Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Promise Land

Where are we in our journey?
Well to be honest I feel a little like the Israelites wondering around in the desert.  We know that The Promise Land is near by but we just don't know which direction we are suppose to start making footprints. I am sure that the dry desert posed many of it's own problems but the thought of another dead end journey must have seemed unbearable to the traveling mass.  I have come to realize that we aren't much different than this brood of wanderers. I have often wondered how in the world a two week trip could turn into a forty year fiasco, I  am sure that none of Israelites intended to become discouraged or doubtful but nevertheless they did and the result was years of being lost.

 It can be so easy to become distracted by the trials of our journey that we begin to loose sight of the path that we are on and our intended destination.  
Fall 2010
As for us, we are eager to go where God wants us to go but at the moment there is a cloud of dust blocking our view of the Promise Land.  What we do know is that God's timing is always perfect and that those that earnestly seek His will with a pure heart will never be forsaken.

 Our plan:  To hold on to His word and know that one day He will reveal our Promise Land.  
And for now we will just try to keep our eyes on our cloud by day and the fire by night, knowing that no matter where we go God will be leading us.
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Friday, November 18, 2011

A Joyful Broken Heart

Today is a day that I have dreaded for many years.  All logic tells me that this is just part of life and an obvious moment that I should have seen coming and yet somehow I am still taken aback.

Kayla, Grandad, and T.C. Summer of 2010
It is so hard to say good-bye to someone you love but I must remember that is also a wonderful celebration of a long awaited moment for my Grandfather.  So it is with a joyfully broken heart that I hand this amazing man over to the God that loved him into life.  Today, I will let go of my selfish desire to hold onto to someone that loved me and supported me unconditionally.  
I know that he is finally where he has longed to be.

The world that my grandfather was born into looked much different than the world that he left.  He has seen many hardships and joys in his life which had given him a great perspective of what was truly important.  I was so blessed to have received my inheritance of his great wealth of wisdom.  My grandfather understood what true happiness was and where it could be found.  He taught me that giving provided far more joy than receiving ever could and that  great wealth was not measured by dollars but rather by love.

I was so blessed to have had such a wonderful and close relationship with my grandfather.  I spent so many years with him creating a lifetime of memories that I will carry with me.  

When Todd and I realized that he was going to peruse a career in medicine, it was my grandfather that I told first.  Before I decided to homeschool my children I called my grandfather to hear his wisdom.  There are so many decisions in my life that didn't come until after I sought the counsel of the man that I held in such high esteem.  There isn't anything that he wouldn't have done for me or any other member of our family.

Every time we spoke he made sure to share with me all the reasons he had for being proud of me and how much he loved me.  But the lesson he reiterated the most was to cherish everyday with my children because all to quickly time will pass on this season of my life.

One of the greatest men that I have ever known,
Summer 2010
Joseph Aluise was not only a wonderful husband, father, and grandfather but he was a great friend.  This wonderful man received so much peaceful joy from helping others.  We will never know the multitude of people that my grandfather touched with his generosity.  He was a silent giver, never wanting recognition for helping someone in need.  His example of humility and kindness has shaped the way I teach my children as well as the way I interact with others.  I am so blessed to have his life as an example to me and to my children.

So today I say good-bye to my hero, a measure for all men.
Grandad, I love you more than words can express, you are and always will be a great source of strength and encouragement to me.  You have provided me with enough love to last me a lifetime.

Grandad with Anareese Summer 2011

Joseph Albert Aluise
My grandfather was a man of meek stature but profound presence, humble in spirit with a servants heart, he was an amazing example of Christ's love to all who knew him.

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Simple Things

There is so much that goes on throughout my day but sometimes in a sweet simple moment my kids just take my breath away! 

It really is the simple things in life that make me smile. 

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Intended Blessings

As I began my late evening journey back home with my three girls I turned on the radio to our favorite 
K-LOVE station.  I never gave it much thought, it is just a habit... besides I really like to sing while I drive as a way to pass the time.  This particular day had been a little trying due to some unforeseen obstacles and I was feeling a little guilty about my frustrations from earlier in the day.

We hadn't been driving long when I began to apologize to God for not handling the situations the way I know He would have preferred.  I prayed that this drive would provide me with some much needed alone time with Him.  I was ready to learn how to do a better job of setting more positive examples for my girls and try to figure out how to be all that my kids need me to be.  I had assumed that this would happen through the songs that were playing on the radio and countless minutes of quiet thoughts (since the girls usually fall asleep).

But much to my surprise early on in the drive I felt the need to turn off the radio.  I began asking the girls questions about the day, at first I only received very short answers but the more I nudged the more I was able to get them to talk.  It wasn't long until my sweet little child that has a tendency to tuck her head under my arm when anyone asks her a question, began to really open up.  It was as if I had chiseled a whole in a dam and the waters broke free.  

My child that rarely speaks, couldn't talk to me enough and continued to do so for the entire two hour trip.  I realized in that moment that this was the real answer to my prayer.  My child saw my desire to hear her thoughts and she was excited for the opportunity to have my undivided attention.  It had nothing to do with what we were talking about and everything to do with the chance to really be heard.

I understand my real lesson here...
 If my children don't have the opportunity to tell me the stories of their hearts then I have missed out on some of the greatest blessing that were intended for me
Although, my job keeps me busy with lots of duties and responsibilities, I have to be careful about the non-verbal message my children are getting from me.  I can tell them that they are them most important things in the world to me but if I am to busy to spend time listening to them on a regular basis, then what I have really taught them is that other thing are more important.

Can it really be that simple?
What my children really need and want the most is to just spend time with me sharing the desires of their hearts!  Sometimes it's the obvious things in life that stump us the most.
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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Passing Perspective

The other day while sitting in a restaurant with my family a lady silently appeared beside me gazing at my littlest.   At first I didn't even notice her next to me, even though our arms were just about touching.  She had knelt down beside the highchair and was lovingly gazing at my baby girl.  She started to gently talk to her and before I knew it the two of them were giggling at each other.

The lady turned to look at me and said, "She is so sweet, you have such a beautiful family."  As I thanked her I noticed the sincerity in her eyes and the kindness in her voice, she was offering me a genuine compliment. 

She turned back to Anareese and continued chatting with her and then without even looking at me she said, "Cherish every day with them."  After a moment of silence she continued again, "I leave tomorrow for Texas to bury my thirty-year-old son.  He was hit by an under aged drunk driver."  Her words were so gently spoken that I had to take a moment to process them in my mind.  

It was almost as if the words weren't even meant for me, just an extension of her inward thoughts that slipped out.  I was taken aback and felt speechless, what could I say that would even begin to sound sincere?  She took her hand and placed it on my arm and said, "I just keep seeing him like this, a sweet little baby."

I told her how sorry I was for her... but I wish I would have said so much more. I wish that I had asked his name and offered to pray for her, but I was still trying to put my thoughts together.  And before I realized it she had slipped away just as silently as she had appeared.  As I looked around the table at my children I felt so much heartache for her.  
Sitting there in my perfect organized chaos I was thankful for this passing perspective that I had just been offered.  I was no longer frustrated by the two glasses of water that had been spilled at the beginning of the meal or the children that kept changing their minds about what they would like to eat.  Suddenly all of these little annoyances were no longer sources of frustration for me, instead they had become reminders of my wonderful blessings.

God used a single moment and a complete stranger to remind me just how precious the gifts are that He has given to me. 

Dear Lord,
I don't know her name or her pain but you do.  I am asking you to comfort her today and everyday after as she continues to love her child with her empty arms. I pray she finds strength in You to carry on each day.
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted" 
Mark 5:4 
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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Grace Day # 2

Well, the fist Grace Day turned out so well that we all couldn't wait for the next one.  So when Friday rolled around (our newly designated Grace Day), we were all very excited!  I was anxious to see what my little students would choose this time around....once again they surprised me!  My two oldest were already checking out their piggy banks that morning, it is birthday season in our house, which means they all have accumulated some birthday cash.  So naturally both of them said, "Money, we want to learn about money!".

I got to work and to find some great things to do with money for the day and I will have to say I think it was another winner! 

First we watched a video on YouTube about how money is made,  I found it quite interesting and the kids asked to watch it again....

Then we reviewed the value of each coin and worked out problems from some worksheets that I had on hand.

After that we learned a fun poem to help us remember the value of each coin.

We used money words to practice our cursive handwriting, thanks to a  great worksheet generator.

  For copy work we used a scripture verse about money which I printed off of the worksheet generator also.

We also listened to a story online from the Screen 
Actors Guild Foundation (we couldn't find a book about money but it was still fun).

For reading time I wrote a silly story about a little man that wanted to buy a purple van,  my oldest informed me that my story really wasn't that funny....Oh well we can't all be Dr. Seuss!


Then we moved on to the highlight of the day...our own personal grocery store, where we were able to apply everything that we had learned during the day.  

Even AG got in on the action... although she kind of missed the point she still had a lot of fun shopping!

Another day filled with fun and laughter, I can't wait to see what our third Grace Day will have in store for us!

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Grace Day #1

We have recently started trying something new with our homeschooling.  This great idea came from a wonderful little book that I am reading with some amazing women.  The idea is to have one day, "Grace Day"  where the kids get to choose what they would like to learn about for that day.  The only requirement is that it has to be something educational in nature.  I wasn't sure how this was going to play out and to be honest I really thought that they would make request like...build Legos. However, since beginning this strategy I have realized that I can take even those types of requests and make them educational.  This has been so much fun for not only the kids but for me as well.  There is so much excitement  when I gather them up and say, "OK it's Grace Day, what do you want to learn about."  

I thought I would share our first Grace Day with you so you could see just how much fun we had.
So...what did they pick for Grace Day #1?  Well, I have to say my little ones surprised me somewhat. With great enthusiasm one shouted out, "I want to learn about nature", another, "animals", and someone wanted to write a story.  After the selections were made I sent them off to complete there morning chores and I began to print off some lessons in their chosen areas.

And here's where the fun began......

First we studied about plants and photosynthesis....

And then we learnded about an unique animal called an Okapi.

We had a great time walking  like an Okapi!

And then we measured our tongues and compared them to the Okapi's tongue

The Okapi's tongue can be up to 18 inches, our's were around 1-2 1/2 inches.

We even took a break to have a race outside!

We then regrouped inside for some story writing and then used our Out of This World Math Game for some review time.

I  have to say that I really like "Grace Day" as much as my little ones.  No one complains about any of their work and we all laugh....a lot.  I am pretty sure that "Grace Day" is here to stay!

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