Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Are These New Trees, Or Just Really Big Weeds?

What do you think? Trees? Or really big, embarrassing weeds? (Just to let you know, our lawn mower is broke and we will soon either be borrowing our neighbors mower or pulling the weeds and grass up with our hands!!)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

You Know What? It's Time To Praise Him!!

Isn't it so much easier to murmmer and complain than it is to focus on the good things and give God praise? In fact, it's so much easier, I bet most of us do it without even realizing it!

Well, I've decided that I'm going to make it a point to CHOOSE to praise Him in ALL things, each and every day. We have SO much to be thankful for!

Here's a copy of what I posted about my day over on the Five in a Row message boards today. This is my praise for today...

God is so good, even when we don't deserve it.

I have had a bad day, and the stress from it caused me to develop a pretty good headache. I'm sure the crying I did didn't help the headache any.

I was at the end of my rope, not knowing what in the world we were going to do and getting to the point where I simply didn't care anymore. I was done, I couldn't take it any more.

But God heard my cry and, even though I didn't ask Him for His help (yeah, I know), He was loving and merciful enough to look down and allow us to find favor in the eyes of those in power.

While on the phone with 'the powers to be', being talked to like I was stupid, low-life scum before I even had a chance to say anything (or at least that's how the devil used it to make me feel), I simply began crying. I didn't get mad or lash out, I just weeped because I simply couldn't take anymore and this person was not willing to budge or help me and I knew that she really didn't have to; she was justified. I explained to her the situation and apologized, while being unable to stop the tears, and asked her if there was anything that could be done. She was pretty firm, even told me that she couldn't tell me anything anyway, that she would have to talk to Sweetie, but agreed to look at things and call me back.

A little bit later she had someone call me back (and actually talked to ME) and not only was the situation resolved, but it was to our favor in a way I was totally not expecting AND they totally removed any and all 'profit' that THEY would be receiving out of the whole situation..."because it wouldn't benefit you guys any"! WHAT?!?! It wouldn't benefit US?! What do YOU care about OUR benefit? That's never happened before! Needless to say, that REALLY started the tears flowing because I realized what God had done and I could hardly talk to be able to say thank you, but I did and she was so sweet. Big change from the first phone call. Only God can change hearts and situations like He did today!

I just had to tell you. In fact, I want to shout it to the whole world!! But, for now I'll just shout it here .

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Putting Out A Fleece... And Getting A Clear Answer

Just call me Gideon. I have put out a 'fleece' before the Lord and He has answered! Do you know the story of Gideon?

Gideon was the least of the least, yet God told him to go fight the Midianites and rescue Israel!

"But God..."

"Yes Gideon, I know, but I will be with you and you'll be just fine. Now go do what I told you to do".

Just to be sure, Gideon asked God to prove to him that it really was God speaking to him, and God did just that.

Then when it came time to fight, and the enemy was closing in on them, Gideon called all the men to fight... but um, just to be suuuuuure, he asked God to prove Himself to him again.

"If you are truly going to use me to rescue Israel as you promised, prove it to me in this way. I will put a wool fleece on the threshing floor tonight. If the fleece is wet with dew in the morning but the ground is dry, then I will know that you are going to help me rescue Israel as you promised.”

And that is just what happened. When Gideon got up early the next morning, he squeezed the fleece and wrung out a whole bowlful of water.

Ok, so God had proved Himself to Gideon for the second time. But did Gideon trust that and go out and do what God had told him to do? Nope.

Then Gideon said to God, “Please don’t be angry with me, but let me make one more request. Let me use the fleece for one more test. This time let the fleece remain dry while the ground around it is wet with dew.”

So that night God did as Gideon asked. The fleece was dry in the morning, but the ground was covered with dew.

It was only after he was absolute SURE that he was doing what God wanted him to do that Gideon acted. So that's what I decided to do. I decided to be like Gideon and 'put out a fleece'.

As most of you probably know, I've been working at the hospital taking the newborn baby's pictures for the past five months. This was my first job (outside the home) since before I had our oldest, who is now 11. I wasn't even really looking for a job when this one just fell into my lap back in February.

It's been fun and very rewarding, but lately Sweetie has been feeling very 'trapped' because of not being able to leave (he works from home) when he needed to because he had to stay home with the kids while I was at the hospital. He didn't ask me to quit, but I was feeling like I needed to be back home to take care of the kids and our home, not to mention Sweetie himself. So unbeknownst (is that really a word?) to anyone, I started praying for the Lord to show me beyond the shadow of a doubt whether I was to continue working or if I was to quit.

I'm not real good at figuring out FOR SURE if something is God or not, so like Gideon, I put out a fleece before the Lord and asked Him something very specific. I was honest and sincere in my prayer and I believed that He would show me what I was to do.

I asked him that if I was supposed to continue working that the next week (I worked 4 days that week) there would be lots of babies and my orders would be really good. If I was supposed to quit then there would be very few babies and my orders would be really low.

So how did that week go you ask? Well, Tuesday... there were no babies so I didn't even have to go in. Wednesday... there were three babies but one was in Level II and couldn't have pictures made and the other two mommies were just going to an hour-long discharge class as soon as I got there and were bringing their babies to the nursery (we take the pictures in the mom's room WITH mom there), so I clocked out and went back home. Thursday... I did have six babies that day, the three from the day before plus three more, but only three of the six ordered and they were small orders. And Saturday... guess what? No babies. THAT has never happened since I've been there. I've worked every Saturday since I started. And to only have six babies out of four days of working, I've never had a week like that.

Unlike Gideon, I didn't ask for the Lord to prove Himself again. I called my manager Saturday evening and gave my two week's notice.

And you know what? God loves us so much that He proved Himself to us again anyway, even though we didn't ask Him to! Since I gave my notice, Sweetie's business has ALREADY grown by leaps and bounds! Just exactly what we've been needing it to do for a long time! Now I have another job, and I'll probably be working more now than I was before! LOL! I am now Sweetie's bookkeeper, billing person, phone-answerer, note-taker, webmaster, banker, go-fer, and whatever else he needs me to do! The pay really stinks, but I have faith that it won't stay that way for long *wink wink*. Sweetie feels so much weight lifted off of him and is so excited about me being home again that's it's kinda cute! (I love that man!)

But guess what? God is so good! Not only has this been a blessing for us, but God has used this situation to also bless the other photographer (we each worked 3 days one week and 4 days the next week). Misty is the sweetest person and I am so blessed to have had the chance to get to know her. But between the two of us, she got the slower days as her days to work. Not intentionally, it just worked out that way. I was going to offer to switch days with her so she could have the busier days when I quit and whoever took my place would have the slower days. But to our surprise, they're not even going to hire anyone to take my place. Misty gets to do it all herself! She can work every other day if she likes, or she can go in more often. It's totally up to her! I am SO excited for her! I didn't know it, but she told me that she had decided that she was going to find a second job to do a couple nights a week because this job wasn't paying her very much. Now she doesn't have to. She LOVES being the baby photographer and I'm so tickled for her that she gets ALL the benefits herself now! I'm going to be her emergency back-up if there's ever a need, but I don't see that happening very often.

Following God's plan is sometimes hard, not to mention a bit scarey, but oh how sweet the peace is when it comes from knowing you're walking in His perfect will for your life! What a WONDERFUL, loving Father we have! I hope this encourages someone to step out on faith and trust that God hears you when you pray and He WILL answer you when you come before Him with a humble, honest, and sincere heart.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Homeschool Curriculum Exchange

"It’s that time of year again. So many school books to buy for next year, so little money. The curriculum fairs have come and gone, and if you are like me, you are still lacking some of those must-haves (or would-like-to-haves) for the 2007-08 school year".

Janne of 'Janne's Jabberwocky' has come up with a wonderful idea to help those of us who still aren't completely ready for the new school year to begin. Read more about it here.

Seems like I just posted everything, school-wise and more, that I need to move out of here ASAP. But, I'm sure I'll find a few more treasures as I get our school room ready and write out some plans. And I still have a few things I need to get. I'll list those here.

Be sure to go check out Janne's great idea, and let's help get the word out!

My still-to-buy list for the 2007-2008 school year:

*Math U See Epsilon, Delta, and Gamma

*Rod & Staff English for grade 6

*Draw Write Now books

*Beyond Five in a Row Vol. 3

*Above and Beyond Five in a Row

*Galloping the Globe

*Magic School Bus books

*Dear America books

*Timeline figures for American history

*The Dangerous Book for Boys

*Kids cookbooks, one especially to go along with American History

I'm sure I'll think of more as I read through everyone else's lists! I'll just edit this list as needed.

Dontcha' just LOVE the start of a fresh, new school year?!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Dr. Raymond Moore Has Passed Away

I haven't read any of the Moore's books on homeschooling, although I would really like to. I have heard many, many wonderful things about them and their philosphy on teaching and training our children. You can learn more about the Moore's here.

On Friday, Dr. Raymond Moore passed away at the age of 91. Following are the details...

Notification of Death

Dr. Raymond S. Moore

Dr. Raymond S. Moore passed away Friday, July 13, 2007, at the age of 91 after having suffered a massive stroke on Father’s Day. He is survived by his wife Bernice Reid Moore; brother Charles and two sisters Loraine Webster and Helena Reid; son Dennis Moore; and daughter Kathie Moore Kordenbrock, her husband and three sons.

Over the past several decades Dr. Raymond & Dorothy Moore (deceased) were known and loved as homeschooling pioneers. Together they authored numerous books on homeschooling. Raymond was a missionary, a world traveler, lecturer, author, educator, and a consummate gentleman. His highest goal was to serve God as a Seventh-day Adventist Christian. His family and friends knew him as a devoted husband, father, grandfather, mentor, and friend.

Two memorial services are planned in celebration of his life:

August 11, 2007, 4:00 p.m. Tentative
Sunnyside Seventh-day Adventist Church
10501 SE Market Street, Portland, OR 97216-2951
(503) 252-8080

August 18, 2007, 4:00 p.m.
Central Seventh-day Adventist Church
6045 Camellia Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 457-6511

In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations to the Raymond S. & Dorothy N. Moore Memorial Scholarship Fund at Weimar Institute, Weimar, CA 95736.

“…for them that honor Me I will honor…” I Samuel 2:30

It is at times like these that our hope of heaven is so sweet.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Make Math More Fun!

I don't know about you, but I have at least one kiddo here that struggles with math. Always has, but hopefully we can find a way to help her at least understand it a bit easier, even if she never really 'loves' it.

I just found this, Making Math More Fun, and I think this would be a great thing for ALL our kids, not just Baby Girl who dreads math time every day.

We are a big game-playing family and every Friday is Fun-Day here at Lighthouse Academy! So much learning takes place without the kids even realizing it whenever they are playing board/card games. So I'm adding this to my school shopping list for this next school year. Where else can you get so many math games for such a cheap price? And I love that I get them right away! No more waiting on shipping and I don't have to worry about storing one more thing.

Now, if I can just convince Honey that a laminator is an essential tool for any homeschool!

Check it out here! They're having a Friday the 13th special and you get 8 e-books for only $13.00! Now THAT'S what I call a bargain!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Maryland State Board Approves County's S*x-Ed Curriculum

The Maryland State Board of Education has ruled in favor of a s*x-education curriculum adopted last month for use in Montgomery middle and high schools, finding nothing illegal in the new lessons on s*xual orientation and c*nd*m use, school officials said yesterday.

In a 17-page June 27 opinion, the state panel declined to "second guess the appropriateness" of the curriculum approved by the Montgomery County Board of Education. Instead, the state panel said it could reverse the county's action only if it violated the law. And after reviewing more than a dozen claims alleged by curriculum opponents, the state board found no violation.

It was the strongest victory to date for Montgomery educators in a pitched legal battle over the county's s*x-education curriculum, which has been under revision for five years in an effort to introduce s*xual orientation as a topic for discussion in health classes.

"The State Board rejected each and every legal challenge brought by the opponents and determined that there was no valid reason to overturn our decision," said Nancy Navarro (Northeastern County), the county school board president, in a statement. She voiced hope that litigation would "finally come to an end."

A spokeswoman for the community group Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum, which led a consortium of opposition groups, said it was too soon to say whether it might take the matter to federal court. "There are many parents here in Montgomery County who are opposed to the curriculum," Michelle Turner said. She also said a growing number of parents outside the county are expressing concern with the lessons, which could be adopted in other Maryland counties.

"I wish we had had an opportunity to address the board," she said. The state panel ruled in a closed session. Seven board members signed the opinion; four abstained.

The Montgomery school system's first attempt at a new curriculum was halted in 2005 by a federal judge who faulted teacher materials that criticized religious fundamentalism. The lessons were recast from scratch.

This year, the revised curriculum survived an initial appeal to State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick. She refused to halt field tests but noted that arguments were "balanced equally on each side," which encouraged the school board's legal opponents.

Opposition groups argued that the new lessons violate free-speech rights of students by expressing only one viewpoint on homos*xuality, wholly favorable, and that they restrict religious expression by suppressing the view that homos*xuality is a sin. They said the lessons violate the constitutional right of equal protection by excluding the perspective of former homos*xuals and also the fundamental right of a parent to control the upbringing of a child.

The state school board dismissed each argument in turn. Local school boards are not required to show all viewpoints in writing curriculum; nothing in the lessons prevents the ideologically opposed from "adhering to their religious beliefs about homos*xual acts." The ruling noted that parents must give written consent for their children to take the lessons.

And although a parent does have a right to control the upbringing of a child, "that right is not absolute. It must bend to the State's duty to educate its citizens," the state board wrote.

At issue is a pair of lessons, totaling 90 minutes, to be added to health courses in grades 8 and 10 in the fall, along with a 10th-grade lesson and a DVD on the correct use of a c*nd*m.

Story compliments of the Washington Post.

Monday, July 2, 2007

I've Always Wondered...

...what people said about me when I wasn't around. Do they talk about how much weight I've gained in the past few years? Do they comment on how I'm not always the best housekeeper? Are we referred to as 'those crazy homeschoolers'?

Well, I'm sure there are those who do actually talk about us like that, but last night at our church's 4th of July fireworks I was told something that nearly brought tears to my eyes.

A dear friend of ours told me that my mother-in-law had told her recently that she wishes that she had been more like me when her kids were little. She was always so busy and rushing around, but that I stop and explain things to my kids and talk with them, that I take the time to stop and smell the roses and enjoy my kids.

You just don't know what that means to me. You see, my mother-in-law is a wonderful housekeeper and I've always compared myself to her in that area and have always felt bad because I'm not the greatest at keeping things done like they need to be, like she does. But, I can say that I do love spending time with my kids and doing things with them like reading, swimming, building things, going to the library or park, etc. THOSE are the things that are going to last, the things that my kids (and me) are going to remember long after they're grown.

Yes, I do need to work on keeping my home running a little more smoothly so it stays at least decent, but I wouldn't trade the memories we have with our kids for the cleanest house in the world!

To know that this is how my mother-in-law thinks of me and actually tells others, well, that's worth more than she'll ever know.