God’s Gift

It’s the time of year when we are more aware of God’s gifts to us.  I’m working on being more conscious of them year round, but this is definitely the time of year a lot of people take a minute and reflect.  Between Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the end of the year, it is a time to look back at everything that has happened and think and dream about what lies ahead.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

I think part of the reason I’m more aware this year is several of our long-time prayers have been being answered lately.  They weren’t necessarily answered in the way we wanted or expected, but God is definitely moving in big ways in our lives lately.  I also have experienced some personal growth (I hope!) and am working hard to translate that growth and learning into my everyday life and interactions.  Only my family could answer whether or not I have succeeded, but I remain hopeful.  If I don’t get it right away, with time and through God’s help, I will eventually get there.  I will become more like the person God created me to be.  I will be more like the person He intended before sin entered this world.  I pray I always am working to become her.

1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Copyright RosesatDawn 2019
Copyright RosesatDawn 2019

I love the Christmas season.  It is my absolute favorite time of year.  While I enjoy all parts of the year for different reasons, there is just something about Christmas that warms my soul.  The smells.  The wonder.  The snow.  The anticipation.  The birth of Jesus.  My continued realization of what He actually did for me all contribute to make this a very special time of year.

John 3:16-17

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

I know this can be a very busy time of year for a lot of people.  We are taking a large chunk of this month off from school.  Well, not totally.  Just a lighter schedule.  It helps me out because our kids always want to make presents for each other and this will give me the dedicated time to help focus on helping them without feeling like we have to also get x, y, and z done!  Anytime we can have less stress is a good idea in my book.  Less stress means more time to focus on what is really important.  After all, that was the whole point of this post.  Let’s remember to focus on what’s really important this season.

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.

 

May you all have a very Merry Christmas!

Summer Learning

I always have grand plans.  Plans of how our homeschool year will run.  Plans of how our days will go.  Unfortunately for me, many of these plans don’t work out.  I’m always left feeling like we aren’t doing enough because we don’t do everything on my “list”.  Well, the truth of the matter is this is a lie.  A big, fat lie.  Our kids are learning.  They are progressing.  They are processing everything and making connections.   As parents, we worry about our kids.  We want them to do well.  We want them to be happy and to “succeed”.  Success looks different to everyone.  For some people, success may include college.  For others, it’s trade school.  For some, it’s becoming an author or a CEO.  The point is, success depends on what is valued.  For us, we want our kids to be independent.  We want them to find some happiness in life.  We want them to love God and follow His prompting towards whatever life He has set for them.

Jeremiah 29:11

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.

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Copyright RosesatDawn 2019

God has the big picture in mind.  He knows where we are headed and how we can help others learn about Him.  He has only our good in mind.  Guess what?  I can’t see the big picture.  I don’t know where we are headed in life.  I know our end goal, but the twists and turns in our life ahead are unknown to me.  After all, I am not God.  I am simply an imperfect human being doing her best to follow God’s will for my life.  So I, naturally, focus on what I can control.  I focus on what I do know.  And I make lists.  I make plans.  I like to cross off items as I finish them.  It gives me a sense of accomplishment.  It makes me feel like I am moving forward.  And while there is nothing wrong with this, it is not the be-all and end-all.  Our journey towards God and living with Him forever in the afterlife are the end goal.

1 Timothy 2:3-4

This is good, and pleases God our Savior,

who wants all people to be saved and

to come to a knowledge of the truth.

Sometimes in the midst of planning and dealing with everyday life, I lose sight of this fact.  I lose sight of the end goal.  I forget that just because we didn’t continue doing our science curriculum during the summer doesn’t mean that we aren’t moving towards our end goal.  Just because we haven’t done a foreign language lesson every day, or even every week, doesn’t mean we aren’t learning.  Just because our days don’t look like what I want them to, it doesn’t mean that we aren’t making progress.  Our children are outside playing in the dirt.  They are climbing, running, and jumping.  They are moving their bodies.  They are looking at the sky and taking in the songs of birds.  They are examining plants and worms.  They are cooking and baking and inventing new recipe ideas.  They are sitting down and doing nothing.  They are learning.  They are loving, squabbling, and praying before every meal.  They are loving on their three-month-old brother.  They are helping with the chores and gathering wood for the winter.  They are watching the seeds they planted in the garden grow.

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Copyright RosesatDawn 2019

Sure, I can’t document everything they are doing right now and consider it “school work” to prove that we are actually teaching our children.  I can’t quantify it and put it all down on a worksheet or have them write an essay on their days.  I mean, I could, but really, what would that be teaching them?  That all life is supposed to be considered work?  How about rest?  After all, even God rested after He created the world.  And if He considered it important, then I should as well.  They are learning.  They are probably learning more about what they are going to need to succeed during our time off than during the school year.  Yes, I just said that.  And it may just be a reflection of what we value in life, but we don’t care if our kids go on to college.  We don’t care if they “just” want to stay home and be a housewife, or run a small farm, or write novels all day, even be an artist.  We care about them following God’s calling in life.  And right now, their calling is to take in the glory of God’s creation.  It’s to go out, have some fun, do a little work, and rest.  Now if I can only remember to do the same, then we might just be on the right track.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

 

How is your summer going?

Another Chapter

Well, here we are again.  Another homeschool year has been successfully wrapped up.  My papers have all been filed and approved by the state (thank you, Lord!).  We are all set for the next year.  Sometimes I really wish we lived in a state that was not as restrictive in their homeschooling laws.  It’s pretty ridiculous considering that we are choosing to homeschool our children and WANT them to have a great education.  Are there some people out there who would slack in educating their kids?  I’m sure there are.  However, I also believe that the vast majority of parents who homeschool are doing so to give their kids a better education than is available at public school.  Yes, we homeschool because we value what they learn.  Yes, we are trying, to a certain extent, to shelter them from the world until they are old enough to discern for themselves.  Yes, we do want them to learn certain things that the world doesn’t value.  But ultimately, we also want them to know how to read, how to write legibly, and how to use math in real-world situations.  I have, in our “official” seven years of homeschooling, switched curriculum THREE times.  I am, so far, happy with what we are primarily using now, but I also wouldn’t mind trying out a couple more.  (Cue our oldest begging me not to switch it up on her…AGAIN)  The point is, as homeschooling parents, we are constantly trying to find the “best” curriculum for our children.  We WANT them to learn.  We even, dare I say, want them to LOVE to learn.  We want learning to be fun and engaging.  We want our kids to finish up the year saying, hey, remember when we learned about x, or y, or z?  So all I’m trying to say is, can we make it a little easier on parents at the end of the year?  Can we maybe not make homeschooling such a process?  Well, since we have our own theories on why “they” might not want that to be the case, I won’t ask that question with any sincerity.

Copyright Roses at Dawn 2019
Copyright RosesatDawn 2019

Ultimately, it is what it is and we will keep plugging along.  I will keep doing our end of the year assessments, we will keep getting each child “evaluated”, and we will keep teaching our children values, morals, and truth.  I will keep stressing about whether we are doing enough, whether there is a better curriculum we could be using, and whether or not our children actually understand that we are, ultimately, doing this for their own good! God Bless!

Proverbs 22:6

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

A Baby is Born

I started a blog post for Easter Sunday on Thursday. I figured I would finish it up on Good Friday.

I also decided to clean out the fridge on Friday.

And I needed to write out a grocery list for Saturday. So I decided to do it Friday.

Long story short, I didn’t do any of those things on Friday. Instead, we had a baby. Baby D made his entrance into this world in two hours flat. Our midwife didn’t make it in time for the birth. Our eldest daughter (A) caught him as he came out. She did a wonderful job and is now considering becoming a midwife. As she says, “I didn’t realize catching the baby was so important!” We are feeling so blessed right now. He is healthy and alert and so interested in the world around him. His siblings are in love with him and want to be near him all the time. My husband and I are still catching our breaths and trying to function on limited sleep. This newborn stage is so precious and so fleeting at the same time. I have grown to appreciate this stage more and more every time we go through it. I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Psalm 139:13-14

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.

 

Maybe I will have my Easter Sunday post finished in time for next year!

God Is In Control

“But I’m ready. I really am. Mentally, physically, I’m ready.”

Babies come when babies are ready.

“But if I wait much longer, then I might lose this great mental state I’m in.”

Babies come when babies are ready.

“But we are ready! I have the clothes washed, folded, and put away! Our friend made us some adorable diaper covers and lots of great pre-folds. We are ready!”

Babies come when babies are ready.

“But I’M ready.”

Babies come when babies are ready.

“But, it’s time! I’m ready! We’re ready! The kids are ready!”

Babies come when babies are ready.

“But God, it’s time!”

Copyright RosesatDawn 2019
Copyright RosesatDawn 2019

Apparently though, it’s not time. It’s not on my time, it’s not on anyone’s time except God’s. Now I know that I am using waiting for our baby as an example, but this applies to anything in life. How many times have we said, “But God, it’s time! I’m ready! Let’s do this!” And God says, “Wait.” How many times do we try and control a situation that is out of our control? I know for myself, it is far more often than I would like to admit. I want things to go perfectly. I want everything to be done on my time and in my way. Oftentimes, I don’t even realize I am doing this. I don’t even realize that I am trying so hard to make everything the way I want it to be, that I am actually completely messing everything up. I’m making things worse, not better. And that can be a hard pill to swallow. I am already resistant to change, but to find out that I am actually making things worse by trying to control what is going on around me? Ouch. That one really hits home.

Philippians 4:6

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

I know that a lot of my control issues are anxiety driven. I am aware of this. But being aware of where my issues are coming from, and actually changing them, well, that’s a whole other ballgame.

Jeremiah 32:27

“I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?

The good news is that I don’t have to change and “control” these issues on my own. In fact, I can’t. Trust me, I’ve tried! All I have to do, all I have ever had to do, is hand these issues over to God. I just have to let go of my wanting to control and make a change happen for everything to actually change. Now isn’t that a novel concept?

Jeremiah 29:11

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

No matter what life throws at us, no matter what hardships we have to overcome, God is bigger than them all. Life is so much sweeter when we give up our control and let the Creator of the entire world control our lives. He knows what is best for us. He knows the plans He has for us. Let us stop fighting against Him and just let Him control our future. He will never let us down. No matter what happens, God is in control!

Isaiah 41:10

So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

 

How do you deal when life is not going the way you want?

February 2019

And just like that, it’s February. This happens every year, except I always think that this time I will be prepared. I am not. But that is ok! We will move forward whether we want to or not. How are your resolutions looking? Or have you even made any this year? I have to admit that choosing a word for my last years’ focus instead of making “resolutions” was a wonderful choice for me. I actually made some progress in becoming more content. I still have a long way to go, but I actually saw progress. I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to repeat the process again this year. I even picked out a word. But, I’m not sure it’s working. Maybe I’m just not focused enough, maybe I didn’t include God enough in my thought process. Either way, I’m just not feeling it this year. So, I am reevaluating. I am praying about it more, and I am taking my time. Just because I want something to be, doesn’t mean that it will. Control is something a lot of people struggle with and have a hard time letting go of. Just because I want to focus on something, doesn’t mean that is what God wants me to focus on. And so, I need to be more open to that and just let Him take control. Always easier said than done. But I will work on it. Hhmm, maybe that is my focus for the year and it took me writing this to figure it out. Either way, I will continue to pray, and think about it, and see where God leads.

Copyright RosesatDawn 2019
Copyright RosesatDawn 2019

How is your year looking? So far, it’s been cold and snowy. I’m not complaining about the snow! Last year we had a cold spell during January and our pipes froze. They froze so badly we had to call the plumbers. It wasn’t cheap. Then some other things happened and it just started the year off on a bad note. It didn’t necessarily improve all that much, however, my point of view changed. Even if it was just a slight adjustment, it was still an adjustment in the right direction. I am almost afraid to say anything about this year, but so far, not nearly as bad!

In fact, we have a special little something to look forward to this year. We are expecting baby number 7 sometime in late March/early April. We are all very excited and the kids can’t wait. I have to say, that is one of my favorite things about our children. They are all so very excited whenever we announce a pregnancy. It makes my heart feel full and just their whole perspective on the JOY of a baby gives me hope for the future. Maybe we won’t change the view of our entire nation (although we do pray for this!), but if we can just teach our children how much joy a baby, any baby, brings, well then, we are at least doing something right. If their focus is on the value of life, all life, instead of on things and toys and how much more full our house will be ;), well then, that’s alright with me!

So Happy Belated New Year everyone! And remember, each and every day is a new chance to refocus on our God, reevaluate His calling in our lives, and focus on the joy He gifts to us every day. God Bless and have a wonderful day!

Romans 15:13

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him,

so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

Merry Christmas!

It’s almost Christmas. I just realized today, that there are FOUR days left!! I absolutely love Christmas. I love just about (except for the traffic!) everything. The feelings, the smells, the snow, and most importantly, the reason for the season, Jesus. A long time ago, in a little, itty, bitty, town God choose a young woman to be the mother of His Son. I can only admire Mary’s reaction to God’s request.

Luke 1:38

38 Mary answered, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let everything you’ve said happen to me.”

 Granted, she was a little confused and had a very reasonable question to ask.

Luke 1:29

29 She was startled by what the angel said and tried to figure out what this greeting meant.

Luke 1:34

34 Mary asked the angel, “How can this be? I’m a virgin.”

But that was it. After her initial, completely understandable reaction, she told God, yes. I can honestly say that I do not have that reaction when God asks me to do something. I’m the one saying, ok, but… I want to work on being more like Mary. No hesitation. Once she finds out what it is God wants, and hears that He will handle the logistics, she simply says, ok. Let’s do this. Wow. Just wow. What an inspiration. Never mind the fact that she carried, in her womb, God’s one and only Son. The Savior of the entire world. Forget all that. Forget the fact that she was a virgin, forget that she wasn’t married, forget all the ways it shouldn’t have been possible for this to happen. She simply said “I am the Lord’s servant.”

Are we the Lord’s servants? Do we do what is asked of us without hesitation? Well, at least we have a patient God who has been proven time and again to be patient with His Chosen people. Otherwise, I would be in trouble. I am resistant to change. I don’t like being told when I am doing something wrong. I don’t like to have to correct a wrong behavior. I am working on changing this. But it’s an immediate reaction from me to deny, resist, and otherwise say, “Nope, I’m good. I’m not doing that.” It’s a painful lesson to learn. I can only hope and pray to someday be like Mary. I can only pray to someday be as immediately accepting of His will for my life. May we all reach that point. God Bless everyone on this most special time of year and have a wonderful, and very Merry Christmas!!!

Luke 1:26-38

26 Six months after Elizabeth had become pregnant, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a city in Galilee. 27 The angel went to a virgin promised in marriage to a descendant of David named Joseph. The virgin’s name was Mary.

28 When the angel entered her home, he greeted her and said, “You are favored by the Lord! The Lord is with you.”

29 She was startled by what the angel said and tried to figure out what this greeting meant.

30 The angel told her,

“Don’t be afraid, Mary. You have found favor[a] with God.
31 You will become pregnant, give birth to a son,
and name him Jesus.
32 He will be a great man
and will be called the Son of the Most High.
The Lord God will give him
the throne of his ancestor David.
33 Your son will be king of Jacob’s people forever,
and his kingdom will never end.”

34 Mary asked the angel, “How can this be? I’m a virgin.”

35 The angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come to you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the holy child developing inside you will be called the Son of God.

36 “Elizabeth, your relative, is six months pregnant with a son in her old age. People said she couldn’t have a child. 37 But nothing is impossible for God.”

38 Mary answered, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let everything you’ve said happen to me.”

Then the angel left her.

 

Copyright 2018 RosesatDawn
Copyright 2018 RosesatDawn