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Friday, December 30, 2011

Planning my day.

I know it may seems funny to organize all of my day down to the half-hour, but I am convinced that I am more profitable because of it. Take, for instance, this last week. We've been off school and I have to prepare for next semester, so the kids have watched more TV than they should. In fact, some days, they were watching TV from the time the little kids arrived until after they left.

To some this may not seem all that bad. But it isn't what we want for our kids. So today we sat down and listed the things that needed to be accomplished today and where it would fit and who would be watching the little ones and when. Turns out we have time to watch an hour of TV during the day. I actually had to check the guide to find that one hour when their cartoons are on and I planned the rest of the day.

Computer time is planned in, piano, chores, clean-up, cooking and dishes. There is also AWANA because although it's not starting back up for over a week. The time spent looking into the Word, even if it's an AWANA book, is very profitable for them. They are hiding God's Word in their hearts. Also we have little kids' babysitting and baby babysitting so that Mom can get her work done. The little kids' time must be organized or there is bouncing on the furniture and tearing up things already accomplished.

So we pick a subject - blocks, Lincoln logs, cars, trains, play-do, craft. We even have a walk planned in for today as well. It really does make me happier with our day when we accomplish all the things necessary. Somehow the TV eats away our time and "Oh, there's something else I want to see!" But if we don't turn it on till later on in the day, we don't get caught up in this.

When we have school it's easier to keep on track, we have to have things organized. But I fail to recognize that if I don't plan things for a non-school day, then I will not be accomplishing things that I want to.

My next goal is to plan exercise into our day. Today that's easy - it's supposed to be nice and we'll go for a walk. When it gets cold, it will be more difficult, but I need to find something. So I'll probably do something aerobics and bring all the kids into the room to do some organized jumping and bumping and maybe chaos as well.

So go ahead and try it. Don't plan the whole day, but plan one thing for today that you want to do and when and then start sticking to it.

Because He is worthy and deserves all the glory,
Steph

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A walk in the pasture!

Today after a morning at the eye doctor - three kids takes awhile. We had mac and cheese for lunch, and then read a book called, "Natalie". After three chapters, that I coughed through, we headed out for a walk in the pasture.

Normally, the kids go too slow for me to get much in the way of exercise, but I figured getting them out and running around would help for inside time later. Since we didn't have the baby today, we were all able to go. Today I barely kept up with my littlest, the three-almost-four year old. I coughed all the way there and back, but for the end of December it was nice out, almost 50 degrees.

We talked about the "castle" that we see on top of the hill. Ever since my youngest daughter can remember she has called that the "castle". So my littlest and I were talking about the castle and how he wanted to go there and visit. There would be a king and queen and maybe a map in there. It was fun thinking about all of that, but in the back of my mind I was remembering the last time we drove right past that castle, and my youngest daughter was appalled to find that her "castle" was a feed lot for cattle. She still to this day is in denial about this. :) It's fun to imagine.

Have a great day, taking some time to imagine with your little ones. It is not time wasted.
Steph

Monday, December 26, 2011

Day after Christmas

We added an extra cleaning day to our week this week. We don't have any extra people here today, so it's a good day to clean up, especially after our Christmas explosion. :) So we're having our regular cleaning day chores today and we are getting it done quickly as we have been faithful lately.

Later we'll be getting wood into the basement, so that we can stay warm this week. Maybe we'll be able to do more than just a week's worth. Thankfully, next weekend will be nice and Daddy has an extra day off again, but he'll be working on a Blue Valley Woods project. Still we should be able to get the wood room full hopefully.

Tonight we're planning on playing games and just being together before another week officially starts. I have to work on second semester for this year as well. Now that I've found an online planner, I should be able to stay ahead. When I have things planned ahead like this, it saves on confusion when I am teaching six different grades. So I find using my breaks to get this done really helps me in the long run.

Have a great last week of 2011.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas



This year we've been doing school right up until yesterday, so there really hasn't been days off before Christmas. We are doing our dinner today, as we aren't a stickler for it being on the exact day and we (I) feel it would be easier to have Christmas dinner on Saturday rather than Sunday.



Because of all this, we haven't had days for baking. A couple of weeks ago, I started asking all the kids what cookies they wanted to make for Christmas. Each one had a choice, even the little four-year old we babysit picked. We didn't ask the four-month old though, wonder what he would have picked. :)



Our tradition is to take an evening and make cookies. When the children are ages 3 to 13, that doesn't work too well as everyone needs a lot of hands on, except the 12 and 13 year old. So we've modified it so that our cookie baking is over the course of time rather than all in one evening. I took one child aside from the play of the day and we made cookies, or rather they made the batter with me and then came back when the cookies were baked. Consequently, baking was less stressful for me.



As far as decorating goes we did it all in one afternoon. I made a bunch of colors of icing and then took them two at a time to decorate the cookies. I made sure that they were paired up well, an older with a younger child, so that the mess would be minimal. But then, I let them have at it and do whatever they desired. Not beautiful cookies, but we had a lesson in colors and they had fun.


Now for Christmas dinner, I made a list of all the dishes we would be having and starting with my 13 year old, let them choose which dish they would like to help with. Turns out each of them gets two dishes. So quite a few of them finished theirs yesterday, but the ham etc still has to be done, so I will have little people in my kitchen all morning.


My desire is eventually to have fun all together in the kitchen on these big cooking days, but with so many little ones it's not possible for everyone to be in the kitchen at the same time, plus it's super small, so for now, we have help in a controlled and manageable way.


Merry Christmas, everyone! I pray that you are finding ways to make your Christmas fun as opposed to stressful.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Is it just me?

My older ones are struggling to keep up on their studies. Is it just me? With a houseful of nine kids, there is always activity. I'm trying to figure out a way to keep things quiet with a baby, two preschoolers, a kindergartner and a first grader.
Usually I have an older kid on duty to play with the little kids, but that has digressed to "We don't know what to do, so we'll play hide and seek." Needless to say it's very distracting for the older ones trying to study for exams. TV with us usually brings quiet but the TV itself distracts and the other toddler who we watch during the week wants to play tag even when the TV is on. So I have been looking at catalogs and seeing little people puzzles and games. Those seem like they would help, if an older child was playing with them or if I was.
I can't really leave the school scene too much or they get sidetracked as well. So I'm still working on this. How do I allow for little people to wiggle and be kids and the older ones the ability to concentrate. Anybody have any suggestions?
I'm committing to limiting the TV and to only turning it on after everyone is done with school, but I have to fill the hours with productive and enjoyable work for the little ones.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My number one champ as his shirt says. This is my three-year old, and youngest of five sons, and youngest of all seven. We have fun with his sayings and we enjoy seeing things through his eyes. He loves music.



Cleaning Day

Having just finished cleaning bedrooms, I'm happy to say that it only took us an hour. We've designated Thursdays as cleaning day. Some people say that children's rooms are their own and as such, should be left to their own discretion as far as how and when they should be cleaned. I could go along with that and have a much easier life, but my husband has mentoned that if we allow them to be lazy with cleaning up after themselves, even in their own room, then they will view this as the norm.
So because of this we are cleaning rooms to Mom's satisfaction on Thursday. Because we did it last week, and got all the closets cleaned well, today we were able to do some work on drawers. I am choosing not to inspect all areas every week at this point. There will be a time that all areas are easy to clean and therefore can be inspected each and every week in order to maintain a certain level of cleanliness.
My method is this: I send all children to their rooms to start working on cleaning. We start at 8:00 as we need to prepare to leave for Bible study at 9:45 at the latest. I go to my room and dust and clean up all the clutter that has been thrown there during the week and vacuum. When I am done there, I had to the little boys' room, then the little girls' room and then the older boys' room.
My policy is that if I get to your room and there are things hiding under your bed or stuffed in corners, I reserve the right to take anything from the room that I deem is unnecessary. If you can keep your toys and "junk" put away in the proper place (they each have a drawer or box for these things that I really don't think need to be kept but they do), then they will be left alone by Mom.
I don't allow clothes in all different drawers, but rather each drawer is to be specified for a certain type of clothing and the junk drawer also keeps an extra set of sheets for their bed.
Because of this, today, when I made it to the boys' room after only about 20 minutes of cleaning they were 'done'. And I was impressed with the state of the floor and behind doors and in the closet, but because of this we had drawer inspection. I will go and check another room (i.e. the big boys' room) ahead of schedule so they have a chance to clean up things that I find before I actually get there. So they had plenty of time to work on drawers. I noticed their closet was getting a bit messy, but let that go this time. What a wonderful feeling to be able to see the floors in the rooms at least once a week. :)
We also thoroughly clean the main floor and the basement on this day as well. But I will save that for another post. Let's challenge ourselves to the next level.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

That I May Know Him

I am studying Philippians again. I've done it before. I memorized it in Bible School, and I think all the time and effort I put into that has caused Philippians to be rather dear to my heart. I love reading this book. It's like picking up an old, familiar story and re-connecting with it. The thing about Philippians that is different is that it's alive and inspiring to read again, as new truths come to the surface.
I decided that I am going to try to dig into the Word again. With working full-time, I kept feeling defeated with it and now that I work at home, watching two little boys along with my own, somehow I feel that I can do this again. Quiet Time for all the children helps me out a lot and while some days I'd rather lay down and read a book. It is becoming increasingly clear that it is important for me to focus and stay on task with this the most important of all my jobs today.
I realize that Jesus arose early and went to the mountain to pray. There are days when I wake up early and then those times are so precious, but a daily time that I can count on is Quiet Time after lunch when few sleep, but everyone is busy doing something alone, generally reading. So since I know this is always available, I like to use that time. If I wake early, BONUS!!!!!
When I decided to start this study, I bought a new Bible. I'd left one like it in Indonesia and have known that I wanted another for sometime now. Since mine was actually falling apart, I decided that this would be a good time. I love the New Inductive Study Bible. The reason I like it is because there is no commentary in it. There are maps and charts and all sorts of things to help with study but noone has put their two cents in. The reason is this: I can study to my heart's content without someone else's study being in there. Then when I'm finished studying Philippians, I will go and see what the learned men have to say and see if there are any more truths to find that I missed. But digging and hands-on learning help it stick in my mind, so it's better for me not to see the answer first.
So I have my Bible, colored pencils and the little booklet that is Kay's study for Philippians. The first week she sent us through all 4 chapters highlighting anything to do with Paul (his name, me, I my, etc.). Now this week we are marking all the times it talks of the Philippians. This is a five week study and I'm enjoying every minute of it.
Really my dream is to have a spot where we can do studies together in our homes all across the country. A place where we can come and talk of the truths we are learning. Maybe someday and maybe you'll be a part of it too. If this sounds like something you'd love to do, let me know.

Because of His great love,
Steph

Friday, December 9, 2011

A long time!!!

It's been a very long time since I've been on here. Almost a year, I guess. Things have changed some for this family since then. I quit my job and was home for about three months and then started back to work again. That only lasted three months thankfully when I heard a friend needed help finding care for her baby.

I jumped on that chance right away and now have the baby and someone else's little boy. It's so nice to be home again. Still working on the same things that I was working on before. It's good to be back.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

God has a plan for me!

To think that God the creator of the universe would have a plan for me! My favorite thing from chapter 24 is "God is still on His throne." How I need to remember that when I'm starting to worry about big decisions our family is making right now. Even when some of the options look very uncomfortable to me, I must remember that He does know what He's doing. Ex: I loved my job and couldn't imagine quitting and now I can't imagine what I was doing working and keeping up my home. Praise the Lord, He has a plan!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

1 Peter 5:10

Still thinking about this verse. It's encouraging to think that after we've suffered awhile He will perfect, strengthen, establish and settle us. It seems to me that the order is somewhat interesting too. Perfect-seems to come first after the suffering. After all, the purpose of suffering is to perfect me, to bring me to completion,to conform me to Christ's image. Strengthen - this also seems to be a result of being brought to completion. We will be stronger spiritually. Establish - this word makes me think of finding your niche or your place in this world and definitely seems like it could be a result of being strong and confident because of Christ. Lastly, settle - currently, my favorite. It makes me think of a home where everything has a place. And I'm thinking probably wouldn't be happening without being established. I love this verse, as we are currently preparing some land for a house. It helps me see in a physical way what Peter was talking about.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

New favorite verse

I Peter 5:10 really hit me today. I love it. My new and improved prayer for my children :). But while I don't like the suffering part, I know that's what it takes to perfect, establish and settle me (and them). He is perfecting me and my role as mom and wife. I am not always loving it, but this verse reminds me that it is to a good end. Today the bedrooms took a half hour to clean and last week a minimum of three hours. Why because the Lord gave wisdom to have inspections daily with Saturday being drawer inspection also and computer time revoked completely and only given as a reward for clean rooms. Wow, what a difference that made. Now, if my room can live up to that expectation as well. The downstairs will be easier as well, because we maintained through the week and now we just need to dust and vacuum and pick up a few things. Maybe this week I can actually clean the unfinished basement. Overwhelmed with all that needs to be done and yet excited as well, as things are changing. I pray that He will perfect, establish and settle you as well.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Joseph

We're talking about bearing fruit in difficult times. So I'm relating Joseph's situation to me. Of course I'm not in prison. But there are times when I think it's so unfair, and lately without a grudge, I've been pondering if dh and dc really understand all that goes into cleaning a house and the thankless tasks that are involved in keeping up the home. The tasks we do are noticed if they aren't done, but not necessarily noticed if they ARE done. Like doing the dishes, if they're done, people just don't remember that they were there. But if they aren't done, people notice that. So sometimes it seems unfair that no one knows what all I do, in detail. But when I think of Joseph and Paul, my life seems pretty easy. There is no real big things in my life, like being thrown into prison or beaten to death. There was a quote in this section from Hudson Taylor I think that I liked. Something about doing the small things well. I'll have to find it because it was pretty good when thinking about the household chores and being faithful with the whiny children. So pondering this I guess (I know) I need to change my attitude about the little things.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Jeremiah 29:11 (continued)

"The priorities of building solid, long-lasting, and ongoing marriage, families, and home lives were to be their focus-not their pain." --Loving God with all Your Mind

The Israelites were told by God to start building their homes in the land of captivity. God gave them something to do so that they wouldn't be focused on their pain. Yes, this was punishment for their sin, but He still had a plan for them. How much more for us when we are dealing with the hurts of this world. He wants us to be focused on the next thing.

Focus on the next thing, when I'm discouraged and hurt. Focus on the next thing, when the house is in shambles and my kids are sick. Focus on the next thing, when my kids are disobedient and not responding in an appropriate manner. I'm to focus on the next thing, not the whole thing. The whole thing is a huge mountain, but the next thing is one step.

When I'm discouraged and hurt - the next thing may be just to set aside the problem and wash the dishes. When my house is in shambles and my kids are sick - the next thing might be to wash the dishes or to clean up after the baby being sick. When my kids are disobedient, the next thing may simply to respond appropriately.

When I'm focusing on the pain, I'm immobilized and can't do anything. When I'm focused on the next thing God has for me, I'm energized. Well, maybe not too much till I get that first thing done, but after that, I'm feeling encouraged because one thing is done. And it seems that when we are doing His will, He stretches the time to make it enough for what we need to do.

So, bloom where you're planted

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Jeremiah 29:11

Since we're only working on one chapter a week now, I'd like to break the next chapter into sections and spend more time thinking about the truths of that section. God's plans for us: God caused the Israelites to go into captivity. He had a plan with that. He wasn't (as a very good friend has said) sitting up there saying, "Oh no, now what am I going to do?" He does have a plan for us and in the case of the Israelites, it was discipline for disobeying.

Sometimes, it's something that causes us growth, not because of wrong-doing on our part. As in the case of my son. He had to do physical therapy because of tight muscles in his leg. The physical therapy was painful, and it wasn't because he'd done anything wrong. But growth for him meant enduring painful sessions at the physical therapist's office.

How encouraging it is to know that God has a plan for me. With the status change in my life, I'm glad to know that he can enable me. So far there hasn't been a real change yet. I normally have weekends off and I just pulled a regular 64 hour week with extra stress because I was leaving. But I was able to get up and get the waffles made, make the bread for the day (or hopefully two) and get a bunch of bread starter in the freezer. We had a bag of flour that didn't fit in our pantry, so was sitting on the floor. In our house that is dangerous because of all the water that gets spilled. So I made it up into bags with yeast and sugar and salt for the start of my bread making. Kind of exciting to have that done, also all week I've been making extra of whatever we're having and bagging it up so I think I have about 10 meals in the freezer.

Those bagged meals would have been nice while I was working, but they'll help a lot when we're in the garden working and run in for some supper. Just grab a bag and defrost and go. Or better yet, get it out in the morning. I'm not so good at remembering that.

I'm excited about this change in my life and nervous too. I'm excited to see ways that I can save and help my family grow. This is God's plan for me right now and I want to embrace it completely. These thoughts are based on the A part of chapter 21 of Loving God with All Your Mind.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Think about such things

Just read about praying the Word in Elizabeth George's book "Loving God with all your mind". I think I'm going to need it this week as I'm going through a status change. No more working outside the home for this mommy for awhile. It's been a great experience, but the family needs me home.

So I'll be praying the Word, especially Romans 8:28 through the week as I say my good-byes. I'll still see them but the relationship won't be the same. I'll definitely miss them. I loved my job and hope to go back as soon as the door opens in that direction again. Told them I'm comin' there first. :)

He knows that all things work together for good, but when I pray it out loud or in my heart, I'm reminding myself again of the truth. So it's a step beyond just meditating on His Word, but applying it to the day and the issue I'm dealing with.

This change won't be from super busy to easy. As my dh keeps telling me it probably will be harder. It's fairly quiet where I work and for an hour or so in the evening, I have no one grabbing on my arm calling me to this or that.

That will all change next week, when it will be back to the full-time mommy and daddy will be working long hours since the days are longer. Knowing this ahead of time helps prepare for the difficult parts of it. I'll be reminding myself that life is like labor, just breathe and you'll get through it better, but if you start screaming, everything gets worse. In other words, if I trust God, it'll be better, but when I start getting upset (throwing a big-person fit) then things go downhill very quickly.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Running without weights

What a challenge to figure out what are weights and what are necessary parts for our running! Knowing that weights aren't necessarily bad things but could also be good things that I don't need to be doing doesn't help. If I could just say, well this is a bad thing (sin) so that's a weight it would be easier to figure out. I like Elizabeth George's philosophy about good, better, best, but guess what it takes some prayer to figure these things out. To me, that's hard work, but then very necessary.

And when my heart's desire is something that is different from my husband's that's hard work too. I can choose to let it come between us or I can choose to love him and choose the right thing, him. But I've been on my knees lately about that one too and I'm feeling battered, because I've chosen him and his decision for our family several times, even several times a day and yet if I think about my heart's desire at all, I start trying to figure out a way to make it work. Hmm, sounds like a weight that I don't need. Don't need to be figuring stuff out when we just talked a lot about "waiting" in Bible study.

Waiting is super hard - at least for me. Have you ever had to WAIT at the dentist's office? Silly question. It's agonizing. Seems to me waiting should be easy, after all what are you doing when you're waiting, probably nothing. Well, except maybe worrying, especially if it's the dentist's office, or waiting for the biopsy to come back. Isn't it hard to wait then? Our insides are churning and our heart and mind are consumed with that one thing. And He says, "Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

You know, I think His burden is lighter. The burden and anxiety of wondering about the biopsy or fincancial burdens is our burden, His is easier, just rest in Me. He can say that because He knows what's best, He knows when is best. Really??? Cuz' I think best is NOW!!!!! And when I'm all consumed with I need to know NOW, am I practicing Philippians 4:4-8??? No, I'm not. I'm not rejoicing. I'm probably not gentle. I'm definitely anxious. I'm not commiting things to the Lord in prayer and with a thankful heart. I'm not thinking on truth, noble things, right things, pure things, or just things. I'm not thinking about excellent or praiseworthy things.

Lord, change my heart. I think that is my constant prayer for I always fall short of where I should be. But I'm so thankful that You don't just look at that. Just as a father doesn't wonder why his one-year old isn't running, but excited for the growth of the first step.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Trust in the Lord

Reading Psalm 37:4-5; Isaiah 40:28-31 and Proverbs 3:5-6 really emphasized to me that I don't have to do a lot when it comes to doing God's will. Technically, yes, it is the hard thing, but when I think of the commands, trust, dwell, do good, delight and feed, then in Isaiah - soar and Proverbs - trust and lean not, I can see that those aren't hard things. Obviously God takes care of all the things that we tend to like worrying about. :)

So instead of worrying about things, I get to spend time in God's Word and sit back and enjoy the ride.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Delegating and doing

I'm realizing how focused I am. I cannot multi-task very well at all, though would have said before that I'm great at it. But one thing and one thing alone gets the best work and even then it's not the best, a distracted and interrupted best. So while I'm teaching school, the housework goes to pieces unless it's on the list as school work and when I'm cleaning, well, let's just say the schoolwork is non-existent. So for this time, I really have to be vigilant. I can delegate both, but really have to be focusing on the delegating rather than the doing. For if I'm doing something, working on a project, Jeff's books, writing out next quarter's plans, during my day, then I'm not doing the two things I really need to do - housework and school.

Reminds me of a foreman - if he ran around putting up walls and hauling rock for driveways and is on the roof, who is making sure all the other guys are doing what they're supposed to be doing, or maybe they don't know what they're supposed to be doing. Sad to say, that Monday thru Thursday, I need to do a little less and delegate a little more.

But I must be careful, because when I'm practicing delegating, I'm training up delegators, not doers, so I have to be willing to get down and scrub, especially when I know that my doers are on track, but that comes on the days where I am not super busy and running to work. God, give me wisdom to know the times when I should delegate and when I should do.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Why am I here?

This is one of the questions we address in the chapter for the week for Bible study. Such a good thing to re-visit every once in awhile in our lives. Am I here for things and to acquire as much as possible, or is there a bigger purpose? Or do I continue to be a working mom, simply because it gives me an outlet for evangelism? How does God view the pursuits in my life? Are they for His glory or for mine only?

I'm going to be thinking about that today and praying about that as well. Sometimes I just want to shut out my life and spend some time in focused prayer, but that's not always a possibility.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Focus on heaven

My dh and I talk regularly about God's purpose for us on this earth. One thing we've learned more deeply than ever in the recent years is if you don't know where you are going on this earth or what your purpose is, it's awfully hard to figure out what you should be doing now.

We started on this life fairly certain of God's purpose for our lives and then the basket upset and very basic decisions became difficult. If we were going to remain here, then we need jobs and a house of our own. But then if we are called back into the ministry, then we don't want to invest a lot of money in a house and getting "tied down" as it were to this place.

So, we really need to sit down and renew our minds before the Lord and ask Him to show us again what He would have for us today. It helps to know where we'll be tomorrow, but that isn't guaranteed.

So, while that doesn't solve my problem of wanting to know where we'll be in ten years, I can live at peace because I know that God knows and that's all that matters.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Encouragement for Today

As I've been looking at how I'm doing as a mom, sometimes it gets discouraging to see my failings. But our pastor said something yesterday that was a good reminder. Or maybe it was on Sunday, but that the flesh, the old man, has not been eradicated from my life. He still is a contender in my day-to-day decisions. Why is that good? Why am I encouraged by that?

Because as I look at my life and see lots of room for growth, I also am secure in the fact that heaven is my prize and always will be. I don't have to wonder, after a bad day, if I'm really a believer and if I'm going to heaven. I know I am.

I know that while I may have lost rewards that day, I am still "saved, yet so as by fire." So I can keep pursuing a full reward and still have a chance of hearing my beloved Saviour say, "Well, done, good and faithful one!"

Monday, February 7, 2011

Philippians 4:4-8

I was working on memorizing my verses for Bible study while in the nursery at church during Sunday School. I didn't think it would hurt for the little one-year olds to hear the verses out loud and the songs that I know that go with those verses are ones that I learned in Sunday school or with my kids. But as I studied some words jumped out at me, "Let your gentleness be evident to all." Conviction came as I remembered my morning as we were getting ready to leave for church.

We were late and I was reminding everyone without yelling that we needed to hurry and I need to be in nursery and we're having company and we don't want to have to do a lot of things when we get home. I wasn't yelling but I wasn't being gentle at all.

Does the gentleness being evident apply to our children? Do they really count as part of "all"??? If this is true, I fail often in this regard. Yes, I need to draw lines with them and keep those boundaries, but I'm sure there are ways to do that gently and I've gotten beyond that. I'm either ignoring what they are doing, reminding a lot or I'm jumping down their throats as it were to knock it off and start their work. Not consistent by any stretch.

So in order to be gentle, what can I do to make this work? First, as a mom, I must be vigilant. I don't go off-duty, except when everyone is in bed and even then I'm on-call. Yes, we can have some time where we carve out time for ourselves with the Lord. But if I am aware of what's happening and keeping track of what ultimatims I have laid down, I will be more consistent. I need to be slow to speak, as it says in James. If I'm quick to tell them a command, then I must be able or willing to follow through. So I need to be careful what I say. Slow to wrath - if I'm careful about what I say and keeping up with what I've said, then I will be slow to anger.

These things may be a bit difficult with seven children, but all the more reason they are necessary. I can't have my kids growing up where their mother is always growling about this or that. So if I can be patient at work and gentle with the people that I work with, then what about at home? Why not?

My perspective needs to change. If kool-aid is spilt on the floor, after I just mopped it, how will it help if I stand there and get frustrated with the child for five minutes? How about if I just helped him get a cloth and got down and helped him clean up, especially if he wasn't being careless. Or as is our usual policy, we don't get mad but they are responsible for clean-up. Even a two-year old can clean up his spilt milk. Not perfectly, but if perfection is what we are looking for then our perspective needs to change.

That's my thoughts for today.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Wayne Watson's song "For Such a Time as This"

Today is cleaning day. When I finish with my outside job for the week, it's time to finish up school (hopefully the kids have worked ahead, so we don't have a full day) and then clean the house from top to bottom. That way when Daddy's home, we don't have to be cleaning the house, just maintenance and we can enjoy being together without huge messes. :)

While we were cleaning, someone turned on Wayne Watson's The Way Home. "For Such a Time as This" came on and it was interesting to apply it to cleaning the house. The words that struck me were, "Now, all I have is now, to be faithful, to be HOLY, and to shine lighting up the darkness." To be faithful, I get, but to be holy, that was a new thought. Yes, I am being faithful to do what I should - clean my house, but am I being holy while doing it. That is not always true. I would have to say that maybe I'm not even being faithful, if my attitude is wrong, but anyway that was my thought for the day. Might change the outcome for the day.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Bible study with Forever 31

Well, I have my verse for the day now. "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you and through the rivers and they shall not overflow you." Isaiah 43:2 This week has been long as I said yesterday and somewhat tiring, (o.k. exhausting) but I usually think of this verse when dealing with some kind of tragedy. But I was thinking this morning that any tragedy I can think of is so much worse than this week, so He's with me through this week too. What an encouragement!

Then the quote from Elisabeth Elliot - "Sometimes it takes everything you have to get up and do it, but it is surprising how strength comes." I think it's just putting for the first effort and once you start it goes smoothly. O.k. maybe not always smoothly, but much easier than when we first thought.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Colossians 2:10

"...and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. " A friend is studying Colossians for her next women's Bible study. So in preparation, I decided to start reading it during my quiet time.

Right now, I'm drained and tired after my first night of work this week, definitely not ready to teach school and we're just starting our second day this week. It's so nice to be "complete in Him". I have everything I need to make it through the day.

Monday, January 31, 2011

So after last week, I had a couple of pitfalls with working on patience. I guess we all have them. But the plan is still in effect and working well. We'll be doing some daily tweaking for the interruptions that I know are coming, but for the most part, we're sticking to it. The kids are finally out of the confused mode of "Where am I supposed to be again???" and "You mean I'm actually supposed to work on Math for one hour even if I finish today's lesson early????"

To that last question, I say, "Yes." Reasons abound here, but the main one is 2 hours of piano practice on Wednesday and three hours of bible study on Thursday. If you can get 5 lessons done in four days, Friday is free for you, at least from school that is.

Physical therapy is still a tough thing for me and even tougher for my son. He struggles with the pain and yet I can see so much progress in his back pain. So we continue and I see the value and in those 10 excruciating minutes of PT, he can't see anything but the pain. I rub his back and remind him that this pain is actually good. But his ears can't hear me for the pain. He's a trouper through it all and doesn't fight, though he does wiggle all over the bed, trying to remove himself from the pain. That only happens when the pain is unbearable and he isn't conscious of what he's doing.

Today he said, he may be a physical therapist one day. I told him that he would be able to be compassionate toward others because of the pain he's been through.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Listening to Petra's -Thankful Heart, thanks to my brother-in-law for posting it on FB. I find that when I cannot be grouchy and thankful at the same time. I think I need to focus more on what Christ has done for me and I will be the woman that He wants me to be.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Patience

Planning produces patience. One active way I can be more patient is to plan ahead. The other thing planning does is helps me not to worry. It's an active way I can be obedient. I love it how God provides things to do instead of the things we aren't to do. How many times as parents do we say, "Don't do that."? But we don't give them something to replace "that" with.

We do need to be vigilant about these areas in our lives. The key thing for me though, has been putting my Bible study on my list of things to do. Yes, I know that may sound legalistic. But it's necessary for me. With only 8 hours off during the day, I can do a good job teaching my kids, if that's all I do. So spending time in God's Word was lacking a lot, not just sometimes, but most days. Since it's on my list, I'm having a blast, learning and growing. So, I guess I would say that's not legalism. The hope is that I would be diligent about this and keep it consistent in my life.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Patience

I've really been thinking about how to be more patient with teaching. One thing I've noticed if I get bogged down in my own things, I don't usually have success being patient when the kids ask me questions or have needs with their work. Also "He who fails to plan, plans to fail." So when I wake up in the morning with a plan in hand, I'm set.

This doesn't mean that I don't get impatient, but that the chances that I'm tempted are less. When I have a plan posted on the fridge, the kids know what the expectations are for them and they aren't surprised. They actually might be surprised if they find that I stick to the plan. I have a very hard time with that.

I love to make a plan and do it for a week and then leave it altogether. I think, in our family, we need to have a plan and tweak it where necessary, but mostly always stick to that plan or the tweaked one.

Like Elizabeth George says in her book "Loving God with all your mind", we must be prepared for a major upheaval to our plan for the day and if this happens then we need to evaluate the interruption and decide if it's from the Lord or not. If it is, then we are to accept that with our whole hearts and "always abound in the work of the Lord."

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bible study with Forever 31

I was studying for Bible study in chapter 7. I think I might be behind a bit. But I love the idea of how we eat an elephant - one bite at a time. I have a lot of things on my plate and if I can take a bite of each one, each day, then I can get done and feel more motivated to do more tomorrow.

I like Elisabeth Eliott's idea of "Just do the next thing." Seems I can get bogged down with discouragement, but I just need to do one more thing and I'll feel a lot more like doing another thing.

My list is long as I'm sure yours is, but if we can break it down into bite-sized chunks, it will get done.

Just some food for thought.