Friday, April 29, 2016

Homeschooling week 33, encouragement and snapshots

This mama is sitting in clutter, my desk is surrounded by piles and boxes of books right now. Which is a good thing! Though it drives my need to be organized a bit crazy! Most of the books are for our 2016-2017 school year, they need to be sorted and organized, but this is going to have to wait until we finish this school year. However, a big part of me would just like to dig in and start planning! We are just three weeks from our completion date!! Which is very exciting for us!! I love seeing all that we have accomplished and excited to celebrate!!

This week was a fun learning week! Well really most our weeks are, though there are times when the days are long and challenging, but always worth it! We took a family field trip to Discovery Park to see the body exhibit before it ended and had co-op! This week our special guest at co-op was Droid, the "bite" dog. He is a part of the sheriff department, his job is to hunt down those that run from the police, need I say more! 

I finished reading two books this week and have posted those reviews on my blog, they are books worth checking out The Attributes of God by A.W. Tozer and None Like HIM by Jen Wilkin. One of those books I have a give-away to share with one reader. I would recommend either of these and I am looking forward to rereading them again in the future, enjoyable and very thought provoking reads. Also read some great articles this week and some encouraging posts that you may be interested in checking out. Have a blessed weekend! 
Love this quote I came across: What I have found of God in Jesus Christ is so wonderful, I am eager for others to know it too—and to know him. —C.H. Spurgeon

Worth sharing:

Your task is to say, “Look what God has done! Look what God!”

Right this very minute there are some things you and I must cling and hold to as if our lives depended on it:

What if instead of listening to the inner critic who never tires of being against us, we listened to our 

Great points in this article on our children and learning…. 

Stripping back to the bare bones creates space.

Snapshots of our week:
My littler reader, she might be a mini me!
Hard working family, preparing our garden!
My hub is awesome, he made the girls a chicken tractor to go safely around the yard in.
Capturing a beautiful day! Thank you GOD!
The last of the curricula has arrived!
The current state of my office, curricula, books everywhere! Help!

Our guest speaker at co-op this week was Droid the police dog.
Droid in action, doing his job!
Finally we saw the train that runs through our town after living here a little over 6 months! Kids loved it!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Review with give-away~None Like HIM

I just finished reading a beautiful book wrote by Jen Wilkin titled None Like Him ~ 10 Ways God Is Different From Us. The timing of this book was perfect since I recently finished reading The Attributes of God by A.W. Tozer, which Wilkin shares some quotes by Tozer in her book. The book has the similar theme, None Like Him, relates to many of the issues we as Christians are facing today with how rapidly the world is changing, social media, morals, worship and the Church. This book is wrote for women to read, as she starts out on how to become God-Fearing Woman. It seems much of the culture today doesn't seek out true wisdom anymore, and where does wisdom come from, God. He is the start of all wisdom. As she states, "when we fear God rightly, we recognize Him for who He truly is: a God of no limits, and therefore, utterly unlike anyone or anything we know. This is the start of becoming wise." This book digs deep in how we are to regard one another and have been given rights and responsibilities to do so. How this world treats people and things as idols of worship or consumable, instead of keeping our focus on God. We being created in God's image, possess a right to life and to protect it. We as humans have no right to take life, God is the origin and giver of life. I so agree. It hurts my heart to see innocent babies killed, human trafficking, violence and abuse. All because of the fall that took place in the Garden in Genesis. She writes, "rather than seeing our wold and our fellow man as entrusted to us for our care, we see them instead as objects of worship." Thankfully God is in the business of restoration, offering grace and mercy through Jesus!
Another section of this book talks about how divided our affections have become with us trying to be in more places then one with the use of technology. There truly is no substitute for one to one human interaction. Only God is omnipresent, and we many times forget that. "God sees. God is present. Nothing is hidden. And this is cause not just for vigilance but for assurance, the most blessed assurance the human heart can know." I love how she put that.
She shared some research from psychologist about our brains and information overload, it was really eye opening. I know for one I can sometimes take into too much and yes it does cause issues for me. She pointed out that it can also kill empathy. We must be good stewards and let God help us with boundaries. We must let God be the filter through which we learn to choose wisely and what is good for our souls. Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.~Philippians 4:8 
This book reminded me to keep looking up, being in aw of God and look for the wonder through Him.
FlyBy has offered to provide one free give-away of this book to one of my readers. To enter, be sure to comment by Sunday, May 1, 2016.

Thanks to FlyBy for offering this great book to review! "Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Review ~ The Attributes of God

Thanks to Moody Publishers for sending me another great book wrote by A.W. Tozer, titled The Attributes of GOD~Volume 2 Deeper Into the Father's Heart to review. The book starts out with an introduction where Tozer shares why you should study the attributes of God.
1. Because God is the cause behind all things and the only ONE who can give meaning to our existence. 2. Another reason to study, is for our own spiritual protection. 3. The last reason Tozer gives is to develop faith and trust in HIM. These words from Tozer, sum it up perfectly:
"Christianity at any given time is strong or weak depending upon her concept of God. An I insist upon this and I have said it many times, that the basic trouble with the Church today is her unworthy conception of god." 
The book cover tens attributes of God through out the ten chapters, along with a summary and study guide that was put together by David Fessenden. Which will help you study deeper and would be useful to study in a group with.
I like A.W. Tozer writing and the way he explains things through his words, scripture and relating it to the world around us. I believe this book should be read by everyone, it will help to open up your eyes to just how awesome God is and help you to know God better. Though we can never know everything about HIM, because of who God is, but once you start to understand and know God it will take your faith deeper, it will change your thoughts, and fill you with so much peace and joy, which is hard to explain in words, it is something that a person needs to take a hold of for themselves to develop a relationship with God.
For the first time, I really grasped the trinity in how Tozer explained God's self-existence. The book helped me to understand more of how powerful, unchanging and faithful God is, how He has always been before all things, is everywhere, and God's sovereignty and free will. I highly recommend this book to all, there is a volume one that you also don't want to miss.

From the publishers:
"What is God like?"
For A. W. Tozer, there is no question more important. In fact, Tozer's desire to know God and His fullness consumed his entire life and ministry.
Originally preached as sermons to the Avenue Road congregation in Toronto, this follow-up to The Attributes of God Volume 1 examines ten more attributes of God. It also includes a study guide for an in-depth look at each attribute:
  • Self-Existent
  • Transcendent
  • Eternal
  • Omnipotent
  • Immutable
  • Omniscient
  • Wise
  • Sovereign
  • Faithful
  • Loving
Steeped in Scripture and filled with the Spirit, Tozer preached with striking clarity and power. The sense of his sermons comes through on every page, bringing the Word of God to bear upon you.

To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I want to thank to Moody Publishers.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Homeschooling, why I need JESUS, encouragement, snapshots, and new hobby~making prayer beads

Hebrews 6:19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul...

Today we are finishing up week 32 of our school year. That means in four weeks, we will have completed two years of homeschooling! A couple things I have learned these last two years of homeschooling, is the importance of rest (in order to pour out, we have to pour into ourselves too) and how God wants to be included in ALL things we do (Jesus did say the greatest commandment is " Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind."). I have had to learn short quick prayers (Lord help me with this, Lord protect us on the drive today, thank you Lord...), sometimes many silent prayers throughout my day (Why Lord, Keep my mouth shut please Lord, Remind me Lord...). When I stay in contact with HIM, my day is at more peace! So many times, we don't include God in our lives, we compartmentalize HIM and don't include HIM. Sometimes the Lord only gets included when we are going through a difficult situation and we don't include HIM in the good times. Sometimes we only think of HIM once a week when we attend church. That isn't what real faith is. Real faith is having a relationship with the LORD in ALL things, our everyday living, schooling, eating, work, with others, driving, shopping, ministry, etc...and just sitting at rest with HIM, which is something I am getting better at. This mama needs the Lord to strengthen her on those days she is tired and weary, to give her peace when the world seems to be living at odds, to calm her when disobedience is happening, when learning is hard, unexpected bills happen, illnesses, for forgiveness, and when enjoying the blessings and beauty that God places around me.  AND when I forget, I have HIS grace! Thank you JESUS!

This week I had to really learn to rest, because of having a mole removed off the bottom of my foot (which I shared more last week on my blog). I started back crafting with beads, something thing I did years ago that I enjoyed, but a season with little one's and moving around a lot, I stopped doing it. Now I am in a season where I have a little time to get back to some me time and need to relax, I just sometimes have a hard time when I see things that should be done. For me beading is relaxing, it quiets the mind, it uses the creativity part of my brain which I need help with because I am not a very crafty/creative person, and it is good for my soul. I am not sure what I will do with all the prayer beads I am making, maybe gifts, thought about making an Etsy store with them, and/or maybe I will just sell a few, may need to, beads are not all that cheap. For now I am enjoy doing it and Abigail wants to learn too, and I love that! I have a friend that asked if I show her, but of course. I am all for helping others! So now I have another hobby besides reading, and that is probably a good thing!

Encouraging reads of the week: 

We all have to take responsibility for replenishing our souls, and God has given beauty as a watering can to hydrate the dry and shriveled parts of our lives. Just as God incarnated Himself into the world in the person of Christ, He wants to incarnate His life into our lives every day. Beauty is one of His primary means of doing that.

The very things I cannot forget are the very things God will not remember
When Christ is great, our fears are not

I haven’t always been good at this, but I am learning how important it is…Rest is a gift from the hand of our Father. 

The culture we live in has made academics the “main thing,” but I beg to differ. Academics pale in comparison to teaching our children what it means to be men and women who are sold out for Jesus Christ, ready to give an answer for the Hope that lies within them. Education is simply the opportunity to shape the hearts and minds of our children. There can be no greater goal than to teach our children to follow hard after Christ.

Snapshots of our week:

My little golfers ready for practice!
Took this pic on one of our walks last week.
Another box of curricula, this is from Sonlight. Waiting on one more box to arrive!
Collecting frogs, oh my!!
Crafting with beads, prayer beads.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Weekly encouragement, PSA, and snapshots!

Yes, thank you God for beauty you have placed everywhere!
Today we are finishing up week 31 of school at Raising Arrows!!!! That means five more weeks of school and will be done for this school year!! Then will take a month or so break. This mama is tired again this week, too much time in the car, places to be, and little sleep has me worn out. I am a person who needs down-time and some sleep too helps. Yesterday we had co-op and I was so glad, we have a fun group! I was able to have a little mama adult time! We had a special program and learned about worms, the kids have their own worm farm now added to our family! Abigail even named them!

I received two of my curricula orders this week so far and am awaiting on one more order to arrive, should be here today or tomorrow!! However, after looking at Rod & Staff English and Spelling. I decided it wasn't for us. I love their preschool and extra curricular items, but this was too much like a text book for me (and I should have known that) and the spelling wasn't advanced enough for where Abigail is at right now. Thankful these companies take returns! So back to the "drawing board", no not really, I have another curriculum that was on the top of my list that I recently looked into and I think it will be what we are looking for. Can't wait to receive it and see it. It seems to have that Charlotte Mason/Classical style I like.

Sharing two personal stories that happened to me this week, and trust me I am not much of a sharer, I rather share encouraging posts, but really it is more of a PSA! Tuesday I had my six month dermatology check up, and found I have two more suspicious moles that need to be removed, one happens to be on the bottom of my foot, I have a feeling that might hurt a bit! I have had 7 removed in the last two years with five of those coming back precancerous. So here is the important part people, wear sunscreen, don't use tanning beds, be wise with what you put on your skin, because I believe, had I been wise 20 years ago, I wouldn't be going through this, instead I was worried about having a nice tan as I thought it looked good. Now I don't care, I will be the palest person, because that is how God created me, He made us each beautiful and unique (Psalm 139:13-15)!
Second thing, the other night I had a nightmare, one that seemed real! I almost had an anxiety attack, but thankful after turning the light on (because light overcomes darkness John 1:5), some deep breaths and reading some scripture I was able to calm myself down. The old me, before I had a relationship with Jesus would have freaked out, worried, and ended up with an anxiety attack. I think the last one I had was about ten years ago. So I am so thankful for God's Word, His promises and Jesus for saving me! Now I am still a far way from always going in the right direction, but God is in the business of transformation and being patient with me, and will be for you too, just takes a little faith. Anyone that is feeling lost, depressed or loosing their joy, take some time and fill your soul. Look for HIM and get to know HIM. God loves you and Jesus came for ALL (John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.)

Encouraging reads of the week: 
His joy is my strength, not mine.  His.  I don't have to find the joy first.  He already has it, and I just have to place my trust in Him daily...sometimes numerous times a day, and His joy will be my strength.

Anything else is cheap grace. My Lord’s death was anything but cheap.

I need regular moments in my life like that morning walk, times of refreshment and restoration that refill the spiritual well in my heart, which is too often left dry by the spirit-draining hustle and bustle of contemporary life. If I don’t take care to keep it filled, I soon find I have no spiritual refreshment to give to those whom God has put into my life, especially my always-thirsty children. When I let my well run dry, I am no longer able to be a source of refreshing water to them, or to others in my life. To say it more simply, I cannot keep giving out without taking in.

Christ is a real, true, living friend. He is the Christian’s closest friend. But like any friendship, it is a friendship that must be maintained by mutual knowing. So how do we come to know Christ and learn to trust him more and more over time? In other words, how does Christ become a more and more real friend in our lives?

Snapshots of our week:

Read aloud time! Mr. Popper's Penguins!
Some lite reading for me!
Little fishing girl!
My hubby caught and made me lunch one day! Blessed wife!!
And it was yum, the kids helped too!
Chalk artists!
Curriculum box number 1 arrived! These are coloring books to use during reading time or down-time and a reading book for the oldest, from Rod and Staff
Box 2: Latin, Horizon math, A Reason for Handwriting, and Explode the Code from Rainbow Resources
Our family homeschool planner, third year using A Simple Plan, I am loving the colors this year!
Worm fun! She wasn't sure at first, but now they are a part of our family and have names!
Little man practicing karate at co-op.
Some fun at the local library!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Pursuit of God review...

Wow, this book The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer is beyond good. Hard to put into words. This is the first book I have read of Tozer's, though I have heard of him prior to receiving this book to review from Moody. I have seen quotes of his floating around on the internet also, which always spoke to me. I read this book quickly, it was hard to stop reading. I have more highlights in this book then probably any book I have read, besides my Bible. What can I say about this book? Well I would highly recommend it as a read for anyone wanting to know God more, new in faith, searching, or have been saved for a long time. There is something in this book that will speak to you. Even though this book was published in 1948 it is still very relevant to today. Tozer's writing is deep, from experience, but with humility and down-to-earth understanding. His prayers at the end of each chapter are deep and very moving, I was saying Amen with him!

Here are some of my favorite sections/highlights from the book:
"The art of worship has been lost entirely, and in its place has come that strange foreign thing called the "program"." ~I find this true amongst many churches and in this generation especially. All we need are open hearts and ears to hear His truth and we needs Pastors willing to speak truth. For which I am thankful to be in a church that is like this.

He writes about following hard after God.. "The impulse to pursue God originates with God, but the outworking of that impulse is our following hard after Him; and all the time we are pursuing Him we are already in His hand: Thy right hand has upheld me."

Removing the Veil... "Let us beware of tinkering with our inner life in the hope of rending the veil ourselves. God must do everything for us. Our part is to yield and trust. We must confess, forsake, repudiate the self-life, and then reckon it crucified. But we must be careful to distinguish lazy acceptance form the real work of God. We must insist upon the work being done. We dare not rest content with a neat doctrine of self-crucifixion." I confess I can be lazy at times!
"Insist that the work being done in very truth and it will be done. The cross is rough, and it is deadly, but it is effective. It does not keep its victim hanging there forever. There comes a moment when its work is finished and the suffering victim dies. After that is resurrection glory and power, and the pain is forgotten for the joy that the veil is taken away and we have entered in actual, spiritual experience the presence of the living God." ~To which I  say hallelujah! We will have trails on this earth, but glory is coming to all believers in eternity!

Tozer shared this from a sermon by Faber about His love for Christ, these words and his heart, beautiful..."Wherever we turn in the church of God, there is Jesus. He is the beginning, middle, and end of everything to us...There is nothing good, nothing holy, nothing beautiful, nothing joyous which HE is not to His servants. No one need be poor, because if he chooses, he can have Jesus for his own property and possession. No one need be downcast, for Jesus is the joy of heaven, and it is HIS joy to enter into sorrowful hearts. We can exaggerate about many things; but we can never exaggerate our obligation to Jesus, or the compassionate abundance of the love of Jesus to us. All our lives long we might talk of Jesus, and yet we should never come to an end of the sweet things that might be said of HIM. Eternity will not be long enough to learn all He is or, to worship Him for all He has done, but then, that matters not; for we shall be always with HIM, and we desire nothing more."

Apprehending God..."We must avoid the common fault of pushing the "other world/spiritual world" into the future. It is not future, but present, it parallels our familiar physical world, and the doors between the two worlds are open....The soul has eyes with which to see and ears with which to hear. Feeble they may be from long disuse, but by the life-giving touch of Christ alive now and capable of the sharpest sight and most sensitive hearing." `Our focus is to be upon God and when it is, our spirits take shape and will bring inward revelation.

The Universal Presence... "We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts." "The will of God is the same for all. He has no favorites within His household. All He has ever done for any of His children He will do for all of His children. The difference lies not with God but with us." ~Oh how HE loves us, HE has made the way easy to enter, it is for all that accept Jesus
"Any man who by repentance and a sincere return to God will break himself out of the mold in which he has been held, and will go to the Bible itself for his spiritual standards, will be delighted with what he finds there."~ Oh how we need to repent and be sincere, God is here!
"We have within us the ability to know Him if we will but respond to His overtures, what is called pursuing God! We will know Him in increasing degree as our receptivity becomes more perfect by faith and love and practise." ~I find faith is not a quick fix, it is a journey. This world we live in wants quick and easy.

The Speaking Voice..."The order and life of the world depend upon that voice, but men are mostly too busy or too stubborn to give attention." "It is important that we get still to wait on God. And it is best that we get alone, preferably with our Bible outspread before us." ~I admit I struggle with distractions, time, and to do's but when we let Him lead we will live in peace. So I have to remind myself this daily, so I don't lose hearing from Him.

The Gaze of the soul... " To run life's race with our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. From all this we learn that faith is not a once-done act, but a continuous gaze of the heart at the tribune God." "Since believing is looking, it can be done without special equipment or religious paraphernalia." "Since believing is looking, it can be done any time. No season is superior to another season for this sweetest of all acts. God never made salvation dependent upon new moons or holy days or Sabbaths. A man is not nearer to Christ on Easter Sunday than He is, say on Saturday, August 3..." ~ And this does happen today, don't ever quench the spirit from moving in your life.

Meekness and rest... "Come unto me,..and I will give you rest. The rest He offers is the rest of meekness, the blessed relief which comes when we accept ourselves for what we are and cease to pretend. It will take some courage at first, but the needed grace will come as we learn that we are sharing this new and easy yoke with the strong Son of God Himself. He calls it my yoke, and HE walks at one end while we walk at the other." ~This is not being weak but be brave and letting go of the need to do it on our own.

The Sacrament of Living..."Let every man abide in the calling wherein he is called, and his work will be as sacred as the work of the ministry. It is not what a man does that determine whether his work is sacred or secular; it is why he does it. The motive is everything."

I could share more, I tried to share a little from most of the chapters from the book, and this is already getting long. So hopefully this will give you enough to want to read this book yourself and may it inspire you to seek out God.

To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I want to thank to Moody Publishers.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Spring days, birthday celebrating and school time

This mama has been tired. It is hard getting back into the swing of routine when you take a week off from regular school routine. Didn't help that first part of the week we celebrated a very special little boys birthday, so it is definitely worth it!! He had a great birthday, got his chocolate cake and bike he wanted! The hubs was home, so we got to have family time too!! This week we finished, just barely week 30 of school, whoohoo!!! The kids had golf, swim and piano lessons this week too! We keep busy around these parts, but are sure to include lots of play time outside, so needed on these beautiful spring days! Plus so much can be learned in just play time!

I made a big accomplish this week and it feels so good, all curriculum has been ordered for our next school year. You don't know what a big relief that is! I ordered from three different places online and also picked up some free/discounted books here and there. I spent a few weeks reading, researching, and praying for what we need to do in our homeschool. This year we will continue to school through the summer, but on a very much lighter load, just some math, writing, and will do nature study. Nature study though I don't consider a curriculum but part of life, as it should be. My hubs and kids love getting out in woods, while I prefer a trail, but I do love being outdoors when I get the opportunity, need to do it more often. When I spend time in nature, walking or looking at sky, plants, birds, animals, just reminds me of how awesome God is and how much HE  blesses us. It reminds me what is important and to be still. The being still part is not always easy for me, but thankful I don't have to do it alone. None of us, we just need to give it to God and let Him do the transforming in our lives. Obedience to Him is freeing, but the giving up at first not always, but once we do there is so much peace!

Cover, I chose!
Oh and a while ago I said I struggled with keeping up with photo albums. I was almost two years behind, well I am caught up. I mentioned I was going to try a different approach, Chatbooks (use this code to get your first one free T2LVETJJ ). Well I received my first one and I love it! So easy, it takes all the photos I upload on Instagram in order with the captions. I have the option before ordering to delete, rearrange, and/or add any photos. It took me literally less then 5 minutes to order. Talk about time saver!!! Here is what it looks like:
Encouraging read this week I came across: 
It’s OK if your kids can’t answer all the questions on Jeopardy. Granted, that would be impressive, but we shouldn’t be about the business of impressing. You’re doing more than you think. The endless worksheets aren’t going to make a big difference in your child’s ultimate success. Even the test scores can be a decoy from true learning. Keep it simple and homeschool on. 

Even if you aren’t sure you’re making a difference, I want to tell you right now: What you do matters tremendously. Be encouraged! You are planting deep and meaningful things into the hearts of your children for a reward that is eternal. It is a work approved for God’s kingdom.
“Should” is My Four-Letter Word
For all homeschooling families, assessments that bless, who do you want to hear well done from?
We find balance by giving attention to the right things at the right times.
“They do if we see them from an eternal perspective. What makes no sense in this life will make perfect sense in the next. I have proof: you in the womb.”

Pics of the week:
Yum, chocolate swirl cake!
Blowing out candle, FIVE!
Golf practice!
After storm pic by my hubby with none other than Zeke! Reminder of God's promises!
Love listening to her practice piano, Oh How I Love JESUS!
Working hard on handwriting!
Snack time and read aloud time!!