Monday, January 31, 2011

What If?

A thought hit me the other day & I haven't been able to get it out of my mind...... As a parent, I love my children unconditionally. I love them all the time, but sometimes I don't really like them. Well, not exactly them, but its their actions & attitudes that I don't like.

I am an optimist. I try to see the good in everyone & I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. But, I'm also a realist. I know that people don't always do the right thing, nor do they always live up to their potential. I look at my kids the same way. No matter how much I try to teach them, I know that they will disappoint me at some point in the future. And that's okay. I believe fully that my children will grow up to be fine upstanding citizens (at least for the most part).

But, I wonder......What if I knew that everytime I asked something from them, they would refuse to do it or say, "Not now, I'm busy."? What if they only showed their love for me 1 or 2 days a week? Would I still have had them? ..... Yeah, I would. They have enriched my life greatly & I love them, no matter what!

Ok, so let's take it a step farther..... What if I have to repeatedly tell them what I want from them? What if I have to discipline them every time they turn around? What if they break my heart because of the way they talk when they think I'm not around? Would I still have had them? ..... Yeah, I think I would. After all, they are just kids being kids right. They feel the need to establish themselves & show off to their friends.

Now, even farther..... What if I knew one day they would have to make a choice between me & their friends? And they just might choose their friends. What if I knew one day I would have to possibly leave one of them behind, not by my choice, but by theirs? Would I still have kids? ..... I would be heartbroken knowing the end results, but I would still have them.

Finally, one more extreme..... What if one day I might have to seriously hurt or kill one of them? What if I had to take away everything they had in the hopes that they would open their eyes to me? Tough love, you might say. What if I had to sacrifice my first child in order to save my last child? Would I still have kids? COULD I still have kids? ..... I don't think I could make those decisions. I don't think I could ever make such a hard choice. And if you are being honest, neither could you.

But someone did. God knew all along what would happen throughout the years. He knew how we would disappoint Him again & again, how we would claim to love Him, but never show it outside of church. He knew that we would need correcting, leading, & loving. He knew that His 1st son would have to die in order for us to live. And He knew that we would make a decision whether to follow Him or to follow the world & that one day, He would have to destroy those who did not choose.

I'm glad that God is a lot wiser than I am!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Yet Another Right Taken Away

My heart is hurting tonight. I was struggling with the a situation where the kids & I are going to have to give up something that we have come to enjoy because it now compromises my family's beliefs. I was upset with the fact that something I thought was a good thing & would glorify God floundered & sold out to the world because that is the accepted way now. Too many people are trying to make church look like the world or are they trying to make the world look like church? Its hard to tell the difference now. Why is the same preaching, teaching, & beliefs that were good enough to save saints from the past no longer good enough for today's generation? I just can't comprehend it.

Then, if that's not enough of a slap in the face, I read an outrageous article about the government pulling a child from homeschool "because the teachings are too religious". Hello! That's why some people choose to homeschool. True, not every homeschool family have strong religious values. Some just don't want to deal with the junk associated with public school.

Too Religious to Home-School?

Don't get me wrong....I'm not bashing public school. It has its pros & it has its cons. After all, I turned out ok, right? (No comments from the peanut gallery, thank you very much!) I got a very good education in the public system, but I also experienced A LOT of things I would really rather my kids not participate in. I know that they have just as much chance of falling to temptation outside of public school as in, but I want them rooted & grounded in our beliefs so hopefully they can make better decisions than I did.

OK, back to the idea of homeschool being too religious.... That's the great thing about homeschool, you can CHOOSE what to teach your children. As long as the basic subjects are covered, it doesn't matter if we teach them religion, photography, farming or bowling. Seriously, they are called ELECTIVES because we elect to include them as well.

Its not the fact that this ex-husband & ex-wife disagreed on whether to homeschool their child or not. Although, they had previously agreed on this decision. Every family has the right to choose how to educate their children. What aggravates me is the fact that the government stepped in & made the child go back to public school against the mother's wishes. When did the government get to make that decision?

It is also the fact that this is infringing on freedom of choice & freedom of religion. It doesn't say what religion this woman is, but I would bet money that she is a Christian simply because if she were Jewish or Muslim, this COULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED! She would have the support of so many groups that the courts would be scared of a lawsuit themselves.

 Why do we as Christians have to take a backseat to every other belief & opinion out there? When are we finally going to take a stand & defend what we believe in?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Who is Your Shepherd?

We've all heard it, but do we really know it? Do we really understand it? I'm talking about the 23rd Psalm.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

THINK ABOUT IT! The Lord is MY shepherd. That's personal. How much simpler can it get? God tells us that He is in control & that we need not to worry.

Cattle must be driven from behind. A horse is led by a bit in its mouth. Sheep on the other hand are led. They cannot be driven as cattle, or ridden like horses but gently led by the shepherd. The shepherd calls the sheep and they go where he leads. 
(I borrowed this from a friend thanks DeAnna!)

I shall not WANT. He didn't tell us that we wouldn't NEED. He provides for all of our needs & He even loves us enough to provide so many of our WANTS! We are a blessed people!

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. That sounds like a place that is peaceful & very beautiful. He wants to LEAD us.

He restoreth my soul. When we are weary, He will give us peace & rest.

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name sake. FOR HIS NAME SAKE - that didn't say anything about making us famous or making any of us worthy of praise.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me. Did you catch that? THROUGH, not in, not around, not beside, but we must go through the storms to come out victorious on the other side. And besides, its only the "shadow"of death anyway. We don't actually have to deal with the worst of it. Remember, God is leading us so we are not alone!

Thy rod and thy staff comfort me. How many of us parents must spank, or at the very least, punish our children? We all do, but we show them our love after the discipline is over, right? God is the same way. He must correct us from time to time, but it is done in love.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies. I have a hard time with this one, but I believe that God wants us to still be gracious even to people who don't always deserve it. After all, how often do we truly deserve His blessings on us?

Thou anointest my head with oil. This was common during Biblical history. I believe it signifies that we are chosen, sanctified, and pinpointed as being special to God.

My cup runneth over. Have you ever filled a glass too full? It spills over the top, doesn't it? That's how God operates. Sometimes He likes to give us more joy than we can contain within ourselves. Sometimes we don't really have a choice but to tell people of His glory or we will just burst. I just said this the other day at church. Our service was so full of the Holy Ghost, He could not be held back. I felt blessed beyond measure.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. That sounds like a promise to me. Even though we have our fair share of heartaches, we still have God's blessings. He bestows mercy on us every single day!

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord FOREVER. There's another promise! We are His children. Most children live in their parent's home, don't they? But when they grow up, they move out. Even though we all love our children, we probably don't want them to live at home forever. God wants us FOREVER. You know, God created the Heavens & the Earth in 6 days, right? But He said that He was leaving here to prepare a place for us. For us! I can't comprehend forever, nor do I understand why He loves us so, but I do know that my mansion in glory is going to be more spectacular than anything anyone could ever imagine!

Take some time to spend with your shepherd today. He wants to lead you on to a better, brighter tomorrow.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

What's In a Name?

This moring I was feeling a little bit "Juliet-ish". Not that kind of Juliet. Don't worry, I'm not geeting sappy (at least not right now). But more like the Juliet that ponders "What's in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet."

Yes, its hard to picture the word "rose" without seeing the image of the infamous red flower.

I'm not a big fan of roses. They are very pretty, don't get me wrong, but they are also extremely typical. BUT...that's neither here nor there & it has absolutely nothing to do with this topic, so back to the matter at hand....

Why are names so important? That's how people know you, silly, that's why.

Our society, as a whole, is searching for independence ..... Independence from religion, sexual orientation, beliefs, morales, government, even independence from independence. Some of us are so independent, we forget everything about where we came from because all of a sudden we are better than that & don't want to be reminded...ever! But then some of us long to hold on to our heritage that we end up repeating history over & over again.

All throughout history, parents have been given the HUGE task of naming their children. Some take the easy way out & just name the baby boy after its father. Take the Bible for example. How many times have you been reading about someone's geneology & gotten completely confused & I'm not talking about those 10 cent words that no one can pronounce either. A family name was usually repeated generation after generation. Others step out on that limb that seems R E A L L Y hard to get to & pick some off the wall moniker that has everyone else saying "HUH?" Have you read about many celebrities that actually pick normal names? Take Brad & Angelina's kids? I don't think any of them have what would be considered main stream names. Just how many other Pilot Inspektor's due you know? (Thanks Jason Lee, your child is now scarred for life!) And that's not even the strangest! But for some reason, that's the baby name that sticks in my head. See for yourself.....    

So, all of this got started because my husband & I absolutely CANNOT agree on a boy's name. UUUGGGHHH! This wasn't even an issue with the other two. I named Austin when I was still in high school, I just compromised on the middle name once we found out we were expecting. Even before we knew he was a boy, we also had Makenzie picked out. So when I got pregnant with her, there wasn't really a discussion.

Oh, the funny part of this story is that we have a girl's name picked out, not that its going to do me any good right now. Maybe later, who knows. And nope, I'm not telling what it is! LOL

What really drives me crazy is the fact that when we try to discuss names, Justin says something along the lines of Cochese or Billy Bob. Get real here. Speaking of being scarred for life! ....... Hello I would like you to meet my family. I'm Tracie Bauguess & this is my husband Justin. We have 3 beautiful children Austin, Makenzie & Cochese Bauguess ......... Can you just imagine!?!?

Now I know, he's only joking. But I'm a little bit anal about certain things (Justin used to tell me that I would alphabetize the cabinets if he wouldn't mess it up. I doubt its that bad, but some things....well, ok maybe) & this is really starting to bother me. Yep, I know that we still have a long time, but I would like to know just who it is that we are adding to our family. Afterall, I wouldn't want some strange little person invading my space.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Let's Go Fishing

When I was little, I can remember my grandpa taking me fishing. I loved this time with him. Yes, I was a little girly & wouldn't bait the hook or take the fish off, but still, these are some of my fondest memories of him.

I still love to go fishing. Nope, I still don't take the fish off of the hook (I could - I just CHOOSE not to! lol), but I do put my own bait on now .... sometimes. Unfortunately, I don't get to go fishing as much as I would like now that I am all grown up. But it sure does bring back memories when I do take the opportunity to indulge in this pleasure from my childhood. There's something relaxing & free about sitting on the side of a river bank with a fishing rod in your hand. I can just imagine: a couple of friends down by the river well into the night, the air has a slight chill to it like it gets in late summer, a campfire roaring in the background scenting the air with that unmistakable smoky fragrance that sticks with your skin, the crickets chirping peacefully like they have all the time in the world, fireflies blinking their excitement against the black sky. Can you see it? Doesn't it take you back down memory lane? Its hard to dwell on the problems of the world when you are out enjoying nature.

But the world needs more fishermen......... You know, Jesus was also a fisherman. That's right, He did a lot of fishing. But Jesus was a fisher for men. He told His Disciples that He would make them fishers of men as well. He didn't ask them if they wanted to go. He didn't tell them not to worry about it because they didn't know how. He MADE them. Jesus told them what He expected & they did it!

And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren,
Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
Matthew 4:18-20

Real simple, huh? Then why don't we follow His directions?

He also told us to become fishers of men. That's right, He told us there would be lots of fish & very few fisherman. Now, if any one's ever gone fishing, they know that's a good thing because then the fish are more likely to bite!

But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them,
because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;
Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
Matthew 9:36-38

For some reason, some people don't like the idea of fishing for men. I understand completely! The thoughts of witnessing to someone else scares the daylights out of me. WHY? What can they do to me? Talk about me, slam a door in my face, laugh at me, cuss me, at the very worst - if I was in a different country - kill me? If I die, is that not a victory for me?! But seriously, what's the likelihood of that extreme happening today? Not very.

So, let's say that I take a stand & go talk to someone about God...... Then what? The person refuses to listen, they tell me they are not interested, the person orders me out of their home, the person tells me they don't believe, or maybe, just maybe my testimony sticks in their mind after I'm gone. A small seed gets planted in their heart from my obedience. What did I lose? Time, energy, a little pride. What does that matter in the long run? How do those things hold up on a set of scales with some one's soul on the other end? THEY DON'T!!!!!

Its time that we as Christians quit sitting down on the job! Jesus didn't save us just so we could hang out until He returned. He left us here for a reason! We have a job to do. I'm talking to myself just as much as I'm talking to anyone else! Let's quit making excuses & let's go fishing!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

New Year Reflections

OK so I have never been one for New Year's Resolutions. They are usually just some kind of boring, standard desire to better your life that will be long forgotten within just a matter of months. What I have decided to do this year instead is to make a few Reflections upon the new year.

We all have more than our fair share of heartache, pain, & disappointment. That's life! I was always told & I find myself already telling my kids "That life's not fair". Well, in the grand scheme of things, who decides whats fair & what isn't, other than God? It's time that we all realize that His plan is the ultimate in fairness. He decides who gets to have a great day & who has to suffer tragedy & we all take our turn on this merry go round.

This year, I vow to spend more time with my children instead of worrying so much about the little things (& even the big things) that need to be done. I don't take nearly enough time out of my day just to appreciate them, to love on them, or to tell them how proud I am of them. I want to be able to drop what I am doing when one of them says "Mommy, will you play with me?" Because, unfortunately the day will come all too soon that they will not want me or need me around as much.

I will be a stronger support to my husband through loving & encouraging words, but most importantly through prayer. God put us together for a reason & we really do complete each other. When I am weak, He is strong. And in those times where he is lacking, I pick up his load as well as my own.

I want to be more domestically minded. I have already filled out the menu for the next month, so now I hope that I can stick to it. I want to take better care of our house and our garden when the time comes around. I want to be even thriftier (is that a word?) than I am  & try to save costs as much as possible.

I want to spend more time with friends. Friendship is something that you take for granted when you are younger. You think those people will always be there for you. Well, I've got news for you, life happens & things get hectic & sometimes its easier just to let things fall apart. Some bridges are OK being burnt & some bridges are worth the effort it takes to mend them.

I desire to have a closer relationship with God. I fail Him so much every single day & He has never let me down. I want to be a soul winner & an encouragement to others. That's the only thing in this life that really truly matters anyway.

I will turn loose of hard feelings before they have time to affect who I am. I won't dwell on the people who do not support me or who run me down. Its just not worth it. Life is too short for the added drama.

I'm sure that there are so many other things that I want (um, need) to work on this year. Its funny. God created the whole universe in 6 days & yet He's still not done with me. I am a work in progress. That's OK, because the closer I get to being the person I need to be, the closer I get to HOME!

I hope that you all have a Happy, Healthy, & Adventurous New Year!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tales of a Homeschool Nothing - Back to the Grindstone

Well, after taking a MUCH needed break over Christmas, we started school back last week. We had actually taken almost a full month off from any "structured" learning. Of course, there were those days complete with reading Christmas stories, cooking, shopping, wrapping, visiting friends & family, teaching life lessons, & just living. But we also had a few days of doing absolutely nothing! That's neccessary every now and then.

It was a little difficult to get back in the swing of things. I think it was harder on me than it was the kids, but we had a successful week without a whole lot of drama, so that's always a good thing.

As I tried to plan that first week & even this week as well, I felt a renewed sense of purpose & determination. I was reminded again why we decided to homeschool our kids & I am so thankful that God has provided for us in order to achieve this dream & His will.

When we first made the desicion to bring Austin home for school, homeschool veterans told me that it would probably be January (at least) before I felt confident & comfortable in our teaching. Although this week has been a little rough, I feel the best about my kids education that I have felt so far.

Continue to pray for us as we all learn something new everyday!

I’m Waiting on the Bigger & Better

Sometimes certain people have been in your life so long it’s hard to remember where they came from, how they got there, & even how you l...