Christian family life, homeschooling, humor, and articles for your encouragement and edification

Christian family life, homeschooling, humor, and articles for your encouragement and edification

Monday, June 29, 2015

Happy Birthday, Hayden!

21 beautiful years!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Pow Wows and Priorities

 When we moved last year, we had to prioritize what we would store and what we would have to let go. The boys made this plane together a few years ago, but we simply didn't have any room  for it. Scott took a final picture of their creation before saying good-bye and disposing of it. Our family had to prioritize what we could keep in our smaller home and what we could not. Some things were not easy. Emily had to sacrifice her piano, but we found a good home for it!

    At the beginning of spring, Emily had to make a lot of decisions concerning one of her passions, gardening. She had limited space and had been given a budget. She had to prioritize which plants she thought we needed the most. She had to plan her garden carefully (she always draws a map).  Here, she shows Joey where she wants everything. Today we are enjoying some pretty terrific tomatoes and a variety of peppers.  We've also enjoyed her radishes and lettuce. 

      A Pow Wow typically refers to a gathering of North America's native people. It is usually a large fellowship that includes much celebration. It comes from the Narragansett word powwow which means "spiritual leader". As a little girl, I was never a Brownie or a Girl Scout. I lived my first twelve years in the Midwest and was a member of the YMCA's "Indian Princess" program (My brother was an "Indian Guide"). This father-daughter club allowed us to take turns visiting each others' homes, making crafts and going on camping trips. I am not a Native American (I'm a fourth generation Pole and third generation Dane), nor do I practice their traditions, but the word pow wow was always used to mean a "meeting" in my family as a little girl and now I use it in mine.
     Usually at least twice a day our family has a meeting. Sometimes Scott and I call everyone for a "pow wow" or some simple table talk over lunch (like we had today). These meetings are important for several reasons: it allows us to set goals for the day or week, pray, have devotional time, or address concerns. These meetings are such an important facet of our family life, I can't imagine not having them!  I could say that this is especially important for a large family like ours (at least it is considered large to some folks); but I would have to deny that only larger families need such events. This is a wise idea for any sized family - or even a couple. We know that unity is especially important to our Lord within His church, and His church is made up of many families as well as individuals. If families are in unity and harmony, this contributes to the peace and progress of the entire church body. If families are stressed out and at odds, this will also be reflected in the body because "if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it..." (1 Corinthians 12:26). God prefers order, and this should be reflected in our homes.
     Before Scott and I call a meeting, he and I have a little meeting of our own. Usually one of us will feel impressed to address something. I particularly remember once when he felt very strongly that we needed to discuss "filters". He wanted to explain to the children that it was wise and important to "filter" what comes out of our mouths with thinking before speaking. I scrambled to label coffee filters with questions such as: "Will this hurt someone's feelings?", "Is this interrupting?", "Is this person busy?", "Will this embarrass someone?", etc. and glued them to chart paper to make a poster. We sat the kids down and took turns explaining what a filter actually does (strains out the stuff you don't want so you can keep the stuff you do.  They "clean out" impurities, etc.).  We shared our observations of our family's strengths and weaknesses in this area, applied Scriptures, shared my filter poster, etc. Now, when someone says something or begins to say something that is not thoughtful or poorly timed, the simple whisper, "filter", reminds him/her to stop and think before continuing.
     Today I wanted to discuss the concept of "Priorities" with our kids.  What are they?  How do we sift and sequence them? As we make decisions, our priorities become clear to those around us. What we choose to address or tackle first when there is much to do reflects our maturity, concern for others, and dependability. Should I finish that report or draw a picture? Should I do my chores or read a book instead? Should I get dressed first or begin my schoolwork in my pajamas? What is rationalization? What is procrastination? How are a Christian's priorities different from someone who does not consider God? We discussed all these things today and challenged the kids to be more conscious of the decisions they were making and to sequence their activities with more wisdom. We want them to be more thoughtful and less impulsive with their time. The days are short and time is running out.  We must use our time wisely after all.

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be unwise but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:15-17
     In the throes of school, there have been many times I have had pow wows with my kids without Scott (He usually awakens after we do because of his schedule). The kids and I set goals, read Scripture, and pray about our day and for those we know need prayer. I share with Scott any discussion I have had with the kids after he awakens to promote unity or to make any changes if Scott had plans I wasn't aware of. The kids and I meet again before bedtime.We just restarted singing a few praise and worship songs in the evening before beginning our bedtime meeting. We used to do this, but then stopped for some reason. As we read Revelation 2:5 one night, conviction hit and I felt that we needed to "repent and do the first works". The Lord is disappointed when we shrink back and lose ground (Hebrews 10:38).  How sweet to sing together for the Lord before bedtime! Why did we ever stop?
     The most important meeting of the day, however, is the one we have with the Lord. How are Scott and I supposed to know what direction to shepherd our family if we don't consult with our own Father?  As I look to my husband for his leadership, I must also pray consistently for him. It is not easy being responsible for seven people and I want him to have wisdom and peace while he does so.
     I share this with you because these meetings have been such a blessing to our family. These little pow wows, if you will, have been a true priority in our day and as a result, have made ordering the rest of it much more successful. I highly recommend them!
Happy Family!

"Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint...."
Proverbs 29:18a

Saturday, June 6, 2015

More Graduation Pictures!

Received these pics today from a friend!
Thank you, Mary!
The big moment
Congratulated by her brothers
A scrapbook from a best friend
A hug from another
A sweet group of young ladies!
More gifts and cards at the restaurant
Opening a gift from another best friend
A treasure box filled with another box, and another. The smallest box was filled with pictures of their adventures.
 Thank you to her mama for sending me these pictures!

A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adverstity.
Proverbs 17:17

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Lowcountry Heritage Ball

Today I posted some pictures and details from our spring Heritage Ball on our other blog, "A Kettle In the Kitchen". Check it out!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Emily Graduates From High School!

Lowcountry Christian Home Educator's Association's 2015 graduates (LCHEA)
Emily is in the top row. The pictures should enlarge if you click on them.

Shaking hands with our (hilarious) keynote speaker, Senator Tim Scott. A stole and cord were worn by members of the National Honor Society.

Emily plays her banjo during the Senior band's performance of "Multiplied" 
There was also a keyboardist and drummer who didn't fit in this photo.

Emily plays her tin whistle at the conclusion of the song.

Emmie and big sister Hayden enjoy a fun evening with extended family after a yummy meal at Athens restaurant. The restaurant had reserved a private room for 27 members of our family and a few friends.

High school and college graduates being recognized at church the next day.
Emily will begin attending a local college (with her sister) this fall to major in biology and minor in art.

 At least I have one sweet child (Hayden). As you can see, two of my boys are on their best behavior during the graduate reception AT CHURCH. 

I don't have a video from graduation yet, but below is a link to a senior band rehearsal for graduation.
The mic set up still needed some tweaking before the big day, but you can get the idea. The girls managed to refrain from dancing during the actual performance. Watch it on full screen to be able to see!

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight , and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 
Hebrews 12:1-2