Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Working Hard

God Forbid

This is an old song by Point of Grace from the 90's, but the message of this song is very fitting for today, especially in these times as we watch the world completely plunge itself deeper into darkness and the way professing Christians show their disregard for the One True God.

Last night, before bed, we read a chapter out of the Bible, I asked the children questions about what we had just read. The answer to one my questions was Jesus. His name came out of one of my children's mouth so horribly disrespectfully; you could barely tell that this child was even saying His name. I was astonished. I explained to my children that this disrespect of the Lord's name is an example of taking His name in vain and that we are to never do that.

Later on as I was getting ready for bed, this song came to my mind. 

God Forbid

The more I know Your power, Lord
The more I'm mindful
How casually we speak and sing your name
How often we have come toYou
With no fear of wonder
And called upon You only for what we stand to gain

God forbid that I find You so familiar
That I think of You as less than who You are
God forbid that I should speak of You at all
Without a humble reverence in my heart
God forbid

Lord I often talk about your love and mercy
How it seems to me Your goodness has no end
It frightens me to think that I could take You for granted
Though You're closer than a brother
You are more than just my friend

God forbid that I find You so familiar
That I think of You as less than who You are
God forbid that I should speak of You at all
Without a humble reverence in my heart
God forbid

You are Father, God Almighty
Lord of lords, You're King of kings
Beyond my understanding
No less than everything

God forbid that I find You familiar
That I think of You as less than who You are
God forbid that I should speak of You at all
Without a humble reverence in my heart
God forbid

God forbid
God forbid

I can't help but to wince at my own indifference toward the Lord Almighty sometimes. How in the world am I capable of having a flippant attitude towards Him? Ever?

This flesh must come under submission to Christ, even my very thoughts must be captive to Him. Through His grace and strength, it is possible. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Thankful Thursday ~ Thankful for the Valley

Last month, I  mentioned that I was struggling and couldn't figure out why. I am still struggling, but I believe the answer was revealed to me today. 

Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords indeed! He is the Savior of the world; the Lamb Who was slain for our sins. So why on earth am I struggling so bad?

I have asked the Lord repeatedly to humble me, to crucify this pride that is so monstrously HUGE within me. I hate this arrogance terribly. I am grieved every time I realize that I have let conceit and selfishness take control.... again. 

So I have come to a place that I am just ready to be rid of it entirely. My prayer has been for the Lord to lay me low and grow me in faith, love and grace. 

John Newton's song, I asked the Lord That I Might Grow, describes perfectly what has been going on in my life lately: 

I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith and love and every grace
Might more of His salvation know
And seek more earnestly His face

I hoped that in some favored hour
At once He'd answer my request
And by His love's constraining power
Subdue my sins and give me rest

Instead of this He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart
And let the angry powers of hell
Assault my soul in every part.

Yes, He is answering my prayer, but not in an easy way. He is taking me through the valley and emptying me so He can fill me. The trouble is, my flesh if fighting HARD; so powerfully.  The only thing I can do is to pray, asking the Lord to help me surrender, and then surrender indeed. 

Grueling, exhausting and severe as this is, I am thankful for this valley. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Missionary Stories: He Wasn't Crazy

We are reading through the Millers Series for our read alouds this year, as I have previously mentioned.  One of the things I like about this book is that the kids are getting a small taste of some ways God moves and shows His power around the world. Some are stories of how God has protected his missionaries while others talk about how some missionaries have given their lives for Jesus' name sake. I have not read all the stories yet, but I have not found one that was too graphic for my elementary aged children, 2nd and 4th grade, but that is my own opinion.

I need to let you know that I am not being paid or rewarded by the author nor the publisher of the book in sharing this with you. I simply want to share how awesome God is in the lives of real people and encourage everyone to put their trust in Him. 

So today I wanted to share one of my favorite stories from this book.

Ludlow Walker

     Ludlow Walker was a wealthy man who lived in Hattieville, Belize in 1980. He was obsessed with making more and more money. Someday he believed he would be one of the world's richest men! But one day, Ludlow realized that money wasn't bringing him happiness, only greed and fear. In his torment and disappointment, he reached for his father's old Bible, where he found the answer.
     He was the owner of a local motel and bar. One day, he was reading that Bible behind the bar while his customers looked on in uneasiness and disbelief. "That's a Bible!" muttered someone. "He's crazy, for true!"
     The crowd offered him a cigarette, begged him to turn on some dance music and even offered him to take a drink of liquor. "Here, man," said a customer dressed in an expensive suit. "Drink this quickly; you need it worse than I do!"
     Ludlow Walker raised his head and looked full in the face of his friend. "No," he spoke deliberatley. "I won't drink that. I will never drink liquor again."
     "Crazy," someone muttered. "What's going on? Let's get out of here!" He headed for the door and one by one the other drinkers followed him.
     Alone at the bar, Ludlow prayed. Lord, help me! I want Your power to change me! I've had enough of sin and darkness. He sought out a couple of missionaries to talk to and they led him to the pastor of the church, Brother Gilbert Stevens, who explained more to Ludlow about the way of salvation. His life was never the same after that. How the Christians rejoiced as they spoke with this new brother in the Lord!
     Ludlow's motel and bar was famous throughout the country. His friends and customers were disappointed and angry about this change in his life. Many people laughed and mocked at Ludlow. "He won't last long," they scoffed. "He loves money too much. He can't give up that nice business. Surely not!"
     One afternoon a rowdy group of men came and demanded rooms in the motel. They were drunken and dangerous and their leader began to threaten Ludlow. "I'm going to get you if you don't give up your crazy idea of being a Christian and closing this place!"
     Ludlow shuddered, This was serious! "Lord," he prayed. "I'm scared. Help me! Show me some sign that you are with me."
     The evening sky had been perfectly clear before Ludlow prayed, but suddenly it was full of black clouds. Thunder boomed and lightening struck down close by.
     The hostile man was astonished and frightened. "You did that, man!" he gasped, looking at Ludlow with eyes full of superstitious fear. "I saw you pray!" Picking up his liquor bottle, he backed away.
     Ludlow laughed triumphantly. "No, I didn't do it," he replied. "God did!" Crack! Lightning struck again and huge drops of rain began to fall. The angry man suddenly seemed quite sober. Turning away, he ran to his room and slammed the door. He and his friends switched off their lights and huddled fearfully in the darkness together.
     Ludlow knelt alone and gave thanks to God. At once, the rain and thunder stopped! All the black clouds slipped away, revealing a fresh, beautiful moonlit sky. Rejoicing at the way God had protected him, Ludlow went home to his bed.
     The next day, Ludlow asked the Lord what he should do with all of the property and everything he owned. He didn't want to keep it nor did he want to sell or give it away; it would cause other people to sin. Even before he was done praying, he knew what to do.
     He began to dump all the expensive liquor out. As hundreds of dollars worth of expensive liquors  gurgled out onto the ground, a crowd of curious people gathered to watch. "What is he doing?" "He's crazy!" they muttered. Ludlow Walker laughed happily. "We are getting rid of the devil's poison," he explained to everyone. "It will kill the weeds, so what do you think it does to the folks that drink it?"
     A few days later, the people came back to stare again at the strange sight of Ludlow and some workmen tearing down the whole building, brick by brick, board by board, piece by piece! "We will sell it all for scrap," the owner said with a satisfied smile. "Poor folks may use the pieces to build houses, but no one will ever drink liquor here again."
     A few years later, the villagers learned that Ludlow Walker was now a minister. "We all said he was crazy," said one man, "but I guess God changed him." Wistfully he added, "Wouldn't you sort of like to have what he has?"
     Today (as of 1993 anyway), Ludlow Walker is the pastor of a church in Southern Florida. He also runs a mission called "Ship Watch" in the great seaport of Miami, where merchant ships come from all over the world. Brother Ludlow and groups of volunteers preach, sing, witness and give away Bibles and tracts in many languages to the sailors.

Note: Some parts of this are directly taken from the story in the book and some parts are summarized. 

Virtual Homeschool Co-Op #2: Handling Negative Comments

The second assignment in the VHC is to share how we handle negative comments or questions about homeschooling. 

The questions are:

  • Who are the naysayers in your life?
  • What are the comments that you get told or asked?
  • How do you handle all of these comments and questions?

In our 5 or 6 years of homeschooling, I can't say that I have encountered very much negativity towards homeschooling. My family has been pretty supportive as well as my in-laws. If any of those people have any negative thoughts or ideas, they've never expressed them to us. 

I have had various people ask us questions about homeschooling, like, why do we homeschool, how long do we plan to homeschool, how do I teach this or that, etc.... When I have encountered these curiosities, I never detected any animosity towards our decision to homeschool. If anyone was asking questions out of deviousness, I never picked up on it, which may be a good thing b/c I may have handled the inquiries differently. 

I am glad that I haven't had to deal with negativity because I am terribly hard on myself in the first place. When I hear that homeschoolers are generally smarter than the rest, I doubt that my own kids are smarter than anyone, but that's not really my goal anyway. 

I plan to check out what other VHC members have to say on this topic, because I'm sure I will experience negativity as some point. 

Hey, my fellow homeschool friends! Check out the Virtual Homeschool Co-op. I bet you'll find ideas and encouragement.  :-D

Monday, September 19, 2016

Virtual Homeschool Co-Op: Introduction

An introduction is the next VHC assignment. It's mainly to introduce myself to the VHC community, but just in case you don't know who I am......


Introduce yourself: Tell where you are, Who you homeschool and How long you've been homeschooling:
My given name is Cynthia Renee', but everyone calls me Cyndi. Cynthia is only for formalities. My husband and I moved from my hometown to a small city in the same state and I was planning to go by my middle name. That didn't work out as I kept forgetting to put Renee' on everything. I guess I'm sticking to Cyndi.  :-P

I am a city girl from the "Heart of America" (Missouri.), but I was transferred to the South several years ago; Mississippi to be exact. This is definitely not my kind of place to live, especially with all this horrid humidity. Nonetheless, God is good!   :-)

I am homeschooling my 2 little lovelies: Adelle (aka Sugar Bear), 4th grade,  and Jonathan (aka Little Man), 2nd grade. Last year, I was helping a friend from church and homeschooled her grandson for K5. I also had my neighbor's 2-yr old tot for a couple of hours a day. Several years before that, I was babysitting my best friend's little boy and he got the benefits of homeschool while I gave Adelle her lessons. I am glad to say that this year, I am teaching only my 2. Whew!  

If you count K4, we are in our 6th year of homeschooling. I don't really count that very first year, b/c I mean, come on, that was a bunch of play and crafts and so much fun! Yes, learning happened in all of that, but I was not very intentional at all about it. Adelle's K5 year is when we actually "hit the books". 

Mission statement
I really never developed a mission statement. I know, 5 years in and I don't have a mission statement? I know why I'm homeschooling, which we will go into detail on that in a different post, but really, the bottom line is that the Lord of hosts led me here. I fought Him for 2 years on it before I said "yes".  Maybe I should develop a mission statement and jot down our goals, that way I can go back to it and remind myself why I'm doing this when I have those days where I want to pull my hair out and holler, "Why am I doing this?!?"

Yes, holler.

Let's just be honest... and my kids have seen me break down. It's not pretty. Hopefully (and prayerfully), the Lord is opening their eyes to see that Mama needs Jesus too and He helps her along the way.

What's your teaching approach?
I lean very much to the Charlotte Mason method of teaching, but my traditional side needs structure and some work sheets. I do love living books though.

We started out with a "box curriculum" for Adelle's kindergarten year, switched "boxes" for 1st grade, went back to "box A" for 2nd grade, complete with tears all year long. We're NOT going to go through that again so I decided to pick and choose from various "boxes" this year.

Poor Adelle... having to deal while this Mama was trying to figure all this out and Jonathan was just along for the ride!  LOL

You can read about our curriculum choices here

How has social media helped you (youtube, blogs, etc....)?
If you know me, you've heard me joke on several occasions about how YouTube is my best friend. There are a few homeschool families I peek at consistently, Just Sew Trish being one of them.

*Hey Trish!*

It's very encouraging to see that other homeschool families go through similar situations and even better to see how those situations are handled... and not only on youtube. I enjoy reading other people's blogs too.

I love to get ideas on how to organize everything, from books and toys to even how to organize one's time. I have really enjoyed learning how Andrea Mills organizes everything in her normal size house with a large family living in it.

And don't think for one second that I'm sitting on youtube looking only at homeschool videos. When I need to figure out how to do something, youtube is my go-to for help and instruction. I have learned many new skills watching youtube videos.

Now, I'm not sitting on the computer all day looking at videos and reading blogs. I do have children to raise and a house to run, but I have had to completely ban being on FaceBook or any of those types of social media, b/c then I am on the computer all day and everything else is neglected.

What are you excited about getting from the VHC this year?
I guess I hadn't really thought too much about that part. Like I mentioned above, I do enjoy getting ideas and being encouraged by other people being open and honest about life. So, I guess I'm looking forward to seeing how everyone in this community is doing.

And as I share and try to be as real as possible here, I hope and pray that I can be an encouragement to those who would read this little open journal of mine.

The purpose for the Virtual Homeschool Co-op is to collaborate with other homeschool families to broaden the body of community of knowledge. Learn more at

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Virtual Homeschool Co-Op #1 - Structured or Relaxed?

I mentioned the Virtual Homeschool Co-op in this blog back in June, which was the last assignment for last school year. This video series has started up again for this school year and I am going to try participate in each assignment. 

The purpose for this virtual co-op is to "collaborate with other homeschool families to broaden the body of community of knowledge", as Just Sew Trish on Youtube put it. :-)

So the first assignment is to answer this: Are you structured or relaxed? In your curriculum, your space and your time. Where would you put yourself on a scale of 0-10, 0 is relaxed, 10 is structured. How does this work in your home and why does it work for you. 

That is a mouthful of a question! 

I have been thinking about how to answer this question as I paid closer attention to how we roll over here.  

1. Curriculum - 8
When it comes to curriculum, I like to have everything planned out with the supplies organized and ready. Having a plan in place is my sanity. If I don't have written down what we need to do every day, then I am all over the place and forgetful of what needs to happen each day. The curriculum itself is a bit on the structured side as well, but we don't have tons of worksheets. I do like to try to keep the worksheets and hands-on activities balanced, that way we're getting the best of both worlds.  :-)   

2. Space - 6
The space where we do the brunt of our learning is in the dining room. This is the one and only area of our house that is the most organized and tidy, except for the little ledge. I simply cannot have or give my kids a stress-free and complete school day unless our books and supplies are in their places. Now, that's not to say that we always put away everything we pull out after each subject, but we certainly get it all back in its place before we have lunch and then again at the end of the school day. Having the space organized and tidy helps us know where to find our things and where to put back. Clean up is a breeze when our space is structured. Now, if I can apply that principle to the rest of the house....

*ah hem*

Moving right along. 

3. Time - 2
Ok, time is where I am a bit relaxed. I do have a routine that we try to stick to, but I am way more flexible with the time. I like for us to be up and ready to go by a certain time, but if the kids got to bed late the night before, or if I didn't sleep well, then I accommodate according to our needs. So some days we are up before 7am and others, not until after 7am (but usually by 8am at the very latest). 

I have heard about the whole not spending more than 15-20 minutes on a subject, but we are still working on behavioral issues here (which we really should be past that) but that fact will take us past 20 minutes. When we have written work to do after I teach a lesson I'll turn the timer on so we can go on to the next thing. 

After we complete a lesson, I let the kids take a 3-5 minute breather, taking a lap around the back yard or down the hall a few times. If I get a crazy hair to switch the laundry over or put away clean dishes, then of course, I'm letting us take a longer break. Some days I am wanting us to really work diligently on school and worry about the house work afterwards. Some days I'm just more relaxed about it.

Now, being so relaxed with the time certainly has its pros and cons. Being lax in this area gets us behind on our work, whether its the house or the school, then I get overwhelmed b/c of it. Then I throw up my hands b/c I think I don't have time to clean, or no time to blog, or no time to practice music, etc.... When really, if I was more structured in my time, then that wouldn't happen. 

So, overall, I rank 5.3 on the structured-relaxed scale
I knew I was right in the middle.  :-D

If you're interested, you can hop over to The Virtual Homeschool Co-op website to see how other homeschool families have answered this question.