Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Renewed Vision & Lessons Learned

Each January, I always feel compelled to assess our home school and begin to dream up what we will do next year. This year is no exception and so I have found myself increasingly restless and desirous of some alone-time to plan and process. Hence, I am up at 1:00 a.m. writing down thoughts and reading over websites that offer helps to the idealistic home school mother.
There are so many things I want to see take place in our home school, yet each year we begin with a "bang" and slowly fade into the routine of "checking off the list". Then in January, I recognize this tiresome tradition and make plans to change and enhance. I guess that is the journey for many...a cycle of dream, implement, slide into "easy", old ways, awake to the drifting, and get the ship on course again!
I know that I see this same pattern in the spiritual life of myself and others as well, and so instead of despair, I try to ask myself the hard question: "Why do I do this?" And the answer is "the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak!" It really comes down to a combination of laziness and busyness! As our lives slowly get busier & busier, we also get lazier & lazier and before we know it, we are way off track!
I am thankful for the Januaries in my life, although unpleasant at first, for they offer me the opportunity to be honest with myself and take a good look at where I am headed -vs- where I want to be going and make the necessary changes to reach the goal. Although I would rather stay perfectly on track and be much wiser and disciplined than I am, the truth is this is real life and weaknesses abound! I am sorry for the opportunities I have missed this last year or the times education was reduced to a list, but I am also thankful that a new year is before me and young minds are still awakened to the music of true education! May the goal be reached eventually...may vision never cease!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Ghana, Africa

Tonight I had my first meeting in preparation to go to Ghana, Africa in July. A team will be traveling there to do evangelism, plant churches, and medical missions. It was quite exciting (and a bit overwhelming) to hear about the things that I can expect to take place.
I have never been in a foreign country and certainly not one thousands of miles away from home, but I am looking forward to seeing what God will do while we are there.
Mrs. Susan Harvin, a friend of ours, has been to Ghana the last several years and shared with me some of the amazing things she has witnessed. Although there is extreme poverty, there is also a pure love for God and dependance on Him in the lives of those who already know Him. For those who have never heard of the love of Jesus, there is a hunger and thirst to know more.
I am looking forward to being stretched spiritually and seeing God in a way that I have not had the opportunity to before. In America, people are self-sufficient and think more highly of themselves than they ought to (me included!) but in a place like Ghana, Africa every drink of water or morsel of food is a gift from God and the people are thanful all the more for it. Susan shared how in all of her years of going, she has never heard one single complaint from a person in Ghana. Although there is disease, polluted water, and extreme poverty, there is also joy and love and a true sense of thanksgiving. I am longing to go there and experience it myself. How refreshing!
Please pray with me as I prepare to go: for all of the preparations that will need to be made, for the financial aspect of the trip, for protection and covering over my entire family as I am away & safety for me, for God's Spirit to already be at work in the lives of those we will come in contact with, & for God to deepen my faith and relationship with Him like never before. How exciting to think that God uses people like us to accomplish His purposes here on earth. Praise be to Him!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Simple Joys

Isn't it amazing that is is the simple things in life that bring the most joy? Today was one of those days that was filled with simple things and it left me with a contentment I have not had in awhile. To begin with, my children woke up in a good that may not sound like a big deal, but for 5 boys to all be happy & helpful is a very big deal! The fact that it is a Monday makes this almost miraculous! Along with their good moods, it was a perfectly beautiful day! The sun was shining brightly, the air was crisp, and the day just seemed perfect!
All of our lessons rolled along without interruption, the house stayed clean and I was able to get 4 or 5 loads of laundry washed, dried, & folded (of course not put away, that is the part I hate & who wants to ruin a great day?).
In the afternoon I was able to take a long walk around the neighborhood with boys and dogs in tow, exploring and discussing the beauty of the things around us. Anyone who really knows me knows that I love Nature study and it brought me joy as I thought of imparting that love & admiration for God's creation to my boys. For a moment I thought of them sharing these things with their future wives and children and it was a pleasing thought.
It also warmed my heart to watch the boys interact with our dogs. As they walked along, every once in a while one of the boys would give the dogs a good scratching around the ears, or pat them on the head, and Nathan stood over "Sonia" and hugged her neck real tight as we rested for a minute. It was cute to see the love that is growing in their hearts for our pets and to see our two sweet dogs look up at my children with love & devotion. What a simple joy to watch love being exchanged!
There are certain things that we long to see in our families, sometimes we may not even realize what they are, yet when we see these things developing it brings us a great satisfaction and contentment. For me, it is the loving relationships that are taking root as we grow together in this beautiful relationship called family. The fond gestures or the words of encouragement that pass between us on a daily basis. Not all days are filled with these things - there are still many challenges & struggles as 7 selfish, sinful people live together - yet on occasion I am able to experience a day full of joys like today has been. It is God's gift to a weary Mother...motivation to continue in well doing.