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March & April Mother Culture

It has been difficult staying on top of my mother culture lately, but steadily working on it. I have terrible hay fever which it makes it difficult to see most days, so we make it through school time and I have no energy left to dab at raw eyes for reading personally and head to bed early. However, we have spent more time outside and despite the awful hay fever that comes with it the sun and cool breezes have truly blessed our family. We love our outside times, and I can see it benefiting my children greatly. Also hoping to get back into my scripture art and lettering if I can, as I truly do find art and lettering relaxing and life-giving.

So without further ado, here is my mother culture reading reviews for the past two months.

Scholé

My scholé choices for the past few months were sections of Charlotte Mason’s Volume 1,Home Education and The Read Aloud Family by Sarah Mackenzie.

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Home Education

I am working on finding a real life Charlotte Mason community as we lean into this educational method and philosophy more. The virtual realm of Instagram and Facebook are helpful, but for me nothing compares to real life people. In that respect I met with a group who is finishing up a study on Ms. Mason’s first volume. We had a lovely discussion of the Will and the Way which really helped me to understand what I had read, but also in a life-giving manner of fellowship I felt a connection to the text and author. The group was an answer to prayer. We had another meeting where we were read aloud a chapter from The Story of Charlotte Mason outlining a day in her life and practiced narrating it together. Again, it was a lovely time of true Christian fellowship that left my heart and mind full! I am eager to dive into theses works more, but it is something that takes all your mind and for me cannot be done with constant interruption, thus limiting what times of the day I can read it. It is on Libriovox but I cannot really retain the concepts unless I see them in print, and again noise distrubance…I mean children, make it difficult for me to listen to it and retain what I have heard.

I also finished, The Read Aloud Family. I cannot recommend it enough!

This book is so wonderful with practical advise and a lovely book list at the back. As I said she references The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease often, thus I read that first. They complement each other well, but definitely do not both need to be read unless your a book nerd like me. I am super excited to put much of what she suggests into practice, and get to some of those books on the list! Also, this book is wonderful for all families not just homeschool families.

Spiritual

My spiritual choice for the past few months has been Missional Motherhood by Gloria Furman. Again, this is highly recommended. I fell in love with this book and am now trying to press everyone else into reading it so I can discuss!

This books is a bit dense with truth, but amazing! It is not a quick little devotional and should be approached with Bible in hand. I don’t say this to be discouraging, because I honestly think all women should read this book. However, it is difficult to read large portions at a time. It is one of those deep reads that require meditation after small sections. I love how she just focuses on the Bible truths and how it affects all that we do. I think I may need a new commonplace notebook after I’m done copying all the quotes I pulled from this! It truly is the best thing I have read this year.

Fiction

I have begun so many books only to be distracted by another. However, in a fitful night of hay fever induced insomnia I set out to read only a chapter or two of the Green Ember sequel, Ember Falls by SD Smith and instead finished the book.

As is to be expected, Smith does not disappoint. This series is just wonderfully written and joy to devour! I just began reading aloud the first book in the series with my children and my oldest can’t handle only a few chapters at a time. She’s a book junkie! We are truly loving diving into this series, and I love that I can use this as an introduction into some deeper adventure literature in the future years. Also, I’m a sucker for books where the main heroine shares my uncommon literary name! Truly a well written adventure for children and adults alike.

Well, thats it for now. May is notoriously busy in our family even before we had 3 birthdays in the end of the month. I’m working to be proactive in my mother culture and working on developing better habits for myself. My goal includes one more fiction and spiritual text, with a few more sections of Charlotte Mason’s first volume. Also, daily in God’s word with some scripture lettering daily. What are your mother culture goals for May?

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Abiding Prayer

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Have you seen the movie War Room? or read the book Fervent? I love the emphasis on prayer in both of these projects. Priscilla Shirer has such a wonderful way of making the power of prayer seem real and tangible. The premise of the movie and the book is prayer, and in the movie she creates a “war room.” 

Much like our military, who fights for our nations freedom with strategic, educated, and calculated plans we ought to fight our battles in the same manner. What battles, you may ask. The battles in the great war against Satan. Now, if you are a believer then you already know the outcome of the war and that the beautiful loving Prince of Peace has already overcome the great deceiver. However, that wicked prince of darkness is still coming to attack you in the meantime.

John 10:10 “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy:”

Satan wants to destroy, steal and kill all the good in your life. The only way to face this foe is head on with a plan. Do you have a plan? Today I want us to take a few moments to think of the areas in our life where Satan may attack. Go ahead and make a list of areas where Satan may try to attack. Once we know where the battles may occur we can begin to form a plan of attack.
Here is a list of areas to pray (from Fervent): passions, focus, identity, family, past, fears, purity, pressures, hurts, & relationships. You may have more or less, yours may be more specific categories. I encourage you to pray over what God wants you to pray. That sounds silly right? But truly seek God’s will for the areas in which you need to focus. If you are still struggling search His word.
First I want you to choose 3-5 areas in which to focus primarily in your prayer life. For each of these areas I want you to make a list of 2 or more specific areas in which to pray. Then if possible, look for a verse or passage to infuse your prayer time with.
Please read Psalm 66 today, and then reread those last two verses! God hears you and will be with you always. Never fear to come before the Lord. He loves you and sent His son that the separation of sin would be conquered, so that we might boldly go before God with our petitions.
Just remember,

John 10:10b “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

God has already overcome the devil, and He wants a beautiful abundant life for you. Today we can come boldly before his throne in prayer and seek His strength and power because He has come to give us abundant life.

 

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February Mother Culture

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Sorry I have been MIA, but February about did us in! We had a stomach flu the first week and a respiratory (knock down, miserable) flu the third week. Oh, and that week in between? My husband was out of town. It was rough, and we are finally back up and running at normal speed.

Despite my rough month I did finish some books though not all on my list.

  1. Scholé Choice

The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease

To be honest I was reading Read Aloud Family by Sarah Mackenzie, but she referenced this book so many times I decided to stop and read Trelease’s book first. This book was so insightful. It’s a lot to take in with tons of statistics, and for those of us who are already tuned into the reading/education scene its a bit redundant. However, it is a wonderful resource to have on hand or use to help those who may not realize the power of written word and reading (especially) aloud to children. So very encouraging to know that reading good, beautiful words to my children is doing more than pass the time. Also, I love that his book recommendations/book list at the end of book come with descriptions. So much better than just a list. Also, he frequently is updating this work with new statistics! I read the seventh edition, but I believe there is also an 8th edition. This is definitely on my to purchase list.

  1. Spiritual Choice

I didn’t finish my book in this section, hopefully in March I will finally finish this meaty text I have chosen. However, I did work through the book of Hosea for bible study!

  1. Fiction Choice

The Green Ember by S. D. Smith

This definitely lived up to the hype. I was doing a pre-read, as I am wont to do before reading anything to the children. What a wonderful read!  I can’t wait to purchase this book, and its sequels. I had to wait for 1 of 4 copies in our entire state interlibrary system for months to read the first one. Still waiting on the sequels. Its a long wait, because they are so amazing! It was fun to read a fiction story that is exciting and well written. I know my girls will love this so much and can’t wait to read it to them.

Also, I started working on a crochet shawl for my oldest for Christmas next year, or more likely just a special day before then. I am the worst at secrets and gifts. If I have something I know someone will love I have to give it to them! Its a slow progress work, as all my crochet tends to be, but still I enjoy sitting down with a good movie and crocheting.

What have you read so far this year? Do you have any hobbies or pursuits you enjoy to cultivate your own mother culture?

 

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Hosea 13 & 14

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Hosea 13

Well this ends darkly. I struggled with this chapter too. The first part is revisit of their sins and the end is the sorrowful judgement. However, sandwiched right in the middle is the beautiful beckoning of the Lord to His people. 

To help with understanding this chapter I will share a portion of Matthew Henry’s commentary, 

“The same strings, though generally unpleasing ones, are harped upon in this chapter that were in those before. People care not to be told either of their sin or of their danger by sin; and yet it is necessary, and for their good, that they should be told of both, nor can they better hear of either than from the word of God and from their faithful ministers, while the sin may be repented of and the danger prevented. Here,

 I. The people of Israel are reproved and threatened for their idolatry (v. 1-4). 

II. They are reproved and threatened for their wantonness, pride, and luxury, and other abuses of their wealth and prosperity (v. 5-8). 

III. The ruin that is coming upon them for these and all their other sins is foretold as very terrible (v. 12, v. 13, v. 15, v. 16). 

IV. Those among them that yet retain a respect for their God are here encouraged to hope that he will yet appear for their relief, though their kings and princes, and all their other supports and succours, fail them (v. 9-11, v. 14).”

Today I would like to to focus on those middle 3 verses, 9-11. Verse 9 reads like one speaking to his beloved. “O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.” Pleading with someone who has done wrong. Everyone knows what wrong has been done, but He is lifting out with a life line begging them to return. Reminding them that He wanted to take care of them support them and protect them, but they wanted a king. He allowed them the desires of their hearts.

I feel like this is another lesson in love right here. Sometimes we ask amiss. Sometimes what we think we need to be happy, to be content, to be fulfilled is not truly what we need. However, but God allows us to have the desires of our heart, and often like the Israelites desire for a king it doesn’t work out.

You know what though God is always there pleading for you. Reminding you that in Him is all your help! Simply turn to Him and ask for He loves you with a deep abundant unfailing love!

Hosea 14

Thank you so much for those of you who joined me on this Bible study. I honestly don’t know if any of you enjoyed or got much out of this study but I truly loved digging into God’s word and studying something “hard.” 

Today I’m just going to share the words of Charles Spurgeon, my favorite verse from the chapter, and implore you to take a second glance at this beautiful chapter in God’s word.

“This is a wonderful chapter to be at the end of such a book. I had never expected from such a prickly shrub to gather so fair a flower, so sweet a fruit; but so it is: where sin abounded, grace doth much more abound. No chapter in the Bible can be more rich in mercy than this last of Hosea; and yet no chapter in the Bible might, in the natural order of things, have been more terrible in judgment. Where we looked for the blackness of darkness, behold a noontide of light!” (Charles Spurgeon)

 I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him. Hosea 14:4

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Hosea 10-12

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Hosea 10

“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.” Hosea 10:12

What are you sowing today? The Israelites had sown sin for many years, and thus were going to reap the punishment/judgement. We’ve read much of what God has planned for them. However, here we see a promise. A beautiful blessed promise. If they begin to sow righteousness now they will reap mercy in the future. The fallow ground? Thats the ground that hasn’t been touched in a long time. He wants them to break up that hardness on their hearts, and soften themselves to His ways so that those seeds of righteousness will take hold. How are they to break that hardness of heart? By seeking God.

So again, I ask what are you sowing today? As you know we’ve been sick so this is a tough one to answer. Its easy to say that we didn’t do anything all week. We rested and healed, which we did. However, we are always sowing something. Did we sow righteousness or sin today? Did we spend time in God’s word, or listen to hymns of praise (no voice to sing 😉 )? Or did we elevate ourselves and our own wants and desires? I like to think that by serving my family, caring and cuddling for my sick children is sowing righteousness. When I fold the laundry and clean the house for them to live happy, safe and healthy I’m sowing righteousness. When I wiped that millionth snotty nose or yet another diapered bottom, I’m sowing righteousness. Do not discount today what you do mama. Lest you think me saintly or super mama, please know I also sowed some sin for which I needed to seek forgiveness. I lost my temper, and was short with my children in my own selfish sickly moments.

“I often must sacrifice my own needs and desires for the purpose of giving my children what they need and modeling for them the depths of Christ’s love.”- Sally Clarkson

We are given a choice everyday to choose which seeds we plant in our community, church, children, and marriage. Motherhood is sanctifying. Marriage is sanctifying. It is hard work, but as you may recall hard is not the same as bad. 

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth John 17:17

If you find yourself struggling to sow the love of Christ today may I encourage you to read and pray over God’s word, be still (even if just for a few moments), and hide God’s word in your heart.

“Motherhood is a million little moments that God weaves together with grace, redemption, laughter, tears and most or all, love”- Lysa TerKeurst

Allow God’s holy spirit to help you sow righteousness in your home this week and always. And NEVER forget that you are doing a mighty work for God simply through marriage and motherhood. He wants the best for you and will use the best of you. Sow your hearts with His love and reap the mercy for the sins and the blessings from His love. 

“I always wanted to be a hero–to sacrifice my life in a big way one time–and yet, God has required my sacrifice to be thousands of days, over many years, with one more kiss, one more story, one more meal.” 

Sally Clarkson in Desperate

Hosea 11

This took a couple of reads to see the beauty. In the first few verses you see God’s love for Israel, but in the last half you see His chastisement. God is so good though that even in the chastisement He can’t help but love His people. Check out verse 8. Is that love or what? 

Now reread verse 9. How wonderful and merciful is our God? We have spent the month reading the sin that Israel has committed. We read every offense and promise of punishment. Now God is not going to forego all punishment, for He loves them and wants them to learn from their mistakes. 

Have you ever been so hurt, so angry, you can’t bring yourself to think kindly of that person? Maybe you were shaking with rage, or defeated with hurt. You truly were in the right and the other person was wrong. That is a hard situation, and its often hard to forgive. To let go and let God take control.

Corrie Ten Boom says, “Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.”

In our reading God is angry, and rightly so with His wicked people. They had done unthinkable wrongs towards God in their selfish and proud pursuits, but God says “I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger,” He will not do all that is within His power and right, because He loves them. 

How do I know? Because he declares, “FOR I AM GOD, AND NOT MAN, THE HOLY ONE IN YOUR MIDST,” That kind of long-suffering, forgiveness and compassion can only come from the great I AM who is LOVE. His full love and forgiveness is something we struggle to truly grasp. 

CH Spurgeon writes, “He not only forgave us at the first all our sins, but he continues daily to forgive, for the act of forgiveness is a continuous one.”

In the full text, Spurgeon goes on to say that God has “divinely pardoned us.” This is what he did for the Israelites here in our passage. This is what Hosea demonstrated when he took back Gomer. This is what Christ did on the Cross. 

I so humbly grateful He is God, and not man. As humans we struggle to forgive. Some may even say we as women struggle more with holding grudges, but not our God. When He forgives, He forgives completely and it no longer exists. He loves us so much that He no longer sees the offense, but instead sees the one He loves.

The chapter goes on and isn’t all rainbows and sparkles, but we have the promise that He is God and not man. He will, like any good parent, chases the naughtiness but will always love us. 

Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hatred. It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness. -Corrie Ten Boom

This chapter of Hosea shows us the depth of God’s love for his people even in the midst of our sins. It reminds me of Romans 5:8, But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 

God truly wants a relationship with us. He wants to love us as a parent loves their child, even when they are in the wrong. This little book of prophecy reminds us that God has loved His creation from the beginning and will continue to love us despite our own naughty tendencies. He doesn’t love us with that flimsy love we see in those Hallmark Christmas movies. He loves us with an abundant unfailing mighty love than transcends all sin. 

Hosea 12

“Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment and wait on thy God continually.”

This is my favorite verse from this book. Anyone else have a series on verses about waiting you cling to? I must be the most impatient person around because it seems the Lord likes to test me through waiting. From waiting for babies who don’t like to be born early, waiting to find a home, waiting for God’s call to more than I can explain briefly. 

Here in this verse we see 3 commands.

First turn to God. If you aren’t already seeking the Lord turn towards Him and return to His word and His ways. “ Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” Isaiah 45:22

Second keep mercy and judgement. Remember that forgiveness we talked about yesterday? He’s reminding us to forgive as He forgives, and keep His righteous judgement before us. “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32 We are called to a high calling of Christianity and must remember to exert ourselves as Christ does.

Finally he tells us to wait on Him. Then there is that nagging word at the end of the verse, continually. What? You mean forever?!?! Yes, Strong’s confirms that this means for an indefinite extension, constant, regularly, always, continually, perpetually waiting upon the Lord. To tarry patiently waiting upon our Lord forever seems a bit hopeless in these terms. We think of waiting as standing on line at the DMV, waiting for our children to finally get their shoes on, waiting for our husband to finish that despised project. 

Another way to look at it is not wait as we see it, but rather to hope for. Hope, expect, look eagerly for the Lord continually. I like how John Gill puts it, “both in private prayer, and for an answer to it, and in public worship and ordinances, in hope of meeting with him, and enjoying his presence;” When we think of waiting on the Lord we need to change our focus off the toe tapping anxiousness we associate with waiting and remember that He is asking us to depend upon Him. To trust Him completely with all that He has for us and to expect that He will answer our prayers. For the God who took the time to make us, holds us in the palm of His hands. He loves us fiercely and wants only good for us. 

Psalms 130:5 – I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. 

Psalms 62:5 – My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation [is] from him.

Psalms 40:1 – (To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.) I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.

So maybe I’m not the most impatient person around, but I may be near the top. 😉 God wants us to trust him wholeheartedly, with expectant hope of His provision, answer, and love. Always looking for Him in all that we do, looking for His answers to prayer yes. Also looking for Him in the provision and the blessings and the trials. Waiting and hoping for the Lord with exuberant joy.

Thanks for joining me on this journey, 2 more chapters!

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Hosea 8 & 9

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Hosea 8

 I have written to him the great things of my law,

but they were counted as a strange thing. Hosea 8:12

Does this ever reflect you? And no I don’t mean because some King James English is weird. Do you ever read God’s word and think what did I just read? What God asks of the Israelites, what He asks of us can be considered quite strange according to the world’s standards. 

The devil knows this and likes to whisper little lies when you least expect it. He tells you that you will be weird if you go to church 3 times a week. Your going to miss out on all the fun your friends are having. Your friends are going to look at you funny if you choose to dress modestly, even at the gym and beach. Your neighbors might think you are strange because you choose to provide your children with a Christian education. You might have family members who don’t want to talk to you because you are the black sheep of the family. Weird. Strange. Different.

1 Chronicles 29:15 For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers:

our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding.

Billy Graham is noted with saying, “My home is in Heaven. I’m just traveling through this world.” We truly are just travelers, sojourners, going through this present world. How often though do we choose to live for the present pleasures and forget the eternal elation that awaits the faithful servant of the Lord?

1 Peter 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims,

abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

Even though the media wants you to think this is a world of tolerance, all to often being a Christian and standing with Christian morals will bring about prejudice, intolerance and even persecution. 

Luke 21:12 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you

Knowing this it is a bit easier to understand how God’s chosen people may fall into a thinking of God’s law being strange.In an effort to go after that which they desired they had to go against God’s word. The more we turn towards the world the more tempting and pleasurable it seems and the more strange God’s way is. God gives us free will to choose, but He also gives us His word. We only choose to follow after the world with the rejection of His word. 

So I ask you ladies today, is God’s word seeming strange to you or is it seeming sweet balm of joy? Last week my girls and I were talking about honoring God with wholehearted devotions. As part of this we discussed what devotion means and why we call reading our Bible devotions. Devotion is defined as love, loyalty or enthusiasm for a person, activity, or cause. So why do we call our daily bible readings devotions? Because it is a time that we spend in Gods word loyally and enthusiastically loving God, His plan for this world and His purpose for each of us. 

Let’s purpose and pray that God will help us to make reading God’s word a priority each day that we might be truly devoted in our heart, soul and mind to God.

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,

and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. Matthew 22:37

Hosea 9

Rejoice not, O Israel, for joy, as other people: for thou hast gone a whoring from thy God, thou hast loved a reward upon every cornfloor. The floor and the winepress shall not feed them, and the new wine shall fail in her. They shall not dwell in the Lord’s land; but Ephraim shall return to Egypt, and they shall eat unclean things in Assyria. They shall not offer wine offerings to the Lord, neither shall they be pleasing unto him: their sacrifices shall be unto them as the bread of mourners; all that eat thereof shall be polluted: for their bread for their soul shall not come into the house of the Lord.

What will ye do in the solemn day, and in the day of the feast of the Lord? For, lo, they are gone because of destruction: Egypt shall gather them up, Memphis shall bury them: the pleasant places for their silver, nettles shall possess them: thorns shall be in their tabernacles. The days of visitation are come, the days of recompence are come; Israel shall know it: the prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is mad, for the multitude of thine iniquity, and the great hatred. The watchman of Ephraim was with my God: but the prophet is a snare of a fowler in all his ways, and hatred in the house of his God.They have deeply corrupted themselves, as in the days of Gibeah: therefore he will remember their iniquity, he will visit their sins.

I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the firstripe in the fig tree at her first time: but they went to Baalpeor, and separated themselves unto that shame; and their abominations were according as they loved. As for Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird, from the birth, and from the womb, and from the conception. Though they bring up their children, yet will I bereave them, that there shall not be a man left: yea, woe also to them when I depart from them!  Ephraim, as I saw Tyrus, is planted in a pleasant place: but Ephraim shall bring forth his children to the murderer.Give them, O Lord: what wilt thou give? give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts.

 All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them no more: all their princes are revolters. Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit: yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb. My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto him: and they shall be wanderers among the nations.

 

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Health & Wellness

I’m peeved. I’m frustrated. I’m upset.

We live in a world where anyone willing to peddle supplement or products can claim to be a health and wellness coach. This is absurd! Not to mention the false information I have received from many of them. I also have seen women who, not a post on social media but in real life, miss a few weeks of their “all natural supplement” and are miserable. Hello, thats an addiction! Thanks I already have one I don’t need to trade an addiction for a more expensive addiction. They are not coaching people on health and wellness but selling products. They have no education but what their product company tells them about their product.

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I truly need to make some health changes and wish I had someone who would help, but unfortunately I can’t voice that lest I be inundated with pleas to buy their product. I cannot lament a simple struggle with my children’s food allergies without being bombarded with messages to buy a product that will heal their allergies (aka lies). I once comically shared an image stating, “Im neither a night owl or a morning bird, I’m a permanently exhausted pigeon.” Rather than it being seen as a joke I was flooded with people willing to sell me their product. Not to help me with the kids or come over and visit to lift me up, simply to sell their product. I already feel ashamed that I have let me health get to this point, but now I feel as though I can’t even reach out to “friends” for genuine help.

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Here I am a homeschooling mother of 5 young girls with a very busy husband. I have an addiction to soda and struggle to motivate myself to do the minimum. I am still dealing with residual postpartum depression- if I’m being completely honest. I don’t need to spend my very minimal money on a product that will just give me another addiction, isn’t actually all natural and still not have any real health or wellness guidance. I want to be a better example for my children and I know I need to change!

I want to change this view in the world. I know in my heart of hearts that I do not need these supplements or programs, but more of the Lord. The Lord can help me. He provides good food, and I can ask for His help to change my approach. I want to live a life that shows I do not need to rely on something else, just Jesus. Praying I can be an example in the future (to focus on God), but first I need to make that first step and then be consistent in my pursuit of my goals.

Set your affection on things above,

not on things on the earth- Colossians 3:2

So I obviously need to take matters to my Lord, and pray He will give me the strength to overcome. I pray He will help me not focus on what I don’t have or the negatives, but to focus on what I can do today. I pray He will help me to become more disciplined in many aspects of my life, especially regarding my health.

“You will never always be motivated,

you need to learn to be disciplined.” – Anonymous

I’m praying that God would help me to deny myself and focus on what is right regarding health and wellness. I “know” a lot of what needs to be done and what is the right way to go about things. Now I just need the discipline to put it into practice. Part of that will come when I stop being jealous of those who have been disciplined and put in the work, and moaning about my problems. The rest will come when I remember to devote myself completely to God and His holy calling in my life.

“I’m not equipped to handle what she has, both good and bad and what she has is always a package deal of both. In other words, I’ve been assigned a load I can handle.” -Lysa TerKuerst

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There is an instagrammer who actually does sell things to help with health and wellness, but she is more influential than that! Go check out Caroline @fitforhisglory . She gives so much good godly encouragement. Her product is not the focus of the feed. Her love of Christ is the focus. She really spoke to my heart with a post back in September 2018.

“If you are here, feeling like you ‘have to’ develop more self-control, I am going to ask you to look at it another way. Don’t try to force discipline behavior, rather seek the grace of God and allow Him to change your heart. Meditate on His word and ask Him for strength to truly surrender.” -Caroline Foster, @fitforhisglory

It’s taken me a while to be really truly willing to make a change in my health. Always in the back of my mind but not truly surrendered to the change. I’m praying for God’s grace to truly make a difference in my life, in the example I leave with my children. Not with supplements, not with fad diets, not with a new gym membership or exercise programs. Only with God. I’m praying that God will grant me the ability to choose to access His holy spirit wholeheartedly with discipline and surrender to His will and purpose in my life.

Would you encourage me through prayer to accomplish this goal?

Homeschool, Uncategorized

Scholé & Mother Culture

Have you all jumped on the scholé train? Scholé is from ancient Greek meaning school and leisure. It apparently hit a resurgence with the book Leisure the Basis of Culture by Josef Piper, but I know it from the homeschool blogosphere. Primarily from Scholé Sisters blog and podcast. Forgive me, I’m new to this whole podcast thing and still working through back episodes.

This article from Mystie over at Simply Convivial really explains scholé well. In short, the way we envision education now is vastly different from long ago when this word was first used. From what I have gathered the point of scholé is to focus on learning through seeking truth, goodness and beauty. Now that is what my dreams of education look like.

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Scholé is leisure but not what most of us Americans view as leisure. It is taking the time to truly enjoy, absorb and meditate on a subject through careful reading and study. Focusing on truth, beauty and goodness while broadening our horizons and educating our selves in our topic of interest.

I am praying and working on implementing this in our homeschool, but also for myself. Charlotte Mason says,

“If mothers could learn to do for themselves what they do for their children when these are overdone, we should have happier households. Let the mother go out to play! If she would have the courage to let everything go when life becomes too tense, and just take a day, or half a day, out in the fields, or with a favourite book, or in a picture gallery looking long and well at just two or three pictures, or in bed, without the children, life would go on far more happily for both children and parents. The mother would then be able to hold herself in “wise passiveness’ and would not fret her children by continual interference even of hand or eye – she would let them be.”

We mothers ought to also be participating and growing in this education process. Here in the homeschooling world we call it mother culture. So I am working on developing my own mother culture through reading, art, music and nature. Scholé is part of my mother culture that I see as fluid process. It will ebb and flow, and change over time. Hopefully growing deeper and stronger over time.

It has been so long since I really enjoyed reading for myself. I used to devour fiction books like my oldest daughter, but since having kids it has been on the back burner. When I married and had children, bible studies and spiritual encouragement books were my thin. Though they were hit and miss in regularity. I never have been much one for non-fiction or educational reading because I didn’t really consider it. Fiction, definitely. Spiritual encouragement, sure. I’m working on learning exactly what my passions are through some sampling of books but I definitely want to include more non-fiction and educational texts. I want scholé! I cannot afford, nor would I have the time to return to school right now, but that doesn’t mean I have to stop learning and growing.

So I have made a goal every month this year to read 1 nonfiction/educational book, 1 fiction book, and 1 spiritual book or bible study. Its only February and I’m already behind, but hey its a goal and I’m still developing the skill. Got to stretch those reading muscles!

This past January and first half of February I read my 3 books. Here’s a peak at my mother culture this past 6 weeks with a quick review.

January Mother Culture

  1. Scholé Choice

Better Together: Strengthen Your Family, Simplify Your Homeschool, and Savor the Subjects That Matter Most by Pam Barnhill

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This book was so good! It was a great resource and encouragement for me regarding morning times. I love her short concise method of explaining each category to consider and the snippets of other families around the nation. I marked many pages, took notes, and commonplaced (can that be a verb?) much of what I read for later perusal. The first portion I decided to implement was more memorization and focusing on the 3 Rs of morning time. Ritual, reading and recitation. Since finishing the book have we done morning time every day? Nope. However our morning/afternoon times have been better because I let go of the Instagram perfect expectation and focused on building our relationships and love of learning. Excited to see how the Lord will use this in our family over the next several years!

2. Spiritual Choice

Hosea: Unfailing Love Changes Everything by Jennifer Rothschild

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This is a lovely study on love. I haven’t read Hosea in many years and it has been a delightful review and focus on God’s love in a different way than most study it.  I don’t have the DVD’s so I’m just doing the bible/book portion, but I’m really enjoying digging into God’s word. I love these LifeWay studies and this is helping me to find connections as I continue my Facebook groups virtual bible study.

3. Fiction  Choice

Caroline: Little House, Revisited by Sarah Miller51PHsD6bC2L._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_

I did not like this book and do not recommend it. Now the storyline is really good and most of the prose is wonderful. However, over all I didn’t like it and struggled to finish. At some point in the book it felt like the author stopped speaking in the same tone and started using her thesaurus just to “beef” up the vocabulary. I am not one who is afraid of big books or big words, but this felt forced and unnatural making it awkward to read. I also did not appreciate the way she described birth. As a mama who has had 5 kids and loves a good birth story, it felt false and unreal. Finally, and the clincher for my non-recommendation the themes were a little to PG-13 for me. It wasn’t super implicit, but I felt dirty reading it and that is no good! So because of this I do not recommend the book.

I would love your fiction suggestions because I am way out of the game. Though I may have to let children/juvenile fiction count as my book each month as I am still working on pre-reading many good books for my oldest. I cannot keep with her desire to read every book on the planet!

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Also, you will probably see many education books in my scholé choice because I’m homeschooling all these kiddos and want to learn more about education process. My views have greatly changed since sitting in those lecture halls at Purdue and studying elementary education.

I am also interested in gardening, herbal remedies, essential oils, nature/science, and history. I am someone who likes a good rotation so who knows what trend that category will follow through out the year.

Do you have any great reads I need to check out for me as a mama? Do you implement scholé in your homeschool or for yourself? What are you studying?

Bible Study, Uncategorized

Hosea 6 & 7

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Hosea 6

We could take this chapter apart and look at all the prophecy and warnings, but there are many wiser people who have come before that already did. Instead I would like to hone in on verse 4.   

“O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away.”

Here we see that the “goodness.” the obedience, the love the Israelites have for God is fleeting. Its like the morning fog or dew on the grass, only present for a short time. One article put it this way, they “give way to every temptation.” 

Now, no Israelite, and none of us is good in and of ourselves. Romans 3:23 says “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” We know we fall short of goodness, and can only approach this lofty goal through Jesus. It is much too easy to fall back in the old habit of sin. However, if we have put our faith and trust in Jesus to save us from sin through his death and resurrection, then we have his indwelling spirit to help us each day. Through this indwelling holy spirit we are able to change from our old ways and begin on the path to be more like Christ. Strong in the face of temptation. Sure and sturdy like the mighty redwoods, not a fleeting like the morning fog.

“But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory

through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57 

He tells us in His Word that with God we can stand tall in the face of temptation.  We can have victory over sin. 

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Even as I attempt to type this up I lost my temper with my children. I failed to stand up to that temptation. I quickly sought forgiveness, but how can I prevent this behavior in the future? Prayer and seeking God. 

Each day we can come before Christ and seek forgiveness, but the goal is to become more like Christ. We don’t want to continually be falling to the same sin, that is not victory. Thats’ conceding the battle but not winning the war. We want to be gaining ground on our way to Christlikeness. not constantly sliding back. 

 In Psalm 3:3 David tells us,

“But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory,

and the lifter up of mine head.”

If we allow, God he will act as a shield for us, He will lift us up, guide and direct us through His Word and His Holy Spirit. He will help us to overcome our sinful nature if we allow, and find everlasting victory.

 If we are to allow Him to help us, we must relinquish our control over the sin. Its not what I can do, not charts or patterns to follow, its trusting God that enacts permanent change. Corrie ten Boom says, “It is not my ability, but my response to God’s ability that counts”  Let us let go of our can do, and let God take the wheel fully trusting in Him to see us through. Then we will not have that fading goodness but the strong goodness that helps us to overcome.

“Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21

It is my prayer for you, and myself, this week to bring forth our sin and lay it at the altar of God. To relinquish control to God, and seek after His ways in response to our struggles. 

Hosea 7

So we are still mulling over the stubborn willful actions of Israel, but did you notice an interesting phrase in verse 11? Go back read that verse.

“Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart;”

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This is yet another illustration for us from Hosea. It shows that Israel is like a bird that simply flutters around confused and meandering to and fro. Meaning they have no sense, no direction no purpose. They go to other nations attempting to flee God and His plans, His purpose in their life.

Has this ever described you? Right now we are in a waiting period, yet again, for our family. The Lord has called Joe to preach but not a specific place or direction. We are waiting upon the Lord to give us guidance and direction that is abundantly clear. We are praying, studying and serving right where we are now while we wait upon the Lord. We are attempting to not be “silly doves” straying after our own desires over God’s will for us. 

Psalms 27:14 – Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

Psalms 130:5 – I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.

However, there was a time before I was saved where this would have described me. Going here and there and trying to find happiness and joy. Trying to find a purpose in all kinds of things but coming up empty. 

Even as a saved Mama its easy to start acting like a “silly dove without heart”. Social media, movies, music, the world tells of all kinds of things we need to do, read, think, be and its easy to get sucked in. Not all the trends are going to be the right way, and trying to chase after them will leave you quite silly. 

You’ve seen the posts, try this diet and you’ll feel amazing and lose weight. Read this book and you’ll find all the answers. Join this group and you’ll find connection and joy. Chase your career with reckless abandon. Trust your heart, follow your heart, etc.  Many of these things are helpful, many of them are something that could help you personally, but many of them will lead you astray if you are not careful. 

Proverbs 16:9 – A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps

We must be firmly planted in the Lord and His word so that we are not distracted to go in other ways. We need to remind ourselves that we must find our purpose in Christ alone. 

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Isaiah 43:7 – [Even] every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.

Matthew 28:19 – Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

If you are saved then you are called to seek and know God while sharing Him with others bringing glory to His name. This is your primary purpose in life. If you are married, then loving, respecting and serving your husband is part of your purpose. If you have children, then they are a blessing and a calling from the Lord. Loving, caring for and raising them up in the way of the Lord is part of your purpose in life. Everything beyond these three things are extra. 

John 15:16 – Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and [that] your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

I know as women we often feel like we have to do it all. Its hard to know exactly what else God wants from us and which path we should choose. So we can find ourselves spinning plates chasing after all kinds of different “purposes,” “callings,” or even just desires. I plead with you to not be as Israelites being silly and fleeing from the normal or the mundane after our own hearts desires. Instead seek after God and his desires for you.

If the Lord has blessed you with more to do beyond these first three callings then do so only with His blessing. Be it career, hobby, ministry etc, if you have a desire including and beyond Christianity, marriage, and family make sure it is His plan for you too. Then as you pursue God’s calling, keep Him as the focus.  I implore you to pray over such decisions and callings. And, if you find yourself faltering in the first three callings then please be willing to pare down your other endeavors. 

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And if like me, you find yourself in a time wanting to do more beyond the first three callings, but unsure of what God’s plan is for you, then calm yourself with prayer and bible study. Seeking after God’s plan for you. Asking for an abundantly clear purpose to serve Him. 

God has a purpose for you, and he does not want you to be a weary reckless disoriented mess. 

Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

How do you keep your focus on your primary callings? What other calling has the Lord granted you?

Bible Study, Uncategorized

Hosea 5

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Hosea 5

Its at this point in the study, I’m thinking why are we doing a study on Hosea? Anyone else? Its a tricky book of prophecy with much about the wickedness and punishment of evil. However, do not become disheartened. Remember this is a love story.

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Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

In this chapter we see God’s severity towards Israel. Verses 1-9 tell us more of what Israel has done wrong. In verse 7 it mentions that they have dealt treacherously with the Lord. My reference led me to Jeremiah 3:20 which says, “surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the Lord.” There again we see the likeness of Gomer and Hosea to Israel and God. But Israel suffered their consequences many years ago, why should I read about it today?

The answer I believe lies in how we often and easily we become a Gomer. All to often we depart from the Lord, our bridegroom, our love, our savior. You might think, well I don’t worship Buddha or Baal, but is there something you are putting before the Lord? Honestly, think about that question. How much time do you spend in prayer? Or reading your bible? Or lifting His name in praise? Is attending church a priority in your home? Anytime we put value in other things before the Lord we are making idols.

Now you might be willing to concede that “sometimes I put social media before my prayer time”, or “I watch that movie, read a fiction book, or go to that event rather than reading my bible daily.” And you’re right these seem minor offenses when compared with adultery or murder. “Treacherously” dealing with the Lord may seem too harsh a term. However, sin is sin. We struggle with this concept and often put in on a scale. Justifying that missing a day of bible reading isn’t murder. You’re right. Missing a day of bible reading isn’t actually a sin and doesn’t come close to murder, but having idols is a sin. If we are choosing to put other things over our relationship with God we have committed idolatry. We need to reevaluate our priorities, because idolatry is a sin and should be taken seriously.

As we continue reading our Hosea chapter 5 we see that they continued to “walk” in the way of wickedness. Because of their unwillingness to turn away from sin and turn towards God they are judged and punished. God says he will be like a moth and a lion in the last few verses. Both tend towards rottenness but in different ways. The moth reference refers to a subtle judgement, but the lion to a blatant judgement that none will doubt what caused the destruction.

The last verse of this chapter reminds me of my “mama-isms.” How many times do I give my kids the instructions of what to do and how exactly to accomplish it and they either ignore it and suffer frustration or continuously ask, “what? where?” etc. In verse 15 God tells them exactly what needs to be done and how! He says, “I will go and return to my place till they acknowledge their offense and seek my face: in there affliction they will seek me early.” This is the point of all of this suffering and punishment. For Israel to acknowledge what they are doing wrong and return to God. Its simple, restoration.

If you are struggling with idolatry of any sort, God simply wants restoration. Meet with God in prayer and acknowledge what you are putting before Him and seek His wisdom to conquer this sin. Idolatry is a tricky sin. Today for Christians we don’t usually follow after false gods or have little statues we worship in our homes. However, its those sneaky things like time, sleep, money, entertainment, family, etc that we put before God. It is good for us to steep ourselves in prayer and daily readings of God’s word to help keep Him ever before us and to keep those sneaky idols at bay.

This love story is about God’s everlasting redemption for the ones he loves. You. God loves you so deeply. If you or I have strayed from God He gives us clear instructions. All we must do is return to him, just as the prodigal son returned to his father. Never forget God is love, so when we talk about His unfailing abiding love it is not just beautiful poetry its truth. God is love, He always has been and always will be. His love is forever, because He is forever.

I implore you to take some time to pray and possibly write down things that are or could possibly be getting in your way of time with God. Then give them over to God. Acknowledge the offense and seek His love!