Finding Joy in Him

Through Every Season

Tag: Homeschooling

Relections on Heaven at Refection Riding Arboretum

Warning: Lots of photos
Saturday after lunch, we went to the Refection Riding Arboretum 
at the foot of Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga.
We so enjoyed walking it’s 3 mile loop which you can drive, bike or walk. 
 These horses reminded me of a Canadian TV show we’ve been enjoying, Heartland.
The cool spring breeze was so refreshing.
 Had to get one more with the mountain in the background.  🙂
 The Arboretum has a has a level 4 rating which means
 it has labled at least 120 different species of trees.
 Everything is colored with missing Joel now.  
We could not help thinking about how much he 
would have enjoyed the hike as we walked along.
He would have loved everything about it.. the beauty, the adventure, the history, the day.
Wild hydrangeas.
 As I snapped photos,   I wondered if Joel and Jesus went on hikes together
and if they ever had any need for photos or scrapbooks.  
One room cabin with spring feed water basin.
This cabin was dedicated to John and Margret by their grandchildren with 
Psalm 19:1-3
The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.  
Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge.  
There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; 

yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.

 Favorite flower picture.
 I hear that the colors in Heaven are even more amazing than any we’ve ever seen.
 These flowers were growing on a Florida Anise Tree
These mushrooms reminded me of our very first real nature walk together 
at OP Schnable Park in San Antonio.   The Lord so blessed us that day with tons
of different mushrooms, bees and mating garter snakes.

Pages from Joel’s Nature Journal

 Joel was 10 years old.
 We all took turns using our first digital camera.
Joel’s version of what the snakes were doing below.   🙂
 We had to look up what kind of snakes they were
 We were all amazed by God’s creation.
The one below was from a different walk at OP Schnable.  
We went there often; there was so much to see 
and it was an easy drive from our house.
We met our good friends, the Chagoyas, there just last May.
Back to the Arboretum.. 
 We’ve been to St. Augustine.  Glad we didn’t have to walk here from there.
Cherokee monument.
 Joel so enjoyed taking nature photos.  
Will I get to see all the scrapbooks he’s collected when I get there?
 
About halfway through our hike we came upon this rock.. it amazed me.. 
I took half a dozen photos and still could capture the wonder of it so I took a video.
There was water springing up from the rock.. it reminded me of the water God provided in the wilderness for the Israelites and these verses from 
Revelation 21
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away,
 and there is no longer any sea…3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, 
“Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be 
 His people, and God Himself will be among them,4and He will wipe away every tear from 
their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, 
or pain; the first things have passed away.” 5 And He who sits on the throne said,
 “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”
6 Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. 
I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.
I’ve wondered many times how spending time with Jesus will work in Heaven.  
Will thousands of others be sharing my long, quiet walk with Jesus?    
 In Revelation 21:22 John says, 
“I did not see a temple in the city, because 
the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.”
 I was glad when I read in Anne Graham Lotz book, Heaven My Father’s House, last night 
that I wasn’t the only one who’d wondered.. and who’d selfishly not wanted to give up 
the wonderful, intimate, daily, individual, fellowship that we enjoy with Him now.
Anne believes that “There will be no place in Heaven 
where God is not physically, actually present!
  Because He is omnipresent, 
He will live fully and completely with me every moment, 
as though I were the only resident of Heaven!  
And He will live every moment fully and completely with 
you as though you were the only resident of Heaven!  
What a wonderful place Heaven will be!”
 Mike noticed, while on our hike, that sometimes the path would disappear beneath 
the forest overgrowth and we would have to look up ahead to find where to go next.
Mike at edge of a bamboo forest.
He said that in life we can get so focused on the here and now 
that we feel lost and have to look up to find eternal perspective again.
Beekeeper hives center right.
 I’ve been meditating on Colossians 3:1-4 lately. 
 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, 
where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, 
not on earthly things.  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
 I meditated on it before.. to keep myself in check that I didn’t love earthly things too much;
now because earthly things are too unbearable.  
 Mike’s view.
My view.
Wild flowers and dandelions.

 Yet another view.. what’s that in the distance?
 Turtles enjoying the sun.
So nice to take time and listen to the heavens
 and the earth declaring God’s glory.
Dogwood tree.
And for a grand finale an Azalea bush.
Looking up,
Jenny

My Family Quilt Story: God’s Story

I started my family quilt 12 years ago when a friend of mine lost her husband to colon cancer.  He was 36 years old, in the military and had a 1 and 3 year old son. 

I had prayed, “God how should I pray for healing here on earth or that he’d quickly go to Heaven?”  I’d heard very clearly, “Pray for healing.”  One night while interceding on the floor beside my bed, I had a vision of Jesus interceding beside me.  The sicker he became the closer we believed he was to healing.. when he died we prayed for resurrection. 

Days passed and I prayed, “What happened?”  And God answered that it was my job to pray; His to answer; sometimes the answer would be no.  And I learned that He was God and I was not. 

In the trauma of it all, I decided to make a quilt of my family so they would live “forever” in a quilt.  As I worked on the quilt, I prayed for help as I do for everything.  I was shocked when I felt His presence helping and guiding me especially with the drawings of my family, which are far above my abilities, because in my heart, I knew I was rebelling against God’s omnipotence and wisdom.

As I made the quilt, I understood what some of it meant.  I knew the tree trunk was Abba God’s hand at work in the midst of everything.. holding everything together with strength and majesty; the dove was Holy Spirit moving across the earth in power.  I knew, of course, that Jesus had James in his arms.  James has aspergers and being both mom and teacher to him I often worried about him not fitting into the mold, not learning how to read until he was 13 etc., but the Lord continually gave me dreams showing me that He was taking care of James and not to push him. 

Most of the time I was too fearful to ask the Lord what the rest of the quilt meant.  I was afraid that James being in Jesus’ arms might mean that he was going to die, but one day while working on the border, I felt prompted to ask what all the blues meant.  He answered me that they were days; some light and happy and others dark, but that He would be with me through them all.

I started this quilt in the summer of 2000, but I didn’t finish it until the spring before Joel went home.  Homeschooling 4 kids didn’t leave a lot of time for quilting.  I think I finished the middle part the first year, but then moves came, algebra, team sports etc.; months and sometimes years passed without a stitch. 

Josh, Judi and Joel on piano in front of crazy quilt.

Then we were moving again, and I decided that I was going to finish the quilt.  It had been so long since I’d started that I decided to stretch Judi out to make her taller, then I finished the quilt with a crazy quilt border and hung it in our house in Montgomery.. but I didn’t like it.

We moved again to Huntsville this time and when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in February of 2011, I decided to take the border apart and start over with a different design.  One of the ways I deal with grief is by being creative.  The Creator creating through me helps bring healing.

Then finally, I was finishing the quit a second time and I wanted to add our new puppy to my quilt, but Joel said, “No, it should be like a frozen piece of time.”  So I finished the quilt without adding her in and hung it in our music room… which was in a way Joel’s room.  He almost never slept in his bed and only used the room he shared with Josh as a closet.

One day, while I was visiting Joel in his room with the quilt and admiring it, Joel said, “It looks like a stain glass window.”  He liked the idea, but I had a problem with the thought that it might be memorializing my family.  I didn’t want anyone to think that I put my family above God.. because I so didn’t.  I actually agonized over leaving it up and thought about taking it down many times.

Joel and Josh in “Joel’s” room.  Now named the music room in Joel’s honor.

So knowing full well that the quilt pattern I’d used for the new border was called “cathedral window,” I argued weakly that we weren’t apart of the stain glass window .. it was a clear window bordered in stained glass, and we were outside enjoying God’s creation.. picnicking or something.  He looked at me like, “Yeah, right.”

On the Wednesday after Joel had been murdered, a friend from Birmingham brought us dinner, and my mother showed her the quilt, and I saw.. for the first time more meaning in it.  I saw that Joel was the one up above all of us in God’s hand, that God knew all along that the number of Joel’s days would be short and that we would be left here on earth with Jesus in our midst.

The meaning of Joel’s names: Joel “God is Sovereign,” and Manuel “God is with us” were demonstrated in my quilt.  We don’t live in a crazy quilt world.. a world bordered in chaos.  We live in a cathedral window world.  A world designed by God with beauty and purpose.  A world were God works everything together for our good.

James is still in Jesus’ arms looking up at Joel.. seeing clearly that he is in God’s hands.  Josh is leaning on Jesus fishing.. for men.. for answers.. for cures for the earth’s woes.. for wisdom and direction.  Judi looks like she’s in a dream world chasing bunny trails.. but the angels (our rabbit, Angel, died of breast cancer at 10 years old shortly after we moved here) are close beside her.  Mike is finding refuge in worshiping while leaning on our ROCK, as am I.. as I search, study and meditate on His word and as I record what He is teaching me.

In these dark days, the one thing that gives me the light of hope is remembering the instructions God gave me early in this grief journey .. to think of Joel as having pushed a head of us in the race.

Hebrews 12:1-2 says
“Seeing that we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race that is marked out for us.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning it’s shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

It’s fun to think of running a race with Joel, and of course, he would push ahead of me and win, but maybe one day, in Heaven, I’ll get a re-match.  It encourages me to think of Joel up in that great cloud of witnesses cheering all of us on and I look forward to meeting him again one day at the finish line as I keep persevering in this race while keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus.

I struggle daily with either wanting to re-write Joel back into the story God is writing so skillfully.. or begging God to bring me to the end of my story where my suffering ends, every tear will be wiped away and I will hold Joel in my arms again.

I am working intentionally on my grief; asking God for right thoughts to replace my deep longings.  I work purposely and methodically at turning my thoughts to asking for strength and wisdom to live each day for His glory.

Psalm 139:16 says “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”

This weekend the Lord showed me through this verse that not only was the December 7th marked out for Joel to lay down his life for his friends at the birthday party .. but today and however many days there are left until I see Him were laid out for me to continue living with His help for His glory.  Joel’s story was written on mine before I was formed in my mother’s womb.

The following verse (verse 17) is embroidered on my quilt:

“How precious it is, Lord, to recognize that You are thinking about me constantly.”

Glory to God, Who’s ways and wisdom are far above ours and Who thinks about us constantly!

I Peter 4:12-13
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”

Love,

Jenny



Despising Striving

Homeschooling is a lot like being self employed.  You have to keep yourself motivated, 
set your own schedule, decide what tools are the best for your situation, manage a budget, 
manage and motivate your “employees,” evaluate your results, and make changes accordingly.
The thing is, I am not self employed.  I have an invisible Head Master, Who is intently 
interested in what my kids are learning and doing and is sometimes,
for me, hard to hear through the noise of life. 
Having a type “A” personality I often don’t want to wait on Him, but want to 
get things done now.  Many years, I impatiently struck out on my own with my own plan 
and fell flat on my face.  The kids wouldn’t cooperate.  The curriculum I bought stunk.  
We were all miserable. 
So after many years of this, about 9 years ago, I learned to put a lot of prayer 
into the following year.  Usually starting about this time of year, I start praying 
while spring cleaning, washing dishes, folding clothes, gardening…  
Then I pray some more, and some more; sometimes I get answers 
and sometimes, I loose patience and try on my own again and fall flat on my face AGAIN.
So, through all this, I’ve learned to DESPISE striving.  
When I start, I get this uncomfortable feeling.  I want to stop.  
Sometimes, I do stop and pray.  Sometimes, I still don’t know what to do.
These verses about going on in our faith apply to everything we do from intersession,
to homeschooling, to parenting, to being a wife, or a just a good friend; to EVERYTHING.
Philippians 2:13 [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is 
all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], 
both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight. 
Philippians 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you 
will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3
Trust in Christ, Not the Law
 1 You crazy Galatians! Did someone put a hex on you? Have you taken leave of your senses?
Something crazy has happened, for it’s obvious that you no longer have 
the crucified Jesus in clear focus in your lives. 
His sacrifice on the cross was certainly set before you clearly enough.
 2-4 Let me put this question to you: How did your new life begin? 
Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding 
to God’s Message to you? Are you going to continue this craziness? 
For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts 
what was begun by God. If you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it, 
how do you suppose you could perfect it? 
Did you go through this whole painful learning process for nothing? 
It is not yet a total loss, but it certainly will be if you keep this up!

I love this last one in the Message.  

We have to keep Jesus in clear focus in our lives.. 
focusing on our own efforts is craziness!  
Did I go through this whole painful learning process for nothing?
Lord, deliver me from craziness,
Jenny

Valentines

We had a great Valentine’s Day.
Mike got me this beautiful hydrangea plant.  
Did you know that you can take hydrangea as a supplement 
and it will dissolve kidney stones?  
I know from experience.  Most regular doctors don’t know.
I made Valentine bookmarks (above) for our homeschool bowling party.
The bowling party was all Judi’s idea.  She remembers going bowling (ages 5-9) 
on Valentine’s with our homeschool group in San Antonio.  
She made these beautiful cookies (from a roll).  
Everyone said they were delicious.



The radiologist that I had an appointment with today called yesterday to cancel my appointment.  She wants to move me to a different location. I was glad she cancled, because after all I’ve read about radiation I’ve decided not to do it.  
I am waiting now to hear from the breast center in Birmingham 
about new appointments with a surgeon and oncologist there.  
When I talked to UAB last week, I found out that the one allergist that worked at the hospital last day was in December. 🙂 At this point I am kinda hoping that UAB has more options than were offered here.  Ones that don’t include surgery would be nice.  
I’ve read that only 10-25% of people with DCIS ever develop an invasive breast cancer.  If I refuse to take the drug they want to give me (one of it’s side effects is uterine cancer), and refuse to do radiation, I am not sure how much surgery will decrease my chances.  
And the corn I am exposed to  during surgery could increase my chances of going into anaphylactic shock when exposed to corn in the future.
I’ve been reading about a supplement called Diindolylmethane (DIM) that helps fight hormone dependent cancers (which mine is).  Here is a link.
Still believing for healing and lots of wisdom.
Love,
Jenny

Blogging

Yesterday was so jam packed with doctor appointments (mine, our puppy, Zoë’s, and one for James, too), that when I woke up this morning it took me a while to realize that it was only Tuesday and not Saturday.  ha ha

Blogging is going to be so much different now.  Up until now I’ve only had my Mom, two sisters and one or two friends ever look at it.  I didn’t have to worry much about what I said, but was still very careful to write exactly what I wanted to say and took time to re-read through everything and tried to check my grammar and everything.

The kids would complain from time to time that I spent too much time on my blog.  I thought, “You should see how few post I’ve written.”  And they didn’t know that when I wrote post about deep heart stuff, that sometimes I spent days praying about what I wanted to write before I even started.

Now I don’t want to let too many days go by with out updating my blog.  One: because I know what it’s like to have a dear, young friend with breast cancer and to be praying fervently and to long for news.

Two: because although I really would rather just have this little journey done and over with quickly then soon forgotten,  it’s probably better that I relish every day of it.. the same as I’ve learned to relish and enjoy each and every day of my life and write as much as I can, so I can remember God’s faithfulness to me.

Much of the time, the reason I write my blog has been to give a testimony of God’s goodness to my kids.  They don’t read my blog.  They think they know everything about me and that it would be super redundant, and they are probably right because through my years of homeschooling I discovered that sharing my love for Jesus and my life with them is what being a parent is about.. you know Deuteronomy 6  ..and being at home for school has enabled me to do a lot of that.

For example, Judi and I have been reading this wonderful book by Sarah Mally called “Before You Meet  Prince Charming.”  I have been soooo happy with it.  If you know anyone with a daughter who is ages 12 or up, I suggest you get it for them or if you have a daughter that age, that you read it with them.  It’s about purity and she has said everything I would like to say to Judi and more.  Reading it with her has enabled me to share much of my heart about purity with her.  One of the last things we read was about defrauding and how in dating it’s easy to lead someone on because you like the attention, how that is a form of defrauding and hurts the other person deeply.

Back to what I was leading up to.. I need to be more spontaneous now..  write and post and not worry to much about grammar, and if or not the “secret” I want share might be too personal, or what someone might think about it, or wither or not I am ready to be criticized for it, or if later I will look back and think, “That was so childish.”

So here’s my secret for today..   The last 7 or so years I have been so completely in love with Jesus and so long to see Him and to be with Him that I am so totally fine with leaving this earth that I have actually prayed more than once that I could be like Enoch who walked with God and then wasn’t.  I am ready when He is..

BUT I know I STILL need my Mom and Dad and I still really, REALLY need my wonderful husband.. so even though my heart longs for Him to be ready to take me now.. I hope He isn’t so I can be here for my husband and kids and I intend to live a really long, wonderful life filled with many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, too.. AND I fully expect to be here when Jesus comes back in the clouds.

This is one thing my kids do know about me.  I think about it a lot and it’s hard not to tell them because I really, REALLY love being with Jesus and I really, REALLY want to see Him coming in the clouds, and I really REALLY want to see my children happily married with lots of wonderful little blessings to call me Grams.

Time to run (not think or check my grammar),

Love,

Jenny

Organizing School and Chores

After 18 years of homeschooling, and 22 years of parenting, 
you would think that I would have the chores and school thing down.
Parts of it I do.. but each house has different needs
and allows you to work in only certain ways,
and as the kids are nearing graduation from homeschooling
and starting college and work outside the home
I have to keep re-organizing schedules so they will work well.
When my kids were really young, before most people had
computers and internet, before Fly Lady existed,
I borrowed a book they wrote called 
“Sidetracked Home Executives: From Pigpen to Paradise” from the library.
  
They suggested that you put together recipe box full of 3×5 cards
with a chore on each card.  Each time you finished a chore
you went back to your box and moved to the next card.  
It worked great.. for 3 months.  I guess life happened after that.
I tried variations of the box idea several times; gave each of the  kids a box 
with chores and school work for them to do.  I saw this one idea where you 
have your kids wear their chore cards so they can’t loose them.
I think Fly Lady did something similar called “Hipster.” (fanny pack?)
That might have worked better for me than a box. 
I hated having to go back to the box in the kitchen before doing my next chore.
Later we chose to use binders over boxes.  None of it ever worked very well.  
I think partly because the binders and/or boxes were not accessible enough for me 
and I am sure I am lacking in skills in motivating, enforcing and policing 
especially when moving and life keep happening.
A few years back I found this subject chart based on Charlotte Mason’s 
program of study.  Hanging it up on the kitchen wall worked well for us.
It was all I needed to keep us focused.
I always had all the kids up by 6:45-7 AM for family devotions, 
then shortly after we started a list of subjects in a certain order 
with chores in between and a lunch break in the middle.
All the books we needed for each subject were kept on a shelf
and/or a tote near where we did school and we just got the 
next book down when we put away the one we’d finished.
We did/do as many subjects together as a family as we can; 
such as art, science, history, Spanish, and music appreciation.
Then we do the rest individually.
If one of the kids needed help with a subject and
I was busy helping someone else, they were to work on their chore list.
I called chores breaks from school work.  They resented it,
but physical work is a nice break from mental work.
That list evolved into this one.. It’s a little more detailed and gave us a little more structure.  
Some subjects worked better in the morning and others after lunch.  
We’ve always thrived on a routine vs. a strict do math from 8 AM – 8:30 AM 
schedule, so having a “Flow List” was great.
The subjects in bold were the most important ones to get done,
so if we had a field trip that day or some other interruption we focused on those.
Everything always worked out by the end of the year.
This poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins on giving glory to God
 inspired me to use a Kingfisher to adorn our list.
As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies dráw fláme; 
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells 
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s 
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name; 
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: 
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; 
Selves–goes itself; myself it speaks and spells, 
Crying Whát I do is me: for that I came. 
Í say móre: the just man justices; 
Kéeps gráce: thát keeps all his goings graces; 
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is–
Chríst–for Christ plays in ten thousand places, 
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his 
To the Father through the features of men’s faces. 
Since moving to our new house I’ve been having the hardest time keeping 
up with who’s supposed to be doing what chore.. and keep finding jobs undone.
Some of them traded chores and I think living in the apartment spoiled them.
I don’t have as much wall space in this kitchen as I have before, 
so I decided to try an idea I saw of using a picture frame as a chore/dry-erase
 board and put all our chores and school work in one frame.  
It’s centrally located and there will be no more arguments on who
was supposed to do what and I can highlight things that are needing special attention.

I hung up this plate to use as place to write inspirational quotes.
It works like a dry-erase board, too.
Love,
Jenny

More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About Me

I am not sure I get how to play the game.. but here are 10 things about me that you might not know.

1)  Everyone knows just about everything about me.. because I so rarely get to talk to people that when I do I tell them everything.  I think I am easy to read too.  If someone asked me something and cared to know what I thought they’d be able to read it in my face.

2)  The one thing I think only Mike knows about me is that I can’t sleep naked.. because when I do I have those dreams where you’re naked in public places.

3)  My family enjoys watching me cry during sad moves.. they don’t even pay attention to the movie they just look at me to see if I am crying.  Today we watched “My Sister’s Keeper.”  I almost ran to my room to sob into my pillow.  

4)  I admire my sisters.  Tell everyone I meet about them.  Wish they lived closer and I could see them every day.  I get jealous when my sisters and my parents get together without me which is a lot since they live in the same state and I live a couple of states over.  I am happy for them too and I am starting to get over being jealous.  I think they need to appreciate their time together a little more.

5)  I cried for a week when I found out we were moving away from TX because I so enjoy being an aunt and I was grieving over not getting to be involved in my nephews’ and niece’s lives.  

6)  I’ve always wanted to send $5 to my nephews and niece for their birthdays but haven’t because I didn’t know how.  Seems kinda silly to send a check for such a small amount and I know I wouldn’t want to go to the bank to cash it.  I recently had an idea: I could get them a gift card to Walmart and their parents could buy it from them so they could spend the cash where ever they liked.  What do you think?

7)  I only dust once a year.  I’d like to clean my bathrooms weekly, but more often it’s whenever guest are coming.  I haven’t had guest in a long time.  I won’t tell you how often I wash sheets.  Mopping.. humm.

8)  I homeschool for many reasons.  Here are some selfish ones:  
a)  I love my kids and I want to spend as much time with them as I can before they start lives with out me.    
b)  I love the books we read together.  If it wasn’t for the great books we’ve read, I may have quit.  I love the discussions they inspire.  
c)  I love the art and music, too.  I love learning new things with them.  They make Spanish, Math, Science and every other subject fun.  
d)  I love shopping days with Judi.. if she was in school 8 hours a day we’d miss out on all that girl time together.

9)  I have no idea what I am going to do after Judi graduates.  If I think about it for too long, I become a nervous reck.  There are so many things I think I might enjoy doing including going to college, getting a job, starting an Etsy shop, or volunteering.  But I want to do the right thing; the thing God has for me.  It’s hard being patient and waiting for God to tell me.  I keep thinking it must be something that’s going to take a lot of faith or He would have already told me.  

10)  I love God more than I love anyone else.  It hasn’t always been this way.  But I learned to ask Him to help me love Him more.. to increase my hunger for Him whenever I feel like my desire for Him is fading.  He LOVES to answer that prayer.  Almost immediately when ever I pray it I am overcome with longing for Him.  So much so that it almost makes me physically ill.  I think it must be the way He feels about us.  The more I see that He loves me unreservedly the more I love Him.  He is passionate about us.  Sometimes I feel so passionate about Him that I don’t know what to do with it.  

Did I leave anything out??

J

Happy Valentines’ Day!

Here is the picture we tried to use to in the photo Valentines card give away Mom told us about.  We were too slow… By the time we ordered the Valentines, the give away had expired.   I need to work on having a stash of pictures ready for things like that when they come up.  They are too fun.  I tried using the purse photo below but it looked too dark with the frames they were offering.

We had an interesting week in school this week.  Our mesh mash curriculum, that we started at different times of the year, all came into alinement.  In World History, we just happened to study St. Valentine and how Valentine’s day got started.  In American History, we’ve been studying the Civil War for two weeks and just happen to have the Gettysburg Address assigned for dictation in our English curriculum .. and on Thursday,  which just happened to be the 200th Celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, we read about his assassination.   I really like what we’ve read of Abraham Lincoln and his speeches.  I think he did the best he could in the time that he lived in and I am really sorry that his life was cut short.  

Biology

I still haven’t gotten my family photos printed or my Christmas cards sent out.  I planned to work on them this morning but my teens did something to my computer and I can’t get my new photos to upload.    
These photos are from a few months back.  I was so excited when Mike brought home this hummingbird feeder for me.
Months went by and no hummingbirds came to visit; my princess suggested that maybe hummingbirds don’t live here.
The general reasoning was that if they had feeders for sale here they must have hummingbirds.  I wasn’t too sure about that.  Obviously ‘some’ people would buy them not knowing if or not they had hummingbirds here.  So I looked in my trusty bird guide book… no hummingbirds were listed for our part of the country.  Then I googled them… still couldn’t find any.  
  

Months later during our biology lab one appeared at my feeder..  I googled again and found that there were several types of hummingbirds in our area.. Hurray!

It was a couple of weeks before I actually got a picture of her.  I think she is a ruby-throated hummingbird.
A few weeks later I went to visit a friend who had 5-6 feeders and over 20 hummingbirds buzzing around them.  So much fun.

The three youngest and I are doing Apologia Biology together this year.  The vocabulary words in the first module were pretty rough.. but we’re getting the hang of it.
We found these mushrooms/funguses in our yard the day we needed them.  Isn’t God good?

Most of the time I love seeing stuff in the microscope.  Recently we looked at some banana cells.  They were so beautiful!

Seven or eight years ago when we first got our microscope we looked at some leaves from a tomato plant we had growing in the back yard and found tiny little spiders and things living on our tomatoes.  That tomato plant didn’t live much longer and I’ve never tried to grow anything else to eat.  I haven’t admitted it out loud but some were deep inside I believe pesticides are good.
🙂

I really want to blog


I really want to blog… I have Mo Ranch pictures and TN pictures.  I had a wonderful time in God’s beautiful world.  Yesterday we drove to Birmingham’s Art Museum and saw pages from Leonardo Da Vinic’s notebooks!  So cool.  They are moving to San Francisco next month.

Selling our house and moving last year forced us to cut back on the best school subjects like science, art and history.. so this year we are doubling up.  Figuring out how to squeeze more hours into my school day has been stressful and has left no time for blogging, but it had to be done and has already proven rewarding.
I think everyone is enjoying school.  The only complaint that I’ve heard is that they’re having a hard time getting all their papers written so I am praying that God will give me wisdom in how much is fair to expect and how to encourage them to persevere.
I am only good at focusing on one thing at a time so all that focus on school has left the house in shambles.   God spoke to me about being faithful in the small things the week we got back from TN.  I asked Him to be a little more specific.. but figured He was talking about the house so I’ve been slowly getting that back under control.
Time with God, resting on vacation, school, house work… then maybe I’ll really get to blog again.
Miss you all.
Love,
J

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