The Calling

Writing prompt ~ It’s after midnight. You find yourself in an eerie yet, magical swamp. You hear whispering and see flashes of light…what happens?

Long after the sun goes down I spend my time wandering, searching, looking for what always alludes me.  As I wander the voices keep coming, soft and gentle, luring me further in to the depths of the swamp.  What do they want with me and why do they keep calling?  Why do I keep following?

I can hear them now, their sound so gentle it almost lures me into believing I am so safe and so loved that nothing else matters.  Warmth flows over me, filling me with such joy I can’t believe there is anything sinister in their calling.  It is almost as if sweet romance is in the air, calling and beckoning me to take a leap of faith and just fall all in… all into the peace and serenity and soft comfort of their words.

Their words are not all that leads me deeper into the forest, but the words give light!  It is a pure light, one can not fully explain but one that can only be felt.  It is a light that gives warmth and satisfaction every time you glimpse it.  It is a light that gives hope in the midst of the darkness.  It is a light that makes you feel safe and whole and free, one that never leaves you alone or forsakes you.

As I go deeper, wandering into the forest I am greeted nightly by this beautiful light and melodic voice and each night the outcome is the same. I find myself lying softly in a bed of moss staring eagerly into the sky waiting for them, knowing they are there because they beckoned me there this night, just like every other night.  I close my eyes and they surround me filling me with love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control… I have felt them before, and they are a welcome guest.

My spirit leaps with excitement and expectation, because they are there… bringing with them all I need and all I will ever want.  Without them I am nothing and never will be. Each night I go with expectation, and each night I am embarrassed because my expectation is never high enough to match the the moments that happen deep in the darkness of those swamp.  My expectations are always so small compared to the gift lavished upon me.

Long after the sun goes down… the world quiets and only then am I free to go wandering, searching and looking for my true desires…  only then do I find them.

(What am I talking about?? Who are “them”???)   🙂

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Homeschool Freedom – Beware of Shiny Things!

How many times have I tried to veer from the course that has been laid ahead of me?  Homeschooling is that course and sometimes I feel like there are a million different avenues that sit before me that can “help” me homeschool my child.  There is always a new book, new method, new computer program, new teaching philosophy, a new something.

charis horse studyOne can get caught up in all the bright shiny new things that continually come along and before you know it you feel terrible because you didn’t buy this or that and you feel completely confused.  You feel you lost out because you didn’t see that new method before you started the one you have.  Before long you “think” you  have done it all wrong and your child is now going to suffer because that new curriculum you purchased last year to help her through her learning isn’t good enough. It isn’t as awesome as the new one that you are looking at right now that just popped up in your email for only $399.00!

It is so easy for us as parents to see all the bells and whistles of the new and improved things out there and think they are better than what we have, and you know what??? Who cares!!!!  Our children learned quite well for thousands of years without iPads, iphones and brightly colored curriculum.  Our kids thrived and learned while lying on a blanket outside in the grass drawing what they saw.  We need to remember that we found good things in what we purchased for our kids in the first place and those things will do their job and everyone will be happy.  We need not stress over all the shiny new stuff that is thrown at us each and every day.

We need to teach our kids to stay the course, not because we said so, but because we did so ourselves.  Our kids watch everything we do and repeat it.  Let’s teach them to repeat good things!  Our kids will thrive and flourish with what we have to offer and if we don’t offer them the new and improved method, it is not going to rob them one bit.  Our kids are learners without our help.  And if we stop putting so much emphasis on a particular method and instead make the journey interesting, informative and even fun (you know, the process of learning)… they will see that when they stay with something, no matter what that something is… there is value and they will go far.

A great way to connect with your kids!

In today’s day and age it is very easy to lose connection with our kids.  Alarmingly, it happening at younger and younger ages.  God has put this on my heart and I have thought about it a lot.  I have a 8 year old daughter and the thought that we may someday be separated by silence is heart wrenching and quite frankly it scares me.

So, with that thought and much prayer I set out to come up with a way to keep us connected in some small way.  Something that would strengthen the bond we already have and I think it is a fun one at that.  Can you see me smiling?!

Journaling!  Now, to some this may originally sound boring.  I know some people do not like to journal for many different reasons but hear me out.  This is not just any journal it is something that will be fun for both you and your kids.  It will also give your kids a way to say the things they would never say out loud!

If you do this set out to make something special.  You could choose to go and buy a journal.  If you did make it fun by making it a date and pick something out together that really speaks to the heart of your child.  My daughter is super crafty and creative.  UNLIKE ME!  I am not.  So I decided that I would create her journal even though it would be a challenge for me.  I made it for a couple reasons.  First I needed cheep, we are on a budget like many families and sometimes you have to do with what you have.   A novel concept anymore I know but a good one none-the-less.  And second because I knew it would mean a lot to her and that is what mattered most.

mommy charis 6

So here is what I did, first I took a small notebook I had and since I didn’t want that white paper on the front that looks so boring I decided to add a cardboard front too it using rubber cement.  I forgot how stinky that stuff was!

After bonding the cover over the original I decided to put a name on it so Muppin would know what it was to be used for.  It was a journal for us so I put our names on it.  She helped me decide where the flowers and hearts went and decided when we were done drawing.  She had an incredible time doing this but still didn’t know what it was going to be used for, it was a surprise!

Before I put the cover on and before she knew what I was up to I wrote a note inside the journal.  The note started out, “My dearest Muppin! I love you so much…” and went on to explain what this journal was for and why I was doing it and then finally how to use it (we will get to that in a moment).

I can’t explain to you the excitement in my daughters eyes when she read the words on those pages.  You could see that she was feeling really loved and cherished.  She was feeling like she was super important and that she was going to be heard and really listened to.  Now she is only  8 but being heard and understood is still important to her.

My heart soared with excitement knowing that she was going to be sharing with me and I with her all the things that are important too us.  We were on our way to strengthening our bond we already have, making it unbreakable.

As for the practical use of the journal here is how you use it.  You give it to your child and after you read to them, do their devotionals, cuddle or talk… you know, all those bedtime things we do together?!!  When those are done and you have kissed them good night it is their time to write.  See, a lot has happened in their little day and this helps them get it off their chest.  They can write about what happened with friends, what happened with you, the family or the dog.  They can also write about what has upset them, made them happy or things that confuse them.  They can ask questions about God, boys, friends, or your family relationships.

Most importantly when there is something that is too difficult to say out loud, they can write it here and not fear what will happen.  It gives them a sense of release and the sense of an open door.  They know they will be listened too.  Now when they go to sleep they put it on their side table, dresser or book shelf and go off to slumber land.  The next morning it is up to you to go get it, take it to a private place and read it.

The most important thing you will need to remember I believe was something the Holy Spirit really wanted me to convey and it is this… never act shocked, shaken, angry or freaked out over what you read!!!  I repeat, remain calm no matter what!  Or you have lost them.  This must always be and remain a safe place remember?!

Once you are done reading what they have written you then write back to them, answering all their questions, giving them advice kindly, and most of all telling them how much you love them no matter what they let you know.

I have told my daughter that I might come talk to her about some things once in a while, but that it will always be out of love.  And if it doesn’t sound like I am being loving she has my permission to tell me so.

Her heart was so filled with excitement.  She is ready to communicate and to connect.  This will be a lot of fluff for a while I am sure.  She is only 8 you know.   But as she gets older, and this tradition continues… How much more valuable will this be?

I would love to see your thoughts on this… and pictures of yours.  Share your blog links and pictures and how things are working out for you.  Most of all… may your relationships with your kids always be blessed!

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School With a View!

school with a viewSchool has gone much smoother since we moved Muppin’s desk in front of the window!  She now has school with a view!  Instead of dark rooms lit with light-bulbs (it is dark in the Pacific Northwest when it is the rainy season) she now gets natural light and she gets to stare out at our beautiful yard and watch birds, our dog and the weather!  She has several acres of country to look at and even though there is a lot to see, she is more eager to do her work and will do it for a longer period.  She adores seeing God’s beauty while she learns.

Who knew all one needed to do was give a child beauty to help them learn!?  Oh, I guess Charlotte Mason and John Holt might have.. hehe…

If your kids are having trouble learning or staying focused try something like it yourself.  Her desk may now be in the kitchen which is not the most attractive place for it, but most definitely the best place.

Keeping His Way Pure

Keeping His Way PureKeeping our kid’s way pure is difficult at best.  We are in a spiritual battle.  “Many of us live each day as if we are in natural circumstances, when in reality – the trying circumstance that appears in the natural is a war being waged in the supernatural.” (Tammy Wollner)  The fight for us and our children and our purity is supernatural.

I loved reading this book and Tammy makes it clear that, “We as Christians need to wake up each morning, put on the armor of God mentally and spiritually, and be ready to do battle with Satan at any point in our day. Most of all, we need to train our children to practice this.” (Tammy Wollner) I could not agree more.  We have a difficult enough time doing the right thing without a war raging around us.  Add to our own weaknesses and disillusioned desires, plus the desires of the enemy, and we can never go without our armor.  His Word needs to be buried deep within our hearts so we have the ammunition needed to fight the sworn enemy of our soul.

Keeping His Way Pure addresses how this can be done with a great four step plan.  Psalm 119:9 says, “How can a young person stay on the path of purity?  By living according to your word.”  That is where Tammy’s four steps come in.  The steps are easily laid out and give great pictures through experiences of what each step would look like.  I also like that these things are not just her thoughts on what needs to be done, but that scripture is pulled in many times to show that it is God’s word not hers that shows us how to live a pure life.

Along with the four steps Tammy offers sections for when the steps are not working and spiritual warfare.   We all know that even if we do all the things that are right by God’s standards, things can still go wrong.  Our kids have a mind of their own and a will of their own.  And this book doesn’t forget about that and leave you hanging if the four steps don’t work.

What I like most is that while this is written specifically for son’s, it can be used for our daughters and for our own lives.  Everyone is called to live a pure life and all of the things taught in this book are excellent things to do for ourselves as well as our daughters and sons.

This book was a great blessing and wonderful surprise.  I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to make sure their children grow in the Lord and live a life of purity in all things.

I was asked to do this review and though I was given this book I was not paid anything for my review.  This review is truthful and honest and given freely.  Thank you so much for the opportunity grow and learn while reading this book.  It was a pure blessing, God Bless.

Gratitude

https://i1.wp.com/graceunveiled.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/fwf-gratitude.jpgMany things have happened in my life that would not necessarily warrant the word Gratitude.  I have spent many days working, healing, praying and changing from the woman I once was to the woman I now am, yet not yet the woman I hope to be.  As with anyone I have seen my fair share of trials, puzzles and literal nightmares.

I have also seen joy, relief, happiness, freedom, love, miracles and success.

As Thanksgiving slowly moves into the background and Christmas pounces forward I do not want to forget what it is I have to be thankful for, I want to continue with a heart of Gratitude.

I will have a heart of Gratitude because I am married to an amazing man who loves me!

I will have a heart of Gratitude because my husband is my best friend!

I will have a heart of Gratitude because I am a mother to the most precious little girl in the world!

I will have a heart of Gratitude because I am allowed to homeschool my daughter and see how she flourishes because of it, not in spite of it!

I will have a heart of Gratitude because I have never had to sleep on the streets or eat from garbage cans!

I will have a heart of Gratitude because I have never had to lay in bed suffering from a cancer that cannot be cured!

I will have a heart of Gratitude because I have never had to suffer a loss so deep that I couldn’t not recover from!

I will have a heart of Gratitude because I have friends and a church who truly cares!

I will have a heart of Gratitude because I live in a country where I am free to worship the God of my choice without the penalty of death!

I will have a heart of Gratitude because the Son of God came down to earth and died for my sins giving me a way to still dwell with the Father for all of eternity!

Without Gratitude…  there would be no life…  all would be lost…  It is because of Gratitude I am free no matter what trials, puzzles or nightmares come my way.

“Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe…”  Hebrews 12:28