Friday, September 28, 2012

Already Gone: part 5

What can I do to see that my children remain in church?

Number Four:

The next thing I am going to share is in no way trying to get you to change what you allow and do not allow in your home. This is a PERSONAL choice and conviction. And...if you do this I do not judge you! If I am in your house, I respect your convictions and what you feel is best for your family. You have to allow God to speak to you. I am only sharing this as an example of how God directs. He may lead your family to do something that He would not lead me to do. So, here goes...

We made a personal choice to limit tv for our children. The main reason (at first) was because I did a research paper in college on the effects of television and children. The research I gathered made me realize that my children would watch little television because of it's negative effects (and I was single with no kids at the time).

Then, when I had children, as time went on and we started to allow some television, I was disapointed in what I saw in the children's programs. I did not see many things that exalted God. I was concerned because I was teaching her about Jesus and I felt that some of the things that I watch on the shows contradicted what I was reading and telling her (as a baby even). I am referring more to Anna Grace since she is older and we did the same with Noah.

So, as we began to allow her tv time, I would buy DVDs at Lifeway. We also had a channel on our satelite at the time that was a christian kids network and it had some really cool shows. They were a little dated and "different" BUT one show really modeled the children praying and LOVING JESUS! She would watch that almost everyday. It was not long before she started praying and imitating what the children were doing and she was barely 2. I felt that if I allowed her to watch other things (not all bad), she would imitate that. What did I want my children to imitate and later develop in her own life? Prayer, a love for Jesus, etc. So, we stuck with the outdated shows. Sadly, we do not have that programming now. Noah has not been able to watch it, but he has a big sister who models it before him now. :)

This lead to our next decision. Number one, because my child did not watch most of the television show other kids watch, she did not know the characters other kids typically talk about and know. When we were in stores, they didn't really mean much to her. So, I decided to not buy character stuff  (we have a few things). I did not want my children to be overly crazy about one character and want everything of that charcacter. I wanted them to have their hearts set on Jesus and make Him number one, not a character.

Don't get me wrong, I know this may sound crazy, but we followed God. It has been hard at times when other kids have things and Anna Grace doesn't even know who it is or what they are talking about. Hard for me, probably not her. Like one time, we were at the doctor's office and they wanted to know Anna Grace's favorite princess. She did not know what to say, then she said Gigi, God's little princess. If you don't know, it's a series at the christian bookstore. They ladies just had funny looks on their face. I had to explain who that was. I would have probably had a funny look on my face too. LOL

I didn't question God on these decisions, I just walked in faith. I look back and I am glad that I followed God because now my child wants every NEW Bible that hits the shelves. She has probably 10 Bibles or more. She buys them when she gets money, ask for them for gifts, etc. How do you deny a child a Bible? Oh, and devotion books. She reads them too, she doesn't just get them to get them.

I want my children to know God and make Him known. Can I be certain that they will follow the ways of God? No! But I am going to train them and pray that God will continually draw them to Him. I pray they will have a heart for Him and share Him with each and every person they come in contact with.

If you have read my posts in this little series, please know that we have made some different type decisions. You may agree or disagree. That is ok. I just pray that through the things that God laid upon our hearts as Anna Grace and Noah's parents, that God would reveal to you what He desires you do. Follow the Fathers voice, no matter how hard it may be. You will be glad you did!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Already Gone: part 4

What can I do to see that my children remain in church?

Number Three:

It is important to have a famiy vision statement. When you think of your children 5, 10, 20 years from now, what do you envision them doing? I am not talking about picking out their jobs for them. :)

What kind of character qualities do you desire to see flowing from their heart? Are they qualities you would be proud of or ashamed of? More than that, are they qualities that would exalt Christ?

My desire is to see my children in love with Jesus and boldly proclaiming His Name above any other! When Jesus is their focus: they will love others, serve others, be people of character. Other than that, I do not care what type of house they live in, what their specific job is. If they are following God with their whole heart in obedience, the things of this world will hold little value.

Don't get me wrong, I want nice things for my children, but the things of God will not fade away. The things of this world do fade away and do not have eternal value.

Some of the things our children become are in our hands. (I understand they have free will.) What do we expose them to, model before them, etc? What are we intentional about teaching them?

Are we as intentional about teaching them how to have a quite time as we are other things?
To me, this is the best thing we can do for our children.

Side note: If you are a homeschooling family, this can be added into your school day.
Choose a passage, get your child to read it from a Bible on their level. You write a few questions (or use The Dig), get them to answer the questions. You can guide them into how to write a sentence. Obviously using age/grade appropriate instruction here. Get them to write it. It's ok if you have to write the sentence on the board of a piece of paper for them to copy. They are still learning how to write a sentence and they are practicing their handwriting.

What is a vision statement?

A vision statement is simply knowing where you want to go.
What is important to you?
How will you get there? What do I need to say yes to and what do I say no to?
Take action! Lot's of ACTION!
What types of influences do we allow and not allow (this could be all kinds of things, not just people).

If we do not write the vision, we can lose the vision when things get tough. It will require time and effort to get there. It doesn't happen on it's own.

It is important when writing the vision statement, that we do not outline the life WE want for our children. The vision needs to be direct, but allows for your children to be who God created them to be. The vision keeps us parents in line and draws boundaries where necessary. Our children need our guidance!

God entrusted us with the gift of children. Now He will lead us through this awesome journey!

I just read a quote that said, "You can not choose Christ for your kids, but you can pray that they do!" So true! But I also, want to be purposeful in training them and praying they have a desire to live for Him!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Already Gone: part 3

What can I do to see that my children remain in church?

Number Two:

I think it is important to help our children establish their belief system.

What do you believe and why do you believe it?

It is NOT too early to teach our children these things. When we build the foundation of our faith upon the Word of God and our roots grow deep in Him, we cannot be shaken when faced with contradictory information. More than Bible stories need to be taught. How does this apply to me TODAY? If we do not help a child to relate it, they will just see it as another "story." Adam and Eve is more than just a story for kids to know! What does that mean in relation to our faith, the life we are living right now?

It is our job as parents to train and equip our children. What are we training and equiping them for? It is so important that Jesus is at the center of it all.

This will not take place over night. It will take time, but it is time well spent. The Dig for kids that I posted about yesterday is a good way to begin that training.

Click here to visit The Dig for Kids.

Another good resource to help cultivate their hearts through discipline is the Child Training Bible. This takes time, but it is well worth it!

If you are struggling with where to start, message me and I will help you. Seek God and allow Him to direct you. He will guide us through this journey of parenthood!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Dig for Kids

If you are looking for a way to get your kids in the Word and train them on how to have a quite time, this looks really cool. I have not personally used it, but I looked at their website and I LOVE IT! There's a sample lesson on their website, so check it out! I will be purchasing this! Click here to visit The Dig for Kids.

Already Gone: part 2

What can I do to see that my children remain in church?

First of all, I want to make the point that I do not think that going to church makes you a christian. I do think that if you are a christian you should desire to fellowship with other believers. It is only through the cross that we are redeemed!

Number One:

I have to expose them to the things of God. This is more than taking them to church at the designated times. I have to model it before them, live it out.

 But how do I do that?

 I have to be in the Word of God allowing Him to change me and mold me into who He wants me to be. I have to read them the Word. I feel that it is something that starts from the day they are born. I am a detail person that feels there has to be meaning in everything (our kid's names have meaning: another post on that). So before we had Anna Grace we really discussed A LOT of things in how we desired to raise our family, etc. I would read my Bible out loud because they say babies can hear you talking to them in the womb. I bought a short devotion book and would read her a devotion at night. During the day, I would continue to read the Bible out loud. I have done the same with Noah. Now as I do my devotions and Bible reading, I will read out loud if they are playing around me. The Word is powerful and active and if I am reading it to myself, they do not get the benefits of the Word. I feel that I should model spending time with Jesus before them. With time, we grow into more. Anna Grace just finished reading through the book of Philippians and is now on Ephesians. We read it, talk it about and apply it. This does not count the countless other things we do. I am a children's minister! LOL. We are reading the Bible through in a year as well. We read that in the morning. So far we are doing great, we are only a few weeks behind. Yah!

Anna Grace started talking earlier than Noah. They are both very different. By the time she was 2 1/2 she knew the Lord's prayer, Psalm 23, the 10 Commandments. We also memorized various other Scriptures. We work on Scripture with Noah, but he is not SAYING it as fast. I know that it is deep in his spirit man, but he's not saying it like she did. He says some verses for us, but we still can not understand what he's saying all of the time. He's getting there. I do know that it makes a difference because he is constantly preaching and having church. I hear him a lot singing "I want You, Jesus." That make me so happy as a mother. I can not think of a song that we sing that has that in it, but he must have made up his own song. We can actually understand that.

We have to model in OUR behaviors and attitudes. We have to be sure that we are TALKING about things that glorify God. They hear and see it all. This is both good and bad! 

Our kids are normal kids no matter how much of the Bible we read to them. They struggle with the same things that everyone else struggles with. For that reason, we choose to correct our children by leading them to the Word of God. A great resource for that is the Child's Training Bible.

So, tell me what you think. What are some ways you have included the Word of God in your child's life?

Today I am linking up with Good Morning Girls.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Already Gone: part 1

I am reading a book called "Already Gone: Why your kids will quit church and what you can do to stop it" by Ken Ham and Britt Beemer. You can find it here.,6131,224.aspx

It is a great book that I bought a few months ago and had not had a chance to read yet. I picked it up Saturday and sat on my screen porch in the nice fall weather. I could not put the book down. It is a must read for all parents. At this point I have not finished, but what I have read thus far is shocking!

I first heard of Ken Ham when I was teaching at Greenwood Christian School (2003-2006). I was unable to attend the conference when he was in Greenwood because I was at a teacher conference in Greensboro, NC for continuing ed. I have looked at his material since homeschooling and have not bought any of his curriculum, but it looks super good. It is on my list of possibilities. It is so hard to decide because there are some really great curriculum out there, but God knows what is best for each and every family and at what time.

I am not going to spoil this book for you. I think that it is something you really need to read to get the full impact.

Some things I am pondering as a mom.
  • What can I do to see that my children remain in church?
I know that I have no control over this once they are on their own. But what can I do now that will hopefully keep them in church? When I say church, I am also meaning in a growing, fruitful relationship with Christ, serving in the Church bringing others to the Kingdom of God.

I am going to post on this topic this week! I would love to hear your insight as well. As I began to write, it was so much I knew it would be better in more than one post.

This sounds like it would be a great book as well. This may be next on the list!

Raising Godly Children in an Ungodly World

Raising Godly Children in an Ungodly World
With Bible-based practical advice, this unique parenting book makes a great guide for parents with children of any age. Discover how you can begin leaving a legacy that honors God for your family today. Excellent for church-based parenting classes, in-home study/discussion settings, and personal Bible study.,5802,279.aspx

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Why Do we Homeschool?

I am one of the people who said that I would NEVER homeschool. Now look at me. I have learned to never say never. I taught school before we had our daughter Anna Grace. I loved it, but knew that I would stay at home once we had children. I am also a children's minister and I could not be a Mom, teacher, and children's minister (at the time youth). I knew my first calling was to my family and then to ministry in the church. That is another story for another time.
When I began staying home with Anna Grace, I never really thought about what we would do for school. I do know that when we decided to buy the house we live in, we considered the school district, but besides that ~ no thought. As time rolled on, we enrolled her in the local preschool because she was super shy. I just knew that she would be one of the children that the teacher would have to pull off of my leg daily if I did not help her work through some of this. It is a really good Christian preschool and we felt good in sending her there. As time moved on., we began to talk about what we would do about school. I was pregnant with Noah when we seriously started talking about our options. I could not get peace over sending her to public school or to the Christian school I had taught at. In the meantime, I began to meet all kinds of homeschoolers and they intrigued me. It still did not register with me that I would actually homeschool. I had made plans for when kids went to school, I would be full time with the church. Oh, things would be so much easier than trying to juggle my church work with kids. Oh, and I was having visions of my house being super organized and clean because of kids being in school. That is FUNNY!
So here, are some of the reason we homeschool:
1. God called us.
2. We desire to grow our children at home THROUGH His Word. Basically, learn from a Biblical Worldview.
3. We desire a family centered lifestyle.
With these reasons, we realized that public school was not an option for us. Then, as we began to think about Christian School, that is not where God was leading us either. Oh, don't worry, I was willing to drive 30 minutes (remember, I had my life planned.)
I do not regret for one moment the decision to homeschool. We do have tough days and that is ok. I would rather my home be more messy and disorganized and following the direction of God than my own. We are very happy in the decision to homeschool.

I am so excited about the fact that my children are best friends and love each other. They play so well with each other (except for the incident this afternoon oh and yesterday and the day before haha). They love Jesus so much that we have church everyday. Anna Grace and Noah preach and lead us in worship daily. We try not to say "play church" because they are serious. It is such a blessing to watch them. As in my previous post: Our thoughts become actions. Their mind is on Jesus so they are expressing their love for Him. Sunday morning before church, Noah was singing, "I want Jesus," over and over. That is just precious. We try to memorize lots of Scripture so that it can be alive and active in them. I desire that they know God and make Him known. We have spent lots of time reading the Bible since the day they were born fostering that love for God and His Word.
This is Anna Grace and Noah standing at "the piano and mike stand" (aka my candle stand). We have had to tape microphones to the candle stands.
I realize now that God had a much greater calling for me than I ever realized. That call was to be a mother who trained her children into the ways of God. I view motherhood as a calling. I do not think enough people view it that way. We are impacting lives by the moment. The decisions we make will effect our children and could change their destiny. What is God calling you to do or not to do? Are you listening? I need to set aside my agenda and follow God's!  

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Transform Your Thoughts

Romans 12:2, "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think."

It amazes me how it is so easy to copy the behavior and customs of this world and we do not even realize how it impacts our lives and the ones around us. It is so easy to just coast along and DO all kinds of things and not really tap into the reason why God placed us in the world anyway.

To transform our thoughts, we have to spend time DAILY in the Word of God. We cannot just depend on church services to give us our dose for the week.

 Sunday I used the illustration of water, food coloring and bleach.

The water represented our minds/thoughts (these turn into actions).
The food coloring represented the bad influences of the world, hurtful things said to us by others, etc.
The bleach represented the Word of God.

I had the water and added the green food coloring. The more food coloring I poured into the water, the greener the water became. That is how it is with life. The more of the world's influence that we allow or sometimes things we don't allow (hurtful things by other, etc), the more we can become like the world.

That is why it is so important that we spend time DAILY in God's Word and meditate on His Word throughout the day.

Then, I poured the bleach, little by little, into the green water. As I did, the water began to get lighter and lighter. It took quite a bit of bleach to completely change the water back clear. I even had to let it sit for a few minutes while I talked through the illustration. It was cool because that is the way it is with the Word of God. Sometimes we have to read and read to get rid of those thoughts that keep trying to creep up and take over.

We even used a box with a brain on it (I made it) and we put hurtful thoughts into it. I illustrated how we can use specific Scriptures to combat those thoughts. I know these kids will remember several things when they move on out of the kid's group. Get in the Word EVERYDAY. Trash in, trash out. MEMORIZE Scripture. We actually spend a lot of time memorizing because I feel that it is super important.

Then, this morning in my Colossians Bible study, it seemed to relate to this post that I had already started, but not finished. I am amazed at God and how He reveals Himself to us.

My desire is to bring glory to His Name! I desire to know Him and make Him known to others. The only way I can do that is through time with Him allowing Him to work THROUGH me. WOW!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fun Day

On Friday, Anna Grace, Noah and myself headed to Greenville for lunch with my best friend, Rhonda. We had a fun picnic at Falls Park and as you can tell, made friends in the process. As always, the kids are being funny with Ms. Rhonda. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

My Babies

I found this video of Anna Grace and Noah and thought I would share. Anna Grace had just turned 4 and Noah was going to be 1 in a month and a half. I look at this and wonder where has the time gone?

Anna Grace still had that baby face and baby voice while Noah was pulling up and walking along the furniture. Now she can read, memorizes facts for CC quicker than I can and is full of all kinds of interesting facts. Noah is from 0 to 90 in a split second and talks non-stop. I am not sure where that trait came from, surely not I. HEHE! This video seems like only yesterday, yet so long ago.

I realize each and every day that I must be intentional about treasuring all the good, the bad, the crazy, the chaotic, the rewarding, and the great moments with these wonderful children that God has given Jason and I. It is so easy to go through the motions of everyday life and miss these moments and really not remember them years down the road. It is surprising to me how you can almost forget something that happened until someone reminds you. At the time it occured, you thought you would never forget that.

I desire to take time to engage with my children, not just exist with them. One thing that I have realized through homeschooling is that I spend a lot of time with Anna Grace doing school, but that is not quality time with her in her eyes. She desires to have time with me not doing school.

We have not done official school this week and the highlight to Anna Grace's week was going to eat breakfast with Mommy to talk. She was excited that we could just sit and talk and not do school work. Thankfully my Mom told me how much Anna Grace talked about our breakfast date the night before so that I understood the importance of that moment as well. She sat as close to me as she could get. It was quite a memory. I am so thankful that I have these moments to share with my children.

Of course, my quality time with Noah is so different. He is always on the move so my time with him is normally running around, rolling around on the floor, playing cars or simply listening to him have church. I will have to blog about this soon. He leads worship, plays the drums, and preaches. He does it all. He's so funny and creative!

If I could leave you with one challenge: stop what you are doing for 5 minutes, 10, or 15 and just spend time with your children. Just enjoy them and do NOT feel guilty for not folding the clothes, etc. You will be glad you did!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Amazed by God

I am truely amazed by God and all of His goodeness. I am so thankful that He sees me through each and every day. My desire is to bring glory to His name and be a blessing to others. But, how can I do that aside from Him?

As I was cleaning out my office the other day, I ran across these quotes:

“Time management, a highly developed science today, begins for the Christian with time set aside for God. Other things cannot fall into a peaceful order if this is omitted.”
~Elizabeth Elliot in Discipline - The Glad Surrender~
Communion with God tells us what to say “YES” and “NO” to.
This is so true. When I feel that my life is spiraling out of control, I take a look and my time with the Lord is not what it should have been. I find that I am a more pleasant person around my family and kids, more focused and productive for Him when He gets that set aside time.

I often get the question as to why would I homeschool? There are multiple reason why we chose to homeschool.

Number one being, we were called by God to homeschool. I am so blessed to be able to homeschool. Each day is so rewarding. I get the opportunity to teach and train my children in the ways of the Lord. I get to watch the light bulb finally go off in their heads when they have been struggling for days to master a skill. I get to watch them get frustrated when they are having a crazy day. I get frustrated at times too, but I am blessed beyond measure.

I can remember the day that I knew without a shadow of a doubt we would homeschool. I was sitting on our couch reading my Bible. Anna Grace was about to turn 4 and Noah was 6 months. I had already said there was no way I could homeschool with Noah being so young. I had entertained the thought earlier on and dismissed it after I had him. My Mom was in Italy at the time on a mission trip. She went with a group of people and my Father did not go. If you do not know my parents, they stick together. This was huge for my mother to go out of the country without my Father. So, I am sitting there reading, meditating, praying. As I was sitting there, I knew the Lord was saying to homeschool our children. He said that if your Mom can go to Italy without your Dad (which was a major step of faith for her), you can homeschool your children. I will make a way for you. I will equip you. WOW! I had taught school, but was fearful of teaching my own children. I think the fear was more of MY plans changing. I had made plans as to what I would do after kids returned to school. That was MY plan, not God's. I am so happy in the fact that we are doing what God has called our family to do.

My challenge in this post is, what is God calling you to do? What is bigger than you? This is bigger than me. God is equipping me daily, moment by moment to do this. He will equip you. Walk in faith. Do as He instructs and your life will be all that He intended it to be. You will feel joy and peace beyond measure, not even counting the lives you will impact. It's all for the glory of the King!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Day in the Life of Homeschoolers

It seems that our life has been busy busy lately! Of course, our school year is fully underway. We have schooled for 65 days now and are having our week off as I type. It is so refreshing, even though we still have the activities. It is nice not having to worry about "school work." Anna Grace is thankful for the break as well.

Our school year started on June 11th. We decided that we would try the "year around" approach and so far, it has worked out well. We school 6 weeks and then have a week off. Anna Grace is in first grade this year. It seems that we are struggling to pull through that 6th week since we are ready for our break, but we get there with God's help.

This is what our week typically looks like:

Monday: *Noah (our 2 1/2) is in Preschool from 8:00 to 11:00. Anna Grace and 
               I do school until he gets out at 11 am. Thankfully, we are normally 

Tuesday: *Noah has speech from 8:30 to 9:00
              *Anna Grace and Noah have gymnastics: 9:50 to 10:35. Thankfully,
               their classes are at the same time.  
              *Home to do school.

Wednesday: *Noah Preschool 8:00 to 9:45 then goes to music class from 10:00
                   to 10:45. I only send him to school so that we can start off our 
                   day with at least half of our school work.
                   *Anna Grace takes Musikgarten classes as well. She does the
                   Musik Makers at Home class and voice. We are done with this
                   around 1:00.
                   * Finish up whatever school we did not finish earlier.
                   * Church at 6:30

Thursday: *CC (Classical Conversations) 9:15 to 1:00
                No other school work for the day. If you have not done CC before,
                you will quickly see that is enough school for one day. My brain is full
                of new information when I leave. I am TIRED from all of the learning.
                I know Anna Grace certainly is! Noah goes and stays in the nursery.
Friday: * Noah Preschool from 8:00 to 11:00.
             * Anna Grace school
             * Mama: Bible Study at 9:15 and Anna Grace plays with friends.
             * We finish any school we did not get done earlier. Usually on Friday, it
             is a light load. We review new material on Friday and go over any
             areas she seems to have trouble in.

It is a lot, but we enjoy it. I get the question frequently, "How do you homeschool YOUR own kids and do all of that?" Well, number one: we were called by God to do this. He does not lead us into territory He is not willing to guide, strengthen and encourage us through. He has provided me with all I need to do this. Is it hard? YES! We have some days that are harder than others, but every thing in life is that way. If I worked outside of the home, I would have rough days there too. I would just rather have my rough days homeschooling my kids smack dab in the middle of God's will rather than running from this bigger than me task. God is our source of guidance and strength and I could not do it without Him!