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Monday, September 15, 2014

Home Schooling Moment

I can't believe the summer has ended--well, officially on 9/21--but as far as the season goes and homeschooling, the summer has come to an abrupt end. Daughter #4 is preparing to take college classes, so I only have Daughter #5 to homeschool this year. What a difference! The school closet is cleaned out and I had enough books handed down from previous "students" that I didn't have to purchase any books this year. She's not excited about that, but The Farmer is!

It's kind of a bittersweet moment thinking about all the time and effort we've put into this homeschooling thing. The preparation, the cost, the frustration, the head-butting, (and banging). But all-in-all, it produces a pretty good return on our investment.

What satisfaction to think that I was the one responsible for teaching them their letters and sounds, and hearing them form their first word and listening to them begin to read everything they see; a sign, a note, the back of a cereal box... And watching them as they figure out the curves in cursive writing; writing their name over and over on papers, napkins, and even the plastic table cloths at a church banquet (fortunately, they're disposable). Or the repetition of math facts, spelling words, Scripture memorization, and the constant call (from me) to "get busy". 

Of course the greatest evidence of a successful student is seeing each one becoming an adult, and successfully going on to begin their own life as a wife or a husband, or take on a new job or career. And whichever road they decide to go down, I'm excited for them. Such is the circle of life. 

But as I said, I still have one more learner here, and for at least three more years I'll be a homeschooling mom. So, today being the first day of our new school year, the sweet, familiar sounds of homeschool begin once again: "Aww, come on Mom, do I really need to know this!"




1st day of Algebra 1...Looks like it's going to be a long year!!









Fortunately, a science project always makes the day a little more enjoyable. :)






If you have ever thought about home schooling, here are a few resources you may find helpful:

And if you are in the throes of your own homeschooling experience, here are a few encouraging resources:

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Farmer Has Retired





When I look at people who have been working for a long time, it seems to me that they all fall into at least three different groups when it comes to the subject of retirement: 1) Those who fear retirement, 2) Those who can’t seem to acquire enough for retirement, and 3) Those who use work as a means to retirement.

The Farmer belongs to the last group. He’s a hard worker, and he has used a lot of his hard-working years to save up for retirement. He has never been able to sit and enjoy taking time off. I think it’s because he’s had his eye on a greater goal…retirement.

He typically left the house very early, and had at least a 45-minute drive to work. He was very diligent; working in the rain, snow, sleet and hail (the postman had nothing on him). He would often work late, go to bed early, and get up “Grumpy” (me), so I could fix his lunch for the day.

However, that has all changed. He has retired from his “real” job, and he’s learning to live an entirely different way. He’s sleeping in a bit later (I’m afraid that may change when the weather gets warmer), he refuses to go out and work in the rain or snow, and he’s spending way too much time contemplating.

As a son of a farmer, he learned early to work hard. He began following his father around and helping him with whatever he was doing. In fact, some of his most precious memories are chasing his dad out the door as he went out to do some work on the farm. They were always fixing vehicles and machinery or repairing fences. Lots of time was spent clearing the land, picking up rocks, and creating brush piles. And of course there was always wood to be cut, animals to be tended to, and an occasional building project.

Although he has retired from his real job, he has not retired from farming. These next few years are the years we have both been working towards; the years we can spend enjoying the farm. We are raising cattle, instead of building the herd. We get to look out off our porch at fields of grasses, instead of clearing land. And we get to enjoy the things around us, instead of always wanting more.

Oh, that doesn’t mean there won’t be building projects, and machinery to work on, or fences that will need mending, but for the most part he has plans of putting up hay, watching the cattle grow, and enjoying all that God has allowed us to acquire.

This brings to mind a story in which Christ told concerning covetousness. He said that a farmer spent his whole life building for himself. He had land, built barns, and gained riches. One day he stopped and looked at all he had acquired and decided to tear his barns down and build bigger barns to hold more of the things that he wanted. But before he could do that, God ended his life here on earth.

The Bible records that he was a fool, not because he achieved so much, but because as he gained everything he could to benefit himself, and never gave thought to prepare for eternity. Jesus said, “...beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses.” But we are to seek God’s redemption first, and then live according to His blessings.

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Mark 8:36

No matter what riches you have this side of Heaven (or lack thereof), if you do not prepare for eternity, in the end you will lose everything.


“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Luke 12:34





Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter 2014

This was supposed to be posted for Easter, which was yesterday. Oh well, the celebration of the Resurrection should never end!

Hope you all had a blessed Resurrection Day!




Without the Christ

Without His birth, where would I be?
In a stable stayed the three
Angels announced
Shepherds observed
Wisemen came to worship the Lord.

Without the Cross, where would I be?
All my sins on top of me.
Full of guilt
A price to pay
My sins would not have been washed away.

Without the Christ where would we be?
Dying for all humanity.
His blood removed
Our guilt and shame
He took our place, we took His name.

Without His resurrection where would we be?
Death is swallowed up in victory
Buried three days
He snatched Death’s key
And rose with life eternally.

                                                                                -Cindra Enloe

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Walking On Thin Ice


“I need a camera,” I informed The Farmer last November.
“I thought you had a good camera on your phone,” he reminded me.
“I do, but it doesn’t zoom far enough. I need a camera that zooms so I don’t have to get out in the cold and take pictures. Remember last year when the cow had her baby in the snow? I couldn’t get close enough to get a really good picture.”

I’m not sure he was truly convinced, but since it was right before Christmas, I had a really good chance of getting one. And I did. Doing the research, I got a great deal during the Black Friday sales (online, by the way).




And I’ve taken some great pics. I can sit in my sitting room and zoom in on the McD’s cup that is sitting on the counter and see the advertisement on the cup.




Can you see the cattle?



I’ve also taken some wintery shots off the deck when we had all that freezing snow the last couple of months.




                         

Unfortunately,  after I got the camera, I  lost my muse for a time, because The Farmer hadn’t been doing much around the farm. Well, he has fed hay, and scraped the feed lot, and fixed waterers, and shoveled snow, and chopped ice on the pond, but  it was too cold for me to get outside, and too far away from the porch for me to take pictures. Until the other day when he went out to spread red clover on the pastures.

We re-seed our red clover in our pastures every couple of years, because it’s the natural way to put nitrate back into the ground (nitrate helps the grasses grow). A good time to spread seed is while the snow is on the ground, and right before spring thaw. Since the weather seemed to be cooperating, you can imagine how excited I was to find out The Farmer was going to go do something I could take pictures of and write about. I was also silently hoping to take a video.

Hurrying to get my coat and boots on, I rushed out the door just in time to take a picture of The Farmer pulling away. “Click” (always take two) “Click.” 




Walking along trying to adjust the zoom, I all of sudden found myself lying flat on my back, with a cracked elbow, rattled teeth, and a throbbing backside! The only thing that I was aware of was the fact that I threw my camera as I went down. As I lay there getting my bearings, my rendezvous with The Farmer was forgotten. Completely unnoticed by him, I hobbled into the house to access the damage, and was thankful to realize that nothing was broken. Later, retelling the story to The Farmer, I was amazed to find how much concern he had for my camera. I assured him that I too had come away unscathed.     

Later, as I was again walking outside (being more watchful this time), I thought about how quickly my world was “turned up-side down.” How I was going through the motions of my day, thinking, planning, doing, and then in a split-second my feet were gone from out from under me and I was lying helpless on the ground. All my thoughts, plans, and motions had been changed to something completely different with that one small slip on the ice.

Jonathan Edwards (a 18th century preacher during America’s Great Awakening) spoke of this very thing in his well-known sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” He used Deuteronomy 32:35 as his text, “…their foot shall slide in due time.”

His sermon can be read here >>Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God , or you can listen to a reenacted version >>HERE<<. It’s a long read, but it is so worth the time it takes.

I was reminded of his key statement, “…their foot shall slide in due time.” When I slid on the ice, there was no warning, no flashing lights, no sounding alarms, and no stopping once I began to fall. My feet slipped and gravity took me down.

Edwards compares this with life on this earth and eternity. We all are walking around thinking about our plans and what we’ll be doing tomorrow and the next day, but none of us are promised tomorrow. No one is ever guaranteed more than the second in which we are living in right now.

All of us are one split-second away from eternity. And once that journey begins, all of our thoughts, plans, and motions will cease on this side of eternity. In a lot of cases, it comes without warning; a health issue, an accident, etc., and then we are on the other side of eternity.

Several years ago I made a very conscious decision to place Christ on the throne of my life. In God’s word He told me that I had offended Him; that I was an enemy of His, because I had been born into sin (we all have). And God cannot, and will not, associate with sin.

I read that God desired for me to be adopted into His family for eternity. He said that He had already paid for my sins that I had committed, and the sins that I wasn’t even aware of, because Christ took the punishment on the cross that was meant for me. And although Christ had taken on the sins of the whole world, there was still something I had to do to make this gift of salvation mine. I had to accept it. The work was done, the gift was given, the relationship between a holy God and an unrighteous people had been reconciled, but until I personally accepted His Gift of forgiveness, I could not be reconciled with God. We could never have a relationship unless I acted on His gift. And I did when I was 21 years old.

However, if God would not have sustained me, if He would not have had mercy to keep my feet on solid ground, if I would have slipped into eternity before I had accepted this Gift, my eternity would have been full of darkness, agony, and total separation from God.

Being a Christian is more than a religion to me, it’s the fulfillment of my purpose in life. It’s the reason I was created, and it’s the reason I wanted to share this with you. I’m not being trite when I ask, but have you been reconciled to God? Have you made a choice to follow God’s law and trust in His gift of eternal life made available to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ? I truly hope you have.

When I had questions about eternity, I found my answers in God’s Word. Reading the books of John, Romans, and Psalms answered a lot of my questions. I hope it helps you, too.


“…God commendeth (demonstrates) his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us…being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 

For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life…

We also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement." 
Romans 5:8-11

Thursday, January 30, 2014

I Miss You In The Ordinary


Recently, my mother-in-law passed away after a short bout with cancer. Up to that point in her life, she had always been healthy. At age 86, she didn’t take any medications, and she would walk 2 miles a day—Monday through Friday (on Saturday if the weather was really pleasant).

Often her daughters would come over and walk with her, and she would always encourage me to walk with her, also. Being her next-door neighbor was a good enough reason to do it, but I always had an excuse: I was too busy, too tired, too grumpy, too lazy (probably the real reason). At one point I justified not walking with her because I didn’t want to get too attached to her.

Judge me if you must, but this reasoning came after her sister had passed away. For years, every morning between 7:00 and 7:30, she and her sister would call each other just to talk and check up on one another. After her sister passed, I saw the pain and loneliness that my mother-in-law had felt for her sibling, and I made a conscience decision that I didn’t want to suffer that.

Knowing that she was a bit older than I, I assumed she would go before me and I was preparing myself emotionally (some psychologist out there can work on that if they need to). But when I began to reason within myself, I saw this for what it was…just another excuse (a twisted one perhaps).

Eventually, I began to walk daily with her. She encouraged me, prodded me on, and took it easy on me those first few days while I adjusted to her walking pace. Actually, she was just recovering from a cold that she had harbored for several weeks, so she was only walking one mile a day in the beginning, and I was able to keep up with her (wow, that’s pretty sad, since I’m 43 years younger)

After several months of walking, talking, griping, and laughing together, she found out that she had a very aggressive form of cancer and was given 4 to 6 months to live. But like everything else she faced in life, she stayed strong, faithful, and level-headed. She got her house in order and began telling her kids how she wanted everything done. She planned out her own funeral, took care of all of her financial business, pretty much decided who was going to get what, and assured us all that she would be okay, because she had accepted Christ as her Savior and she knew her final destination (although we already knew this, because it showed in her everyday life).

My mother-in-law was many things; loving, giving, faithful, energetic, stubborn and proud. When she became too weak to walk with me, she still encouraged (and threatened) me to keep on walking for my health. And I did, mainly because there was a need for someone to stop in each day and help her with some meds (it kept me accountable).

She was a strong woman and wasn’t used to being helped out. But eventually, the cancer made it impossible for her to be by herself. We kids began taking turns staying with her, and my fear of becoming too close became my reality. We spent weeks doing ordinary stuff for her; talking with her, reminiscing with her, eating with her, watching TV with her, and just being with her.

And now I find myself missing her in the ordinary—when I walk past her house, Sunday afternoons, eating candy bars and drinking sodas, watching Matlock, and a hundred other things that became daily routines. So many things, that I couldn’t begin to list, and no one else would understand, because they are just my memories.

 
gramma
I Miss You in the Ordinary
I see you in the ordinary,
In the things that happen day-to-day.
I see you in the ordinary
As I’m walking along life’s way.
 
I miss you in the ordinary,
In the things I daily do.
I remember you in the ordinary,
And realize how much I miss you.

In the commonplace of living
You have affected all of my days.
I miss you in the ordinary-
I miss your extraordinary ways.
 
 
 
“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”
Psalm 51:10