Sunday, December 30, 2012

Scripture and a Snapshot-12/30/12

"These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.” Mark 10:14

The Least of These

The last two weeks of my life have been spent caring for a newborn.  

I am bleary-eyed, exhausted,  and most definitely feeling too old to do this any more.  I want to give up.

But then I hear the voice of Truth speaking to my heart:

I know it's hard; but you have been called.

I know it's hard; but I created you to serve the least of these, so I will give you strength to keep going. 

And He has indeed provided that strength, and for that, I am grateful. There is no sweeter feeling of joy than knowing you are being used of God to provide life-giving care to one of His precious souls. 

In less than a week, she will meet her forever family, and I will once again feel extreme sadness and grief as I let another one of our precious foster babies go and adjust to her not being near me at all times. 

Is it hard? Yes. 

Is it worth it?  Unequivocally, yes.  

 “Let these children alone. Don’t get between them and me. These children are the kingdom’s pride and joy." Luke 18:16

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Scripture and a Snapshot--12/23/12

"This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:12

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Booked Up

Last night I read one of our favorite books to my daughter Abbey entitled, "A Book" by Mordicai Gerstein.  It is the story of a little girl who realizes she is a character in a book, but doesn't know what her story is.  So she goes off in search of her story, trying to figure out if she is in a mystery, a historical novel, a science fiction story, a fairy tale, etc. etc.  I won't spoil the ending for you, but rest assured, she does indeed figure out her own, unique story. 

I love "A Book," because it reminds me so much of myself; really, of all of us. We all begin our lives without knowing the plot. Only the Author of our lives really knows how it will play out in the end. But we all search for our own unique story, wanting to discover into which "genre" it will fit, who the main characters will be, what the climax and the solutions, and especially what the ending entails.  

My own story certainly has not played out exactly the way I "wrote" it in my mind when I was a little girl...

~Sexually abused as a four-year old.

~Forced to move so many times, I attended eight different schools before I graduated from high school.

~Failed at two marriages.

~Developed chronic pain from stupid diseases inside my body.

No, none of those subplots were in my story.  But something happened along the way, along the pages of my book.

~I found myself in the arms of Jesus when I was a terrified four-year old at the mercy of a monster. 

~I developed a high level of tolerance and acceptance for all types of people that many never know because of having lived so many different places and from having attended so many schools. Life-long friendships were developed that miles have never been able to separate. 

~I failed miserably at being a young, married person...and this is one of the hardest stories of my life to understand.  But I have learned that emotional baggage weighs more than a piece of Samsonite.

~I have compassion and empathy for chronic pain sufferers that I would have never had if I had not developed this disease. And more importantly, it has allowed me to model strength through adversity to my own children.  

The events of my story have shaped me into a victor, not a victim. It is a story that has often brought a sense of failure and discouragement but as my life proceeds, I see more and more clearly all that yet remains to be done. And I am learning to look for the good in every situation and to seek out grace and mercy from the ordinary and not-so-ordinary lines of my story.

"But the vessel that he was forming didn't turn out as he wished, so he kneaded it into a lump and started again." Jeremiah 18:4 

Isn't that a great verse?

He is allowing me to be a new vessel, still worthy of being used to help others. Despite my past; the settings, the characters, the pain of my life story, God has kneaded me down to a lump of clay and is remolding me and now using me for good. 

And I am pretty sure that my beautiful family is proof that God is my loving Author and wants the rest of my story to be a ‘dram-edy’ with lots of laughing and some serious stuff thrown in to keep me relying on Him. 

Everyone has a story. Take time to listen.  Take time to care. 

Scripture and a Snapshot--12/16/12

“If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith?" Luke 12:28

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Scripture and a Snapshot--12/09/12

And we all, who with unveiled faces reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Cor 3:18

Saturday, December 8, 2012

It's Like Pulling Teeth

I have awful teeth. When I was in in my twenties, I had a dentist tell me I had the teeth of a 90-yr old woman.  [Grrrreat.]  I recently spent ten days in acute pain from a having a tooth pulled. I thought the area would be sore, but I had NO idea I would still be hurting so many days later.   Anbesol and pain meds were my constant companions.

When I went back to the dentist after so many days of pain to complain about how slow the healing was, how nauseated I had been and to see if I was feeling "normal" things, he examined the extraction site and said, "'s not filling in the way it should so you have a bad infection."  [Grrrreat.] Some powerful antibiotics and a few days of rest later, I finally started feeling better.

Extractions from our souls leave a hole that has to be filled in as well.  

Spiritually dry sockets can be devastating to our progress, our growth.  Have you ever experienced a spiritual breakthrough? We get all excited because we are finally taking that crucial step of ridding our souls of the bitterness/anger/unforgiveness/insecurities/pain that consumed so much our lives, but we often fail to realize or follow through with the next step:

If we don't take time daily to "fill in" our soul sockets with love 
or wisdom 
or gentleness
or self-control 
or peace 
or the Word...we risk infection. 

We risk infiltration---from that very Enemy we have just fought so hard to banish. And, rest assured, he and his ugly, seething minions are waiting to jump right back in that hole and keep us in pain. We have to be extremely diligent to be aware of this awful truth.

The momentary heights are very important, but it's the daily strivings towards sanctification that count towards keeping our souls filled with the right medicine.  

" ...Indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding...wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul." Proverbs 2: 3,10 

It's All About Perspective

Tonight I am thankful for *a snoring husband, for that means he is a hard working man and is here with me, *chocolate cake, because that means I have wonderful neighbors who always share with me, *chronic pain, because it forces me to my knees on days when I might get complacent with life, and *scattered toys in my den, for it means I have precious children in my life who keep me from taking myself or my house too seriously.  ☺☺☺

Whatever happens, give thanks, because it is God’s will in Christ Jesus that you do this. 1 Thess 5:18

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Scripture and a Snapshot

The Lord is my shepherd.
    I lack nothing. He lets me rest in grassy meadows. . .
   Psalm 23

Spanish for You! Review

~Spanish for You!~

As many of you know, we started our foreign language journey in 3rd grade with Latin.  I chose Latin, not because we are of the classical-teaching mindset, but because I really wanted Abbey to have a great foundation of the English Language and Latin is a great means to that end. 

But this year, her 4th grade year, I decided to go in a bit of a different direction and teach her Spanish.  I had taken two years of Spanish in high school and really loved it, and I knew that the Latin-to-Spanish transition would be smooth.  They are such similar languages.  

After much shopping around for a Spanish language course, we decided upon a great and affordable curriculum called Spanish for You!  Debbie Annett, the author of the curriculum, has taught Spanish in homeschool co-op classes for many years, so she knows what works.  This curriculum is easy to use and has some really neat features. 

With your purchase, you will receive the following:
  • Spanish for you! soft cover book or E-book (we reviewed the Fiestas set)
  • Audio download of the entire book
  • 24-30 Week Lesson Guides for grades 3-8 PDF (27-30 wks grades 3-4, 24 wks grades 5/6, 7/8)
  • Nearly 200 self-checking worksheets for grades 3-8 PDF
  • Free bonus audio of the entire book recorded by a native speaker from Mexico.
  • Free set of flashcard pictures for making flashcards and other activity materials.
There are so many ideas given by author Debbie Annett to use this program with multiple grade levels, co-op groups, or like us, just a one-on-one pair.  The curriculum is extremely user-friendly and has a TON of ideas to keep it fresh and exciting.  We are having a lot of fun with it!

We are going very slowly, as I really want Abbey to absorb the information, instead of just covering it for the sake of saying we covered it.  We have worked our way through three pages of mandatos (commands) and three lessons of vocabulario (vocabulary).  This past week, we started conjugation. Spanish for You! emphasizes reading, listening, speaking and writing the words and commands so that it really sinks in.   It also encourages you to take your time, as we are doing, and move at your own pace. 
One of the greatest features of this curriculum—you receive an mp3-audio of every word and command in the lesson.  Listen with your child(ren); pay attention to the pronunciation; have your child repeat the word.   It is such an important part of the learning to make sure you are saying the word correctly and hearing it pronounced most definitely helps. I would have loved this option when we were learning Latin last year.  My one and only complaint about this program is that the amount of time allowed for the student to repeat the word is not long enough.  Abbey has to take a moment to process what she just heard, and the amount of time allowed on the audio before the next word is being pronounced is not quite enough for her.  

Abbey loves Spanish for You!  She has done so many things, on her own initiative, to have fun with the words.  One day after school, I saw her packing up her little back pack with her Spanish flashcards to go outside.  I was like “Honey, what are you doing with those?”  She said, “I’m going to quiz my friends!” And out the door she skipped, ready to ask any and every kid in the neighborhood what the Spanish word for “presents” is.  

This past week she decided we should take all the noun flashcards and tape them to their appropriate item in the house.  After reading them for a week, I can quiz her on any of those nouns now (I say the Spanish word) and she knows them like “boom!” 

the candy

the food

the song and the music

Not sure if you want to invest in a Spanish language program yet?  Debbie Annett and Spanish for You! have made available free mini-lessons, 4- and 6-week trial versions of each of the sets for you to try.  She even has free worksheets available on her website to use with any current Spanish program you may be using.  

Details: Spanish For You! can be purchased in many different sets ranging from $9.99 for the trial package, to $64.95 for the Grades 3 - 8 package. There are different sets and configurations available. I encourage you to check it out for yourself here

Recommended Ages: Grades 3 to 8, but if you have an advanced learner, start earlier.And if you have a high school student that wants a user-friendly Spanish program, chose this one! 

Disclaimer:  I received a free set of the Spanish for You! Fiestas program to use with my child in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was given.



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