Monday, August 29, 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011

Margin...The Lifestyle That Allows...Peace, Healing and Restoration

Rushing....Over-scheduling.... Pressure....Stress

Life in general can be overwhelming at times. Just the everyday maintenance of
relationships, a home, and keeping a job are enough, at times, to tax us to our very
limits. What happens when we find ourselves in a place of emptiness? That place that
cries out for rest, healing and peace?

How do we get here?

I don't believe it is our intention to create this kind of lifestyle. I have found myself
in this position when I have failed to be realistic about the requirements of a
commitment. Or perhaps I was not thorough in researching and counting the cost.

I believe many people would slow down, if they could. But many find themselves
being pushed along by the commitments they have made. Most have made these
commitments in good faith and are people of integrity. But perhaps they are caught in
the grips of a commitment that has gone far beyond their expectations.

Are we trying to keep up with a schedule that burdens us beyond our comfortable level
of what isrequired? The danger of this is that we may reach a state of burnout where
we are unable to fulfill the responsibilities that we have with the passion and purpose
that we had hoped and intended.

This can create a sense of despair, hopelessness and failure. Not at all what God
intends for us to experience. In these places, God will help us but I firmly believe that
instead of helping us through these circumstances, that He would rather us avoid them
and walk in wisdom and peace.

I would like to share with you the name of a book that I read...too late. I found this
book after Jeff and I had made a commitment to something that would overload us for
15 years and take us down a path less than desirable. At some point, I will share this
story with you. My hope is, that in sharing this book, others will be able to step back
and reflect on their lives and become more aware of healthy boundaries. And through this
awareness, will flow a life of peace-filled purpose.

The name of the book is Margin and was written by Richard Swenson.
Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives

Life in modern day America is essentially devoid of time and space. Not the
Star Trek kind. The sanity kind. Chronic overloading is the culprit: margin is
the cure.

This newly revised 2004 update of the original best-seller explains what
margin is, why it is important, how it disappeared, and steps to get it back. Margin is
the space between our load and our limits and is related to our reserves and resilience.
It is a buffer, a leeway, a gap; the place we go to heal, to relate, to reflect, to recharge
our batteries, to focus on the things that matter most.

Margin offers seventy-five practical prescriptions for restoring margin in the
essential areas of emotional energy, physical energy, time, and finances.
Margin restores what culture has taken away: time to listen, strength to
care, space to love.

Dr. Swenson has also written a devotional called  A Minute of Margin....Restoring
Balance to Busy Lives

You can find both of these books and more written by Dr. Swenson at Amazon Books.

Wishing for you a place of wisdom, rest and peace.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Back in the Saddle Again....

I have been unable to post due to complications with my computer...But soon I will be....

                                 Until then....Happy Trails.... 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ring - A - Round the Rosie....Simple Pleasures ~

On a beautiful summer evening, it warmed my heart to watch this.
My youngest daughters playing with their niece and nephews.

Ring -A- Round the Rosies...

Pocket full of posies...

Ashes..ashes...we all... fall... DOWN!

Shouts of joy and laughter FILL the air..

What a blessing to see my children and grandchildren
feeling so much joy!

It is such a treasure to watch them and to think that they are making
memories that will enrich their lives forever.

Thank you God for the gift of:



Lovely summer evenings....

Monday, August 15, 2011

An Encouraging Message From Mike Smith

Our family recently attended the Arizona Family for Home Education homeschool
seminar. It is always a joy to be there amongst the many families who share the same
vision for discipling and teaching their children.

Mr. Mike Smith was a keynote speaker. He is the President of  Home School Legal
Defense Association.

His message was very encouraging and confirmed some of the choices that we have
made for patterning our schooling. Though we have a lot of friends who teach their
children at home, we have felt lead in somewhat of a different direction than some.
Another reason we appreciate the conference is that God speaks through those who are
chosen to bring a message.


Many years ago, we felt that God was leading us to make a change in our focus of
schooling. When we first began, it was more about the schooling, though we appreciated
the opportunity to bring more of the Bible into their schooling.

But as we grew in our vision, we began to feel that there was too much emphasis
on education. Not that education isn't important, but we felt that God and His ways
and truth needed to be the center and Godly character needed to be the focus.

Mr. Smith told a story about a woman who had purposed to homeschool her son and
her focus was going to be primarily on character. She read the classics to him and
allowed him a great deal of freedom to learn on his own and to direct his education
according to his interests.

When it came time for him to test for college, he studied a small book on grammar
and took the test. When his results were reviewed, he received a note from the school
saying that they had never had a score like his. He had achieved a perfect score.

He also told a story about a mom who was very serious about her children's education.
She had desks for them all and the desks had little flags. We all laughed at that. She had
a plan and it sounded pretty rigid.

Before school was to start, her father-in-law developed cancer. This changed everything
and for the next year, she did not teach ANY formal schooling to her children. When
the next year came around, she was prepared to test her children. Her expectations were
to have to dig out the books from the last year completed and review. She fully expected
that her children would be behind.

When they were tested, it was discovered that they had jumped ahead two grade levels.

He was not suggesting in any way that we neglect our children's education.

We obviously desire that our children have the richest educational experience

But how we go about that and where we place our trust is paramount to our

His point was that no matter what happens, we can trust the Lord. While we are busy
doing what we have to do, God is watching over our lives and ordering our steps.

God will never lead us to a place and then abandon us.

Life often times does not go the way we plan, but when we place our trust in the One
who has created out hearts and placed these visions within us, we can know without a
doubt that He will be our wisdom and guide.

 We can KNOW this because His Word tells us in Proverbs 3:5,6. Trust in the Lord
with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge the Lord
in all of your ways and He will direct your paths.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sharing our Faith Effectively....The Way of the Master

I am very blessed by the website that I want to share with you. If you are interested
in evangelism, this link will be one of your favorites. It has so much to offer. There
are audio teachings, clips of witnessing experiences and a place to purchase witnessing

Below, you will find a video of one of their teachings. It is called  Hell's Best Kept

Living waters- Hell's best kept secret from Michael Helders on Vimeo.

I have been following this site for only a short time and I am thankful for the
information and encouragement. In my life, sharing the gospel message is not an option.
Though I went through the several week course on witnessing, I still need help. I need
reminded of the seriousness of those lost and dying eternally separated from God.

Proverbs 11:30 says, The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life and he who wins
souls is wise.

Knowing how to effectively share our faith and having some tools and teaching to carry it
out is very important. We don't want to offend with our words or approach. It's my desire to
share the truth of the gospel with love and with what I call a "bold humility". In order
to do that, I need to saturate myself with as much of these teachings as I can. Complacency in
area is not loving or caring. Prayer and sharing is caring.

I am always saying that I love people. How can I truly love
 them and not be concerned for their souls?
                                                 Visit The Way of the Master here

Monday, August 8, 2011

Pets In A Jar..Helping Children Learn to Care for Wild Critters

Summer is the time of year when many of us spend more time outside.
Our children run in all excited about this critter or that and how
they caught it. Somewhere in the conversation many will ask, "May
I keep it?"

Keeping the little critters is a lot of fun and can provide hours of enjoyment
as well as be a valuable learning experience.

However, sometimes small animals and critters suffer unnecessarily 
because the information necessary
to keep the pet alive.

Some pets fair very well in captivity and others don't. Some are illegal
to keep in captivity. In researching the Horned Lizard, I found that in Texas,
it is against the law to keep them. It is said that
those who have tried have not been very successful.

Here is a Horned Lizard (aka Horney Toads) that we found on our property in Arizona
this past July. They are often the color of their surroundings.

A bit smaller horned lizard.

A very small garter snake.

The snake next to my little finger. It's the smallest one I have
ever caught.
(As you can tell, I like critters, too!)

I don't like to kill wasps. As I picked this one up to put it outside, it found a
bead of water and started drinking. It was during a very dry period here.
I also enjoy putting a drop of honey on my finger and watching them
eat. Wasps do not become easily threatened and will usually sting
only if one sits on them, puts a hand on them or something similar.

Pets In a Jar: Collecting and Caring for Small Wild Animals

Imagine having a pet that will never learn to recognize you, that will in fact ignore you,
yet that is fascinating in a thousand different ways. With very little expense and a lot
of imagination, you can find, catch, and keep in a glass jar many small animals such
 as water bugs, hydras, toads, star-fish, and crickets. See for yourself how these creatures
live in the environment you create for them. Pets in a Jar will give you your own window
 to nature.

This book is available at Barnes and Noble

Order a used copy from Abe Books. If you are not familiar with this bookseller,
they sell used books at very reasonable to low prices and the condition of the books
are usually pretty decent.

We purchased the book years ago and have used it many times. It has been very 
fascinating to learn about God's little creatures. Our children have enjoyed just
reading the book. It's very informative and a great little supplement to Science.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Are Your Children Contributors or Spectators?

It has long been a concern of mine that children spend too much time being
engrossed in the activities of others and THINGS that seem to offer little to no
developmentof any kind.

When our children were small, we were of the same type of mindset. We bought our son
a Nintendo Game. It didn't last for long. We tried too hard to keep them entertained and
bought them too many things instead of allowing them to be creative.

I am wondering if this may be more typical of offspring of the baby boomers.
I am not one to stereotype, but I have seen a trend in the parents of my generation to
be present but not there. Growing up, our family was an example of one holding hands
but facing outward. We were there together, but each one did his own thing.

In a culture where there is so much emphasis on entertainment, it gets increasingly
difficult to raise our children to be people of passion and productivity. To be disciplined
and purposeful in choosing pursuits and ordering time is an accomplishment that is
none too easily attained.

The more I ponder this, I begin to understand that being a spectator centers
primarily on one person. Any given individual can partake of the offered event or
activity without really ever having to interact with anyone. It requires no team sacrifice or anything from them at all.

The pull of the television, video games and the cell phone are real distractions that even
adults face and often fail to keep in perspective.

Children are at risk and may likely not have a fair opportunity to learn and succeed free
from these invasive technological devices especially if their parents don't view these as
sources to be monitored VERY carefully. I am not against these items if they are used in
in the manner of serving us ( if this is possible) and not controlling us.

What would happen if we gave our children every opportunity to know themselves
and to discover the gifts that God has given them? What kind of beauty would grow
from the rich experience of quiet observation and uninterrupted creativity. The
possibilities are limitless. This lifestyle is very conducive to learning.

Life comes at us in such a rush and the time that we have every day disappears very
quickly without gain if we are not proactive in applying that time to something that is
lasting and noble.

We can ask ourselves a few questions: 1) What will benefit our children? 2)  How can we
invest in our children's time in a way that God will be honored and others will be
blessed? 3) How can we as parents, be supportive in helping our children grow toward
developing to their full potential in these areas.

In desiring to establish this kind of lifestyle here are some ways to get started.

First of all, if your family is entertainment oriented, making a sudden change could
be very difficult. When God brings us to a place of change, He is patient and sensitive.
He isn't demanding but gentle and compassionate. (When God speaks to my heart about
changes that need to be made, I tend to charge ahead leaving hearts behind. I have had to
learn to apply love first, and then the changes.) get started:

* I like to start with prayer for direction

* Try to get in touch with the hearts and dreams of your children as well as being
    aware of their gifts and talents.

* Having resources available is VERY important (This can get expensive but
   I have found thrift stores and yard sales to be wonderful sources of needed
   materials. Praying helps also. I have been so blessed by God's provision.)

* Be attentive and focused on their projects

* Children also learn by example..if my children see me working on a project
   instead of watching a movie, that helps to encourage and inspire them

My girls enjoy a lot of activities and working on many skills.
I thought you might enjoy seeing some of their projects and past times.

Baking scones for the tea party.
Helping Dad mix concrete for the corner posts of the goat pen.
Learning about our new Australorp chickens.
Practicing guitar.
They did a lot of the decorating work for this tea party.
Playing music for the tea party.
Working on sewing skills.
 Sharing music at a nursing home.
Finishing her pillow

In a recent sermon we heard, the Pastor spoke of occupying and using our talents
for God. He said if there are books to be written, we as Christians should be writing
them. If there are buildings to be built, we should be building them..songs to be written
and sung..etc.

We allow our children to grow in their gifts and encourage and support them in
their talents. Their gifts, talents and skills are not just for their enjoyment.
Nor are they to be hidden but shared to enrich he lives of others.

If we model this kind of love others, they will be much more likely to
give of themselves in this way.