Friday, December 18, 2015

Happy Birthday Jesus Cake

We had a Happy Birthday Jesus Christmas party with our homeschool group this past Monday. The cake was the focal point of the party and the kids got to help decorate it.

1. The shape of the cake is round to represent the world into which Jesus was born. 

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.   ~John 3:16



2. Each of the 3 layers is a different color:

a. The bottom layer represents the fact that all our hearts are muddy, dirty and dark with sin. This is the reason Jesus came to earth. 

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  ~Romans 3:23

b. The center layer is red symbolizing Jesus' blood that was shed for our sins.

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace. ~Ephesians 1:7

c. The top layer is green denoting the new life we have in Christ after our sins have been washed away. 

He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.  ~1 John 5:12

Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.  ~John 6:35

3. The frosting is pure white signifying the righteousness and purity of Christ. 

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.  ~2 Corinthians 5:21



4. A border of red hearts symbolizes brothers and sisters united in Christ circling the earth as His witnesses.

And He said to them, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; who he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.  ~Mark 16:15-16


5. On top the cake is a gold, or yellow, star representing the star heralding His birth and lighting the way for all mankind, since the grace of God includes all, not only the Jewish people who prophesied Messiah as our Savior. 

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  ~Galatians 3:28



6. In the center on top is one large red candle representing Jesus who came into the dark world to bring it light and truth. 

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.  ~John 8:12

We didn't have a large red candle available, so we just used regular red birthday candle. We also put a candle in each heart.


After we completed a craft, played a Christmas bingo game, ate some pizza and read a story, we got to enjoy a piece of that cake. It was so good! (Of course, homemade buttercream frosting is the BEST ever!)



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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

5 Random Things ~ November & December

I'm back to 5 Random Things

Now. 

Where to start? There has been so much that I haven't been able to blog about this fall, mostly due to lack of time.  

Only 5? I'll try. 




1. I will start with this Early (not!) Bird. She was motivated one morning to rise early and get going on school work.... right out of bed; No waiting for anything. She wanted to work while I prepared breakfast and she was up before Little Man! Now that's saying something. He's usually up by 7am. She's a sleeper.

I'm still not sure what her motivation was that day. We didn't have a field trip, party or play date. Hhhmmm.    *shrug*




2. We have been enjoying science this year. Here, we were learning about how we get our seasons; rotating the Earth around the sun. We had a lamp (the sun) in the middle of the table and they moved the globe (Earth) around the lamp, taking notice of the Earth's tilt.

They didn't know that the proportions were incorrect, not true to scale. That lamp should've been much bigger, or the globe a lot smaller. Oh well. That part might be a little more important later down the road.




3. Adelle made girl choir this year. This choir was known as Cantabile Girl Choir (in association with Cantabile Youth Chorale). Tonight they premiered as "Grace Notes; a place for your voice". That is a much easier name to remember.  :-D

Their Christmas concert was tonight and a fine singing job those girls did indeed! All of Adelle's choir buddies like her name. Can you guess why?  *wink*



4. Here is a sneak peak of a party we attended today. It's December. It was birthday cake. That's all the info for now. Look for an upcoming post about this soon.




5. And I so can't leave this post w/o showing off the latest wreath I made. The Christ's Names ornaments were an idea from (hey friends, where did that idea come from?) a diy ornament blog post. I'll have to find that post and edit this to get you the web address @ a later time. You're so going to want to check it out.  It was a tutorial indeed, with free printables and everything. Note: Click on the photo to get a closer look at those name ornaments. 

Here's the tutorial: Printable Paint stick Ornaments



Rule-breaker 6. Did I mention that I have a new song to add to my favorite list? I have to play this song and read those lyrics at least once a day.  Yeah. I had to include it here. 


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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Thankful Thursday ~ Thankful for Brokenness


I am thankful for brokenness. It is in the place of being at the end of my rope, the end of myself, that I truly can turn everything over to the Lord. I don't mean just cry, vent, get it all out and then I feel better. It's more than that. 

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth articulated it best when she said, "Brokenness is not a feeling; rather, it is a choice, an act of the will. It is not primarily a one-time experience or crisis (though there may be crisis points in the process of brokenness); rather, it is an ongoing, continual lifestyle. 

"Brokenness is a lifestyle of agreeing with God about the true condition of our heart and life, as He sees it. It is a lifestyle of unconditional, absolute surrender of our will to the will of God - a heart attitude that says, 'Yes, Lord!' to whatever God says. Brokenness means the shattering of our self-will, so that the life and Spirit of the Lord Jesus may be released through us. It is our response of humility and obedience to the conviction of the Word and the Spirit of God."

What better place to be but to see God for who He truly is and my desperate need for Him? That's when brokenness comes. That's when surrender comes. And then comes the blessing of healing for my soul. 

Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart. Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood and has not sworn deceitfully. He shall receive a blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation.  ~Psalm 24:3-5



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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

From Depths of Woe I Raise to Thee

I really can't help but to share this version of From Depths of Woe I Raise to Thee. I've never heard of this hymn before Monday and now that I've read, read, and reread the lyrics, I can't help but to listen, listen and listen some more to this song. 

It. 

Is. 

Incredible. 

Here are the words:

1. From depths of woe I raise to Thee
The voice of lamentation
Lord, turn a gracious ear to me
And hear my supplication
If Thou iniquities dost mark
Our secret sins and misdeeds dark
O who shall stand before Thee?

2. To wash away the crimson stain
Grace alone availeth
Our works, alas! are all in vain
In much the best life faileth
No man can glory in Thy sight
All must alike confess Thy might
And live alone by mercy

3. Therefore my trust is in the Lord
And not in mine own merit
On Him my soul shall rest, His Word
Upholds my fainting spirit
His promised mercy is my fort
My comfort and my sweet support
I wait for it with patience

4. Though great our sins and sore our woes
His grace much more aboundeth
His helping love no limit knows
Our utmost need it soundeth
Our Shepherd good and true is He
Who will at last His Israel free
From all their sin and sorrow

It's truly enough just to read the lyrics by themselves. This arrangement by Michael O'Brien adds so much to the beauty of this poem. 





I have found another favorite. 


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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Hhmmmm

As you know, the Lord has been speaking to me lately about being thankful for the afflictions, difficulties, trials, pains and sufferings of this mortal, temporal life. Also, I have been having some physical difficulties these past few weeks, which, so far, is nothing of much significance.


So, yesterday morning, as I washed the dinner dishes from the night before, I went to the Revive Our Hearts website to listen to the latest broadcast from Nancy (Leigh) DeMoss Wolgemuth.  Wouldn't you know... she has started a new series called The Blessing of Thorns. I tilted my face toward heaven and said, "Ok, Lord." 

This afternoon, out of the blue, I decide to hit up Wretched Radio, completely forgetting about what time Todd Friel airs his radio show, and (I kid you not!) he's in the middle of broadcasting pieces of a sermon from Steve Lawson about suffering for the glory of God. 

WOW!

Do you have a broad smile forming on your face right now? I certainly did at that point this afternoon. Both of my arms raised up, dripping soapy water everywhere (again, I was doing dishes) and I ask, "Lord? What are You trying to tell me?" 

Certainly, this is no coincidence. 

I can't help but wonder....  Do I need to just get this concept into my head in general, or is God preparing me for something?



Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thankful Thursday ~ Thankful for Grace & Peace


I am so thankful that God is gracious and extends His grace to us:

I'm still waiting on an ultra sound report from the doctor for last week's pains.

I am taking it easy again as I strained some muscles in my back from picking up a box that was heavier than I thought. 

Nonetheless, God is good. I can rejoice and testify that through His strength, I am able to endure and cast off anxiety. It's amazing to me that I can be so calm and peaceful about waiting for the ultra sound results, not becoming anxious about what the results might be and even to be able to say, "Ok, Lord" when I must rest for yet another week. I quoted it last week, but let me quote it again:

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  ~Philippians 4:6-7

None of this is because of me. It's all because of HIM! When we are weak, He is strong. When we put our trust in Him, He gives us the grace, strength and peace to endure. Nothing can take that away.

I don't know what the Lord has planned in the next few weeks exactly, but I'm sure it's to conform me to His image and for me to be able to give glory to Him alone, no matter the circumstance. 

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purposes. For those whose He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son,   ~Romans8:28-29 

To God be the glory indeed! Thank you for Your peace that sustains us. Your grace is sufficient! 

Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your Name give glory because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth.  ~Psalm 115:1


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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Again: Consider It All Joy


In my last post, I talked about being thankful for the trials and difficulties of life. In my last The Homeschool Mother's Journal post, I talked about just wanting more of the Lord. I also shared my heart's desire last month. Is it coincidence now that I find myself walking through a trial? I think not. 

I suspect that God may have been preparing me for this present affliction, unbeknownst to me. That's good because it's always best to be prepared for the storms rather than to panic and try to find something to hold onto in the middle of them. 

Today, I am going to the hospital for a CT scan on my abdomen try to find out why I have been having such horrible pains. Bladder infection has been ruled out and my blood shows elevated levels of white cells. That may just be normal for me, or it may mean I have an infection somewhere. It's hard to say since I don't have any blood work such as this to compare this one to.  

These pains I have been experiencing are no joke. The only relief I get is by just being still. Absolutely still. To get up and sit down, up and down all day is to have more of this pain. To walk around is to have more pain. To bend over, or pick up anything with any kind of weight is to have more pain. To laugh, cough, sneeze or to be jarred in any way is to have seriously sharp pain. 

If you know me, you know that I have an extremely low tolerance for pain; so low it's basically nonexistent. That's not an exaggeration. Ask my husband and my mother.  :-D

In the past, I have had anxiety, fear and stress come over me when I encounter such pain. However, to God be the glory, I am absolutely calm and worry-free about any of these pains or what the causes might be! It's only because of God's grace that I am able to endure. 

Thank You, Father!

There are a couple of people who have openly declared that they are worried about me. The only response I can come up with is: "Put your worry away" and "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)

That kind of peace only comes as we are in constant fellowship with the Lord, conversing with Him and hiding His Word in our hearts. 


I have asked for prayers and I'm sure everyone is praying for healing, which is good. I believe in Divine healing, however, I am praying for God's will to be done in this situation. I desire to seek only His glory to be revealed and reflected in my life so that others may be drawn to Him. If God will get glory from healing this corruptible body of mine, then I fully accept it. If God will get glory from letting me walk through this affliction, thus conforming me to His image and teaching me to rely fully on His strength, then I accept that. It is well with my soul. I ask for God's guidance, wisdom and strength. 

Guys (and gals), I just know the Joy and Solid Rock that I have found, which is Christ Jesus. I'm just stating the facts. Jesus is the righteous ruler, sitting at the right hand of God the Father. His Holy Spirit is my comfort and the river of living water. 

My soul cries out for more of the Lord and less of me. I am willing to accept anything that life throws at me if it will conform me to His image. Temporal comfort means nothing to me if it doesn't draw me to Him. 

To be closer to Him, reflecting only His glory, is all that matters to me. 


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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Thankful Thursday ~ Thankful for Afflictions


I was praying with Adelle the other night and we were thanking the Lord for all the blessings and good things He bestows on us. In the middle of praying, it dawned on me to be thankful for those blessings that don't seem so good to us: trials, afflictions, pain, suffering, distress, hardships, etc....

Examine what the Word says about tough times,  how we should respond to them, and what the benefits are: (This is not an exhaustive list)

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

...but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;  and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:3-5

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. 1 Peter 4:12-13

Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28

Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled,but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. 1 Peter 3:13-16

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4

The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with HimFor I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:16-18
Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.  1 Peter 4:1-2
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son,... Romans 8:28-29

I am challenged to be thankful through the difficulties of life. We must keep in mind that the end goal is to be conformed to the image of Christ Jesus, thus giving Him glory in every detail of our lives. The trials and afflictions we face does just that, should we choose to let The Almighty God work in our lives. 

To God be the glory forever and ever. 

Amen!


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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Around the World Co-Op

We had an incredibly fun co-op a few weeks ago in our homeschool group. Our group leader called it, Eat Your Way Around the World. Each family chose a country to study, made a poster and cooked a dish from that country.

 We choose Italy and made bruschetta.


The making of the poster....
                                      

                                      


                                      


The making of the bruschetta....



Then we learned about these countries....
We tried a plain rice dish from China.'Twas a little bland, but still good.

We had a dessert similar to donut holes from Cypress 
and Gummy Bears from Germany. 

Irish mashed potatoes had kale in them. That was pretty good, actually.
There were several dishes from Jordan, but we only tried the pita bread and hummus. (I think that was hummus.)

There was another rice dish from Indonesia, which had tons of flavor and teeny bits of chicken in it. 

Chips and salsa from Mexico! 



The children from each family got up and told the group a little about their country.  Adelle was bashful about speaking in front of everyone, but I managed to get her to talk about the colors of Italy's flag. 


We had so much fun learning about Italy, making the poster, the bruschetta and then learning about the other countries and tasting their food. 

This is certainly one the most fun we've had at a co-op. 


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Monday, October 19, 2015

Moments to Remember: Mondays

Moments to Remember was developed as a simple way to look back on our week as homeschoolers and find photos that encompass the memories we want to remember. The week may have been tough, there may have been more bumps than smiles, but in the end, these are the moments that keep us going; the ones we need to remember. 
(created by Homeschool Creations)


  


Sometimes, we need some Monday motivation!
I think Jonathan was sent to his room before we took these pics. 
(This was actually a couple of weeks ago.)

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Homeschool Mother's Journal ~ October 16, 2015


IN MY LIFE THIS WEEK
I just want more of the Lord. He must increase, but I must decrease.  I'm not satisfied doing it my own way. I'm not satisfied to "do" Church (only on Sundays) and walk away. I'm not satisfied living in yesterday's hour. I'm not satisfied to have the form but not the power. Where's the power of the cross in my life? Lord, help my unbelief.

IN OUR HOMESCHOOL THIS WEEK
Bible - These last 2 weeks, we've been learning and talking about how Jesus is the Rock, a firm foundation, the cornerstone upon whom we build our faith and lives. We've been memorizing Mattew 7:24 - ..Everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.
History - We've been learning about George Washington and touched a bit on the French and Indian War and events leading up to the Revolutionary War. I don't know who is learning more, the children or me! (I have forgotten a lot of history). 
Science - We've learned how we get our seasons. We put a lamp in the middle of the table w/o its shade to represent the sun. We then moved the globe around the lamp, demonstrating the earth's orbit around the sun, thus showing how that gives us seasons. Granted, our earth size to the sun size was by no means correct, but this lesson certainly got the point across. Today, we are going to draw a tree outside, exactly how we see it. Then we'll go back to that same tree and draw it again in the winter, spring and summer. (I'll have to add notes in my curriculum books to remind myself to do that the rest of the year.)
Our Read Aloud
Language Arts - These children continue to amaze me with the way they can remember what they're being taught. Adelle's handwriting is coming along nicely. Poor Jonathan.... He's trying. 
Math - We started to learn how to add 9 this week. Those unit blocks are helping a great deal with that! I really like Math-U-See. 
Reading - As a read aloud, we are reading through Sarah Whitcher's Story. Little Sarah wanders away from her family's cabin into the New Hampshire forest and settlers come from all across the countryside to help find her. As the long days pass, the searchers grow desperate, but her father's trust in God holds firm. We're only in the 2nd chapter, but my children are quite engrossed!

MY FAVORITE THING THIS WEEK
I must say, I had fun helping the children make salt dough rocks. To reinforce that Jesus is our Rock, we made rocks, or paper weights, out of salt dough. I etched Jesus the Rock into the dough before we baked them. 

MY CHILDREN'S FAVORITE THING THIS WEEK
Adelle's favorite thing this week was making her "Jesus the Rock" paper weight. Jonathan's favorite thing this week was moving the "earth" around the "sun" in science. 

I'M READING
Voice of the Martyrs
I just finished reading Voice of the Martyr's book Hearts of Fire. It is a collection of testimonies of 8 women from different backgrounds and the struggles they each faced ringing with similarity. From Pakistan, India, Romania, the former Soviet Union, China, Vietnam, Nepal and Indonesia, these women shared similar experiences of hardship and persecution -- all for their faith in Christ -- yet they have emerged from adversity as leaders and heroines. Persecution of the Church is not new and it certainly still going on today. I don't normally read these kinds of books. It was free and when I got it in the mail, I put it away and it stayed in my drawer for weeks. One Sunday afternoon, I picked it up and began to read. I'm in my recliner sobbing at the first story yet I can't put the book down. I couldn't put it down for the next 2 weeks! The amazing thing that stuck out to me was the fact that each story talked about how God's peace filled these ladies as they were going through their persecutions. Maybe the Lord was trying to show me this fact about Himself through this book. I don't have to worry about what's going to happen to me b/c He is always there and He will give grace and peace to sustain me.

I know absolutely nothing about persecution. Nothing at all. In fact, I am quite embarrassed to call myself a Christian. If faith costs me nothing, is it even faith at all? That's not to say that I'm looking for torture, but is there hard evidence in my life that would make someone accuse me of following Christ at all costs? I should say not. Wretched indeed. 

I'M LISTENING TO
Tommy Walker
Hymns! Old and new. Back in January this year, I made a goal to learn to sing and play (on the piano and sax) hymns that I didn't know previously. I have learned several hymns this year. The lyrics of these hymns are deep and rich with theology. We can learn a lot from the old hymns and learn about God from them. These modern contemporary surface only songs do not compare.  

Matt Boswell
Selah does a fabulous job arranging the hymns. I just found an album by Tommy Walker called Generation Hymns where he has added choruses and even rearranged the melodies. I do
like a hymn with a great chorus added to it, a chorus that doesn't change the focus of the song. I've heard hymns that have been added to that just doesn't make sense.

Matt Boswell has also added to old hymns as well as written new ones. 


I'M LEARNING.... 
I'm learning all kinds of things in History that I had forgotten or that I didn't learn at all. I didn't know all the inventions and great work Ben Franklin achieved (from last week). I certainly have forgotten about the French and Indian War!

I'm also learning that this is a family, not a dictatorship. See the video below. I've been trying to rule in this home without developing relationships. Yeah, that's not right and it hasn't been working; nor have I been demonstrating God's character and love. Ggggrrrrrr.....

A QUOTE TO SHARE
"Rules without relationships lead to rebellion." ~ Josh McDowell



SCRIPTURE OF THE WEEK
Therefore, since Christ suffered in the flesh [and died for us], arm yourselves [like warriors] with the same purpose [being willing to suffer for doing good for what is right and pleasing God], because whoever has suffered in the flesh [being like-minded with Christ] is done with [intentional] sin [having stopped pleasing the world] so that he can no longer spend the rest of his natural life living for human appetites and desires, but [lives] for the will and purpose of God.
1 Peter 4:1-2 Amplified Bible

Here is the latest hymn I've been learning....




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