Friday, June 13, 2008

Thanks for Listening

Through the years of raising a large family in the homeschooling lifestyle, the lessons of life have come one by one without ceasing. Sometimes they are painful, humbling and weary months (usually when I'm pregnant or caring for a small baby). I call those times the "barely keeping my nose above the waterline" times). Other times those learning moments are satifying and welcoming as the blessings that come from suffering and difficulty manifest themselves before my eyes..

God has really called me to task in my life. Many of you are familiar with the story of how God prunes the vine in order to make it more fruitful. I'm one of those vines who has tried to fight the pruner, attempting to grow out of control in my own direction. It is such a blessing to know that my God is a determined gardener with infinite power to do as He chooses...for my own good. It is like the child who is taught his/her boundaries for their own safety.

He has not left me on this journey alone, but provided strength, peace, joy, and wonderful friends and family. I would not call my life stagnant at is full of surprises and changes that keep me hopping.

Currently my husband and I are in the stage of having many children of different ages. One moment a toddler needs his bathroom mess cleaned up. Another instance a 7 year old needs training, correction, and hugs (all at the same time). Pre-adolescents need chore training for quality control and teenagers may need my our time for chatting and talking about the things of life. Needless to say, they all need meals and clean clothes...and plenty of both!!! (I always think if they didn't nees these things that my life would be a lot simpler!)

Though the work never stops (and I mean *never*), though I rarely get time by myself for things I want to do(*rarely* is an understatement), I can say that happiness is beyond measure for me. My heart just overflows with joy when I step back and look at my life so far. So far! I just know God has more blessings to come.

Blessings do not come without hardship, this I have seen. I am thankful that God says He "will never leave me or forsake me" and that He is a "pleasant help in time of trouble" and that "the joy of the Lord is my strength." The Bible, His Word, is living and breathing. The mere reading of it will produce an effect and it will not return void. It cuts through bones and marrow, right to the heart of the matter.

This may all sound so sentimental and mushy, but it is my desire to communicate God's message and love to you, dear reader. Perhaps it doesn't make sense to you and has not in the past. Maybe your life seems like daily drudgery and you just "suck it up" to make it through every day. Perhaps the joy has left your marriage and relationship with your child (or others) and it leaves you in despair or feeling cheated by what you thought would be something different.

So, I have a challenge for you today. Put your life in His hands and be prepared for "extreme living." Talk to Him & read His Word daily (see the online read though the Bible plans). Don't stop being who you are, because He takes us just as we are and uses it for His satisfaction and glory. "You" were born for a purpose!

This doesn't mean that you won't mistakes. You won't be perfect. But you will see your purpose for living and experience the joy God intended for our lives.

I'd like to close with 5 questions for you. I got this idea from my dear friend Donna at Quiet Life (a daily read of mine). Her "Friday Five" is one of my favorite things to do each week. I guess I just like questionnaires about various topics. Here is my own version of the Friday Five...

1) Have you ever thought about if everything was taken from you (material possessions, loved ones, health)?
2) What has been the most significant loss in your life?
3) What has been the most joyous time or occasion (I guess this could be singular or plural!)?
4) Do you know Jesus as a personal friend and not a religion (see "not religion" for more explanation).
5) If you were to define your life so far, what statement would you use?

Thanks for listening to my ramblings.



One more thing...HAPPY 5TH BIRTHDAY JOHN ELDON!!! My dear little son who hates to wear clothes and is never without a gun tucked into his underwear. He wants to marry me and loves to give me kisses to make Daddy jealous. He has the most heart-warming "belly laugh" that you could ever hear. I love you, dear son.

Leave your comments and answers to the Friday Five questions by clicking here.

Here's a salad recipe I'm making for our yearly homeschool support network picnic:

Black Bean Salad

1 cup of black beans (I will used lentils soaked for 6 hours...they do not have to be cooked if you soak them a long time)
1 tomato, diced
the juice of one lime
1/2 onion, diced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (I will use 1 tsp. of garlic powder)
1 cup of coarsely chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon dried cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil of your choice
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine and mix all of the ingredients and let sit for a few hours to let the flavors combine. Yummy!

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