It's a cold and snowy January day here, quite a switch from the record-setting 70s earlier in the week.  God is good to give us those little reprieves though; it reminds me of one of the things I like about winter...spring is next! 

Our pastor gave a very good sermon today on trusting God.  Timely, of course, with all that's going on in the world and our country.  He laid the familiar foundation about why we can trust God--"assured reliance" on His character, ability, strength, truth, faithfulness, and so on.  A wonderful reminder of Who it is we love and follow.

But what really struck me was the second part of the sermon, "Can God trust me?"  He asked, Can God trust your opinion of Him?  This touches so deeply on an issue we all struggle with, I think.  What do we really think about God when someone we love suffers or our prayers don't get answered or tragedy strikes?  A right conception of God is crucial to life and without it we're destined for doubt and unbelief, bitterness, or the shipwreck of our faith.

A precious friend of mine has lived this out before me in a profound way.  She and her husband lost their middle son, in his mid-20s, engaged to be married, to cancer a bit over a year ago.  Their prayers for his healing were not answered, at least not in the earthly sense.  But all I have heard from her is their praise and love for the Lord.  They have not gotten off in the ditch of bitterness and railing against God.  Instead, their Christmas letter said their desire was to "make His Name glorious."  They are pressing on to seek His will for what's next and are not lost in a sea of grief.

Wow.  A right conception of God?  An unshakeable foundation?  I guess.  I didn't do so well in my own hour of testing a few years ago, but eventually I saw that if I did not choose to trust God with all the unknowns and seeming contradictions--based on what He has revealed of Himself in the Word--then I would go from one bitterness to another until I lost Him completely.  An unthinkable course.

I'm glad to have had this reminder early in the year, to set my course and goals by this truth.  And to be reminded that this is one of the most important things I can impart to my daughter, that God is good, all the time, and that He is completely faithful and worthy of our trust.


A prayer friend

Of the many things I'm thankful for--and that's a lot!--I'm so very thankful for a special friend God brought into my life early on in my homeschool journey.  She's a kindred spirit in the truest sense, and the Lord has grown a precious friendship between us through the years.

One of the greatest things we share besides our love of the Lord and His Word is prayer.  Every Sunday that we're able, we have a phone prayer time over our coming week.  We pray over our schools and kids, our husbands and schedules and stresses.  Even just the freedom to talk out our needs and concerns helps to unburden our hearts or clarify our thinking and faith.

And wow, what a difference it makes in my week!   Not only does God answer prayer! but as the week unfolds it is no end encouraging to know that she's praying for me about whatever specific needs I have.  We have gone through many deep waters together...illness and serious health concerns, job layoff, support group crises, spiritual attacks and oppression, discouragement and weakness, parenting issues, homeschool stresses and needs...the list goes on.  We've had a safe place to talk it all out and know that nothing but love and support are there for us.  Thank You, Lord, and thank you, my friend.

We've seen the Lord's faithfulness and VICTORY through it all, whether the answer comes right away or has been a process.  It's become a commitment that we can't afford not to do, even with our busy schedules.

So I strongly encourage you to ask the Lord to give you a prayer friend if you don't have one.  I think homeschooling is a 'front-line' work of God that the enemy targets any way he can (you know what I mean, don't you?!), and in such agreement God promises to show His power.

"As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend."  Pr. 27:17


This 'n that

It feels good to back to our routine!  I guess we all function better that way around here.  The weather is mild enough to be out and walking regularly with sunshine to lift the winter doldrums.

School this week looks like this...

- The waning years of the Roman Empire, the invasion of the Huns (we're using both the Usborne Encyclopedia of History and the Kingfisher History Encylopedia--they compliment each other very well)

- Very interesting read-aloud on St. Patrick called "Flame Over Tara," excellent description of early life and Christianity in Ireland (I don't think I'll ever view St. Patrick's Day quite the same)

- Planet study and Moody videos on our galaxy and space

- Newspaper journalism/analysis and writing practice

- Oral presentation prep for our support group class on (I can't give away the topic lest any class participants might be reading this!)

Not to mention...SweetPea's practice and rehearsal for a special spring piano concert on Baroque music, the set-up of the latest of our animal menagerie--a hermit crab, and the start-up of her first little business--jewelry-making.  We have a friend who runs a homeschool bookstore who sells cottage crafts and is willing to see SP's stuff.  (I think I can count it as economic study, right??)

I'm having fun experimenting with my new pressure cooker, although I think I can safely say "timing is everything."  Did you know that by overcooking meat it actually gets dried out?!  But if you keep on cooking it it finally falls apart and gets tender.  ha!  Who would have thought?  Sounds like some kind of a safety net to me.  But I have had a couple of good successes so I press on with the pressure!  (Bad joke.)

Have a great week!



Back to school, back to Life

Happy 2009! 

We're back from our 2-week Christmas vacation with our families in Arizona--wow, what a wonderful time.  It was heart-satisfying on all counts, one of those "appointed" times when you know the Lord has had a hand in all the little stuff.  Weather was good, we stayed healthy, and most of all, our cups were filled with great family time and wonderful memories.  Thank You, Jesus!  You are the Giver of all good things.

I came home with a pressure cooker and an eagerness to cook again, something that has waned in recent months.  Yay for fresh inspiration!  I've tried a couple of recipes and I think it's going to be a boon for time savings.  Any great tips to share???

SweetPea surprised us just before Christmas by announcing that she had made the (momentous) decision to quit a horse program she's been in for three years.  This is a mounted drill group that takes a pretty big chunk of time and commitment to be in it.  We'd both been feeling the stress of "no margin" for some time, but I wanted such a decision to be her own, not influenced by me.  It was!  She wants to write and pursue other interests, and now is free to do so.  I was proud of her for having the courage to leave behind a good thing for something better.

So 2009 stands as an open door before us, promising all sorts of joys and delights inside.  Funny how the Lord works--one of my homeschool goals for SweetPea this year was that of writing, really getting solid in the basics before moving on toward high school work in a year or so.  And here it's just what she wants, something she feels God is calling her to.  So as we've begun school this week, it's been with a fresh excitement for us both and an assurance that the Lord is leading us into new things.