Posted in Mommy's Bible Time, Spirited Blessings

Fellowship With My Children


I turned the camera on while we were doing our morning basket today at the park in our marina. The sea gulls were really loud. I couldn’t hear everything in the footage. It didn’t matter. I watched all three pieces.

When I watched the recordings this evening I was able to cherish the events of today that much more. It’s one of the benefits I suppose of owning a family You Tube Channel. It did a few good things for me. I will name a few:

  • It made me realized how much the Lord is blessing our little family. The picture I had before me was magnificent! Filled with joy laughter, freedom. Filled with His love, mercy and grace. How thankful I am to be able to fulfill my promises to God to raise them unto the Lord!


“I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth. “

1 John 3:4
  • Watching the footage also showed me some of my children’s own quirks from a new lens. I got to see how they were holding their pencils, how their posture was, what distracted them during read aloud times, and more.

“Train up a child in the way he should go,
           Even when he is old he will not depart from it. “

Proverbs 22:6
  • It also made me realize how smooth school can run with just a simple change of scenery. We all need that sometimes. And I’m so happy winter hibernation is over! The sun was out and it was a beautiful hot day. It lifted my mood for the whole rest of the day. I think I was even more productive due to my change in mood. Sunshine, fresh air, chasing toddlers in the breeze. It’s all so needed. And sometimes it can be hard to come by in the winter.


“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; 
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. 
Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this?”

Job 12:7-9
  • Watching today’s most important events made me realize how much I need to keep doing this with my children. It has forced be to see how important it is that I put it high on our list of priorities. We weren’t just making family memories, spending time outside, or homeschooling. Most importantly, we were dwelling in God’s word as a family. In the future, I hope to intentionally add more moments like these to our home school day.

The highest priority we parents have is to raise our children to love the Lord. I want the experience of diving into the Word to be among their favorites. May they think back this time of fellowship with fondness and joy as they reflect on how their relationship with the Savior began!

You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 3: 14-15
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Posted in Mommy's Bible Time, Spirited Blessings

Family Priorities


I really enjoyed reading the Bible with Dad today.

My son, age nine

It wasn’t planned. My husband and I were discussing the Something in the Bible (as we often do) and he decided to open up the passage and take a closer look. I don’t really remember what exactly we were reading (I think we were somewhere in Isaiah). I don’t think it mattered to my son.

I can remember the room getting quiet as Daddy read the sweet words of God from those beloved pages. I can remember my son’s argumentative demeanor transforming. What began as a simple explanation to me about something in the text had turned into a family study. He listened, asked questions, and absorbed. He was soaking up the Living Word like a sponge.

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12

And Those Words, Hours Later, Were Proof of Something Profound.

Those words should bring one joy. But him saying that sweet little sentence was sting to my heart. I had let our morning devotions slide. I was still reading with them as we always had, but nothing was planned. I was doing the minimum to check it off the list. We were more and more frequently passing over this “task”. Sometimes I would have them read the Bible for themselves “instead”.

What led me here? How did I stray so seemingly easily from something I know to be truth and have even seen fruit from?

Family Bible Time is So Much More!

As I thought about my son’s words that evening I began to realize I had let my priorities shift. I knew the importance of studying the Bible with my children. To some degree I could even say it was subconscious. I let time and other worries get the better of me.

“God has called you to a more profound task than being a care-provider. You shepherd your child in God’s behalf. The task God has given you is not one that can be conveniently scheduled. It is a pervasive task. Training and shepherding are going on whenever you are with your children. Whether waking, walking, talking, or resting, you must be involved in helping your child understand life, himself, and his needs from a biblical perspective.

Tedd Tripp, author of “Shepherding a Child’s Heart”

But it Was Also Conscious.

I had used my children’s attitudes on harder mornings to justify skipping this time for the sake of ease. What I hadn’t recognized, is that the small amount of grumbling usually goes away once the passages have been read and discussed. If there was no family Bible time however, there was no telling when the end of the “bad day” was. Bickering had increased, selfishness, and lying had increased. I was suddenly able to point it all back to one root cause.

Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted [hthe kindness of the Lord.

1 Peter 2:1-3

I had also used my children’s growing reading and comprehension abilities as an excuse to exclude us all from a quality communion with God. Don’t get me wrong, they should be reading on their own, but not at the expense of reading with Mom and Dad. This time teaches them how to have a relationship with God on their own. It also builds our relationship with each other on more than just an intellectual level. When we get to know each other in Christ, we grow to love each other as He would love.

My son has always craved structure. He has always needed something he could hold onto and count on. I hadn’t realized until these words were said that he had gotten most of the foundation he needed from being consistently, regularly, and heavily filled with the passages of scripture.

These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Moving forward, I had a few things to address God with in prayer:

  1. I had to thank Him for showing me in such a low- priced way. Had the light bulb not come on til later, the price tag may have been way higher.
  2. I had to thank Him for my son’s recognition of what was going on. He may fold his arms in a huff every now and then when he’s tempted away, but he knows on some level that it is good for him and that he is feeding his soul.
  3. I had to thank Him that I have such a strong leader for our family. One who challenges me daily to learn new things from the Bible. Things to share with my children, and even things for my children to overhear.
  4. I had to repent. I knew letting this precious time slide was no solution, but I had allowed my justifications of the situation to cloud my knowledge of God’s calling and will for our family.

I want better for my children.

I want them to understand that no matter what gets added to the schedule, no matter what changes in our day to day lives that meditation on God’s word is our first priority. I want them to know that no matter how old they are or how many ups and downs there are, that Mom and Dad are always willing and happy to open the Bible and rejoice increasingly with them in His character, His love, and His life. I long to see their relationship with God blossom into something that spreads through every relationship that they have.

Posted in Mommy's Bible Time, Spirited Blessings

Expectations for the Near Future


“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”

Proverbs 16:3

The Lord has brought our family through very unique circumstances and living situations in the past decade. I would be outright lying to say that it has all been easy sunshine and roses. We have had our fair share of trials. We have struggled in ways that the average middle-class American has not had to deal with. We’ve struggled through difficult living situations, problems with family members and so-called friends, outright poverty, and more. However, I wouldn’t have changed a bit of it given the choice.

 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4

Each trial, each challenge, journey, and chapter in our lives has brought us to where we are today. And, most importantly, they have brought us to who we are in Christ.

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Divine circumstances beyond our control had led us to living on our 29′ sailing vessel in Hawaii. I had a strange contentment about this sudden and drastic change in our lives. From the outside looking in, no one was able to understand. God had led us through enough in our married life together for me to have an assuring certainty of God’s sovereign will over our lives.

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As it turned out, He used that time in our lives to yet again draw closer to Him. Furthermore, He used that time to help us to grow closer together as a family and to minister to those in need around us (both physically and spiritually). We were able to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and show the love of Christ through prayer, Bible studies, and fellowship. God used that time in our lives as a way to teach us how to become more powerful disciples for His glory. It seemed that when we didn’t know how we would take care of our own family, the inexplicable answer was to feed His sheep first. The more we poured out to others, the more poured into that tiny vessel.

9.25 upload farm 003

Which brings me to my main point: our plans for the future. My husband and I firmly believe that we were brought through that unique time in our lives to prepare us for what is to come. The idea came to him quite some time ago and has slowly been forming into solid plans as God opens doors and introduces us to friends who love the Lord and even more unique possibilities.

The concept is simple:

The Only Seaborne Frontier Missions Organization in the World

God has given us a passion for the sea. And our passion is His passion.

  • There are many persecuted Christians throughout the world who could benefit from a sailing vessel that could transport them to safety.
  • There are many countries who could benefit from transportation of goods across waters to provide relief from natural disasters.
  • There are various places where Bibles are illegal, but docking a boat would not require a customs search.

This is where Mission Fleet comes in. Our goal is to sell all we have and move on a missionary vessel within the next six months or so and join a small fleet of 1-2 other sail boats in a cause for Christ. Our family desires to live for God and to follow the words of Jesus:

“…go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

Mark 10:21

 

Until then, we will be doing all we can to help those in need where we are.

If you want to keep up with the latest on the Mission Fleet:

http://www.missionfleet.org

If you would like to follow us in this unique journey God is calling us toward, my husband and I will be coauthors on

The Family Sailboat Blog

I cant wait to see what God brings about in the next chapter!

 

Posted in Mommy's Bible Time

Urgent: Relief Needed in South Texas


 

My husband I have been in contact with some friends in Liberty County, Texas that are in need of immediate supplies.  We are so grateful Houston is getting help but there are so many more places around that are in need, and it appears Red Cross can not reach them all.  The local churches are housing persons that are displaced.
They are in need of:- blankets
– all types of bedding
– Food
– Water
– toiletry items
– laundry soap
– baby items (formula, diapers etc.).

My husband will be transporting these items today and several other weekends, to Liberty County, Texas. We have spent much of our free time this week and all of yesterday preparing. Please consider donating funds so we can purchase as many items possible.  And please, even if you can’t make a donation at this time, never underestimate the power of prayer!

* ALL funds will go entirely towards these items which will be distributed to those in need in Liberty County.

Help spread the word!

 

Operations will be conducted by local Texans from the DFW and surrounding areas. Members of the Mission Fleet organization will be participating by assisting in logistics and much more. The Mission Fleet is an international seaborne missions organization which utilizes experienced seamen and mariners to provide aid and support to existing missions, with an emphasis on evangelism and soul winning in the context of meeting the needs of others in relief efforts. For more information, check out the Mission Fleet website at:
Www.missionfleet.org
Posted in Mommy's Bible Time, Spirited Blessings

Family Bible Time


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I’m so happy with the Bible lessons I’ve been doing with my children each morning! I was going for easy planning this year along with something that was budget-friendly (On A Dime, right?). While I really love the A Beka Book Bible series, they were not a cost-effective option for us this school year. I also wanted something that was a little more involved with my children instead of having them sit still and listen to a lesson. I’ve pieced together a few different ideas that seem to be going really well for our little ones (ages 4 and almost 7). By having a few different valid options on hand for us, I can easily hold a study with them with minimal planning and a high interest level.

I keep (almost) everything in a canvas bin that sits near our dining room table. This way, I can easily pull out what I need while they are eating breakfast. By the way, I’ve found that full mouths make for still students! The contents of the basket are as follows:

  • memory verse cards in organized booklet
  • “treasure” boxes and “treasures” for memory work incentives
  • My NASB Bible (on hand, not actually in the bin)
  • My First Bible
  • The God and Me Bible (for girls ages 2-5)
  • My Very First Bible: New Testament Stories for Young Children
  • The Kingfisher Children’s Bible
  • Nave’s Topical Bible
  • The Book of Life series (this is an eight book set, so it sits on our bookshelf)
  • Various board books and small stories from the Bible
  • Lessons printed from Easy Peasy all in one home school (hole punched and placed into a folder)

This year, I’ve kept the planning to a minimum using my handy Bible bin, but that doesn’t mean I’m going shallow. I try and use my Bible first (sometimes that’s all I use) and only read from the children’s versions if I feel they aren’t understanding or sometimes just to add interest.

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We open with a prayer and I begin each morning by going through our current memory verses. I found this AMAZING video on how to keep them all organized. I’m so glad this idea came to me when it did! Our organizer holds the A Beka memory verse cards, their AWANA memory verses, Sunday school verses, and the verses my husband and I are learning in our 2:7 group. This system ensures they are getting the proper amount of time on each of their verses while not overloading them with ALL of them EVERY morning. I encourage you to check out the video here. I made ours using an old pocket planer sleeve. I used larger index cards for the dividers and a rubber band holds it into place.The treasure boxes have helped us so much with our memory verses too. My daughter got a treasure box at the beginning of the month with a little gem in it for completing her memory verse at Sunday school. As soon as I saw it, I knew we would have to continue the tradition! I read Psalm 119:11 to them the next morning, “Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.” They (especially my youngest) are actually working hard each day to earn the “treasures”. I give them a button to hold in their very own treasure chest each time I’m convinced they have really hidden it in their heart. I place their initials on the back of each card to tell me who has already earned their treasure.

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Next, I pick a “lesson plan”. Yes, usually I pick it right then and there (unless there is a specific character trait or topic I have planned out specifically for a child or particular situation).


Option 1:

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As I stated above, I have the free Easy Peasy lesson plans printed out and placed in a folder for a quick reference. To save on space (and paper and ink), I printed them with four per one side of the page. I can glance at it and know right where to turn in the Bible. When I’m done, I highlight that particular lesson so that I know where we are next time I choose this reading route. I will warn you: If you use this guide by the letter, these are going to be a bit watered down discussions and you will not get the amount of engagement you are seeking. I use this as more of an outline of what to study with them rather than using it as a word-for-word guide.


Option 2:

The One Inch Bible Study“. I flip through my Bible at random and have one child stop me whenever he/she wants. Then, I hold up about an inch using my thumb and index finger. I scroll through the chosen page until the other child tells me to stop. We read whatever inch we land on! Then, we try and work through these four questions:

  1. What does it say?
  2. What does it mean?
  3. What does it mean to me?
  4. What am I going to do about it?

I like this especially for days when we’ve gotten up later than usual (or when they’re scarfing down breakfast abnormally fast), because we can get some content and interest flowing without necessarily spending a lot of time on it. Some days I need that. Other days, however, it takes me by surprise. I’ve had days where the one inch really spoke to me. I’ve also experienced times when a child will take it to the next level asking really thought provoking things about it. Gotta love when that happens!


Option 3:

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As I also mentioned above, we have a series of eight hardcover books entitled “The Book of Life”. It’s an older series created using the unabridged King James version of the Bible categorized and in the form of classical picture books. I found the set at a flea market I recently attended and I talked the vendor down to just $36! I just finished the teacher’s guide and it is AMAZING! It’s a great outline of how to engage your child in bible study. It has fun activities, ideal verses for memorization, beautiful art, timelines, and it even has a full list of positive and negative character traits emphasized in individual Bible stories. It is a book set that I will use for probably the next decade or so. This series really made me rethink the way that we educate children (in general and in the Bible) today compared to how wholesome, in-depth, and quality it used to be. I HIGHLY recommend this book set. If you can’t find the whole set, get AT LEAST volume 8. You won’t regret it!

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I don’t intend on using this the as my most frequent of choices right away, but more as a way to expose them to the King James language a little bit through needed character studies. I will also be using it for referencing in art, timelines, and more.


Option 4:

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Nave’s Topical Bible will also help me with character traits. It’s useful for when I want to into greater detail on a topic we are already in the process of talking about too.


We almost always read something from one of the picture Bibles just for fun. And sometimes I’ll throw in a free printable I find online. Once in a while, I’m even able to sneak a memory verse into copy work later in the day. What home school mom doesn’t love a two-for-one deal?!

What do you do for your quiet time? Any suggestions for our family on a no-to-low budget and minimal planning? I’d love to hear from you!

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Posted in Mommy's Bible Time

Discipleship, End Times, And Christian Living


This is one of my favorites in a new line of youtube Bible studies I’ve been following. Very in-depth and raw. I love it when people are not afraid to speak the truth. Even when it may offend others. Some can relate to these topics especially in relation to new believers and those struggling to believe because of how they may feel about the hypocrisy growing ever so common in the church today.

Let me know what your thoughts are!

Posted in Mommy's Bible Time

Contentment


 

Contentment.

How many of us can honestly say we are content?

And if you do indeed feel content, and your circumstances change for the worse, can you still be content?

I’m not referring to being able to cheer up when you get down.I’m not talking about feeling good at the present moment.I’m certainly not talking about living in the moment.  I’m speaking of a inner peace and certainty that all will be for His best, even if it isn’t necessarily what you would have chosen as your own personal best.

We’ve all had an idealistic daydream at one point or another: having that perfect American dream house or car, early retirement, perfect children who don’t make messes, tell lies or tell you no, or perhaps even perfect health. But the fact is that we live in a fallen, poverty stricken, greed ridden, filthy world.

And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12:15, ESV

You can’t have it all- not in this life. And God designed it perfectly that way. Far too often I find people teaching God’s word with the “health and wealth” mentality. I’m not sure where this line of logic originated. Maybe from the temporal-minded sudo-reality that everything has it’s own natural consequences? Yes, if you touch a hot stove your hand will burn and it will hurt.

But what about your next door neighbor (we’ll call him Phil) who just got laid off from his job- that job that he worked harder than any other for- the one he’s been hard at work in for the past decade? Better yet, how about his family whose livelihood and whole world turned suddenly upside-down because of a corporate decision?  Did Phil just get too close to the stove and get burned? Maybe, but he must have gotten pretty close for his children to get burned, too. Maybe there was something we don’t know about that was between him and God that he is reaping the consequences from, but then again, maybe he is a modern-day Job. Remember, Job was God’s chosen vessel, an elect among elects. God gave Satan permission to take away all his riches, children, and wealth. God gave Job the honor of proving his faithfulness in this life.

I’m not saying that we are meant to meander through and not take anything from our tribulations; I think we can and should glean life-lessons from The Most High given any situation, positive or negative. Maybe God is allowing those things to happen to him as a blessing for the betterment of His Kingdom. How could such a horrible circumstance be viewed as a blessing?

“A man who endures trials is blessed, because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. ” James1:12, HCSB

“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

Remember the tree of the knowledge of good and evil referred to in Genisis 2 and 3? One of the things that I find so fascinating about it is that our Creator knew that if we were to truly  understand good, there had to be an opposite. The bad is put here on this earth- in this short chapter of our existence- to wake us up to how good our Father in Heaven really is. If our reality is to have the good life for our whole life, how could we ever honestly be thankful for it?

“For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genisis 3:5 NASB

I’ve been in tough circumstances on and off throughout my life. Ones that weren’t in my picture-perfect daydreams. Ones that have caused me to look to the Heavens and cry out asking, “WHY?!” or even, “What have I done to cause this kind of pain?” I’ve had way harder emotional and spiritual battles, but speaking from a strictly physical sense, most of my struggles were not as challenging as what I am going through right now.

So what’s the difference? I have learned over the years to be content with what I have. I have learned to see everything that passes as a part of His purpose and plan for me. I know that ultimately, and temporally, I am in the best of hands!

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” Philippians 4:11-12, ESV

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It is my hope and prayer today that those in similar situations can let go of the earthly in every sense and know that the suffering that comes in this life is a blessing, not a curse. It is a ray of hope, not a shadow of darkness, because it doesn’t matter what kind of a dark hole we find ourselves in, we have the lamp of Christ shining within each of us!

I can finally rest on and be content with that. Can you?

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