Monthly Archives: May 2013

How to: Survive a Dreary Day!

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Yesterday was Emma’s Birthday Party. Our gorgeous blue eyed whirlwind had a fabulous time celebrating with family and friends:

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   Emma, at 4 years old, possibly an older three?

 

 

 

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Emma’s 5th birthday party!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This morning, as we woke up in a post birthday party haze, everyone was excited about the presents Emma received yesterday, and they wasted no time going downstairs in a flurry of excitement. But… there was one problem! Upon looking over one of Emma’s new gifts, and ripping open the packaging, the girls noted something was missing…

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“MOM!!! We need a kitchen!”

And thusly, today’s dreary day activity was born by the seat of my pants. We found some materials around the house, a little paint, some brushes, and some boxes:

 

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And of course, we got out Mommy’s sparkly letter tool box…

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So we began to paint…

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But we did take a break!

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And then got back to business… painting, and drawing out our plans on the cardboard!

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Whoops! Somebody got ahold of the camera!

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And once it was all finished: Refrigerator, Microwave, Stove, Oven, Sink, They played with it!

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Yup, and we got ahold of the camera again! But at least she “Loves You!”

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The fruits of our labor!

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And that, is how you survive a dreary day!

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Teaching Character

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gaurd your heart  My Dad spent a large portion of my childhood trying to convince me that Proverbs was worth reading. I found it dull, and discombobulated. As an adult, I see it in an entirely different light. As a homeschooling parent, I routinely avoid character training curriculum, because who needs to buy one when God has provided us with a fabulous one, courtesy of Proverbs?
I remember hearing a quote along the line of ‘If my child knows academics better than Proverbs, we have focused on the wrong things.”
I believe this quote is wise, because I know in my life, I use Proverbs far more than I use any of the concepts I learned in all of those math lessons I was  subjected to  given the pleasure of learning.

My own relationship with the book of Proverbs as an adult is quite different than as a child. I read it daily, in conjunction with the date. I have found that by reading it with my children, each day, each Proverb holds a practical application of God’s Word that develops a new character trait worthy of cultivation. This week, a few gems jumped out at me.

Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life;
he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin. (Proverbs 13:3, ESV)
This one from yesterday is my theme Proverb, for life. I constantly open my mouth wide!  I jump in haste to say things because I feel the burning urge to share what I am thinking. I can’t say how mWelsprings of lifeany times this has gotten me into all sorts of trouble. When we read this proverb yesterday, my daughter and I both looked at each other, convicted by its words. I know that we are our children’s parents, and not their friends, but in some ways, friendship and accountability fosters open honesty in parent/child relationships. When Sarah and I both feel convicted by something, we act together. We agreed to challenge each other on this matter, both of us knowing firsthand the destruction that follows wide lips.

Today, we were convicted, but I was encouraged:

In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence,
and his children will have a refuge.
The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life,
that one may turn away from the snares of death.
Proverbs 14:26-27

The Fear of the Lord is mentioned so much in Proverbs, as the beginning of wisdom, the basis for prosperity, happiness, all sorts of things. Fearing God, being righteous, these things add to our lives. This was a wonderful follow up to yesterday’s Wellspringsoflifebookburning conviction. We have hope in God. That hope is not just in a non tangible spiritual relationship, but in the fact that here, now, Christ reigns. This spiritual healing, grace, and forgiveness extends to the real now. To the tangible world. The Fear of the Lord affects me tangibly. It orders my steps, it keeps my paths straight, it gives prosperity, life, in short, good things.

We can find hope in God, his Word, his principles, in his mercy and Grace, because he begins his work here and now, and it affects every area of our lives for the better. It not only helps us, but our children as well. I can’t tell you how many times an argument has been stopped short by: “A Fool gives full vent to his anger.”  We want to be wise, righteous, blessed. And Proverbs wisely reminds us that when our heart is in the right place, our lives will follow, tangibly. “Above all else, guard your heart, For out of it are the wellsprings of life.” Proverbs 4:23

Can Women “Have It All?”

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In going from a full time job outside of my home, to a full time job inside of my home where I am teaching and nurturing my family, I knew I would have to pursue an income that comes from my natural role as a submissive wife and helpmeet, and a nurturing Mom. Financially, we couldn’t make it on just my husband’s income, so I needed to find supplementary income. and this income couldn’t be something that competed with my other roles, but something that complemented them. So I looked in scripture for inspiration and wisdom, and I found that in the Proverbs 31 woman. She is creative, and resourceful, she finds a variety of ways to keep her household running, and is actively involved, in the daily running of her household, the education of her children, and in business matters that will provide her household with necessities, and even some luxuries.


“An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.

She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.

She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.

She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.

She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.

She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.

Her lamp does not go out at night.

She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.” (Proverbs 31:10-19, ESV)

When my husband and I both felt convicted that my place was in serving our family, and in cherishing the blessing of each child God gives uAva, my sleepy baby. <3s, we knew it was a financial leap for me to quit my full time job. Since then, life has been a bit of a financial struggle, one after the other, with few breaks in between. Despite this, we were committed to making my roles as Wife and Mother a no. 1 priority. By God’s grace, we’ve found ways to make our bills, and no one has gone hungry. From cleaning houses, our rental property income, and my Lilla Rose venture, we have managed week by week. And so I’ve gained a new appreciation for portions of Proverbs 31 that I’d never taken a second look at as a teenager sitting in the Mother’s Day service thinking “yeah yeah yeah, My Mom is all that, can we skip right to the special lunch?”
Womanhood looks a lot different when YOU are in a place to learn to become the Proverbs 31 woman. I often feel as if I am always failing at becoming her, but sanctification, and wisdom, are almost never instantaneous in coming. Proverbs reminds us that to get wisdom, we must listen to instruction, and seek knowledge. Sometimes this means meandering out of our normal comfort zones. My comfort zone was working in a business, 40+ hours a week, to provide for our family. Stepping out has meant creatively getting involved in our family’s business matters. Every so often, My husband and I agree on new and creative ways to make ends meet. Our newest adventure this week is going to be a flea market table.
My husband buys many “unique” antiques at auctions and real estate sales. Most of the time he really only wanted one thing, but they sold off a “lot”, which means… a box of junk. Amidst the junk are some treasures, but more than I’ve got room for, and so now I will get creative, and resourceful, and turn a bunch of “junk” into a business proposition. I once would have considered this an annoying and embarrassing idea, but now I am realizing that this is one more way to serve my family, and honor God in the process.

Another exciting venture that I’ve recently discovered is that a local bank features small businesses on a monthly basis. If I can cook up a beauty of a display, for oFlexi-Collage_5x7ne month my Lilla Rose flexi clips and other hair jewelry will be displayed in a larger community. This has reminded me that God is in control, and that hard work ends in a reward. I have found that building a business is hardly an overnight venture, and often involves some level of sacrifice, and an ability to creatively market what it is you have. In trying to contribute to my household, I’ve learned that it goes far beyond simply selling items, and stretches us beyond what we expect. Not to mention little eyes and ears hearing, seeing, and sometimes participating in the hard work that goes on. It becomes a whole new way for me to bond with my children, and teach them firsthand the value of work. I will never forget when one of my children, witnessing a transaction, made the connection between what had just transpired, and our ability to buy milk and bread at the store later. It is one thing to have Daddy be “at work” but to help Mommy “at work” changes things. Money becomes real, and its value to our family, apparent. It almost becomes a little economics lesson in progress.

As I’m growing, changing, and finding ways to fit into this (still) new role of Stay at Home Mom, the Proverbs 31 woman no longer looks like some kind of unattainable super woman (although I don’t see myself measuring up to this standard any time soon!) but like a map for what women can be in their own homes. Being submissive and serving your family is not a mark of weakness, and does not relegate us to this fantasy world of the 1950’s, placing us into a gilded cage with lipstick, heels, and the roast in the oven, waiting for our husband to come home and appreciate our flouncy skirt. It puts us in a unique position to serve our families in a variety of fulfilling ways. In one role I am capable of being a businesswoman, an artist, a rental manager, a teacher, a handy woman, a childcare expert, etc etc etc. The list could continue endlessly. Current cultural trends in womanhood and feminism will tell you that to have it all, you must leave your home. In my own experience, leaving my home ended in me losing it all. I never seemed to have a grip on anything, and I missed my children desperately. I felt as if life was a constant failure, a race that I could never win, and where I could never catch up to the other working women I knew. Getting closer to those women, I realized we all struggled with the same sense of failure, of being good at everything at once, and nothing at all. Of losing our children even when we were with them, because work was on our minds, and losing our work when we were doing it, because children were on our minds. I felt caged in that life.
I have been surprised to find that rather than a cage that keeps me limited to one option, taking on a feminine Biblical role within my home has freed me to really “have it all.” There is a beauty in being able to still serve my family, and yet find new ways to do so creatively, and resourcefully. And who knows? Maybe this flea market thing will become a regular homeschool lesson in economics!

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