Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Flickering Lights

As most of you know, my hubby is a carpenter, and while I have zero carpentry skills, I can attempt to help a tiny bit so he can focus on the important things.  Yesterday, as I was busy sanding some cabinet doors for him over in my little corner of that big warehouse, I kept seeing this pesky fluorescent light directly above me constantly blinking on and off.  Off. On. Buzz, buzz. 

For several days, actually for several weeks, it's been mocking me.  I'll be working away, my work station all lit up and my aging eyes enjoying the extra help.  Then boom--without warning, I can't see what I'm doing.  It really makes me crazy! 

The humming of the ballast in the unit certainly reveals a deeper problem--even if the light bulbs are changed and the ballast is neglected, the problem will not be fixed.  New light bulbs in dying ballasts will only be a temporary repair. The entire ballast and bulb must be replaced, and because that is not a 5-minute repair, it hasn't been done yet and the light is still flickering and still annoying me.  

But as God loves to do with the commonplace things in my life, He reminded me of the metaphor that flickering light offers.  

I can find myself ignoring the humming of the Holy Spirit's voice in my daily life and I can push aside His call on my heart.  Christians can change our clothes, our hair, our home, our church, but none of that will change the final outcome if we don't change from the inside out.  If we ignore the flickering long enough without giving attention to His call, or without obedience and prayers, we will no longer shine--no matter how many outward things we do or say to try to make it seem okay.  

Our lights will only shine with its fullest capacity when we look to His example and allow His voice to be the foundation of our earthly missions.  Change that ballast! Let your light shine! 

"Jesus said to the people, “I am the Light of the world. So if you follow me, you won’t be stumbling through the darkness, for living light will flood your path.” John 8:12

©2017-2018 Coffee, Cobwebs, and Curriculum. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. Follow me on Facebook or Twitter! Links can be found in the right sidebar on this blog!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Morning Glories and the Beauty of God

I’ve always been an early riser and with that comes some wonderful benefits...
  • I get the first cup of coffee.
  • I get to see the sunrise over the pasture.
  • I get to pray without distractions.
  • I get to be still enough to listen for God’s voice.

Yesterday, as usual, I woke up early and walked outside to feed the doggies and to take a deep breath of fresh (muggy) air.  Along the fence row, I caught a glimpse of the beautiful morning glories bursting from the vine along the chain link.  For some unknown reason, this species of flower only blooms in the pre-dawn hours and then dies shortly after sunrise. 

Look closely at a morning glory vine and you’ll see that different blooms open up each day and then die.  If you’re not up early enough to see the new blooms, you’re out of luck for the rest of the day.  

And just as clear as you and I standing face-to-face talking, I heard God’s voice that morning.  Not an audible voice, but a realization in my spirit.  I realized how closely the hurting people in our lives mimic those sweet flowers.   How many times have I missed an opportunity to see the beauty of a person because I refused to take time to meet them in their time of need? How many times have I ignored them or turned away because all that I saw at first glance was the invasive, messy ‘vine’ they show to the world? Too many times, I’m ashamed to say.
Sometimes the only way to reach a person with the love of Christ is to meet them at the exact moment they are ready to ‘open up’ and share their deep beauty with us.
  • It may mean getting up early (or staying up late) to find them.
  • It may mean going to the really messy places to find them.
  • It may mean giving up your own comfort to find them.
  • It may mean spending time with the Lord so you can recognize where to look to find them.
  • And finally, it may mean being there every single day, even when things are not so easy for them, in order to gain their trust. 
The effort may be time-consuming, but I promise the reward is worth it. And if we can't be the salt and light in the world, who will? 

"He will give eternal life to those who patiently do the will of God, seeking for the unseen glory and honor and eternal life that He offers." Romans 2:7 

©2017-2018 Coffee, Cobwebs, and Curriculum. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. Follow me on Facebook or Twitter! Links can be found in the right sidebar on this blog!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The More of Less

On my way to take Abbey to a birthday party yesterday, we came to a 4-way stop.  Above it was a blinking red light to alert drivers of the intersection.  Lost in thought and fighting a headache, I sat staring at that red light for a full five seconds, waiting for it to turn green so I could proceed through the intersection. 

Abbey and I got a good laugh out of it and we moved on down the road, but it sure got me to thinking about how distracted I've been lately.  Life is incredulously busy and my brain can hardly handle it all.  The threat of clutter--both physical and spiritual-- is how it keeps our discipleship from being all it can be.  I am quite sure I never fully grasped the concept when I was younger, but boy, do I ever now! 

Less is more! When my children were young, I discovered they would play together and much more happily in a room that was straightened up.  So if their playroom became overwhelmed with toys and a mess, they would move into the areas of the home which were clean and start making a mess playing there. Once their rooms were tidied up again, they would happily play in their own spaces again.  I have observed it over and over, with all the kids who have come into my home--their brains need organization and clutter-free zones, even if they don't understand the "why" of it all.  

Adults are the same way.  We also need organized, uncluttered spaces in our lives. We need quiet time when all we think about are the praises and prayers on our hearts.  We need enough space to be able to voice them earnestly and sincerely to our Lord, who is always eager to listen.  

An actual drawing of my brain. 

In a cluttered mind, prayers can become trite, short, and nothing less than duty.  You see a post on Facebook that requests prayer covering and you type "Praying" or the hands-folded-in-prayer emoji and you move on through your newsfeed, hardly giving it another thought.  Yep. I'm guilty, too.  Superficiality is the curse of our age.  

God desires so much more for us, for our hearts.  He knows that a simpler life means a much more peaceful life.  And please know that while you may want to give away a lot of your possessions (which I recommend), the focus should not be on getting rid of what we have, but rather upon cultivating the disposition of "a life of joyful unconcern for possessions" (Richard J. Foster).

"Deep calls to deep" as the Psalmist penned, and we can live a more spiritually-fulfilling life if we take time to focus on the important things each day.  The work is not our own, but rather of the Lord.'s  He will change our focus if we are willing to let Him have control of our cluttered minds and hearts.  

Find that space, learn to say 'no' to the unimportant, get up five minutes earlier, give away the clothes you've not worn in years, simplify your life.  You won't regret it.  

"If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus." Philipians 4:7

©2017-2018 Coffee, Cobwebs, and Curriculum. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. Follow me on Facebook or Twitter! Links can be found in the right sidebar on this blog!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

What to Do After You Say "I Do"

[A letter to my son and his love, who will marry each other this coming weekend. My heart is full. The following is my love letter to them.]

 Dear Connor and Ashley,

I love y’all and I am so happy you’re happy.  As you embark on this exciting time of your lives, my gift to you is to share some of the wisdom that life and the Lord have taught me.  Grab a seat and have fun reading!

  • Sleep on it.  Especially big decisions.
  • Keep God in the center of both the good and the bad days.
  • Don’t work your life away. 
  • Rest on Sundays.
  • Hold her hair back when she has a throw-up virus.
  • Expect that his viruses will always be worse than yours. [Or so I’m told.]
  • Go fishing often, even if it’s from the bank.
  • Sit close to the front at church and at meetings.
  • Pray WITH each other. Even when it’s awkward, say prayers out loud each morning with each other. It will get easier and you will start to crave that time together.
  • Pray FOR each other, even when you’re not together.
  • Remember that some days you will have to go through the MOTIONS until the EMOTIONS follow. 
  • It’s okay to be upset but don’t stop being respectful.
  • You don’t have to fix each other’s problems.  Just listen. Hug. Be there.
  • Make sure it’s the two of you against the world. Protect your marriage as a sacred entity, because it is.
  • Find someone to help each day.
  • Be submissive to your husband. Treat your wife as a treasure.
  • Put your phone down for important conversations. Make eye contact.
  • Be the first to say ‘I’m sorry.’ Make eye contact when you do it.
  • Invest in a heated mattress pad with separate controls. Trust me.
  • Spend time alone, separately, doing something you want to do. Even Jesus went to the woods for a while.
  • Don’t go to bed with a dirty kitchen.
  • Sleep on it. Especially big fights.
  • Be the first to forgive.
  • Treat each other better than you treat your friends.
  • Don’t use the past against each other.
  • Make a 10-year plan and have fun figuring out how to reach that goal.
  • Put back $10 a week. You’ll have $520 by the end of the year.
  • Don’t make major decisions when either of you is tired.
  • Don’t spend more than $30 without asking each other for input.
  • Discover each other’s love language and use it to speak to each other.
  • Be each other’s biggest fan and biggest cheerleader.
  • Build each other up in front of others.
  • Always say goodbye with a kiss.
  • Don’t keep a mental (or written) record of wrongs. The world will take care of that for you.
  • Always make sure there’s ice cream in the freezer and Pringles in the pantry.
  • Set an eating-out budget and stick to it. (And order water and spend that money on a dessert instead.)
  • It’s okay to eat hotdogs and boxed mac and cheese on the slim money weeks.
  • Put the cap back on the toothpaste.
  • Empty a full trashcan.
  • Celebrate the special days in special ways. Every time.
  • Slow dance in the middle of the den at random times.
  • Don’t use credit cards. If you can’t afford it, you don’t need it. If you need it and can’t afford it, ask for help.
  • Learn to listen without thinking about what you’re going to say next.
  • Pray daily for wisdom and courage, not for things.
  • Always wear your seatbelts.
  • Make cookies for your neighbors.
  • Be kinder than necessary.
  • Always check the health/food inspector grade right when you walk in a restaurant. 
  • Buy the name-brand toilet paper.
  • If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.  Trust your gut. Trust each other.
  • Meet deadlines. Keep promises.
  • Never grab at a falling knife. And be sure to quickly move your feet.
  • Once a year, go somewhere you’ve never been before, even it’s just a few miles away. Have fun exploring where God has placed you.
  • Never miss an opportunity to thank a member of the Armed Forces for their service. 
  • Once a month, pay for the person in line behind you at the drive-thru. Unless it’s a minivan full of youngin’s. Just kidding.
  • Always be proud to be an American.
  • Be extra respectful to older people.
  • Watch funny Facebook videos together.
  • Be happy with what you have while working for what you want.
  • Don’t take medicine in the dark.
  • If you hear an ambulance siren, say a prayer for those involved.
  • Never comment about someone’s weight, especially each other’s.
  • Avoid blue dye in foods.
  • Always check the expiration date on the milk before you buy it.
  • Buy the name-brand paper towels.
  • Buy the lotion-filled Kleenex when you’ve got a cold.
  • Ask the locals for the best hidden-gem place to eat.
  • Keep your smoke alarm batteries changed twice a year. It can save your lives.
  • Laugh, laugh, and laugh some more. Life is too stinkin’ hard to not find ways to laugh each day.
  • Write love notes to each other.
  • Don’t try to change each other. That’s the Holy Spirit’s job.
  • Be grateful that God doesn’t answer all your prayers.
  • Never order barbeque or shrimp in a restaurant where all the chairs match.
  • Share the TV remote.
  • Make sure the stove is off before you go to bed.
  • Make sure the A/C is off before you leave for the day.
  • Make sure the hair straightener is unplugged.
  • Don’t go to ATMs at night.
  • Be faithful.
  • Successful marriage means you have to start over every morning. No, really. You do. But it’s worth it.
  • Include your parents in your prayers.
  • Read carefully anything that requires your signature.
  • Watch a Christmas movie together.
  • Honor your parents. Text them often. Call them even more.
  • Remember that overnight success can sometimes take fifteen years.
  • Keep an extra house key in a safe place.
  • Reach out to Godly friends for help when you feel discouraged.
  • Read God’s word as often as you possibly can. Download an app. Find a devotional book. Whatever it takes. Hide the verses in your heart.
  • Keep an extra car key in a safe place.
  • Tithe at least ten percent each paycheck. And tithe on your gross, not your net.
  • Develop a family motto. Write it down. Treasure it.
  • Be aware that the small stuff is really the big stuff.
  • Life may hand you a crapload of hard stuff. Love God anyway.
  • Fight hard to see the grace of God in each situation.
  • Enjoy this precious season of your lives. 
  • Love each other well. The rest will take care of itself.

I love you both so much and I will be praying for God to bless you in ways you never dreamed possible. 

Love, Love, Love,


©2017-2019 Coffee, Cobwebs, and Curriculum. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. Follow me on Facebook or Twitter! Links can be found in the right sidebar on this blog!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Tears in my Coffee

Grief is a funny animal. It has no rhyme or reason, and it certainly has no time table.  It can hit you like a ton of bricks at the most inopportune moments, and it can all at once make you sad for the loss yet grateful for the time together. 

I grabbed a spoon out of the drawer the other morning to stir my coffee and right there in the kitchen, I starting bawling, missing my grandparents so much it hurt.  I have inherited many of their kitchen silverware pieces, and this spoon was one of those simple, yet prized possessions.

I am so grateful I was raised by them, as they became such a steadying force in my unstable childhood.  As an adult, the voice I hear in my head when making decisions is not that of my parents, but of my grandparents.  WWMSD--(What Would Mary and Sam Do?)--really does sometimes cross my mind.  And I smile at the memory of them giving me a hug--or in Granny's case, a swat on my backside--and helping me figure out my current crisis.  

For all of you who completely understand loss and pain and grief, I know you know how it feels. One minute you're crying over missing them and the next minute you're laughing over a sweet memory of them.  

Let me encourage you all--Hope has a rope! Every single day we wake up, we find ourselves one day closer to our loved ones in heaven! We are one day closer to healed, perfect bodies! Focusing on what is to come is an amazing way to view this difficult life because we, in our earthly state, see so much of the bad, but God wants us to see so much of the good still present on this side of heaven.  

We must hold onto the rope that connects us to heaven, where the joyful eternity with our loved ones by our made-whole-again sides will be all we know.   No more tears, no more terrorists attacks, no more evil.  Just beautiful reunions with those we miss so much! 

“God doesn’t expect you to be happy about what has been torn from your hands—whether it’s a marriage, your health, a job, or someone you love—but if you are willing to trust him, he can turn trash into triumph.” ~~Levi Lusko, Through the Eyes of a Lion

"He will wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor pain. All of that has gone forever.” Rev 21:4 

©2014-2016 Coffee, Cobwebs, and Curriculum. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. Follow me on Facebook or Twitter! Links can be found in the right sidebar on this blog!

Monday, February 6, 2017

The Last Ride by Susan K. Marlow {A Review}

It is no secret that we are huge Susan K. Marlow fans in this household--we've been reading Circle C Adventures books for over five years now.  It's been fun to watch my daughter grow up as the main character in the books does as well.  

In this installment, Andrea Carter (Andi) is now 16 years old, becoming more and more independent, and facing some of the toughest challenges to date.  As her cousin Daniel's family sends him to the ranch for 'rehab', he brings with him tons of mischief and criminal behavior which wreaks havoc on the family business and into Andi's personal life. 

After a horrible accident injures Andi and her beloved horse Taffy, Andi must face one of the hardest physical and emotional comebacks of her life.  Learning to forgive is harder than she could ever imagine.  I love the honest way Andrea must face that task, as it strikes a nerve for all of us who have struggled to do so.  

Weaving intrigue and human struggle through her stories, author Susan Marlow is the best at helping young adults learn to filter tough challenges through the light of the Lord.  One of the best benefits to Mrs. Marlow's books is her equally well-done study guides.  These are free, full of supplemental learning opportunities which help the story come to life even more for the reader.  Here are some sample pages from the 41-pp study guide for The Last Ride: 

As always, I highly encourage your young readers to grab all of the readers offered by Marlow. Parents, you do not have to worry about what your child may be reading--it's a safe zone here!  You can purchase the entire series in Circle C Milestones on Amazon or through Susan's author site found here.  This installment does not disappoint, and my daughter and I both can't wait to read the next chapter in the series, Courageous Love

©2014-2016 Coffee, Cobwebs, and Curriculum. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. Follow me on Facebook or Twitter! Links can be found in the right sidebar on this blog!

Friday, January 27, 2017

If You Give a {Teenage} Kid a Camera.....

If you give a teenage kid a camera....

She'll see signs of life in the middle of winter....

And that boundaries can be really good things.

She'll see that some things get more beautiful with age...

And that trusting God can be the best place to find rest.

She'll notice the lazy dreamers....

And the hard workers... 

She'll notice patterns designed by a Master Artist....

And ladies out for a morning stroll. 

She'll be blessed to consider far away adventures...  

But be very content to be a present-day follower.  

♥ All photos by Abbey Grace, age 13 ♥

©2017-2018 Coffee, Cobwebs, and Curriculum. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  Follow me on Facebook or Twitter! Links can be found in the right sidebar on this blog!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Logic of English Essentials 2nd Edition {A Review}

Looking for a solid language arts program for your students? You owe it to your child to at least take time to consider this amazing program from author Denise Eide---Logic of English.

I reviewed an earlier version of this program a few years ago, so I was looking forward to seeing the updates in this edition of Essentials.  As an older child, Abbey is on the upper end of the age range for this program,  but that allowed us to focus on the Level C, and really discover new facets of it.  But let's start at the beginning......

At its core, Logic of English (LOE) is an unbelievably detailed phonetic learning program that helps students learn the correct spellings of phonic sounds from the very beginning. Learning how to spell the sounds the students hears sets them up for later success in reading and in spelling.  LOE breaks down the mechanics of learning in ways that no other current program on the market can match. 

Check out the scope and sequence for even more details

Here's how we used it

In the Teacher's Edition (a must have), the lessons are broken into sections based on the skill level of your students--Levels A, B, and C.  The method for learning to spell includes saying the word, finger spelling the word, analyzing which phonogram to use, writing the word, and then analyzing the word for which part of speech it is.  This method works many different parts of the brain, and this is part of what makes it successful. 

We chose to focus on Level C because of Abbey's age and skill level, but I also want to share with you some of the amazing components of the system for all levels: 

Phonogram cards--Coordinating perfectly with the lesson plans, each week your child will be learning new phonograms and the sounds each letter or combination of letters make.  Remember, this work may seem tedious, but there is a method behind it and trusting the system is crucial to success.  I highly recommend purchasing the LOE app for your phone or tablet, because the phonogram cards coordinate nicely with it as well and it adds another level of learning to the mix. 

  • Essentials Teacher's Guide, Volume 1--The newly updated teacher's guide is so well laid out and user-friendly, I consider it a must-have to be successful with this program.  It takes out the tough work for you, and allows you to teach LOE like a pro! 

  • Essentials Student Workbook, Volume 1--You'll need this workbook and a spelling journal for each student in your home, as they are consumable, but you will be glad they have their own space to write and learn and grow in their language mastery. 
  • Spelling Journal--Three levels of spelling lists are included. Definitions and Greek and Latin roots are discussed, and parts of speech are also addressed. It's a spelling list on steroids--it's awesome! 

  • Spelling Rule Flash Cards--These are an amazing reference for the entire program and beyond. We will be referring to these for many years to come.  

  • Grammar Flash Cards---Another wonderful resource, these flash cards cover the basic rules of grammar, and I allowed my daughter to keep them with her on her desk as she worked through the program. 

  • Advanced Phonogram Flash Cards--Once your students have mastered the basic phonograms, they are ready to move to these advanced combinations.  I recommend not skipping purchasing this set. 
  • Morpheme Flash Cards, Set 1--We used this set more than any of the others, because we focused so much on spelling and vocabulary. These are just chock full of information on each card. They are color-coded and help students learn roots, prefixes, and suffixes, and how they all work together.  My daughter's spelling ability increased exponentially over the three months we used this! We spent a lot of time discussing each root and its meaning, so that when she sees that root again, she can have a better understanding of what the new word may mean.  I was so pleased with her amazing knowledge of vocabulary as well. Even if she wasn't necessarily using the new words each week in her normal conversation, she would recognize it when she heard it in other conversations in person or on television.  

  • Phonogram Game Cards--Throughout the program, games are interjected to help your students really solidify in their minds, the concepts they are learning along the way.  The game cards and games tiles are used in a very purposeful manner and not JUST for filling time and space.   They are available in manuscript, cursive, and standard bookface. 

  • Phonogram Game Tiles---These color-coded tiles are super helpful for teaching your younger ones--The set includes all of the 74 basic phonograms taught in Logic of English® curriculum, not just the A-Z letters!

The bottom line: 

       My daughter who is now an 8th grader, who had been a struggling reader, has a much better understanding of the English language, is a  much better reader, and even increased her spelling skills--a feat I did NOT think possible at the beginning of the school year.  

    The entire set of Essentials 2nd Edition is currently on sale for $198 and includes all of the    above, plus more! You can also purchase each item individually on their website.  Do yourself a favor and read more about the 'how' and 'why' it works so well!  

©2016-2017 Coffee, Cobwebs, and Curriculum. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. Follow me on Facebook or Twitter! Links can be found in the right sidebar on this blog!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

All posts are my intellectual property and are copyrighted.