Saturday, November 21, 2009

12 Days of Christmas- The Best Present Ever!!

I declare we have discovered the best Christmas present ever! It doesn't take batteries, and doesn't need to be wound up! If you give it a try I am positive it is something you and your family may never forget!

Two years ago a friend mentioned she picks a family and does the 12 days of Christmas for them. I had never heard of it before, but loved the idea. She and her family would sneak around and drop off little gifts with a note that represented the 12 days of Christmas! We did it last year , and it was by far the best part of our Christmas!

Step 1- Pick a family or person who lives CLOSE! We picked a neighbor we didn't know. She was a widow and after praying about it we felt she was who we should bless. It is important the person lives close, especially if the kids are going to help. We did ours all hours of the night to make sure we didn't get caught.

Step 2- Plan out and purchase for your 12 days. Purchase and gather everything ahead of time! This will eliminate any last minute shopping. This really saved us last year because on day 3 I came down with the flu. I was bed ridden and could not participate, but since everything was ready Jody and the kids had no problems completing it. It also helped our delivery- if we were headed out we would just bring that nights "gifts" with us and do the drop off on our way back home. We called it "Ring and Run" minus the ringing:)!

Step 3- On December 13th the fun begins and continues until Christmas Eve. You have to dress up in all black, sneak through the neighborhood and drop off your little treats without getting caught....think military mission- Tyler, Madison and Jarred loved this part! It is important not to get caught.
(Disclaimer-The actual 12 days of Christmas begins on Christmas day, we do it leading up to Christmas day, it helped us remember the true meaning of Christmas during all the holiday madness)

We really had no idea how our neighbor felt about what we were doing. We didn't know her, our relationship consisted of saying hello and waving as she walked her dog. In October Tyler received a phone call from "her", she was having trouble walking her dog and wanted to know if he could help. Tyler began walking her dog 3 times a day, and has been ever since (a relationship only God could have ordained). About a month ago she asked Tyler if he was responsible for the "Secret Santa" gifts. We don't advocate lying in our house, but Tyler knew he couldn't tell our secret. He denied being involved, she went into detail about what happened and how much it blessed her "It may not have meant a lot to other people, but to an old person like me it meant the world."

So there it is....The best holiday gift our family has ever given or received! We included the christian meaning behind the song in ours:). The cost is pretty low but I truly think it will be one of those things our kids will remember and I hope to continue for many years to come.

Note- The person thinks they are going to find out who we are in the end, but we keep it a secret. We hope (if possible) they will try it themselves on a fellow neighbor, but our desire it to bless them and part of that is that they don't know who we are- it always makes it a lot of fun!
(The Initial Poem)

This Christmas season is so full of fun.
We’re happy to share with your family, then run.
How grateful we are that you’re playing our game.
You’ll now find that Christmas won’t be the same.

The song that we sing twelve days in a row
Won’t get tiresome with treats from friends you know.
But to keep up the mystery and the fun,
You won’t know who we are until we’re all done!

Each night we’ll bring something
Please don’t watch for us coming.
If you catch us too soon,
It will spoil the fun that’s coming!

Tonight calls for a partridge for your pear tree,
But partridges are tough catches, you see.
Now, how about some pears, instead of the bird.
They taste very good, or so we have heard.
[Basket of Pears or Canned Pears]

On the 1st day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

A Partridge in a Pear Tree
The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, whose birthday we celebrate on December 25. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge that feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, recalling the expression of Christ's sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered you under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but you would not have it so . . . ." (Luke 13:34)

On the 2nd day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Two Turtle Doves
The Old and New Testaments, which together bear witness to God's self-revelation in history and the creation of a people to tell the Story of God to the world.

Did you know two turtle doves are
Extremely hard to find?
So here are Turtles ‘n Dove—
The chocolate candy kind!
[Turtle and Dove Candy]

On the 3rd day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Three French Hens
The Three Theological Virtues: 1) Faith, 2) Hope, and 3) Love (1 Corinthians 13:13)

Hens are chickens
If they are French or not!
Here is chicken soup
To heat in a pot.
(Can of Chicken Soup)

On the 4th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Four Calling Birds
The Four Gospels: 1) Matthew, 2) Mark, 3) Luke, and 4) John, which proclaim the Good News of God's reconciliation of the world to Himself in Jesus Christ.

Four calling birds, we can’t pay the fare,
For all we have is a purse full of air.
As Christmas approaches, and calls you must make,
Don’t use these gold coins or the phone you may break.
[Gold chocolate coins]

On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Five Gold Rings
The first Five Books of the Old Testament, known as the Torah or the Pentateuch: 1) Genesis, 2) Exodus, 3) Leviticus, 4) Numbers, and 5) Deuteronomy, which gives the history of humanity's sinful failure and God's response of grace in the creation of a people to be a light to the world.

Only five golden rings?
There really are more
Of gold pineapple rings
I got from the store.

On the 6th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Six Geese A-laying
The six days of creation that confesses God as Creator and Sustainer of the world (Genesis 1).

Six geese-a-laying– an interesting sight.
One of them squawked and they all took flight.
What they left in their nest, you’ll just have to look,
But with these you won’t want to cook.
[eggs, plastic swan cups with chocolate inside, chocolate eggs]

On the 7th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Seven Swans A-swimming
The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: 1) prophecy, 2) ministry, 3) teaching, 4) exhortation, 5) giving, 6) leading, and 7) compassion (Romans 12:6-8; cf. 1 Corinthians 12:8-11)

The 7th day of Christmas and we are half way done,
Remember no peeking or you’ll spoil the fun.
On this day of Christmas, how nice it would be,
If seven swans a swimming your family could see.
The pond was quite empty since the swans have gone further south,
We only found goldfish to put in your mouth.
[Goldfish crackers]

On the 8th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Eight Maids A-milking
The eight Beatitudes: 1) Blessed are the poor in spirit, 2) those who mourn, 3) the meek, 4) those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 5) the merciful, 6) the pure in heart, 7) the peacemakers, 8) those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake. (Matthew 5:3-10)

The maids were all milking,
Milk foaming like suds.
Quickly they all vanished
Leaving just "Milk Duds".
(box of Milk Duds)

On the 9th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Nine Ladies Dancing
The nine Fruit of the Holy Spirit: 1) love, 2) joy, 3) peace, 4) patience, 5) kindness,
6) generosity, 7) faithfulness, 8) gentleness, and 9) self-control. (Galatians 5:22)

Nine ladies dancing would be too big a crowd,
Besides their music is way too loud.
We have for you Christmas songs,
That you can listen to all season long.
(A Christmas CD)

On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Ten Lords A-leaping
The ten commandments: 1) You shall have no other gods before me; 2) Do not make an idol; 3) Do not take God's name in vain; 4) Remember the Sabbath Day; 5) Honor your father and mother; 6) Do not murder; 7) Do not commit adultery; 8) Do not steal; 9) Do not bear false witness; 10) Do not covet. (Exodus 20:1-17)

Ten lords a leaping would be an awesome gift,
But they got stuck while jumping through a white snowdrift.
We had to be content, you see, to watch the popcorn fly.
So we’ve added a sweet topping to it for you to try.
[Caramel popcorn, popcorn toppings]

On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Eleven Pipers Piping
The eleven Faithful Apostles: 1) Simon Peter, 2) Andrew, 3) James, 4) John, 5) Philip, 6) Bartholomew, 7) Matthew, 8) Thomas, 9) James bar Alphaeus, 10) Simon the Zealot, 11) Judas bar James. (Luke 6:14-16). The list does not include the twelfth disciple, Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus to the religious leaders and the Romans.

Those eleven pipers piping reminds us of our plumber,
To leave him on the doorstep would be a real bummer.
Now make your water piping hot, and fill your cups with care.
We’re giving you some hot chocolate we know you’ll love to share

We simply can’t believe this game is almost through.
We’ve had a jolly time bringing these gifts to you.
With only one more night, don’t you wish you knew,
Just exactly who we are and why we’re doing this for you?

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Twelve Drummers Drumming
The twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles' Creed: 1) I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. 2) I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. 3) He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. 4) He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and buried. 5) On the third day he rose again from the dead. 6) He ascended into Heaven. 7)and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. 8) from thence He shall come to judge th living and the dead. 9) I believe in the Holy Spirit, 10) the one holy Christian Church, the fellowship of saints, 11) the forgiveness of sins, 12) the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.

(Final Poem)
Christmas Eve has arrived, and on this our last night,
One dozen drummers would be a grand sight.
But the noise of their drums would hurt your head,
So eat all these cookies we bring you instead.
(Homemade Cookies)

The thing to now remember, if you’ve had lots of fun
When next December rolls around it's your turn to make the nightly runs.
Make sure you pick your family with tender, loving care
‘Cause its fun to get to spoil them at this special time of year.

And so we wish you a joyous Noel,
We know that you’re hoping our name we will tell.
But our name stays a secret, we just cannot share.
It wouldn’t be right, no it wouldn’t, so there!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Some Things Never Change!

Tyler reading his science on top of the tree house this morning. Our kids enjoy the flexibility of reading where they like, I am pretty sure that will never change!

We have had a very busy summer! We went camping, Jody and I had a wonderful anniversary trip, and the kids and I traveled quite a bit for Classical Conversations. We've had to be very purposeful to make time for others and not get caught up in our lives (which I will confess happened(happens) anyway!). It hasn't left much time for blogging:)!

We are back into the full swing of school. Tyler is in 10th grade, I have to admit this year has been a little frightening for me! I really understand why some people don't home-school during the High School years!! There is a lot of pressure to serve our children and make sure we are providing the best education we can for them. It can be very intimidating to know we, Jody and I, are responsible for not only teaching Tyler but preparing him for the rest of his life -but- that is the whole reason we home-school!

Madison and Jarred are trudging along in 4th grade, and both doing well. We still only test Jarred for the grade he is supposed to be in (3rd), but at some point that might change. Homeschooling is hard work! There are days I don't feel like doing it. There are days my kids wish they had another teacher! I get asked how I do it all and the real answer is- I DON'T! I am not capable of doing it all! Only by the grace of God does any of it get done. To be honest, if you walk into my house it is probably clean, it isn't spotless, but yes- it's clean. I cook dinner almost every night. My kids are getting a better education than I did. But, it is a lot of hard work! I constantly fight the temptation to give into selfishness or laziness. There are days I would rather cook all day. There are days I don't want to do anything but paint or decorate. Those aren't bad desires in themselves, but could quickly become my priority with out some boundaries. I enjoy cleaning (I know for some that isn't normal)! If you remember I am an instant results kind of girl! Cleaning gives me instant results. If left to myself I would rather clean than play with my kids. Thankfully God made me aware of this years ago, but it still creeps up.

Thankfully I serve a God who is bigger than me! He makes me aware of the many idols in my life and gave me friends to hold me accountable! I am not sold out on home-school. I don't believe it is the only way! There are great kids who love the lord who graduate from public school. We aren't better or superior because we home school! We aren't sure how much longer, Tyler, will even be home schooled. Things like the Crotsley kids finding their own little spots to read doesn't seem like it will ever change. They way we home-school, what the kids are into, the activities they are involved in, seem to change weekly:)!

For now, we feel this is where we are supposed to be. This is what God has for us. I fall asleep at night exhausted and sometimes question what in the world I'm doing! Most of the time I am aware of how special it is to have this time with my kids. I am aware of the work God is doing in all of us, even when it hurts! I really enjoy my children and I am blessed to have the opportunity to stay home with them, even if it is exhausting!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Cinnamon Granola w/Coconut

This is a great granola recipe. If you have never made your own granola I strongly suggest you give it a try- I promise you won't regret it!

It's great on yogurt, as a cereal, on top of ice cream or with fruit. It is so much less expensive to make yourself.

8 cups rolled oats
2 T Cinnamon
2 Cups flaked unsweetened Coconut
½ Cup Raw Sesame Seeds
½ Cup Golden Flax Seed
¼ Cup Cornmeal
½ Cup Raw Wheat Germ
1 ½ Cups Light Brown Sugar
½ Cup Water
1 Cup Oil
2 teaspoons Vanilla

Nuts are a great option
If you want to add raisins do so after it has cooled.


1. In a large mixing bowl, combine first seven ingredients.

2. Combine brown sugar and water in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium and bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and cook stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add oil to the vanilla.

3. Pour syrup mixture over dry ingredients, stirring to coat. Grease two 10x15-inch jelly roll pans and pour half of the granola in each pan, spreading evenly (do not press down though!)

4. Bake at 275 for 60-70 minutes until lightly browned and toasted (not burnt!)

5. Cool in pans on wire racks. Using a spatula flip granola in large chunks after 10 mins of cooling. When completely cooled store in airtight container or Ziplock bag.

I add nuts before baking and sometimes raisins afterwards.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I am very aware of how my words can and do affect those around me. What takes days, weeks, or years to build up, takes only moments for me to tear down. I love those God moments, when good seeds are planted without anyone ever knowing. This week God revealed a couple of those moments and how words impact our lives.

Thursday, as we were driving back from Precious Granny's, I realized my BFF was not going to be available to (do her usual bailout) frenchbraid Madison's hair for dance rehearsal the following day. I called another dear friend, who thankfully, has all those girly skills, and can frenchbraid. As this friend was braiding her hair I tried to explain how it looked previously. In the middle of our conversation Madison ran to her room and brought out a special scrapbook Laura had given her last year. Inside was the picture I posted above of the the two of them together. In the little scrapbook were some very sincere words of encouragement.

As Madison rehearsed on stage, I video taped. During rehearsal I try to get her by herself. It gives Madison a chance to see how she dances and how much she has changed over the year. At some point during the dance she walked towards the left side of the stage with her hand held out. The words to the song were "I will follow you" (those are words every mom wants and hopes for her children). A tear rolled down my cheek and I prayed very hard that would truly be her life long desire- "To follow Him".

With rehearsal over, we went to have our traditional dinner together (thanks for those words Michelle- you constantly challenge me in area of "making" special moments!). As we sat down, I asked if she wanted to pray, she did. She prayed (wonderful words) and asked God to remind her of what Laura told her last year (the words that are also in her scrapbook) "She was dancing for God". She asked for God to be glorified in her dance and that she would forget anyone else was there. Words she has heard from precious Laura. God has used Laura's words to plant seeds in Madison's tender heart. They are words that come from a sincere place that Madison has grown to love. This year Laura sacrificed her Friday nights to help with Madison's dance class. She is 15, and already knows what it means to sacrifice for others. I see it in how she serves her mother, her family,and others. She has been purposeful (with her words, and her actions)to pray for Madison, to seek her, or see and ask how she is doing. She has been purposeful in using words to help mold my daughter into who she is becoming. I don't think she quite understands the power of her words. As a Mom watching I know the effect she has on my daughter, I am ever so thankful for sweet words spoken by her and others to my children.

As I watched Laura on stage, I was aware (more than ever) of her love for the Lord. God has a special purpose for Laura's life! God has made me more aware of words the last couple of weeks, how they can be used for good and how harmful they can be. I think about my children and the words I use when speaking to them. Words that can lift up and words that tear down. How I desire control, more than I desire to bring glory to God. How I can place my desires ahead of what would bring glory to God!

I am encouraged and challenged by what God has shown me and the work he graciously so desires to do in me. I am thankful for "little friends" (who really aren't so little) who are living for God and the great testomony they are to me! I'm thankful for all the words God has shown me recently, and the ultimate word...His! I am amazed at how God can and does use them and how they can change lives. I pray God will continue to pierce my heart with His words and continue to show me examples of where my words may hurt and where they help.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Tyler's First Car........

Jody sent this picure from the Phillipines. We are considering purchasing one just like it for Tyler's first car!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

What's for Dinner?

When we initially contemplated home schooling a very dear friend said "dinner will never be on the table again"! She was being honest about an area in which she struggled. At that moment I knew I would need to be purposeful in meal planning.

My husband is very gracious. He understands what it takes to keep things running around here. He never complains about what I serve for dinner, except for the time I made cauliflower mash potatoes:). My desire isn't to be a homemaker that gives no thought to her meals. I don't want to serve my family whatever is the quickest to make (not that there aren't times for that!). I desire to bring glory to God in my daily life. I serve my family much better when I am being purposeful, planning, and I am prepared, especially when it comes to meals.

My husband has blessed or surprised me, on occasion, with dinner. I can even remember making a call, or two, in tears asking (begging) him to bring dinner home (I just want to keep it real). I'm happy to say, that by God's grace, those have been very rare occasions. I want my husband to know he is coming home to dinner. I want to bless and serve him. He works very hard for our family, I, in return want to work hard for him.

It would be very easy to justify my way out of dinner. I am busy! Home schooling, housekeeping, being a taxi driver, the list goes on. Those are just a few good things that we (I) can use as an excuse. But that isn't what we, as homemakers, are called to do. It wouldn't serve our families, our bodies, or our budgets. God is calling us to give our best! I think the special people in our lives deserve our very best!!

My dear friend was not trying to discourage me! Her statement revealed an area I needed to be aware of, an area I still need to be aware of! I have had many struggles and issues (still do!) but for the most part, and by the grace of God, this has not been one of them. I have my friend and her transparency to thank for that!

Here are a few things I have learned that have helped.

1. Menus I check the freezer and pantry to see what I have on hand. I normally ask the kids and Jody if there is anything special they would like. If I still need ideas I go through one of my cookbooks (a notebook of clear page protectors filled with recipes I already know my family enjoys). After I have a week (or two) of meals I start my grocery list. I have a computer printout of our most common purchased items. After this is printed out I send Jarred and/or Madison running through the house, in record speed, to see if the item needs to be replaced (we call this fun!) Then, I go through the menu or recipes noting any item I need. I try not to be ruled by my menu. If I planned on chicken but then decided it didn't sound good, I just pick something else. I no longer assign a dish to each night. When I first started I did. But, I had too many internal conflicts with the half of me that is the rule follower, and the other half that is a rule breaker!!

2. Repeats We have certain nights where we have the same meal, this simplifies things for me. Every Friday night is pizza night in the Crotsley household. It could be homemade, frozen, or from a restaurant. All of that depends on our season of life and what the budget allows. Saturday nights are usually burgers or something cooked on the grill. Sunday nights I try to cook something I know will have leftovers for Jody's lunch on Monday. I can't forget the family favorite- breakfast for dinner (this doesn't have a specific night, but is always a winner).

3. 10:00 am Meal Prep At about 10:00 everyday, when the kids are doing their independent work, I start prepping today's meal and planning tomorrow's. I start with the tomorrow's meal, it might be as simple as pulling hamburger meat from the freezer, or double checking I have everything I need for a recipe. Sometimes I might need to think a couple of days out- a roast might need longer to defrost, or a meat might need to marinade over night. This really helps take the panic out of dinnertime. If I need to pick something up I can do it while I'm already out, instead of making a 5:00 mad dash to the grocery store. After tomorrow's meal has been figured out I begin on today's. It's already in the refrigerator waiting on me, ready to prep or cook. This might look like cooking hamburger meat 10:15 for taco's. At 6:00 when things get a little crazy, dinner is a snap. I have already shredded cheese, cooked meat, or cut whatever I could in order to pull dinner together quickly. It's probably the most productive 30 minutes in my day.

4. Your freezer is your friend I freeze food whenever possible. I don't cook an entire month's worth at a time (it didn't work for me). I love being able to pull a healthy meal from my freezer when time might be limited. It's like having unhealthy convienance food without the unhealthy. I have found if I am making a meal my family loves, it makes sense to double the recipe. A perfect example of this is tonight's dinner, which is Black Bean Chimichangas. Yesterday I pulled a zip lock bag of the filling from the freezer. Today during my "prep time" I filled tortillas with the filling and back in the fridge they went. Today at dinner time I let the dish come to room temperature and all I had to do was place them in the oven. Dinner done! I freeze muffins, breakfast breads, dinners and some desserts. When we don't have ingredients for a recipe, or something doesn't sound good I have a healthy back up. Your freezer really can be your best friend!

I hope you can use some of these ideas and it gets you cookin'!

So here's what's for dinner-tonight we will have Black Bean Chimichangas. Tomorrow we will have Sticky Chicken for dinner (the recipe is below). Yesterday I pulled a chicken from the freezer to defrost. Today I put the rub on it. Tomorrow I will put it in the oven and make sure I have all my vegetables prepared to go with it.

One of my favorite places to get recipes is from If you haven't been there you should check it out. .

Roast Sticky Chicken-Rotisserie Style

4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon white pepper 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 onions, quartered
2 (4 pound) whole chickens

1. In a small bowl, mix together salt, paprika, onion powder, thyme, white pepper, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder. Remove and discard giblets from chicken. Rinse chicken cavity, and pat dry with paper towel. Rub each chicken inside and out with spice mixture. Place 1 onion into the cavity of each chicken. Place chickens in a resealable bag or double wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight, or at least 4 to 6 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C).
3. Place chickens in a roasting pan. Bake uncovered for 5 hours, to a minimum internal temperature of 180 degrees F (85 degrees C). Let the chickens stand for 10 minutes before carving.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Manboy- More Man than Boy!!

While we were camping in South Carolina Tyler turned 15. We celebrated his birthday by the campfire with one of his favorite meals, steak kabobs with tons of veggies. Tyler, his Daddy, and brother shared an entire ice cream cake. It was a small cake, but I believe it was supposed to serve 8. They enjoyed it, Madison and I were happy no one threw up! We had one of the best camping trips we have ever had. Tyler would tell you it was one of the best ways to turn 15.

I love camping! I know, I can't believe I am saying it myself. But, I love the forced family time. I love not having the daily distractions and just being together. I also love that my boys can get as dirty as they want and I don't have to clean up after them (much!). We camped at Table Rock Mountain. We were hiking up the mountain when it started to rain. We had to hike back down 2 1/2 hours in the rain. This gave lots of opportunities to parent and deal with heart issues. The princess of the family (no, that is not me!) didn't enjoy this much. She was cold and very quickly let her feelings known. It's hard to correct your children when it's soooo obvious she is modeling your sin! Sometimes I don't know whether to laugh or cry, usually it's an undercover laugh. Anyway, it started raining that morning and didn't stop until about 1 am. Everything we owned, including the inside of our tent, was wet. That was my least favorite part of the trip. But, even with the tent and everything else wet, it was a blast! We might be getting this camping thing down, because it was the best trip yet! I would go again tomorrow (if my husband were even in the same country as me)! As much as I would love for Jody to bring a baby back from the Philippines, I have to admit there is something really special about the season of life our children are in. It is interesting watching them grow, to see their strengths and weaknesses. It is far from picture perfect, but boy do I enjoy it.

Tyler is learning to drive, and parts of our lives are changing forever. I look forward to this new season with an enormous appreciation for the past. Tyler was my first baby, now he is just my oldest baby! He has given us lots of opportunities for parenting and lots of opportunities to repent. I love being a mommy and I love that my boy is turning more man than boy. I look forward to everything that comes with it, the good and the bad. I look forward to the mistakes we will all make, and the opportunities for growth that will come from it. God is good no matter the situation! I thank God I have a husband who is willing to enter into Tyler's life without an invitation. I thank God he doesn't parent the same way I do, and is willing to do all he does for his family and his children. I am thankful Tyler is still able to spend time with us and go camping. I realize, before I know it this season, too, will be gone!


Thursday, March 19, 2009

This Homeschoolin' Thang

This time of year it is very easy for me, as a home school Mommy, to lose sight of why we home school. It was very clear, God determined we were to do this. I would have never, EVER, made this decision! Our family has forever been changed by His plans. The changes that would have occurred as a result of my plans would not have been good! Our family has been blessed by being obedient to God and homeschooling.

*To make sure no one is confused or fooled- God had to hit me over the head with a ton of bricks before I saw his desire and would obey (but obey I did!)*.

Academics are important, very important, but they have never been what is most important. As the end of the year draws near and testing rears "it's" head, it's easy to forget, easy to forget why we ever began. But, God is not just God of yesterday, He is God of today and tomorrow. He never fails to remind. He never fails to show what is most important and that He isn't the father of condemnation. He answers prayers! He shines His light on areas my children have grown that I might be standing too close to see. He softens little (and big) hearts. He gives us all opportunities to draw closer to Him. I am certain, for us, for our family, these changes would have taken many more years to occur (if ever) if my children were gone all day.

This is to encourage and serve as a reminder to me and to any of you who might need it.

1. We want our children to have a true and saving relationship with Christ. We want them to desire to please Him above all else.

2. We want our children to have enough knowledge and confidence of their Christian faith to share it with others.

3. We want our children to love to learn.

4. We want our children to have life skills (inside the home and out).

I pray God will be glorified in all that we do!


Thursday, February 12, 2009

My PaJohn

I asked to be unsettled. I prayed God would search the crevices of my heart and reveal secrets to me. Tonight I feel unsettled, I feel very unsettled. The children are asleep, Jody is in Arkansas and here I am. My grandfather died on Monday-my PaJohn. He no longer had the strength to ward off the cancer that was consuming his body.

I don't doubt God. I don't doubt that His timing is perfect. It was time for my PaJohn to leave this earth. The fact that my sisters, my mom and I, were all camping gave our Mom the opportunity to drive to Pensacola and see her father before he passed away- that wasn't an accident- that was God! God's timing is perfect! I can't imagine how my Mom is feeling. It saddens me to think there will be a day I won't be able to pick up the phone and call my parents. My heart hurts for my Mom, as that day has already arrived. I know only God can console that kind of pain.

My grandfather's death has brought to the surface a flood of emotions for me. There are things I need to deal with, things God has brought to the surface. When I was young I felt abandoned. I wanted to know where I belonged. I wanted to know my place, my place within my family, my place within the world. Unfortunately, I tried on my own to fill many of those voids. I know, without a doubt, had God not intervened things would have ended very badly. I realize there are many new areas in my own heart and in my life that are unsettled. I am a child of God. To deny I still feel somewhat abandoned would be a lie. There are things I haven't wanted to see that God is revealing to me, things I can't ignore.

Tonight I am sad. I'm sad over the hurt and pain of many. I am sad about the view of the church that doesn't represent it correctly. I am sad that others may look at Christianity and not see it for what (I truly believe) it is. It isn't dead! It is very much alive! It isn't mean or a cruel kind of love. My consolation is that the deacon who spoke said my PaJohn came to know Christ. I pray God was working in him. I pray he accepted Jesus as his Savior.

My prayer is one day in heaven, all these relationships will be restored. I pray one day we would be sitting at the feet of Jesus and all the wrongs would be right. All the hurt and pain would go away. I pray my PaJohn would be able to look my Mom in the eyes and tell her how much he loved her and how very proud he was to call her his daughter. I pray he would ask for forgiveness for not being able to do that here on earth. For now, for this night, that has turned into morning, my prayer is God would wrap his arms around my family. I pray for His comfort, the way only He can comfort.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Unsettle me

We are alive! I promise we are!! There isn't a lot of time for blogging right now, but we are still here:)

This is a devotion I absolutely loved!
Written by Lisa Terkeurst

Unsettle me

These are the two words rattling about in my brain today. I almost wish it was a more glamorous prayer. Surely more eloquent words could be found for what I'm feeling led to pursue during this new year. But these are the words - this is the prayer for my 2009.

The funny thing is I've spent my whole existence trying to find a place to settle down, people to settle down with, and a spirit about me worthy of all this settled down-ness. All of this is good. A contented heart, thankful for its blessings is a good way to settle.

But there are areas of my life that have also settled that mock my desires to be godly woman - compromises if you will. Attitudes that I've wrapped in the lie, "Well, that's just how I am. And if that's all the bad that's in me, I'm doing pretty good."

I dare you, dear soul of mine, to notice the stark evidence of a spirit that is tainted and a heart that must be placed under the microscope of God's Word. Yes, indeed, unsettle me Lord.

Unearth that remnant of unforgiveness.

Shake loose that justification for harshness.

Reveal that broken shard of pride.

Expose that tendency to distrust.

Unsettle me in the best kind of way. For when I allow Your touch to reach the deepest parts of me - dark and dingy and hidden away too long - suddenly, a fresh wind of life twists and twirls and dances through my soul.

I can delight in forgiveness and love more deeply.

I can discover my gentle responses and find softer ways for my words to land.

I can recognize the beauty of humility and crave the intimacy with God it unleashes.

I can rest assured though harsh winds blow, I will be held.

Goodbye to my remnants, my justifications, shards, and tendencies. This is not who I am, nor who I was created to be.

Goodbye shallow love, sharp words, self-focus, and suspicious fears. I am an unsettled woman who no longer wishes to take part in your distractions or destructions.

Welcome deeper love, softer words, unleashed intimacy, and the certainty I am held.

Welcome my unsettled heart.

Welcome 2009.

I pray many areas of my life will be unsettled in 2009!
Have a wonderful weekend!