Saturday, August 23, 2014

Turning Off the TV

Since starting school with the kids 3 weeks ago, we have determined to keep the TV off as much as possible during the week. Three weeks later, I am pleased to say that, by God's grace, it has been off more than it has been on! Jim and I are rediscovering our love for reading, I am writing more, the kids are reading or drawing or playing outside more. We are just getting more productive things done. On top of that we are also enjoying being together as a family. We read books together, play together and are starting to teach the older two games. Their current favorite is "Go Fish!"

More than this Jim and I are communicating more! That has been such a blessing. Occasionally we will have a movie night, but generally speaking after we put the kids to bed we are either reading together or talking about what we are thinking/feeling/learning/etc. The whole feel of our house is changing. We really desire to have a more God centered home, and I believe turning off the TV more has helped tremendously with that.

What's more is I generally don't miss it. I am a TVaholic! Seriously, I love TV way too much. But I have realized these last few weeks that what I really enjoy is not having to think. Lately I have had so much on my mind that I am tempted to escape into media, but instead I have been praying, writing in my journal or working on my books and really facing life headlong instead of escaping. In this I am discovering how much I really love my husband and kids and how blessed I really am.

God is doing an incredible work in our home. I pray that it continues! As we continue to grow I hope to write more on here and Childbirth Conversations as these have taken a backseat as Jim and I seek together what we need to be doing. I know I need to be writing after my other priorities as done, but I am still seeking what that looks like.

What would happen in your home if you turned off your TV more? If you already don't watch it, don't start! It's hard to break. :)

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Praying Life by Paul E. Miller

Jim and I read this book together and we both found it extremely encouraging and helpful. Miller begins with discussing why we do not pray and how life can keep us from communing with God. I loved the examples he gave from his own life in how we can seek God in the "big" things and in the everyday. Since I love to pray, it was useful to see areas where I fail to pray, especially in everyday events. I can already see God using what we learned in this book to grow my prayer life. At the end of the book, Miller gives some practical ways to document prayer or have concentrated prayer times. I am excited to make prayer cards and begin implementing them, not only by myself, but hopefully as a family as well.

I personally believe everyone should read this book. I am quite sure I will read it again, especially as I know times will come when prayer will be hard. This book is a 5 star rating as it is Biblically sound and is Gospel focused.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Scariest Prayer Every Christian Should Pray

I'm not sure if it was in a sermon or if it was simply part of a discussion, maybe at community group, but I have been reminded recently of the scariest prayer every Christian should pray. It is simply this.

Jesus make me more like you.

This should be the desire of everyone who follows Christ. Scripture tells us we are meant to become more like Jesus.

"For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might become the firstborn of many brothers." 
~Romans 8:29

So why then is this scary? Because it is a prayer God will answer and most likely it will be a painful process. Why is it painful? Because to be more like Christ we must die to ourselves and join in Christ's sufferings. This will look different for everyone, but God will do whatever it takes to make us more like Jesus. Jesus loved without being loved. He gave freely and generously. He healed but always reached out for peoples souls. He communed with God and did exactly what He gave Jesus to do. He denied Himself and became a servant and gave His life as a ransom for many.

As Christ followers we are called to live like Jesus, and that is not easy. We can never be perfect, but because of the Holy Spirit living in us we can live more like Christ everyday. This means He will weed sin out of our hearts. He will put us in positions to practice living like Him. None of this is easy. But it is what is best for us.

Are you willing to pray this prayer?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Understanding the Word of God

Last Sunday we had a great sermon that Jim called very basic hermenuetics, or how we study the Bible. We are commanded to study Scripture so that we can know God more, but in order to study the Scripture we must understand it. Understanding encompasses 3 major things: Translation, Explanation and Application.

Translation: This is vial for the Word of God to be understood. It must be written in a way that people understand. There are different translations, some word for word and others thought for thought and some that are in the middle. All are good for Bible study and should be considered at different times depending on how you are studying. Different translations will deepen your study. Get a translation you understand.

Explanation: Break down the text you are reading. Look at historical and cultural contexts to help you understand what is going on in the texts. Be clear in your explanations. If you don't understand, ask someone to help you!

Application: Take what you study and apply it to your life. Rearrange your life so that you are a doer of the Word! When you read a text ask yourself, What difference does this make in my life? Work it out with the Holy Spirit and in community.

When we understand we must respond. This is taking application to the next level. When God stirs His Word in us, we must respond.

Reverence: This is the posture of our heart. It is God's grace when we long for conviction. We cannot be reverent if we are cynical. They cannot coexist. Seek to revere God's Word.

Attentiveness: We need to have our ears bent towards God's Word, ready to hear. The chief sin of this generation is distraction. We always have something to distract us. Are you being attentive to hear God's Word daily?

Worship: The goal of hearing God's Word is to worship God. We need to ask God to fill  with a desire for Him, to be completely satisfied by Him. Only Christ can satisfy us and all of the Scriptures point to Christ. Are you worshiping God and being completely satisfied in Christ?

How is your understanding of God's Word?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

First Week Of School

This week was our first week of the new school year. We took a month off that went by so fast, but I don't think fast enough for the kids. I'm thankful for a new school year and to see our kids starting to feel settled again.

This year Jamey is doing Sonlight with a combination of Core B with 1st grade Math, 2nd great Language Arts and Science A. (We ended up not doing science last year because of how it went so we are doing it this year.) Lillian is doing Sonlight P4/5, which includes all of her subjects. Reuben and Gabriel are doing the Brightly Beaming Baby resources I found online when I first started schooling Jamey 3 years ago. We are doing the Preparatory Curriculum with them and they really liked it this week.

It's so crazy having 4 of them in school, but I'm thankful that they are all wanting to learn. I hope it will continue to go well. This week was smooth as we took the week easy to see what the days might look like. Everyday we were done with all formal schooling by 11 am! Most days it was earlier than that. I'm so thankful Jim has really taken initiative with school again this year and is helping so much. Right now our school morning look like this:

All together: Bible, Catechism, Scripture Memory and Prayer
Reuben and Gabriel's curriculum- working on shapes, letters, numbers, vocabulary and coloring. They then play either outside or in the living room
Jamey and Lillian listen to a chapter from Jamey's curriculum
Lillian with me does her work book "Developing the Early Learner" (highly recommend these books), read aloud story, Science or Culture
Jamey with Jim does language arts, math and science

I have been extremely pleased at how this has gone. This week Jamey will start a music class on Wednesdays, which I am excited about. We also are beginning to teach Jamey and Lillian things in the kitchen and cleaning. We will also add language study as well, once we see what Jim's class time requirements will be.

It looks like it is going to be a good school year with breaks throughout, instead of any long breaks. That is an exciting and hopefully will work well.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

July Evaluation

Spiritual
  • Spend at least 10 minutes praying daily- Yes
  • Spend at least 10 minutes reading and reflecting on the Bible daily- Yes! God has given me a passion to devour the Word!
  • Memorize verses with the kids - We are not learning anything new currently
  • Memorize Proverbs 31:10-31 and Romans 1 (I hope to add more to it, but this is where I want to start)- I read over Proverbs 31:10-31 and have 10-16 down
Marriage
  • Go out for a date once a month- We have been on at least 1 a week! 
  • Go on a night away once this year- Yes, went overnight to Lexington for our 10th anniversary
  • Read 3 books together this year- We are currently working on our 2nd book together this year, "A Praying Life"
  • Discuss plan weekly on Sunday afternoon- Still improving, but mostly
Kids
  • Spend 30 minutes of one on one time with each child every week- Some, but not a lot. Right now Jim and I are working on making our marriage 1st priority, so this will come later
  • Go to playgroup each Tuesday- Yes
  • Take kids to Science Center or Zoo at least once a month- Nope
  • Write in individual journals at least 3 times this year- Wrote in Sam's
  • Finish Jamey's 1st year Scrapbook- Did nothing with this during July, not sure this one will happen
Homemaking
  • Keep up with cleaning schedule- Did not do this 
  • Keep up with my calendar- Did fairly well with this overall, still room for improvement
  • Being fully present when with my family- Getting better at this. God has been really working on me and helping me to do better in this area
Ministry
  • Continue to host Women's Prayer once a month- Yes
  • Have at least 4 Childbirth Conversation classes this year- This may have been too, lofty of a goal. As of right now I might get 1 more in this year
  • Start Childbirth Conversation blog- Yes! It is finally launched. You can check it out here
Personal
  • Read a book a month aside from Class material- Yes! This month I read "To Walk or Stay"
  • Journal 5 days a week- I might have averaged this, but a couple weeks I only wrote twice
  • Write (books) 3 days a week- Nope
  • Edit novel to prepare for publishing and research publishing options- Did a little editing one day
  • Complete Childbirth Conversation book- Did not work on this at all
  • Plan for next novel and write in November- Did not get any planning done this month
  • Finish Rosetta Stone Russian level 1 and begin Level 2- Have not worked on this
  • Continue to meet once a month with writing group- July was too crazy and it did not happen
  • Blog 3 days a week- Not at all. I've wanted to, but my thoughts are really scattered in the busyness. Got a few down last week, but still wrestling with what all to write
Health
  • Go to water aerobics once a week- Unable to do this this month, hoping to start back soon
  • Maintain weight until birth- Gained more than I wanted, but less than previous pregnancies!
  • Lose weight after giving birth- Beginning to lose the weight, but not being super active about it at the moment
July went by fast! Much faster than I was expecting. Perhaps that's because June crawled. Either way, I'm still boggled that it is already over. It has been all over the place as God seeks to guide us and grow us more in the image of Christ, growing our marriage, our kids, and our responsibilities. God has been good to us in all of it as He guides us both gently and harshly. I am so thankful that He is my God, even as I wrestle with Him about who He is. Clearly a lot of my goals are not being met and likely will not be this year. But honestly, I'm OK with that because I'm closer to God, to Jim, to my kids and my local Body.

How was your July?

July Blessings

July was all over the place and went by so quickly. We saw family for a couple of days, had VBS, lots of learning, and enjoyed being together. Our family has grown a lot this month, especially Jim and I. It's been hard and good as we learn more about God and His design for life. Here is a peek at some of the blessings He gave us this month, though I know there were many more.
  1. Jim finishing the school year with the kids. Seriously, since Sam was born he did school with them everyday. This is such a huge blessing. Thank you, Jim! 
  2. Finishing this school year
  3. Having a month long break
  4. Lillian acting out movies as she watches them
  5. Free parking downtown
  6. Half priced tickets at Louisville Slugger Factory
  7. God moving in my heart
  8. Jim and I growing together in Christ
  9. Growing more in love with Jesus
  10. God teaching me more and more about His character
  11. Jamey asking about Jesus
  12. Having an hour alone with the Lord outside
  13. Being reminded of things God has asked me to do
  14. Learning about sinfulness and forgiveness
  15. Watching Jamey and Lillian act out movies
  16. Growing in communication
  17. Meeting with Julianne to talk about prayer
  18. Laura Brandt
  19. Having needed discussions even when they are hard
  20. Meeting with Tom and Robyn
  21. Being encouraged in the faith
  22. Watching less TV
  23. Growing in prayer
  24. Teaching the kids to play Go Fish
  25. Learning to trust God more
  26. Learning more about Jim
  27. Learning more about myself
  28. Going out on a date every week
  29. Jamey learning to draw more
  30. God still working on all of us
  31. Reuben and Gabriel communicating more
  32. Reuben beginning to transition to big boy bed
  33. Many teachable moments
  34. Jamey and Lillian learning about Jesus at VBS
  35. Seeing the Knowles
  36. Seeing the Jacksons