Homemade Christmas

People who know my husband and I well know we don’t have much money. It’s been that way all our married life. My husband’s jobs have been lowing paying, so we are doing well to make ends meet. Don’t get me wrong, the Lord takes care of us. We have our basic needs met but we have very little, if anything, for extras. So when Christmas rolls around each year all we have to say is, “Okay kids, you know the drill about Christmas.” They all nod as we continue, “We’ll do the best we can to get you gifts but we might not be able to get much at all.” Then we go in our spiel about how it’s not about the gifts anyway. Our kids are so used to it by now they roll pretty well with it. Of course I’d love to buy so much for our kids and my husband but that’s not always possible, not if we want to stay in our budget.

Yet through the years God has come through in some pretty amazing ways. People have bought us gifts anonymously, we’ve been given money – sometimes we knew who gave to us but sometimes we didn’t. We’ve had unexpected bonuses given to my husband. Then we-by we I mean my husband- would make a mad dash to the store with a ton of other last minute shoppers to buy presents. I’d love to tell all the stories of how the Lord has provided throughout the years but I don’t have time for that now. Those blessings have certainly increased my faith though and shown to me how faithful and loving our God is.

Since the kids don’t have access to much money we encourage them to make something for each other. Last year we stepped the presents up a notch. By stepping it up I mean the creativity and time put into the gift. Even my husband and I made gifts for each of the kids and each other. We bought one store bought gift for each child and the rest was homemade. I wasn’t sure how the gifts were going to turn out but I wanted to make the best of it. We took the month of December off from homeschooling with text books and planned and worked on projects instead. All projects had to be approved by either dad or I and I didn’t want to have to spend much, if anything, on materials. That would kind of defeat our purpose. I like doing crafts so I have a lot of supplies on hand, we just needed to add our imagination. Of course we had some inspiration from Pinterest.

We used three basic materials; fabric, canvas, and cardboard. I was in charge of the fabric projects because they had to do with sewing. We don’t have a sewing machine so all our sewing projects were done by hand. I’m sure it would be easier if you have a machine. The girls both received a flower pillow. I thought the butterfly was a nice touch from my older daughter.

My son got a Lego head pillow from his sister and a puppy stuffed animal from his other sister. She included a small container with a label that says “Spot’s food” on it. It’s actually a small spice container.

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My youngest son got a pteranodon jacket from his sister. We bought a green jacket that was on sale (I’m sure you could find one at Goodwill) and we sewed fabric pieces to make it look like wings. She had done something similar for him a couple years ago with a red jacket and sewed blue half circles filled with pillow fluff along the back to look like a dinosaur. He loved it but has outgrown that one.2016_12_29_12_12

On my next projects I got to do some painting. That was fun. I rarely have time to do things like this so I really enjoyed it. For my boys I made these canvases. I used tape to get the stripe effect. Then I hot glued buttons on to form the letter.

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For my oldest daughter I gave her a mirror with her name at the top and words along the sides that remind her of how the Lord sees here. I typed out verses that go along with the words. She hung those above her mirror. This way she’ll remember the truth God’s Word speaks over her and not the lies the mirror tries to tell us all, especially women. I wrote more about this in a post called “Do you see what I see” last December. https://shiningtheloveofjesus.wordpress.com/2016/12/16/do-you-see-what-i-see/

Mirror Edit

For this project my son and I painted some glass rocks you use for flower vases and hot glued them on a canvas. P1050243

Here’s a fun picture of the gift I made for my husband. He loves candy so much he says he has sweet teeth. So I made him this candy jar. 2016_12_24_11_49

Next are the cardboard projects. My husband was in charge of these. It’s amazing what that man can make with cardboard. Our son is a big Snoppy and Charlie Brown fan so my husband made him an airplane that Snoppy can fit in. It’s really large but really cool.

It’s 3 feet long with a wing span of about 29 inches. When he isn’t using it we hang it on the wall using shelf brackets. P1050244

For our daughter he made her a doll house out of cardboard big enough for Barbie dolls or Strawberry Shortcake dolls. The beds were made for her by her brother using leftover pieces of insulation foam. We painted them and dressed them up with scrapbook embellishments. The mattress is cushion padding covered with fabric.

 

A similar gift was a Hot Wheels parking garage for our youngest son.

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A super cool gift was this cardboard bird my husband made for my oldest daughter. When you lightly pull the chain below the bird, it moves up and down as if it were flying. It fit in well with their tropical room.

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The projects turned out well. It was fun to see what everyone made each other. An added bonus was my kids learned to sew and some learned to use a small saw, with the supervision of dad of course. We may not have been textbook learning but they were definitely learning and also learning to think of others. I’m sure we’ll remember our homemade Christmas for a long time to come.

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Stories through Genesis (part one)

p1040420I mentioned to my kids one day that many of the great Old Testament stories of the Bible are in Genesis. They looked at me like this was an amazing fact they’ve never heard. “Really?” They said. All they remember about Genesis is the story of Creation and Adam and Eve. The Lord had already been stirring my heart to go through the stories of Genesis with my kids and in this moment I KNEW I needed to.

Genesis holds the foundational stories for our Christian faith. It’s a good book to use to introduce kids (and anyone really) to the Bible and Christianity. I love going through this with my kids. It’s helped me look deeper into these stories instead of just reading them with little thought because I’m so familiar with them. It builds up my faith as I see the constant theme of the Lord’s faithfulness.

My kids have been in church pretty much since they were born. They’ve heard the Bible stories from church as well as me reading to them. I noticed that I mainly read to them out of children’s devotionals or children’s Bible story books. That’s a great start but I wanted them to hear it straight from the Bible. There are pieces most children’s books leave out. Some for good reason. Prayerfully I went to the Lord to find out which sections to leave in and which to skip over. Also, how do I keep the attention of four kids with an age range of 6 – 14? Of course the Lord was again faithful as He guided me.

So here’s a snapshot of how this looks for us. I give each of my children a pencil, eraser and their own notebook. We pray. I tell them the section I will be reading from and write it on the board. I encourage them to take notes which can either be what I write on the board, pictures they draw p1040384(only pertaining to the story that day), or what they were inspired to write down. I read to them the section for the day. If it’s a larger section I will take breaks and talk about it as I go. If it’s a shorter story, I read the whole thing at once then discuss. Beforehand the kids know we are looking to answer three questions so they can be thinking about them as I read. The three questions are:

#1 What is the story about? Here we are discussing the facts of the story. I then write the facts on the board in an easily worded form so they can writep1040377 it down and read what they wrote later.

#2 What can we learn from this story? Here we discuss how we can use what we learn in our life. I also write this on the board.

#3 Is God speaking something to me personally through this story? This gives them a chance to listen to the Lord and learn to hear His voice. They have the option of sharing that with everyone or keeping it to themselves.

Because it’s such a large age range I try to keep things interesting. Every day we do notes but some days we will act it out like a skit and I take turns with who gets to help me. I also have A Beka Bible flash-a-cards I use to help illustrate if I have the ones for the story that day. At other times I turn to Pinterest to find some coloring pages and have them color a picture that p1040424goes with our story that day. Using this combination helps keep the kids engaged. Let’s be real, they’re kids, so it doesn’t always work but it helps to have a few different approaches up my sleeve. Always, ALWAYS I have to remember to lean into the Holy Spirit to give me ideas to help them understand and keep their wheels turning. Of course that’s true for parenting, not just Bible class.

I encourage you to take your time. Don’t rush through. Answer all their questions or help them find the answers. Take time to explore the Word with them. If you sense it’s getting lengthy for them, save the rest for another day.

Here’s how I’ve broken down the stories in Genesis. This is may or may not work for your family (or class). Use what you can. There are some stories that are more difficult for kids. Like explaining a covenant or circumcision or Sarai giving Abram her maidservant. Always ask for the Lord’s direction. He’ll guide you how to present it in the way your child (or class) will understand.

I skipped creation and the fall of man with my kids because I went through it with them a few years ago and am planning on going through it with them again in the fall. We have only done half of Genesis so far. I plan on doing a part two to this to show how the other half was broken down.

Stories:

Cain & Abel                                  4:1-16p1040425

The Flood                                      5-9

Tower of Babel                             11

The Call of Abram                       12:1-9

Abram & Lot part                        13

God’s covenant with Abram     15:1-7

Hagar & Ishmael                         16

Reinstatement of Covenant      17:1-18:15

Sodom & Gomorrah                    18:20-21, 19:1-7, 9-29

Birth of Isaac                                21:1-20

Abraham Tested                           22:1-19

Isaac & Rebekah                          (23:1), 24:1-34, 50-66

Hopefully this has given you some ideas to teach your kids about the Bible.

Creator of the Universe

p1030903A few weeks ago my daughter was learning about the solar system in Science. To me learning about planets was fascinating. As I taught her the characteristics of each planet my mind was filled with awe and wonder towards our Creator.

The crazy high winds on other planets and Venus’ sulfuric acid clouds amazed me. The time it takes for each planet to orbit and rotate were so out-of-the-box from what I’m used to, it took me a bit to wrap my brain around it. The variation of size of the planets and the great distance between each planet reminded me how big  God is.

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This is a science activity we did to understand the distance between the planets.between each planet reminded me how big our God is.

All of these others planets were amazing but then came Earth, the only planet sustainable for life. Earth, how amazing she is. So much variety on Earth from tropical rain forests to deserts, mountaintops to the deep sea, grasslands to canyons and chilly poles and all the plant and animal life each of these places represent. Earth is the only planet with an abundance of water, temperatures that won’t freeze us or burn us up, the correct tilt for the seasons and an atmosphere with the perfect mixture of gases for us to breathe. God so loves the Earth and everything in it He gave us an ozone layer to protect us.

These may not sound bone chilling to you but when you dig in and look at all God protects us from, how He made the solar system and how He specially designed the Earth to sustain life, it is truly amazing. Truly awe inspiring. Only an amazing Creator can construct something like this. It wasn’t by chance this all happened. The galaxy shows the diversity of our Creator. So complex yet so orderly. It shows how much He loves us and how He paid special attention to this third planet from the sun. He is for life! He is for us!

After reading about the planets I felt so loved by God. So protected by Him. My heart swelled with joy and peace. No matter how small our problems on Earth, God cares. No matter how big our troubles seem to us, nothing is to big for God. I can truly bring anything to our Heavenly Father. He is absolutely amazing!

Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens. You who have done great things, O God, who is like you? Psalm 71:19

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Homeschooling through the stress

nov-treeI don’t know about you other homeschooling mamas but this mama is getting tired, and quite frankly, a bit stressed. I’m realizing our halfway point for school is drawing ever closer and I’m looking at the books to see if the bookmarks are at the halfway point…Nope! Yikes!! STRESS!!! …Breathe mama, breathe. It’s going to be okay. Really! It is.

I’m a check-it-off my list type of person. Stay on schedule. Stay on target. I hate feeling behind. Homeschooling has certainly taught me to go with the flow much better because, let’s face it, things don’t always go the way we plan. I’ve learned to be flexible but I’ve also learned that in order to get done what needs to get done we have to say no to many things. I have to stay disciplined and committed to what is truly important. Discipline can be exhausting though. I feel as if I have to hold it all together because I am holding everyone else together. Being a mom and homeschooling my kids is an important job. One that is an honor to be doing but let’s be honest, sometimes, I just need to let go.

Just relax.

Just breathe…

Stop. Remain quiet and breathe.

About a year ago I had a dream I was pilot of a large luxury spacecraft taking people on a long journey. I could feel the weight of the task I had to carry on my shoulders. The people aboard were family and friends I loved. This was a big responsibility but an honorable one.

There was a war going on in space. The battle was taxing. There was space debris to maneuver through. It was a hard journey and it was my job to make sure everyone made it to their destination safely.

That’s exactly how my life feels. Being a wife and mother is an important and honorable job. One I’m so thankful I get the privilege of doing. The Lord has entrusted my husband and I with the lives of our children and we will do our best to guide and direct them in the ways of the Lord. To instill in them a solid foundation. We are truly in a battle, a spiritual war.

There’s so much to teach the kids that I just get overwhelmed at times. That’s when I need check and see if I’ve been relying on God’s strength or trying to do it on my own. I start out on God’s strength but somewhere a shift happens and I start using my own strength instead. That’s a sure recipe for getting tired fast. I must rely on God’s strength. I must rely on Him to be the air under my wings that carries me through. When I lean on Him I can soar to new heights.

There also needs to be times of rest. Times of refreshing. Times where I do nothing but soak in His unfailing love and rest in the confidence that God’s got this. He is faithful and He is kind and I can trust Him.

I’ve heard that November and February are the months that are the toughest for homeschoolers. I can certainly see truth in that. So if you’re like me and have been feeling overwhelmed, relax. Take a day off if you need to. Take a week off if you need to. It’s not about how much we can cram into our kids. We need to be sure to preserve the parent child relationship and our sanity. Do your best and let God do the rest.

Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord Almighty. Zechariah 4:6

Feeling Blessed

p1030826There is a big world out there. There are many different cultures, languages, food, clothes, religions, governments and ways of life. I want my children to catch a glimpse of this bigger world we live in. I want my children to understand God loves every people, tribe and nation. He not only loves every one of them but wants them to live in the victory Christ gave us at the cross. I want them to see there are differences but there are also similarities of all peoples around the world. I want to equip my children to be world changers.

This year I decided to fill a shoebox with my kids for Operation Christmas Child. I took the kids to the OCC website and showed them all about this ministry. I’ve participated in filling shoeboxes before when I was in MOPS but have never done it on my own. It’s been a great experience so far. It’s a great way for the kids to get involved in helping someone in another country. (If you are interested it’s not to late for you to fill a shoebox. Collection week is the week of Nov. 14-21. You can go to www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/ for more information.)

I’ve also been reading my kids a book called “Adventures in Other Lands” p1030832for Bible class. It has short stories about children who live in faraway lands whose lives were touched by a missionary. It’s put out by A Beka Books and is supposed to be used as part of their reading program. I am using a different reading program for my kids but wanted to read this book to open their eyes to other places around the world. Boy has it ever! It has also effected me.

I feel so blessed to live in the United States. Sure we have issues that need to be dealt with, but I am so thankful for the freedoms we have. Freedom to worship the way we think is right. Freedom to homeschool. Freedom to write this blog. Freedom to vote. Freedom to live and work where we want. Freedom to own things. May we never take our freedoms for granted but use them to glorify the Lord.

I’m not a materialistic person but I am thankful for the material possessions we have. I am also not a rich person but here in the U.S. we are blessed with so much. I am so thankful for our home, for our appliances and electricity, for clean water. I’m thankful that my kids have toys, blankets, school books, and school and art supplies. In this country we are blessed to have access to so many wonderful Christian resources. I’m thankful to have clothes and food and that if we are in need of these things there are places we can go to for help. I’m thankful for internet access. The list could go on and on.

Reading these stories to my children was a great reminder for me to stop worrying about the things we are in need of and be thankful for what we do have. A reminder that God is bigger than any problem I have. His faithfulness reaches to the ends of the Earth. He will never forget us. He will never leave us. His love is everlasting.

Just when I was beginning to worry about money, the Lord gave me these stories as a gentle reminder to be thankful. My hope is this can remind you to be thankful too.

Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me.

Psalm 103:2

Our Lessons on Fear in a Nutshell

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a homeschooling mom of four kids between kindergarten and 8th grade. I really enjoy teaching my kids. It’s challenging some days but anything worth doing will have it’s challenges. My favorite class is Bible class. Since I enjoy writing, I often write our Bible curriculum. For several weeks now I’ve been teaching the kids about fear. I thought it was a timely topic. We set out to answer questions such as: What kinds of fears are there? What should we fear and what should we not fear? Where does fear come from? How do people in the Bible deal with fear? What does God have to say about fear? I wanted to share with you a summary of what we discussed. Feel free to discuss these things with your children, grandchildren or students.

Fear is defined in Webster’s II Dictionary as 1 Alarm caused by expectation or realization of danger 2 Reverence: awe 3 A state of dread or apprehension. Since the most common use of the word fear falls under definition three, that’s where we spent much of our time. There are so many different kinds of fear.

Fear of man is when you’re worried about what people may do to you or think of you. The danger here is when you go to great lengths to continue to look good to people. Even if it means you have to lie, be deceptive or disobey the Lord. The Bible says in Proverbs 29:25 “Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the LORD means safety.” Some great examples of this in the Bible are found in I Samuel 15:1-35, Mark 11:27-32, and Luke 20:19.

Fear of harm We all have a natural instinct to move when a ball is flying towards us or run when something jumps out at us. Fleeing from danger can be a good thing. On the other hand a person can become overly worried about getting hurt or sick. God gave us a mind to help us stay safe. We should use wisdom in how we live by eating healthy, following what the Lord says, not fretting over things and trusting God. This will give us health and keep us from situations that could harm us physically, emotionally and spiritually. We also don’t have to fear sickness or injury because God has power over sickness (and injury). “But He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.” Isaiah 53:5

No matter what we face in life God will be with us. He will walk with us and give us strength to get through hard times. He will never leave us. So we don’t have to be afraid. Nothing is bigger than God. No illness, no injury, no situation is to hard for the Lord.

Fear of evil I will fear no evil… Evil, when you hear that word you probably get a feeling or picture. So what do you think of when you hear the word evil? The Dictionary defines evil as something morally wrong or bad, something that causes harm or injury. In other words it’s knowing the difference between right and wrong and choosing to do wrong.

Our enemy, the devil, is full of evil. Satan’s purpose is to steal, kill and destroy. (John 10:10) However, God’s Word teaches that we do not need to fear Satan or any evil.

…the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” I John 4:4 Jesus lived His life free from sin. He walked in perfect victory. He had power over sickness, sin, even the wind and the waves obeyed Him. He had the power to multiply food just by speaking and death could not overcome Him. He had power over all of this. The same Spirit that lived in Him and did all those things lives in those of us who have made Jesus Lord of our lives. So if you have made Jesus Lord of your life that same Spirit lives in you. That same power lives in you. Jesus said in Luke 10:19, “Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy…”

We do not need to be overcome by evil. We stay away from evil not because we are afraid but because we love God and know it doesn’t please Him to do evil things. We should “hate evil and cling to what is good.” (Rom. 12:9)

Effects of fear Fear is not from God. It’s a tool the enemy uses. He knows he can get us to slow down or stop through fear. Fear works against a sound mind. II Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” The Lord gives us peace. When our minds are fixed on the Lord we will have peace and be able to think things through. We will have confidence, not in ourselves but in the fact that God loves us and is taking care of us. Fear will keep you from what God has for you. It makes you unfruitful and keeps you from moving forward. God desires more for us, SO much more! “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, “Abba Father.” Romans 8:15

Fear of God The fears mentioned earlier have to do with dread or apprehension but fear of the Lord has to do with awe and reverence which proverbs-9-10is the 2nd definition in the dictionary. The fear of the Lord is a great respect for God that includes us doing what He wants us to. We do this because we love Him and are thankful for all He’s done for us. It’s a natural part of following Jesus. When we fear the Lord we will delight in what He delights in and the things that make Him sad will make us sad too.

All who fear the LORD will hate evil. Proverbs 8:13a

The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death. Proverbs14:27

Overcoming fear We don’t have to stay a slave to fear. Because of what Jesus did for us through His death and resurrection. We don’t have to let fear control us or cower away from what the Lord calls us to do. God has given us weapons in this battle. The Lord has given us wisdom to know when something is not good and to walk away. First Thessalonians 5:22 says, “Stay away from evil.” That’s pretty clear instruction.

The Word of God, the Bible, is a wonderful tool the Lord has given to us. In it we will find direction, promises, truth, and strength. There are more verses about fear in the Word than I can put in these lessons. Get to know the Bible. See what God is speaking to you. Memorize Scripture. At just the right time the Holy Spirit will remind you of what God’s Word says when you need it. Hebrews 4:12 says, “The Word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than any two-edged sword…”

Ephesians 6:12 reminds us that we are in a battle but we are not fighting people. We are fighting powers of darkness. But we don’t need to worry because God gave us weapons to fight with. In fact, He gave us His very own armor. Ephesians 6:11 says, “Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all the strategies of the devil.” Jesus taught that God has given us authority over the power of the enemy. (Luke 10:19, Mark 16:17-18, Luke 9:1, John 14:12) We need to learn how to use the armor and authority God has given us.

The last tool the Lord has given us to overcoming fear is a powerful one – trust. We can put our trust in God. We can trust that God is in control. We can trust that He will supply our needs. We can trust He will protect us from all that we fear. We can trust that He will do what He promises. We can trust Him to never leave us, that He will strengthen us and He will carry us through. We can trust Him no matter what the circumstances because He has proven Himself to be faithful. Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”

As we rest in Him all our fears will melt away. Get in His presence, focus on Him and trust Him. I closed by reading them Psalm 91.

There you go, that’s the summary. The original lessons took us seven or eight days and had questions at the end of each lesson. Then we looked at some Bible stories to see how people reacted when fear was starring them in the face. I should point out that I do Bible class with all four children at the same time. Some of this was a little over my kindergartner’s head but I was surprised how many times he came up with the right answers. One thing I’ve learned about teaching the kids is you never know when they may be getting it better than you think. If nothing else I believe seeds get planted in their hearts and I know the Lord will be faithful to complete that work.

Be Mary

Tired.

          Weary…

                      Drained…

                             BURNT OUT!!!

Being a good homeschooling mom to four doesn’t just happen. It takes time, effort and planning. I use schedules and overview plans to keep me on track. The real life of having four kids helps me be flexible and keeps my type A personality from itemizing every moment. I love my kids dearly and am SO glad I get to train them up in the way they should go by homeschooling them. It is truly a gift. However, it is taxing.

By spring I was so drained from the grading papers, planning, and scheduling. Plus making sure everyone who wasn’t being taught at the moment was doing what they were supposed to be so they weren’t distracting to the child who was being taught. Then trying to get laundry done. And what’s for dinner tonight? Gotta watch the clock and get that started at the right time…

I was desperate for some time to rest and refresh. I had high hopes I would get that in the spring but when my hopes were dashed, it was like an emotional train wreck in my soul. The floodgates of tears opened up. I tried to close those gates and they’d shut…for a time. Then they’d burst open again. With no warning I’d start crying. I began to wonder what was wrong with me. At this point I had no idea what the source was. It wasn’t ’til I started talking with someone that I realized I was burnt out. The cure for burn out is rest. Unplug from your normal daily activities. Relax. This was a new concept for me. I’m the homeschooling mom that takes a break here and there. Maybe a week or two. Otherwise I powerhouse through. I usually lighten the load for the summer but summer break… what’s that? I knew I needed a break. I needed rest. But not just any rest. A deeper kind of rest was needed to fill up what was depleted.

I also noticed I hadn’t been spending time with the Lord like I should. I was reading my Bible and praying but good quality time with the Lord – you know the sit there and soak in His presence and let His love strengthen you – kind of time was scarce. I had let disappointment from some unfulfilled hopes and dreams come in between my relationship with the Lord.

During worship one Sunday, in my heart I heard the phrase, “Be Mary”. Immediately I thought of the story of Mary and Martha and how Mary sat at Jesus’ feet listening to Him. Then I began to doubt myself if it was Mary or Martha at his feet. Realizing the Lord was telling me something specific I relaxed. Later I was curious how the story went so I grabbed my Bible and found the story in Luke 10:38-42:

As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He came to a village

where a woman Martha opened her home to Him. She had a sister

called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said.

But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had be made.

She came to Him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has

left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset

about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen

what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

The Lord was showing me that not only do I need to take time off but I needed to be close to the Lord and listen to Him as Mary did. Resting at His feet. Pressing in with expectation. Hanging on every word. Listening intently to what He has to say because you know His words will transform you and change your life. That is resting in the Lord. That’s the kind of rest that will strengthen you. Fill up what has been taken.

                                         Restore.

                                                    Refresh.

                                                              Recharge.

                      Be Mary.

Jesus feet

The Eternal Treasures Of Motherhood

FrontCover

Here it is! Finally!!! It’s been nine months in the making but here it is. I have taken stories as my life as a mother and shared them in my book The Eternal Treasures Of Motherhood. The Lord has taught so much through my children. Things like how great His love is for each of His daughters and how valuable I am to Him as a mom. He has given me eyes to see eternal treasures in raising my kids. He also shows me how to raise my kids to be set apart for Him.

Several of the stories in my book are posts I’ve had on my blog that have been revised, but there are some brand new writings in there as well. These are short stories that are easy for a busy mom to take a moment to read. Being a mom myself, I understand how hard and overwhelming being a mom can be. My desire is to give mothers a chance to breathe, laugh and connect with the Lord through these stories.

I know that none of this is about me, it’s about what God is doing through me. My hearts desire is that each person who reads this book would draw at least one step closer in their walk with the Lord. It is an honor to me to be used of the Lord this way. If you would like to purchase a copy you can go to my website at mhmason.com

Fruit of the Spirit Summer: Self Control

Here it is, the last fruit of the Spirit, self control. To demonstrate to the kids what self control is I got out the bubbles. I blew a few bubbles and let them pop them. Then I challenged them to not pop the bubbles the next time I blew some. I made sure everyone understood what they were to do. I blew the bubbles. It was fun to watch my 7yr old son concentrate so hard on not popping the bubbles. He did good though. He didn’t pop any. Then I explained that’s what self control is. When you control yourself and don’t do something you know you shouldn’t.

For the fruit this week I chose the apple because Adam and Eve did not show self control and ate the fruit anyway, which commonly is said to be an apple. I read the kids the story of the garden of Eden from one of their children’s books. Then we colored, cut and taped our paper apples to our paper fruit baskets. P1000758

Our verse this week was Proverbs 25:28 (NIV) A man who can’t control himself is like a city whose walls are broken down. So for day two I built a fort in the boys’ room with foam blocks and other fort type toys my boys have. I brought my kids in the boys’ room and talked to them about how we need to protect ourselves from the enemy like cities used to be protected with walls. When we lose control of ourselves we are unprotected from attacks.

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On day three I read to them the temptation of Christ from the International Children’s Devotional Bible. (It can also be found in Matthew 4:1-11) I explained to them how Jesus got it right. He did not fall to temptation but kept self control. He did this by knowing Scripture and what it meant.

Day four the kids learned what to do to keep self control. They made a stop light out of construction paper. The red stop reminds us to stop. The yellow reminds us to think about the choices we are going to make. Is it a good choice or a bad choice? After choosing you go to green. The green light is when we act on the decision you made. Then my kids colored a picture of self control I found at ministry-to-children.com.  P1000803
For treats this week the kids had apples, gluten-free apple crisp and applesauce. I only had four days this week because we are back to the full swing of school and I have another devotional I do on Tuesdays.

I enjoyed doing this series with my kids. It turned out to be more then lessons on fruit of the Spirit but also a character study. It’s important to stress that these are fruit of the Spirit. On our own we will not do a great job at producing these qualities. Not by might nor by power but by my spirit says the Lord Almighty. Zechariah 4:6 (NIV)
Also no amount of good qualities will get you in right standing with the Lord. It’s by faith that we are saved not by works. The fruit of a persons life is simply the evidence of who we are surrendered to.

I also really enjoyed sharing what we did with all of you. I hope I gave someone some ideas on how to teach the fruit of the Spirit.

Well Done!

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God designed us each with our own unique talents, strengths, abilities and experiences. He planned out things we should do for Him before the world began.

Discovering things God designed me for is exciting. Discovering what He didn’t design me for is freeing. Right smack in the middle of all these exciting and freeing discoveries is, that part of God’s plan for me is to be a mother. The world so downplays being a mom or a parent that sometimes I buy into the lie that having kids is on the side of all these other things God created me for. I think that once the kids get out of the house I can fully take hold of my big purposes. While it may be true I’ll have more time when the kids move out, the rest of that is a lie.

Motherhood… parenthood is in the middle of God’s plans. It’s not a side thought to keep me busy. It is a big part of my purpose. These four lives I’ve been entrusted with are not only precious to me but also to God.

Moms, it’s so important that you know your job is not little or insignificant. Especially to the stay-at-home moms who have no official job title. It’s easy for those moms to think they are worth less then other women. The words “just a mom” need to be erased from our speech. I understand the world you’re in. I’m right there with you. Tomorrow when you get up, not long after your feet touch the floor, little eyes will be peering up at you ready for a new day. Depending on the season of motherhood you’re in your day may be filled with diaper changing, potty-training, nursing, laundry, picking up toys off the floor, brushing food out of hair, trying to keep up with filling empty tummies, answering questions of young inquisitive minds, listening to made up stories, and settling sibling quarrels just to name a few. Often times with more then one of these going on at the same time. When you add homeschooling into the mix, as in my case, it makes the day even more interesting.

Hear me when I say, it’s not just another day of potty-training or helping with homework. You are laying foundations. A solid rock in an unstable world. A place where their foot will not slip. Where winds and the current of this crooked generation will not sweep them away or steal their hearts because the Word of God is part of the very marrow that flows through their bones. They’ve been taught the truth of God’s Word from infancy because you, their mother, showed it to them.

Shower them with love.
Love them for a lifetime.
You are their mother.
In you, their life was created.
From you, they drank and were nourished.
From you they still drink as you pour into them words of life.
Words that will last a lifetime.
Words that will guide them and guard their hearts.
Your words, your voice will be echoed in their spirit
when they are in trouble,
when they need help,
when they need love.
Let your words be from the mouth of God.

As we teach our children God’s ways we are laying their foundations in biblical truths. As we teach them to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit we are training them for the battle that already is raging for their hearts.

You are their comforter, counselor, nurse, cook, housekeeper, playmate, referee, teacher, and taxi. To them you are all these things and so much more. You are their mom. You are their world. And you are beautiful. Their little minds don’t look at your flaws. If they see flaws, they look right past them to your heart of love for them. They see you at your best and your worst and still love you.

The Lord isn’t looking for a perfect mom who has it all together to reach your children. So stop comparing yourself to what you think everyone else is doing. He’s looking for a woman who will raise her children in the ways of the Lord. He’s looking for you. You are so beautiful to the Lord. He will never leave you or forsake you. He is right their with you to help you through. He knows every sacrifice you’ve made to be the mom you are. On those days you feel like you’re doing a thankless job remember God sees everything you do that no one else sees. He smiles and is pleased. Well done, good and faithful daughter. Well done!

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him. I Corinthians 2:9 (International Standard Version)

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)