Joy: a reflection

In dusting off the blog I found a post I had started but never finished back in 2015 because it still resonates so deeply with what God is doing in my soul it is worthy of fleshing out..

There has been a sweetness that has enriched my life lately. I cannot quiet put my finger on what exactly it is. I find myself stopping and considering my heart and realizing it is overflowing with good things. That sweetness has been felt in the dimpled grin of my one year old as she toddles around doing her toddler thing. I have experienced it in the beauty and wonder of a red moon. Depth was added to my life when my husband and our friends built a small fire pit and we christened it with hot dogs and smores. Truth resounded in my heart as I read article after article about the faithfulness of God. My children’s laughter had brought abounding joy to my soul…..

While I don’t remember the original direction of my post I do know that these good gifts still abound in my life. That toddler is three and the dimpled grin still melts me, the newest 1 year old remind me to slow down and the laughter and zest of the big two remind me time is fleeting. That sweetness that has enriched my life is joy, that beauty and wonder comes from the Giver of good gifts. The fact that God has been teaching me the same things for three years is a tangible sign of His faithfulness even when I am faithless. Joy,a good gift from a good Father.  One worthy to slow down for. One worthy to savor. One worth to seek. Joy.

 

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Legacy

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In recent days we celebrated my baby’s first birthday and the sudden passing of my father in law. As I laid in bed the night before my little guys first birthday, which happen to fall on the day of the funeral, all I could think of was James 4:14 which reads,

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

Living life at both ends of the spectrum really gave me pause to consider what matters. I can get so caught up in the to-do list or shift into survival mode I lose sight of what is important. But God, don’t you love those two little words, but God has a way of aligning my focus and calling me to something more.

My husband and I have been talking about what legacy we want to leave our children. Of course we would love to provide for them in a monetary fashion but when all is said and done our prayer is that we want them to know and love Jesus. That brings me to asking myself the very practical “how” do we do this?

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 3:18

We are transformed by beholding the glory of the Lord by the power of the Spirit. This legacy of faith is what is worthy to pass on to our kids. It has eternal significance. Practically speaking that means I am reading the Word, I am persistent in prayer, I am feeding my mind with biblical truths through conversations, sermons and podcasts, I am talking about the Lord to my kids and others I am encountering. I am a work in progress but by the grace of God and the power of the Spirit He who began a good work in me will complete it.

 

Dusting off the blog… and a confession.

It is always a little humbling to come back to something you have neglected far to long. It is like finally cleaning out the junk drawer or deep cleaning the fridge. How did so much time past when you kept “meaning” to get to it. Today the junk drawer still exists and I am not even going to consider the refrigerator but I am going to write.

The truth is there is some fear in putting yourself out there. I feel like blogging these days has to be about 3 steps to having a better day, some amazing food recipe or some wonderful “how to” get the proverbial it done. Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for those posts because I read them often… they just aren’t me.

Truthfully, I feel under qualified to speak to anything authoritatively but I love to share life and I love to share stories. Something I have learned about myself recently is I am hesitant to try new things unless I have it all figured out. Which is why blogging has been slow going for me. I felt like I needed to know the “how” of blogging to make sure I was doing it right. I needed to know my target audience, I needed the right social media platforms. I got lost in the whole reason I wanted to write.

I wanted to write to process, to think, to share, to reflect and to remember. I want to write about my husband, my kids and my God. I want to share the story God is writing in my life as I journey towards more.

Keeping On, Catching Up

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It is hard to believe that in 11 days the calendar will change and 2016 will be upon us. In the two months since I last posted I have done a lot of journeying in this life. I have explored, I have read, I have taught, I have played, I have rested, I have worked and I have grown. I am learning what it looks like to slow down and savor the days, to be present and live in the moment. I have spent more time enjoying God’s creation, escaping into a story and experiencing life with my people.

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What I have realized is that in the mundane I am making small deposits into the lives of my children and that, by the grace of God, will pay big dividends in the future. Our days are not always easy and rarely smooth but one thing is certain, these days are a gift. These precious children are a gift and my time with them is priceless.

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As I look toward 2016 and the God who is ordering my steps I feel thankful and confident. Thankful that God has shown great grace in His son Jesus Christ and confident that He is working in my life for His will and His pleasure. God has placed a desire in my heart for something more and I am eagerly anticipating how He will fashion and shape my 2016.

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Homeschool Week 9 Wrap Up

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Lord, how manifold are your works!
    In wisdom have you made them all;
    the earth is full of your creatures.

Psalm 104:24

Week 9 marked our 6 week break from CC and while I knew I didn’t want to take it completely off I wanted to use it differently than our “regular” weeks.  Primarily I wanted it to be lighter and spent exploring outside.  I just finished listening to a biography about George Washington Carver titled George Washington Carver: From Slave to Scientist. The story of this mans life moved me to tears on more than one occasion. He *FOUGHT* to overcome so many odds to become educated but yet remained so incredibly humbled.  Two reasons I believe he remained so humble was because of his faith in God and his constant contact with his creation. After listening to the biography I am more convinced than ever that we need to spend more time outdoors and learning about God’s creation. That being said, that is what we did.
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We visited Prairie State Park with friends one day. You can read a full post about that here. 

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We visited our local park and enjoyed exploring close to home. I was truly amazed at the diversity we encountered as we slowed down long enough to really look at things.

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We also took some time to explore our very own back yard! We have a garden spider who is hanging out with her egg cases outside our window. We have watched her eat a few bugs and are lamenting the reality that in a few weeks she will die with the first frost. However we are hopeful that her babies will survive and hatch in the spring. I noticed another garden spider on the play set as I was mowing this week. Also a walking stick but it disappeared by the time I made it back with my camera. The squirrels this time of year are really serious about their nut scavenging. Ulysses, the squirrel in the tree, was NOT happy I was taking his picture. If your not familiar with Ulysses the squirrel you should check out  Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo. (We listened to the audiobook from our library, great listen!) We have also had a nest in the ground. I am leaning towards a yellow jacket nest but not completely sure. I am in the process of eradicating the stinging insects but I do find the whole “nest in the ground” thing completely fascinating.

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We wrapped up the week painting. I am no artist, though I wish I were. However I enjoy creating memories (and getting better about relishing the messes) with my kiddos. I enjoyed a slower week and am thankful I got to spend it with blessings!

Linking up with Homegrown Learners Collage Friday. 

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Nature Hike | Prairie State Park Mindenmines, MO

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//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsam endeavoring to get my children outside more and when a friend of mine mentioned traveling an hour or so north to visit Prairie State Park I JUMPED on the idea. I have driven through the park on a couple of occasions but never actually stopped or hiked around. Upon arrival we stopped at the Nature Center which was really interactive and pretty neat. We could have spent more time reading and learning about the prairie and bison but we were ready to eat some lunch and *hunt* some bison.  Many of the bison were corralled for yearly health check ups. We saw one lone bison on the prairie and stirred up a few elk on our hike but the prairie itself did not disappoint.

 

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I was amazed at beauty and diversity of the prairie. The park ranger shared how every season brings a new allurement to the prairie. We may have to venture back every season to see God’s handiwork on display.  As we hiked along the Gayfeather Trail I could not help but consider what life must have been like for the pioneers who came to “tame” the land. I gained a new understanding of what is meant by the “rolling prairie” as what I once saw a few steps before vanished in the blink of an eye. As we crested one of the highest ridges of the park my mind was ushered to a previous century where smoked, from the near by indian village, lined the horizon and the wagon train left a well worn path and unmarked grave stones in it’s wake. My soul ached at the thought of the beauty of what once was and in a sense of what has been lost.  I was quickly comforted by the sounds of my children and their friends enjoying the prairie, tramping through the vastness of the tall grass and witnessing the diversity of the creator and His wonderful works.    

Homeschool Week 7 & 8 Wrap Up

Here is week 7 & 8 in review (bullet point style).

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  • The past two weeks have been filled with music, good books and volleyball.
  • I am so thankful Grammy is passing on her love for the piano.

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  • I am loving our loop scheduling this year and we are enjoying our nature notebooks.
  • Mr. J is showing some reading readiness so we are slowly wading into our Primary Arts of Language Reading curriculum from IEW.

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  • Fall is in the air and we went apple picking! Apple picking leads to apple eating…

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  • //embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsWe have been wanting to put a fire pit in for a few years. With the help of some friends we were successful. I love having a place to sit and chat (and eat smores!!) and enjoy one another outside.

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  • We enjoyed the blood moon by the fire with a good book.

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  • Mr J was in heaven when the fire department showed up at library story time!

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  • We visited Pioneer Days at George Washington Carver National Monument for a field trip.  This is our third trip to Pioneer Days but our first trip where we really knew something about George Carver.  We have been listening to George Washington Carver: From Slave to Scientist. Despite numerous setbacks Carver sought and education and wanted to do great things in his life. I have been brought to tears numerous times while listening to this book. I can’t do him justice in a bullet point, George W. Carver is worthy of his own post. 🙂
  • At Pioneer Days the park sets up stations, old fashion games, story telling, laundry washing, candle sipping, open fire cooking, and exploring the awesome museum. My crew had a great time!

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  • All that apple picking yielded a few jars of pink applesauce, apple butter, cinnamon applesauce. YUM! I had a pretty great helper too!

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  • I am trying to build some free time into our days. While sissy was using her free time to sew I found my little guy on the deck chilling out in the sun!
  • We concluded the weekend with a fire in the fire pit, hot dogs, smores and a little reading of The Green Ember by the fire.

The past two weeks have my mama heart overflowing . They have been full of good things with my good gifts from God.

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