Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Biblical Framework for Children

Our family has had the pleasure of attending our denominations annual conference this week-end. It was the first time we've been able to attend, because they've been too far away for us to drive to with all our little people in the past. I went this weekend not knowing exactly what to expect. (For those of you who are wondering, I grew up Nazarene, and still feel somewhat Nazarene at 'heart'. But Joel and I are now happy members of the Conservative Mennonite Conference.


We actually first started attending the church not because of denominational reasons, but simply because it seemed like the 'right' church for us to go to. It was (and is) a place where we could raise our family in the faith, be supported in our efforts, and also join in the ministry as we felt led. It just so happened that this church also belonged to the Conservative Mennonite Conference. But that all is side information, and irrelevant to the point of this post.

At the conference today, I was able to attend a workshop on building a Biblical Framework for Children. The leader of the workshop did an excellent job. Her main point was that we ought to be using children's young years----when they're so like 'sponges', soaking in everything----to really give them a good, solid Biblical Foundation.

And we're not really even talking about the general Sunday School stories of David and Goliath and Noah and the Ark. No, she was talking about digging deeper---challenge them, help them to learn! Do they know all the books of the Bible? Can they tell you the difference between the Major and Minor prophets? Do they know the Books of the Law, as opposed to the Books of History? Can they place Isaac, Abraham, Moses, and Paul on a Biblical Timeline in the right order? Can they show you the path of Pauls missionary journey? Can they show how water was used as a symbol of salvation throughout the Bible?

And you might be asking "Why is this important? Aren't  you just trying to make little snobs out of them?" Absolutely not. The idea of teaching them all this is not so that they can regurgitate impressive sounding information to awe people and make themselves sound smart. It's not to make us as parents proud. So what's the point?

God gave us the Bible. In fact, He gave us all of history as a way of showing us, and building up to, the Redemption offered through His Son. Scripture says that (loosely paraphrased) "all this (history) happened as an example for you today."

 In giving children Bible stories like David Goliath and Noah and the Ark, we are only showing them part of the 'puzzle'. They deserve to know how all of the pieces fit together---to be able to see God's redemptive plan throughout history. A child who knows the whole Truth is more likely to remember it, accept it, and be able and confident to share it with others.

So, my challenge to you---teach your children! Read to them, memorize with them, spend time as a family learning things like Biblical Timelines and Paul's missionary journeys. Research some fun games to play together to help you learn and remember all this stuff! God's redemptive plan of Salvation is there---clear and ready for anybody who wishes to take the time to know it. Your children are your most treasured blessings---don't miss this opportunity!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Funny Moms

"Tomorrow, tomorrow, don't wait for tomorrow, let God use your life today"

And so goes the closing song on the 'Funny Mom's' tape---a parody on the classic song that we all know. You'll be singing it all week now. You're welcome ;)

What? You've never watched 'Funny Mom's'? Oh my....we must remedy this. Go here  and get yourself a copy!


This group of hilarious home-schooling moms put together the funniest, most heart-touching, 'hitting home' kind of skits/songs that any home-schooling mom could hope for. I laugh and laugh and laugh, every single time I watch it. It's just a group of silly moms singing silly songs about homeschooling---but they hit the nail on the head, so to speak. They touch on all those subjects that almost every single home-school mom has ever fretted over.

But it's not new. No, they made these tapes several years ago. The ones I own actually originally belonged to my mom. I remember she used to pull them out once or twice every school year, and we'd sit together in the basement rec-room and watch them and laugh our heads off. And mom would laugh so hard she'd cry! And, now that I'm a home-school mom myself, I understand even more why she found them so funny.

So, I hadn't watched them for years. But tonight, I really wanted to laugh. And I did. I laughed, and laughed, and laughed. But then, they got to the last song. That crazy, inspiring 'Tomorrow, tomorrow, don't wait for tomorrow, let God use your life today", and suddenly, I wasn't laughing anymore. I was crying.

Because I never knew watching those tapes with my mom all those years ago that I was making such a memory. I didn't know last summer this time that it was literally our last days with her. They're right. You can't live for tomorrow. You HAVE to let God use your life TODAY. I know it sounds corny and kind of 'cliche', but it's so true. Until you've lost someone as close to you as your mom, you can't begin to imagine the emotions that a song like that will bring up. You can't imagine how much you wish every day that you had just one more day with that loved one.

Find the joy. Hug your kids. Kiss your husband. Forget little spats, and the fact that you haven't cleaned your ceiling fans in years. Because frankly, in the end, it doesn't matter one tiny bit. But your kids? Your husband? Your loved ones? They're going into eternity with you some day. Invest in what really matters....let God use your life TODAY.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

My banana girl

So, when you're naming your child, you try to pick something that's nice, right? Nothing that's going to cause them to be bullied or made fun of, that type of thing. Or, consider my parent's example. My mom realllly wanted to name my brother 'Adam Seth Skidmore.' But then, she considered the initials. Yeah. That would have been cruel!


So, when Joel and I have picked names out, we've tried to cover all our grounds. Does the name sound good? Does it have a family back-ground to it? Are the initials okay? What does it mean?


However, with Leanna, there was one slight thing we couldn't foresee. She loves bananas. LOVES them. See the problem? Leanna......kinda rhymes with banana, haha :) Now, I constantly find myself saying "Leanna, do you want a banana?", and laughing at how silly it sounds :)

Wanna see just how much she loves her bananas? Well, she's willing to eat through the skin of one to get to the good stuff :)

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Don't worry, I eventually helped her out a little.....after I got the cute pictures ;)






Monday, July 18, 2011

Birthday Boy

Just popping in for a few minutes to do Noah's birthday post. I'm a few days late, but oh well, here it is :)


Noah Shaun Curtis has been turning our world upside down for over three years now. It all started one awful morning when I was just 12 weeks along in my pregnancy. Joel rushed me to the emergency room----we were sure we were losing our baby boy. But no, after hours of panic and awful anticipation, there was his beating heart and kicking legs up on the ultrasound screen, and I cried tears of joy. However, due to the complications, I spend much of the rest of the pregnancy on bed rest....

Fast forward several weeks. The placenta previa had taken 'care of itself' (we consider it a miracle to this day!!), and the doctor (not our usual doctor, a special one we were seeing for the complications), rolled the wand over my belly. "Hmmm.....the baby has two of the early characteristics of a Down Syndrome baby. I suggest you find out soon if he has any more characteristics of Down Syndrome so you can decide if you want to abort it." Words of DEATH!! Lies by the enemy--satan himself. Joel and I assured the doctor that it didn't matter to us either way, and we decided not to find out. This baby was ours to love, one way or the other.

Fast forward even more weeks.....my precious baby boy was finally born, safe and sound. Turns out he didn't have Down Syndrome. Of course, we would have loved him either way, but it made me even angrier at that doctor. People are so quick to throw life away, just because a baby might be 'different' than what you were expecting. Such. a. shame.

So, I watch as the nurse washes up my baby boy, scrubs his hair, diapers him, and then....she rolls him over. And Joel, me, and my sister (who was there at the time) gasp in horror. He has a 'knot' (for lack of a better word) the size of an egg on his left side. The nurse gets quiet and calls the mid-wife over. We spend the next two days in the hospital, trying to figure out what in the world this awful knot is. Thoughts of 'tumor', 'cancer', ran through my mind. They finally determined they had no idea what it was, and sent us to a specialist. The specialist looked him over, gave a little laugh and said "Oh, this is nothing but a harmless lymphangioma. 
We thanked God once again for protecting our baby boy. The lymphangioma has since almost completely disappeared---you would never know it was ever there.

Fast forward even more months and years. Noah has never stopped turning our world upside down! He is smart, curious, and....into everything!! Inches of baby powder all over the bed-room.....hiding out eating stolen candy under the kitchen table.....coloring all over walls and tables.......taking months to potty train....he's responsible for all of this and more! I think this next picture accurately depicts what I'm talking about. I took it on his birthday morning.


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Cake batter all over his face...toilet paper completely unwound...yep, that's my Noah alright!!

But, underneath all of his craziness, there is a sweet and gentle heart/spirit not unlike his Daddys, and that makes me smile :) He is such a loving, sweet little dude! I honestly don't know how we were ever a family without him! He is my joy in the morning, my prayer of thanks in the evening. Because not a day passes when I don't remember that he was my 'miracle baby', many times over! Here's a few pictures of my sweet boy on his birthday:

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Noah Shaun, you are loved more than words can say!! Happy Birthday, little man!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Some thoughts

Just got back from a one-night, two day 'mini vacation' with Joel. We stayed in a nice motel room, ate good food, talked and finished every single sentence we started, (parents of small children will realize what a miracle that is!!) and really just enjoyed time away. Then we came home this afternoon, picked our kids back up from Grandma's house, and spent the afternoon with them at the pool.  I really needed a 'breather'. Life is stressful sometimes----for everybody-----and I was really feeling it lately. Sometimes you just need time to 're-group' and breathe a little. Plus, I just love spending time with my husband like that. I don't ever want to become so 'busy' with stuff that seems 'important'----only to find later that I've neglected the most important people in my life. Joel and I are having to learn how to say 'yes' to the things we really, really feel a calling to minister in, and 'no' to the things that are equally good----but would prevent us from putting the necessary time and effort into raising our kids for God's Glory. Because, no matter what other opportunities come our way, our family will always be our responsibility. And, if we mess up with our kids.....shame on us!! It's a tight line to walk----knowing when to say 'yes' and when to say 'no'. But, we are covering our lives, our ministries, our family, our kids, and our relationship in prayer, and knowing that God will help us to make wise decisions as parents.
  We have a good bit going on the next couple of weeks----'good' things that we have decided to say 'yes' to :) I may be a little more silent on here than normal until things slow down again. But, I'll try to at least post pictures occasionally. Noah has a birthday coming up soon---and you KNOW I have to share those pictures with you :)





Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday Games

Yep, that's my husband under there. Don't worry, there were no injuries in today's games. Although, I'm not sure who is winning-- him......


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....or the kids ;)
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Saturday, July 09, 2011

Beauty at home

I am finally (maybe??), after 6.5 years of having children, learning the beauty and simplicity of being home. I've always been a 'go-getter'. I've always wanted lots of things going on..places to go...things to do...responsibilities to take care of...projects to work on. One semester at college, I took 21 credits (21!!!) just because the normal load of 12-14 didn't keep me 'busy' enough. My last semester at college, the summer of 2003, I was taking my last course (online), preparing my Senior Recital (think dozens of pages of memorized music), working a part time job as a grocery store cashier, working another part time job as a piano teacher at a local music school, teaching at a week long music camp for first and second graders, and, oh yeah......preparing to get married in December. It was one heck of a summer! And I loved it! Every minutes of it!

And, after getting married and having kids, it's like I never shifted to second gear. I was still in 'college mode', running, running, running.......trying to fill up my days going here and there, etc. I was missing how important it is for little people (and their Mama's!) to be at home. Taking care of the home. The Bible DOES say 'Be still and know that I am God'. It does NOT say 'Run around like crazy trying to prove your worth by all the different distractions in your life" I am truly coming to see and believe that where I need to be, at this point in my life....is home.

Houses need cleaned.
Families need good, nourishing food to help them thrive.
Clothes need washed.
Children need regular schedules, bed-times, and routines.
Dads and moms need to train and discipline their children in the familiar environment of 'home'

In other words, it's hard to be a 'keeper at home' when you're always everywhere BUT home! I am finally learning that. The beauty of fixing good meals for my family, keeping the family budget up and running, reading stories to my little ones on the porch, enjoying an evening family walk.....the list of things that are 'beautiful' at home goes on and on and on....

I read another post today that says all this better than I can.  Go here to read her thoughts on the matter. And then cuddle up with your children.....and enjoy the beauty and simplicity of home.





Thursday, July 07, 2011

Beauty

Continuing to find beauty in my days....




Little girl dresses, washed and ready to be worn
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Can't find beauty in this photo? Just think how nasty it would look if it were a sink full of dirty dishes :)
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New hair-styles for pretty little girls
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This little lady....
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And this 'not-so-little-', 'starting-to-grow-up' lady :)
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Yep, their Daddy is going to have his hands full in 15 30 years! ;)


Monday, July 04, 2011

Two godly woman.....two godly examples......a host of people to follow behind

I just saw this post on Joshua Harris's site. For those of you who don't know, Joshua Harris is the Pastor of Covenant Life church, and a well-known author. His parents and family were big in the early home-schooling movement, and did a lot of positive things to promote it.

I remember reading on his blog last summer some time that his Mom, Sono Harris, had passed away. Obviously, I never had the privilege of meeting her, but it was still sad. How heart-breaking to lose such a godly woman, and one whose family had had such an influence on my own! If it weren't for the work of Greg and Sono Harris, I may never have been home-schooled.....I may not be homeschooling my own family today.

I remember standing in my Mom's kitchen last summer, talking to her about it. We were both so shocked and saddened by the loss for the Harris Family. My mom even posted as her Facebook Status something like this: "Praying for the Harris family today at the loss of their dear mother.....never met her myself, but she had such an influence on my life anyway!" We stood in my Mom's kitchen, talking over what a hard time the Harris family must be experiencing.

I had absolutely nooooooo idea that just a little over a month later, my own Mama would pass away as well. I just saw on Joshua Harris's site that today, July 4th, was the one year marker for the loss of his mom. And soon, 8-9-10, it will be the one year marker for the loss of my own Mama.

Both godly woman. One much more well known than the other. But both living their lives for Jesus, loving their families, and trying to make a difference in the world. And I had to smile, on this July 4th, wondering if my own Mama has had the honor of meeting Mrs. Harris yet. I can hear my mom now: "You were the subject of one of my last Facebook Posts! It's an honor!"

Two godly woman......both gone.....both missed terribly. But what a legacy they both left behind. Thank you Mama, for your example. I miss you terribly...........may I follow in your godly footsteps.




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