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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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.

 

P is for…

Perfectionist. Does this word describe you? I used to think I wasn’t a perfectionist. After all, I am a world class procrastinator. I have trouble putting things away when I am done with them. I can even be termed messy. Disorganized for sure. But a perfectionist? Aren’t perfectionists neat and orderly? Don’t they always want things picked up and put away? Don’t they have a place where everything goes? Don’t they care enough about their work to make sure it is done on time and then gone over multiple times to make sure it is perfect?

Well, it turns out I am a perfectionist. It has taken me a long time to accept and understand this view of myself. I just didn’t understand how I could possibly be a perfectionist and not have a clean house and have everything put away in a neat and orderly fashion. It turns out, God created us all differently. And my perfectionism doesn’t have to look like someone else’s. Instead of spurring me into action, my perfectionism is paralyzing. I am afraid to even start something for fear of it not being done perfectly. And so instead of taking a small step towards beginning, I just stay still, out of fear. Instead of taking a small step towards cleaning up my craft area, I think about the fact that I would love to have it cleaned up. It would be so wonderful to have that nice little space to work on projects. But I don’t have the time to go through everything. I don’t have the time to get it all cleaned up right now. And so all I do, is think about how nice it would be, but don’t actually take any steps towards making it happen.

Copyright RosesatDawn 2018
Copyright RosesatDawn 2018

This is very frustrating. It is frustrating for me and for those who have to live with me. I am constantly struggling to keep the counter cleaned off, and usually fail more often than I succeed. (You don’t want to see it right now…trust me!) I have finally come up with a somewhat successful laundry routine. As long as I remember to nag, I mean ask, the children often enough to fold, that part runs pretty smoothly. Which is a good thing considering there are many people in this house who need clean clothing! But the other parts….like keeping things picked up, organizing items, making a permanent home for things that need a place, those are the things I struggle the most with. I would much rather toss something down on the counter to deal with later than take the extra two minutes and put it away now. Why don’t I take those extra two minutes? This is something that I don’t completely understand about myself. This is something I am still trying to come to grips with and overcome. Just put it away! Just do it now! But, there is always something else that needs to be done that obviously needs my attention right this second. Or at least, this is the constant battle in my mind. It’s not true. I know it’s not true, but it takes time for me to overcome old habits. It takes longer than I would like and I often get discouraged. See, there is the perfectionism again. I want to be better now! Not later. I don’t want to take time, I want to be the “perfect” woman right this very minute.

1 Peter 3:3-4

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment

such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.

Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a

gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight”

Does that sound like the spirit of a gentle and quiet woman? I already know the answer. I struggle with the answer. It trips me up time and time again. How can I be gentle, quiet, kind, patient, etc., until everything is lined up? How can I be like that until everything is perfect? How can I get anything done until the house is cleaned up? How can I pick up the house if I don’t have a place for all the stuff? How?

Galatians 1:10

“Am I trying to win the approval of men, or God?

Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men,

I would not be a servant of Christ”

Well, right there is my answer. Everything in life doesn’t have to be perfect in order for me to journey closer to God. I don’t have to do x, y, and z first. I just have to try and seek God’s approval. Everything else will follow. If I am seeking God’s will and approval for my life, then I will be making a forward journey. I will become the woman God is calling me to be. I will be gentle, quiet, patient, kind, etc.

Proverbs 31:26

Her children rise up and call her blessed;

Her husband also, and he praises her:

That’s what I want my legacy to be. I want to be like the Proverbs 31 woman. I want to be her now. But I’m not. I am still on my journey. I am still struggling to “get it right” (ie perfect). But here’s the good news. Here is the positive in all of this, I have a God who loves me. A God who wants me to succeed. A God who is with me every step of the way and who picks me up every single time I stumble and fall.

Lamentations 3:22-23

It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed,

because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning:

great is thy faithfulness.

Every day is a new day. Every minute is a new opportunity for me to put my faith in God and follow Him wherever He leads. I just need to choose to do so. Life doesn’t have to be perfect for me to follow our Lord. I simply need to follow.

 

Are you a perfectionist?

 

Three Day Quote Challenge: Day 3

So I may be a little late getting this posted, ahem. But it’s still yesterday somewhere….right? Either way, here is my last quote for the three day quote challenge!

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This quote is completely true and speaks for itself! Sorry kids, we love you, best of luck!!

But in all seriousness, one of the things I love about homeschooling is the chance it gives kids to be themselves. To find out who they are, and to have the confidence to express it. Whatever their quirks are, I want our children to have the confidence to go out into the world and use their quirkiness to bring joy and love to those around them in the hopes of making our world a better and more loving place. Because let’s be honest, the world could use a huge dose of love.

1 John 4:7-8

7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.

8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

I would like to thank Linda from Amazing God Stories again for nominating me for this challenge. It has been a fun experience and a bit challenging for me to find three quotes to write something about. So thanks for stretching my brain. 🙂 And please keep writing. I really like reading your stories and letters and just everything. I’m really glad you found me so I could find you!

And for my last nomination, I would like to nominate you! Yes you! Anyone who is reading and would like to participate, please do! Let me know either by comment or link that you have participated. I would like to read your quotes. Thanks to everyone who has read my quotes and hopefully I will be back sooner than last time!  God Bless!

The rules of the challenge are as follows:

Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

For 3 days, provide a quote each day and why you like or chose that quote.

Nominate one or more bloggers each of the three days for the Challenge and then send them a comment letting them know they have been nominated.

(When you receive a nomination, if you’re too busy, you can do it later if need be.)

Three Day Quote Challenge: Day 2

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This is a new quote that I just found recently. I have to admit, it’s a new favorite! The words are absolutely true. How we view life, or a task, is exactly how it will go. If you are sure of failure, then that’s all you will find. However, if you envision success, then you will find it! It may not be in the shape or form you expected, but when you have a positive outlook, then you are sure to find a success somewhere. I chose this quote, because again, as I have stated before, I tend to have a negative outlook on life. I am working to improve this however, and I think I may just have to put this quote up somewhere I will see it every day. Changing our normal view of life can be challenging, but all things are possible through God.

Philippians 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.

Again, thank you to Linda from Amazing God Stories for the nomination!  Her granddaughter is seriously cute, and getting cuter!!

I would like to nominate Sharon from How to Beat Depression & Anxiety.  Her posts are a nice pick me up and have great analogies and life lessons.  Please check her out!

The rules of the challenge are as follows:

Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

For 3 days, provide a quote each day and why you like or chose that quote.

Nominate one or more bloggers each of the three days for the Challenge and then send them a comment letting them know they have been nominated.

(When you receive a nomination, if you’re too busy, you can do it later if need be.)

Optimism is not my forte

Psalm 34:1

I will bless the Lord at all times,

his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

I am not an optimistic person by nature. I am more of a ‘the glass is half empty and is most likely going to stay that way’ type of person. This is probably part of the reason this verse has resonated so much with me. I want to be the type of person who is constantly blessing God and thanking Him for all the blessings in my life. And there are so many blessings. But they are so hard for me to see at times, and I become overwhelmed with LIFE and when I open my mouth, it isn’t praises that come out. It’s complaints, it’s whining, it’s why oh why aren’t things easier?? And let’s just be honest, it isn’t a good model for the children, my husband, or even myself. After all, if we let ourselves dwell on the negative, what are we going to think about? If we take our focus off of God and all that He has blessed us with, we don’t see those blessings. We just see the negative in life. And my friends, there is a whole heap of negative. We see it everywhere. In the news, online, in magazines, EVERYWHERE there is Satan trying to bring us down. Trying to distance us from all the good in life. All the good that God has placed there. The laughter of a child, the sun shining through the trees, the colors of autumn, the smell of freshly cut grass. All of it, goes away as soon as you take your eyes off of it.

Copyright 2018 RosesatDawn
Copyright 2018 RosesatDawn

My husband is a wonderful reminder to me of all the good God has given us. Anytime I start to feel this way, he will so often, even without me sometimes saying anything, mention something good that God has blessed us with. And with that reminder, I am prompted to bring my focus back to God. It isn’t always a smooth process, honestly, it’s usually with me kicking and screaming. But I’m trying. I’m trying to let go and let God. I have heard this phrase so many times in my life. And I’m going to be honest, I never truly understood it. If you think about it, what does it actually mean? It means total and complete surrender. And as a child, when I first accepted Jesus as my Savior, I didn’t understand surrender. I still don’t completely get it, but I feel like as a thirty-something year old, I am beginning to understand. Even just a teeny tiny bit. Because after all, it’s never too late. It’s never too late to accept God’s gift to us. It’s never too late to change your life path. Even though it won’t be easy, it’s never too late to change your focus and behavior. You won’t get it right the first or second, or even the thirtieth time! But, we need to pick ourselves back up, recommit to following our God, and step out in faith. I am not an optimistic person, but taking this step of faith, is for me, a step towards optimism itself. If I can believe that God sent His only Son to die on the cross to forgive my stupid, repetitive sins, then I guess I can count myself as an optimistic pessimist who is learning to bless our God at all times, and to continually, no matter how difficult life may be, praise Him with my words and actions.

Are you an optimist, pessimist, or a realist?

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?