Why do I have hope? Because...

...God loves me:
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

...I am chosen:
...but you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.   (I Peter 2:9)

...when the world seems to have gone crazy, He is still God:
In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.   (John 16:33)

...when I fear for my future, He says, Fear not!
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.   (Jeremiah 29:11)

...no evil purpose can stand against me:
The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom.   (II Timothy 4:18)

...the testing of my faith has great purpose:
These [trials] have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.   (I Peter 1:7)

...when I pray, I get answers:
I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.   (John 16:23)

...when my body suffers, I can know His healing:
...[He] healed all the sick.  This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah, "He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases."   (Matthew 8:17)

...when I'm tired, He gives me strength:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.   (Matthew 11:28)

...when I don't know what to do, He gives me His wisdom:
If any of you lacks wisdom he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.   (James 1:5)

...when my heart is breaking, He wraps me in His arms:
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.   (Psalm 147:8)

...when I stumble and sin, He forgives me:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.   (I John 1:9)

...when I've been wronged, He is my Defender:
I know that the Lord secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy.   (Psalm 140:12)

...when the money doesn't stretch, He provides for me:
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.   (Philippians 4:19)

...when I'm worried and anxious, He promises peace:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.   (Philippians 4:6-7)

...when things are falling apart, He has a plan:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.   (Romans 8:28)

...when I fear for my family, I can trust His care:
...because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.   (II Timothy 1:12)

...when conflicting voices confuse me, He shows me the right way:
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.   (John 16:13)

Why do I have hope?  Because Jesus came, and...
He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.   (Isaiah 9:6-7)


Thanksgiving in the slow lane

What's Thanksgiving without family?


Hubby got slated to work the whole four-day weekend, and the only family we have within a few-hour radius left the state for the holiday, so it's just us.  SweetPea and I are having a very quiet--and restful!--holiday weekend.    And you know what?  This year I don't mind.  The weeks have been so full for so long, that it was actually euphoric to think that we could just kick back for four days, without schedule and demand, and catch up.

We did the traditional meal thing yesterday, eating late when Dad came home, and watched an old movie by a crackling fire.  Today I tackled some major mess in the basement and made significant progress--there's now room to wrap Christmas presents.  (Groan.  Don't you feel like you're hurtling to the next holiday at warp speed?)  This afternoon SweetPea and I got a two-hour start on the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice, a garage-sale find with four hours left to go.  Very fun.

Tonight I took Doug Phillips' idea from his Vision Forum email and read out loud Chapter 4 of William Bradford's "Plymoth Plantation" at the dinner table.  This chapter tells of why the Pilgrims felt compelled to leave Leyden, Holland and come to America.  Interesting that a primary reason was that they were losing their children to the culture, watching them walk away from God and family.  Sound familiar?  They faced grim alternatives to stay or go, but I love what they based their ultimate decision on:

"...all great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and must be both enterprised and overcome with answerable courages.  It was granted the dangers were great, but not desperate; the difficulties were many, but not invincible.  For though there were many of them likely, yet they were not certain; it might be sundry of the things feared might never befall; others by provident care and the use of good means, might in a great measure be prevented; and all of them, through the help of God, by fortitude and patience, might either be borne, or overcome."  (modern spelling my change)

A bracing word for us parents today, wouldn't you say?  The challenges of raising children in a culture opposed to the things of God require this same gutsy faith in Lord.  I pray I will have "answerable courage."


A "CCC" week


Catch-up, Creativity, & Cooking!

I decided we just had to take a break and regroup--the house, our schooling, but most of all, our inner selves.  When I melt down over little things, that's a sure sign I've got to stop and fill my well.  I've been doing too much 'melting' lately, so I made the executive decision (O, wonderful freedom of homeschooling) to have some fun and rest time...and it's been wonderful!

Catch-up on home tasks, paperwork, gifts to mail, raking leaves, phone visits, rest, thinking, reading, talking

Creativity - some space just to play...piano and guitar, writing, jewelry-making, photography

Cooking - I'm having SweetPea shadow me in the kitchen, something that seems to get bumped a lot of the time due to other priorities.

I even had the blessing of attending our ladies Bible study yesterday, something I usually can't fit in.  Since most of the families in the church homeschool, the kids do their independent school studies for a good hour, then have a fabulous romp for another while we do our study.  Yesterday it was Capture the Flag in the wintry cold--so fun to see the breathless laughter and red cheeks.

And we get to end the week with art class and a Scandinavian Christmas Fair.  Too fun.

It might be hard to get back into the rigors of algebra and all the rest next week, but I'd have to say "mission accomplished."  I think I'll have to ponder the idea of adjusting our schedule to have a week like this regularly.  Just knowing it was out there waiting for me every few weeks would be bliss.


A lament

I've decided I don't like busy weekends!  And I'm stumped at how to avoid them.  By late in our week, I'm having visions of all the stuff I'm going to get done on Beautiful, Unstructured Saturday...long quiet time, cleaning, paperwork, yardwork, projects...you know.  But by the time we have our family waffle breakfast, run errands, whatever, it's dinnertime and I didn't get anything done on my list.  Again.

Is it only me, or do you find if you're gone half a day, you're catching up for two?  I was gone half of Saturday, then church yesterday with a potluck lunch, then a long, gorgeous hike in the afternoon with my honey while SweetPea had a youth event at church.  Such a beautiful day.  But I hit Monday morning unprepared for our school time, tired, wondering what we were going to have for dinner, not liking my cluttered home, and considering just going back to bed.

The only fix I can see right now is to be more organized during the week, do more planning ahead, preparing ahead.  Now, mind you, I'm an organizer by nature, but I'm sitting on the edge of a pretty decided revolt.  I don't want to be more organized!  I want to f-l-o-w.   How many months until summer?

So my goals this week include arriving at Friday afternoon with a relatively clean house, school all planned for next week, laundry and ironing caught up, plenty of food prepared for the weekend, fall leaves all raked up and bagged, bills paid.  Oh, yeah, and my basement cleaned up.

Hm-m-m...think it'll happen?