Friday, August 19, 2016

Back to School with a Flock of Wild Turkeys

Follow the leader....
These wild turkey's were God's analogy to me during my quiet time this morning....OK, not so quiet because my 3-year old was awake witnessing God's handiwork as well....

Six little baby turkey's...goslings I suppose... scampered across the lawn following mama and daddy turkey.  They happily puttered along.  Sometimes they formed a straight line, other times they all spread out.  They arrived on my front lawn in a wild frenzy, having been separated by a car zooming by.  They regrouped, calmed down and continued on their journey. 

The night before they were roosting in our neighbor's gigantic fir tree.  As I've observed these wild turkey's in the past few months I've noticed that they travel everywhere... together...teaching and learning together.  Their day to day life experiences are the training ground for success for the next day and so on and so forth.  They are learning about safe places to roost at night, how to cross the road, where to find food, etc.

It reminded me again of God's command in the OT to teach and train up our children as we rise up, sit, and walk together, going about our daily work and duties.  Daily life provides ample training grounds for a well rounded and solid background for...ahem....daily life which all added up together create history and future. 

Do you ever wonder how the masses of people from 1000's of generations back taught and trained their children for the disciplines and duties of adult life?

(I have three teenagers this upcoming school year, as well as two elementary aged children who happened to learn to read over the summer, a 3-year old not far behind and a toddling one year old) I ponder a lot these days....

Did the generations before us have the tools and resources that we have today?  We share something in common...we all have a brain...we are learning from birth....growing and maturing with the aid of curiosity.  We were all born into a family or lack thereof, and someone made a decision for us, regarding our care.

So we don't share modern day teaching resources, what of it?  Is it all the resources, books, and learning opportunities that make us smart?  Or could it be...simply that the fear of the Lord is truly the beginning of wisdom? 

Strangely enough, 22 years ago, I spent some time helping out on a huge turkey farm in Canada.  To make a long story short, these farm turkey's had absolutely NO sense.  Instinct was bred out of them.  They reacted to life....from being herded with a long handled push broom to laying eggs in neat little nests provided for them in rows and rows of boxes. 

The turkey's couldn't respond, they could only react.  They never questioned why their eggs disappeared every day.  They just knew the easiest and cleanest place to lay them. (They are turkey's, of course they wouldn't, you say...yet for the sake of analogy, stay with me.)

They never understood freedom.  They never experienced life like those wild turkey's in the above photo, who were guiding and teaching their children to be wary of all the dangers of living life day to day.  Those turkey's were so obviously a real family having a grand adventure out in the real world and lived.....really lived.....yes in real danger and real victory....they lived.

Let it be said that we really live.  Whether you choose, as a parent for your children to be educated at home or educated abroad, or educated in the local public or private school, you are free to choose.

Let it be said that we Christians really know how to live.  Yes, in real real hard times and in good...we know what it means to be content.  We know what it means to forgive and love.  We know what it means to endure fiery trials and come out unscathed by the grace of God. We know what it means to serve our neighbor, our country, or the globe and do it joyfully!

The same grace that saves us is the same grace God wants us to operate in as we work for him.  We are his workmanship created to do good works which he prepared in advance for us to do.  Are you walking today in that same grace that you first experienced at the cross?  That grace doesn't change and it's bottomless, never ending.  I just learned that literally, the word works means, "the results of grace."  Have you found God's grace today?  Did you find it years ago and get distracted?  It's never too late.

I'm finally reading a Bible study guide that my husband's sister gave me years ago, "Using Your Spiritual Gifts," by Eddie Rasnake and published by AMG Publishers.  One of the verses I read today was a charge from I Peter 5:2-4 to, "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.  And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away."

Let's teach our children daily what it means to follow God and sense His voice amidst the noise and clamor of the world.  He's a gentle teacher, a "chief Shepherd" as I Peter 5:4 proclaims.  We are to be examples to our children, modeling what it means to be a follower of Christ.  As God leads us, so we lead our children.  What a blessing and privilege to be a parent...we should do it willingly, wake up early, ready to serve, not ready to lord it over them.  Ready to be a living sacrifice and example to them of day to day Christian living in the 21st Century. 

Are you In? 


Saturday, August 6, 2016

The First Zucchini of the Season

It has arrived.....
 Please tell me you're as happy as these children when you pick your first zucchini of the summer...

The overgrown office
 Please tell me your desk at home sometimes looks like the above...don't you love it when your kids grab the camera and take everyday still life shots.  Why do they call them still life when it is anything but still...
Budding young Princess
 Life...please be still..they are growning up too fast, I'm so glad the kids grabbed the camera and took pictures or I never would have had this one....yes, I shed a tear when I flipped through these and saw my daughters, from teenage, elementary, and preschool all playing dress up and dance together.
Another young princess....wait, there's two!

You're interrupting my horse ride....ahem!
 Please tell me your children ride your couch cushions and you sometimes leave your vacuum in the living room....for a few days....OK....maybe even a week...argh!
Ship ahoy!  Or mow me down!
Big brother got creative with his mowing chores the other day and towed his siblings in a plastic boat behind him.  And, yes, safety conscious as he is, he had them wear earmuffs and eventually eye protection as well as a hanker chief for their mouth.

I probably should read my old posts before posting a new one....ha ha  I didn't realize I wrote about the same pictures twice.  I was thinking they seemed rather familiar...but you had been a while.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Swim in a Sea of Confusion NO MORE

Taft Beach, just south of Lincoln City, Oregon
The above photo is deceptive.  Anyone who's been to this beach knows that this is an enjoyable and walkable distance out to the rocks and back.  It's easier done when the tide is out, but still doable, just a little wet. 

I think the idea of home schooling looks like the above photo for a lot of Christians.  It invokes thoughts of fear, failure and an impossibility.  However, when you actually step away from the picture in your mind and enter in to the day to day reality, it can be done and is enjoyable. 

My husband and I attended the 2016 OCEAN Homeschool State Convention this year in Portland.  It was the breath of fresh air we needed.  We were reminded of why we set out on this adventure.  Yes, it's hard, but it is good.  Home schooling is good, but hard, as Todd Wilson reminded us.

I attended this conference when I first started home schooling about 12 years ago.  I was completely overwhelmed and had no idea where to start and was amazed at all the curriculum and teaching styles out there....not to mention....People....lots of people. 

However, my conference experience this year was awesome.  My husband and I were encouraged to be a team and work together at this endeavor.  We were given all sorts of tools for our box of home schooling.  It was worth the time, money and effort to get up to Portland for two days of encouragement.  I only wish I could spread it around throughout the we purchased the entire session here:
Dads, if you've never been, go!  Support your wife and be an encouragement to her and play on the same team. 

Playing on the same team, you say?  Here's some idea's:

Chemistry Class 101 with Daddy in the Kitchen

Yep, He's still got the same sparkle in his eye...19 years and counting!

This is a great place to stow away...
 My oldest son had a volunteer to be the weight in his "practice backpacking" venture.  Everyone in the family needs to have a team mentality to win at this adventure in homeschooling.  It's fun, enjoyable, and hard, yes, but worth it! 


Thursday, July 21, 2016

God's Mercies in Daily Happenings

Underground Wasp Nest
 One of our children was recently stung by a wasp...actually, he was stung 3 separate times within a week's time.  This poor child has had more bee stings in his short six years of life than most people have been stung in their entire life.  That's another Alaskan adventure story for another day...

So back to the present...or at least a few days ago to be more precise.... my oldest son dug up this underground nest after the bees had been poisoned with gas.  WOW!  We had no idea how large this wasp nest was.  We had hung a hammock not 2 feet away from the nest and the three small children had enjoyed many a lively swing; laughing and tipping upside down there.  To think of the danger that lay so close by...  my little boy who was mad about getting stung, soon realized how much to be thankful for. 

I was thinking how we adults react in much the same way...get mad or upset and then get thankful.  I'm not saying we should like getting stung by a bee.  I'm just saying when things don't go our way or we experience suffering, pain, or trials we often don't realize just how bad it could've my sister-in-law always says, "It could be worse." 
Experimenting with dry ice in the chemistry lab aka Kitchen
 Here's a fun photo I took of my guys calculating the time it took for various pieces of dry ice to melt in various sizes of containers...Yes, we're always taking advantage of any moment of any given day to learn something new but don't necessarily call it "school."

Going for a hike with big brother...
 My older kids are preparing to go on a lengthy backpacking trip...their little sister volunteered for the job of extra weight...for practice.  So cute and precious to me, as a Mother, to see my 17-year old son enjoy his siblings in this way.  He always has time for them...even in the previous wasp nest picture, he took the time to show them the queen and point out the individual cells, eggs, and larvae stages.
Teaching Baby the art of cleaning up after oneself...
Somehow he managed to open a small Ziploc bag of cheerios in one fell swoop...I had no idea so many cheerios could fit in that little bag!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

God's Grace has Always been in Place

A peppermint rose
 Just teasing...perhaps there is a peppermint rose somewhere but this is just a rose that my daughter swiped with a brush dipped in white paint.  For a minute, though, I stood open mouthed; thinking that my rose bush had actually produced a rebel rose...or an incredible rose defying blossom.  I suppose that would be like saying the same thing twice.. 

Well I had quite a laugh over that, but it did get me thinking about another analogy.  Real versus fake.  Because we're people we struggle with this whole just be yourself or be someone I think you'll like thing.  We want acceptance, we need validation, encouragement, and to belong. 

So we have grandiose ways of acknowledging our accomplishment's, our struggles, our triumphs, our victories, our desires, hopes, and dreams.  It's all part of being a human.  People have been doing it thousands of years in every culture.  Facebook and blogging aren't really new, just a different twist. 

So in our efforts to communicate one to another do you ever wonder why we choose to communicate the things we do?  What's important to me may not be important to you or vice versa.  We politely listen one to another...but there's only so much time and we each only live a certain number of days. 
We can only read so many books and learn so many things.  I hope that I put my time and effort into what really matters.  I don't want to be a painted rose.  I want to be real and smell nice while I do.  I'd like to be polite, but truthful.  I'd like to share my thoughts with those who care and not with those who don't.  When I started this blog, it was for the purpose of sharing with you about life in Alaska.  Then, it morphed into a wild ride down to Oregon and back up to Alaska and down to Oregon again sort of blog.  Now, more than a month has gone by since I last wrote...hmmmm

A bicycle built for two...
We recently purchased this tandem bike from our neighbors garage sale.  What a bargain!  I've always wanted a bike like this.  Think of the romantic places we could adventure on this one...oh, wait, my husband is still recovering from his broken ankle and we have a leaky tire...Nothing that can't be fixed with time and money.

BUT, I bet you couldn't tell that from the picture and the smiles on our faces?  It's a lot like what we Christians present to the world and one another every Sunday.  Behind every face is a real human soul.  Alive, with real hurts and real wounds.  We gather together to worship and pray and read God's word.  Sometimes we share our trials and struggles, and sometimes we're quiet.  But, let's be real and unpainted.  We don't have to pretend to have it all together because no one does.  It's time to let the facades down and serve one another in love, broken as we are, bleeding as we are, and healing as we are.  God only needs one yielded and obedient heart and the rest will follow.