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Archive for the ‘Life and Change’ Category

The new year brings with it HOPE, hope of a future and of a renewed faith.

new slate, a fresh page. I think this calls for a new journal, don’t you think?

Not a new slate just because it is a new year, for His mercies are new every morning, not just every year. The new year is just a reminder that we are given a chance to start over. Grace for a new year.

None of us know what awaits us in this new year, nor do we know what will await us tomorrow morning but we do know that trials, temptations, and sin await us on the other side of 2012 and the setting sun but also along side them await grace, and love, and mercy.

…there will be storms in 2012, but there will also be sunshine.

…there will also be droughts, but there will most definetly be rain.

…pain will come, but healing will follow close behind.

…there will be defeats, but there will also be Victory.

It is reality that in life we will experience loss and pain of all sorts. We can not escape it. Trials are intricately apart of daily life. Life bring trials, trials that get in your face and dare to ask the question, “Is God really enough?”.

In some way this year our faith will be challenged, will He be enough in those times when the trials of life get in your face and question your faith?

I have learned so much this year, more than I could write in one setting. I think the most profound thing that I am learning, learning, is not to directly link the actions of people to God himself. God uses people and works through and in people but He is not people.

People will always in some way let you down, they are made in the likeness of God but they are not God.

When they do, remember He has not, for God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is always faithful even when those around us, including ourselves, are not.

I say this because over the last year I have come to realize how many people I have let down and how many people have let me down. We are all sinners living in grace.

I want to name this coming year for my family, thanks Kristen, from We are THAT family, for the idea. He wears it on his wrist given by a friend. A gentle silent reminder that He has not left us and that with each breath it remains alive even though we may not beable to always see it or feel it.

HOPE.

2012 is our year of HOPE.

*photo’s courtesy of a dear sweet friend

A new beginning, a new faith, a new joy. A new crazy love for Jesus and for His people!

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I have been learning a lot lately about the will of God. Hard lessons of life and change.

It is true that every day in many ways, our plans change.

I had glorious plans for today, plans to take time to invest in my children’s life. To make, bake, and create messy joy.

But,  instead I am in bed with a messy virus.

We desire to live in the will of God, walking in His presence, and obeying His word. What we often fail to understand is that along this journey He desires us to have grateful hearts. To walk in humility in each moment, knowing how little we know and how much we are loved.

This is what I long to understand, live, and teach to my children. How to be among the grateful children saved by grace. That they will live eyes wide open to the magical kingdom that surrounds them.

“Interestingly, when you go to the scriptures for insight on the will of God, you don’t find a lot about things to do, places to go, or people to meet. That is because God’s will is not so much a place, a job, or a specific mate, as it is a heart and a lifestyle. What you do find in the word, however, are a few clear statements in regard to what the will of God is-not just for you, not just for me, but for all of us. ” Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Gratitude should be at the heart of every Christian in their search for the will of God for their lives and our children should be raised in an atmosphere of deep gratitude.

I think we have underestimated gratitude in the Christian life, never fully understanding it’s place in our hearts. Setting it aside and believing it something to hard to ever obtain, so why try?

Because it is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you, that is why.

And because it is the only avenue to true sanctified joy. I believe that with my whole heart. We will never live in true joy if we are not truely grateful for the grace of Jesus Christ in every circumstance of our life. It is hard, but it is obtainable even in the storm you might be in right now. It is worth fighting for, He is worth fighting for.

“Gratitude is a lifestyle, a hard fought, grace infused, biblical lifestyle.” Nancy Leigh DeMoss

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Life is so full of delicious moments that can so easily, by my own permission, slip by untasted.

This afternoon I found encouragement in questions…

How does a heart sorrow over the time forever gone and still be present to the wonder of the time that is now?

How do we let go of what once was and accept what now is?

Questions I have been battling  {questions I know others around me are battling as well} as I try to live accepting change, accepting what I don’t understand.

Questions I already know the answer to and have known… from the beginning. To the one word that can heal

Eucharisteo.

Yes, thanks.

I am a mess, my life is a mess but I can choose to give thanks and live fully, right here.

Tasting the moments of this life, of Him.

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Psalm 38:4

This is why I run hard after it. Why it is such a passion of mine. Desperately chasing after it, this grace and capturing it’s magic with my lens, so that I might just taste and see a little more of His goodness… right here, through this pain. Through this life of pain, constantly learning to let go… and live right here.

With each moment captured I do the unthinkable, the miraculous… I hold grace.

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Fighting for Joy

How do we walk through grief and still experience the miracle of joy?

The grief I am experiencing is nothing compared to some, to the some who are or have experienced real death. I know that my sorrow is nothing compared to theirs. It is still, none the less, grief.

A broken heart.

A heart full of doubts, of fears, and anger.

My joy is gone; grief is upon me; my heart is sick within me.

Jeremiah 8:18

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There is a gaping hole in my heart right now. A wound that if I am not careful can quickly become infected by bitterness and hopelessness. This hole needs to be carefully treated with the balm of the truth of His promises.

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He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Psalm 147:3

I know that this hole in my heart will with time and careful attention, heal. My hope of the future was crushed and so a piece of me died but as always He continues to always be my unfailing hope, my eternal future, and joy.

As our hearts heal we strive to move forward in His grace pursuing a new future with Him ever before our eyes, battling infection and fighting for healing, and for our joy.

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The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.

Proverbs 16:9

Our lives change like the seasons. Every day is full of change, of the future moved.

The future is constantly changing, for us.

We make plans nearly every second. What we are going to make for breakfast, what we will wear that day, what we will do. Until we remember we don’t have sugar for those pancakes, that shirt we were going to wear is dirty, and then we have unnounced company that changes our plans for the whole day. The future is ever changing with divine interruptions.

Although it appears to us that the future is constantly changing with our every decision, I know this just isn’t true.

I believe in a sovereign God, a God who knows all things, especially the future. I believe that everything that happens, every decision is ours to make but is in the sovereign hand of God and already apart of His story. I can’t change the future, not really.

It has already been written.

I am just living the Divine Story as it is revealed to me in time.

I walk each line by the Spirit and by faith.

We try to write our own story only to find out it wasn’t His story. Like I did recently.

We wrote and planned our future. We were to go to Costa Rica and learn spanish so that we could be prepared for our future’s future, in South America. Two weeks away from our date with destiny to fly into the future our plans were interrupted and our future died. The future we had planned.

We wrote it all out only to find that it wasn’t in His story. I find comfort in knowing that whatever happens is a part of the Story and that I cannot change that which is already written. This is how it was always supposed to be. This was always the plan, always a part of the story. I may not always understand or feel happy about how the story of my life is playing out but I must remember this is not MY story nor do I understand it fully or know the end. I have a very small place in it.

And I just long to be grateful for it.

I just want to be grateful for my part, my piece of the story.

My plans may change, but His are always the same.

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Caught in the In-between

I am learning quietly how to live fully here while preparing to live fully in Costa Rica in a short 2 1/2 months. It is a strange place to be, kind of caught in the inbetween of here and there, now and soon to be. My home is still full where it really  needs to be on a journey to empty, we are not quite there… remember we are still very much living here. Full and busy days of school, church activities, and Upwards sports that we thought would be a great idea to do right before we leave to move out of the country.

How do I live in the inbetween of my two homes? Living thankful for the present while anticipating the glories of the future? I am caught in the in-between.

We have a garage sale, a major garage sale planned for the beginning of October. The date is haunting my days as well as December 12th our desired  date to sit beside metal wings and fly over the ocean blue and earth green into a new culture and people. It isn’t until now that the reality is beginning to flood through my heart, breaking down damns I have built up over the years. Something I wasn’t quite prepared for. Leaving always breaks hearts. I am not ready for mine to say goodbye.

Goodbye to my home. It is amazing how much your home can become apart of you, or how much you become apart of your home. How do you seperate your heart? Home is where your heart is right? I know, not physically but try telling that to my heart right now. I have grown attached. I have poured my heart into home, spent 11 years cultivating and adorning a gospel rich atmosphere into home here in the states.

The things in my home are an extentsion of my heart, my personality, my faith {my shared faith with my family} and is a reminder of grace extended.  They are things {yes just things} that I have bought, things I have made, things my children have made or bought for me, things that were given to me and have depth of meaning and feelings to their existence. Now, I must say goodbye. I must leave them all behind. A piece of my heart, myself dispersed in storage.

I will miss the little things that have grown into my heart… my little furry family members, sweet little comforting companions to us all, my year round Christmas lights over the kitchen sink, my always sunny with magical clouded hallway, the quiet corner in our bedroom where I have had many precious moments rocking my Josai, my nightstand stacked high with books, the glow of night lights that help penetrate the darkness, hot baths spent in prayer, things taken for granted like hot water and central air and heat, scripture painted and hung on the walls… and  the bathroom light left on through out the night for lightlings afraid of the dark. The comfort of it all… the normal contentment of the here.

I am slowly saying goodbye, for a season. A new season is coming upon us, we can feel the cool breeze on our faces and are anticipating all the glorious change it will bring with it.  I have been encouraged by His words this last week in 1 John 1:1-4 and the life I share with Christ knowing that He is all that I need, all that satisfies this thirsty soul. Although my heart is caught in the in-between of here and there, I am reminded that He is always here bringing us there…every step of the way. He is Immanuel, God with us. It is all His grace upon my life, the here, the in-between, and the there.  May I never, may we never forget that He is our home.

…you have made the LORD your dwelling place– the Most High, who is my refuge– Psalm 91:9

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It’s that time of year again… a kind of a Christmas for homeschooling moms and some wacky kids, like mine ;). School is about to start up again, where as most probably already have all their curriculum in and already planned out the whole year for the procrastinators we are just getting started! After a long summer of working through thoughts and future plans here are some of my thought on our curriculum choices…

Our curriculum choices for homeschool are not based on our familes personality but on faith, understanding, and love. We decide what curriculum to use first and foremost not on which one we “like” but on which one has a correct biblical worldview for our family, I know this can be different from house to house. I personally have come to the point where I realize after years of homeschooling that my children need a firm educational foundation to stand their minds and hearts on and this matter’s I believe because education is a life, it is truly a way of life. We do not fit education in over on the side of daily life… we blend it right in and it becomes our way of life. Our faith is naturally and intentionally ground up in our curriculum choices. My poor children have been tossed to and fro like chaff in the wind from one curriculum to another based on what we liked or didn’t like for so many years, or what did “work” or didn’t “work” for us… which usually just meant it was either easy to use and adjust to our personalities or it was just to hard to adjust to for us… it just didn’t work for us. Not to say we can’t or don’t try to blend in what we like or what works for us but it is not the deciding factor all the time. There comes a point, which is now that we have decided to just be content and make things work for our family. I realize now that I have not been building a solid firm educational foundation for my children by always being discontent, looking for the perfect curriculum for our family. Switching grammer on my 10 year old for the last 6 years has not been fruitful for him… nor myself. Always having to familiarize myself and my son to a new way of learning one subject every year can not be good, I am convinced.

So with that said we, my husband and I together have decided to settle on a curriculum spine, our educational back bone. From this point forward we will be commited to following Veritas Press with a few minor exceptions. For our family, we feel confident in their suggestions and in their statement of faith and worldview… because that matters more than you might think. Remember, education is a life.

I mentioned here about the rather large purple elephant that is present with us at this point and so I have factored it in our decisions for our 2011-2012 homeschool year. I will not be starting any new curriculum with Eli, my 4th/5th grader because he will be going into a spanish language school in Costa Rica next year. I will just be finishing up our curriculum from last year that we didn’t finish. Also, it is still undecided whether or not our 1st grader will attend or not as a full time studen to the school or not, so that is still a possibility.

So here is what I am waiting for to arrive at my door it pretty brown boxes delivered by the pretty brown truck very soon…

1st grade… Horizons 1, which I know is not VP’s choice but it is ours. Horizons is a little more kid friendly in the younger years than Saxon so here is an area where we make a change for something to work for us because after years of trying Saxon it just wasn’t a math curriculum we feel we need to do again, also for math some fact music (to add in a little fun), Shurley English 1A Child’s Geography by Ann Voskamp, again not a VP suggestion but one I feel confident will be a great Christ centered curriculum to follow, a huge list of literature book by VP along with their First Favorites Guides, Fine Art Primer books from VP for art and a collection of music books for our music study. We will continue to listen to a composer for 6 weeks or so appreciating their gift as well as an artist. We could not afford the Discoveries in Music or Discovering Art from Calvert School suggested by VP for this year nor were we sure how I would use them in Costa Rica practically considering the transition and lifestyle down there. I am still researching art curriculums but we will be using Drawing with Children for sure.

Kindergarten… Horizons K, Phonics Museum K, VP Kindergarten booklist and guides, Big Picture Bible Timeline, Read Aloud OT Collection, We Sing Bible Songs and Drawing with Children for art.

That is the basics. Veritas Press is working on lesson plans for me which is a new thing for me, I usually just make my own. That will be a huge blessing. I am anxious to get a feel for all of our new books and our new school year. I know we will not have it all in by this coming Monday but we will just start with whatever we have, get our feet wet first.

It’s Curriculum Week at the Not Back to School Blog Hop over at Heart of the Matter

JOYfully in Him,

Kelli

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