Monday, May 19, 2008

End of Year Thoughts

I have completed my spring speaking schedule. That's a nice feeling. I try not to accept very many invitations to speak because it's really hard on the family when I leave. Not only do the children feel sad and lost without me, basic mommy stuff is neglected. For example, my precious 11 year-old son packed himself for his boy scout camping trip and didn't pack anything warm to wear in the evenings. He came home sick. Not very sick; but just enough to keep me up praying all night. I guess it worked because he's begging me to take him to IHOP this morning.

I love to speak and encourage moms, however. So, I do try to speak locally and go a couple of places each year. If the kids were not so busy with All Stars, Boy Scouts and ballet, I would take them with me.

The Mississippi conference was the last stop on my calendar. What a delightful group of people! I think I want to move to Mississippi.

Before I went, we vacationed in Florida. It was an exciting trip. My husband usually spends the entire time fishing. The first thing he caught was quite a surprise. Check it out!

He caught it in the waters in which my children were swimming. After he caught this nifty little guy, my son reported that a 6 - 8 foot shark was patrolling the beach, swimming back and forth about five feet from shore. I went in and called the authorities who promptly sent out a boat. We watched as these tough guys caught the shark and pulled it out to sea.
For some reason, my nine-year old didn't want to get in the water the rest of the trip. Wonder why?
Devotional Commentary Series!
I'm busily at work on my devotional series for families. It's more of a Bible commentary with life application. I'm working through the book of John, writing three commentary devotions for each chapter in the book. The Lord has been so gracious to awaken me early in the mornings to write so that I don't neglect the children at all in order to work on this project. For me, there is nothing more wonderful than the Word of God. Don't get me wrong, I loved writing the science series. Yet, my heart is really to encourage people and edify them in the Word of God. That's where our strength, joy and peace is found - in Him alone. It's always been my passion to fortify people in their faith. That's what I hoped for with the science books, and that is what I hope for with this devotional series.
Over and over I have had people ask "What do you suggest that I use for devotions?" Going through the Bible is the best suggestion. However, most people have not spent hundreds of hours in exegetical analysis or inductive studies and have a difficult time explaining the historical or doctrinal principles in passages, as well as how to make life application. That's what this devotional commentary will do. The family, or student using the book, will read the Word, then use the commentary to go deeper and make it personal. It's my hope that all those who read this will grow, not only in their understanding of the Word, but in their walk with the Lord. It's my greatest desire that young people will fall more deeply in love with Jesus as they work through the series.

Winding Down the School Year
I don't know about you, but I'm really excited to be winding down our studies. I looked over the goals I had for the kids this year and it literally brings tears to my eyes to see how faithful the Lord was to enable us to accomplish every single one. Every one. The boys are now reading lengthy chapter books, writing full page essays by hand with ease and can spell. There were a few other academic things we accomplished, but those were my big three for this year for the boys. My oldest (14) is going to be ready to take three CLEP tests next month: US History I, English Comp and Humanities. My youngest (7) is reading and writing very well. We could end now, but we have to complete 180 days here in Georgia, so we'll do some interesting science related activities with the microscope I just purchased from Sonlight, complete our notebooks and finish our math program for the rest of the school days.
I'm praying and asking the Lord to give me wisdom about our goals for next year. What would He have us accomplish? What does He hope for them academically and spiritually? I'll be praying through these things for next year.
I have found that my homeschooling goes so much better is much less stressful when I have goals that we are seeking to accomplish. This gives us direction and purpose. Otherwise, it's about finishing a course or program that may or may not be the best thing for us. Otherwise, we become slaves to curriculum, rather than masters over it. We are not Spirit-led or God-directed, but rather are without vision and simply following someone else's scope and sequence, course or beliefs about what my children should learn, how they should learn and what they should do to finish their prescribed program. God has a better plan, a future-minded purpose and He knows on what we should focus and where we should make an effort. There is a way that seems right to man, but it's usually not God's best.
In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.
Proverbs 16:9
The Lord called us to homeschool and He will guide us each step of the way. Instead of making plans after careful research, prayerfully ask Him to lead you as you research; ask Him to lead your plans. He didn't call us and then expect us to figure it all out. He didn't purpose for us that we should educate these children of His and then leave it in our hands to decide what plans and courses we should choose for them. The Lord called us because He has a pupose for our children. He has specific plans for them that are for their good, for a hope and a future. As we seek Him, He will lead us in what He wants for them to accomplish, and how we should go about doing that. We only need to co-labor with God, to cooperate with Him in moving our children into His wonderful will for them.
Bible Experience
My next newsletter will be going out very soon. It will be the last one on Bible Study and Devotions. I have several articles from wonderful godly women and a few more reviews. One review that I want to mention here is The Bible Experience. All I can say is WOW!
The Bible experience is like no other audio Bible I've ever heard. This is the actual Bible - word for word - dramatized in such a way that it really brings it to life. The musical scores, the voices (done by some professional Christian actors and actresses and other wonderful voices), the background sounds, all create an authentic atmosphere that is absolutely astonishing. It's like hearing the Word of God happening in real time. When Jesus speaks to the crowd from the boat, you can hear the water lapping around the boat. As Jesus passes through the crowds, you can hear their astonishment when people are healed. It's so realistic. You can hear a sample on Zondervan's website.
We listened to the book of Acts on the way to Florida and on the way home. It was truly riveting. It had been on for hours, but we turned it off when we were passing a wreck; immediately the kids begged us to turn it back on. They were all listening raptly.
I can't recommend this enough. It's gotten rave reviews on Amazon and everywhere else. You can also download it instead of buying the CD's. We plan to have the kids listen at night when they are going to bed. What a wonderful way to end the day.
"Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."
Psalm 119:105