Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Weaver Volume One Chapter 6: Famine and Water Cycle

We started Chapter 6 of Weaver just before Thanksgiving. The timing around that particular holiday was good, because one of the main topics included world famines, past and present. The life application continually reinforced was that we are to become personally involved with famine.

Social studies included the most common causes of famines, as well as the importance of access to clean water. We researched parts of the world that don't have clean water sources, and the struggles that they face. In Bible lessons, we discussed the first famine recorded in Genesis 12.

In science, we covered the Earth's water cycle, clouds, and oceans. There were also several creative writing topics revolving around our Weaver unit, including one where they imagined their life without clean water. One Saturday I took the girls to distribute bread and hugs to the local community where we volunteer. I'm very protective of their safety, while also showing them that there are urgent needs not far from their own home.

Other subjects outside of Weaver are still going well. We switched up some curriculum in October, and so far, the switches have been positive.

Thanksgiving dinner. So. very. blessed.

Saturday, January 4, 2014


Last summer, I wrote this post about extending my comfort zones. Part of me doesn't even know where to begin in telling you what's happened since last summer, because- well, there's so much to tell. It all began after reading the book Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker, so I guess I'll start there. I downloaded her book to my Kindle after Amy couldn't stop talking about it, and was reading me passage after passage over the phone. I figured if she was so messed up (in a good way) after reading it, then I guess I might as well be messed up too. And mess me up, it did. I cried through the whole thing. Seriously- I sobbed. It was like a veil had been lifted from my eyes that I didn't even realize was there. I won't explain much more because, well- you'd have to read the book for yourself for it all to really make sense. Let's just say that I reevaluated everything in my life that I thought made me a Christian (not the essential doctrine-saved by grace- part, but the what-my-every-day-fruit- should- look- like part.) All this said, as much as I like Jen Hatmaker- which is a lot- she's a fallible human being with lots of opinions that I don't always agree with- but God used her book to move me. To hit a giant pause button in a summer that I will always mark as a significant date in my spiritual walk.

After reading the last page of the book, I sat on my front porch and prayed. I trembled, because I knew what I was about to tell God was important and life changing. In prayer, I gave Him full surrender to use me however He so wanted. I would go wherever He wanted me to go, do whatever He wanted me to do. I laid down every excuse I had ever given- I'm too shy, I have too many children, I already do enough at church...all that was gone. I simply asked Him to move freely in my life, and I would follow. And I meant every. single. word. Full surrender, no strings attached.

What followed wasn't perfect peace or clear direction. I was more like a mad hyena trying to find its prey. I cried to Bill that God had a plan for me and I needed to find it now. We should foster kids or adopt. We should sell our house and give away our possessions. (I wasn't kidding.) I was frantic to find what God wanted me to do. Bill, the voice of reason, told me I should stop the craziness (well, not in those words, he was nicer about it) and just be still and pray. And wait. So I did.

I then decided to call a woman named Gwen that we knew through our local church. She's an outreach coordinator for a local ministry here in town that restores urban communities through the message of Jesus Christ. She came over to our house one evening, and explained all the parts of the ministry. She then gave me a list to pray over, and see which part of the organization God was leading me toward. So every morning over the next several days, I prayed over that list. I didn't feel any tug in a certain direction during the first couple of days. Then by day three, I could hear the word "relationship" repeat in my head during prayer. By day four and five of hearing this word "relationship", I had gotten the hint, but was honestly a bit frustrated. I asked Him, "who is this person and how do I find them?" I had an elderly woman in my mind, who maybe needed company during the week. Finally, Gwen called me. I think she may have thought I had flaked out on her. I told her that I didn't feel God drawing me toward a specific ministry, but that the word "relationship" had been replaying in my head during prayer, and I was clueless to its meaning. She said she'd call Tressa, one of the branch managers, and see if she had anyone in my mind for me.

I didn't know this part of the story until days later, but when Gwen made her phone call, Tressa said, "Oh! That's the young mother I've been praying for!" It turned out that she was mentoring a young mom named Ashley with three small children. Ashley had only recently come to know Christ, and was still learning how to juggle motherhood while maintaining a household. So Tressa started to pray for a young Christian mother to come forward and walk along beside Ashley.

Isn't God just amazing? The same week that I sat down morning after morning, prayer list in hand, praying to my Heavenly Father with the word "relationship" singing in my ear- was the very same week that Tressa prayed for a young mother to come along. It still brings tears to my eyes to know that God would bother with me enough to not only answer my prayer, but to orchestrate it all in such a beautiful way.

Ashley and I have become amazing friends. I knew when we met that I had much to offer her, but I had no idea how much she had to offer me. She is so full of love for her Savior, it spills out as soon as you meet her. She wants everyone to know that God loves her and saved her from the pit of hell, and that He can save you too. She has no fear when it comes to witnessing, something with which I struggle. I am so grateful to know her.

God has moved in my life in other ways since that life changing prayer. I've been taking classes to be a Court Appointed Special Advocate within the foster care system, and will be sworn in by a judge next month. I've been taking my kids to volunteer in the same community where Ashley and her family live, and He's given me a love for the people there that I can't even explain. I've held their hands and prayed with them. I've watched my children hold their hands too, and pray with them, unafraid. I can't begin to express what that feels like. It's beautiful to watch your children be His hands and feet.

Thank you to Amy for telling about the book that helped wreck her life, thank you to Jen for writing it, thank you to Gwen, Tressa, and Ashley for moving in me, thank you to my husband for helping guide me, and thank you most of all, to my Lord God. For always loving me, never giving up on me, and always giving good and perfect gifts. Can't wait to see what's in store for 2014.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Weaver Chapter 5: Transportation and Communication

I'm finally catching up on homeschooling posts. We're getting ready to start Chapter 8 on Monday. Christmas break has been long enough to make me excited all over again for lesson planning. When we covered Chapter 5 back in November, I was suffering from some burnout. Our schedule at the time didn't seem to be working quite right, and we were still ironing out methods and timing for grading work and correcting mistakes. It's still a bit hard juggling for multiple children in different grades. We've since ironed most of that out, which is awesome- but writing about this chapter is bringing back the struggles we were dealing with at the time. It's nice to be on the other side of it. Consistency, determination, and prayer has paid off.

The Bible lessons for our new unit on transportation included Abram's journey from his homeland. I learned so many new things from a story that I thought I knew inside and out. One of the things that I hadn't realized before was that God had summoned Abram's father Terah (who worshipped idols) to move first. For whatever reason, he didn't complete the journey, stopping in a land he named after his deceased son Haran.
Other Bible lessons woven into the chapter were Jonah who delayed obedience, early Church members who moved because of persecution, Philip who was mandated to go teach the Ethiopian eunich about Christ, and our mandate to go to all the world and preach the Gospel message. I love the way Weaver ties in so much to the Bible. Everything we learn in science and social studies is linked back up to His Word.

This chapter's science lessons included gravity and friction. The toy car helped demonstrate inertia.

Two wooden blocks to show friction.

One of the fun projects was sewing a hot air balloon. We learned the history and science behind hot air balloons (Did you know the first passengers were a duck, sheep, and a rooster?) and followed a sewing project in the curriculum for our own hot air balloons.

The girls did most of the work on their own.

I don't sew often, and couldn't figure out the last couple steps of the pattern, so I took over for the girls (they had enough by then anyway) and winged it. I finished them off with hot glue. I always burn myself with the glue gun, and therefore probably not the best instructor to show my own kids how to use it. I've been known to take off layers of skin from my fingertips.

Other topics we covered included the Mayflower and early colonial life, and the westward movement in the US. Homeschooling is such a good fit for us, and we're still having so much fun doing it!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Lydia is Four!

My baby girl is four. Four!

Was it really all that long ago that I posed for one last pregnancy pic?

And I met my baby girl face to face?

Our sweet girl is growing up.

We had no idea the roller coaster ride we'd be put on regarding allergies, asthma, and epilepsy. But that is only a part of her story. She is strong willed, incredibly funny, has a giant imagination, and gives the sweetest hugs. She loves to be rocked before naptime and squeezes my face into hers when she hugs me. She tells on herself when she's tired by telling me, "I don' wanna goa bed." She loves doing her schoolwork, asking for her "animals". (Each unit starts with a new animal.) She's convinced she's a real princess, and her daddy is her real life prince. She has him wrapped around her cute little finger. Bill loves watching her dance like a ballerina before bedtime. Lydia's sisters and brother adore her, even though she tries to boss them around sometimes.

Lydia's favorite shows are Doc McStuffins and Sophia the First. She couldn't decide between the two for her party, so I went with Doc McStuffins. We can't use store-bought cakes because of all the food allergies, but I'm determined that she will always have fun cakes. Over the past three years, I've realized how much I love baking and decorating them myself. For this cake, the doll and doctor bag posed in front are toys, but the rest was decorated with royal icing, sugar paste, and fondant.

Lydia recently passed her very first food challenge: wheat! We are still celebrating that fact many weeks later. (Her current allergy list is still extensive- if anyone is so moved to pray per allergy, here they are: peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, soy, shellfish, melons, garlic, beef, and red dye. And hornet stings. Oh, and cats.) 

 I was so excited to bake a cake with white flour!

Mommy's former profession made it onto the cake. Subliminal messaging never hurts.

 I've been on a crocheting kick lately. 

Our sweet girl who we love so much!

Practicing the finger count.

Cousins and best friends.

Reliving my childhood through my own children. Calico critter love! 

 We are looking forward to another great year with our Lydia Kate. Prayers for her total healing, and thanks to our Lord for bringing her into our lives. Love you, precious girl!