Don’t count sheep to sleep

If you ever find yourself awake at night and unable to sleep

with thoughts or cares weighing you down. 

Or a to-do list or what-if scenarios swimming around.  Image

 

I have a thought.  Perhaps a challenge.

To get back to sleep,

don’t count sheep.

 

Think about all the miracles in the bible Jesus did instead.

Can you count them?  Can you recall them all?…

Now think about all the miracles He’s done in your own life…

Now that He’s done in other people you know…

 

At this point you’re either so excited and pumped about how awesome God is,

or you’re at such peace you can get back to sleep. 

Either way, you now see you see can trust Jesus with your worries, your day…your everything. 

And when you awake that peace will carry you through the day

…or week (if you let it).

 

If you found yourself so excited you were unable to sleep,

the gift of joy is yours to keep.

 

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Thanksgiving week three and four

At the beginning of November I started a four week study of Thanksgiving with the kids for school.  Week one we studied the American History of Thanksgiving.  Week two we learned bible stories of thanksgiving. Week three didn’t end up happening because I had surgery but what I was going to teach the kids was why we should be thankful and different ways we can show our gratitude.  At http://www.LittleBlots.com I found a picture of indian corn the kids could color called The Colors of Salvation.  It’s a good reminder that the most important thing to be thankful for is our salvation. 

At www.Hem-of-His-Garment-Bible-Study.org I found a lesson, called “Is It All About The Turkey?”, that teaches praise and worship as a way of showing thanks to the Lord.  The last lesson is about King David being thankful for all God had given him.  He wanted to do his part in giving to the work of building God’s temple. He gave materials of stone, jewels and marbles.  The other leaders also began to give materials.  This story is a good way to go from being thankful to the Christmas season of giving.  We were going to spend some time brainstorming things we could do to help others this Christmas season.  I got this lesson from http://ministry-to-children.com 

Week four I was going to leave open for any fun stuff we wanted to do or have make-up time for things we weren’t able to do.  I always like to schedule make-up time in my homeschool schedule because life happens. 🙂  Life certainly happened this year but I think I’ll just save my last two weeks for next year. 

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and let thankfulness and love motivate you through the Christmas season.

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SOOO Thankful

This week I have so much to be thankful for.  It’s been kind of a crazy week but I saw the Lord moving through all of it.  Last week I was having trouble with complete constipation.  I tried all the natural things I knew of but they didn’t work.  Then I tried to over-the-counter medicine to help.  Still nothing worked.  I was wondering if I had a bowel blockage.  It was time to see my Dr.  When I called for an appointment, my regular Dr. was not available so I saw his PA.  She didn’t know what was causing my constipation but she saw the hernia at my bellybutton. I’ve known about this hernia for about a year now but my regular Dr. said he wasn’t concerned about it.  His PA was, so she set me up to get a CT scan for the next day and to talk to a surgeon.  The scan showed it wasn’t an emergency to remove the hernia but we decided we’d like to have it taken care of a.s.a.p. 

This whole time I kept praying, “Lord, please let this be taken care of quickly.”  The last round I had with doctors trying to figure out my digestion problems took sooo long.  Months of, “Try this and come back in a month.  Now try this and come back in 3 weeks.” Ugh!  I didn’t want to go through that again.  Well, God answered my prayer.  The surgeon’s office scheduled my surgery for the next morning.  I often think God is so slow at answering our prayers but when He moves…hang on! 

Wednesday morning I went in for surgery.  We choose to have it done laproscopicly so the Dr. could see if there was anything else going on.  Before they took me back my husband prayed that if there was anything hidden it would be discovered.  During surgery the Dr. found another hernia that was hidden.  He said no scan, xray or test can find this kind of hernia.  You have to be looking inside the body to find it.  It’s also a very rare hernia.  It’s called a Spigelian hernia.  There’s a .12% chance of getting one and usually they are on the right side.  Mine was on the left.  These kind of hernias are found in the muscle wall and left untreated strangulate the bowels or intestines and damage the organs around it.  This breakdown had started in my body since I’d been sick for a few years. The Dr. said my skin was aging in that area.  He was a little surprised to see that in someone my  age.  When he tried to attach the mesh to my skin it was to fragile to hold. The Dr. believes that this hernia has been my problem.  It was strangulating my bowels and intestines so I had a hard time digesting food. 

Now that this has been fixed I have my bowels back.  I have a new chance at being healthy again.  Praise God that this was found.  I was pretty much done trying to find anything.  I was just going to eat healthy and try exercising.  I am SOOO thankful this hiding hernia was found and is taken care of.  Thank you Lord!

Also thank you to all those who have been watching my kids this week, substitute teaching for school, cleaning my house, making us dinners and praying.    

Thanksgiving Week Two

This week for our Thanksgiving study we focused on bible stories of thankfulness.  Our first story was in Nehemiah 8 where Ezra is reading the people the Scroll of the law.  They began to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. A week of celebration and rememberance for how the Lord brought the people out of Egypt and provided for them as they traveled through the wilderness to the promised land.  They built tents to remember the years of living in the wilderness.  

To help the kids make a connection to the story I moved the dining room table and draped over it a paper tablecloth my husband and I used at our wedding reception. This made our dining room table look like a tent.  The kids sat under the table as I read the story, which they thought was really  fun.

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To drive home the point that we can forget to be thankful I gave each child a sucker and made a mental note who said “thank you”.  After the lesson I asked who said thank you for the sucker.  They all thought they did.  It made the point well.  Then, using the paper that was acting as our tent, I helped them make a list of things/events in their life to be thankful to God for.  Image

This was a great story for me as well to remember to tell my children all the great things God does for us.

The next day we did the story of the ten lepers.  I couldn’t find a craft or game I liked for this one but the lesson of the story was easy for them to understand. The next story we did was the story of Jehoshaphat in IIChronicles 20.  It taught the children to go to God as soon as a problem arises and praising the Lord for helping us.  We made music shakers with two paper plates stapled together with beans in them.  My four-year-old daughter loved that.  She’s very musical.  Of course then we had to make rules about when and where to play your music shaker but it was still fun. 

music shaker

 

I enjoyed looking into bible stories of thankfulness.  It taught me so many things as well. Such as, the pilgrims were not the first to celebrate in thankfulness to the Lord with a feast.  I’ve also never heard of the story I read about Jehoshaphat.  The other thing I learned was about my children. I’ve mentioned before it’s challenging for me to reach the kids at the same time because of the age range.  My 11yr old and 6 yr old did well, but the little ones (2yrs and 4yrs) got bored quickly.  I brought coloring books out at one point to help keep them busy.  They enjoyed the tent and making music shakers.  I’m going to need to try to keep the little ones interest better. 

FYI: I got all of the bible story lessons from ministry-to-children.com.  If you haven’t checked them out yet you should.  I love their resources.  I’ve used them many times.    

Beauty for Ashes

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I was dancing to praise and worship music in my kitchen.  My two-year-old son stood right next to me.  I picked him up and started dancing with him.  I recalled a time when I wasn’t energetic and didn’t have enough strength to lift him or dance, let alone do both.  My heart was full of thankfulness to be cuddling with my boy. 

My mind went to a time when depression was something I battled constantly.  At times it was intense.  Almost tangible, like I could touch it.  Although it wasn’t a pleasant touch.  More like a boulder rushing toward me like a freight train. I was on antidepressants for years.  They helped  but I was embarrassed to be a christian taking antidepressants.  It’s something I didn’t like to share with people but I learned not to be ashamed. Sometimes there is a medical reason to take it and you should not be ashamed in any way.        

This battle with depression drew me closer to the Lord.  I’ve known the Lord since I was a child and I knew the only place I could find hope and peace is in Christ.  So I would cry out to Him.  It was like the book of Psalms in how the Psalmist often talks about his downcast soul, yet at the end gives praise to the Lord.  That’s been me. 

The Lord has been faithful through the years to lead me out of dark places. Through biblical teachings, life lessons and most of all through being convinced of His AMAZING, unending love He’s brought me out of depression.  So much so, that a few months ago I stopped taking my antidepressants.  I still have struggles from time to time but nothing like what I’ve had.

 So I’m in my kitchen with my little boy, dancing to worship music and singing with a heart truly full of joy.  Between giving me physical strength and health to putting a new song in my heart that keeps growing stronger, this moment was a treasure to me. He truly does give beauty for ashes, strength for tears, and turn our sorrows into dancing. Thank you Lord for your faithfulness.

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“New” Clothes

It’s so awesome how God provides for His people.  The bible tells us He will take care of us.  He knows we need food, clothing and shelter and He gives those things to us.  Time and time again I have seen firsthand how the Lord has done this in my life.  Often times I get clothes for the kids from somebody.  Seeing bags of clothes for the kids doesn’t get old.  I’m always so appreciative of how God provides.  It’s always at just the right time. 

One of my favorite stories of His provision of clothes is how He provided for me earlier this year.  If you’ve been reading my blog you know I went through some health problems.  I was losing weight and didn’t know why.  I couldn’t seem to stop it either.  As a result my clothes were not fitting anymore.  They were very baggy.  It was beyond not looking good on me.  I needed clothes that fit but we had little money and I didn’t know what I was going to do.   

I remember trying on most of the things in my closet.  I would look in the mirror and just cry.  I didn’t know what was going on with my body. Why was I losing weight?  I didn’t like the bony figure I saw in the mirror.  I was scared and frustrated.  Then I remembered some boxes I put way up high in my daughter’s closet.  A couple of years ago my sister-in-law gave me some clothes.  They were all in big bags along with some clothes from my brother-in-law for my husband.  We didn’t sort through the clothes til we got home.  Then I realized the sizes were small.  I had just had my fourth child and was having troubles losing the pregnancy weight.  So when I saw these small ladies clothes I laughed.  “Yeah, like that’s every going to fit me.  I wasn’t even that small in high school.”  I remember telling my husband.  They were nice clothes though.  Some still had tags on them.  So I decided to hold on to them for my daughter to grow into. I boxed them up and threw them up high in her closet where they had been sitting about two years now.  My husband got the boxes for me and I began trying on all these clothes.  Most of them fit me.  It was a bittersweet moment.  I had never planned on being small enough to fit these clothes yet I was so thankful I had them.  So thankful that God cares enough about me to have provided for me before I even needed them.  With every item I put on that fit I felt God’s comfort. He was right there with me and cared about what I was going through. He would provide and care for me every step of the way.  These clothes were a gentle reminder to me of what a caring God I serve.   sparrow

Telling Our Children Our Story

This week I am teaching my children bible stories about giving thanks to God.  The Lord wants parents to teach their children all of the things He has done for us and for generations past.  Many parents know this and it’s why we tell our kids bible stories.  We want them to learn what the Lord has done. 

I got to thinking though.  How often do I tell my children the miracles and faith building situations God has brought my husband and I through? The Lord clearly leaves His fingerprints all over our lives but I think I fail to tell my children of the many times God’s done great things for our family personally.  It can be hard to relate to bible characters who lived long ago.  When the children hear how God has given our family food and clothes or healed relationships, that’s something they can relate to because they saw some of the events unfold before them.  They may not have understood the situation at the time but when you help them put the pieces together it builds their faith and gives glory to God.  As they continue to be told how God is working in our lives their faith will grow right along with my husband and I.  Soon they will realize we serve a big and amazing God who loves them VERY much.  Then they will come to the Lord for things on their own knowing nothing is to big or to small for Him and by the time they are our age their faith could be much bigger then ours.  Of course we’ll need to use discretion with each child on what details they would understand but the idea is to tell them of all the great things God has done for us. 

It’s really not just our kids that need to be told these great things the Lord is doing but all of us need to hear what God is doing for our brothers and sisters in Christ.  It encourages each other to hear it.  Especially when you’re going through a similar situation.  Sometimes this means we have to expose our weaknesses or hardships but when it gives God glory don’t be afraid to share with others. 

  I will now be intentional about telling my children all the great things God does for our family.  I’m excited to be able to watch their faith grow with mine.

Thanksgiving: Week One

  Hooray, it’s November!  I love the gorgeous colors of the trees and how after a windy day the colors blanket the lawns.  I also love Thanksgiving.   I love the idea of devoting a day to celebrate all your blessings with family and friends.  A time to reflect on all the good things we have in life.  Regardless of how much money we make, there is always something to be thankful for.  I try to have thankfulness be a lifestyle in my life, not just a holiday or a season.  I used to be a negative person.  I got sick of being that way so, with the Lord’s help and time, I became a thankful and a mostly positive person. (I still have my moments. LOL) 

It’s frustrates me that Thanksgiving seems to get looked over.  So I decided to focus on Thanksgiving with my kids during devotion time this month.  I’m trying to put a craft or game with every lesson.  My kids range from ages 2 to 11 and trying to keep it interesting for all is a bit challenging but this week was a success.  I thought I’d share what I’m doing this month and maybe you can get ideas for your kids.

For week one I focused on the American history of Thanksgiving.  I went to the city library and found some books to help tell the story.  I used “The Mayflower Compact” by David and Patricia Armentrout, “Pilgrims” by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce and “The Voyage of the Mayflower” by Allison Lassieur.  The last book was fun because it’s in comic book style and helped keep my 6 yr. old son’s attention. 

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When we learned about the Mayflower we made a Mayflower craft out of paper plates that I found on Pinterest. (Gotta love Pinterest.)

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Another interesting book I found was “Sarah Gives Thanks” by Mike Allegra.  It’s about how Thanksgiving became a national holiday. This was a story I had never heard.  I love it when I learn right along with my kids.

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On Thursdays I try to do things a little more creatively.  We still learn but I try to have games, crafts, stories and so many of the things I forget to do when I’m so textbook focused.  I originally started doing “fun Friday’s” in the summer to have organized play and sneak in some learning.  They loved it so much I decided to continue when the official school year began in the fall but I switched it to Thursdays. 

So on Thursday after reading “Sarah Gives Thanks” I played “Turkey in a Bag” with the kids (which I also found on Pinterest).  You make cards with letters on them and have a few cards with turkeys.  Put all the cards in the bag and have the child draw a card.  If they get a letter card they had to tell me what letter it is and what sound it makes.  If they get a turkey card they can run around the kitchen table twice as they gobble like a turkey.  For my 11 yr old, if she drew a letter card I gave her a multiplication problem instead.  You can really put whatever you want your kids to work on on the cards.  It was a fun game and kept everyone’s interest.  Not an easy task with a nine year age spread from youngest to oldest. 

On Friday the kids made a “Thank You God” book I found on www.ChristianPreschoolPrintables.com. It reviews all we’ve learned this week.

Oh yes, how could I forget.  I also checked out Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving video from the library and the kids have been watching that all week.  My 6yr old just loves Snoopy.  There’s our Thanksgiving week one.  I look forward to sharing with you how next week goes.