Saturday, August 29, 2009

School Started? (676)

I think 'school' may have started today in my house. I wasn't intending to, it birthed itself. My 5.5 year old wanted to learn to read something before he starts grade 1 on Monday. So we learned the 'at' family of words, wrote a little story, he illustrated it and now he has a book he can read all by himself. I LOVE the lights that come on in their face when they realize that they're getting it!! I used to want to be a teacher in a school because of that very thing, then got very turned off by the college of Education that I was enrolled in. I decided that if I was going to be forced to teach the garbage that they set out and submit to those who called themselves leaders in that college then I was done.

However, during that year I did a project for a class that contrasted public, private and home education. I had never heard of home education really, it was very foreign to me. That assignment planted a seed that sprouted and grew. We haven't ever home-educated all our children at one time (who knows, that time may come at some point) but have been home-educating one or two of them at a time for the last 7 years, with the exception of a year or two when Samuel and Sasha were born.

While I was in the middle of teaching Sasha to read, Samuel asked for some difficult words to read. So I tried to think up some things that should be difficult for a kid going into grade 2. Words like hippopotamus, grotesque, tsunami, jugular, sympathy and stuff like that. It took him a seconde to realize sympathy wasn't symphony and other than that, grotesque was the only word that gave him any pause.

From reading and vocabulary we launched into French. The three of them asking me what this was in French and what that was. Asking me to speak sentences and translate them. This sparked Abby who knows some French to start teaching her brothers what she knew. They went over colours and some other common objects. We were having quite a bit of fun with that.

After that we got to talking about Karate Kid and martial arts and suddenly everyone was seeing how high we could kick - a little phys ed thrown in. Earlier they had been asking each other what 2-1-1 was and what 900 + 900 was as they played with a calculator.

Isn't that how learning should take place. Naturally. Not overwhelming. Little pieces at a time that are easily swallowed and digested? Older children helping younger children. I love to learn with my kids. I love when the lights come on for them. Granted at times if feels overwhelming and more than I can bear, especially when I get behind in marking! But we're going to try a bit more of the Charlotte Mason approach in narration and seeing what they know rather than testing to find out what they don't know and showing them all their failures.

A few more gifts to share:

673. A good day with my difficult son yesterday.
674. A big brother helping a little sister without being prompted by mom.
675. Fun with schoolwork, without even trying.
676. Praying with my sister-in-law as we try to encourage each other through our days.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Birthday gifts (672)

Today is my birthday and I have so many things to be thankful for. I want to give all my praise to the author and finisher of my faith, without that, I would be nothing and have nothing. Without Him, I deserve nothing and yet I have so much.
641. Salvation - spiritual birth that is worth more than life itself.
642. Grace - I so need Him to get through each and every moment.
643. Mercy - cause I am not that good at being good!
644. Truth - beats the lies every time.
645. Peace - in times of great stress and trial, it is there, underlying all the other stuff, waiting.
646. My family - what a joy they were today. The six of them worked together this morning to clean the kitchen and living room while I was away serving at a funeral. They were all alive and happy with one another when I got home.
647. My little boy who swiped a piece of fabric from my stash last week, wrapped it up and kept it hidden so he could 'surprise' me today with a 'blanket' just for me. How sweet is that!
648. Once again, thankful that my children are alive, healthy and learning to love Jesus.
649. Thankful for the skills and abilities that I have been blessed with.
650. Thankful that I get opportunities to share those gifts and skills with others.
651. The ladies that have become my friends in this town, you are truly a gift to me.
652. My mom and dad who have hosted my kids for the last bit - they had so much fun.
653. My husband's family, we spent the afternoon with them yesterday, what a great bunch. And the ones we didn't see yesterday, they're amazing, too.
654, The rest of my family, close and extended are pretty wonderful, too.
655. My big boys, playing with their little sister on the beach today.
656. The man at the concession who bought me a bottle of water today for my birthday - so sweet.
657. The beach today, quiet and calm and so beautiful.
658. A non-stressful day today.
659. Good fiction.
660. Inspiring reading.
661. Scrapbooking - such a fun way to share the stories of our family.
662. Upcoming events - the're a gift to anticipate, sitting unopened.... I love surprises.
663. Fresh green beans from my garden.
664. When the numbers on the scale actually start going down!!!
665. Chocolate cake baking in the oven - that is truly the best recipe ever!!!
666. Possibilities of tea dates and quilting dates.
667. New projects.
668. We finally started combining.
669. The joy in my husband's voice that he is sitting in a combine taking the crop off.
670. Our spiritual family - you rock!
671. The opportunity to encourage someone towards Jesus.
672. Uncles who ask you encouraging questions.
673. Homemade loveliness from my mommy.
674. Storebought loveliness from my other mom.
675. My sister.
676. My nieces and nephews - growing up so nicely.
677. The beginninig of another youth year starting soon.

My cake is ready to take out...I'm going to ignore the fact that I should really avoid that cake tonite in honor of my birthday and eat it...guilt free!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Passing from death to life

There is nothing like a near death experience to bring you face to face with the reality of the gift of life, especially when it's one of your kids. My oldest son almost died today but because of God's grace he did not. Some people may consider all that happened a series of lucky coincidences, we say that is the hand of God sparing us a tragedy beyond words.

Kelly and Josiah were moving grain this morning. Josiah was in the back of the truck when Kelly started lifting the hoist. Josiah lost his footing and got sucked down into the gate of the truck while tons of grain poured down on him. He managed to keep his hands free and started throwing grain to signal Kelly that he was in trouble. Fortunately he had a dust mask on or his lungs and airways would have filled up with grain by the time Kelly got to him.

Kelly saw his signal and his first thought was that he was just being silly but decided to go check what he was doing. He saw his rear end stuck in the gate and realized that Josiah was in big trouble. He tried to pull him out but couldn't. Quickly he went and lowered the hoist to take the pressure of the grain off of him and started digging him out. He moved fast enough that Josiah hadn't passed out but his lips were definately blue by the time he got to him. As I said, with that much grain on top of him, without a dustmask on, he would have been dead by then, drowned in wheat, the very thing that puts food on our table.

We're all a little shaky today, sobered by reality. We learned a valuable lesson in safety and a spiritual lesson as well. Sometimes our kids are doing what appears to be silly or foolish, but they're really sending out a desparate cry for help, if we draw near, quickly, we might be able to hear something that we wouldn't have otherwise.

While I am still shaking inside I want to give praise to my heavenly Father for saving my son today, for giving my husband the ability to think and act quickly on his behalf and that I wasn't there to see it!


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Glasses Angel

I think maybe we have a 'glasses angel' looking out for us. Between Sasha and myself we keep that fella busy. However, for the last month I was pretty sure that our angel was on vacation.

Last September we noticed that Sasha's eye was turning in and he was closing it in order to be able to see. Off we went to the eye doctor, sure enough glasses were in order. I made sure we got the most indestructable glasses they had. As good as those glasses were, they were still no match for a 4 1/2 year old whirlwind.

Right before we headed off to Colorado I noticed that his nosepieces were completely gone. There was no time to get them fixed before we left so off we went. The silly things were so loose on his head that they'd fall off without him even noticing. Unfortunately that happened somewhere up on Pike's Peak and we never saw them again.

Off to the eye doctor to retest and get a new pair. Fortunately for our bank account he needed a new prescription so insurance paid for the new pair. Whew! We've managed to keep that pair for 6 1/2 months. However, in that time frame they have been misplaced any number of times. Once I found them while I was cleaning up Lego, he and Sam had been wrestling so he very carefully put them in the tray of his sister's stroller and forgot where he put them. I came upon them quite by 'accident'. I think the glasses angel made the sun shine off them or something.

We getting ready to head home from one of our many excursions to camp and I'd felt the Spirit warn me that Sasha was going to lose his glasses. So it came as no surprise that as I was about to put the van in reverse I glanced back and saw his barren face. We started looking, running around camp to the places he suggested they might be. We were about to give up when Noemi suddenly made a sharp detour and went to the very spot where we had been parked and picked his glasses up off the ground. They were lying just outside the door where we had been parked, we could have stepped on them at any time as we looked but we didn't, the glasses angel protected them from us and told Noemi where to find them.

Now here we were again. We had just recovered the things from another lost episode and he had them on his face when we went out for the evening. A few days later I realized that he hadn't had them since then and he couldn't remember where he'd last had them. I asked the babysitter if she remembered anything about them but it was a couple of weeks later so I didn't expect that she would (she had been working at camp). I wasn't overly concerned because the case was missing, too, wherever they were, at least they were in the case. So I started searching in the likely places, top of the fridge, microwave, beside same, under the bed, couch, etc. Nothing. We prayed and asked God to show us, still nothing. I was beginning to despair.

Yesterday I was sitting at my sewing machine and pleading with God, we don't really have the cash to fork out for a new pair and he really needs them before school starts. One more time I asked him to show me where they were. I was chatting with my eldest son and glanced on top of the fridge. It couldn't be, but yes, there was a slim black case that looked an awful lot like Sasha's missing glasses case. Remember I've looked for them on top of that fridge any number of times. I popped open the lid and his glasses slid out. Even my son said, "You're kidding, they were right there?"

I am convinced the glasses angel was alerted by my prayers and was told to put them on the fridge for me yesterday. Or maybe he's been having some fun with me and Jesus told him that was enough already, put the glasses back. Whichever way it was, I am thankful for answered prayer.

Monday, August 17, 2009

thoughts for today (634)

I am toying with the idea of moving to a new blog page. I can't seem to edit any of my layout and it's really annoying me. Hmmmm...

gift #630. My littlest boy is excited to start school (Grade 1).

631. My oldest son came back to the house and did his chores that he had failed to do earlier without me reminding, nagging or yelling.

632. Got all the laundry caught up today.

633. Sewed up a really cute lunchbag for that Grade 1 boy to use for school. Why buy when you can sew!

634. I am so thankful for the ability to sew, I'm not sure what I'd do without that treasure!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

gifts (629)

613. Not my news, but news of our good friends who've been waiting FOREVER to find out who they will be adopting from Ethiopia - they know and now can wait with anticipation! You can read their story over here.

614. My baby chicks are home. As lovely as it was to have a quiet, clean house, the level of life was a little less than I liked! I missed so many gifts that I take for granted...

615. "MOM, MOM, MOM....I HAVE AN IDEA!!!!"
616. Little girl voice chirping along with daddy's beautiful baritone, singing, "I love you Lord"
617. Sweet, sticky hugs from small warm bodies.
618. Sparkly eyes
619. Crooked smiles.
620. Mommy, can I sew with you tomorrow? Good excuse to get up close and personal with my machine I'm thinkin!!

Seriously, I thought I'd do crafty things but didn't do one single crafty thing. Did however, weed alot of garden space before all the rain came (621). I got started on the accounting for the farm that I am, oh, like 7 months behind on! It's coming. I spent some time with my 11 year old when he got home on Wednesday (622 and 623) truly, non-stressful time with him is a double gift!

We did have a lovely evening with friends (624). Went to the drive-in with our son and his friend (625). Got to have my honey along on the long drive to pick up kids from camp and go get kids from grandma's because of the rain (626). Got a great djembe for the 11 year old on his birthday (627). Got most of the school supply shopping done (628).

629. I am so grateful for my husband who supports me in difficult journeys that I don't want to go on because I'm scared to fail. He comes in and wipes away my fears with his faith, I am so blessed to have him.

Okay, gettin' tired. my man-child and husband are up from the depths...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Yesterday (612)

I slept in until 9:30 because no one woke me up.
588. getting a full night of sleep is a gift.

Had breakfast.

Devotions out on the deck.
589. Warm sun on my back.
590. Birds flititng in and out of the trees and near my feet.
591. A great devotional book that I'm going through (90 Days With Jesus by Beth Moore).
592. Leaning agains the deck rail - I love that deck even if it isn't finished yet.

Weeding in the bean patch.
593. Discovered there were new tender beans ready to be picked.
604. Got accosted by my loving dogs - all 3 at one time.

Finding out the fridge had been turned off by our little one a couple of days ago.
594. Chicken noodle soup.
595. Banana bread.
596. A nice mid-afternoon snack.
597. Didn't have to thaw out meat for supper.
598. A lovely clean fridge and freezer.
599. On behalf of the dogs - a gift from a little girl - they enjoyed their supper!

Washed the floor.

Took time out to read here and there.
600. So thankful for the gift of literature that the Lord has given us.
601. Thankful for the authors who chose to use their gifts to bless so many.
602. Rekindled desire to write.

Made a delightful supper of new potatoes, onions and beans from our garden with sausage on the barbeque.
603. Ate supper on the deck.

Worked together with my wonderful husband in the yard until it got dark.
605. Work that satisfies is a gift.

Watched a good movie.
606. Thankful, too, for the film industry, especially when they produce a really good picture.

607. Danced in the moonlight with my husband.
608. Bright moon.
609. Bright stars.
610. Soft breeze.
611. Privacy to do such a silly thing.

Finished reading a novel I started, a wonderful picture of God's gift of grace to us.
612. God's grace to me, who didn't deserve it.

Yesterday was a good day. Thank you Lord for a stress-free day.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

gifts from this weekend (587)

we are home from a powerful weekend of worshipping, listening and participating with God in what He wanted for us...a weekend full of gifts...

551. God's amazing provision for a place for this gathering to be held, He literally took the wheel off our truck on the highway way back in April so that we could meet the owner of the lake where we wished to hold the gathering.

552. the gift of lovely weather, even the storm felt like His blessings being poured out

553. the interaction of generations, blessing...releasing...loving one another

554. watching the team of leaders, interacting, waiting on the Lord, not pushing agendas...

555. the sweet spirit of love

556. sharing, interacting, waiting together

557. the young people responding, dancing, laughing, singing, praying together, and for one another

558. watching covenants be made

559. seeing the face of one who I knew should be there finally arriving

560. hearing the testimonies of lives changed by His grace

561. seeing grace poured out in my son as he took up the flag of fire and waved it with all his might

562. seeing my younger sons, dancing and participating in every session

563. watching my daughter dance and love Jesus with all her heart

564. listening to my husband lead with authority and clarity, covered by the other leaders, walking shoulder to shoulder with him

565. seeing my daughter and my niece (one caucasian, one native) playing and dancing together, not concerned about skin colour or racial differences, they just love one another

566. seeing the army of God advancing through worship and praise

567. sweet moments of grace as one prays for another,

568. encouraging words offered

569. sunburned noses lifted to the Son

570. someone else running an errand so my husband could play with his kids

571. a young lady taking my little girl to play so I could rest

572. our van, with enough room to sleep - not in a tent

573. matches from the neighbouring campsite

574. finally meeting people you've only heard about and finding out how wonderful they really are

575. leadership of young people, on fire for God, walking in their gifts.

576. spirit-led prayers of tiny hearts led by the spirit

577. offers of prayer, walking alongside, being there

578. phonecalls from friends including us in good news that they've been waiting for for so long

579. radiant brides bouncing with anticipation on their wedding day

580. handsome grooms with awestruck glances as they view their bride coming toward them

581. wonderful weddings filled with God's blessings

582. friends
583. family
584. family of God

585. being fully, spiritually awake enough to enjoy all of these gifts

586. to be able to fully contribute and participate because my spirit is awake!

587. the glimmer of a new song, being formed in my heart

so many good things this weekend, I can hardly contain it