Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Creating an attitude of Service

 My last post was creating a love of learning.  Today I wanted to follow up with a love of serving. kids are very cute!  Just sayin'.  Oh and Elizabeth came with us as well, but you know sometimes she is like a butterfly- she flits her and there....he he he .... (Abigail stayed back with the 3 littlest.)
 This was our church's Go Fest.  A time where people of pretty much all ages can come and serve in many different ways.  We do these on a regular basis at our church.  We may go to retirement homes, or clean up a park, or paint faces for kiddos, give away school supplies, and well a load more of those kinds of ideas. 
 I know I have posted in the past about our church doing - Feeding Children Everywhere packing events. If you want to see those they are Here, and this cool God story Here

Well this time our church said.....we partner with a couple of schools- Dowdel Middle School and Clair Mel Elementary.  We have programs of tutoring and mentoring.  That is where we handed out back packs.  These schools are close by and it has been a great partnership- schools are places that NEED support! 
 So this time we said....what if we gave families from this school a chance to serve?  YEP!  The church sponsored the materials (bought the meals if you like), and a bunch of us from the church and loads of families from the schools showed up and TOGETHER we packed over 60,000 meals!!!!  FOR KIDS IN HAITI!!!!!!!!  WAHOOOOO!!!!!!

(**There were tons of other activities and services going on at the same time.  Putting in new landscaping, painting an new mural, facepainting and bouncy houses for the kids, free food, loads of items donated to help families and bless them, and loads of yard work.  I am pretty sure I have missed several other things that went on that day- the list was llooonnggg...  :)
 I can not even begin to describe the comments that we heard that day.  Wow!  I just helped pack food for families that do not have enough or any.  I got to be a part of a great experience of sharing my time and efforts to BLESS someone else! 
 People - do you know what this does? 
 I can tell you what it does for me and our family.  It leads to conversations about giving.  About how we should be quick to give and know that it is for GOD.  That we can receive because we are free to give. 
 This my friends is the FACE OF GOD- right here!  She was so excited as she counted up those bags of food.  The tradition is when you fill the box, the whole table cheers!  Then in reaction the rest of the people cheer you on too.  We start cheering each other one.  There is fun music playing and we start dancing around smiling and enjoying being around each other. 
 We talk about all that God has done for us and that is why we desire to serve.  We listen to others who are there.  We say - Great job to each other as we pack away. 
 You know some people think that the people receiving are so very "lucky" that we packed this food for them.  I say they will be BLESSED as well. 

I also say that WE ARE BLESSED!!!  By getting to enjoy our time, cheer each other on- hey everyone loves to be cheered for right?, by being excited about getting to pack food for those we know need it, and for really LOVING TO SERVE!
 This friends are the faces of GOD!  We had the chance to share our love for God!  We had the chance to love each other! 
 Building the heart of service in your family's life is so very important.  This is THE HEART of the church.  THE HEART of God.  This is why we exist - to join together to serve God.  To take pleasure in sharing with others.  Those we meet and those we may never meet. 
 This is the face of God- beautiful faces of people willing to give!!!!!  Oh CHURCH IF WE COULD CATCH THIS VISION TOGETHER- WOW THERE WOULD BE NO STOPPING US!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
 WE COULD WITH GOD DO ALL THOSE THINGS THAT ARE SAID TO BE IMPOSSIBLE!!!!!  We could adopt and support orphans worldwide- no problem!  We could support families in our area that need a helping hand- no problem!  We could end abortion- no problem!  We could help each other out with bills that are too high- no problem!  We could make sure every person feels the Love of God!!!  IT IS POSSIBLE!!!!!  FOR REAL!!!! 
 This may look cool, but by the time we were was several "layers" thick!!!!  :)
 It was just so much fun!!!  I mean some people think that serving the Lord must be a "have to" thing.  Like I serve with the children because no one else will.  Or I serve on this committee because I have for the last 10 years and well....why not.  Or I give because I feel I have to because we get a "lecture" at church every year about it. 
 Not this young lady who I worked beside!  SHE GAVE because she was happy to!  This lit up face is NOT fake at all.  She didn't do it because she had to.  She felt no obligation- it was HEART!  It was a feeling of - are you serious.  All this food will help feed those who have little or none?  When I told her more in detail about it.  She just beamed from ear to ear!!!  She was THRILLED!  I know this event changed her.  Which in turn changed me!

Guess what?  I think it changed everyone who was there.  Because it becomes not a have to or I guess I will....but a I CAN'T WAIT TO DO IT!!!!
 There is a family we are close friends with from our church.  They have 4 young boys.  The mother told them of a man she meant that was homeless that she had spoken to.  They then said so- let's go back and find him.  Does he have a coat?  Does he have a place to stay tonight?  Could we go buy him a coat?  What else can we do for him?  How about help him buy the house next door. 

My friends- THAT IS THE HEART OF GOD!  They have "caught" it.  They get it.  That attitude of service and giving is in their mind.  They even went as a family to try to find this man again.  Now even though they didn't find him today......I am pretty sure they will keep looking.  I am pretty sure the next time they see someone in need they will have all kinds of great ideas of how to help! 
 I know of a family who ate beans and rice every night for a month!  Why?  Because they wanted to raise money for an adoption- and in their daughter's country that is what most people would be lucky to have.  I will tell you what it created a feeling of giving.  It meant that they LIVED their faith. 
 I know of many families who daily do not do xyz, or they go without this, or they willingly give because there are needs that they have discovered whether that is giving to an organization or taking in another child.....they do it for GOD!  This is their heart. 

If you watched the service Jason and I got to be a part of in sharing our heart for foster and adoption- you would have also seen the person who has worked for Life Care (the local pregnancy crisis center), the people who have started a nursing home ministry at the nursing home that is state run.  AMAZING HEARTS for God!  The next week- people who have a heart for those on the street- s*x slavery in our area, people who lost a son to heaven through cancer and support others having to walk this horribly hard road, and a business woman who gave her life and her horrible job situation to God and HE BLESSED her in amazing ways- because she surrendered it to HIM! 
 These people GET IT!  They know what the Lord has set them here to do.  Not sit around or get so caught up in busy work to ignore those around you.  It reminds you what it is like to actually serve God. 
 I have to say that this part of your life can get redundant.  Sometimes  we get so caught up in things that we realize we really don't enjoy serving in this capacity anymore.  We "burn" out and we leave it altogether.  I get it.  I have seen it happen.  No one else wants I guess I will.....for another 10 years. 
 Do you understand that God wants MORE FOR YOU?  I mean God is not a stingy Father.  He created you.  He wants what we want for our kiddos.  MORE!  Not the average.  Not just the same ol' same ol'.  Our Father has a heart so big He created us and REDEEMED US through His death on the cross. 
 That is not a "little" love.  That is a HUGE LOVE. 
 So really the reason we need to create the attitude of service is not so we will look good to others.  It isn't so we can write it on our resume or something we can put on an application. 
 Have you ever thought of that?  It is a striking thought for me. 
 Whew!  Somtimes I think I am lucky to survive the day.  Sometimes it is all I can do to just keep my kiddos from arguing 90% of the day.  UGH!  But in all reality we ARE RAISING AN ARMY FOR THE LORD! 
 If that is the case- then why do we think so small?  Why do I think so small?  Why do I forget this is HUGE?
 People ask me all the time what effect would this have on my children - if we adopt?  I say this is an easy question.  (*This is part of our service everyone has many different kinds of service.)

Andrew at one point when we simply said we may stop with 8 children.  Looked at us and said but mom and dad there are so many more children that need homes.  GULP!  Ummm.....yep parents listen when your children are preaching- they get it! 
 Abigail the other day when our youngers were telling us how many more children we should have said- well I think we could do 15, but I don't know if we could do 20.  :) 

Yep- this is their heart! 

When we sat down with our kiddos and said we are going to be bringing home a child that will be very different from us.  They will need all of us to support them together- our kids cheered!

When we have said let's do some service whether it is give away a bunch of food, or buy a meal for someone standing beside the road, or packing food, or buying presents for others at Christmas, or sending money to Vision or Compassion or other ministries and we talk about how they will be able to provide services to others all around the world. 
This doesn't happen on accident.  I am not saying it is me, because if it were me- I would totally mess it up completely!  I would say- it is too much God I can't do this. 

GOD SAYS:  I have already done it all for you!  Your service to me is a way to realize the depth of my love.  Would you like to know HIS LOVE?  ME TOO! 

God says: Give to me.  Give to me your time, your money, your energy, your talents, your HEART!  I will make it into something way bigger- because after all I am THE GOD OF THE WHOLE UNIVERSE!  I CAN with you :).  PRAISE HIS NAME!!!!

What are some of the things you do in your family to crate an attitude of service? 

Monday, October 29, 2012

How to create a love for learning

 Haven't written about homeschooling for quite a while, but wanted to write a few simple thoughts on the love of learning.  This can be applied to anyone!  Whether you teach your children at home or whether you send your children to any kind of school. 

(By the way the above picture is of my sweet oldest baby who is turning 13- VERY SOON!!!!)  Passing on the tradition of making yummy cookies! 
 There are many factors with how we can create a love for learning. 
 1)  You have to love to learn!  Yep, so if you hated school or still are hating school or the thought of learning new things.....or maybe it is at the bottom of your list of things to do.  We can not expect our children to wake up and somehow love it. 
 Now that may sound harsh, but if we hate the whole voting can we expect our children to learn to vote?  Of course that is one example. 
 How about looking thing up?  Do you love to look things up that your kids have questions about?
 Or do you put them off and say oh well maybe someday we will learn about that. 
 2)  The best time to learn it- IS NOW!!!!! 
 I am not saying that anytime your child has a question you have to stop everything you are doing. 
 I am however saying that you do have to stop most of the time and look it up.  Find a book.  Rent a movie- or get one from the library.  Find a coloring picture about it.  Go to pinterest- there are a million crafts for every kind of question and study unit imaginable!!!!  GREAT RESOURCE!
 The problem is if we continually say- wait wait wait.  Our kids get frustrated.  Remember when you were younger and people said just wait?  Yeah....I remember not liking that so much. 
 But man can you catch your child's interest in so many new things if you get excited with them NOW and look things up and find things for them to learn. 
 ***Just as a side note:  Ummm.....I am totally NOT a #1 teacher, do everything right, and teach perfectly- AT ALL!  I try and learn with my kids.  Just so you know- I preach to myself all the time!
 3)  Figure out new ways to learn!  Remember those different ways we all learn?  Touching, hearing, seeing, and doing.  They are ALL so important!  I have really found that my kids need ALL of them to learn the best and retain the most. 
 So anytime you can- do not just talk at them.  Show them.  Remind them.  Find a book on it.  Read it together.  Talk about the book.  What is your favorite part of the book?  What is your favorite fact about it? 
 Let them share the facts and all about the books.  Don't expect to tell them everything and have them learn.  Let them make a model of it.  Let them share with their siblings or yourself. 
 4)  Let THEM do the work.  Oh man.  I am such a control freak.  I wish I were kidding.  I am not! 
 This is an area I struggle with.....a lot!  I want to do it all myself :) he he he.......
 The problem with that is we have to allow our children to do it.  To feel it.  To imagine it.  To read it.  To create it.  To ruin it.  To make a huge mistake over it.  To get it wrong.  To get it right.  To feel the pride that only comes with doing it themselves.
 When we take away that ability........we ruin the love of learning. 
 5)  The most important thing you can do as a parent is to?
 When they get it wrong.  When they fail to get it right- what is your response?  Is it ugly? 
 Or do you smile and give redirection?  Yep totally failed at this before.  I have worked very hard however in helping my babes get through things that are hard. 
 This includes a lot of tongue biting!  Thinking before opening the mouth!  Something I am not good at.  ;)
 By the way is this little man cute or what???  LOVE to squeeze him!
 OK- so I was thrown in the deep end when we came to grips with dyslexia.  I hate that word!  I do not like the fact that any one of my children would have such a hard time with reading.  Because that would mean that .......ugh!  That would mean that this was going to be a loooonnnnnngggg road.  That I would have to set aside my excitement for them to get it all right now! 
 It would crush me.  Except- their spirit of continuous trying and trying and overcoming one step at a time!  WOW- that is when you as a parent learn wayyyyy more than they do!  Just sayin'. 
 This is where the rubber meets the road so to speak.  How can you continually encourage your child even when there is an obvious road block? 
 You have to have a resolve that no matter what- even if they never get it.  Even if the one million things you try- don't work.  You will continually keep working and trying and researching until you have exhausted everything in order for your child to succeed. 
 Let me tell you - this is so much easier said than done. 
 Keep trusting that the Lord will give you all the tools needed to teach your children. 
 One thing that breaks my heart is when I hear parents say they couldn't do what I do.  The reason it breaks my heart is not because I expect everyone to homeschool.  It is because they think I possess some magical ability.  I don't!  I am pretty stubborn.  Not sure that is an asset or a set back? 
 Teaching your children is like loving your children.  You do your best.  At the heart of is all about doing your best because you love your child so very deeply!  You would give them anything you can if it would help  them! 
I think EVERY PARENT can and should teach their children.  Some of us - it happens to be all day.  Some of isn't.  It is our job to make sure our children are learning.  Maybe we can't help them with every "problem" or situation, but we can help them to the best of our ability and we can all ENCOURAGE our children as often as humanly possible to LOVE LEARNING! 

***HUGE PRAYER REQUEST:  For this horrible hurricane Sandy......and the devastation.  PLEASE PRAY FOR SAFETY!!! 

***Please pray for a sweet baby girl named Joy.  She is a few weeks old and was born with a heart condition.  There have been some amazing miracles happen, but she is in a very very severe situation and needs God's continued healing!  Thank You!

***Please also pray for our is so crazy because I feel like change is our "usual" he he he....but anywho.  There is more change for us coming as well.