Happy Easter

Matthew 28:6

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.

Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

So much hope in two little sentences.  Two teeny tiny sentences that show so much.  Firstly, He is not here.  Jesus, who was crucified, and died, is no longer laying in the tomb.  Secondly, for he is risen.  I can just imagine the look on the women’s faces.  What do you mean He is risen?  He died.  We all saw Him on the cross.  Hanging there, bleeding and in pain.  And then the last part of the first sentence, as he said.  What a tremendous reminder that God keeps His promises.  All of them, no matter how impossible they seem.  He keeps them.  And rising from the dead?  Forgiving all of our sins by that rising?  What a promise to keep!

Copyright RosesatDawn 2018

And the second sentence, Come, see the place where the Lord lay.  Again, a fulfillment of a promise and reiteration that Jesus is no longer dead.  He is alive!  Halleluiah!!!

How amazing it would have been to be among those women who first went to the Lord’s tomb.  To be filled with such sadness and despair, only to find that your worst nightmare has become your greatest joy!  To be able to go and actually see the empty tomb. To speak to an angel and hear from his mouth that Jesus is no longer dead! Halleluiah!!!

May everyone have a Happy and Blessed Easter! I pray that we all feel that same joy as the women at the tomb and remember all the promises that God has fulfilled in our own lives.

Philippians 4:4

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again, I say, Rejoice.

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Faith is like a bonsai tree

I admit to having a bit of a fascination with bonsai trees. There is just something about the minuteness of them that makes me happy. I love the idea of trimming them up the way you want and shaping them into something unique. Unfortunately, I don’t have any at the moment, but that is due to a lack of space in the windowsill more than anything else.

Bonsai trees, for any who may not be familiar, are trees that are grown in small pots. They are miniature trees that the grower may prune and use wire to train in the way he wants the branches to grow. The root systems are bound inside the small pots which keep the trees miniature. The practice originated in China and then migrated to Japan where the Japanese really took it and made it their own. I find the practice extremely fascinating and really wish we had lots and lots of room for lots and lots of miniature trees 🙂

Psalm 92:12-14

12The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,

they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;

13planted in the house of the Lord,

they will flourish in the courts of our God.

14They will still bear fruit in old age,

they will stay fresh and green,

Did you also know, that if you take a bonsai tree and plant it, that it will grow into a “regular” sized tree? Of course, you have to be sure to plant it in the correct soil and climate for the type of tree it actually is. Otherwise, it will perish just like any other tree that is planted in the wrong place.

Copyright Roses at Dawn 2018

Mark 4:4-8

4As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”

So where a seed, or a tree, is planted counts. If a tree is not planted in the right soil, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, for that tree to grow and produce fruit. Just as if we are not firmly planted in the soil of God’s Word, we will wither and die. I admit, I am guilty of this one. I will do well for a while, I will read the Bible faithfully every day, and then life will happen. And I let it fall by the wayside. I don’t keep myself firmly planted, with my roots unbound and growing deeply, in God’s Word. It is a fault of mine that I am aiming to improve this year. It goes along with my whole focus for the year on contentment. How can I find contentment if I don’t actively search for it in God’s Word? How can I expect to grow and change into the woman God is calling me to be if I don’t let Him have more tree to prune and shape? If I am limiting myself to my tiny pot of knowledge in God’s Word, there is only so much growth and shaping that can be done. It will still be done, but not on the magnificent scale that it could be. Instead of staying a small, tiny, easy to overlook tree, shouldn’t I want to grow to become the massive, growing tree of faith I could be? The truth is, I do want to be that tree. I do want to be the pillar of faith and wisdom that I could be. I long to be her. I pray to be her. But I can’t be her, if I don’t let God help me grow. I can’t grow if I purposefully keep myself planted in a tiny pot. So I’m challenging myself. I’m challenging myself to step out of my comfort zone (my teeny, tiny pot) and let myself be planted in the wonderfully rich soil of God’s Word and to see how big I can let God grow my faith. Because I’ve outgrown my bonsai faith. I’m ready to move onto some heftier pruning and wire shaping. As long as I let God handle the growth, I’m ready to be on my way.

Jeremiah 31:28

28Just as I watched over them to uproot and tear down,

and to overthrow, destroy and bring disaster, so I will watch over them to

build and to plant,” declares the Lord.

 

How is your growth? What passages have you been reading lately?

The Essence of Life

I think that a lot of people can agree, that as a society, we have begun a downward spiral. Without even touching on the ridiculousness of today’s he/she/it debacle, I think the majority of people are just shaking their heads in bewilderment. When did we lose sight of God’s will in our country? There are probably a lot of factors that led to this, but I think one of the biggest happened when we stopped viewing children as blessings. The moment we made it OK to kill our unborn children, we pretty much said everything else is permissible. I’m sure there are people who will disagree with me. People who will say that is over-reaching a bit. Well, I disagree, and so does the Bible.

Psalm 139:13-16

13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are

wonderful, I know that full well.   15 My frame was not hidden from you when

I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the

earth.   16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were

written in your book before one of them came to be.

God formed us each, individually inside of our mothers’ wombs. He wrote out a plan for each and every one of us. We all have a purpose. God has a plan for all of us. Can you imagine the pain it causes Him when a child’s plan is ripped out of His book because of abortion? Can you imagine the tears He cries when one of His blessings is rejected?

Baby
Copyright RosesatDawn 2018

I know how much I hurt when thinking about abortion, I can only imagine the pain of our Creator when one of His creations is destroyed.

James 1:17

17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the

Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

A child, no matter how conceived, is a gift from God. A child, no matter what his or her needs may be, is a good and perfect gift from our Father in Heaven. When did we make receiving a gift from God into something that can be thrown away? Something that can be destroyed simply because he or she doesn’t fit into our life plan?   How incredibly selfish we have become. I feel as though this has contributed to the self-centeredness that permeates our society today. No wonder so many have a self-entitled attitude. It is what I want, when I want, no matter what.

But life is so much more than that. Life is so much more than ourselves. God calls us to love one another as we love ourselves. He calls us to love Him above all. And if we love Him above all, how could we reject a gift from Him?

Matthew 22:37-39

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

Life is about more than what we can get out of it. It is about more than ourselves. We are called to put our humanly wants and desires to the side and follow His leading. Ultimately, we will all be judged for what we did, or what we failed to do.

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

13 Now all has been heard;     

here is the conclusion of the matter:

Fear God and keep his commandments,     

for this is the duty of all mankind.

14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,     

including every hidden thing,     

whether it is good or evil

But also remember that our God is a loving and forgiving God. If we seek to love Him with everything we have in us, if we seek to give Him our all, when we stumble and fall, He will forgive. He always does.

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son,

That whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

If He sent His one, and only Son to us, to forgive us, to save us, to love us, then what right do have to reject His gifts? When a child is thrown to the side, it is like throwing Jesus to the side. We are saying God’s gifts, ALL of them, don’t matter to us. We reject them. And in rejecting them, we condemn ourselves to being cut off from our loving, forgiving Father, who like an earthly father, only wants what is best for His children. All His children. He created His children, He loves His children, and His heart bleeds for His children.

I shudder at the “women’s movement”. Their absurdity makes me sick to my stomach. Their violence disgusts me. Their hate saddens me. Anyone who truly has “women’s rights” as their main objective, would seek to protect the weakest of us. And the weakest, the most vulnerable, are the unborn. The beautiful, unborn babies who cannot speak for themselves. Think of all the women murdered because someone decided they didn’t want them. Think of all the innocent boys who will not have the chance to become men. All those lives thrown away like trash. All the blessings they could have become. All the change they could have made. All just rejected like garbage. Anyone who truly wants “equality” would fight against abortion.

Matthew 18:10

10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell

you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.

There are some bright spots. There are some people out there who are fighting for these precious little gifts from heaven. People like Judie Brown, from American Life League, who fights daily for them. People, just like you and me, who have made a choice. A choice to protect those weaker than themselves. A choice to stand for what is right in the eyes of God, not what is right in the eyes of society. Society’s values change. No one can ever seem to constantly agree on what is right or wrong. If it is all fluid, then what is the point? If values can change, then are they actually values at all? We know God is never changing. What is right and wrong in His eyes is always constant. He is our rock to cling to in turbulent times. May we ever seek His will. No matter what society says.

Matthew 18:1-5

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.

3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

Contentment

It’s the beginning of the fourth week of a brand new year. How are your resolutions looking? Are you still giving them a go or have you already dropped them? To be honest, I didn’t make all that many resolutions beyond the usual eat healthier and exercise more. But really, I only “made” resolutions because I was already thinking about it. Baby Z is nine months old and I’m feeling ready, mentally and physically, to get back to a better way of eating and exercising. So honestly, I’m not sure I can even call them resolutions! But that’s alright, because I have been contemplating something different for this year. Something that again, has been on my mind for a little while now.

Copyright RosesatDawn 2018

I have noticed, as I have been reading other people’s blogs and whatnot, that a lot of people pick a word for the year. A word that they contemplate and think about and generally use as a focus for how they want to shape their year. I never really understood the concept and I honestly felt a little overwhelmed by the idea. How am I supposed to pick out one word to concentrate on for a whole, entire year? I mean, how can I find just one word to sum up a year? Well, it just so happens, I found one. A word that has been on my mind for several months now. A word that I am going to mull over and pray over and try to apply to my life in general. And that word, is contentment.

Jeremiah 29:11

11 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.

Contentment has always been a struggle for me. I think, to a certain extent, it is hard for everyone. Why else would there be so many wars throughout history? We always want what we don’t have. And then when we have, it is hard to not want the next thing. It is part of human nature. But we are called to be content with what God has given us. To be content with what He has blessed us with. And sometimes, it is so hard. Especially when things aren’t going your way. Especially when you are struggling. It is so easy to look at other people and their things and not be content. To wonder why they have and you are struggling.

Copyright RosesatDawn 2018

This has not been a great year for us. Yes, I am aware it has only just started, but oh boy, has it been a heck of a year already. And I am trying to be content. I am trying to focus on all the blessings we do have. And there are many. I know this, but when times get tough, sometimes it is hard to see beyond the here and now. So I keep reminding myself that God has plans for us. Plans for our family that are specifically for us and for our future. Plans that are not to harm us. This is just a season. It will pass and in time, we will look back and see how far God has brought us. How far we have come and how far we have to go. God wants what is best for us. So we must try and find contentment in the bad. It is so easy to be content when things are going well. When there is extra money in the bank account, when the children are behaving, when everything is running smoothly. It is easy then to be content. But it is when things are not going your way, when the deck and the entire world seem stacked against you that true contentment is tested.

Phillipians 4:11-13

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

So whatever our circumstances, I am focusing on being content. Content with where we are financially, content with this season in our lives, content with enough being enough. God will provide us with exactly what we need, when we need. All that is required of us is to be faithful and seek our God with all of our hearts, minds, and souls. He will take care of the rest.

Psalm 34:10

10 The lions may grow weak and hungry,

but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

A Cookie Cutter Christmas

peacepinHow are your Christmas preparations coming along? Tree set up? Decorations placed around the house? Presents wrapped? Yeah, not here. We don’t have our tree yet. There aren’t many decorations, besides the occasional cut-out snowflake, and I haven’t even started wrapping. This is unusual for us. We usually have the tree up and decorated a good two weeks or so before Christmas. The house usually has some decorations placed out and since I love wrapping presents, I have usually at least started. But not this year. This year has been different. It hasn’t been intentional, but for one reason and then another, things have been put off until later.

I have to admit, the kids are kind of freaking out…ok, it’s mostly A. But that’s really only because she likes to know when things are going to be done. She has been this way since she was little. If we told her one thing, and then plans changed, OH BOY, meltdowns ensued. But now that we are down to the wire, she is really anxious about when things are going to be done. On one hand it’s fine, I’m calling it a life lesson. We are trying to help her see that life doesn’t always go the way we want it to. It doesn’t even always go the way we planned! But everything will work out in the end. Because one way or another, Christmas will get here. No matter what we do, or don’t do, Christmas will still come.

And I think maybe that is the whole point. No matter what we do, no matter what life throws at us, Jesus still comes. He is still born. He still saves us from eternal damnation. And we still get to live with Him and God in Heaven forever. And what an incredibly powerful message. No matter where we are in life, Jesus still comes. He still meets us wherever we are. And He still, always and forever, calls us home to Him.

Merry Christmas everyone!

May your Christmas be filled with the love and light of Jesus Christ, Our Savior!

Isaiah 9:6

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,

and the government will be on his shoulders.

And he will be called

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

What are your talents?

Copyright RosesatDawn 2017
Copyright RosesatDawn 2017

 

How much emphasis do you put on developing your talents? Do you even know what your talents are? When we are young, we are free to experiment and devote our time to learning all sorts of things. Things we enjoy doing, things we want to enjoy doing, among many others. But sometimes, as we get older, we stop pursuing those things we do just because we want to. Sometimes our talents get pushed to the side as we take on “adult” responsibilities. And I think that is a shame. It is a shame and a disservice to ourselves, the world around us, and to God. Yes, it is a disservice to God to ignore the talents He gifted to us.

He gave us certain talents. He gifted them to us and to not develop them is not only a shame, but dare I say, a waste of God’s gifts to us? He wants us to develop them, explore them, and use them as a service to others and to Him.

Copyright RosesatDawn 2017
Copyright RosesatDawn 2017

In our busy and constantly on-the-go world, it is important to set aside some time in our day to explore and develop our talents. It not only brings us joy, but it brings God joy. He wants what is best for us, and using our talents is best for us. Now, not all of us are going to be lucky enough to make a career out of our talents, but all of us can find a couple of minutes to dedicate to something that makes us more whole.

I think it is important to remember that talents don’t always mean the obvious ones that come to mind. Talents such as singing, drawing, etc. are ones that immediately come to the forefront, but they aren’t the only talents. Our God is a creative God. He created us in His image (I know I have touched on this before, but it is something that really means a lot to me) and with that comes ALL the different talents. Being able to balance your checkbook is a talent, especially if it brings you joy! Being able to solve a complicated math problem that makes other people’s eyes glaze over is a talent. Being able to draw a stick figure is a talent! Whatever it is that God has given to you as a gift is a talent. And we owe it to ourselves and to God to find out what those talents are. Do you know what yours are?

Copyright Enchanted Friends 2015-2017
Copyright Enchanted Friends 2015-2017

Exodus 31:3-5

and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts.

I know what some of mine are, but I know that there are probably more that I haven’t discovered yet. And I know that I want to dedicate more of my time to developing those talents. I have so many ideas in my head that sometimes it is hard to focus. Sometimes I have so many ideas floating around that it renders me inert. And so I end up doing nothing, which is the complete opposite of what I should be doing! And so I have decided to make an effort. I have decided to dedicate some of my time every day (hopefully!) to doing one thing. One thing, one step, however small, towards developing my talents. I feel better, I feel more whole. And I hope, that somewhere down the road (hopefully close!) that doing this will help me become a better person. After all, if we are focusing on what God wants for us, then how can we not become more of the person He is calling us to be? And if we become that person more and more every day, then we will, without a doubt, become better people.

What are YOUR talents?

The big “S”

tinymossflowers

If you are a homeschooler, have ever considered homeschooling, have ever known anyone who homeschooled, or have ever in any way ever heard the word homeschooling, then you probably have heard the debate about socialization.

First, a little background about myself. I am a product of homeschooling. I was homeschooled from second grade all the way up until eighth grade. My parents then made the decision to send me to high school. Also, I am an introvert. A BIG time introvert. I don’t like going out, and anytime we do get out of the house, I can’t wait to get back home. But I did just fine in high school. I made friends. I even still keep in touch with one of those friends (ok, so I’m really bad at keeping up at correspondence, but we do see each other every once in a while!). And I can function in the REAL WORLD!! 🙂

trillium

Anyways, back to my point…I have to admit I was worried. Worried that our kids would have difficulty socializing. I’m not sure why I was worried, but I’m sure all the media hype I heard growing up and then as an adult didn’t help. I guess maybe it is just one of those things all parents worry about from time to time. Will my kids be able to do x, y, and z? Will they be competent members of society and not have to rely on us to function for the rest of their lives? Silly worries, I know. Kids grow up, they mature, they get out of the house and they do just fine!

After all, how many “famous” people were homeschooled and we don’t even really think about? Yes, I know it was common during a certain time period, but why have our concerns changed? Why was it so much more ‘acceptable’ then but not now? Just because we now have a public school system doesn’t mean our children can’t and shouldn’t be homeschooled. Again, just because times have changed, that doesn’t make us any less competent to school our children.

hikingpath

A while back, the kids and I were in the grocery store doing our shopping. I was still pregnant with baby Z and it was a Wednesday. A random day in the middle of the week where if the kids were in traditional school, I would have been there with just the two little boys. But I wasn’t. I was there with all five of them. All five of our “un-socialized”, homeschooled, children. We get lots of compliments when in the store about how well behaved they are. And those compliments make me feel like we are doing something right. Our kids know how they are expected to behave in public, and they do, for the most part. However, when someone says hello to them, they are a little hesitant to respond. Part of this is due to shyness. Part of this is due to our “don’t talk to strangers!” teaching. Both of these reasons are fine! So back to me and the five un-socialized, homeschooled kids in the grocery store. We were walking down one of the aisles and there was an older woman doing her shopping. As I was going about picking up whatever it was I needed, A noticed the older woman drop her paper towels. And without me noticing, or realizing what had happened, she walked over, picked them up, and helped the woman place them in her cart. And my heart soared. I was ridiculously proud of her (as all parents are when we catch our children doing something good and right without prompting). But more than that, I realized that I shouldn’t be worried about whether or not our kids are receiving enough socialization. Who is really in charge of measuring that anyways? How do we know how much they really need? Not to mention, you do realize we have six kids? At home? All day long? Do you even realize how much “socializing” goes on here on a daily basis without us even really thinking about it?

heartofstone

When my husband and I first got together, we already knew we were going to homeschool. It was one of those things that didn’t need to be discussed. But I admit, I did have some preconceived notions that have not really panned out the way I thought they were going to. One of those has been socialization. I was really hoping to find and participate in a homeschool group of some kind. I thought about how nice it would be for the kids to have some friends outside of each other. But as time has gone on and there are still no homeschool groups in a reasonable distance to be found, I have come to realize that God is not calling for our kids to be out and about. He has placed us where we are, with the resources available (or not!) to us for a reason. I really feel that He wants our children to learn to be friends with each other. He wants them to rely on each other for companionship. After all, how many times have we told them, “At the end of the day, all you really have is your family. Family is what matters.”

Now I’m not going to pretend to understand God’s ways…(Isaiah 55:8)…ahahhahaha……ahem. But, I choose to believe there is a reason. He wants our children to rely on each other for a reason that is above my understanding. He provides for everything and He has plans for each of us. They are not always what we think they should be. But they are always for our betterment (Jeremiah 29:11). So I’m going to choose to stop worrying about whether or not our children can say hi to the nice, older woman at the grocery store. I’m going to stop worrying that they “have no friends” outside of each other. Because God has a plan. And His plan is WAY better than anything we could ever imagine.

Proverbs 22:6

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

 

P.S. I received this book as a young girl, and now A is enjoying it as well. It is a wonderful story of a young woman who, along with her family, moves away from her home to a new area of the country to help establish a new church. She ends up learning to do without her “friends” and rely on her family for fellowship and companionship. As the story unfolds, we find out that God had a very specific reason for having this happen to her. It is a wonderful example of what I am trying to convey. God has a reason for everything that happens, and His plans for our lives are so much better than our own. (Yes, this is an affiliate link, but the book review is completely my own and I am in no way receiving anything for writing it. I simply loved this book as a young girl and still find it to be relevant today!)

What do you worry about the most with your kids and about life in general?  How do you deal with those worries?