Sunday, October 23, 2011

Glorifying God in Our Home

Recently, our pastor has had a sermon series on outrageous generosity. He has touched on many areas that have left me pondering over what God wants of our family. One week, we all worked at filling bags of food for Africa. I loved working next to my family and others to fulfill a need for families far away. One week, he challenged us on making a difference in our community by being Jesus on Christmas Sunday this year. Instead of sitting in church with fellow believers, reach out ot the community and make it a special day for them. That has me thinking about what our Christmas day might look like this year. I am so excited to see where God leads us.

Most recently, he has challenged us to consider how we can glorify God through the use of our home. He gave examples of having a widow over for dinner, allowing a down trodden family to stay with you, adopting a child, fostering a child, sponsering a child, hosting Bible Study, etc. That question has really stuck with me and has me reevaluting our schedules and choices.
Just when you think you are going to have to change something, God brings the answer to your doorstep!

I have been blessed with many sweet friends over the years. God has met different needs in my character through these friends. I have been blessed to share many good memories with them in our home. This month, a dear friend of mine had managed to hurt her back. She has 5 small kids. Her husband travels with work at times and managed to be out of town the week this happened. So, I took her to the doctor and left my girls with her kids. School did not happen as it "should" but life happened and ministry happened as we set up meals for her and took care of her kids until she was able to function better.

The following week, another dear friend was blessed through the gift of adoption. Upon that adoption, we were able to watch her other kids so they could meet with lawyers and such. We also were able to use our kitchen in taking a meal to them and set up other meals to be brought as they adjust to a family of four kiddos.

Another area we have been able to see God using our home has been with our girls' friends and kids from co-op. There have been oppurtunities for kids to be here overnight or just to hang out for study time. It has been great to get to know these kids and allow God to use our home in a way that is strengthening bonds between these kids.

The final area recently that God is showing me His plan for us is through our table. How so? We have shared a few meals with friends over the weeks and have been blessed by the conversations, prayers, laughter as we sit around our table. We are blessed to have friends who enjoy spending time together.

I think my heart jumped at the thought of adoption or foster care when we first were challenged but soon God layed out his plan for us....we are to minister to others through meals, babysitting, opening our home for others to hang out, praying with others, sharing life as we walk the same journey or sharing where we have been to give hope to those who need it. I pray that our focus will be more outside of our small bubble of people and to others around but for now, I see how He is being glorified and I am pray that will continue.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Confessions of a School Supply Junky!

How I adore a new notebook, box of crayons, crisp folder and all the lovely organizers. Every single year, as we prepare to start school, I can't help but feel excited when I walk through all those school supplies. I love it! I loved school as a kid so getting new things to start the new year was always so exciting even then.

As I homeschool now, I get that same feeling as I start making decisions about our school day and what books we will use. I love getting the boxes of books at our door. The girls are just as excited as well. We all are anxious to see whose book it is and for what subject. They are always a bit bummed when it is math related! Ha!

Then I get to thinking, what about those things or that time of year, that makes me get so eager to start? Why is a fresh notebook so exciting? What about a new pen really makes my day? Oh, I don't think I really have a big problem here, but then I wonder, what will it take for me to turn that kind of excitement over to my quiet times with God? What will it take for me to see my Bible sitting there and can't wait to tear it open and see what is inside? What about my prayer journal...when will I see it sitting there and crave to sit down and fill it's pages with fresh ink?

For me, it is simple, the more I think about something, the more I get excited about it. As school is approaching each year, I get so excited because I am planning like crazy. I am seeking out information about all kinds of curriculum and experiences I desire for the girls to enjoy. I seek out that information with out any prodding. Same would be true of my quiet times. If I choose to seek God out in all areas of my life, I feel His presence more clearly than ever. I am thinking of Him all day long as I make choices and so when I see my Bible sitting by the rocker, I can't wait to see what God has to tell me today. When I put God in the backseat of my life, I don't even see the Bible sitting there. Do you find that true as well? So this year, I am putting God as driver and this school year will be off to a great start as I sit back and eagerly wait to see where He takes us through His Word and on this journey of homeschooling. My prayer for this school year is that we will seek God more in every aspect of our day. I pray that we will shine for Him when we walk out of these walls. I pray that I will share with my girls the heart of a woman who craves time with God more than new school supplies.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Summer Update

Hello, blog world! :) It has been way too long. School is out for us and we are able to totally enjoy our summer days. This week is VBS for Bean, which she is loving. Doodle started summer dance as well. Matt is off on his IDA business trip and well,that leaves me. So you ask, what am I up to this summer? READING!!! I have also been cleaning my house. Boy, does it feel good to have the chance to really get in a room and deep clean it. I am just very negligent of that kind of cleaning through the school year. We do tidy up, dust and sweep but the accumulation of stuff needs to be dealt with at some point. So the girls and I have been working away and it feels great.

Back to the reading....a dear friend of mine suggested a book to me that she adored called, Made to Crave. It deals with our issue of craving food and desiring a deeper relationship with God. It has been amazing. I got it two days ago and I'm almost done with it. I HIGHLY recommend this book for any woman who has ever gotten irritated over comments made, images in the mirror, unmet goals, lack of drive to exercise..etc. We are going to do the DVD study this summer with friends from co-op as well. So amazing. So far, I am off sugar and anything that turns to sugar in my body, which usually would make me cranky. However, this time it is not about me. It is totallly about God and what He wants for me and the temple He created. So, I know I will have bad days but so far, so good. If I lose weight on this journey, that is a bonus, but my goal has shifted to learning to crave God more and food less.

Second book that I am reading, God's Girl. I want to be able to read it first and then share it with my girls and possibly the Girls Club girls in our co-op. I am very pleased with what I have read so far. Gracious! My girls will benefit from this great book helping young ladies become girls sold out for Jesus. What a gift!

With both books, I keep coming back to one statement in the Made to Crave book....What is it in your life that you crave more than Jesus? Are you willing to give it up? That made me hurt...yet I loved thinking through the things that I do put ahead of Him. My goal for crave Jesus more than anything in my life and to be able to set our house in order including time time with the girls to show them how to do the same thing...crave Jesus more than anything in t heir life. Can you imagine learning such a valuable truth at their ages? What a gift.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Recently, I have been talking with a sweet friend about what they do to celebrate Easter in their family. Her reply sent me on a heartfelt soul search in which I have not stopped quite yet. She just mentioned that while she loves both sides of their families very much, Easter is too holy to sit around and discuss bunnies, eggs, baskets. Add to that the fact they have non-believing family, it takes the focus off Jesus. So they choose to stay home and have people in their home to minister to. Hmmm, that is very intriguing to me. Here is the part that I keep going over and over in my mind: how do we honor this holy day? What things are we instilling in our celebration of Resurrection Sunday that would show it is a holy day?

So with that running through my mind, I kind of changed up how we "do" things. We are blessed to have families that all are believers so I feel very strongly that we are to spend it with them. However, the prep up to that day was different. Tapping into my teaching genes, I pulled out books and looked up websites to help the girls understand more about crucifixtion during that time in Rome. We learned a lot. We watched the Nest Entertainment's version of the Passion of the Christ. Very good and not so gory for kids.

Next, on Good Friday at noon, we shut the curtains and turned out the lights as we read about Jesus being crucified. We had time alone in our rooms after reading that and the knowing more about what that meant, we wanted to have time to reflect. Then we went to Good Friday service. It was powerful this year. The drama team was quoting several verses from Isaiah, which is the study we all do in BSF so the girls recognized that right away. The songs were moving but what got me were the pictures they displayed from Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ. My girls will never be the same and I mean that in a good way. To look upon that bloody, beaten body of Christ, knowing he willingly did that for our own sins is just too much. We then all had the opportunity to walk forward and paint a stripe on the cross for our own sins. Powerful!

I left in tears. I pondered what to expect on Sunday and this year, it felt different. We had discussed so much of the process that when the miracle of Jesus' resurrection came around it was truly a day of rejoicing! I am thankful that my sweet friend made the comment she did to get me thinking about this holy day. I pray I never take it lightly again. Sure, we still did eggs and we did baskets for the girls but they were not the focus at all. We have never done the bunny thing so not having that was not a problem. But this year, I did not worry about what we all wore as I have in the past. I chose instead to focus on who we serve....what a mighty God!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Cherished Words

Today my girls went over to help a dear, sweet friend with her younger kiddos while she went to pick up another child as part of the Safe Family organization. Her oldest daughter and my Bean are good buddies. So, my friend took her two middle boys and was off to get this new little guy. Doodle was in charge of the others, leaving two 10 year old girls to help with a sweet three year old girl and a precious baby boy. That was a joy for her indeed! :) Doodle loves being with this family and helping them as they take on each new venture with the Safe Family little ones.

Upon my arrival to pick up the girls, I was greeted with sweet words. When my friend had complimented Doodle on being so awesome in helping and knowing just what to do, she had asked Doodle how did she get to be that way. Doodle's response.... Text Color
"Because I have a great mom."

Hmmm, ladies, let me say this right now. I am not myself right now. I am not worthy of such sweet words at all, but my daughter can see past that and knows my heart for her and for her sister. In all our structure and rules comes love and support. So, don't give up and know that they hear you. They are listening. They get that what we do is for their good and one day we all will get to hear those words. But for now, I will sit peacefully pondering this moment that God gave me and be grateful my 13 year old truly is amazing because she has a great God who she adores.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Something Different

Over the past four years, my entire family has trekked down to the panhandle of Florida to enjoy Spring Break together thanks to my parents. They always give that gift at Christmas instead of gifts. How I adore that! Giving the gift of time together rather than stuff is a blessing beyond words. Not to mention the gift of sunshine! Woohoo! This year, our family did not make that trek with the others. It felt odd to not be a part of the planning. We had taken a trip in January to Disney, just the 4 of us. We also really wanted to attend the Midwest Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati which happened to be the last 3 days of this trip. Add on top of that, my sweet man had taken a trip in October to walk the Grand Canyon in a day. When he is not in his seat at work, we don't get paid. So the reality was that we just can't have that many weeks off in a 6 month time frame.

So, my parents gave us the gift of money and freedom to spend this week as we saw fit without judgement. I LOVED that! My mom understood that teaching my kids is my job and this convention is the only teaching help I get through the year. We don't get in service workshops through out the year. So, she took the guilt I was feeling away when she told me I needed to go to the conference to help me finish well. We are staring down the eyes of high school and I want to be as prepared as I can before we hit that door. She understands that and I adore her for that gift. So, while they all packed up and we circled around for prayer time with them, I was sad. I was trying not to cry and start off some drama....I kept doubting my choice. I was struggling to feel peaceful about this decision for me as well as for the girls. What joys they missed out in due to staying home.

That was on a Friday. My girls were a bit sad for a couple days but we talked through it and prayed for the family to arrive at the beach safely. We had a couple days playing with friends which took the edge off. We knew we needed to do something to not make the time at home feel like a punishment, so we decided to head over to the lake house. We had dear friends join us as they needed a time of renewal from all the drama they have had in their life recently. Their girls are such a blessing to ours as they have learned how to take stands for what they believe with great joy. Anyway, the girls all played together and had a blast. Upon that first night, Doodle ran up to me and gave me a hug and said,' Mommy, thanks for doing this! Now I don't miss the beach." Wow! What an answer to prayer.

Fast forward a couple days and we are at the Midwest Homeschool Convention. We met up with my dear friend, Lainie, and her daughter, which happens to be on of Doodle's best friends. Those two girls just click. Again, after the first night of swimming at the pool with her buddy, Doodle again said,"Mommy, this trip is amazing! I really don't miss the beach now."

Now, let me say this, her saying that does not mean she did not miss her time with cousins or grandparents. We did! This was the missing of time on the beach. We all knew we would miss that time sitting there soaking in God's blessing. But this grateful heart came from feeling content with where we were and a joy for God's blessings with our Spring Break. I love how God works through your kids. Here I was worried that I was messing up, but with confirmation from my parents and Doodle, I know that this year, although it was different, we had a great break! (but I am so glad next year's convention is in late April so we can do both! Ha!) I am sure I will be posting more about the talks I attended and wisdom I gained. Amazing! But for now, I am thrilled that my daughter can see through what seemed like a sad situation and find the joy in something different. What a treasure!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Testing Season

My sweet man enjoys galloping the globe, well maybe just a portion of the globe, as he helps administering regional dental exams at various dental schools in the north east region. He loves this experience and getting to be a part of it all. He hates being away from us and boy do we not enjoy when he is gone. This month, he has been gone two weekends. He has two more for next month. I told a friend we are smack dab in the middle of testing season for sure. I love seeing him excited for any of his work God has called him to do. It is exciting to watch him step out in new ways and find his footing.

That got me to thinking...that is kind of what our year has been like. I am the "teaching day coordinator" for our homeschool co-op this year. I work with 5 other women on a steering committee to help guide our group through decisions that need to be made. It feels as if this year we have had more than our fair share of bumps on this journey. I struggle with wondering if it is because of my leadership, but then God will gently tell's testing season.

Any time we go through a season of testing in our faith walk, I feel a bit uneasy at first. Once I see who my struggle is for or against, I am stubborn enough to dig my feet in and fight for God with all my might. I cling to the truth of His Word and know that in the past He has always been faithful to bring me out of these seasons of testing shining for Him in a way I never would have expected. God's grace during this time has been amazing!

I see His creativity in each sunrise/sunset. I feel His tender care of me as I seek Him out through prayer. I hear Him speaking to my heart as I read His Word. Times of testing, whether in schooling or in life, are really handled the same way. Do we do all that we can to prepare for each?

In school, you read all you can to gain information needed to pass the test. In our faith, we need to be reading God's Word to gather all the knowledge we can of just who our God truly is and what He wants of each of us and pass the test. In school, we seek out the wisdom of teachers. In life, we need to seek out the wisdom of our heavenly Father through prayer and reading His Word. In school, we consult with fellow students before taking the test to see if they have any insights we have not considered. In life, we need to do the same with fellow believers who have walked similar paths we are on during our time of testing. God gives each of us tests to grow us in our faith and bring us closer to Him. Are you facing a testing season? Are you prepared?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

No More Lies!

Wow! What a few weeks I have had in dealing with co-op issues and family drama. It happens. there are just seasons in life where we have more drama than others. For me, it just makes me dig deeper to figure out a solution with the truths of God's Word and much prayer! For others, they get overwhelmed and can't see the light. I hate when that happens to anyone, especially one of my girls.

Lately, one of my girls has really struggled with the way God has created her. She wants to be more bubbly and giggly so others want to be with her. Yet she is the more studious, sweet, polite girl who others want on their team for vocabulary games but forget to save a seat at the lunch table. She fears she is a nerd and no one wants to be her friend. Oh boy! Those lies sure have a way of seeping in and feeling like truth.

Add on top of that, the fact that my side of the family all go to the same school. Her best buddy cousins all are on the same sports team. They are so wrapped up in life together and that is so good for them! Yet it so hurts her to not be included in private jokes, stories about stuff they did or are going to do. What hurts more is when she is pushed aside so they can talk about something private. She just takes that and makes it a lie that they don't love her and no one cares about her. If they had any idea just how badly she feels coming to family get togethers or that she cries herself to sleep after being with them, they would so work on this, but that is not the issue. They are not the problem. It is inside her. The lies she tells herself and believes.

While the momma bear claws in me want to come out and rescue her, I pray. I realize that none of these issue or incidents are meant to be hurtful. No, they are a result of lies we tell ourselves and believe to be true. So how does a mom help her girl stop the lies straight from the pits of hell? Oh, we sing and read words of truth from God. :)

What is true, sweet girl? What is true is that you are a chosen daughter of God. You are a jewel in His eyes. You are precious, created in His image, the only one just like you! You are beautiful inside and outside. You are cherished by your family. Adored by your friends and truly respected by those younger and older than you. You are a child of God who seeks Him more than anyone else I know. You are the one who will follow His ways no matter how much you feel the pull of the world. You are His. You are a servant of God. You are a joy to be with. You stand up for what is right. You cling to God's truths and strive to be known as a Jesus Freak. You are brilliant in school work. You are a radiant dancer who gives all her talent back to God and claim little praise if any. You beam for Him. You are chosen by God to bring joy into my life and you do it with excellence. You are a daughter who is treasured, a sister who is adored and a cousin who is loved. You are beautiful! You are my gift from God. You are the only one who could do what God has called you to do and you will do it with nothing less than the excellence you demand of yourself. You are a young lady of integrity. You are precious and honored in His sight. God knows every single hair on your head!! Who would know that about someone if they did not love them?! ;) You, my child, are no mistake. You are the only one who could do just what you do and shine. Shine on, sweet girl! I pray you never believe another lie about yourself, but if you do....start telling yourself what is true! And if you need a little help, I will always be there to help you get started!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Blizzard Bloghop

Blizzard  Bloghop 2010 hosted by Household 6 Diva

What fun! I am participating in the Blizzard Bloghop. I am hoping it will help me to shake off those winter blahs and refocus as I start a new year of blogging our family's activities and lessons God has prepared for me to learn. So this first blogpost with the Bloghop, I am to introduce myself. So, this is me and my sweet man, who I have been married to fo 19 years:

And these are my two girlies which I homeschool and always have:

Bean and Doodle

I write my blog for me really, but it started as a way for me to jot down those special events and little moments of our day through the journey of homeschooling. I had no intention of writing more. Little did I know that God would use this blog as a way to reach my heart more and to allow me to see His hand in all we do. I write about schooling, family, modesty, various projects and just life at our home. I hope to focus more on what God is showing me through His Word as well as His creation this year. My focus for this year is becoming a cheerful servant to my family and those around me. I think I need to work on the cheerful portion a lot more than I care to admit! :) Regardless, enjoy looking around at Doodlebean Adventures. I will do the same as we hop through winter together!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Dots galore!

If you recall, this summer we painted Bean's old room to create Doodle's new "teen room". It has been so fun to decorate this room or shall I say to watch Doodle decorate this room. As she is 13, I let her do what she wanted, within reason of course. She painted the room a light blue this summer and found her bed. I wrote about that earlier. You can read about that here if you like. Anyway, we have had much luck with finding cute curtains, paint, and the bed. However, we have struggled in finding what exactly Doodle wanted for her bed. She knew she like brown and blue and dots. She just couldn't find what she wanted. Luckily, in December I went on an internet hunt to find something she might like and we had great success!

Doodle opening her last Christmas gift which arrived a bit late. :)

For Christmas, I purchased her bedding and the fun dots she has placed all over her wall. Well, actually, she has moved them recently to only having them around the top as a border of her room. Regardless, they leave no marks on the wall and can be swapped around until they lose their stickiness. I think she finally figured out what she liked and will keep them as they are for a bit.

Doodle on her new bedding.
Doodle's desk area, cute curtains and storage stool.

More dots!

I am just thankful she likes what she has created with her new space. It is precious!

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Support is Amazing

I know reading that title some of you ladies might think I am going to discuss under wire...but nope, not going there. :) I just felt the need to share what amazing friends I have after experiencing their loving support at Bean's baptism. I think Matt and I both felt overwhelmed by the outpouring of family and friends who came to support Beanie. We had both sets of grandparents, all siblings, all but one of their spouses, all but 2 cousins, and lots of friends both new and "seasoned". :) It was truly precious.

Daddy and Bean getting ready for her big moment!

As I flipped through the pictures of that sweet moment and the times following at lunch, I was brought to tears...good ones....when I got to this picture:

These two ladies, Lori and Lainie, are two of the four ladies I call and have called during lifes most precious moments as well as the most frustrating moments. I can not tell you what a blessing all four of these women have been in my life and continue to be with each celebration or struggle. What I pray is that we will continue to do life together and support one another as our kids grow up. One day, we might actually be able to eat lunch together again! Ha! Until then, we celebrate these milestones in each other's children's lives and pray fervently for one another. What a blessing to have support of women of God who love me enough to tell me I am out of line with God's Word or to cry when I cry, laugh when I laugh or scream when we both are needing a good scream. Being loved unconditionally is a beautiful thing. I pray they know it is mutual! :) Love ya ladies!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Change is in the Air!

Mmmm...can you feel it? With each new year, I find myself seeking out ways to improve myself or really ways to become more of the woman of God that He created me to be. Not so much into setting New Year's resolutions really. I just enjoy the clean slate and fresh start to being who God made me to be! So with that, comes change. Some of my friends really hate change. Sadly, I think I like it because I am so easily off focus! I really struggle when things are too structured because I enjoy change typically.

So what's on the agenda for changing this year, you ask? Well, I have been in a slump with my quiet time for some time now. I know what I need to function in the job God has called me to as a wife, mom and homeschool teacher. I can not do any of those with out that time with God. And yet, I have been choosing extra sleep, chores, playing on computer, talking on phone, reading replace that time I so desire with God.

When I do take that time, I am so refreshed and blessed beyond words. I see Him in all of my day. I can feel Him with me and He helps me to speak the words that I need to or to silence me when I need to not speak. Oh, how I need to be silenced more than I would ever dream!

So first things first, I am really enjoying being a part of this new group of women who meet with God and then share what He is showing them through that time. It is called Good Morning Girls. I have followed the blog of the founder for a while and am so encouraged by her so I felt it would be something to have accountability in this goal of meeting with God each morning before my girls get up. Those of you who know me, know that I am not good at mornings. So this is a sacrifice indeed. But, I already feel the difference. I am beginning to see God in all of my day again. I see Him in the laundry I do by realizing that each piece of clothing He has provided. I see Him in the meals I prepare as I realize that He meets our every need. I see Him in my children as I witness childlike faith first hand and realize how I need to seek God. Oh, the joy of obedience! There will be more changes coming. But for now, that is the biggest and oh my, the sweetest. It has been way too long!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Big Decisions!

Do you ever wonder if you are doing the right thing with your kids? Man, I do...way too often especially as we lead them on their walk with Jesus Christ. Bean has come to us from time to time over the past almost three years asking to be baptized at various locations. At times it is in the ocean on vacation, in grandparents pool or at the lake house in the summer. Regardless of where or when, we always have asked why did she desire to be baptized first of all and then why in that location. After Doodle lead Bean to the Lord almost three years ago (March), we did not push the baptism portion as she was so young and we wanted to make sure she was fully aware of what commitment she was making to her Lord. With that, we also wanted to make sure that when she desired to do this step of obedience in her walk, that she was prepared to yell it from the mountain top that Jesus Christ is her Lord and Savior. For those of you who know our Beanie, well that is not her personality. She is painfully shy. Her reasons for not wanting to be baptized all the other times was because of the crowd. She did not want to do it in front of all the people at church, which made her daddy and I feel that maybe she wasn't quite ready to take that step. True, it is a personal thing between her and God, but the act of baptism, we felt, was a public one of a private decision and we wanted to make sure she was ready to stand firm for what she had chosen before. I don't know that I am making sense here, but I think you know what I mean. So we waited. We talked. We prayed with her and for guidance in how to know when she was ready. What a decision to make!

Earlier this week, she asked again and this time she wanted to do it at church with all of her friends and family there. Why? Because she loves Jesus and wants to let everyone know she wants to live with Him forever. Finally, we are at a place where there is peace in knowing she understands what this means and why it is important to do this publicly....although now that she is ready to do it publicly, I so would let her do the ocean if she wanted. It was a heart thing, not the location, if that makes any sense.

So, today, I get to stand by with friends and family and watch my sweet girl be baptized by her daddy. What a precious joy to know that both of our girls will be eternally with Jesus and that we all will be there together worshipping our Lord. There is such peace in that. As much joy as I have in this decision being made, I can't help but think of the multitudes in heaven that will be rejoicing today as Bean makes that final step in her step of faith. Glorious! There is no other word. I pray I don't lose it while I witness it all and try to wrap my brain around how God must feel to witness this child of His find her way to Him. I think we all know that is not possible! :) I am just rejoicing in the fact this decision has been made and that my girl is continuing to grow in her confidence in God. Glorious indeed!

That's my Beanie! :)

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