Jesus' Precious Little Lambs

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

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.

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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)

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A heart being formed in the Word

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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

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3/26/12 Easter Party

Building Your Community

Our desire at Little Lambs is to be a fountain of life always giving out, never becoming a stagnant pool of homeschoolers that keeps to itself. We want to shine the light of Christ in our community as He shows us how. So God showed us that we could make our holiday parties an outreach to those around us, and to start by throwing an Easter Party for Jesus. Wanting to be more connected to our neighborhood and our community, we invited some neighbors with children and some faithful playgroup friends as well. Having lived in my neighborhood for two years now, it was about time that I introduced myself to more of our neighbors. I didn’t even realize how many Christians live around us until reaching out–at least 9 houses in just two courts. How is that possible when something like only 2-3% of households in the Bay Area profess to be Christian?? I started to wonder if we have all been planted here for some bigger purpose, and if we are supposed to be more connected, rather than all going our separate ways. AND living right by us, 2 families, one Christian and one Charismatic Cathlolic, homeschool their kids in 1st through 6th grade. It was great to meet the moms and find that we have some things in common. We already knew their kids because they are always out riding bikes, and often stop by curious to learn from Dean’s maintenance projects, or to playfully engage our kids. Its cool how homeschooling kids are able to drop their studies on a Monday morning for a few hours to come to an Easter party. And the kids didn’t just come to be served–they played, interacted, and took care of our little ones. It was a blessing.

Who have you been meaning to go introduce yourself to? You too may also be pleasantly surprised after you obey that nagging voice to “Go!”

Watching all the ages co-mingling happily together at the party reminded me of how age segregation is one big difference between school and homeschool. We should ask ourselves, are we meant to be separated from the diversity of ages all around us for an entire 12 years of schooling? Just think about how much you have learned from the children and the elderly in your life. Sometimes I wonder if I am learning more from my kids than they are learning from me, you know? Schooled children are largely removed from these daily life lessons as classrooms are all divided up by age. Consequently, older children have very little opportunity to develop compassion, interest, and mentorship towards little children; little ones live separate from the guidance and nurturing that they are meant to receive from older ones. After years and years of age separation in school, an indirect message is engrained in developing minds: only same aged peers matter. We see in homes how older siblings grow quite cold in their after school hours towards younger siblings and parents, even locking themselves away in their rooms doing homework, watching TV, and talking on the phone; family relationships further deteriorating. The book Dumbing Us Down, a harsh critique of compulsory schooling, states, “It is absurd and anti-life to be part of a system that compels you sit in confinement with people of exactly the same age and social class. That system effectively cuts you off from the immense diversity of life and the synergy of variety; indeed, it cuts you off from your own past and future, sealing you in a continuous present….” The author John Gatto says, “Children and old people are penned up and locked away from the business of the world to a degree without precedent: nobody talks to them anymore, and without children and old people mixing in daily life, a community has no future and no past, only a continuous present. In fact, the term “community” hardly applies to the way we interact with each other. We live in networks, not communities, and everyone I know is lonely because of that.”

John Gatto believes the “Curriculum of Family and Community” is at the heart of any good life. I couldn’t agree more.

If you have any reservations at all about our current national system of education, I highly recommend that you read Dumbing Us Down. It is SO eye opening. Shouldn’t we have eyes wide open when handing our children’s lives over to an institution for 12 years??

As a parent, you have stood guard over your child’s mind and heart, you have protected them since the day they were born, you would never let a stranger lay a hand on them, so please please please keep protecting as you make educational decisions for them.

Neighbor Friends–Owen, Valerie, and Olivia

Big Kids Interacting with Little Kids

Gabby helped Tayler with the Easter egg hunt

Olivia plays ball with Luca and Gianna

Joe builds a marble run with the little guys

Friendship crosses age barriers

Gabby took Tayler under her wing

Mr. Foodie elected to skip the egg hunt so that he could eat a second helping

Gianna says hello to bunny

Woo-hoo! We made it to school!

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Picture from February

Sorry…I’m super behind on getting these pictures up.  I finally figured out a faster way to get these uploaded!

Sharing Valentine’s love with the elderly!

Busting out BINGO

David with Miss Christine and Dalila with Mr. Leo…Leo ate all three of his muffins we made in about 5 minutes and he loved his Valentine’s heart.

 

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2/9/12 Loving Our Family and Our Elders

Friendship is sweet

Circle time!

Centers for the day…

David making a Valentine for his “TT”. You can never have too much glue can you?

Madelyn making a special necklace for Noah.

Pretty Faith practicing letters already!

Kids who can make friends are able to see what someone else needs.

Yeah Madelyn!

Cooking up some homemade goodness to take to the elderly at Miss Cherie and David’s care home!

White chocolate chip apple banana muffins

Recipe compliments of Miss Sheila 🙂

Where did all the kids go?

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