonly struggle with. We will be an unstoppable force as we get involved in each other’s lives at a level that causes us to care enough to intercede in prayer for each other. I believe the unfolding of relationships will be God’s means of unlocking many spiritual blessings laid up in heavenly places for each one of us. I think we need each other more than we realize, and we need more opportunity to seek out mentorship from older moms as well. God is longing to raise up the next generation of homeschool moms who follow God the way the veterans do– with total faith for God to provide. We have never had to school with the drapes closed and it feels like we as a whole, need a push out of complacency. I have blogged here to encourage homeschool families for the last few years, but now I am excited to actually join with other families to unite and defend faith, family, and homeschool.

Ann Voskamp’s explanation of a One-Piece Life gives me new understanding of Romans 8:28 which says that God works all things together for our good.

When you let all the fabric of your life weave fluid together — the kids, the serving, the going, the giving — your life becomes this seamless tapestry. Live into the kind of ministry that lets you bring your life with you. Live into the kind of vocation that lets you live a full life. The work of family can flow fluid into the work of serving, which can flow fluid back into the fabric of the family, and family and ministry and your life’s work can be a One-Piece Life and what corporate model threatens to make our lives so profoundly disconnected? What corporate model has infiltrated our collective thinking such that family and work and living and modelling for the next generation what life is all about —  has left us with painfully disjointed and fragmented and compartmentalized lives? When you live a One-Piece Life — you don’t see your life as falling to pieces as much as it is falling together.”

Nothing drains us more than signing up for things that God never asked us to do. But nothing energizes us as much as having life brimming full of God’s plans all starting to fall together.

Mom’s Night is one more beautiful thread being knit together into this hallowed One Piece Life. Praise to my All Knowing God for providing the many threads that preceded in order to make this special one possible. There were all those “use me” hopes and prayers said, late night blogging, many many inspiring sermons at church (including those ones on God’s present day church of Acts “doing life together”), books and blogs read, conversations held, sins confessed, influential friendships made, past church leadership experiences undertaken, and so many more threads. Many that only the Almighty Weaver, seeing the big picture, lovingly and purposefully placed into the loom in order to bring me to this very place of purpose today.

What threads is God weaving together in your life to make one beautiful story of passion and purpose for His glory? When you step back and look it will take your breath away.

Lord, open the eyes of our hearts to see a life crammed full with heaven.

.     .      .      .      .      .      .      .      .       .      .      .

In other exciting news, as of this October we have 7 children in our homeschool; God has decided to bless us with lots of growth!!! We are soooo excited to have my sister’s family here all the way from Oklahoma joined up with us for school this year! So with the addition of 4 little boy cousins, my sister and I teach 6 boys and 1 girl, between the ages of 11 months and 7 years old! We are especially thrilled that all these little cousins have the opportunity to make sweet school memories together. There are hard moments, and its lots of work, but God’s grace has been abundant. I am really excited that the opening of our home will continue to grow the life of God into our school and family. God’s goodness is so plentiful when He allows us to encourage other families through a home alive with God.

IMG_0546

First Day of School with Cousins on October 6th (baby Gabe is not pictured)

 

Had to capture these faces--prayer time at devotions

Had to capture these faces–prayer time at devotions

Musical Man

Musical Man

So engrossed in counting up for a big save (a $35 lego like train)

So engrossed in counting up for a big save (a $35 lego like train)

IMG_0011

A heart being formed in the Word

IMG_0503

A new interest for little guy

Apples Galore!

Apples Galore!

Oh my, Faith loves fruit picking days--especially the eating part

Oh my, Faith loves fruit picking days–especially the eating part

Queen Faith, Queen Mommy, and King Noah--a new twist on self portraits

Queen Faith, Queen Mommy, and King Noah–a new twist on self portraits

Geometry copy work on Geoboards

Geometry copy work on Geoboards

Not so happy reading lessons

Not so happy reading lessons

Can I please mop mommy?

Can I please mop mommy?

OUR Monarch drying its wings

OUR Monarch drying its wings

As you can plainly see, a project fully initiated by the children--to practice the character trait of the month, initiative.

As you can plainly see, a project fully initiated by the children–to practice the character trait of the month, initiative.

Happy 2nd Birthday Daniel!!

Happy 2nd Birthday Daniel!!

Noah starts up a Vocabulary book with his choice of words

Noah starts up a Vocabulary book with his choice of words

Faith's new Word Book (to practice handwriting and to record all words she learns how to read)

Faith’s new Word Book (to practice handwriting and to record all words she learns how to read)

A Precious 1st Day of School

September 8th, A Precious 1st Day of School

Bold and Sweet Pre-K Girl

Bold and Sweet Pre-K Girl

A man in the making 1st grader

A man in the making 1st grader

Reaching for the stars as we dream

Reaching for the stars as we dream

Our first monarch caterpillar on the milkweed in our backyard!

Our first monarch caterpillar on the milkweed in our backyard!

Summer Camp 2015

Summer Camp 2015

Noah's Favorite

Noah’s Favorite Part

So Sweet

So Sweet

Right on little man

Right on little man

No more training wheels! Yay Faithy!

No more training wheels! Yay Faithy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helping mommy juice

Helping mommy juice

.

 

 

 

 

 

1 Comment »

October Lesson Plans

2015-2016 Preschool-2nd Grade

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.

Ephesians 1:18

“God has laid up spiritual blessings for us in his Son the Lord Jesus; but requires us to draw them out and fetch them in by prayer.” –Matthew Henry

Ephesians 1:18 has a very special place in my memories. There was a season in my late teens/early twenties where God met me so richly and deeply; the eyes of my understanding were being opened, and I was walking in oceans deep. My friends, sister, and I spent hours praying and seeking Him because it felt like the heavens opened to rain down His sweet presence every time we gathered. I didn’t understand why it was happening, except that I knew our pastors believed in our potential and prayed hard for us. They laid hands on me and the other youth, and spoke over our lives many times. As they prayed, God rushed upon us in such a way that we were crying or speechless or laid out on the floor. The scripture verse that stood out the most from this season of life and will be forever etched in my heart was Ephesians 1:18.

With a heart full of expectation, Ephesians 1:18, was what I felt impressed to make our theme verse for this school year. I pray that God will open the eyes of my children’s hearts so that they can imagine the riches of God’s will for their future, that even while they are imaginitively pretending during long creative afternoon play sessions, they are in the Holy Spirit, and dreaming big! I pray for their exciting calling to be courageous heroes for Christ as Ephesians becomes fulfilled in their lives. I pray for courageous children who grow up to powerfully serve the Lord and make a difference in this world.

Every year in October at Jesus’s Precious Lambs we study and visit community helpers, and the children think about what they want to be when they grow up. Last year, God really breathed life into the theme as He gave mommy and daddy ideas to kindle the fires of our children’s heroic astronaut dreams. We found an astronaut costume at a second hand store, we went to Chabot Space and Science Center, we made a big cardboard rocket, we checked out astronaut and space books from the library, and made some awesome spaceship paintings. It was such a special, unforgettable month, and yet just the beginning of so much more. Through prayer, and the opening of the eyes of our hearts to understand the hope of His calling, these natural activities had a special supernatural dimension that is hard to express in words. The presence of the Lord is in the stuff that dreams are made of, and though my kids may not become astronauts, the dreaming capacity of their hearts, and ours, was certainly enlarged that month.

I love the “super” that is put on the natural, when targeted, Spirit-led prayer is a component of lesson planning in homeschool. Don’t you love when the reading for the day “just happens” to really speak to where your family is at, or you are studying insects and the children catch a praying mantis or dragonfly or butterfly in the backyard, or you find a new way to present math or spelling that really smooths out the day?? Sometimes these are bright spots of God’s unexpected and undeserved grace on our homeschool……… but sometimes they are spiritual blessings that have been drawn out or fetched from the spirit realm by intentional prayer. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” Ephesian 1:3

A most wonderful spiritual blessing for a homeschooling family is the growth of a child’s character. I challenge us all to make specific prayer requests in areas that we desire to see growth in our children, and then just as importantly, to look expectantly and eagerly each day for the answers to those prayers. We will find answers abound when we are looking for them in every little thing. When we train ourselves to find the hand of God in daily life, we will begin to see so much more. As we see more, faith rises more, enabling us to see even more, and so we are able believe for always more than before. The faith enlarging pursuit of growing children in the character of God, with the partnership of the Spirit, is an exciting snowball effect that puts passion into our homeschools! The largest passion of our Jesus’ Precious Lambs homeschool comes from character study/habit training.

Any effective character study begins in prayer. In order to combat negative habits, such as fear or quarreling, and then be empowered to move forward in virtues, such as courage or peacemaking, the power of prayer is essential. Since character growth begins with prayer, prayers are being uttered from my lips before the month even begins, as soon as a character trait/habit has been selected. Every month I select a new habit for us all to work on while we continue to work on an “old” habit (we maintain the special traditions that go along with the original “habits of the month” from our “Masterplan“–for example, we continue to work on “courage” year after year as the repeating theme of October). I use various books and websites to gather relevant stories, poems, quotes, scriptures, etc., that will serve as inspiration to change and as discussion starters at Circle Time. We start school everyday with character discussions at Circle Time, and allow time to pray together for the divine assistance we need in order to achieve a measure of success by the end of the month. I have seen God move every month in our family in response to these simple steps of faith!

Since it all revolves around prayer, I add a section called “Prayer Time” right into my lesson plans, which is a list of prayer ideas for the month (see plans below). Planning prayer really helps us to pray more targeted prayers, and to pray with scriptural insight and guidance over the new habit we are forming. I use the prayer points listed in “Prayer Time” during my personal prayer time as well as with the kids in Circle Time. I also ask family or friend prayer partners to print out the prayers, and uphold my kids all month by uniting with us, praying the same prayer targets. Kids of Integrity has great sample prayers that we like to use (and fun hands on character study ideas too). It took several years of homeschooling, but we are getting more strategic in our approach to prayer, praise God.

Another important prayer strategy is prophesying–making a declaration, or calling things forth. We must speak boldly and often about what God is going to do. When faced with various challenges, we boldly speak out the hopes of our hearts that align with scripture; calling forth “things that are not as though they are.” A mother’s Godly dreams for her family often differ from how things at home actually look, so she must be courageous to call those dreams forth in the spirit realm. For example, if I sense false or empty or aimless occupations trying to take residence in my children’s hearts, my prophetic declaration (preceded by some Bible study) might sound like this:

“My children desire God above all else, and pursue Him passionately in prayer, worship and the Word. As the Spirit hovers over our school, my children creatively display God’s glory through art, writing, singing, nature study and other academic and creative means. They articulately discuss the scriptures during family discussions, growing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. In meekness and grace they share the truth and defend the truth in the world; blameless and pure, they shine like stars as they hold forth the Word of life. The eyes of their hearts are open, the deep mysteries and secrets of God’s heart are revealed to them, and they know their unique calling and rich inheritance. They perceive who they are created to be in Christ Jesus and boldly pursue the calling on their life. They are heroes for Christ who serve their generation. They are ministers of love in our family and circle of neighbors; God has them right here, right now, for such a time as this.”

Prophecy can sound a lot like prayer, but it is a declaration more than a request, and is spoken in the present tense. It’s only a matter of time until what we spoke in the spirit realm manifests itself in the natural. What we say today creates our tomorrow, so start prophesying those hopes for your family now.

I am ready to walk into revelation oceans deep with my children right there beside me, aren’t you? God, open the eyes of our hearts and enlighten us to understand strategic and intentional approaches to prayer, lesson planning, and habit training. Let passion come. Let us walk upon the waters wherever You would call us; Spirit lead us to a place without borders. XOXOXO

To better understand how we use these lesson plans below, and get the “full picture”, please see our curriculum overview for the whole school year, and a “hypothetical” daily schedule (it rarely happens in perfection). To let you know where our plans come from, we purchase Simply Charlotte Mason’s lesson plan handbooks for History/Bible, Geography, and Nature Study. We use their free curriculum guide, book finder, and discussion forum to help us select books for other subjects (no lesson plan books needed). Living books, being the emphasis of a Charlotte Mason education, means that most of our curriculum is purchased from Abebooks.com, or comes free from the library. School for us is just a big stack of carefully chosen living books, and narration; no textbooks, workbooks, or scripted lesson plans. We love how Charlotte Mason methods are easy and delightful!

.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

.Fun Theme: Community Helpers/Heroes

Seasonal Theme: Autumn

Character/Habit: Fear vs. Courage, Quarreling vs. Peacemaking

Bible: Joshua and Judges

History/Geography: Ancient Greece, Middle East

Nature Study: Ponds and Streams

.

Parent Study:

Image result for hints on child training

  • Make a prayer wall in our living room to help organize and increase our prayer time
  • Read Hints on Child Training
  • Read Caught up in a Story to help foster IMAGINATION

Art, Music, and Poetry Study:

All Things Bright and Beautiful Blog and picture study from Noah’s Ark book

Character/Habit Development:

Wisdom and the Millers: Proverbs for Children | Main photo (Cover)

  • Read Wisdom and the Millers: A Place of Refuge p.80 and A Brother’s Love p.108
  • Review Stewardship Street memory verses that go with each of the 7 categories of savings, and review the “Go to the ant checklist” poster by Doorposts together. Refine work habits and servant attitude, offer opportunities for initiative and choice (like Observe and Serve). Pay Noah (6) in dimes and Faith (4) in stickers once a week (a natural math opportunity).
  • Have Noah study and write out verses on fear and quarreling from his Child Training Bible (Child Study Bible– also see “Bible” section below)

Circle Time/Family Time:

Blessing Time:

Prophesy Ephesians 1:18 over ourselves.

I pray that the eyes of our hearts may be enlightened, so that we will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.

Ephesians 1:18

Prayer Time

  • Bring a prepared scripture verse promise to Circle Time for each child to memorize and learn to stand on this month. Make it personal and based on each child’s needs. Hold each others needs and corresponding promise close to our hearts in prayer the entire school year. Teach children to pray over siblings and friends and their promises.
  • Pray for children who heroically stand up for what they believe in, face and overcome temptation, and stand strongly in the face of adversity. Pray for the exciting future careers and callings of my children, and for their most exciting calling of all–to be courageous heroes for Christ. Pray for courageous children who grow up to powerfully serve the Lord and make a difference in this world. Pray this prayer for courage.
  • Pray for peace at home between brothers and sister. Pray this prayer for peacemakers.

Sharing Time:

  • Talk about what scares us personally, and how we might work to overcome our fears. Also, practice giving encouragement to embolden one another, both in sharing time and in scary situations.
  • Do something really brave this month and share about it at circle
  • Bring a picture and/or story of someone who is a hero to you

Discussion Time:

Read these stories, poems, & quotes/do the activities, and then start a discussion.

Courage: “Mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty

  • Slowly savor thoughtful ideas about courage, discuss one a day:
    • selfishness makes us cowards, but thinking of others makes us braver
    • we become brave by doing brave acts
    • we practice bravery by acting brave when we don’t really feel brave
    • the brave person is not someone who is never afraid
    • the fear of failures never hurts as bad as we expect them to
    • we imagine our fears into existence (Job and Chicken Little)
    • to refrain from foolish cowardice, refrain from too much mountain-making our of molehills
  • Read short true stories about the lives of Christian heroes

Peacemaker:

Bible:

  • Early Morning: Personal time in a variety of Bibles and Bible Storybooks, Leading Little Ones to God Devotional together or a NT excerpt from mommy’s Bible
  • School: Read and narrate stories from Joshua and Judges in the Children’s story Bible by Catherine Vos, or my ESV Study Bible (about 2 chapters a day, 3x a week)
  • Afternoon Quiet Time: Read at pleasure in our Child’s Study Bible tabbed on various topics; Draw and write in Prayer Journals
  • Night: Family Bible study led by daddy 3x a week

Leading Little Ones to God BB01

Memory Verses:

‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.” Acts 2:17
Also we will review:

  • Psalm 23
  • Review October verses from previous years: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
  • “Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.” Psalms 31:24

 Hymns:

IMG_0109

Poetry Recitation:

Hold Fast Your Dreams

by Louise Driscoll
Hold fast your dreams!
Within your heart
Keep one still, secret spot
Where dreams may go,
And, sheltered so,
May thrive and grow
Where doubt and fear are not.
O keep a place apart,
Within your heart,
For little dreams to go!

Handwriting:

  • Writing for Real Life: written letters, birthday cards, thank you cards, shopping lists, nature journal entries, prayer journal entries, All About Me book, spelling words, poem, or memory verse.
  • Hand write new reading words from Delightful Reading curriculum. (Faith)
  • First 12 lessons in Print to Cursive. (Noah)

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Spelling: (Noah)

Noah will study, word build, hand write, and recite the spelling of all the new reading words from one story a week. We don’t use the Pathway Series readers as readers, but rather as a fun way to provide the words for our spelling. We love the sweet stories in these books.

Reading: (Faith)

Materials:  printed poem, word cards for each of the following words, loose letters                 

.                

                   Rain

“The rain is falling all around

It falls on tree and field”…….

.

Reading Lessons:

1. Write one word from the poem on the board

2. Discuss the word

3. Study it closely, then erase

4. Find the word card from a small pile of cards, then hide the card

5. Spell the word with loose letters (from memory if possible)

6. Find the word in the printed poem

7. Repeat steps 1-6 with each word

8. Do a review of all the words listed up on the board

Word Building Lessons (reading and pre-spelling):

Using loose letters, build words that rhyme with each of the words in the 1st two lines of the poem (ex: rain–Cain, stain, plain, train, gain).

(Lessons 1-4 in Delightful Reading by Simply Charlotte Mason)

Vocabulary:

Most will be learned naturally in conversation as words in question arise, but I also will have Noah look up words sometimes to learn dictionary skills and to spur a love for new words.

Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828 Edition - By: Noah Webster

Literature Read Alouds:

.

History and Geography:

  • SCM’s Joshua-Malachi & Ancient Greece lesson plan book includes 1 chapter a week from a living book and 4 chapters a week from the spine (Bible portion is mentioned above). Noah will either narrate readings orally or narrate in his history sketchbook with a drawing of what he remembers.

Joshua through Malachi & Ancient Greece.  https://i1.wp.com/www.nothingnewpress.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/greeks-cover-600x400.jpg

  • One lesson a week from SCM’s Visits to the Middle East lesson plan book
  • Pray for the country of the week (as selected in the lesson plan book) using the prayer points in Window on the World

  • We will also do a few lessons from Home Geography

Math:

Lessons are from Kathy Richardson’s math books and AL Math Card Games:

Understanding Geometry Book

Exploration Time: In the morning just before school, provide pattern blocks, unifix cubes, building blocks, tangrams, geoboards, tiles, pattern blocks, etc. for free exploration of math materials. What can you do with these materials? What did you notice? What did you have to do in order to make it? Try to observe while they are working, and sometimes make a comment about what you observe. When children need a suggestion ask, “I wonder if….” or “Do you think it would work to….?” or “Do you have another idea?,” so that they feel free to decide on their own.

Ongoing Review: Spend a few minutes once a week during math lessons to practice instant recognition of number combinations. Use homemade “flashcards” with arrangements of items that can be counted (like toothpicks or buttons that can be grouped into two numbers upon closer inspection in order to quickly find the total). Hold up a card and say, “Tell me fast. How many?” Sometimes ask, “How did you know?” (Cause there is a four and a three, and that’s seven) When recognizing groups of more than five easily, child will have to mentally combine the smaller groups that make up the larger ones.

.

 .

.

Geometry:

Copy Cat (p.19) Children create structures out of provided or self-selected math materials and their partners copy them. For preschoolers, have their partner add just one block at a time as they copy if you see that they are struggling.

Recording Designs and Creations (p.22)

  • Pattern blocks: Record a pattern block design with pattern block paper shapes or triangle grid paper (for extra challenge). The challenge is in the reproduction. Provide a paper to build upon to control complexity–smaller paper for easier designs, bigger paper for more challenging designs.
  • Tiles: Record with colored paper squares.
  • Geoboards: Record on another geoboard (easier), onto same size geoboard paper (hard), onto smaller geoboard paper (harder), or onto plain paper (hardest). Ask children what they see in their design (“I see a trapezoid, a square, and a rectangle.”)

Noah’s Lessons:

  • Place Value lessons in Book #3 by Kathy Richardson on pages 14-31–learning to regroup by 4’s, 5’s, and 6’s (preparation for grouping by 10’s, the base 10 system).
  • Noah will begin recording subtraction facts in in his blank Subtraction Book, just as he slowly made an Addition Book recording all addition facts (up to 10) that he explored with manipulatives last school year. For example, after doing the “combinations of 7” activity pictured below, he used colored pencils to record his findings (3+4=7, 5+2=7, etc.) with pictures of cubes labeled with number sentences in his book (held in his hands). Each 2 page spread was dedicated to the research compiled for one number. After each math lesson, he would look into his book to see if he had discovered a new combination or if he confirmed one that he had already recorded. IMG_0067

Games:

  • Time to Any Hour (p. 61) Put the hour and minute cards face down in two separate piles. Provide a real clock. Have child form a time by turning over the top minute card and the top hour card, and then set the clock to match.
  • Compare Times (p. 62) Players take turns setting the clock. Then they make the time with their cards.
  • To One Hundred (p. 26) Make a stock pile of 5’s and 10’s cards. Player take the top card and enters that number of beads on his abacus. Players take turns adding by 5’s and 10’s until someone reaches 100 exactly. Variation: Use a hundreds chart instead of an abacus.
  • Addition War (p. 39) Using about 40 1-9 numeral cards, deal the cards out evenly. Players take the top two cards from their stacks, set them face up, add them together, and say the sum aloud. The player with the higher sum takes all four cards. Equal sums means war and each player places two extra cards face down, and then places two more face up to add together. The higher sum takes all the cards.
  • Showing a Number On Various Manipulatives Use an abacus, place value cards, unifix cubes, and a hundreds chart to show a number like 37 or 56 or 94 on various manipulatives.
  • Sort Attribute Blocks One person sorts all the blocks one at a time into piles according to a secret rule (thin and red), while the others watch and try to guess the rule. Or one person chooses a rule, and the other chooses a block and asks if it belongs. Play continues until the rule can be stated.
  • Make Attribute Block Patterns Also have the child find the error in a pattern or a missing block.

Extra: Download and print open ended math questions to use as time allows. Ask Noah to provide as many answers as he can (When applicable).

Example of an open ended question:

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/FREEBIE-January-Open-Ended-Math-Question-for-Journals-or-Do-Nows-First-Grade-1601205

Faith’s Lessons:

Week 1  Copy a Design Made on a Geoboard

Week 2 Grow and Shrink (p. 35)

Materials: Counters, dot cubes (dice, or make your own) or numeral cubes (make your own) with quantities at your child’s level (1-6 or 4-9 or 7-12 for example). Lesson: Name a number and have children put out that many counters. Name another number and have children show that number. Continue naming numbers and notice how the children approach the task. Do they remove all the counters every time or do they add (or take off) just the amount they need? Say, “Do you think we need to get some more or take some off to make the number?”, but do not teach them how to add and take away counters. Simply observe their level of thinking. Extension: Have children roll a dot cube to practice recognizing quantities, or a number cube to practice recognizing numerals.

Week 3 Arrangement Patterns (p. 107)

Materials: Unifx cubes and pattern task cards made by drawing squares in different arrangments. Lesson: Children choose a task card, copy the pattern with the unifix cubes, and then extend the pattern. Children will learn that patterns are not just in straight lines.

IMG_2242

Week 4 Is it More or Less? (p. 146)

Materials: Unifix cubes. Lesson: Have children build several trains of specified lengths (all under ten). Say, “Show me a train that has more than six. Show me a train that has less than six.” State the relationship together: “Four is less than six, six is more than four.” Repeat with trains of various lengths. Extension: Decide how many more or how many less one train has than the other. “What can we do to the red train to make it just as long as the blue train?” is easier than “How many more cubes does the red train have than the blue train?” Choose the wording your children are ready for.

Week 5 Stacks

Materials: Unifix cubes Lesson: You and the children each make a stack of 10 to 12 cubes and then hide the stacks behind your backs. Say, “Stacks,” and then everyone breaks off part of their stack and places it in front of them. Each child compares their stack to yours announcing something like, “Two is less than three” or “Five is more than three”. Ask, “What can we do to make these two stacks the same?” or “How many more cubes does your stack have than mine?” (Five cubes is 2 more than 3) depending on what language each child is ready for.

          Games:

  • Dot and Number Memory (p.14) Match even and odd dot cards to matching numeral cards (all placed in order in two separate rows upside down).
  • Even Odd Dot Memory (p.15) Same as game above except one person collects evens, the other collects odds (to become more aware of the difference).
  • Build a staircase on the abacus
  • Sort Attribute Blocks–same shape, different thickness; same color, different shape; same thickness, different size; different color, different thickness; same thickness, different shape; same thickness, different size, different shape; same color, different thickness, different shape.

Nature Study:

IMG_0297IMG_0306IMG_0308

Spanish:

A few lessons from Speaking Spanish, a book that uses Charlotte Mason methods.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Videos:

Reading Rainbow, Moody Science Classics, BBC’s Planet nature shows are what we rotate through at Family Movie Night on Fun Friday. We love all 3!

READING RAINBOW:DESERT LIFE

Traditions and Fun Friday Projects:

  • Chalk Pastel Fall Art

Fall Walk in the Woods Chalk Pastel Art Tutorial www.hodgepodge.me

  • Collect Signs of Fall, Make a Collage, Do Leaf Rubbings, Press Leaves, and Draw Fall Leaves in Our Nature Journals

IMG_0245

  • Make and deliver our annual “Fall Blessings” to the neighbors and spend time during morning devotions praying for each family.

Putting Some Blessings Together for Our Neighbors

IMG_0180

  • Invite a Neighbor to Tea

IMG_0128

Fieldtrips:

  • Exploratorium–October 9th
  • Ardenwood Harvest Festival–pick popping corn to take home on Sunday, October 11th
  • Nature Grubs Class–learn fun secrets about rattlesnakes on October 21st with East Bay Parks naturalist Katie Colbert

Picking Popcorn at Ardenwood Historic Farm

“Freedom lies in being bold.” ― Robert Frost

Leave a comment »

Christmas Gifts for Kiddies

And Putting Some Dreams Back On Your List

Its Christmas shopping time already, and this year for the first time, our 3 and 4 year olds have lists and requests, as well as an awareness of “a lot” and “a little” (and that a lot is a lot better). As a mom, I struggle to know how to make sure that I don’t spoil them, while at the same time, I want to bless their little socks off because its Christmas and I love them!!!  A lot of homeschoolers buy their children mostly books, science kits, art tools, etc. for Christmas and birthdays. I get it……..I dislike materialism as well, and so we buy used clothes, we don’t do video games or TV, we gift educational stuff and often opt for useful things over entertaining things, we rarely visit the toy store, we try not to do a lot of shopping in general, and we even raise some of our own food (and then buy the rest at Whole Paycheck –ha!). That’s us, we splurge in some areas but are pretty minimalist in others. I have a hard time not wanting to splurge on Christmas gifts for my kids. I mean we make them wait all year to get new toys. Every time they ask for something, I say, “I’ll put it on your Christmas list,” then I type the item into a list on my phone–matter closed. Its great because I have peace of mind since all I have to do is keep the list up, and because my kids are truly happy with this arrangement! In their mind, Christmas just is when you finally get what you want. So for these reasons, its hard to decide how much to “spoil” the kids. Thankfully, hubby comes up with a budget that reigns me in and takes all the fun confusion out of it. 🙂

Sometimes it seems like Noah never stops dreaming up things that he wants, or items that according to him, our family could use (little things– like a two story house, or a camping trailor). How could someone so little want so much?? At least when we reached out this month to an Operation Christmas Child and a local homeless person, Noah was dreaming of buying houses and cars for someone else. Boy can little people dream. Its annoying when all our kids dreams seem to center around toys, right? But when that ability to dream suddenly turns its attention towards something righteous and amazingly Godly, aren’t we thrilled that they have that power to dream? I don’t want to squash Noah’s dreams, nor do I want to make poor financial confessions, and so you won’t catch me answering “we can’t afford it”. How much did our parents always saying “we can’t afford it” when we were young effect how we view money as adults? Many of us don’t live in poverty, but many of us still have a “poverty mindset”, and it holds us back. The Bible says ‘the love of money is the root of all evil’, not ‘money is the root of all evil’. I want my kids to keep dreaming big dreams as they grow up, even if those dreams cost a lot of money, and not to have an ever increasing dose of “reality” diminish those lofty dreams into something smaller and smaller as they grow.  Thats just it, little people believe, don’t they? At Christmas time, we see this is apparent, perhaps more than any other time of year. And perhaps this is one of those little heart lessons we as parents are to pay attention to this season as we watch our little ones hearts dreaming away. Are our own hearts still dreaming away? Maybe the question isn’t, how could someone so little want so much, but rather, how could someone so big want so little? Let’s give our diminished dreams to God this Christmas and pray that He would enlarge them once again.

Want to see some of my ideas for the kids this Christmas? Oh, and I added a few things for myself (those “things” always seems to sneak their way in, don’t they?).

The Kids’ List

Check out JM Cremps Adventure Store for lots of good ideas for boys. Its an awesome Christian family owned store selling “adventure supplies” with the premise that the character of a man depends a great deal on the adventures and experiences a boy enjoys in his youth.

A Spring Swing–Swings and Bounces

A Quality Bow and Arrow for 4-7 Year Olds

Bear Cheeks Pajamas With Trap Door–Cute Christmas Jammies

Hatley Rainboots and Umbrella

Thinking Putty–Bounces, Stretches, Shatters, and Changes Color

A Pocket Microscope (100x)–Only $15

DK Stickers

Reading Lessons with A Talking Dog Pen

A Game that Teaches Numbers (Zingo also has a sight word version)

A Game that Teaches Reading

Number Balance that Teaches Number Relationships, Addition, and Subtraction

Beeswax Crayons that Bring Coloring to a New Level

Huggums– A Pretty Baby Doll

Mom, the Teacher’s List

How do you get kids that can’t tell time to hurry up? With a time timer! A timer that shows how much time is left. I would love to have a time timer for chores, lessons, and especially clean up time. Not dawdling is a big habit we are working on around here and I feel like a broken record with my, “come on,” “let’s go,” “stop dawdling,” “your time is almost up,” type of comments. I loathe my own nagging some days. I think this little timer may release me from my torture and help teach my children responsibility as they monitor their own time.

This is cool! Make your own learning centers/resources/worksheets/tests with your own supply of hot dots and talking pen. Instead of buying boxed Hot Dot lessons like the one above, you can make your own lessons  customized to what your child needs to know, apply the “hot” and “cool” dots, and hand your child the interactive pen. Any surface can become a learning activity (like during a Spanish lesson, stick a hot dot to the kitchen sink, several cool dots to various other items in the kitchen, and then ask your child to go find the “lavabo” by touching the pen to different dots for instant feedback).

Click to insert.

See last years Christmas Gift Suggestions

Hanging Out at the Nature Park

IMG_3283

King of the Forest

IMG_3289Laying Out Straw for the Chickens

IMG_3354

Counting  Dots on the Dot Cube

IMG_3389

Writing in My Word Book

IMG_3393

Morning Lessons

IMG_3411

Cool Turtle Garrett!

IMG_3413

Sentence Building with Lamb

IMG_3421

Love You Brother

IMG_3480

IMG_3512

Messiest Tree in the Neighborhood, but so Much Fun

IMG_3515

Turkey Pumpkins and Our Thankful Tree

IMG_3535

A Beautiful Fall at the Nature Park

IMG_3549

IMG_3557

An Easy Leaf Garland

Made After a Day at the Nature Park

IMG_3579

Daniel and Pug Dog

IMG_3589

Pattern Work with Mamama

IMG_3618

Working on Beginning Sounds, Yay Faith!

IMG_3619

Our Favorite Project of the Month: Stone Soup

IMG_3625

Noah  Loves Using The Food Chopper

IMG_3632

Praying Over Our Soup

IMG_3640

Sharing our Soup

IMG_3642

Showing Our Soup Being Made

IMG_3646

Great Handwriting Kiddos!

IMG_3675

Adding to Our Thankful Tree All Month Long Was Awesome

IMG_3693

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Leave a comment »

Confessions of the Heart

I was convicted last Sunday at church that I have a religious spirit. If you also are a devout believer passionate about the truth, you may want to prayerfully consider this post, as we who are concerned about holiness are often the very ones most susceptible to this religious spirit. The Jewish temple leaders of Biblical times, called Pharisees and Saducees, are an example of what I mean by a “religious spirit” (in the eyes of Christians). Most of us believe that we are night and day different from those staunch religious men of old, many of whom never became born again to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus said they preach but do not practice, they do all their good deeds to be seen by others, and their hearts are hard. Some of us read the Bible and just can’t wait for Jesus to put them in their place–get em’ Jesus! However, we may have more in common with the Pharisees than we realize. Pharisaism was at heart, though tragically miscarried, a movement for righteousness. It was the longing for a righteous Israel and the hope of the coming Messianic kingdom that motivated these men. It was this concern for righteousness that drove the Pharisees to their legalism with such a passion. They often lived moral lives, full of good deeds, but it was all outward actions with no thought given to the heart or motives of the actions. Today, if you walk out on the streets of any city in this nation and ask non-believers what they think about Christians, you’ll usually get a response like, “They’re self-righteous and legalistic. They stab each other in the back.” Yet that is not usually how we think of ourselves, is it?

Denial is Dangerous, Confession is Cleansing

Jesus’ stern warnings to the hypocritical Pharisees make it clear that sin we ignore and deny is no less serious in its effects than the sin of the public sinner. And we are in denial if we have convinced ourselves that we share no resemblance to the Pharisees. This mindset is dangerous as a religious spirit can take greater and greater hold the longer we continue to think that we have no characteristics of a religious spirit. Those of us who have the biggest religious spirits, are the same ones who believe that we are not susceptible. If we feel like none of the characteristics of a religious spirit apply to ourselves, we are declaring a strong religious spirit over our life. I don’t want that, so I am here to tell the truth and admit that I am very susceptible!

Sometimes we are unable to admit even that which is obvious to everyone else. Sometimes we scurry about in the dark, obsessed with hiding things from one another’s view. Walk in the light as He is in the light, and the blood of Jesus will cleanse us from all sin. Satan the accuser is allowed into your life through unconfessed sin. Unconfessed sin allows the accuser leverage to roar his accusations, and his voice can get so loud that we have a hard time hearing God’s. Confession silences him and removes his authority to attack you. Can you hear the peace of silence?

Confession.

Yes, I am vulnerable.

I am a Pharisee.

I love to be ‘seen of men’.

I enjoy, indeed, revel in recognition.

I like to receive all of the honor I can get … from men.

I critique people and worship services.

I look to correct people, especially those I love the most.

I think about how glad I am that so and so is hearing this message.

I often rebel against God given authority in my life.

I am a Pharisee.

Forgive me Lord.

Do You Have a Religious Spirit?

Characteristics of a Religious Spirit Preached by Pastor Scott Perky last Sunday at Bay Summit Church

A religious spirit: A mindset, behavior pattern that wants to look spiritual. Relying on religious activity more than the Holy Spirit. High on truth, low on grace. A religious spirit will say I am nothing like the Pharisees in the Bible and the following message has nothing to do with me.

Characteristics of a Religious Spirit:

1.  More committed to religious tradition (rules) rather than obeying the scripture (Mat 15:2-9)

Ex: Rather follow a list of do’s and don’ts, stay in the box, or have boundaries, than obey the scripture

2. Routinely confuse their individual preferences (things of men) for biblical precepts (things of God) (Mat 16:21-23)

Confuse individual preferences (things of men, things taught in life that seem like good principles, things grown up with) for Biblical precepts. Elevating your personal convictions and application of the Word as the correct interpretation of scripture, which makes others taking a different path disobedient in your eyes.

3. Legalism: Focuses on external formulas as a way to gain God’s approval (Gal 5:1-6)

Ex: Fasting to get God’s approval, or to get closer to God by our work of fasting

4. Perfectionism: Has a ridged idealistic view of the way things or people should/ought to be. (Mat 23:1-4)

Needing things a certain way in order to be acceptable.

5. Judgmentalism: Will choose to reject and not join anything that he or she does not deem as being perfect and is constantly looking for something/someone to correct (John 9:1-3)

Cover someone else’s weaknesses with the blood of Jesus rather than thinking “you better get it right or I can’t even be around you when you act like that”. This one is huge!

6. Idealism: Will often see as his/her primary mission as correcting what is wrong with ministries and individuals rather than seeing what is right (Luke 7:37-39)

If your tendancy is to have a negative slant when you enter an environment, you are operating in a religious spirit. We use excuses too like “It’s just because I am Irish, or because I am German.”

7. Agnosticism: Dismisses spiritual manifestations and realities as untrue, emotional, or fanatical (Eph 1:17-18)

There is still an authentic move of the Holy Spirit that is not sensational, but religious people dismiss it.

8. Fanaticism: Views the will of God through external manifestations rather than on Kingdom principles

You only get spiritually stoked when you get goose bumps and the Holy Spirit is moving. These manifestations are never above kingdom principles.

9. Elitism: Believes that he/she is closer to God than other people and on the cutting edge of what God is doing. Believes that their church is superior to others.

Literally anything and everything that sets you ‘apart’ from your fellow man can be the catalyst for feeling above.

10.​Existentialism: Rejects God-given authority, (protection) structure and institution (1 Pet 2:13-16)

I don’t need the body of Christ, I don’t need that person, all I need is God. Opposition to authority is a huge stronghold in this area. God given authority is your umbrella and when you step out, all of hell breaks loose.

11. ​Will have the tendency to resist and oppose anything new in the church

People who have to have things a certain way, usually their way.

12.​Will adopt a philosophy that will not listen to men, but “only to God”

We are saying of ourselves that we are not teachable. To get into the things of God you will have to submit to authority and you will have to be teachable. Run to those people who put you back in line.

13.​Will resist a Godly rebuke from individuals that they judge less “spiritually” mature

Even a child can rebuke you and thereby help you.

14.​Thrives on recognition and the approval of men (Mat 6:5)

How many of us put the smiley face on when we show up to church so that no one knows what we are going through? Paul said if I am a person who seeks to please men, I can not please God.

15.​Believes that he/she can never measure up to the Lord’s standards. Creates a performance mindset that keeps a religious scorecard

We can’t receive a message because we feel condemned.

16.​Will Glory more in what God has done rather than what God is doing

Lets go back to the things we were doing when God moved last time and stay there.

17.​Will make excuses that none of this list applies to them

18.​Will think of other individuals while reading this list

Lord Renew a Right Spirit Within Us!

If you would like to hear more from the heart of my pastor and be led in a prayer to renounce a religious spirit, visit my church’s website where you will find a video recording of this message. Perhaps Bay Summit is the type of church you are looking for, so if you live anywhere near our two locations in Concord and Brentwood, consider visiting sometime!

Community Outreach: Blessing Our Neighbors with Pumpkins

To be a light on halloween, we reached out to our neighbors with the cuteness of our kids, a pumpkin for their doorstep, and a tag that sent a blessing their way with an invitation to come visit this blog. We turned down everyone’s offer of candy as we wanted to give without getting anything back (plus we prefer that our kids don’t eat candy). However, we did get much back from the experience, intangible things, as I will share in a bit. We were so well received by our neighbors, and the kids enjoyed it so much that they wanted to do it again the next day! Plus, collecting a wheelbarrow full of pumpkins to share at the pumpkin patch was way more fun than picking just one to take home for ourselves. I think I am seeing an annual tradition forming here!

Cinderella and Her Pumpkin

Mr. Firefighter and His Load of Blessings

The Moment that Made the Day

We visited a wonderfully bright and friendly 93 year old neighbor named Lois. I asked Noah to stand by her for a picture, and instead of posing, he turned around and put his arms around her. We were all touched how he showed the love of Jesus on this day. “Show the love of Jesus” were actually his own words on this day. I am blessed that God has put compassion in his heart through our little community outreach efforts and past Little Lambs lessons. I cherish how our Little Lambs theme of “love” last February left an eternal mark on him. I love seeing these lessons of love bubble out every now and then,  evidence that the Word has reached into the inner recesses of his heart. What astonishes me is that it seems like the Lord has worked in Noah’s heart after only a few nursing home visits and a few other types of outreaches. Apparently the Lord doesn’t need much to work with!

This season of thanksgiving is a great time to get your children thinking of others. Plan some small acts of kindness together today, and down the road you will see how the Lord uses these small experiences to work something special and eternal in your children’s hearts.

Visiting Mr. Don

Showing Jesus’ Love to an elderly lady who lives alone. So sweet!! Valene said she would take all the hugs she could get.

Safety Lessons with Miss Sheila:

Crossing the Street Safely

Stove Safety

Color Mixing Science with Miss Cherie:

Mixing Primary Pigments Makes Black

Mixing Primary Light Colors Makes White Light

What I Want to Be When I Grow Up Handwriting

A diver– with a mohawk. Noah is into mohawks lately.

My Very First SENTENCE!

Raggedy Ann (My Favorite Childhood Doll)

Geoboard Copywork……Uhhh Almost.

Much Improved! (Mr. Busy Hands Was Asked to Fold His Fiddlers so I Could Get a Decent Pic)

Cutie Pies in Costume

Leave a comment »

I am a Child of God

Inordinately Blessed

God’s children are blessed. How could we not be? Those in the family of God have the King for a daddy! God blessings are like living in a happily ever after story. He loves us all so wildly! Sometimes His goodness to me just seems too good to be true, and the more I look for His blessings, the more I see them. When we count our blessings, and write them down, I think it helps us realize how much God does for us. It seems that the more we realize what He has done, the more He does………or perhaps its that our eyes are more open to see it all. Being in a royal family is living blessed for sure! Let’s look back at this past season and count our blessings together. What are your recent blessings?

        My Summer Blessings

  • Discovering Charlotte Mason
  • A clear vision for all our homeschooling years ahead
  • My dad miraculously healed of cancer
  • My best friend Danielle getting pregnant
  • My friend Mary deciding to homeschool
  • A new niece or nephew on the way
  • Answered prayer for more true friendships
  • The bliss of creation revealed through several glorious summertime nature experiences
  • This blog helping other moms
  • New furniture in the house
  • The calling to worship rekindled
  • Yummy gluten free recipes that improve my health
  • Being with my little ones every moment

What Does Your Name Mean?

Its profound how God moves through our Little Lambs masterplan of themes even in the hearts of grown ups! We have been focusing on how special our children’s names are at school, and God in His all encompassing goodness, is blessing me with more insight into the significance of my own name as well. I recently experienced a sudden recollection of various meaningful spiritual experiences and visions from my past. It felt like an unveiling of His plans for me that were formed before the foundations of the earth. A vision of me standing under a heavenly waterfall, Paul’s words “I am being poured out like a drink offering” seared into my heart, never ending worship like “times of refreshing in His presence”…….. All these seemingly isolated, disconnected, and forgotten snippets of long ago holy moments were connected in one recent revelational moment. All along these moments were Him pointing me towards my calling. Each has been a clue to my calling, a piece of the puzzle. The coolest part is finally realizing that who I am has been whispered all along in the meaning of my name. So what does my name mean? Lynn: refreshing, waterfall, pool of water. Some say coincidence, some say destiny, some say prophetic. Its hard to explain the prophetic, easier to feel it. Its like the handwriting has always been on the wall, but it was written in invisible lemon juice ink, which can only revealed by the heat of a Light source.

Think about how your name, and your kids names, can be like destiny. In the Old Testament, names were a huge deal. When a child was named, they were given their identity. It was a prophetic declaration of the destiny of the child. Abraham, father of multitudes; Adam, man; Moses, drawn out of the water. Many parents feel this important truth instinctually when selecting a name for a new baby: my child’s name must mean something noble or beautiful or important! By the power of God, we can each live up to the meaning of our own name. God has a special calling on each of our lives. Most importantly, thank God that the name of Jesus is over all who believe, and being one with Christ is the most beautiful calling of all!

Noah Means Peace and Comfort

Noah writes his name 88% on his own 🙂

Tayler Moves Past Scribbling

Our First Representational Piece of Art at Little Lambs!

Did You Know? The way children draw provides clues into their cognitive, physical and emotional development. Most preschool children’s drawing follows a certain pattern or stages; understanding these stages helps you with ideas about how to encourage her love and interest for art.

Miss Cherie’s ‘All About Me’ Fun Project

First, we traced Tayler’s dolly per Tayler’s request.

Next, we traced all the kids on the driveway using sidewalk chalk.

Faithy wanted a turn too.

Then we painted clothing on each person with sidewalk paint– a mixture of baking soda, cornstarch and food dye. Then everyone got to spray themselves “alive” with vinegar that made the paint bubble up. This reminded us of how God created each of us and then brought us to life.

Big ones help little ones

Faith waits patiently during activities like this one at school, but after everyone has had their turn, she knows it is Faithy’s turn! Tayler helps Fatih since she can’t work a spray bottle yet. Older kids helping younger kids is such an important part of developing into maturity, forming Godly character, and receiving a solid education too!

Leave a comment »

4/24 & 4/26 Down on the Farm

Love can not be forced.

I used to try to force my kitten to love me by holding her down when she wanted to get away. I wanted her to love me more like a dog would so I tried to force her to cuddle with me. Now she is a feisty, bitter cat that swats at innocent children walking by. How many times have I wished that someone in my life would love me more or differently only to find it go awry? I wish my husband was more romantic, my parents spent more time with me, my children were more affectionate, my friends more loyal. There hasn’t been a single person in my life that I am close to that hasn’t disappointed me at one time or another. Ouch. And then sometimes I try to change them so they will love me more, which usually pushes them away. I wonder if I am alone in this, a strangely overly needy person, or if others share in this propensity for forcing love?

Grace.

Now I find myself wanting every Little Lamb family to love school so much that they do everything I hope they will. We are a cooperative and everyone has done a great job of working together. But when some things fell through the cracks and didn’t happen, or didn’t get done on time, I wondered what we were supposed to do. If Little Lambs belongs to Jesus, will it work if we really just put it all in His hands and not take matters into our own hands? Is His conviction more poignant than man’s? OR…….do we write “I will remember to……” on the chalkboard 100x? Charge late fees? Assign makeup work? The more my mind went down this ridiculous road, the more reasons I found to be disappointed, and thus more need for “punishment”. Envisioned penalties were stacking up like pancakes. I realized I was in a negative downward spiral that only caused me to have unhappy feelings towards others. This must not be God’s way for our school. Plus, petty penalties seem so much like the pattern of this world. Do petty penalties ever really change someone’s heart to want to do right? Its how businesses and other schools are run, but this is Jesus’ school. What would Jesus do? What did He do with his own disciples? I know He never fired anyone, not even Judas. I know his teachings of grace, patience, and forgiveness were superior to the law. The Old testament law only shows us how wrong we are so that we are acutely aware of our need for grace, and New Testament grace given through Jesus Christ actually changes hearts to want to do right. Love naturally flows out of hearts that want to do right, and hearts that want to do right are because of grace. The methods used by most schools or businesses will keep some order through their law like discipline, but never change hearts. Hence, rarely do people LOVE going to work. When grace does not dominate, love is weak. After wrestling with these thoughts, I knew that my highest dream for Little Lambs is for grace to abound so that our hearts are changed rather than merely disciplined.

Choice.

I am so pleased with all the hard work families put into Little Lambs and it shows our love. My desire for Little Lambs is that we all serve in excellence because we LOVE what we are doing here like crazy. If we do our duties here out of necessity or obligation, I think we suck the love of God out of the atmosphere. Is it even possible to love out of obligation? I don’t think obligation and love co-exist together well. For example, even God gives us all free will to love Him or not because being loved by people who are forced to love Him, would not be real love at all. Giving people choice allows Him to be truly loved by those who choose to. We who are called to do this homeschooling journey together are tied together by a true bond: love that is chosen. My dream for Little Lambs is that nothing would be done out of compulsion, and all things, incredible things would happen because of the strength of our love. Love is an unstoppable force.

May grace abound in all your relationships and love be fiercer than the noonday sun.

Farm Animal Science with Miss Cherie

Bacon comes from pigs (actually its turkey bacon mommy)

Wool comes from sheep

What’s its like to milk a cow?

Food coloring and dish soap in milk makes an exploding kaleidoscope of colors

Down on the Farm Centers

Piggy bank coin counting was fun

Making a bird feeder all by myself

Tayler’s proud “p” for “pig” handwriting

Cooking Project Using Farm Veggies

Doing my own cutting

Taste Tester

Mmmmm! Gruyere, asparagus, artichoke, and bell pepper frittata

Getting Ready for Mother’s Day

Tea party invitations for Grandmas

5 Comments »

4/12/12 Chickens

Apparently, I needed a personal reminder about mountain moving faith this week. In Little Lambs, we are teaching Matthew 17:20 which basically says that faith as small as a mustard seed can say to this mountain MOVE. Mountains are things like disappointment, irritation, frustration, sickness, and often accompanied by satan’s accusatory voice. (When I hear a voice in my mind that is accusing me or accusing others in my life, I can be sure that satan, “the accuser of the brethren”, is working against me and needs to be dealt with.) Matthew 17:20 says that the way mountains move is by SPEAKING directly to them…..not by mulling it over, not by talking it over with a confidant, not by feeling sorry for myself, not even through my typical prayer and devotional routines. I know this, so why did I forget this week (as per usual) what to do? Thankfully, a ray of hope dawned inside when the Holy Spirit reminded me of Matthew 17:20 and how much it has always worked for me. I finally knew what I was supposed to be doing. First, I recognized that there was a mountain–something negative had crept into my otherwise peaceful and happy mentality. Something was standing in the way, in between me and my peace. I think ‘something in the way’ is what Matthew 17:20 means by mountain. Second, I found a name for the mountain, so that I could speak to it by name. Third, I used an auditory voice and authoritatively spoke to that mountain, “Mountain of accusing voices move!”  In the spirit realm, I knew a mountain moved over because peace returned that same day. Thats the proof.

When we try to implore methods other than speaking, we become weary. Coping with mountains of hurt and hardship our way is like trying to travel around the mountain (longer and harder) or climb over the mountain (exhausting), but Jesus said that is not necessary, just tell it to move out of your way so you can forge ahead! Speaking to the problem is God’s way of setting you free. Christians let problems keep them out of commission for way too long because we don’t know, or we forget, how to use the powerful Word of God in our mouths like a weapon. God has given us the tools in His Word (Matthew 17:20 is a tool!) to move mountains aside so that we don’t have to skip a beat in His calling on our life.

Name whatever is bothering you, tell it to move out, and forge ahead for Him.

In Little Lambs today, we talked about mountain moving faith, and later I was blessed to see Tayler and Noah thrilled to build mountains in the mud. We also introduced our Little Lambs to the hens that Papa from Ontario brought us a few days ago. The hens laid some eggs seemingly on cue for the kids, the chicks in a nest art projects turned out adorable, and somehow Tayler and Noah’s muddy hands and shoes made me feel like these kids are really living the good life. I can’t thank God enough for these times!

In the Coop

Betsy and Buttercup

Our First Time Gathering Eggs

We Are Making a Mountain!

Baby Chicks In a Nest

2 Comments »

Faith Like a Seed Can Move Mountains

Our Little Lambs themes for April are chickens, farming, gardening, and along with all that agricultural fun, faith like a seed. So to get ready, we sharpen ourselves as moms by studying the topic of faith to better impart God’s Word to our little ones. And I would love to share some of these things with this entire blogging community of moms and grandmas as we are iron sharpening iron.

So do you ever wonder if God intends for your faith to be more powerful? More effective, more outreaching, more believing, changing more lives? My Pastor holds a group called Academy for those who want serious discipleship type of training, and the current series is called Powerful Christianity. Watching the videos online is where I derived most of what I have brought to share with you. I think it will help renew your mind too if your desire, like mine, is to be powerful.

Our Little Lambs memory verse this month goes like this:

If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain ‘move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. Matthew 17:20

That verse sounds like faith powerful enough to catch the attention of the world. I think most of us desire to be powerful Christians, rather than weak and powerless Christians unable to reach anyone for Christ. So the question is…..if we serve an all powerful God, why are we are not all powerful? Yah, but that is God. Well, were the apostles ever limited by disease, sickness, or death? No, but that was apostolic. Ok well, these miraculous signs will follow those who believe: they will cast out demons in my name, they will speak in new languages…….they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well. (Mark 16:17-18) Hmmmm.

Anything that flows from the All Powerful is powerful. If God is flowing out of us, we will be powerful. Power so powerful that sometimes not one word need be uttered; no preaching necessary. Hearts reached and changed simply by the power of God.

 Power or Philosophy?

The gospel is meant to carry power. We belittle it when it becomes only crafty, intellectual words. It takes the power of God to make the gospel real in someone’s life, you can’t intellectualize or emotionalize it into someone. If the Christian gospel preached is only philosophy (intellectual words), it holds no more power to change lives than the gospel of all other religions—religions built entirely on philosophy, and devoid of all power. That is why Paul said, “I didn’t come to you with persuasive words of mans wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith does not rest in the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.” (1Cor. 2:4-5) Wow, did you hear that? The gospel must be demonstrated with power (like that of apostolic times), otherwise our faith rests in man, not God. Woah that is serious. Apostolic demonstration of power still occurs today in church bodies, but unfortunately, these places are rare gems. Honestly and sadly, churches everywhere are full of beautifully preached sermons but have little to no demonstration of power. With services devoid of the amazing life giving synergy of God’s active power, pastors must heavily rely on all they have—wise words. We are hungry for revival in the Bay Area and God’s glory. Revival and the manifested glory of God come through the power of God, not wise words.

 God’s Chooses the Weak

We cannot contain within our entity a system of wordly power: self serving ways, and then also have Christ’s power. The degree that we operate in the world’s system of power is the degree to which we are rendered spiritually powerless. The world’s system of power and God’s system of power, or God’s kingdom, are strikingly different.

What can we liken God’s kingdom to? Jesus could find no earthly power or government that would sufficiently symbolize the power of His kingdom. Instead he had to look to a tiny mustard seed. “It is like a grain of mustard seed,” He said, “which, when it is sown upon the earth, though it be less than all the seeds that are upon the earth, yet when it is sown, grows up, and becomes greater than all garden plants, and puts out great branches; so that the birds of the heaven can lodge under the shadow thereof.” (Mark 4:31-32)

The work of grace in people’s hearts is small in its beginning, small like a mustard seed. A word is spoken, a ray of light is shed into the soul, an influence is exerted that is the beginning of new life….but who can measure its results? When we share Jesus with others, by preaching, teaching, testifying, or discipling, we are obediently planting mustard seeds, seeds which may seem so insignificant in the beginning, but grow magnificently through the miraculous power of God.

As we keep sowing seeds in the hearts of others, God will use what seems so small to become mountain moving big. We can keep on doing what we know to do, obeying what God has recently shown us to do, and then we will see the power of God’s mustard seed system unfold in lives around us. Praying for the sick, praying for the broken, simply praying, and then seeing God use our growing faith to help move mighty mountains in people’s lives. With growing faith, things that used to appear impossible, will become possible.

Remember God’s ways are often backwards from our ways–small is big, and foolish is wise. ”God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. And base things of the world, and things which are despised, God has chosen, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are”……..”that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” ((1 Cor. 1:26-28; 1 Cor. 2:5).

 Make us weak in worldly things so that nothing will be impossible for us. Grow our faith to move bigger and bigger mountains.

As a side note…..Do You See God’s Masterful Arrangement of Themes in Little Lambs?

Our school themes, originally seeming unrelated to each other, I see now are building blocks, one resting on the understanding of another. February we studied love because nothing works except by love, even faith works only in the midst of love. March we studied the work of the Holy Spirit, our Helper, who endues us with power to be effective witnesses to an unbelieving world, and also the work of the cross, the origin of the power of our faith. Now we study faith, powerful faith that is. I see God ordering our plans!

Leave a comment »