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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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!

Bible Study, Uncategorized

Hosea 3 & 4

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Back at our Hosea study.  Chapters 1-3 of this book are about Hosea and Gomer, where as 4-14 are more specifically about Israel and their relationship with God. 

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Hosea 3

Chapter 3 is short and sweet and illustrates a restoration.Today instead of dissecting the 5 verses I want to share a story.

Once upon a time there was a young girl. She grew up in a small idyllic rural town, but life was than idyllic. Life in her home was rough, like everyone in town knows “that” house.  Then as a teenager a young man starts to show interest in her. He tells her he loves her and will take her away from this rough life. She marries young and the first few years are wonderful, babies come, life is easy. Easy and complacent. Time passes and she starts to think isn’t there anything better? My husband never has time for me. Are dishes and laundry all there is to life? Then her brother in law comes over, he starts to give her attention. The attention she was missing suddenly was coming. She eventually leaves her husband and marries his brother. Time passes again and she gets saved, she sees the error of her ways but she is in this marriage and will not divorce. Decades go by the family has suffered, but as Christ enters into the family healing comes. Animosity is mostly gone and the family is beginning to heal. You might be wondering what about that first husband? He’s there. Alone. He got saved shortly after the divorce, and has sought forgiveness and has given forgiveness. He waits for his wife. As the decades pass the brother in law eventually dies, and the woman grieves. More time passes and the husband, the first husband, pursues his wife again. Courting her. Seeking her and loving her. They eventually remarry. Is it always happy and hunky-dory? No, there is still hurt, but forgiveness and love have conquered. There are decades of hurt, but forgiveness and restoration rule and love remains. 

 Wow, thats an interesting, encouraging story right? Might make a good soap opera or movie. But its like Gomer and Hosea, you know it “could” happen but doesn’t exactly seem real. It happens to some people not me. That story is a true story, and let me tell you that restoration didn’t happen just because the first husband knew it was right. It didn’t even solve all the hurt. The restoration happened because they allowed God to fill their entire beings and seek forgiveness for the pain, and strive diligently to love one another. That woman was one of the women I saw when I was still lost, and her testimony is part of what helped me to find Christ. I can still remember visiting with her the day after I got saved. I walked into her kitchen and she wrapped me in her arms and welcomed me to God’s family. She was a beacon of someone who lost her way, but found herself once again on the path to Christ and His love. God can change the wicked and restore us even when there is no hope. Sometimes though we have to be like Hosea, and do the hard thing. We have to forgive and choose to love even before the offender repents. Like the husband, who loved and forgave and waited all those years for his bride to return we have to do the hard thing of loving in the hurt. 

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I think the beauty of this story of Hosea and Gomer is found in verses 1-2. In verse 1 God commands Hosea to go “love a woman” knowing full well she has left him. Not only left him but has played the harlot, and possibly even become a prostitute. Can you imagine? A wicked woman. A woman who left her husband and children, went after things of this world and relationships of wickedness. If I were Hosea it would be pretty hard for me to even want to talk to Gomer, but God knows best. God doesn’t say go divorce or seek counseling; He doesn’t say go stone her or put her away. He commands Hosea to go and LOVE her! Not just love her but “according to the love of the Lord toward the children of Israel.”

What is your love story? How did you come to Christ? How did you meet your spouse? Spend sometime praying and meditating on love!

Hosea 4

Woo! That chapter is an assault to t the senses. It is hard to read! When I read this last week it was just after the announcement of that hateful vicious law in NY was signed in to place. Does this not sound like our days? 

Throughout we are astounded with the wickedness of this nation. Couldn’t be said of our nation as well? Verse 6 stuck out to me though. “My people are destroyed for their lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me:  seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” We live in a time when so many hold “knowledge” as a measure of value, a measure of worth. Obtaining a degree and proper experience are the measure of whether you are paid well, acknowledge or allowed to lead. And yet, they have forgotten true wisdom.  They have not only forgotten but have rejected it.

Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”

(Anyone singing that song now?) Oh if we could all just get a hold of this truth.  

There is much to see in this little book and in this chapter, but today the Lord has implored me with the desire to pray. 

Let’s pray for wisdom. Lets pray for wisdom in our own lives as women, mothers, and wives.

Proverbs 4:5 :”Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.”

Proverbs 31:26 “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.”

Let’s pray for wisdom for our husbands as they lead our families and conduct their days at home, work and church.

Proverbs 3:13 “Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.”

Let’s pray for our church and its pastors to have wisdom to seek after the Lord, to teach the fear of the Lord, to guide us in the ways of righteousness. 

Proverbs 14:33 “Wisdom resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding: but that which is in the midst of fools is made known.”

Let us pray for our nation and its leaders. Pray that God would once again be the foundation of our nation, and that His holy spirit would fill our nation through a mighty tide of restoration, salvation and revival across the nation.

Proverbs 11:12 “He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace.”

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Remember today, seek after God and his knowledge through reading His word, praying, and singing praises. 

Proverbs 19:8 “He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good.”

And remember when you are angered and frustrated with the wicked ness of the the world. It is not our place to prove righteousness to those who know it not, but rather to reach them with the Gospel that they might understand.

Proverbs 23:9 “Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.”

Let’s go forth and share the gospel, pray for our sanctification, husbands, families, churches and nations that we might once again embrace the knowledge of the Lord and His love for us.

Today I ask you to spend at least 5 minutes in prayer!

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Bible Study, Uncategorized

Hosea 1&2: Bible Study

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I have wanted to have a ladies bible study for so long. However it just hasn’t been feasible with five kids and husband with a busy schedule. So the Lord prompted me to do a virtual bible study. I already host a moms facebook group for a few ladies from our church and county, so why not post there? I’m making it simple. I will post every even day of the month and they can choose to participate or scroll past! Hosea has 14 chapters and February has 28 days. That’s half a chapter a day! Can’t get much easier than that.

I was inspired by a blog post, that I honestly cannot even find anymore, to read the book of Hosea through out the month of February. I can’t recall the last time I read Hosea so I thought this a great reminder.There are many ways to go about scripture study, but simply reading is the first step! I encourage you to pray before and after reading.

I began by asking the ladies before reading if there is a verse in Hosea that they have memorized or love in particular. And shared mine, not memorized yet, but a beautiful reminder all the same.

Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually. Hosea 12:6

Hosea 1

You have to begin by praying, and then  by reading Hosea chapter 1. It comes right after the book of Daniel and before Joel. It’s not a book that generally spurs a lot of scripture art or common memory verses, at least not for me. Hosea is a prophet of God. According to my reference bible, Hosea uses his marital experiences as a metaphor for Israel and God’s relationship. Just as Hosea searches for his wife, God will not abandon the Israelites. In this first chapter we see Hosea entering his marriage with a not so virtuous woman, Gomer. 

I’m using the Lifeway Hosea bible study to supplement my own, but without the video portions. An I love how Jennifer Rothschild keeps referring to it as PG-13. That is a great way to refer to it because honestly the first time I read through this I was shocked! Especially because that original blog had said they read through it with their kids every February. Woah! I don’t think this particular book is for the ears of my very young children just yet, not in whole at least. However, when you put it into perspective it truly is a beautiful story.gerbera-1250287_1920.jpg

In the first chapter we see Hosea a man of God, a prophet, being asked of God to marry a not so virtuous woman. Okay, a really not good woman. She gets around as some might say. In the first chapter we see God directing this marriage and the subsequent children and the outline of our metaphor or comparison to Israel is made.

Its not a pretty picture. The chapter ends quite bleakly, but remember this is just the beginning. This is just God setting up the story. Unfortunately sin is a part of all our lives and we are quick to point out Gomer’s flaws, and easily identify where Israel went astray. But what does this have to with you?

Do the lyrics, “bind my wandering heart to thee” come to mind? Because we too have that sin stain and even once we are saved we are prone to wander from God and His way. “Prone to leave the one I love.” We may not be adulterers or worship false Gods, but we have other idols. Remember and idol is anything we put before God.

 

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Hosea 2

Did you read Hosea 2 yet?  Go ahead and pray and read Hosea 2. Its definitely interesting. When I read this I was horrified, but as I study it more I began to see the parallels. I saw how Hosea’s marriage is also an illustration of Israel, and likewise parallels  our own lives today.

We see the picture of the loved one (Israel/Gomer) wandering, leaving behind what is good, secure and comfortable to seek out fleshly desires. So easy to put it into nice biblical terms and give the “right” answers. JESUS! As anyone who has taught bible lessons to children know this is the common answer to any question you ask. I have literally asked who swallowed Jonah and had a child answer JESUS. So no He is not the answer to all bible trivia, but He is the answer to all problems and trials. Yes, Israel and Gomer need to turn back to Jesus. Yes He will save them. But lets dig deeper than the basic answer and get to the heart of the matter. Why did they turn away? Could it be prevented?

If you reread verse 5, why did Gomer leave? What did she “prefer” from her other lovers? We see that the things she sought from other lovers her faithful husband was already providing. She was discontent. Ugh. That little evil word that seems to really tug at as women. Discontent is something we all fall victim to much too easily, especially in this social media driven world. We see how Sally has xyz and Molly just fixed up that. All to often instead of being encouraged by these little images we see how our homes, our children, our marriages, our environment are lacking. We think, “well if I had xyz it might be better”. Soon the “ifs” fill our thoughts and we struggle to enjoy what we have be given. 

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Do you read the old testament and think, man what is wrong with these Israelites? How many times does God have to prove himself to them? Is that just me? How easy it is to see how the Israelites are wrong to wander from God! Its right there in black and white, but all to often I do the same. I wander away from what is true, what is beautiful, what is good. I forget in the hustle of this busy world that I am God’s chosen person. He saved me. I say that often, but do I really think on it? God SAVED me! He saved me from an eternity in hell, He saved me from the punishment I deserve, He rescued me from pain and suffering, and He rescued me and then continually blesses me. What?!?! I mean I struggle to forgive my husband for sighing in a disgruntled manner sometimes, and the God who created all this world, breathed life into me physically, and then again spiritually. The one who holds me in His arms protecting me from the fiery pits of the devils lair, also gives greatly too me and freely! And I dare to be discontent? 

More often than I care to admit, I am like Israel or Gomer, seeking after what is not mine and what I do not need in the name of selfishness and pride. Its bad enough when discontent touches our hearts and minds. When we begin thinking negative thoughts we struggle to see God’s love for us and lose sight of what is true, good, pure and beautiful. Prolonging this thought process we begin to act upon it just as Gomer. We then will leave our beautiful good lives and ignore truth and chase after evil disguised as pleasures. Our focus has become misplaced. Making idols out of our desires, trusting our own wisdom, elevating our wants over Gods, or demanding our way despite the Lord or his counsel. 

Have you ever made a bad choice because its what you wanted? Seeking after what you want regardless of anything else? It was pleasurable for a season, but eventually we encounter roadblocks or struggles. This is what God outlines starting in verse 6. God created an hedge, trying to dissuade Gomer/Israel from the wicked way and back on to the narrow road. It reminds me of Christian on his way to the Celestial City in Pilgrim’s Progress. God allows us free will, but if we want to seek Him we must stay on His road. If we stray we will be faced with struggles and trial, it will be difficult, even deadly and we can fall to the Wicked Prince. When we stay on the Way to God it may have difficult hills and scary moments, but God will always be watching us and protecting us. And if we stray, He will send help to direct us back to the path of righteousness.

  If we read on in verses 9-12 we see God’s response to the wicked choices, and following after their own desires which clearly go against God. What did God do? You’re right, he took away their blessings! Why would He do that? Because the God who loves and saves and protects is also the almighty. He does it for their own good. Today my children lost TV privileges. Now TV in and of itself is not evil, they often watch history, science, and Bible programs. It is a blessing and joy for them, but sometimes they lose that because of their actions/responses. Do I love them any less? No, of course not. I have noticed sometimes they forget how to be kind after watching TV. They have put that particular program above others and would rather keep watching than to obey properly or speak sweetly. I have removed it because I want them to learn to respond to one another kindly and obey sweetly. They may earn that blessing back one day (probably tomorrow). But for now they need remember what is truly important. Loving others more than self. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. “This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:38-40)

What is true, pure, righteous and beautiful. I have to think this is what God is doing here to the Israelites. He is removing His blessings that He bestowed upon them, so that they may once more be un-distracted and remember what is true and right. 

Wow, this chapter is rough. The unseemly beginning depicting Gomers ways to God attempting to redirect her poor choices through trials and removal of blessings. It seems so negative and grotesque even.

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But God ends this chapter with a sweet promise of restoration. Check out verses 20-23. God is so good. He can forgive us, and will. He will remain faithful to us and have mercy on us. When we are His chose people, when we are saved, He is our bridegroom and biblical marriage is FOREVER. God is FOREVER! When you are saved, you are HIS forever. So no matter the discontent, or following after our own ways God will not abandon us. “for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). He may redirect us, He may block us from our bad choices, He may take back His blessings but He will ALWAYS be there for us. He ends this description and warning with a blessing of restoration. 

Whew, that was longer than I thought it would be but just wanted to share as I would if we were in person. So what now?

CHALLENGE: 

1.Today I want you to meditate and pray over any thing in your life that you are holding onto or pursuing more than or instead of God. Seek God’s forgiveness and make an action plan to attack this problem. 

2. Below in the comments lets count our blessings and list 3 blessings the Lord has bestowed upon you. Make 1 physical, 1 spiritual, and 1 relational. Bonus, share a fourth blessing of something you desire or that is above and beyond what you ever thought to ask. 

Uncategorized

Looking Forward

Anyone else struggling?

We had a particularly stressful and busy holiday season and January just made me feel as though I was in a rut. I don’t know maybe its that seasonal depression thing. Maybe its just a period of selfishness in wanting to rest my tired and aching body. Perhaps it was just frustration in doing all the things and feeling like it makes no difference. I don’t know, but I do know February needs to be different.

I purposed in my heart and prayed for the Lord’s help in the wee hours of Sunday morning for God to grant me strength in my endeavor to get our home, homeschool, and ministries back on track. I remember praying, “Lord I know by making this declaration and purpose that Satan will attack. Give me strength to fight the battle.”

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And attack Satan did. Sunday we were at yet another new church and hour a way, my in laws were in attendance and we were spending the day with them. First baby refused to nurse…refused! Soaked through 3 layers of clothes and bamboo breast pad. Talk about painful and frustrating. Then at dinner I trusted my in laws to get my girls plates as they know of their food allergies. Halfway though meal I look at packaging of margarine they used in mashed potatoes and toast for my girls, and in big bold letters it says CONTAINS MILK. Seriously?! I have 1 with actual allergy to dairy that can result in bathroom issues (guaranteed), and in severe cases vomiting, lasting up to 2 weeks after ingesting. Two with dairy intolerances. So I steeled myself for long week of bathroom and tummy issues.

That’s frustrating but not defeating. Wait for it. Baby didn’t sleep and then got violently sick in middle of night. Tummy bug or flu. Monday was rough with baby, clingy and sick. So school was cancelled. Tuesday two more wake up and get sick, and the baby is still lethargic and clingy. They get a bit better by bed time. Again, school was cancelled and we barely did our basic housework. Wednesday hits and I am violently ill. I could barely move all day from pain and nausea. My second oldest who had not got sick and is only 6 was a dream. Cleaning things before asked, and helping willingly. It was an impossibly rough day, but God is good and we all survived. God gave me strength when I needed it, and it He gave me sweet kind children when my physical strength failed.

This morning I awoke much better but still severe back pain, joint pain, and migraine. I lay propped on pillows as I type. Taking another day of rest since I become dizzy upon standing. My girls are playing quietly, building forts and watching a movie and I am ok with that. I knew that Satan would attack this week, and it could have been worse. I simply was just not prepared for this type of attack in all the ways, but in other ways I was, only by God’s providence.

God helped me to have the house mostly clean, not “the queen is coming” clean, but clean. Laundry was mostly caught up, as were dishes. There was food for all of us each day. Not everyone was hit at the same time, truly a blessing a large family.

We redeemed what we could from each day, and will plan accordingly for tomorrow. Today we will make sure we put on our armor of God and prepare for the coming days. We will read our Bible, sing our hymns and plan for February.

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Today in my email I received my monthly newsletter from Growing Up Herbal and it was all about dreaming. Including an article called “Envisioning Your Big Picture.” Could that be more timely?

Meagan encourages us to look back and journal or meditate about what has come and to develop a vision for the future season. What do you desire for the upcoming year? She encourages you to choose one area of your life in which to focus first. For me that includes a vision for myself, my homeschool, my home, my ministry. A helpful tool I have found was a form from Shannon at Sweet Blessings back in January that I have been praying and considering over the last month.

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What I love most about Meagan’s little newsletter and the envisioning of the the big picture? That its not a call to make a list of goals and priorities. It could be, but in her illustration it was just a vision or dream, not necessarily all the steps to get there. An image she could cling to and aspire towards. How often do I lay in bed and imagine a multitude of futures? How many are realistic? How often do I actually try to make the way I see myself match the reality of my life?

As I spend the rest of the day resting and healing, I will pray over this topic and see where the Lord calls and how He wishes me to proceed. Praying for clear direction for our family, home, homeschool and ministry opportunities.

Do you have a clear vision of this year for yourself? your family? your homeschool? Share what your vision looks like in the comments!

 

 

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Books for Third Grade Girls

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My oldest is going into the third grade, but is young for that grade level due to an early summer birthday. That being said she takes after her mama and loves to read, and thus is reading at or above 3rd grade level. Her Christian school didn’t use reading levels so we are kind of grasping at straws for a number. Here are the books I think she will enjoy reading this year, but of course I always let her choose her own at the library too!

She has been obsessively reading the Cul-De-Sac Kids Series and the Box Car Children series this past year. However, as she owns nearly all the books in the series and has read each 3 times minimum, I want her to move on to slightly more challenging texts.

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The first section on the list are books, series, and sets that we have read aloud as a family and the girls have all enjoyed immensely. I’m hoping to encourage my oldest to enjoy reading them on her own. The others are favorites of mine from childhood, teachers and suggested by others. I will have to pre-read them again to see if they are acceptable for my children, as my standards have changed as my relationship to Jesus has grown.

 

My Father’s Dragon

Ramona Series

Mouse & Motorcycle Series

Little House on the Prairie

Box Car Children Series

Tale of Despereaux

The BFG

The Chocolate Fever

Charlotte’s Web

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The Penderwick Series

Animal Friends Series

The Hundred Dresses

In Grandmas Attic Series

The Chocolate Touch

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

The Three Cousins Detective Series

Double Trouble Series

Nancy Drew Series

The City of Ember

James and the Giant Peach

Anne of Green Gables

Harriet the Spy

Baseball Ballerina

Freckle Juice

Misty of Chincoteague

The Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

The Princess Test

Sarah, Plain and Tall

Island of the Blue Dolphins

How to Eat Fried Wroms

Mr. Popper’s Penguin

Shiloh

Nancy Drew Series

Hardy Boys Series

 

Her newest obsession is American Girls books, Penderwicks, Imagination Station Series, and the original Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books!

 

What are your favorite books for third graders?

 

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Bundt Pan Roasted Chicken

 

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So I tried my hand at a roasted chicken in a bundt pan. Generally I make it in the slow cooker, but last night I tried it in the oven. I don’t have a traditional roasting pan so I thought roasting traditionally was impossible, but I found this recipe and gave it a try.

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We had to use a few modifications due to our dietary restrictions. Will definitely try again someday and hopefully take some better pictures!

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Due to our dietary restricitions there is no onion, garlic or spicy foods. Normally though we use a great chicken rub of :

  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

However we couldn’t use that this time,

  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • Tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fennel

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Bundt Pan Roasted Chicken

1 roaster chicken, innards removed, skinned & pat dry

4 carrots, peeled and diced

3 celery stalks, diced

4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

2 T olive oil

3 T chicken rub

  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
  2. Dice and prep veggies. Toss in large bowl with 1 T olive oil. Season as you desire. Place in base of bundt pan.
  3. Place foil over center hole of bundt pan.
  4. Remove innards of chicken, skin, and pat dry. Rub with remaining oil and rub inside and out with spice rub.
  5. Place the chicken on the center of the bundt pan, breast side up.
  6. Bake for 1.5-2hrs depending on size of chicken.
  7. Remove from oven, place on serving dish, with veggies and let sit for 10-15 minutes before slicing.

 

Uncategorized

Meal Plan March 5-11

Meal plan saved me last week! I couldn’t recall anything. We got off plan for lunch and breakfast but used what we had and it all worked out!

We are still undergoing the elimination portion of the low FODMAP diet with my oldest, and my two youngest are mildly allergic to egg, dairy, wheat, sesame and peanuts so assume substitutions when not stated.

Mama is awaiting a call from doctor regarding glucose testing, but after that will determine my diet for the week.

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What’s on your menu this week?

 

DIY Mama, Family

DIY Big Family Chore Chart (Home Blessing)

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We have tried so many different kinds of chore chart. Who has heard a mama say that? It’s true, everyone has a different perfect chore chart. In the end it really just depends on what your goal is for the chart!

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The above images among several more we used when the girls were little. It worked really well. I spent hours developing them with free clipart and editing in Apple Pages, and then printed on cardstock. Next I cut them out, laminated them and lined the backs with felt. Then I covered foam board pieces in fleece/felt and hung them in kitchen. Each day I put what chores they needed to do on the felt board and as they completed them they took them off. This was a great system for 2 kids ages 4 and 2. They were color coded and specific, but would be nightmare for me now with 4 kids and another on the way.

We tried several printable chore charts and sticker charts. Also the magnetic versions. They just aren’t conducive for our family, and those magnetic ones are not made with big families in mind.

We are working on adapting a change in vocabulary from chores to home blessing. We have been working on these changing vocabulary and being more positive in our approach to cleaning and taking care of our home. So far so good.

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Here is the chart I have been using for my children. We started just using it with dry erase markers, but trying a more permanent effort. I thought I had to offer a reward for my girls for completing the task, but so far they haven’t asked! They just like having all their boxes checked off. Woo-hoo!

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This worked really well for a few weeks, so now we are updating it a bit. They go through the list on bottom of chart and finish their home blessing zone then they earn a smiley face. So far I don’t have to provide incentive, but if I do in future it will be a dollar store treat or special family activity.

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This is stage 2 of development, so we’ll see how it goes. I simply used some cheap Washi tape to make the grid, and dry erase markers to fill in.  I listed their daily expectations below the chart and our home blessing schedule is printed out on the bottom. Technical and complicated I know. Check back for updates, I have high hopes for this praying it helps!

 

How do you encourage and help your children stay accountable with helping around the house?