Christmas Blessings

Adoration of the Shepherds by Gerard van Honthorst, 1656

May your Christmas

be centred on

Christ

With my blessings …

 … a small gift

(free download ~ print, concertina fold and glue together to form narrow booklet)

Christmas Carols Booklet 

A few English carols selected from 

Christmas Carols In English & Spanish with lyrics and guitar chords

compiled and posted last year by Amy Tuttle of

Fisher Academy International

Blessings,

Free Poster to Inspire ~ Believe God’s Promises

A simple poster

with powerful words

… how to …

You are welcome to download it ~ Believe God’s Promises Poster

Blessings,

Free Poster to Inspire ~ 8 Words You May Need Today

I recently read this precious post  at Sacred Mundane by Kari Patterson ~

“Seven words you may need today”

Her encouragement is so true,

and yet these words are so hard to say …

but we need to say them.

I created this poster to inspire my family ~

You are welcome to download it ~ 8 words you may need today

Blessings,

Free Poster to Inspire ~ Put on tender mercies…

This year I am memorizing Colossians.

Following Ann Voskamp’s schedule, I am in Chapter 3.

When I came to verses 12 – 14, I wrote out the words (to help my memorizing) and thought these words would make a lovely poster.

Something for my family to put in their hearts too …

You are welcome to download it ~ put on tender mercies.

Blessings,

The Heart of Friendship

My heart was so touched by Ann Voskamp’s post How hurting women can help each other heal at A Holy Experience.

I don’t quite know why I sat and wept when I read the letter her friend wrote her,

Why this letter of promise and true friendship so moved my heart,

How I covered my eyes and shared the moment with the Lord,

And my beautiful daughter sitting next to me asked, “Mom?”

And I knew,

This is the promise I must make to my daughters,

That I pray they make to each other,

That I trust they share with their dear friends,

and with me …

Dear Ann, I copied that letter and printed it out and folded it and put it in each child’s special private notebook.

I printed it out and hung it where the girls will see it everyday.

I want to share it here with my friends (A Promise of Friendship pdf.)

Thank you, Ann, for your love, vulnerability and precious ministry.

Blessings to you all,

A New Free Page ~ Bible Pages

Sun Bible!

Image by Denis Collette...!!! via Flickr

I have just created a new Free Page

with all the free Bible downloads

and their links to the original posts.

I will add new pages here as I create them!

Blessings this weekend,

Just this 1 Thing!

Just 1 thing.

Focus on this 1 thing.

Do this 1 thing.

Are you ever overwhelmed by too many things?  I am.

The responsibility to train and discipline my children seems overwhelming sometimes.

So I prayed and the Lord inspired me with this slogan ~

Just this 1 thing.

As I prayed and waited, the Lord gently guided my thinking to the 1 thing in my life and for each of my children that needed attention.  It came simply and clearly.

  • Just a few words to sum up the thing.
  • State the thing in the positive.
  • Focus and reinforce that 1 thing till the break-through.

I suppose Charlotte Mason’s instruction on habit training helped focus this.  She says,

“It is necessary that the mother be always on the alert to nip in the bud the bad habit her children may be in the act of picking up from others.” (Vol. 1, p. 118)

and

Expect prompt, cheerful obedience. “It is enough to say, ‘Do this,’ in a quiet, authoritative tone, and expect it to be done … The child should be daily confirming a habit of obedience by the unbroken repetition of acts of obedience.” (Vol. 1, p. 162-163)

I wondered how to approach this with my children, but the opportunity presented itself individually as my normal parenting occurred.  A situation where the weakness was plain happened.  I smiled gently and took the plunge – “There is just 1 thing I want you to think about right now: just this 1 thing ~ …”

And I described it simply.  Just used a few words.  In fact, I kept shrinking all the words till 1 word could sum it all up. (For example it could be: “Hang up your wet bath towel after you have dressed” becomes, “Hang up wet towels” and finally becomes, “Towel”.)  I kept it totally positiveDo-able.

Then we did it together.  I watched to make sure it was done as I wanted it done.  I smiled.

“Yes, that is right.  We will keep at this 1 thing till it is always right, ok?”

My youngest got it.  She and I agreed that discipline would stay private, but that I could remind her by saying, “Remember, that 1 thing.”

So far, this week, I have used that slogan a few times.  I know that it is fresh and still funny.

But it works.

Without speeches, lectures (and I am so good/bad at those!) or debates, they get the message.

Their message.

Each one’s “thing” is different.

At this moment I am focussing on their characters.

But it will work with training in any area; character training, schooling, relationships, personal habits, routines.

It may be about ~

  • how they do the work,
  • not needing reminding,
  • following through in the task without disruptions,
  • doing the task the right way the first time,
  • their promptness,
  • their attitude while doing the task …

I am so grateful to the Lord for His grace and loving-kindness towards me.  He keeps working on all my missing and broken parts until I become His Handiwork.

How do you simplify the enormous task of training your children?

Comments welcome!

Blessings,

A Beautiful Home Atmosphere

I have 3 daughters and they all love to create a beautiful atmosphere in our home.

They bring in flowers from their nature walks and meanders through the farm, and I love the special little handfuls of wild flowers that nestle in little glass vases on windowsills.

They help set tables and create flower arrangements for the living room and guests bedrooms.

Tea times outside are a special pastime.  Sometimes the girls and their friends bake something, set out tea with pretty linen and invite us to join them under the trees.

Sometimes we have tea and poetry.  We read, discuss, recite and enjoy several poems and drink tea out of our special tea set instead of our usual mugs.

When we clean house together, they love to select lively music and we “dance” through the sweeping, mopping and dusting.  But we also love to listen to classical music while we craft or cook.  My youngest children love their music appreciation log pages for our music appreciation lessons.  At the moment Vivaldi’s Four Seasons plays in the background.  This year I took the plunge and subscribed to Naxos for our classical music appreciation and I enjoy access the seemingly endless classical music.

Art appreciation is another source of beauty in our home.  We use our kitchen cupboard as our art gallery.  Sketch Tuesday paintings and art appreciation pictures fill the doors as the term progresses.  Currently our Gauguin pictures of M Loulou stand out with their bright colours and contrasts.

The girls love to sew, make stunning cards and create lovely homemade gifts.  They love to light candles and set attractive tables for dinner time.

But beauty is not all a girl thing!

Charlotte Mason inspires me to encourage the family in the love of nature, great literature, living books, great art and classical music.  Her philosophy teaches us how to appreciate real beauty.

As a Christian mother, I am constantly conscious of cultivating the beauty within each of us.

Jesus’ Beauty.

His character.

And again, Charlotte Mason reminds me to train habits.

God’s word teaches me to instruct and train my children in His ways.

Often I fail here.

There are days where ugly sprawls out, when tears falls, words hurt.

When we want to be and do Beautiful, but don’t.  Can’t.

We all fail to stay in Beauty.

I pray more fervently, because this hidden work is not mine to create.

May He take away more of me and fill me with more of Him.

When Jesus fills our hearts and spills out in words and deeds, our home atmosphere becomes truly beautiful.

May our lives be like wild flowers,

like inspiring art,

like soothing music,

like tea in pretty cups.

A beautiful atmosphere.

Blessings,

Special Night-time Notes

Children grow up so quickly!

With busy days and responsibilities I don’t always speak to each child privately.  And in the busyness, they don’t share their troubles and concerns.

Sadly, I don’t journal the many precious moments and memories.

But for almost 6 months now, this has changed.

My younger daughters and I write special notes to each other almost every night.  Remember I suggested handwriting notes?

We use special spiral notebooks, and I bought each child a special pen.

We write and reply to each other’s notes.

When we have finished writing, we tuck the notebook secretly under a pillow.

Of course, spelling and handwriting does not matter in the least.

My children love this liberty and they write freely.

Some nights there are questions.

Other nights they share concerns.

Most notes are simple love notes.

And now and then, they draw a picture or write a joke.  Humour is such a glorious gift!

Reading my children’s thoughts, prayers, fears, hopes and joys fills my heart with gladness.

I love the freedom they have to write and ask me deep and personal questions they would be too shy to ask out loud.

I especially love to bless them.

In meaningful words.

Scriptures.

His promises and blessings.

I write of my joy and pride in them.

It’s personal.

Private.

From my heart to theirs.

From their child-hearts to mine.

We re-read these notes and bask in the joy of such love.

Recently, when my 11-year-old finished her notebook, she came to me and asked me to keep it safe for her.  I know she may cringe when she reads it when she is older, but I will always treasure it.

Captured in these pages are the joyful memories of our relationship and lives.

Savour your children and speak the words that fill their hearts.

All too soon they are grown up and going out into the world.

These are the memories I want to savour forever.

Blessings,

What kind of disciples does the mission demand?

I’ve just finished reading The Greatest Century of Missions by Peter Hammond and I was struck by these qualities he describes in the last chapter, The Challenge of Missions:

WCarey

Image via Wikipedia

“An effective missionary needs to be a person who diligently studies the Bible to discover God’s will and who is determined to obey it.

From this foundation of prayerful study of God’s Word needs to develop true Christian character.  This cannot be hastily done.  Steadfast Christian character is the product of years of prayer and Bible study and the cultivated habit of responding to God’s Word in repentance, faith and obedience.

It involves a teachable heart and a willingness to accept rebuke and discipline.“(emphasis his)

But he begins the chapter with this description which this challenge ~

“… most church goers today are secular in their mindset and lifestyle.  They have few convictions, more questions than answers.  They are reluctant to make long-term commitments.

Our society is existential (concerned primarily about my own personal experience now!)  This throw-away, disposable culture is short-sighted, cynical and short of faith and vision for the future.

Our present generation has become selfish, sloppy, soft, spoilt and self-indulgent, unaccustomed to personal sacrifice, unwilling to endure hardship, and unlikely to exhibit loyalty to any mission, devotion to duty or courage in the face of danger.” (emphasis mine)

whoa!

ouch!

As I prayed and pondered over these qualities, I began to think …

  • How am I disciplining my children?https://i2.wp.com/www.christiansincommerce.org/images/missionaries-at-work.jpg
  • What kind of character am trusting the Lord to develop in them?
  • What attitudes are they growing under my care?
  • How do I urge them to develop integrity?
  • What do I need to do to grow them to be willing volunteers?
  • Have I encouraged them to endure, have confident faith and have hearts filled with optimism?
  • Can my children submit to authority?
  • Are my children willing to receive Godly rebuke and constructive criticism?

I tremble as I write this.

God’ standards are always beyond our own abilities.  Impossible for any of us.  None of these changes can take place without a total surrender to Him.  We need to be filled with His Holy Spirit who is at work in us to will and do His purposes.

My homeschooling goals are NOT about imparting information.  I must train and develop my children in good habits and strong Christian characters.  I must cultivate an understanding of the Great Call to be His disciples.  I must resist the desire to remove all discomforts from my children’s lives, to make things easier, to have an entertaining day.  I should not parent for popularity. My life should inspire them to answer His call.

Having said all this, I feel I should state that I believe that ~

https://i0.wp.com/cccgreeley.org/files/Images/Missionaries%20Page/World.jpgwe are all missionaries

Right now

Where we are

Today

We are all called to witness and serve.

It starts in our homes.

It begins at re-birth.

I believe that even a child can love the Lord so completely that they will desire to please Him in all they think, say and do.http://emmaustrekker.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/missionaries_logo1.jpg

Some of us are called to foreign countries.

Some may work among other people groups.

And may we love, serve and support these missionaries.

We are all challenged to be the Salt of the earth, the Light.

In Him

For Him.

Through Him.

Unto Him.

All for Him.

Blessings,