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Archive for July, 2011

We are at the table this morning, filling white… with color and words and expressing God with our brushes and fingertips.  We are painting our thoughts… blending reality and art. My thoughts are on homeschooling, as are so many other stay at home mothers during this time. The school year is here already for some, coming for others. Our homeschool year is quickly approaching like a freight train and I feel like a car stalled on the tracks of life. I am not even near ready for it to hit us August 8th. This last year’s failures are following to close behind me, painting black storm clouds over us, reminding me that we didn’t finish near where we wanted to and my 10 year old will be going into a Spanish school in Costa Rica next year. I am just using this year to catch up and finish his 4th grade year, I have 4 moths to prepare him. I have a lot of fears for this coming year, fears that I know will melt into the reality of grace and knowing He is sovereign over all things, even my failures as a homeschooling mom.  We are right where we are supposed to be and will continue to persevere in the light of His truths.  I hear these words among my fears and chaos… we are always right where we are supposed to be, where He has us. We make mistakes and fail in our goals but He is never the less always faithful and steadfast in His love for us. I have no worries. I am His, we are His.

Tomorrow I am piling in a car with 3 other ladies, mothers who are on this love journey of homeschooling and advancing the kingdom from the inside out, headed west to a homeschool conference in Houston, Texas. There we will find encouragement, strength, fellowship and laughter… much needed during this time of inner chaos.

Curriculum isn’t cheap. Life isn’t cheap. Education is life. This school year I have found it hard to be frugal with our new spine, our homeschool backbone as far as curriculum is concerned. How do you homeschool on a small budget… diligence and patience.  I have searched high and low and have found much of what I needed a lot cheaper with these two companions by my side. Next week is the beginning of the 3rd Annual Not Back-to-School Blog Hop which I hope to participate in and hope to maybe see you there as well? I love hearing what the Lord is doing in other homes, although I enter with my armor on from envy and discouragement… emotions that can quickly attack us if we are not prepared and content with where He has us even in our homeschool decisions.

Now it is raining outside as colors and life continues to rain inside… and new creations have begun at the table sculpting with solid paint-dough…

JOYfully in Him,

Kelli

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In a quiet afternoon my husband and I sat in the chaos of our minds as we wrestled thoughts and visions. We challenged each other’s faith and the visions we have for the future and for the now, because that is where it always starts… right here. The future is always before us and the past is always to close behind us, haunting us with our failures telling us that the future will be nothing but the same. It is a lie. We must not believe it. He is our hope; His perfection is where we find our refuge from those intrusive thoughts. We will fail tomorrow, yes that is true but we do not find our joy in our performance but in His. We are a beautiful mess. Making music, lives of praise together.

Our minds and hearts danced in the quiet of the afternoon to the voice of the Musician. We find each other’s hands while minds and hearts waltzed to the music, the melody of our long view for our family. Swaying back and forth, I give my thoughts, he gives his, we eventually stop stepping on each other’s toes and meet in unity and rhythm, our hearts mingle in the dance and we find grace. Our steps come to a stop as we realize that it starts right here, right now. The past is where we were, where He had us, where He taught us and what we had to go through to get to the right here. The long view… is uncertain we can only guess, plan, and always trust. Walk in faith, keeping a holy vision. Questions arise… naturally and inflict us with painful inner turmoil, a mystery into the spirit of God over the path of our life.

I read this article at Femina on the Long View, a holy vision for the future over parenting and it gave further food for our thoughts. In our dance, my husband and I came to understand that our “long view” never reaches the extent of His long view, it is very limited and at some point we must simply let go and trust our future with the Author of our story. We try to write out our story with the understanding and wisdom He gives us and then we walk by faith in perseverance and patience knowing and always being willing to re-write our script to harmonize with His.

As of right now our long view is to make disciples of our children, plant our roots in Christ here first, in the heart of our home, in the hearts of our children and each other. We will invest in their lives where we are right now, making time to pour love and grace into their souls. Souls… long term… never ending. Our long view is to see to it that their lives are filled with faith, splattered with joy, painted with grace, filled with Light, inspired to grow and advance, covered in Love and swirled with color.

As far as other plans, we know we are going to Costa Rica in December of this year. Our time is limited here, 5 months. The fears and the heart aches are starting to infect me as reality of leaving sets in hard. From there, our plans are to serve God and advance His kingdom while we learn spanish… for what? To move further South into Ecaudor, Peru, Brazil? Or maybe to move further North and come back to the states? We do not know… that is as far as our long view can see… so we walk by faith, by the Spirit as He gives us the rest of the script as we live lives of praise together, seeking to make disciples and advance the kingdom from the inside out… always starting right where we are, where He has us.

I hope you will persevere with me, with us as I strive to write our story, His story of our lives as we live it out in the flesh…

JOYfully in Him,

Kelli

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“In him was life, and the life was the light of the men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:4-5

This afternoon as I sit refuged from the glorious “heaven water” that is falling from the sky ouside I am encouraged and delighted in my reading of John chapter 1. It finds a place in my soul and brings to me comfort and serenity. His words find me here, quietly here, low and in some small inner shadows of life and they fill me with joy and hope and I am overflowing with gratitude for light… and for the Light of the world.  Pouring down like the heavenly rain water outside is His presence and His grace on my life… on your life… do you see Him? In the darkness where ever you are or the shadow that is casting down over you? Do you see His light that “shines in the darkness” and do you understand that “the darkness has not overcome it.” We live in the light of the cross, everyday. We can not escape, nor would we want to, for we are children of the light as we are told in Ephesians 5:8 and 1 Thessalonians 5:5  and R.C. Sproul so delightfully and artistically writes in The Lightlings. (you should read it if you haven’t, gather up your little lightlings and snuggle close)

As a mother, I long to not only bask in this Light and walk in this Light but to fill my home with the Light, piercing the darkness and dispersing the shadows… inspiring my little “lightlings” to take the Light and paint the world bright!

Counting with Ann

JOYfully in Him,
Kelli

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A year ago today we were given a gift, a gift of breath, of life, of joy and of pain… all wrapped up in a bundle of baby. Our precious Josai was given to us. Joy through pain. Isn’t that how it usually is? Joy and pain are connected, brother and sister joined at the hip? That is where all of our children, His children came from, they were born out of pain mixed in love and into joy… a neverending joy to be spent a living praise to their Author and Creator. My heart is overwhelmed as I sit here this morning and just marvel at this little life, this little person, this little character in the divine Story of the world. I wonder… does he know? How much he is loved? How small he is in the vast sea of His love, His ocean-anic grace and mercy? (do any of us really?)

How much his father loves him and much more his heavenly Father?

How with every smile and glee of joy he is praising God?

 

He is playing with plastic plates and drinking juice water from his plastic sippy cup… and I just wonder if he knows how much, how much he is loved. The greatest Love came down and gave him life, eternal life… life everlasting, he is immortal. Does he know that? One day he will… one day. Until then, we will show him and speak to him of this eternal Love that came down and we will pray, and we will pray, until he knows.

I am encouraged by Nancy Wilson’s words from an article she wrote in Credenda/Agenda titled Your Baby Has a Soul, here is a piece of what she said… wisdom words from a woman wise with years and experience: “Mothering is not just about childbirth options or schedule feeding. The wise woman understands that children are a source of joy and blessing entrusted to her by God, and she is to be a good steward of them, seeing that she takes care to dedicate her children to God and train them up as God’s own. When a new baby is in his mother’s arms, we don’t understand what God is doing to nurture the baby’s soul. It is a mystery. But He uses every loving word, every silly song, every kiss and playful hug to nurture and nourish the souls of our children. This is a work of faith, and we trust God to do it through us. Laying aside our own plans in order to rock a baby or comfort a child is a soul-prospering work, not an annoying interruption.” (taken from building her house, Nancy Wilson)

We need as always a holy vision of mothering, eyes of faith in this spiritual love journey of ours… because they like ourselves have souls. Eternal souls.

This morning I am making a birth-day list of a soul that I have been entrusted with… giving thanks for this precious little boy soul.

his smile that can melt my icy heart

his Pooh Bear thinking gesture that he does when you say “think, think, think”

his all fours, Gollum crawl

his frowny face and whine when he wants sympathy

Patty Cake, Patty Cake his favorite song and how he tries to do all the motions

rocking him almost to sleep, even though he resists sometimes

when he learns something new and he knows it

his passion for food

his little laugh

his duck tail or baby mullet as we call it

his brown eyes always filled with life

his little hand pats on the back when you pick him up

There is more, of course. I could go on with a neverending list but my time is unfortunetly not so gracious this morning… and we have some celebrating to do.

Counting with Ann this morning, praising Him for His neverending gifts!

JOYfully in Him,

Kelli

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Take a moment to breathe, inhale and exhale His grace, His good gifts in the moments… maybe just stop and think of “one wildly simple, beautiful moment you can give Him thanks for right now?”* and then share it over at (in)courage finding God Glory in the Moments with Ann and just maby recieve a little gift in return… just maybe.

Go ahead and splash around in His gifts… splattered His glory all in your (extra)ordinary moments, find Him where you are right now or maybe back there somewhere, last week, yesterday where you might have just missed Him, walked right past the God Glory in the Moment.

JOYfully in Him,

Kelli

 

*words from Ann.

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“Though a mother’s work can seem monotonous or repetitive when it comes to doing the laundry or changing the diapers, we have to have the eye of faith as we go. God blesses all these loving duties to the prospering of the souls of both mother and children. Reading stories over and over, stacking the blocks one more time, washing a face, wiping a nose, changing a wet diaper, or putting fresh sheets on the bed are all ways a mother cares for her children and communicates love and security. And in some mysterious way, God uses it like a sunshine and water on a tender plant. So we plant and water, but He gives the increase.”

 ~ Nancy Wilson, Building Her House

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Tomorrow I am headed with a friend to a homeschool used and new bookstore in Houston, Texas with a friend. We are going to be selling a lot of our unused books, build up credit and buy the books we will be using.

Our homeschool has turned more towards Classical rather than Charlotte… and we are following as closely as possible to Veritas Press. I am using them as my spine but am not confined to them. I am not going to use Saxon until the later grades substituting Horizons and I will be using Rod and Staff English instead of Shurley English, I think. I will still be pursuing nature study and a deep appreciation for the finer arts.

My 7 year old, Kai is about to finish his 100 Easy Lessons. I can not express the joy I feel that this journey is coming to an end! It has been such a difficult experience, with his resistance to  learn. I understand though, somewhat, he has a different style of learning and he has a different personality than my first child (or third child, or any child I have met before). I am learning how to teach him. Reading I know must be like trying to write left handed (or right handed if your a lefty), very challenging and frustrating. My Kai struggles with being seen, as I do. He does not like attention and eyes peering at him, he would rather play alone with his friends out of the vision of any adults.  Even with me, his own mother he struggles with me watching him to much during school. It is a fear of getting the wrong anwser or saying it wrong, I believe, and so he quickly becomes insecure and frustrated and then he naturally decides to give up. There has been much improvement though as we have pushed through these obstacles and I am proud of him. I am excited that he will be reading soon, what an accomplishment but first I will have to convince him that he can indeed read!

So I am making a list and checking it twice (yes like Santa Clause but not like Santa Clause). It is getting rather long.

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