Friday, January 26, 2007

Contentment, Joy & Abundance

According to Webster's New World Dictionary, Abundance is defined as
1)A great supply; more than sufficient quantity
2) Great plenty; wealth

Sallie at Gracious Home has posted about choosing to live in abundance this year. She has determined to:

Use it up
Wear it out
Make it do
Do without

This year I have chosen to focus on being joyful in my life and I think this fits along nicely with Sallie's thoughts on abundant living. The first step to being joyful is recognizing the blessings in your life and then being thankful for them. Along with this idea is learning to be content. I sometimes struggle with my lack of contentment and I see contentment as key to being joyful. Here are some scriptures I found that speak to contentment and joy.

2 Corinth 12:9-10
And he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Philippians 4:11-12
Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.

Psalm 5:11
But let all who take refuge in you be glad, let them ever sing for joy;

Psalm 16:11
. . . In Your presence is fullness of joy;. . .

And then finally . . . one of my favorite scriptures and prayers

Psalm 51:10-13
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
and sinners will be converted to You.

There are many areas in my life that I can better celebrate the abundance that God has blessed me with. The first thing I need to do is spend more time in the Word and in Prayer to keep me focused and then work on being a better steward of the abundance in my life. I hope to share more thoughts on this topic in later posts.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Homeschool Carnival #55

The Parents Meeting Edition Carnival is up at Dewey's Treehouse. Grab a cup of coffee and join in for a real education.

Friday, January 12, 2007

New Years Thoughts

Amanda at Wittingshire posted this quote on her blog and I thought that it was food for thought.

“Giving yourself your word ought to be no less sacred than giving your word to others.” --Andre Gide

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Homeschooling and the Real World

It is interesting to me that people think that children who are homeschooled are being sheltered from the real world, as if spending 6 or more hours daily, five days a week for 180 days or so a year is representative of the the real world. It also surprises me that parents so willingly give up their parental authority to the system. This week, we had our second snow during the school year and tomorrow we have a memorial service for a friend's wife to attend. If my children attended public school, they would have missed being able to play out in the snow, which we usually get very little of in our part of the world, as the schools were still in session. They would not be able to attend the memorial service tomorrow without missing class. Now playing in the snow may not be a necessity, although I feel that it is a treat that they deserved for working so hard the two days beforehand and I like for them to enjoy it because we see so little of it around here. The memorial service, on the other hand, is a very real part of life and it also will teach them to care for and comfort others. In both cases it was, us, the parents of these precious children who were able to make the decision as to when it is appropriate to miss "class" or not, instead of some school district bureaucracy and they will be much more exposed to the real world with their family and church family during the memorial service than if they were to be spending that time sitting in a classroom with 25 other children of the same age. Two more reasons that homeschooling fits our family.

Winter Wonderland

Thankful Thursday

Things I am thankful for this Thursday . . .

1. The beautiful way the snow looks on the trees.

2. That my chest cold seems to be drawing to an end.

3. I didn't have to commute on the icy roads last night with the rest of the commuters of Puget Sound.

4. That I was able to sell some textbooks we are done with in order to save up for other curriculum I would like to purchase.

5. My dad is cancer free.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Wild Winter Weather

It seems that our history of mild weather is somewhere in the distant past. Before Winter even started we had the wettest ever November with major flooding; a good snow right after Thanksgiving; and one of the worst windstorms in history just before Christmas, with a million people losing power. We were one of the fortunate households not to lose power during that storm but my 93 year old grandmother and our dear friends at Beth Spera in Domino were not so fortunate. Last night we had yet another windstorm, the second since the big pre Christmas day storm and this time we were not so fortunate. Our power went out about 12:30 a.m. and we wouldn't have known it except that the battery backup on our smoke detector system was dead, thus we awoke to alarms blaring, we ran around trying to find flashlights and a step ladder so that husband could change the battery, luckily we had extra batteries in the garage. Our power was out until about 11 am, not near as long as others suffered in our area before Christmas and for this I am truly thankful. Now we are preparing for the next storm, more rain and wind headed our way and then snow is predicted for Tuesday. I do not remember any previous winter like this.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Reflecting on a Year Gone By

With the old year gone, I have been reflecting on the past and thinking about the future. This is something that I tend to do every year around this time. When I look back on last year, I remember a year full of ups and downs. We started off the year looking for a new church family - a very hard thing after spending 13 almost 14 years at the same congregation. Our two oldest sons put on our Lord in baptism - a very joyous time for our whole family, we participated in an outreach campaign with church family in Texas and that was a very uplifting and energizing time, not to mention the fact that we got to spend a week with some very dear friends that live on the other side of the country. We found a church family to worship with and this brings mixed emotions as we are now commuting 40 minutes each way to worship and now are trying to figure out how we should serve with this new family. Boy 3 turned 10, Plant Lover turned 21 and we (minus plant lover) enjoyed a trip to Yellowstone Bible Camp for a week long family camp via a side trip to Glacier National park. The summer ended with boy 2 playing football for a local middle school and boy 1 taking drivers ed. We have had an up and down beginning to our school year, trying some new curriculum with success and trying to overcome other weaknesses. Boy 1 turned 16, boy 2 turned 13 and we had a whirlwind of a December with family gatherings and a quiet Christmas day and unfortunately with all the holiday busyness - somehow our family devotions went by the wayside, ironic huh? Some of us were sick the week between Christmas and New Years and so we had a very quiet New Years eve at home. It has been a year of trying to figure out how best to parent 3 rambuncious boys and encourage them to continue on the road to spiritual growth and there have been many distractions along the way such as youth group, family members facing cancer treatment and my 93 year old grandmother falling off her porch. With the busyness of the past year it was easy for me to lose focus on Jesus and worry or be discontented with my current situation - the times that made the best memories this past year, were those that were totally focused on Christ. This year I really want the joy of my salvation to shine through my life, to learn to bloom where HE has planted me and to see the opportunities for service that He has put before me. May you all have a Happy New Year serving our Dear Lord!