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Sunday, September 26, 2010

All For the Prayer of an 8 Year Old Boy

From the moment we are born, we begin to change, to grow, and to adapt.  As little children, we learn so many new things and we cannot wait until the day when we are all grown up and we know everything there is to know in the world, so we can make our own decisions and no one can tell us what to do anymore.  Boy, were we WRONG!

As adults, so many times, we look back on our younger years with much more fondness & appreciation than is really necessary.  We often find ourselves saying, "If only I would have known then..."That would certainly have been a dangerous situation.

But, even through all of our trials & triumphs, nothing even remotely prepares us for parenthood!  Oh yeah sure, we are so confident in the beginning, but from the moment that precious baby comes home, we find out that all of our expertize is useless.  What we thought would work, doesn't.  What we thought we would do, we won't.  Life becomes a great big cycle of question, worry, confusion, success, failure, & try again.

Nothing & no one can cause devastating mood swings quite like children.  One minute they are perfect angels with a look that can melt even the stoniest heart.  The next minute they cause you to question the decision to even have children.  They can go from "Yes Ma'am & No Sir" to completely ignoring you in the blink of an eye.

My family is no exception.  I probably experience this more since I am blessed (at least most of the time, I believe this!) to be able to homeschool our kids.  I have been on an emotional roller coaster lately complete with dizzying heights, heart stopping falls, & even a few gravity defying loops.  I have felt pride & embarrassment, relief & guilt, accomplishment & failure, excitement & despair - all in the past few days.  But tonight was a moment that will, no doubt, rank right up there with several others for pride, gratitude, & sheer amazement.

Austin had his last home football game of the season & from the beginning, things just weren't going our way.  He was having a very hard time listening to Justin & myself during the day & he had gotten into trouble for trivial things. BUT, I know Austin & I knew that these things would stay with him in the back of his mind during the game so we tried our best to encourage him before the game.

Well, they didn't even get to play the "5th quarter" game, which is an opportunity to allow the younger, less experienced boys to play.  The other team didn't have enough players.  This put the parents, the coaches, & the players in a foul mood before the game even got started.  They also changed our game time, so that affected everyone as well.  So, we waited & we waited & we waited.  It was a very close ballgame.  Austin finally got to play with less than a minute left in the game & we lost.  Blah, Blah, Blah, its just another ballgame.

Ok, here comes the amazing part:  Justin was talking to the coach after the game & was thanking him for working with these boys & for letting them see that God comes first; when the coach turns to Justin, with tears in his eyes and says how proud he is of Austin.  You see, Coach Brian usually leads the boys in prayer, but he asked a couple of different boys to pray tonight.  They didn't want to, so Austin just raised his hand & said he would.  Brian continued on to say how that really took a lot of guts for him to be able to pray in front of a group of his friends.  There is so much truth in that statement, but so many times we forget the power behind prayer.

I stand in awe at the responsibility bestowed on me & my husband with the raising of our children.  I am humbled beyond belief because a man, who, holding an important position in a sport that is usually not known for Godly representation, saw faith, courage, & determination in my little boy.  I am also ashamed because so many times my faith is weaker than that of a childs.

God, help me to be a better example for my children, a better helper for my husband, and a more positive witness to the world!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What Kind of Person Will You Be

When I was a little girl, I had so many dreams, plans, & ideas.  As I grew older, I forgot about some of the more trivial dreams such as becoming a princess or living in some enchanted castle in a distant land.  Eventually, I changed my mind on a few more dreams like becoming famous, having lots of money, & living in a glamorous big city. 

You see, over time, people's dreams, desires, & opinions change according to their situations.  Every little child has big, elaborate dreams of the future.  When we were little, how many of us dreamed of becoming an astronaut, a fireman, or a rockstar?  Some of us never give up on those dreams, few of us get the privilege to live those dreams in the real life.

Our opinions also change about how we see people.  Every little girl's daddy is her hero.  (Although, my daddy still is my hero!)  Everyone believes that they will marry their high school sweetheart.  And good will always defeat evil.  But that's mostly fairy tale stuff.

The world has a certain set of standards, but do we really want to live up to these standards?  Sometimes, it takes several years to truly wake up & open your eyes to what is important.

Many people have an image or an idea of who & what I should be, what people should be in general.  That's ok, but if you put too much stock in the person you think or expect me to be, you may find yourself disappointed.  There's nothing wrong with me wanting to be the type of woman my community watches & sees me to be, my church believes me to be, or my friends support me to be.  I could even strive to be the woman my family understands me to be, my children need me to be, or my husband desires me to be.  But I should be more concerned with being the woman that God knows I can be & Satan fears I can be, instead of the woman that I think I should be.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Make Sure You Read The Entire Book Before You Decide How Its Going To End

We are all guilty about judging people on their appearances, whether we want to admit it or not.  The man in raggedy clothes standing at an intersection begging for money ~ could he really be homeless and hungry, or "I bet he is just going to go buy alcohol".  The young girl who is obviously several months pregnant ~ was it a one time slip up with the boy she thought loved her, or "I bet she has been sleeping around".  The man in a decent suit & tie ~ has he just had to bury someone he loves or "I bet he is a professional businessman & an upstanding citizen with lots of money".  The young boys in slouchy pants skateboarding down the street ~ are they just boys having fun or "I bet they are punks up to no good".

We see people every single day & subconsiously, we decide, without ever meeting them, what kind of person they must be. People have been guilty of this for centuries, & unfortunatly, I do not see any signs of change anytime soon.

I don't consider myself to be a judgemental person. I try not to make my mind up about a situation until I know all the facts, but sometimes, I am bad about making quick assumptions.  Before we are so quick to pass judgement, we need to take a few minutes to reevaluate our own situations.

I heard something on the radio today & it made me stop & think.......don't you just love those "slap on the forehead" moments. 

A young man who was slightly down on his luck decided to attend a church service.  He was dressed in the same clothes that he had been wearing the day before & he hadn't had the chance to take a shower that day.  He sat through the whole service noticing that the woman who was sitting on the same pew would glance over in his direction & then quickly look away, but she wouldn't even say hello to him.  This young man hung his head in shame & quickly walked out when church was over.  No one shook his hand or told him how glad they were that he could join them. No one really even paid much attention to him, at least not while he was watching.  Plenty of people noticed him, but they were too full of pride to lower their standards & welcome the stranger into "their" church with its padded pews & expensive stained glass windows.  This young man knew how he looked, how he smelled, & it made him sorry that he had foolishly thought he could be accepted at such a nice church.

Excuse me, what is wrong with this picture?!?!  When did Christians become so self righteous that we stopped being nice, stopped reaching out to the less fortunate, stopped trying to win souls to God?  Jesus himself went out in the world to teach everyone about His Father.  He was always tending to His Father's business.

Does a healthy person really need to go visit the doctor?  Does a bald man need to get a haircut?  Of course not, we only use certain services when we need them.  Who needs to hear good solid preaching more ... a saved person, who KNOWS he's going to Heaven or a lost man on his way to Hell?  Yes, God does instruct His children to assemble themselves together for worship, but if I had to give up my seat just so someone lost could have the opportunity to hear God's Word & get saved, I would like to think that I would gladly do it!

When we were at our lowest, our dirtiest, God still loved us!  And through all of our mistakes and stupidities, God still loves us!  He sent His son to die for us! 

Next time you see someone who doesn't "meet your standards", reach out to them, tell them about God's love, & just simply be nice to them.  It will not hurt you & who know, it could even brighten your day as well as theirs.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Tales of a Homeschool Nothing

Well, we have been homeschooling for a little over a month now. It still amazes me that God would put this much faith in me when, so often, I have so little faith in Him. Homeschool is just like anything else, we have our good days & we certainly have our bad days. It is very easy to get distracted by the "everyday" occurances. Some days, the kids are fussy, it seems like the lessons take all day, & I really ask myself if they possibly could have learned anything. There are some days that I just don't want to deal with any of it, I want to just be me, go shopping, or read a book. Then, there are those days when everything seems to click, it all falls into place & we are done a lot sooner than what I expected. Those are the days when it makes it easier to remember why we set out on this crazy adventure to begin with.

One of those moments happened this week when I decided to tackle multiplication. I absolutely dreaded this lesson simply because my lovely hard headed Austin struggles in math. Thankfully reading came very easy to him! (Please God, let reading come easy to Makenzie too!) There is just some foreign concept about numbers that aggrivates him, so when he actually asked how to multiply, I thought, "hey there's no time like the present".

After I introduced 0s, 1s, & 2s, I found a fun game online & he caught on quick. He loved it & asked to play it over & over. Now, when we move on to the other numbers, it may not be as easy, but I will celebrate this small victory for now. I have learned with my kids that you hold onto the little accomplishments because you don't have any guarantee of how soon the next one will be. But, take comfort, because I KNOW that the next one is just right around the corner!