Saturday, August 21, 2010

The garden update and a relaxing week

Even though the kids weren't feeling too well this week, we managed to have some fun.  NyGirl catches a few bubbles:

We played a game of LIFE.  Fun!

We checked our garden, and the peas are in!

NyGirl records her plants by video.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Is it okay to have an abundance?

Lately the Lord has really been stirring my heart towards a simple matter:


He just wants me to trust Him.

No matter what I desire (based on either needs or wants), and no matter how little or great my desires are, he wants me to know that in Him alone are my requests granted.

And, boy, do I have a lot of requests!

For the sake of my family privacy, I won't list them here on my blog- but let's just say our family is looking forward to the days ahead and APPRECIATING the moments today.  Even the struggles can be appreciated when we realize that the joy is in the journey.

The key is, trusting God to get to the other side.  If we give up or lose faith along the way, we won't be able to enjoy the journey, much less persevere to see the solutions that God has in store.  And I am thrilled just sitting here thinking about much He has already taken care of us, and how much more I know that He will.

No matter your desires- be it physical or spiritual, even material-- if they equal to needs (or even some rightful desires)- God has promised that He will give us abundantly and above all that we can ask or think.

Some people say that He has only agreed to give us our needs.  Well, if that is the case, praise God for the food on our tables and the clothing that we wear each day.  Praise God for the roof over our heads!  The so-called "prosperity message" has actually turned people in a complete 365, and when it comes to the idea of wealth building and becoming prosperous.  Is it wrong?  What does God say about wealth?  What about the abundance of "stuff" we've already accumulated in our lives?  What does God think about that?

If you know God has done abundantly ABOVE basic needs for you-- (how about that SUV you might driving, or the extra spacious home, or even just the abundance of clothing that might be spilling out of your closet)- then think about it.  Really think about it.  Does God hate our abundance?

Really think about that.

Did God hate Abraham's abundance? Was it not Elohim the Creator who caused Abraham to be abundantly blessed- he and his entire household?

There are too many more instances in the Bible to prove that not only is God not against abundance but He is the source of it.  (After all, Heaven is definitely not a chintzy place.  I would hope that when Jesus said that He went away to prepare a mansion for us that He didn't mean a shack...)  Remember when Jesus told His disciples not to worry?  He proved His point of His love for us even then when He said this (Matthew 7:9-11- NIV)
9"Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! if my daughter asked for a glass of milk, would I by any chance figure she meant fuel?  Gross right?  No loving parent in their right mind would give a child something so horrid when she or he has asked for something special and important to them.

Some things we need.  Some things we just want.  I am at a place in my life where I am beginning to understand that it is not a sin to desire something  that registers above the "needs" meter.  In fact, I have to believe that my Heavenly Father delights in showing His love for me in extraordinary ways- and that includes showering me with blessings I don't necessarily NEED to survive.

But what's next is this: it's a heart issue.

Not a prosperity issue.  Not a "name it, claim it, blab it, grab it" issue.

(In fact, this is usually how spoiled brats behave-- little children who either know no better or are just purely ignorant).  Don't mean to sound rude.

Can you imagine God bending to every notion of one of His immature kids who has incredibly ludicrous requests and a bad attitude?  I don't think our Lord will be responsible for making that person a million overnight and issuing twenty sports vehicles and thirty-something mansions...that would not be happening.

But do you think a mature child, who understands the heart of her parent, would ask for ludicrous things?  Do you think the desires of her heart would be too challenging for God?

A job?  An extra income?  Ability to pay your bills?  Enough money to not only pay your bills but help others?  More clothing for your children?    So much clothing you can help others and give some of your clothes away? A safe neighborhood?  A bigger house?  A house big enough to not only fit your family, but other families, so now you can help take care of others?  Another car?  A car with more room so now you can give others a ride who need one?

God knows your heart.  His children know HIM. His children know His voice.  His children know His heart.  His children ask for things according to God's will.

His children can rest assure that NOTHING is too hard for God.  AND...God is not displeased when we ask Him for things, with a grateful attitude, and a willing heart to continue loving Him, serving Him, and doing good to others as we wait patiently upon our answers from Him.

Prosperity as a result of impatience is a really bad mix.  Prosperity and patience go hand in hand.

Ultimately, it's up to you and I to figure out what prosperity means to each of us.  Honestly, there are some things I can go without.  We live in a an "abundance is everything " society, but we don't often see the appreciation for the things God has blessed us with.  Additionally, we see misuse of what God has given us.

May it not be that way with us as Believers.  We can use God's blessings to help others and bless the world around us.  How can the world know who we are if we are unable to help?

It's all a heart issue.  If your heart is right, it's okay to ask God for it!  Just don't bank your salvation or your happiness on it.

And as you ask for these things...remember they are only things. Temporal.  Soon to pass.  But seeing as you're still sticking around Planet Earth, you could probably use those things...and share with others who might like to enjoy it as well.

So.  That's what I'm learning.  I'm not afraid to ask God for what I need...OR what I want!  And while I am waiting on my answers, I learn to relax and enjoy the journey.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Our homeschool conference experience -2010

We visited the Southeast Homeschool Expo in Atlanta this past weekend.    Here is a video I made about our experience (sorry for the poor quality- I videotaped using my Kodak digital camera):

I think the most overwhelming part of any homeschooling convention is selecting curriculum.  I'm glad I knew up front that I really didn't need a whole lot of new curriculum for this year, but it was nice browsing the different items.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Typing and typing some more...

We have really been enjoying our typing lately using the Sense-Lange typing website.  I wrote up a review of this on my Techie Homeschoolers website.

I just think it's so important for kids to learn to type.  I am a real stickler for teaching them skills they need later on - early if possible.  I mean, if they're not ready, don't push it.  But typing is just one of those things that if you introduce at an early age, can (like any other skill) get better and better with practice.

And I would love to have NyGirl type her book reports.  Written format is great, but typing is probably much more relevant...what do you think?

Anyhow, read my post about the Sense Lange (FREE) typing tutorials and check it out to see if it works as a reasonable typing program for your kids when you're ready to introduce typing.

***Note 01/06/12*** this review is no longer available at the above-mentioned website.  I'm working on creating a brand new review for this typing program.  Thanks for your patience!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

BJU Press Reading Review- Book 3B

bju reader review From time to time we used this book last year in NyGirl's second grade.  I can honestly say that I wish more readers were as pleasant for young children as these beautiful "classics", as I like to call them.

This BJU Press Reader is  full of stories which remind me of the wholesome readers I kept lying around my room as a once third-grader bookworm.  They are Christian-based, deliver wholesome content, and promote purity and godly character in young children.

Can you blame me for liking this little book?

There are a series of BJU Press Readers for Christian Schools, which range in grade levels (1-6).  I happened to stumble upon the 3B at a used book sale and thought I would try it out in our school last year.  We started off pretty structured on when I would introduce the stories to her each week...

...that is, until NyGirl decided to take off with the book and read all of the stories on her own.

I did, however, receive the pleasure of reading some of them out loud to her.

Book 3B is divided into 3 content sections.  Each section focuses on a particular topic, such as "A New Land" (covering stories on the beginnings of America), "Creatures Great and Small" (covers stories about animals) and "Treasures" (a collection of wonderful stories about missionaries, God's provision, and other beautiful stories).  There are about 10-14 stories underneath each category topic, so you'll be guaranteed (if you pace it out, unlike us!) a school year of wholesome little short stories to introduce to your younger children.

As I don't have older children, I have not seen the books for upper grades (5a-6b) so I cannot adequately describe these and how they work...but if they are anything like the lower grade books, you couldn't grow with content- especially if you are a Christian parent looking for pure stories which strengthen godly character in your children.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Class planning and a fun conference

So far this week has been busier than usual.  I am (last minute) preparing some classes to teach for our homeschool co-op beginning next week, and  mentally creating a checklist of all the other to-do's on my list.

It's just one of those weeks.

I feel a little weary right now, but I know it will soon past the moment I knock some of the class planning out of the way.  I am creating this curric from scratch, as many of us do when there just aren't any other resources available on the topic that fits our particular situation.  Fingers crossed, I am hoping that I cross all the t's and dot all the i's before the start of our first day of the very least, I want to have an idea of what can technologically work, and what can't , and have a back up plan.  Uh oh...where did the relaxed me go?  (..come back...)

And if you're wondering what I mean by "co-op", it's simply a group (large group, in our case!) of homeschooling parent teachers and our kids, who get together on a regular basis (weekly for us) to offer enrichment classes for our children.    We parents take turns teaching the kids K-12 and rotate on a block schedule basis each hour.  Most of the kids I know, especially NyGirl, loves it with a passion.  It's like her favorite time of the week!  It's where she meets up with her friends in a classroom environment and gets to take "fun classes", as she would describe.  I also enjoy the time chatting with other homeschooling parents.  It gives me a nice break away from the monotony of the week...AND I get to meet new people and make new friends, which I love.

And this weekend we just got in from Atlanta.  It was, seriously, the most awesome homeschool conference experience I have ever had...and not because the conference was so great (though it was pretty good, admittedly)...but because I had LOTS of help with the kids.  My husband was so gracious and let me have a full day of workshops and seminars while he kept the kids for me.  They attended only one, first thing Friday morning, and after that couldn't sit through any others. was just as I had anticipated.  Two year olds don't sit in conference meetings all day long.  Just won't happen.

So, I went to workshop after workshop, met with my family for lunch, and went back down to the curriculum hall to see if there was anything I wanted.  I didn't buy much-- no curriculum, in fact, since I have more than adequate to cover us for the school year.  But I did find some fun things the girls would enjoy, like a set of Glue Dots, and an antique 1800's paper dolls set for NyGirl.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, we attended the Southeast Homeschool Expo.  We actually missed the one in our state, so this one was the next closest.  I will have to write about our times there in another post when I get a free moment.

Well...on to another day and week of planning for my upcoming co-op class.  Hopefully by next week I should be all done with it and can finally breathe.  Will let you know how that goes...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Our new dry erase markers

I found them, I found them!

Okay, so maybe I am a little too excited about some dry erase markers.  But we've been having fun with these and they are low odor.  Makes school a lot easier for us when we don't deal with itchy eyes and allergic reactions to the strong marker fumes.

expo dry erase markers homeschooling
For low odor and reducing allergic reactions, try these dry erase low odor expo markers. Someone else on The Homeschool Channel was telling me about a set of marker board markers that were free of harmful chemicals.  Of course, I am not going to stop here at the Expo dry erase and look into the chemical free markers at some point.

We've been finding ourselves marker board fanatics these past few weeks, only because we haven't been able to use it for what feels like centuries!  What with my active 1 year old a year ago, there was no way we could do a "sit still at the table and write your answers on the marker board" kind of school...

...uh...not that we do that now...BUT...

like I said, it's fun just getting to do something we normally wouldn't have done much a year ago.

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