Happy New Year’s Resolution!
It is funny how reading that one little statement can strike fear into the hearts of so many people. I don’t know about you, but at my age, which is 29 and holding, with 20+ years’ experience, there is no fear here, but indifference. For me, it has been an annual teeter tottering as the New Year approaches; will I have resolutions this year or not? The last couple of years there were no resolutions for me, not because I did not need improvement, but rather due to the fact that I did not have the desire to follow through with the commitment.
This year is different. Maybe it is moving our FEAST Offices after 18 years, or having my youngest leave for college, I am not really sure why just that I feel compelled to have resolutions this year and do my best to keep them. I thought I would share mine with you, and even if yours are different possibly this will be an encouragement to you to find the resolve to keep your commitment as well.
Here are my 2019 New Year’s Resolutions:
1. Daily Bible Reading and Bible Study – Psalm 1:2 “But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night.” Be Consistent!
•Set and keep a schedule for reading my Bible.
•Find a structured Bible Study that will increase knowledge and build faith.
2. Be a Better Wife – Ephesians 5:33b “and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” Be Committed!
•Show affection to my husband in tangible ways (notes in his lunch, cook his favorite meal)
•Make sure that every word out of my mouth only edifies him.
•Do things that he likes to do (movie night, hiking in the park, shooting range)
3. Eat Healthy – Daniel 1:8a “But Daniel purposed in his heart…” Be Decisive!
•Stay away from processed foods.
•Eat fresh fruits and vegetables daily.
•Stick to chicken and fish (baked, broiled or grilled).
4. Exercise More – I Cor. 9:27a “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection:” Be Firm!
•Walk the trails at the Denman Estate Park, Morning and Evening, Monday-Friday.
5. Save/Spend Less –Luke 12:42a “And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward…” Be Frugal!
•Cooking at home and limiting our restaurant visiting will save money.
•Set a budget and stick to it: use lists, don’t be an impulsive shopper, and use coupons.
•Set aside a percentage of your income for vacation and saving and don’t touch it!
6. Spend Time with Family and Friends – Psalm 89:47a “Remember how short my time is:”Be Available!
•Schedule game night with friends and rotate who will host. (Bonus-helps saving $)
•Make sure you have family time on a regular basis (all phones in a bucket by the door).
7. Volunteer/Give Back to the Community – I Cor. 13:13a “And now abideth faith, hope, charity…” Be Kind!
•A wonderful way to help others and it will only cost your time! (Remember FEAST)
•Volunteering gives your children an eye-opening perspective of their blessings.
No matter what your resolutions are, I pray that you will be successful in the New Year. Here are a few keys to help you implement those resolutions:
•Prepare yourself mentally for the changes that are coming.
•Set specific, attainable goals which you are motivated to reach.
•Write down, share your goals and track them.
If you fall off track, quickly get back on. Remember, you can do this! Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Be Resolved!
May the Lord bless you and your family Happy New Year 2019!
Imagine a Christmas Without Love
As the festivities of Thanksgiving come to an end, I pray that our attitude of gratitude does not! We should be thankful every day as our blessings from the Lord abound. God is so good to us! This is the time of year people seem to be more jovial. When you go to stores and smile at strangers, most of them smile back. People are more courteous in general and although the store clerks are tired, they manage to smile and make kind comments while they serve you. People will allow for driving courtesies and even let you go ahead in the line when you only have one item. There is an evident change in the attitude of people during this season. As I pondered these things, I wondered, what makes the majority of the population happier this time of year? Their workloads are heavier, they are pulling long shifts and yet, they seemed pleased overall. The only answer I could come up with is love. The scripture says in Luke 6:45b “…for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” So, even when we are tired and overworked, when we are pressed what comes out is from our heart. As a homeschool parent, sometimes we get tired, feel overworked and stressed, and in order for us to respond in love, then love must be what is in abundance in our heart. Since we live in a day of “instant everything” how shall I guarantee that my heart is full of love? I can’t order it online, Amazon does not have it, I can’t download it, Wal-Mart doesn’t have it and neither does the dollar store. This is one thing that cannot be purchased. The reason is because it was already purchased. You see, the price was already paid over 2000 years ago when Christ died on the cross for our sins. All you have to do is accept His love. I know it was a definite game changer for me. This does not mean that we become perfect people, but that we are forgiven, redeemed and set free. If this is something you would like to do, or get more information about, please feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 210-854-3178.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
You see, Christmas is all about love because of a Father, who gave his Son. The love of Christ never ends, it never runs out nor does it leave you wanting. May you never have to experience a Christmas without love. I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
That is the one thing for which you are most grateful? As we enter the fall season, which I call the season of Thanksgiving, I began to ponder this question. As I am grateful for so many things, I wanted to pick the one thing that stood out above the rest, so I began to ponder!
“Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving;” Psalm 147:7a
I reflected on the people in my life.
• Some of the people had come into my life for a REASON; to meet a need or help me through a hard time or give physical, emotional or spiritual support. And as quickly as they appeared, they disappeared from my life as their work was done.
• Some people came into my life for a SEASON; as if my turn had come to share or grow or give back. They brought an experience of peace or maybe made me laugh. They gave me great joy. But only for a season.
• Some people came into my life and have stayed for a LIFETIME; teaching me life lessons, things required to build upon to have a solid emotional foundation. It was my job to accept the lesson, love the person and put what I learned to use in all of my relationships.
I realized that it is not one great thing that I am grateful for…it is a million things. All the people who have come into my life, be it for a reason, a season or a lifetime. All the experiences for which I have been bless to participate; through my church, homeschooling, and FEAST. And all friendship and memories I have collected along the way, they are gifts!
I pray that you will remember all the things that you have to be grateful for this season. May the Lord bless you and your family! Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at FEAST!
“Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.” Psalm 95:2 Trusting
If I could share my experiences with you, knowing the knowledge of that experience would help you in the future, I would do it in a heartbeat. After all, there is no reason for both of us to suffer through an ordeal, right? Well, I recently went through the hardest valley in my life; harder than financial difficulties, harder than my worst day of homeschooling, harder than the death of a loved one, yes harder even than my cancer treatments and surgeries. What was so terrible you ask? I dropped my youngest son off at college and then it happened; my husband and I had to drive away.
I thought I was prepared. We had talked about everything, bought everything he would need and covered all the bases. Then the time came to say goodbye. He happily walked away to start the next chapter of his life, then, his father and I had to get in the car and drive home without him. Somehow I managed to hold the tears until we got in the car. I felt sick to my stomach. My heart hurt, as it should have, because there was a piece of it missing. Neither my husband nor I spoke for an hour; it was a seven hour drive home, most of it was tear-filled.
I began trying to rationalize with myself:
• People send their kids to college all the time, surely it cannot be this hard.
• My son was going to be about the King’s business, so there was no need to worry about him.
• Although we are separated now, we get to spend eternity together and maybe even Christmas break.
Nothing seemed to ease the pain I was feeling. Because that was all I could focus on… what I was feeling. Every time I spoke with my son, he was happy and excited. My husband had moved from sadness to being proud, so why was I stuck in the grief? So
I decided to turn to what I know. God’s Word:
• “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” III John 1:4
• “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.” Isaiah 26:3
I do still miss him every day, and some days I still cry. However, the feeling of hopeless grief is gone, thank you Jesus. So, the moral of the story is that it was not up to me to “figure it out” or “solve the equation”. I simply needed to trust the Lord. When I stopped trying to feel better by my own rational, and simply cried out to the Lord. He was faithful to hear me and answer my prayers.
If you have experienced something that you would be willing to share for the benefit of others, please email your story to me at Lwhiten@homeschoolfeast.com. Let’s encourage one another in our homeschool journey, our motherhood journey and our Christian walk.
“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
It is that time of year again! I love new pencils and fresh clean school books. They always make me think of new beginnings. The start-up of school in the fall was always an exciting time for me, not so much for my boys. It marked a time of change. Time to start learning, and the end of summer time fun! I am sure you have worked hard to prepare for the start of your school year. You want everything to be just right, or at least I know that was what I always wanted. You bought new curriculum, new school supplies, clothes, sneakers and whatever seemed to be a need to make the school year a success. Maybe you even worked on your “school room” by redecorating or painting or you bought a new bean bag chair for reading time. So many things to make sure that all systems are go!
I just have one question…in all of your preparations; did you remember to take time to prepare yourself? All too often we work diligently to take care of everyone and everything, except for ourselves. As an older woman, who hopefully has learned from some of her mistakes, I would like to remind you to cover the three areas of your life that need to be kept in check: mind, body and soul: • Preparing your mind can be relatively quick and easy as it is a logical process. There are lists to make and once you have those in place, you work through them. Outside of getting organized and doing your best, just accept that there are no quick fixes. Life is a process and it takes time. It is a combination of many things that build on each other that lead you to your goal.
• Preparing your body can be challenging as sometimes we use up all our energy and don’t have any left to work on our own fitness. One thing I keep telling myself is that I did not get out of shape overnight. It took a long time while making many bad choices along the way. So getting my body back in shape will take an even longer time, while making good choices along the way. Don’t be so hard on yourself, a big goal is attainable, one step at a time.
• Preparing your soul…now this is the important one, because without the safekeeping of your soul, you cannot expect to keep your body or mind where they need to be. Since it is our nature to put ourselves at the end of the line, make it a priority. I know I used to simply read the Bible and pray and run into my day, but when I started a structured Bible study, it began to feed my soul. It calmed my spirit, changed my attitude, and caused me to respond differently to things throughout the day. What are you doing for your soul? Make sure that it tops your list!
“Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:7-8
In the Old Testament, we learn about Abram and his nephew, Lot. They dwelled together for years until the time came that there was strife between their herdsmen. Abram told Lot, let there be no strife, let us separate. If you go to the right I will go to the left and if you go to the left, I will go to the right. Genesis 13:10a “And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere…” So Lot “chose” the plain and journeyed eastward and pitched his tent toward Sodom, while Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan.
God sent His angels to see if they could find any righteous people in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Knowing that his nephew Lot and his family lived there, Abram tried to negotiate and convinced them to spare the cities if they could find ten righteous people. They could not! They told Lot they were going to destroy the cities and he and his family should leave with them. Lot could not even get all of his family to leave with him, only his wife and two daughters. As they were leaving, Lot and his family were in a state of panic. His wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt.
The very next verse says in Genesis 19:27 “And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD:” This was Abraham’s routine, to start his day with the Lord. While his nephew was in a state of panic and destruction, he was in a place of peace with the Lord. Lot followed the world, Abraham followed God. Who are you following? The routines we have, affect the things we do: how we interact with our family, how effective we are with our homeschool, our personal testimony. The choice is yours.
“ Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace,
whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”
As a mom, I have been blessed with the opportunity of homeschooling my children. Along with that blessing came many responsibilities and obligations. After getting fully immersed in the task, I began to think ahead; played the “what if” game, and doubted myself at every turn. The result of this was me being plagued with fear, and overcome with worry about things that might happen, or not happen. The fear became a thief: it robbed me of my time, my joy and my peace. The more I tried to do to offset my shortcomings, the more bogged down I felt. The fear seemed to paralyze me…over things that never came to pass. According to Webster’s Dictionary, fear is defined as a painful emotion or passion excited by an expectation of evil, or the apprehension of impending danger.
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of POWER, and of LOVE, and of a SOUND MIND.” II Timothy 1:7
It was not mine to fix. I needed only to keep my mind on Christ and He would take care of the rest. I remember feeling the stress leaving my body, the pain from tension leaving my jaw and the nausea going away. What a blessing it was to be relieved of the grip of fear.
“Thou wilt keep him in PERFECT PEACE, whose mind is stayed on THEE: because he trusteth in Thee.” Isaiah 26:3
Once you realize that God will take care of you, He is Good and He loves you, you will find that a peace will come over you that money can’t buy. If you are struggling with fear, spend time with the Lord, in His Word, singing praises to Him. It will turn your life around.
“ Then he said unto them, Go your way, EAT THE FAT, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is HOLY unto our LORD: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10
When I say the word summer, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Vacation? Swimming? Camping? Family time? Regardless of the specific activity that comes to mind, I would venture to say they all have the same common denominator…” FUN”.
I would like to challenge you to find fun in the daily tasks. If summer is on 25% of our year, does this reflect the percentage of time that we have fun?
“This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
Make chores fun! If you turn household chores into a game, the children will forget they are working and will enjoy the game. Here are a couple of ideas for you to try:
1. Treasure Hunt Clean Up – When it is time to clean up, tell the children that there are hidden treasure and the only way they will discover them is to clean up the playroom, or their room, etc. (You will have previously hidden in secret some small things that your children like; coins, candy, toys or handmade coupons redeemable for their favorite dessert). You add the fun!
2. Bull’s-Eye – Create a bull’s-eye for your children when teaching them to sweep. Using painters tape, mark a target for them on the floor. Tell them to sweep all the crumbs onto the target. This will help them learn to sweep and have fun while doing it.
For all you “year round” homeschool moms, simply announce that when everyone is finished with their school work, we will all go in the back yard and play in the water sprinkler. (Remember those?) The kids will think you have a new invention and it makes a fun bonus for a strong school day finish.
What about your personal time with the Lord? Is it a chore? Why not make it fun? He is your Lord and Savior. This should be the time of day that you get your cup filled by Him. Get a concordance and do a word study on “JOY”. The Lord loves us and wants us to be happy. Go ahead – Smile! It’s contagious!
As a kid, I always dreamed of being a gymnast. The girl who lived next-door took gymnastics, and when she would come home from her gymnastics practice I would go over and she would teach me everything she learned that day. It was so much fun to learn to do all the elements of gymnastics: handstands, handsprings, flips and everything she could learn, she would show me. We would work up routines on the balance beam (built by her father and installed in her back yard). We also had a routine for the floor mats (which was the beautiful carpet grass). Her backyard became our little gymnastics world. We had so much fun. One of the things that her mom was always insistent about was that one would spot the other. This meant whichever person was doing the routine, the other person would spot them or act as a protector to make sure that they did not fall or lose their balance or get hurt. Of course, I don’t think in the heat of the moment that we realized the importance or value of the spotter. Most likely we realized the worth of the spotter when trying a new maneuver. We would always crash to the ground and appreciate the fact that the crash landing would have been worse without the spotter.
1. Some were in my personal life, helping me with the development of my personality, my character traits, and all the components that made me the person I was becoming.
2. Some were in my home school life, helping me to develop a good work ethic. As I began to teach my boys, instilling a love of learning and a love of the Father in them. I would rely on my spotter to ensure that I was on a path of not only educating my children but teaching them to have a heart for the things of the Lord.
3. Some were in my spiritual life, helping me to learn to have faith, to trust in the Lord and to share that faith with others.
Today, as we look forward to a new maneuver with FEAST, I realize more than ever, the importance and value of Christ as our spotter. He is there if we fall, lose our balance, or get hurt. He wants what is best for the FEAST Home School Families and His children. Just as there are many unknowns with the move, our home schooling, and life, we must first place our trust in Him.
|How is Your VISION?
It Depends on
How You Look at it!
“The EYES OF THE LORD
Generally speaking, I think that most people take their vision for granted. Even if you grew up wearing glasses or contacts, you probably had days where you took it for granted as you could see clearly with your prescription. I never had problems until I turned 48 and I had to get “readers”. After that, every 12- 18 months I had to get stronger glasses, yet, I still took my vision for granted. That changed this year as my sight has declined to the point where I can read hardly anything without glasses. So I find myself in the position of having the worst eyesight of my life, yet appreciating it more than I ever have before.
“…I still took my vision for granted.”
I also have had issues with my spiritual sight. The good news is that I don’t need contacts or glasses for this to be corrected. All it takes is a little time with my Lord and a little time in His Word. The more time I spend with Him, the closer my relationship becomes and the better my vision. Here are the ways that my spiritual aptitude can have a positive effect on my vision:
“All it takes is a little time with my Lord…”
• I can see things in myself that need to be corrected; impatience, misaligned priorities, mishandling money, etc.
• I can see others as Christ sees them so that I may interact with them in His love; God orchestrates our step and puts people in our lives daily to whom we can minister and be a blessing.
• It can prevent blind spots (where we don’t want to see things in our children and admit that the cause was because of their parents) Sometimes things are revealed in the actions of our children, and we can pin point it back to things we did not teach them well. The good news is: we are all a work in progress. Since we are still alive, we can still learn, which leaves time to correct.
• It can improve your home schooling vision (without pretenses, barriers and unreasonable expectations, we can educate our children in truth). Trusting God for the things we cannot see. We trusted God enough to make the decision to home school, and God will guide, sustain, and see us through.
“Since we are still alive, we can still learn, which leaves time to correct.”
So, consider your tool box equipped with the best glasses ever! They are God’s glasses. They will help us see and understand things. Use them to be all that God has designed you to be. Ask God to open your eyes and restore the vision that he has for your life. Be the salt and light, in your home, your neighborhood, your home school.
|“This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:21-23|
My family loves amusement parks. The parks usually have a line-up of rides that will thrill each member of our family. My husband likes the steel roller coasters, while my sons like all of them, including the traditional wooden roller coasters. My personal favorite is the suspended roller coaster. I remember one summer my family did the “roller coaster circuit”. We went to all the major theme parks in Texas and rode all the roller coasters. What a fun time!
The first time we would ride a particular roller coaster, there was an added level of excitement of conquering it for the first time. No matter how many times you would repeat the ride, it would never repeat the high thrill as you learned what to expect. This is the same with life.
“…or a marital problem, which can leave us feeling topsy-turvy…”
Life is like a roller coaster. As we go through things from day to day, we may experience the following:
• Dealing with vehicle troubles, home school detours or disciplinary issues with our child can leave us breathless, like the plunge of the roller coaster as you drop from great heights.
• Sometimes we are faced with a death in the family, legal issue or a marital problem, which can leave us feeling topsy-turvy as though we have been going forward, backwards and looping upside down.
• Yet other times we may endure trials which, by themselves don’t seem hard, but they are many and we seem to get overwhelmed and feel like life is speeding out of control.
“HE IS FAITHFUL!”
Remember, on the roller coaster, no matter which type, there is one common denominator. They all have seatbelts and/or restraints that will hold you in the car, until you get to the end of the ride. No matter how fast you have to go, how many steep drops there may be or how many times you are turned upside down, they restrain you. This is like our Lord. HE IS FAITHFUL! Whether you are speeding up, or coasting through, God is your security as He will restrain you.
February LOVE LOOKS LIKE SOMETHING
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God: and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God: for God is love.” I John 4:7-8
We live in an automated world. Daily, I enjoy modern conveniences that were not available for my grandmother to enjoy. I can wake up via my alarm clock on my cell phone, listen to God’s word and praise music on my electronic device, turn on my child’s electronic teacher, put the dirty dishes and clothes into machines that will clean them, drive-thru while in my car to get a wash, and then pick-up dinner at a drive through window.
So shouldn’t we get a day of free time at the end of the month for all the “time we saved”?
Unfortunately it does not work that way. Grandma worked from sunup to sundown, and so do we. We tend to just fill our time with extra tasks, intentional or not. “So shouldn’t we get a day of free time at the end of the month for all the ‘time we saved’?” Speaking of intentional, I always try to do things with purpose. Valentine’s Day makes me think of love and doing things for the ones you love. I try to show my husband that I love him in the things that I do for him. It’s not a big thing, but a million little things. It does not take a lot of money, but it does take planning and your execution. Things like packing his lunch, slipping love notes to him, or washing his truck when he’s pulled a long week at work are just the small ways that I try to show my love and affection. I do many of the same things for my sons, only the love letters are all “Rated G”. These personal touches should not end with your family, rather they should be practiced with all that you meet. You should take advantage of opportunities for others to see the love of Christ in you on a daily basis. Here is a list of some “intentional” ideas:
• Do you know your neighbors by their name? Bake some cookies and go introduce yourself.
• Maybe you have a heart to help new home school moms and would like to sign up to be a “Mentoring Mom”; email me for details.
• Take the family to volunteer at the Food Bank. It really helps your kids put the magnitude of hunger into perspective.
• Coordinate with a local nursing home for your family to go volunteer. It will be a great experience for both your family and the nursing home.
• Volunteer at FEAST! We have many ways you can reach out and bless other home schoolers.
• Become a Monthly Donor. What if you wanted and needed a better way to educate your child…but did not know about FEAST? We can reach more families with your help. CLICK HERE for more details.
“What if you wanted and needed a better way to educate your child…”
Make it a point to be “intentional”. Not just in your home, but everywhere you go! Think of things that would bless your heart, then go out and do it for others!