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?

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Planning not worrying

So I finally did it.  I finally bit the bullet and bought myself a pressure canner.   Yup, that’s my big news for the week! But seriously, with all that has been going on with the hurricanes in the south, wildfires out west, and WINTER IS COMING my husband finally talked me into just doing it. Just buy the darn thing and get on with it!

I have a water bath canner, but I can’t can veggies, meat, broth, etc. so it is a needed item. And it’s an item I have wavered on buying for ten years. It is one of those things that I just kept putting off buying. Well, sure I need/want one, but we also want/need all these other things as well. But I finally did it (well, almost, it is still sitting in our Amazon cart!), and the timing couldn’t be better. It is September, harvest season, preparedness month, time to get on with it!

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With all the natural disasters going on right now, we do have to plan ahead. I know that I have written about some of my views about self-sufficiency before, but I do believe that we should be prepared to a certain extent. Yes, God will provide all we need, but hiding our heads in the sand and pretending that there aren’t real issues going on is wrong. God will provide, but He also provides for us now. He provides plenty so we can place some away for when there isn’t any. Yes, trust ultimately in His generosity, but also realize when He provides above and beyond our current needs.

Since it is National Preparedness Month, I have been thinking a bit more about what would happen if we didn’t have access to the grocery store. Even if it was for a couple of days or weeks, would we be ok? Would we have enough food on hand to make it through? Would we have enough variety to not experience food fatigue? I was inspired to can up some Apple Butter, we made some Apple Jelly, and I have some more apples waiting to be made into Applesauce. (Do we see a theme here?) I am trying to add some variety to our stores. I am trying to think ahead, not worry, just think. What if? What if we can’t get out of the house for a while? What if we are snowed in? (Trust me, it’s a real possibility up here!) What if there is a natural disaster? What if there is a man-made disaster? (North Korea, I’m looking at you!) So yes, I trust in God ultimately to provide, but I’m also trying to act wisely and recognize God’s blessings in the here and now for an unforeseen time in the future. Our ancestors didn’t have access to grocery stores. They had to plan ahead. I am sure there was plenty of worry mixed in, but they were wise. They used what God provided them and planned accordingly. I only hope that we are doing our best to do the same.

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Matthew 25:1-13

“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps.”

Who will you be like? The five foolish virgins who did not plan ahead? Or will you choose to plan ahead and be ready to meet God when He comes?

This is the canner I bought…

Check out some of my favorite canning books…

Blue Ball Book

Jackie Clay’s “Growing and Canning Your Own Food”

I’m getting some of these next year….or maybe for Christmas!

Tattler Reusable Lids

Happy Harvesting!!

I am an Amazon Affiliate. My family and I appreciate your support! 🙂

Plant something and watch it grow

Every year I plant something. Maybe it’s just flowers, maybe it’s lettuce, sometimes I get ambitious and plant potatoes, lettuce, turnips, etc. I just like the feeling of digging in the dirt and making something grow. I even weed on occasion!

This year however, we were in charge of planting the ‘big’ garden. You see, my husband’s father passed away last year on this day from leukemia. The garden had always been his passion and this year we did our best to make him proud. It was a group effort and we got it done! My husband was in charge of tilling, which he did, by hand, with a shovel. He hand-turned the entire garden. And can I just say, we will be doing it this way from now on. It is a LOT of work, but it was worth it. The dirt is nice and loose, rich, and well-turned.

The kids, my sister-in-law, and I then went through and planted. We did turnips, lettuce, carrots, peas, zucchini, summer squash, and potatoes. We put A in charge of the potatoes. We made the lines of hills, she made the holes, and the other kids came through and put the potatoes in. The way she took charge made my heart happy and heavy at the same time. You see, this is an activity the kids have done with their Grampa every year since A was old enough to walk. And this was the first year they planted without him.

After the potatoes were planted, I waited with baited breath for them to come up. I knew how much this meant to A. I hoped, and I prayed that they would poke through the dirt. We waited, and waited. And then finally, finally they came up. I was so happy for the kids and for A in particular. She had decided how deep to make the holes. She told the other kids were to put them and how to cover them up. She learned all this from her Grampa over the years. This was her project in honor of him. I hope she feels half the amount of pride in herself that I do in her.

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So whether or not we harvest anything else from our garden this year, we will definitely be harvesting potatoes. And we will be thanking Grandpa for taking the time to teach our children how to provide for themselves through the very simple act of planting potatoes.

Ecclesiates 3:1-2

There is a time for everything,

And a season for every activity under the heavens:

A time to be born and a time to die,

A time to plant and a time to uproot.

Self-Sufficient

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Self-sufficiency has become such a buzz word nowadays. The minute you hear it, so many different images come to mind. A solar-paneled cabin deep in the woods with goats and chickens and firewood stacked up high with a huge garden laid out neat in rows. Preppers with underground bunkers and enough storable food to last for two lifetimes. And then come the not so extreme images. The ones of apartment gardens, backyard suburban chickens, and repurposing everything you can possibly imagine into wonderful and creative items.

I believe in self-sufficiency. I think it is a good thing. I want to be self-sufficient. I really truly believe that we should not be quite so consumer happy and maybe focus on producing items that we can. Maybe we should not always go out and buy something new the minute the old one breaks down.

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We have chickens. I would love a couple of goats. We cut wood to burn for the winter. We have a reasonable-sized garden. I would love to have a small hydro-powered system. I want to can more food, dry more garden produce, and get some storable foods.

Why? Because I like the security of knowing that if something happens, we will have a small security blanket. I am not a massive prepper. (Props to you out there who are!) I am also not someone who goes out and buys something new every time something breaks down. I like to think I am more of a middle of the road type. Someone who re-uses to an extent, prepares for emergencies to an extent, and tries to live within their means as much as possible.

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But then I think about the flip side of this situation. What does self-sufficiency really mean? It means relying on oneself. Producing, using, and maintaining all that you need. In theory, this is a good thing. But the more I think about this, the more I realize that we were not created to be self-sufficient creatures. Our God did not create us to be self-sufficient. From the moment of conception, to birth, and beyond, we are dependent on someone else. We are dependent on our mothers for our birth. We are dependent on our parents for our continued growth and well-being. As we grow and mature, we become dependent on our peer groups for our own mental sanity.

And I fear that we lose sight of the fact that God never meant for us to be self-sufficient. He meant for us to rely on Him as we rely on our earthly parents. He wants us to come to Him with our needs, our wants, our everything. When we try and be self-sufficient from God, we fail, miserably. Our creator, created us to be dependent on Him. So while we go about our lives looking for self-sufficiency in whatever form, we must remember not to take it too far. To remember that we are not in control, that we are dependent on Him for the now and for the future. As the Bible says in Matthew 6:26-29,

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.”

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So how do we balance to two? How do we balance wanting that security while also trusting in God to take care of us? Honestly, I think this looks different for every person and every situation. We need to listen to His calling, we need to listen to where He is leading us. And we must trust enough to follow and believe that He will provide for our every need.

 

What does self-sufficiency mean to you?

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