Friday, January 28, 2011

Check it Out

I know several of my followers already follow my son's blog, but for those of you who don' really should check it out!    

He has a great devotional blog that he posts to on a regular basis.  He has great thoughts and it is evident that many of his posts are God given.   I am confident that if you check it out you will be blessed!  Just click the button below and check it out!

He also had a photography blog!  So be sure to check it out too! He takes great nature photographs!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

An ASL Journey

A couple years ago, for our foreign language, the kids began to learn Sign Language.  At that time I really didn't have a desire to learn it myself, but that soon changed.  About a year later I began to have an overwhelming desire to learn the beautiful language.  I honestly cannot pinpoint a specific event that triggered my desire to learn.  I thought about it day and night.  I began enveloping myself in the language.  Spending my spare time engulfed in books, the Internet, watching videos, online lesson's etc. (you can find my favorite ASL help site here)  It came to the point that I couldn't go much farther with it.   There is only so much you can learn from a book and the Internet.   I wasn't even sure I was doing all of the signs right.  I had so many questions and no one to ask.   So I did the only thing I knew to do.  I began to pray about it.  I told the Lord that I didn't understand why I wanted to learn, but that I believed He was the One giving me the desire.  I asked God if this is something that He wanted, if there was a bigger purpose, a way that it could be used for His glory, that he would send me someone.  Someone that knew the language, so I could talk to them, ask the questions to, and get direction from.  I continued to pray.  Then when I least expected it, God answered my prayer! 

I had reconnected with an old High School friend of mine and we visited her church.  The first thing I noticed was that they had a sign language interpreter.   I was so excited.  Then I found out that my friend's mom was one of the interpreter's.   On top of that she held a class at the church twice a month that was free (which is a very important detail for a poor gal like me: )!!

The first class we went to was overwhelming.  Most of the people attending knew alot of signs, where very good, and had been at it for some time.  There were also two deaf individuals (my friend's aunt and uncle) that attended the class to help everyone learn.  There was a sweet young lady who is a certified interpreter who volunteered  to teach a 6 week beginner class!   So we dove right in!  

I am still very limited in my signs, but I am learning, trying.  However slow the progress is, it is still progress.  We also found another church in our area that has a very large deaf ministry.  They have monthly fellowships.  Now, you need to understand that I am a very shy person.  Being around people that I don't know very well makes me extremely nervous, but I stepped out of my comfort zone and attended one of their fellowships.   I completely forgot everything I learned.  I introduced (in sign language) my son as my daughter and my daughter as my son.  It was horrible. But I survived and we went back again.  The people are great and this month will make our 3'rd time attending.   It is amazing how much you learn when you surround yourself in the language and there is no other way to communicate.

I still do not know God's purpose for this.  But I believe with all my heart that there is a purpose.   It may not be for me, it may be for my children for they are on this journey with me, but I believe one day, maybe even years down the line, something will happen, or maybe someone will come into our lives and it will all come into focus and I'll think to myself "Oh, this is what God was doing.

Did you know???

There are over 250 million deaf people in the world…and that it has been reported that only 2% are Christians.

"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature".  Mark 16:15

Who is going to tell the deaf about Jesus?  Who is going to bring the gospel to their culture?  

When we wake up on a Sunday morning we have dozens of choices on where to attend church.  What about the deaf community?  How many choices do they have? 

I have found a great resource for bringing the gospel to the deaf community.   Deaf Missions has many products including online daily devotions in sign language and ASL Bibles.  Their resources have also helped me in my learning.

I love watching songs interpreted in ASL.  Here is my favorite.

A few Fun facts
When Beethoven composed his ninth symphony, he was profoundly deaf.

Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone (by accident in his efforts to create a HEARING AID) was originally an instructor for deaf children and invented the telephone to help his deaf wife and mother to hear.
A deaf center fielder for the Cincinnati Reds, William Hoy, invented the hand signals for strikes and balls in baseball.

Deaf people have safer driving records than hearing people nationally.

The huddle formation used by football teams originated at Gallaudet University, a liberal arts college for deaf people in Washington, DC, to prevent other schools from reading their sign language.

The man who invented shorthand, John Gregg, was deaf.

Pretty cool isn't it!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Have you ever wondered if it is really true that no two snowflakes are alike? Well, scientists tell us that variations among complex snow crystals are purely limitless. Many snowflakes look alike – even under the microscope – but at closer examination, they differ.  The probability of two exactly identical snow crystals happening within the lifetime of the universe is practically zero.

Dakota captured these snowflakes with his camera today.  Amazing, isn't it? 

Do you know what is even more amazing?? 

The immeasurable complexity of a human being is so much greater than a snowflake.

 So you can be absolutely, positutley, without a doubt, sure that there never was, never ever will be, anyone like you!

Don't you feel special now? : ) : ) : ) : )

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.  Psalm 139:14

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Under the Juniper Tree

As a homeschool mom there are times that I get burnt out.  I'm sure if you have been homeschooling for any length of time you have felt the same way at some point in your life.   Does that make us bad moms?  I hope not.  I like to think it makes us normal.  But let's face it, a burnt out mom makes for a grumpy mom. 

There are many things that can cause a homeschool mom to become "burnt out". 

Stress in the family outside of the homeschool.
Death of a loved one.
Focusing all your attention on your family and none on yourself.
Financial problems.
Marital problems.

The list could go on and on.   Usually when I become burnt out I find myself wiped out emotionally, physically and sometimes even spiritually. 

It's at those times that I have to remind myself to go sit under the Juniper tree.

I Kings 19:4-8

4 But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.

5 And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat.
6 And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baked on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again.
7 And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.
8 And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.

These scriptures tell us of how Elijah became so distressed by the threats of Jezebel, the he fled, took shelter under the juniper tree and asked to die.   This is the same Elijah who was there at the defeat of the prophets of Baal, the same Elijah who saw the drought end, and the same Elijah who ate from the widow's barrel of meal and cruse of oil, now so depressed unto the point of asking the Lord to take his life. 
No where does it tell us that the Lord chastised Elijah.  Instead the Bible tells us of how God dealt with his discouragement in an understanding way.  He allowed Elijah to sleep, he nourished him with food, and he gave him direction.  
So, in other words,  when we, as God's children, get discouraged or "burnt out" in the place that God has put us,  all we need to do is go sit under the Juniper tree.  Now I don't mean to go sit under the Juniper tree and mope around and ask God to take you home to be with him. : )  Instead ask God to give you the strength and encouragement to continue on doing that which He has called you to do.  Rest in Him and He will renew you. 
Isaiah 40:31  But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
God Bless

Sunday, January 16, 2011

No Worries

"The shepherd always walks AHEAD of his sheep. He is always OUT IN FRONT. Any attack upon the sheep has to take him into account first. Now God is out in front. He is in our tomorrows, and it is tomorrow that fills people with fear. Yet God is already there. All tomorrows of our life have to pass through Him before they can get to us." F.B. Meyer

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.  Matthew 6:34

Friday, January 14, 2011

Never Changing

From all the buzz I've heard on the internet in the past week apparently experts are saying the Zodiac needs changing because its not accurate. Try Jesus, He won't change on you.

 For I am the Lord, I CHANGE NOT.  Malachi 3:6a

 Jesus Christ THE SAME yesterday, and today, and forever.  Hebrews 13:8

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is NO VARIABLENESS, neither shadow of turning.  James 1:17

Times change, things change, people change.   God NEVER changes.   He REMAINS.  ALWAYS Powerful, ALWAYS Glorious, ALWAYS GOD.

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.  Revelation 1:8

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow Happy!!

I am NOT the kind of mom who has hot chocolate waiting when the kids come in from playing in the snow.

 I AM the kind of mom who fixes the hot chocolate, puts it in an insulated pitcher, and then.....

....goes out and plays in the snow too!

and then we came in and warmed up with our already ready hot chocolate. :)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Lazy Days and Saturdays

I have enjoyed a completely lazy, only do what I want to do, kinda day.  So, what, you may ask, does a person do on a completely lazy, only do what I want to do, kinda day?  Well,  I don't know what other people do, but for me it consisted of not getting out of bed when I thought I should.  Instead, I ignored that nagging voice in my head that says "you really need to get up"  and snuggled deeper under the covers for another 45 minutes.   

Once I got up, I decided it was a perfect day for backing up old home videos.  I'm slowly putting all our old vhs home videos onto dvd's with a Dazzle video creator.  While I was waiting for the video's to record onto the dvd's, I looked through boxes of old sewing patterns.  I've been in a creative mood lately.   I've been getting tons of inspiration from a young girl named Olivia.  She has a great blog called Eager Hands.

 I have several projects I want to start.  The two main projects that I'm centering my focus on is  a modest swimsuit for Bethany and a dress.   For the swimsuit I am thinking of making my own design rather than following a specific pattern.  I really don't like patterns and I usually don't follow them anyway. : )   For the dress, I'm thinking something with a zipper.  I've never sewn an outfit with a zipper before and I feel the need to learn the skill.  Surely it won't be that hard.  In case it is, I don't have to worry, I know I can call on my mom if I run into trouble.   So anyways, I'm looking through old patterns in search for pieces that catch my eye that I can use.  For example, maybe the bodice of one, the skirt layout of another.  If I'm lucky I'll be able to put them together and the outcome will be a masterpiece.

Looking at all the patterns made me decide to get my sewing machine out.  Usually, I leave it out, but I decided to put it away during Christmas break this year.  I quick converted a pair of Capri's into a denim skirt for my niece Katy, and then I mended a few articles of clothing that were starting to pile up.

I finished the day with some homemade hot cocoa and movies with the kids.   Ahhh,  If only every day could be a lazy day or a Saturday.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Nature Journaling......the How and Why.

The book that first sparked my interest in nature journaling was Karen Andreola's Pocketful of Pinecones.  It was one of the first books I bought for myself as a new homeschooling momma.  After reading the first few pages I knew that what was described on the pages was exactly how I wanted my homeschool to be.  Dakota was just starting Kindergarten and we were off on the adventure of a life time.  We went on many nature walks that first year, and many in the years to come, but it was not until last year (as I mentioned in my last post) that I started a nature journal myself.

"As soon as he is able to keep it himself,
a nature diary is a source of delight to a child.
Every day's walk gives him something to enter..."  --Charlotte Mason

I have seen how keeping a nature diary is a source of delight to children, but now, experiencing that delight for myself has been pure joy.  There is something about experiencing and studying God's creation that brings a thankfulness and an "awe" that I cannot describe.  I have sat outdoors watching a sunset, surrounded by rolling hills, and nature and I wonder..... how can anyone NOT believe.  It's as if everything I see, everything I hear is crying out praises to their creator.  As if the bees are buzzing "Majesty", the birds are chirping "Glorious" and the frogs are croaking "Magnificent".  Sometimes I listen closely just to see if I can hear the rocks crying out.  The only way I can find to savor the moment is to draw what I see and write what I feel. 
How to start.....
Be inspired
The best way for me to get inspired to do something is to read about it, to look at examples of other peoples work.  These are a few of the books I have that have inspired me in nature journaling.  If they are not already a part of your homeschool library you could check your local public library or try amazon.
Get supplies

These are my supplies.  Since I am a scrapbooker I already had most of the supplies I needed.  You really only need a good pencil and a sketch pad.  I love adding color to my pictures though.  Most of the time I do so with colored pencils or pastels (chalk).  I keep all these supplies in a nice bag that I can carry outdoors with me.  I also like to keep some packing tape with me.  I love to pick flowers, leaves or feathers up and put them in my sketch pad for an added remembrance.  Here is a picture out of my nature journal of a dogwood tree.  Remember I'm not a great artist but I want you to see how I taped a dogwood flower and leaf (from our tree in the back yard) onto the pages.  You can also take a picture and include that on the pages of your journal.   Oh, and I must add that I love the spiral bound sketch pads!  Very convenient for drawing!

Now head outdoors.  It could be your own backyard, a park, or a nearby creek.  State parks are beautiful places to enjoy nature and a favorite for me. 
Once you pick your spot, spend some time observing.  Take it all in.  See it, taste it, smell it, listen closely, feel it.  Now pick something to draw.  It does not have to be anything elaborate.  A flower, a tree, a patch of grass, anything that particularly catches your eye.  Look at it and study the details of it.  Sometimes we take for granted what we see.  Sometimes we see without really looking.  So take the time to really look.  Then write about what you see.  Use great detail.  Write about how you feel.  If the spot that you are sitting in could speak what would it say?  When you are all done close your eyes and thank God for the beautiful world that he created and for giving you this moment. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Keeping a Nature Journal

Last year during the St. Louis Home School Expo I took a couple classes on drawing by Barry Stebbing.  I really enjoyed it.  I went right out and bought a few art supplies including a good drawing pencil, a drawing pen, watercolor markers, colored pencils, erasers, and a sketch journal.   I must inform you that I am not an expertise artist, far from it.  My drawing skills have a lot to be desired, but they have gotten better. I do believe drawing is like baseball or playing a musical instrument.  The more you practice the better you get.   Though I know my work will never hang in the halls of museums my hope is that one day they will bless the hearts of my children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and so on.  Along with my nature drawings I write.  I write about what I am thinking, how what I am drawing makes me feel,  my hopes and dreams, prayers for my children, favorite quotes, poems and much more. 

One book that has inspired me is The Country Diary of and Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden.  Its a beautiful and exquisitely detailed book.  It is filled with information about history and nature.  As soon as I looked at it I knew that this is what I wanted my nature journal to resemble.  So I've been waiting patiently for January to arrive so I could begin a new journal just like Edith Holden. 

Gooseberry Patch Giveaway

Prairie Flower Farm is having a Gooseberry Patch giveaway!  I'm sure you want to go check it out.  Just click on the button below to see how you can get in on the fun!   Be sure to check out her blog while your are there!