Room Organization

13 Oct

Our girls switched bedrooms recently and this past weekend, we finally completed the clothes swap.  I assumed that they could complete the chore alone.  My mistake.  Everything – socks, pants, shorts, t-shirts, nightgowns -  were stuffed into dresser drawers.  Some drawers were crammed so full that they didn’t shut while others lay empty.

I took a deep breath (or two), grabbed my label-maker and demonstrated how I wanted the girls to organize their clothes.  While it took time, we heaved a sigh of relief and contentment once the job was over.  Nothing is better than a neatly organized bedroom!

My youngest two daughters now share a small, 11 x 12 bedroom.  It’s essential that they keep the dresser drawers straightened or all the clothes won’t fit.

 

I typed my daughter’s name and the type of clothing on each label.  I placed the label on the inside frame of the drawer.  When the drawer is closed, the label is hidden.

Labels affixed to wardrobe shelves. 

To my amazement, my oldest (who is almost ten) wanted labels for her dresser as well.

I’d love to report that the girls have kept the drawers as neat as the day I finished organizing them.  Not in my house!  Yet if I begin to notice the old habits returning – and the bulging, messy, clump of clothes oozing from dressers –  I’ll simply tuck these photos into the drawers as a gentle reminder.  Diligence on my part will reap benefits for them as adults.

Pursuing Him

4 Oct

I feel as if I’ve been tested at every turn lately.  I want to choose the proper path but I can’t find the road map.  I crave simplicity in a complex world. 

I’ve been frustrated and close to tears.  Fortunately, I noticed the below daily devotional by Dr. Charles Stanley and it has taken me by the shoulders and given me a gentle shake.  May it help you too, in any circumstance that you find yourself.

October 4
Knowing and Trusting the Lord 

Psalm 9:7-10 

How much do you trust God?  Before answering, consider these scenarios.  Do you really trust the Lord when everything seems out of control and He appears absent? . . . when He’s called you to move in a certain direction that seems illogical and risky? . . . when painful circumstances continue, making you wonder if the Lord really cares? 

We all have times of doubt when our expectations of God are dashed by the reality of our situation.  Many of us want to trust Him more but aren’t sure how to do so. 

David reveals that the key lies in knowing the Lord (v. 10).  Distance in our relationship with Him results in a lack of faith, but those who are intimately acquainted with Christ find it easier to trust Him wholeheartedly. 

Whenever you are tempted to doubt, remember these three essential truths about the Lord: 

• He is completely sovereign (Ps. 103:19).  God has everything in His control even when we can’t perceive it. 

• He is infinitely wise (Rom. 11:33-36).  The Lord knows every side of the situation (inside and out) and every event (past, present, and future).  

• He loves perfectly (Ex. 34:6).  Without exception, He always chooses what is best for us, even if it’s not easy. 

We grow in faith, not by trying harder to believe but, rather, by pursuing the Lord.  This involves doing all we can to get to know Him—in particular, spending time in His Word and talking to Him in prayer.  Then our trust in Him will grow as we learn that He never forsakes those who seek Him.  

To blog or not to blog?

1 Oct

I’m in the midst of making a major shift in our classroom.  I don’t know if or how the fresh approach will affect my blog.  The curriculum that I’m currently scrutinizing and reviewing is the opposite of how I learned; therefore I am in foreign territory.  It’s very scary.  It’s exciting too because I can see light at the end of the tunnel.  That light is me, my life.  I am considering the curriculum for both my children and for me.  If I am consistently haggard and exhausted, I’ll be no good to anyone in the family.  Thus the new direction.

Please pray for me and my husband as we weigh our options.  I know God is close by.  He shoulders my burdens and listens to my cries and doubts.  I want to please Him.  As long as I keep Him as my center, I know I’ll be okay.

Blessings for a wonderful weekend!

Fresh Perspective

30 Sep

God works in wonderful ways.  He always puts the right people in my path when I need it the most.

I’m almost four weeks into our new school year, and honestly I’m exhausted.  I spend on average two hours per night planning, checking and preparing our workboxes.  Many evenings, I don’t walk upstairs from the basement classroom until after 10 p.m. – just in time to go to bed.  I miss my life and my husband!

Something has to change.  I cannot believe that God intended our homeschool to literally consume me.

In my frustration, I made a remark on Face Book and one of my wise friends immediately messaged me.  We’ve been chatting back and forth all day!  She reminded me of the old acronym: K.I.S.S. or Keep It Simple, Sweetie!  How so?  She recommended a website to me, www.robinsoncurriculum.com and advised me to learn about Dr. Art Robinson’s methodology.  On the website, I clicked on a video of Dr. Robinson talking about his experience in homeschooling.  Enlightening.

Praise God for giving me the gift of another selfless, lovely homeschooling mother of seven.  Her breadth of knowledge has lifted me out of my darkened hole and awakened my spirit to new possibilities.  For that, I’m grateful to her and to our patient Lord.

I am reminded of His great presence in my life by Dr. Charles Stanley’s Sept 29th Daily Devotional: 

God’s Provision 
Matthew 14:22-34

No one gets through life without trials.  Realistically, you are either in a storm, just getting out of a one, or about to enter a turbulent time.  That is the bad news. Thankfully, we serve a good God who provides beautifully—especially during the dark periods of life.

Today’s passage tells of a stormy night on the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus provides for us today just as He did for His disciples in that unsettling situation.  Today, we will focus on ways that He does this.

First, the Father gives Christians His presence and the promise that He will never leave (Heb. 13:5-6).  This is, perhaps, the greatest gift because from this awareness, He offers a sense of comfort, courage, and confidence.

Second, the Lord blesses His children with a pathway through trouble.  He is in total control of our storm and will use the trial for His purpose.  We may not understand, but we can trust His hand to guide us and accomplish good.  Sometimes the reason and benefit of a difficulty will becomes obvious, while in other cases, it may never be clear.

Third, the Father offers believers the potential to grow.  Hardships are exercises in trust and times to learn more fully who God is and how great His power and love are.

No one enjoys trials.  But remember to express gratitude for God’s hand in your life and the way He will use the adversity.  Hardships are chances to trust your Creator and to know Him better.  Of course, they are painful, but don’t waste the opportunity to become all the Lord has planned for you. 

Memory Lane – Third Grade

29 Sep

When I reminisce about my elementary school days, I remember my third grade teacher, Mrs. Sparks.  I enjoy the astonished looks on my girls’ faces whenever I share moments from my youth.  “You were a girl once?!” they ask.  Indeed I was, and I’m not too old to remember some details!  I recall the yellow sheet of paper that Mrs. Sparks handed to each student and proclaimed, “Memorize these facts.”  No fancy rhymes, memory games or promises of treats.  What was on the paper?  Multiplication tables.

Before I withdrew my oldest daughter from public school, her class was beginning to learn the multiplication tables and I heard myself utter, “Just memorize them.”  If I did it that way, why couldn’t she?  When the teacher introduced a motivational game to help the class learn the tables, I rolled my eyes.  I kept hearing Mrs. Sparks’ words ringing in my ears, “Memorize these facts.”  Wasn’t the way I learned the fastest and best way?

No.

Thanks to Steve Demme, creator of Math U See, both my daughter and I are learning (or in my case re-learning) the multiplication tables.  Mr. Demme has a unique approach; he teaches the why and how not just the what.  Sure, many kids can memorize the multiplication facts but most don’t understand the why.  Why does 5 x 10 = 50?  Math U See requires the student to build the equations so she can see for herself why and how it equals 50.

Today’s lesson was an eye-opener for ME.  Mr. Demme reviewed multiplying by 5s and revealed the fabulous number patterns.  Yes, there’s more than one way to solve a multiplication problem and Mr. Demme makes it fun!  Sorry, Mrs. Sparks.  We’ve found a better way to understand multiplication tables than merely by memorization.

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