Sunday, August 31, 2008

Safety Net

Today's sermon was from Luke 5:1-11.  The story of the disciples fishing expedition.  In case you don't remember, the disciples had been fishing all night.  They had not caught any fish and they were tired.  Feeling defeated, they decided to haul in the nets and head for shore.   That is when Jesus said, "Throw your nets onto the other side."  When the disciples did as they were told, they caught more fish than their nets could hold.  The boat was so laden down with fish that it almost sank!

Our preacher today reminded us as one of the points of his sermon that Jesus used people to perform his miracles.  When he changed the water into wine, the waiters first had to fill the jugs.  In order for the lame man to begin walking, he had to pick up his mat.  Each time he performed a miracle, a mere mortal had to do something before the miracle was performed.  In today's story, the disciples had to cast their nets out before they could receive th catch of fish.

Thirteen years ago I had what would appear to outsiders as a very successful career.  Big Dog and I had been married for almost four years.  Although we wanted children right away in our marriage, children hadn't come yet.  I was working and travelling quite often in my job.  And then, we began to feel that God was leading us for me to quit my job.  It made no sense at all.  I was actually making twice as much money as my husband.  We didn't own a home or have a lot of debt, but to give up 2/3 of our income was crazy!  But this idea wouldn't go away.  So, we threw up our hands and said, "OK God, we'll do it!"  I resigned, with no idea of what would come next.  The very next day, I was offered a position as a contractor.  This position was less stress, less hours, and less money, but it was a way for me to slowly wean myself from corporate life and for us to begin to learn how to live on less money.

While working the contract position, I began a small home-based business.  Within a year, we felt that it was time for me to quit the contract position.  On the day I resigned, I got two new clients for my home-based business and learned that I was pregnant with our first child.

You see, sometimes, maybe even most times, we need to take the step in order for God to perform the miracle.  He asks us to do something before He shows his plan and his power.  That's how it has worked for me numerous times in my life.  Just like the story of my career and the beginning of our family.  God required me to take a step, or a leap, before He provided the safety net.  But just when I leaped, that net was there, saving me once again.

When you know that you are centered in His will, you can trust that He will keep you safe as you take any leap of faith He requires.  Did quitting a lucrative career make sense in man's eyes?  Absolutely not!  But had I stuck with the safe route, I would have never seen His glorious hand in my life!  If you are sure that you are in the center of His will, take the leap, God will provide the safety net!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Gratitude

On Tuesday I was driving our boys to their first football practice of the Fall season.  If you're not familiar with Upward athletic programs, check them out here!  On our way to practice we passed an elementary school.  The school had a sign in front of the building announcing the Kindergarten orientation as well as the first day of school.


 


Every time I see an announcement for Kindergarten, I think back to our decision to homeschool.  Our oldest, Big Mac, was 4 and although he was a late birthday and we would get an extra year with him, I was really struggling with giving away any time with him.  And I was grieving the thought of sending him to school.  I was so grateful when my husband said, "We're going to homeschool!"


 


Last weekend, we were having dessert with friends and my girlfriend told me that our local school district is begining a test program this year.  They will be having a half-day kindergarten for 3 and 4 year olds.  Yes, that is not a typo.  Three-year-old babies will be going riding a bus with students of all ages (up to seniors in highschool!) and going to school for 3 hours a day 5 days a week.  Does anyone else find this appalling?!?  ...don't even get me started...


 


At this time of year, I feel grateful every time I pass a school with their signs stating the first day.  I am grateful that God called me to spend every day with my boys.  I am grateful for their smiles, and that at 11 and 10 they still call me "Mommy."  I am grateful that their Daddy and I are their peer group and they still come to us with everything.  We still have their hearts.  I'm grateful for the gift of time that I have with my boys.  I would not want to be anywhere else with anyone else in the whole wide world.  I'm so grateful.


 


When I was a girl I loved back-to-school time.  I couldn't wait to be back in the classroom.  I remember being so excited when I was entering the 2nd grade because they got homework!  Now, here I am again at back-to-school time just as excited as ever.  Excited to see how my two guys will grow in knowledge and experience this year.  Excited to see their relationship to Jesus grow.  I'm excited about the books we will read together and the field trips we will take.  I'm excited to be the person who spends the most time with my two growing boys.  I am blessed.  And, yes, I am grateful, so very grateful.


 

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sheldon

Yesterday the boys found a snapping turtle while swimming in the creek in front of our house.  Big Mac immediately named him "Sheldon."  Although the boys could not keep him, we did let them spend some time with him observing.  He was neat to watch.


 


Today, we are adding pictures of Sheldon to our sketchbooks and finding Sheldon's Latin name for our books.  Before returning Sheldon to the wild, we took several pictures.  Below are one of each of our boys with their new friend Sheldon.  I love these pictures because of the boys eyes.  When Big Mac was little and someone would ask him for the color of his eyes he would say, "Black!"  Truly, both boys' eyes are so dark you can barely see the pupil.  These pictures really show that.


 



 


Big Mac and Sheldon the snapping turtle


 



 


T-bone and Sheldon.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

The boys and I just started a new book.  We've been reading over our lunch hour almost ever day this summer.  It's a tradition I plan to keep going for the rest of the year.  Right now we are reading:  "From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler."


 


In this book, two children, a brother and a sister, run away to live at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  The story is written by a woman we have yet to meet, Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler.  In chapter 3, the two children, Claudia and James, begin to work together as a team.  Mrs. Frankweiler describes the moment when this began and then she explains that it is rare that this teamwork feeling occurs at the same time in the same people.  But here is the end of her description of that event that made me break out my highlighter, ".--especially a brother and a sister who had always spent more time with activities than they had with each other."


 


We don't do a lot of activities in our house.  And we don't do any activities that our boys can't be together.  They play flag football, but are on the same team. We go to a small church so that they are even in the same Sunday school.  They even choose the same classes for Co-Op each season, and that is by their choice!  We don't do summer camp that would separate our boys for a week, let alone separate them from us for a week.  Our boys have had LOTS of time to spend together.  Lots of time to bond as a team and realize that bond. 


 


When my husband gathers us together, he calls, "OK Team!"  We are a four-person team.  We are a four-chorded strand.  Our activities do not take us away from each other, but instead we choose activities that tighten our chord and maintain our bond.  I remember when our oldest son went with his Daddy to work for Bring Your Child to Work Day.  Our youngest was not old enough to meet Big Dog's work required age, so he stayed home with me.  When our oldest (Big Mac) came home he said, "Mommy, they separated us by age!  Isn't that weird?"  It made me laugh because to a child from the public school it is only natural to be separated by age group.  But for our homeschooling lifestyle, we are with children and adults of all ages at lots of different times.  Being separated is NOT natural for us at all.  And I like it just that way!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Truths from a Children's Movie

Today's summer camp afternoon activity was a trip to the movie theater.  We took in the "cheap" theater which is only $2 per person and saw the movie "Space Chimps."


 


Here are two line from that movie that made me ponder:


 


1.  Life's just like a circus, only the tents are bigger.


 


2.  Do you know what it feels like to live your life in someone's shadow?  Cold.