Monthly Archives: March 2011

Encouragement

Encouragement

We sang O, Church Arise by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend in church on Sunday.  It really touched my heart and reminded me, once again, that we are in a battle.  It also encouraged me greatly to know that we are not in the battle alone.

The lyrics are so beautiful.  (I posted them below) Christ is our captain and when we listen to Him we can stand against the devil’s schemes.  When we are weak we become strong in the strength that God gives us.  There are so many days as a mom, teacher,and wife that I feel weak and like I can’t do it all.  What power I have in knowing that in my weakness I can become strong through God who gives me strength.  We will have trials in this life, but we can remember that the outcome is secure…Jesus will have the prize that he died for.  We have to look at the eternal picture and not our momentary problems.

The last verse is such amazing encouragement.  We should ask the Holy Spirit to put strength in our every stride and grace for every hurdle we face.  Having the Spirit do this so that we can run our race to completion with faith, knowing that many saints have gone before us and retell the stories of triumphs due to His grace.

Here are the lyrics to the song.  Please take the time to read through them.  They will speak volumes to your soul.  Also, PLEASE take the time to  click here to watch the youtube video.O, Church Arise on You Tube

O church, arise and put your armor on; Hear the call of Christ our captain; For now the weak can say that they are strong In the strength that God has given. With shield of faith and belt of truth We’ll stand against the devil’s lies; An army bold whose battle cry is “Love!” Reaching out to those in darkness.

Our call to war, to love the captive soul, But to rage against the captor; And with the sword that makes the wounded whole We will fight with faith and valor. When faced with trials on ev’ry side, We know the outcome is secure, And Christ will have the prize for which He died— An inheritance of nations.

Come, see the cross where love and mercy meet, As the Son of God is stricken; Then see His foes lie crushed beneath His feet, For the Conqueror has risen! And as the stone is rolled away, And Christ emerges from the grave, This vict’ry march continues till the day Ev’ry eye and heart shall see Him.

So Spirit, come, put strength in ev’ry stride, Give grace for ev’ry hurdle, That we may run with faith to win the prize Of a servant good and faithful. As saints of old still line the way, Retelling triumphs of His grace, We hear their calls and hunger for the day When, with Christ, we stand in glory.

Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend Copyright © 2005 Thankyou Music

Phillipians 4:13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Please note: I believe that many people use this verse out of context to claim they can do anything they want to do, whether or not it is His will.  This is not the case….You can do anything God wills for you to do through HIS strength.)

Hope you have a blessed Wednesday and keep on, keeping on.

O, Church Arise on Youtube

Have YOU thought about Homeschooling?

Have YOU thought about Homeschooling?

In a brief moment of time you had a inkling that you might want to homeschool.  Maybe you know someone who homeschools their children or you have just heard about homeschooling. Maybe you don’t want to give your kids up to someone else yet.  Maybe you aren’t happy with what has gone on at school.  Are you wondering if it is something you’d like to do?  You might wonder if you are crazy.  Do you have any idea where to start? How do you find out how to do it?  Where do you get curriculum?  What laws does your state have?  There are a million questions swirling around in your head.

I am here to get you started on the road to figuring it all out.  My advice is to take your time, research things on the internet, get to know your children’s likes and dislikes, try to talk to other homeschoolers to find out what they have found works (or didn’t work) for them (I bet if you ask around you will find some!).

One of the first resources I recommend to families interested in knowing more about homeschooling is Lisa Welchel’s book So You’re Thinking About Homeschooling: Fifteen Families Show You How You Can do It.  This is such a great, easy read and she shows different families homeschooling a variety of ways.  There  is no one right way to homeschool.  It truly is different in each family.

Do you know how your child learns best?   Do they learn best doing a hands on project?  Do they enjoy reading?  Do they learn by hearing or watching?  There are 3 different types of learning styles: kinesthetic (doing), auditory (hearing), and visual (seeing).  I have found that certain curriculums may heavily lean one way.  If your child learns by doing hands on projects they may get very frustrated watching DVD curriculum. Here is a free online quiz you can take to help you decide how your child learns best.  I know of one private school (in our area) which tests all incoming students so that their teacher can know the best way to help them learn.

The reason I suggest figuring out your children’s likes and dislikes is that there are a variety of curriculums and approaches to homeschooling.  There is also a wide range of how much parental involvement and time are required, depending on the curriculum.  You can do all the planning and teaching yourself or you can rely heavily on pre-planned curriculum or even on the internet courses or DVD’s which do the teaching for you .

One type of homeschooling is a unit study approach.  This involves using one topic to incorporate the majority of the school subjects. For our first year of homeschooling (kindergarten) we used this method.  We used Alpha Omega’s Weaver Interlock Program which did a whole year of studies around the seven days of Creation.  If you don’t want to have to try to plan curriculum Konos sells boxed sets of curriculum using this approach.

If your children enjoy reading, Sonlight offers a wonderful curriculum.  (Yes, I am biased, we have used Sonlight the last 4 years) One of the benefits of Sonlight, for me, is that the lesson plans are all laid out for me so there is very little planning time involved.  I can spend my time teaching, hanging with the fam, or blogging (LOL).  Many of our favorite books on our Ongoing Book List for Children have come from books we have read using our Sonlight curriculum.

Of course, you can also put your own curriculum together yourself with some planning.  I have quite a few friends who like doing this.  Maybe your children love workbooks, textbooks and a more “traditional” school approach.  If so, a good fit for them might be Abeka.

As you can see, homeschooling has a lot of options.  You might not be ready to homeschool right now, but it never hurts to get to know more about it.  Take some time to google some homeschooling terms and see what you find for yourself.  The internet really has made homeschooling a whole different ballgame because information is right at our fingertips.

Ask yourself and honestly answer, “WHO do I want to have the most influence on my children?  Who do I want to decide what is taught to them?  Is WHAT they are taught in line with my family’s values?  (Is what they are being taught aligning with God’s Word?)  I know that I want my husband and I to have the most influence on them.  (not peers or other adults)  I know that I want my children to learn TRUTH.  Deuteronomy 11 is a powerful chapter speaking about teaching our children.  Deut. 11:19 instructs us to “Teach them (referring to God’s commands) to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”  The chapter really lists out the “if you do this, then God will do this”, direct cause and effect based upon our actions as parents.  I know that homeschooling has allowed us to be able to do teach God’s commands and words, while still teaching the 3 R’s and many other subjects along the way.

I would love to address any other questions that you might have about homeschooling.  Please leave them in the comment section for me to address in a future post.  (I will leave all the benefits of homeschooling to another post.) Until next time….prayerfully consider what God might want you to do next year.  It is never too early to see what He wants for you and your children.

 

Family Favorite Fridays-Children’s Books

Family Favorite Fridays-Children’s Books

Fridays at Home in the Trenches will be dedicated to posts about favorites in our family.  They could be recipes, games, restaurants, activities, curriculum, vacation destinations, etc.  I am hoping that  you will include some of your family favorites on Fridays and link us to your blog if you have one.  If you don’t have a blog, we would love to read about your family’s favorites in our comment section at the end of the post!

A week or two ago I added a tab at the top of the website with it’s own page for An Ongoing Booklist for Children.  I am hoping to keep this as an ongoing list which our family and your family can add to as well.  Please list in the comments section what your children’s favorite books are.  I will add them to the list.  A big thank you goes out to a few readers who have already given me some suggestions to add to our own favorites. Take time to look through the list and familiarize yourself with them.  These are great books whether or not you homeschool.  They are just great literature that your kids will love.  What books are your kids favorites?

Perceptions

Perceptions

How do you perceive people?  How do they perceive you?  Social media has become a huge thing in the world.  Facebook, Twitter, blogs etc all allow us to “shape” how people see us.  Do you think some of your friends “have it all together” based on what you read about them in 140 characters or less?  What do they think about you?

I want to caution you.  Be careful how and what you think of people based on what you read in social media.  Of course people, for the most part, post the good things happening in their lives.  It is easy to think they have the perfect life, and that all is well.  I often look at people when I am at the grocery store and wonder, “What is really going on in their lives when they leave?”  You don’t know if their husband has cancer, or if they are in the middle of a separation.  No one tells you that their child is out of control and they aren’t sure how to parent them.  140 characters is too little for anyone to “spill their guts” and quite honestly it is easier not to.  We all like to think that we look like we have it together.

I don’t want any of you to think that about me.  I don’t have it all together.  My house does get messy, my kids don’t always listen to me, etc.  What I want to pose here is how do we make sure we are giving an accurate description of who we are through Facebook, Twitter etc? How do we guard our hearts and minds so that we don’t think that everyone else’s life is perfect or at least easier than ours?

I know that I sometimes will compare myself to others in areas of my life, whether I like to or not.  The Bible tells us “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves.  When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.” 2 Corinthians 10:12 (but look at 2 Cor 10:7-18) “But let him who boasts boast in the Lord.  For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.” 2 Cor 10:17-18.

Don’t get me wrong.  I really like Facebook.  I like that I can keep in touch with friends and relatives, that in everyday life would be hard to do otherwise.  I just wanted to warn you of a negative aspect of social media. Everything is not always just as it seems.

 

Let’s Talk About…..Family Size

Let’s Talk About…..Family Size

Before I get into the post for today, I wanted to introduce “Let’s Talk About”, a new segment here at Home in the Trenches.  This is where we can openly talk about topics which aren’t normally talked about.  If you have a topic that you would like us to address in a “Let’s Talk About” segment please let me know.

Here’s a question that doesn’t usually come up in small talk: How do you decide how many children you will have? Answer: I don’t have one answer to this question and it is one that I have wrestled with for many years now (and still wrestle). What I want to do is to get us thinking about this important topic and to open the lines of discussion.

I think it is all too easy to allow today’s society to decide for us how many children we will have. I also know that American society has limited the average family to 2.3 children. In China, they are limited to one child by the government. But who are we as people to decide how many children someone has?

We have 5 children. We have noticed people physically counting our children as we walk by them in a restaurant. We have also had many a stranger make comments about our family size. It is obvious that the American society at large thinks our family is too large, and they are quick to let us know (this goes for many within the church as well).

What I want us to do is to think about this from another perspective. As Christians we need to ask this question in light of God and Scripture. How do we decide how many children we have? Or is it up to us to decide?

What I do know is that children are a blessing from God and that we are to seek God’s will in all decisions that we make. (See Psalm 127:3-5) This decision should not be limited by: the culture we live in (you will find out that our family goes against the culture in a variety of areas), our finances, our feelings and dare I say our selfishness.

The culture that we live in would love for us to do all kinds of things that do not necessarily align with the will of God. Consumerism, the quest for Money, Me first mentality, allowing our children to watch all kinds of crazy content in TV shows, oh, and should I mention hooking up with whoever, whenever.

I know that many people give the reason for not having more children based on not having more money. “We can’t afford any more…” I know that logically, by human reasoning, that this makes sense. The problem is that the Bible says something different than what makes sense to us. Philippians 4:19 states, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

You would not believe how many times have I heard “there is no way I could have that many kids.” Yes, having lots of kids is hard and there are days I am really tired. The thing is that I would NEVER trade it for anything in the world.

I don’t think people truly believe, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13) Or at least it is only quoted when we are going through trials. We don’t use this verse to remind us that God will help us through what He wants for us. That includes how many children we have, if we homeschool, where he wants us to live, work etc. I have heard it said, “Oh, I could never be a missionary” etc. Reality is, if God wants us to do something He will help us do it….He will strengthen us.

The Bible says, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6. The key in this verse for me is LEAN NOT ON MY UNDERSTANDING. My understanding of things can fail me,. There is no way that I can see the big picture of things. Only God can see the big picture and His ways make our way straight.

I think that many times we look at things from our perspective. Our lifetime. What about looking at a child from an eternal persective? What kind of impact can a child’s life have on a future generation? Who will they come in contact with that we never will?

Looking throughout Scripture I have found instances in which God is in control of the womb. Jacob had children with Leah and Rachel and at times God chose to open and close their wombs. (See Genesis 29:31-35) God closed every womb in Abimelech’s household because of Abraham’s wife Sarah (Genesis 20:18).

What I do not want to do is argue every individual’s point of why their circumstance has them needing to choose a certain viewpoint. I know that there are complicated issues out there. To be quite honest, I am glad that I don’t have to wrestle with some of them on an individual basis.

I would really like to challenge you (and myself) to seek God in all of our decisions we make. What is it that He wants? Are we aligning our will with God’s? If we are saying God is controlling my life, what does that really mean? What does that really look like?

This post is written for me as much as for you. I know that there are areas in my life that I would like to think God is completely in control of, but in reality I still am holding on to some of that control. To allow God to have complete control means that I am not in control and quite honestly that can be a scary place to be. However, it is the place that God wants us and can use us most for His glory.