Friday, December 30, 2011

2012 Goals...

In my last post, I talked a little bit about setting New Years' Resolutions for 2012.  I was really encouraged to learn that a couple of my friends also set goals for the up and coming year, that I'm not the only one!  Anyway, one of my friends is going to do a program called 'One Little Word'  ( ) in which she's selecting one word to focus on throughout the year, meditating on it, reflecting on it, and journaling about it regularly.  I'm definitely not explaining it very well nor very thoroughly, but have provided the link if you'd like to take a look at it.  All that to say, though I'm not signing up for the Workshop itself, I've selected 4 words to focus on throughout the year for myself... Grace, Love, Joy and Kindness, not necessarily in that order.  My plan is to pray on, memorize, meditate on God's Word, and journal on my 'One Little Word'. 

The rest of the goals:
Prayer- the Lord has strongly convicted me of my responsibility to pray for my husband and children, so I've selected a couple of areas in each of their lives to center my prayers around
Bible Study- this year I'm going through the Bible in a year chronologically; the boys and I are going to begin the year studying 1, 2, and 3 John...
Reading- I have a running list of books that I'd like to get through- I make it a point to read a marriage book, parenting book, and homeschooling book each year. 
Marriage- Oh where to start.  I've been really slacking on encouraging my husband, leaving him notes and the like... at least once per month is my goal- sticky notes on the bathroom mirror, notes in his lunch, etc...  :)
Family-  My weakness in family-life/homemaking is the 'Fun Department', so I'm going to make a concerted effort to 'schedule in' fun  and do more in the way of gaming (we have always done family nights, but I think I can up the fun-factor a bit).  I also want to seek out specific ways to create a warm, inviting, peaceful, and joyful atmosphere for my family.
Hospitality- this is an area God has recently brought to my mind and heart that I would like to work on... I'm not sure just what this will look like, I'm thinking once per month, maybe once every 6 weeks depending on the time of year.  I have on my heart (and I think my dear hubby does too) to open our home to couples we don't know well to get to know them a little better... I'll probably update at different times on this.
Household- Getting on and staying on a good cleaning schedule has always been difficult for me... but I'm going to give it a whirl again... I've come up with what looks like a good weekly schedule... do-able, that's what I'm working for.
and last but not least:
Health- What New Year's Resolution/Goal list would be complete without the ever-popular 'eat less, exercise more' goal?  This year I've had some noticeable changes in the way my body processes food, specifically sugars and unhealthy carbs... My energy level is very low- which ends up affecting pretty much every aspect of our home life including relationships.  Soooo, yes nutrition is at the top of the list, along with making it a point to go to the Y and exercise 3 times per week- which should be easy since the boys will begin their classes next week...

Wow, that looks like a huge overwhelming list!  But the fact of the matter is that much of this is a carry-over from previous years, the only completely new thing on this list is the One Little Word concept...

May the Lord Bless You and Keep You and may His face shine upon you in 2012


Monday, December 26, 2011

It's resolution time!

Although our Jesus Birthday celebrations have only just begun (we have 2 more to go one of January 1st, and one on January 7-9th)  it's time to nail down those resolutions for 2012.  It seems a little unreal to be thinking about and praying about this already, 2011 has gone by so very quickly, and yet here I am once again.  Typically I pray about those things the Lord would have for me to intentionally work on as a Christina, wife, mother, homeschool teacher etc. well before now, so that all I have to do is pretty much lay out what that looks like for me in books to read, and Scriptures to memorize & study.  However, I'm finding myself a little bit behind this time around.

Reflecting back on 2011, I can see how the Lord has shown me the depths of  which I've lived my life in fear.  That may sound weird, but I've thought quite a lot about my childhood, growing up in a single parent home, a father who wasn't involved at all, the child of an adult child of alcoholics, and a child of an alcoholic.  The Lord has shown me that pretty much all my life I've lived as a people pleaser, and as such I've been somewhat of a spectator in life versus a participant.  That also may be odd to imagine, since I'm a homeschooling mother and the essence of homeschooling is parental involvement.  Anyway, I digress...  So, in the interest of transparency, here's a Fear Factor to a different degree...
~  I have always shied away from playing games, because I know I'll not win, and if I don't win that somehow would mean I'm less than acceptable to those I'm playing with, and they wouldn't want to play with me any longer.  So, instead, I sit on the outside watching everyone, and laughing with them, but not sharing in the experiences of building memories with them.  So, I started over the last couple of months having a game night, inviting a couple or two over for snacks and gaming... my family loves this!
~  In ministry, I realized (God showed me, rather) that much of my involvement has been based on the fear that if I don't say 'yes' that the person asking will somehow think less of, not like, or shun me (now that's a LOT of me!  >:(   gag! )  So, when asked about being involved in ministry I tend to not say 'sure!' right away, but go to the Father and ask Him what would be His best for me.  (Do you see the shift in focus from the 'me-centered,' fear-based approach, to a confident, God-centered one?)  Sometimes I still find it a bit difficult and I have to literally say to myself and to the Lord, 'Okay, Lord, I'm choosing You over this person... what's Your best for me?'
The verse He gave me is:  "Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ."  ~Galatians 1:10 Sadly, I've done a lot of serving in the name of Christ, but really just to please people...  Anyway...

These are just a couple examples of how the Lord is working fear-based living out of me.  Please don't get me wrong, there is a balance.... I'm surely not saying that it's wrong to do things to please others- we are called, after all, to serve one another in love.  The difference is in the motivation behind the service- is it out of fear of rejection (or whatever) from that person, or out of a godly love for them and for our Lord?
All that said, let's get back to resolutions for 2012.  A couple of things that are on tap for the New Year is #1 to continue breaking 'The Fear Factor' in my life (we'll all be the happier for it, I'm sure).  #2 is something I've struggled with for many years, and that is taking time regularly to just play with and connect with our boys.  I've done better over the last year, but not to the degree I'd like.  Some of this is the 'Fear Factor' that has characterized my life for so long, and another part is just that, as a task-oriented person, I have a long to-do list every day.  Relationships with our children are so important, especially as they are growing through the tweens and into the teens, my desire is to cultivate strong relationships with them now so as they walk through that trying time of life, we have a strong relational basis for open communication.

Well, that's it so far... I'll probably post a little later this week a specific plan-of-action (PoA) for 2012... or knowing me, it'll be a couple of weeks before I have this written down...   :)



Sunday, December 25, 2011

While You Were Sleeping...

What are we missing while we are/have been 'sleeping'?  Are you spiritually asleep?  I am ashamed to say that there have been times in my walk where I have been asleep... oh, how I must have grieved my Father in Heaven!  At any rate, this is a great video to go with Casting Crown's song, "While You Were Sleeping".... 

May the peace of Christ be with you all during this celebration of His birth and throughout the year to come...

**(You'll have to stop the other music before watching this music video)**

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Sweet Blessings..

I'm sitting here thinking about the gifts we have for our boys this year, which have ended up being a couple more than we typically do (we usually do three gifts each in keeping with each of the three wise men bringing their gifts to baby Jesus)...but I digress.  They are ssssooooo very excited-which makes exchanging gifts all the more fun for my dear husband and myself.  But the best part of it all is that our older son (who's 10) admits he's so excited to open gifts, but that he is more excited about the gifts he's giving to others (he made several gifts for grandparents, and bought a few with his hard-earned money for us and his brother and some close friends).  That in-and-of-itself is one of the greatest gifts we could receive from our children... to help them to understand the blessings of giving. 
"It is more blessed to give than to receive..."  ~Acts 20:35 ESV
Like he's said, he is excited to receive gifts from others, this verse doesn't say anything to the contrary, but it does speak to the attitude of the heart, and the experience of the matter...
On a little different note, it was so fun watching our dear son #2 (who is 8 1/2) open his gifts from his grandparents-my Dad and Stepmom- (I couldn't really see my older son, who was hidden by the Christmas tree- long story).  Neither one of the boys received anything they would have picked out for themselves or put on a Christmas list, if asked, but did receive abundant gifts from my Dad (Dad has always expressed his affection through gift-giving).  Anyway, every time he'd open a gift he'd gasp in pure delight, mouth open, "Aaawwwsome!" he'd say, "What is it?"  I wish I could express through writing his tone of voice, the awe and wonder he expressed over each gift, from a tool set, to a pocket knife, to a pirate ship model.  The thankfulness and appreciation over his gifts- though none of them were things he has expressed a want of- was gift enough for me.
"Oh, give thanks to the Lord for He is good;  for His steadfast love endures forever!"  ~Psalm 118:1
But there is a greater gift that I received many years ago- 13 years ago, in fact...
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus..."  ~Romans 3:23-24a
God, Himself, is the great Gift-Giver...  So, in this season of gifting, let us all remember that God, gave us the greatest gift we could ever have need and want of - salvation through His Son Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who, through His birth, His life and ministry, through His persecution and death on the cross bridged the gap between God and man, that those who have a relationship with Christ, also will have relationship with the Father in Heaven.
Perhaps you haven't a relationship with Jesus... God has extended His great gift of grace to you... maybe it is something you haven't asked for yet, nor have been willing to receive... maybe it's time to reconsider...

Christmas Blessings


Friday, December 23, 2011

Celebration #1

Yesterday we travelled up to see my Dad and stepmom for our Christmas celebration.  It was actually quite a fun time- even the boys said it was awesome!  Never one to be predictable, my dear Dad spent quite a lot of time with the boys teaching them to use the new bow and arrows he bought them for Christmas...and according to my dear husband, even handled Son #2's hitting his garage door with one of the arrows very well.  This is such a new side to him that I've never experienced before... there's a softness to him and a comfortableness to him that hasn't surfaced very often.  I rather like it, although now I'm faced with needing to relate to him in a totally different manner.  I was very excited to see that one of the two of them is reading 'Heaven is for Real', a book about a boy's experience of heaven.  I think I'll read it and then try to start up a conversation about it... 

On another front, we're really enjoying our time off from school, even though the busyness of life shifted its focus from school and school-related activities to Christmas and Christmas-related activities, so I'm personally really looking forward to the week before New Year's Day which is when Celebration #3 will happen, and Celebration #4 will happen one week later.... phew!

Lots of celebrating lots of fun and laughter, but in the midst of it all we'll continue to fight to keep the birth of our Lord and our Saviour at the forefront of all the celebrations...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


During the hustle and bustle of this season- the shopping, baking, preparing, crafting, decorating, the list goes on and on and on- I'm feeling the overwhelming urge to seek out even more than normal time to just be still...  to be still and know that He is God... to cling to Him in the midst of it all. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Glory to God in the Highest!

It's Christmas Week!  We are all very excited here in our household and will be doing little things every day in celebration of the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ...

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.
9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.
11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,
18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.
~Luke 2:8-21

May the Love, Peace, and Joy of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ be with you all during this most blessed of seasons...

In Him~


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Future Door... Review

They're Ba-aack!  In this second installment of the "No Place Like Holmes" series, "The Future Door" is a great Sherlock Holmes-style mystery that is sure to captivate the attention of Jason Lethcoe's tween-aged readers-especially the boys.  Detective and inventor Rupert Snodgrass and his young nephew Griffin Sharpe are quickly becoming the most secret and skilled detectives in all London.  Griffin's unique ability to observe even the most minute details of everything around him combined with his uncle's fabulous inventions make them an unbeatable team-- until Rupert's time travel device is stolen by the Moriartys, that is, and it will take Griffin's faith and inventive thinking as well as his uncle's mechanical genius to save London and their future selves!
   I have to say I- we - love this series!  "The Future Door" is a well written adventure-mystery with characters you love to love- like grumpy uncle Snodgrass, and his hope-filled inventive nephew with a strong faith- and those you ... well... don't.  My ten-year-old son just started reading the first installment, "No Place Like Holmes" and absolutely loves it, which is pretty good for a kid who prefers non-fiction reading.

**Disclaimer: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Booksneeze blogger program in exchange for my honest review.



Friday, December 2, 2011

Words, Words, Words...

Today is one of "those" days... one of those days when my attitude isn't what it should be, and my words aren't either.  One of those days (weeks) when my children have been bickering over the slightest thing- even seeming to try to find things to bicker over.  One of those days when I'm being put to the test- and failing miserably.  I often wonder if anyone else has "those" types of days.  As a homeschooling mother, I often find myself feeling a bit alone on this frontier, even though we're plugged in to the area's homeschooling group.  Perhaps part of my 'aloneness' is found because I'm ashamed to admit to my homeschooling friends my ongoing struggle with my words toward those I love the most.  (I could get on my soapbox about perfectionism and pride, but I won't.)  :)    Anyway, I ended up taking a break and pulling out a homeschool devotional book that I have, and of course, there was just the topic for me:  words, words, words.   One of my recent memory verses from Ephesians was the verse for that devotional topic:

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may give grace to those who hear it.  ~Ephesians 4:29

After apologizing to my children and asking for their forgiveness, I was able to steal away for a few moments in prayer with the Lord, seeking His forgiveness for the sin in my heart, and asking Him to set a guard against my lips that my words would bring Him glory.

I'm finding that on these days when we are all a bit 'off' that I need to seek Him all the more diligently, slow my pace a LOT and focus on what's really important in life:  seeking and glorifying God, being the helpmeet my husband needs me to be (and who God designed me to be), and building a strong relationship with my children.  I definitely do NOT want to be the foolish woman from Proverbs, strive to be the wise.

"The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down."  Proverbs 14:1