Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Warning: Affirmation Approaching!

Have you ever stopped and checked how many times God has affirmed your little home school?  Recently, He called my attention to it.  The following incidents happened in a period of about 2 weeks:


One of our goals this year is to read through the book "A Child's History of the World" by VM Hillyer and published by Calvert.  I don't whole-heartedly endorse this book, as there is some evolutionist theory, but we bypass most of that and get a general outline of world history.  We got to the chapter about the Trojan war and the big wooden horse.  Well, my very adventure-minded 7 and 8 year old boys LOVED this story!  The end of the chapter mentioned Homer's Iliad and Odyssey.  The boys were curious, but I was sure that they would not be able to comprehend either of those epic poems!  I was going to continue with the plan and read the next chapter the next day.  That afternoon we had to make a visit to Wal*Mart.  While perusing the toy aisle, we found a $1 (yes, $1) DVD of "The Odyssey".  How cool was that?  I felt like God was saying, "Here you go, this will help you..."  But wait, it gets better.  That evening, I checked my email and received my weekly Dover Sampler.  The Dover company sends out a couple weekly emails with links to sample pages from some of their books. (check out my links for more information) I clicked on my Dover Sampler to find two sample coloring sheets from "The Adventures of Ulysses".  The coloring pages featured the Trojan War!  Needless to say, the next day we watched our DVD and colored our coloring pages.  We affirmed what we had read in our history book and God affirmed my plans as I continue homeschooling my beautiful boys.


Last week we saw a couple Monarch butterflies while visitng the nature center and taking a walk around the grounds.  At the end of the week, we received our Taking Off papers from God's World News.  Guess what was featured?  Monarch Butterflies.


In conjunction with a field trip to the Constitution Center in Philadelphia, I planned to study the Constitution this week.  My friend at church, who always saves newspaper features of interest to my boys, handed me three full-sheet child-oriented newspaper features from the past several weeks about...you guessed it...the Constitution.  She had no idea what I was planning to study.  This was God's direction.


I downloaded a free lapbook kit about Rainforest Frogs and another one about the rainforest, planning a unit later in the month.  What were the first four free pages on the dover sampler that same day? ...rainforest activities.


This is happening to you too!  You just have to look for it.  God is wanting to affirm your homeschool.  He is so pleased that you are in the center of His will and He's going to let you know just that!  Watch out for approaching affirmations!  There's a big yellow caution sign in the road telling you "Affirmation Straight Ahead."


And just like you slow the car when a caution sign appears, slow down and look for God's little pat on the back.  Maybe it will be a "kind word aptly spoken" (Prov. 25:11) just when you need it.  Or maybe you'll read an article in a magazine (go TOS!) or the newspaper about just what you are studying with your children.  Whatever way it comes, stop and receive that affirmation.  God is saying, "well done my good and faithful servant." (Matt 25:23)


And let us not be weary in well doing for in due season we shall reap if we faint not!  (Gal 6:9, exclamation point added)  God is affirming us daily!  Make time for Him and you will soon see His hand in everything you do.  He will affirm your home school.  You just have to keep your eye on the side of the road and look for the sign.

Thursday, September 1, 2005

Roller Coasters

Today, we spent our afternoon at Hershey Park in Hershey, PA.  My eight-year-old son had a goal to ride as many roller coasters as possible in the few hours we would spend at the park.  Our first ride was on my all-time favorite coaster, The Comet.  I sat down next to my youngest son and gleefully rode this old wooden coaster.  As we crested the first hill, I closed my eyes and let that euphoric feeling tingle my toes as we descended.  My stomach rose and fell, my heart rate increased, and I giggled.  I had no control of the route ahead.  I had very little control of my body's reaction to this wild ride.  But I did realize that I had some control of my emotional reaction to the ride, which influenced my physical reaction after it was over.  I could become tense and fretful, and possibly make myself sick, or I could relax, let my body naturally react and try to enjoy the feeling of being swept along by the ride.  And that is just what I did. I enjoyed the ride!


Coming off The Comet, I wondered, "Is this how I treat my life?"  Do I tense up waiting for the next bend in the road?  Do I try to straighten out the hills when God is trying to give me a thrill to make me giggle?


In Proverbs16:9 it says, "A man's heart plan his way, But the Lord directs the steps."  And later, in Proverbs 19:21, "There are many plans in a man's heart, Nevertheless the Lord's counsel--that will stand."


When I don't enjoy the ride, what am I missing?  How many giggles and thrills do I chase away as I tense up and try to straighten the track?  Am I trying to plan the track of my roller-coaster-life when God is the ultimate engineer?


There's an older movie called "Parenthood" that I used to like to watch.  During one scene, a married couple has learned that they are pregnant late in their marriage.  Most of their children are grown and they are looking forward to some quiet time when they learn of the upcoming birth of a new baby.  They are arguing becaue both the husband and wife are frustrated by this disruption to their plans that the baby represents.  The man's elderly grandmother overhear's some of the arguing and enters the room.


As the grandmother enters she begins talking about how she loved to go to amusement parks with her friends when she was young.  She loved the roller coaster and how it went up and down and twisted and turned making her stomach turn and her head swim.  But it was still such a thrill!  Other friends liked the merry-go-round or carousel, but not her, she liked the roller coaster.  In her words, the merry-go-round, "just went around."  It wasn't nearly the thrill of a roller coaster.


It wasn't too long ago that I had to hear the words, "It just goes around!"  That was when my sons got too old for the kiddie rides.  They wanted more of a thrill than they could give.  Today, at the park, we passed by all of the "kiddie" rides.  Where in years past we spent almost all of our time, we walked past and I watched other young families taking our place.  At once, the roller coaster of my life went up and down.  My stomach fluttered a little as I realized how quickly those years waving to two smiling brown-eyed boys passed.  And then, just as quickly, the roller coaster tilts upward as my son grabs my hand to take me to another coaster.  I no longer have to watch on the side of the ride, but can now ride right alongside both of my sons.  We're heading toward the crest of the next hill, together.




Help me to allow You to control my life.  I don't want to mis the thrills!  I want to go where You lead.  I want You to plan my steps.  Thank you for this life you've made for me.  Thank you for the Roller Coasters.  I love you, so!