We Are The Branches

Today was probably one of the hardest homeschool days I have had in the past two and a half years. It was emotionally draining, exhausting and so very hard.

And of course, I probably made it harder.

Peanut and I clash sometimes. I love my sweet girl so very much. She is so much like myself, which is what most of our problems are.

Today was a day of struggles. Peanut struggled to stay on track. And she didn’t. Three hours later and her work wasn’t done (not for lack of understanding, just because she wouldn’t, then she’d cry because she didn’t want to, then she’d say she was horrible at it- she’s not) and I would struggle to keep my cool. And I didn’t. I struggled to stay calm about Bubba and his refusal to have a bowel movement anywhere near the bathroom. I halfway didn’t. (Is that possible?)

Although it was a hard day, and most of our bookwork, and a fun science experiment didn’t get done, all was not lost.

We sat down for breakfast, the three of us, and afterwards had Bible Study. John 15:5

I am the Vine, and you are the branches. If a man remains in me, and I in him, he will produce much fruit. Apart from me, you can do nothing.

We actually had an amazing discussion about John 15:1-2 also, how Jesus is the Vine, the Father is the gardener, and we are the branches. We talked about being pruned to produce good, tasty fruit.

And what I loved about this, is that our neighbor actually has a wild grapevine. So the children understood how the grapes were good, but not as good as store bought grapes. The neighbor doesn’t prune them. And they understand pruning because their father is a great hobby gardener. And the kids are always out there helping him.

I am actually looking forward to more discussions this week. I think this is a great springboard for learning the fruits of the Spirit, and working on developing those in each of us (myself included!).

Academically, the day went so horribly wrong. But I believe we laid the groundwork for some amazing life lessons this week about the kinds of fruit the Lord wants to grow in us.

A Year of Catch-Up

Recapping the past year in one post…

I will start with April, since I did happen to post up through last March.

April: Peanut turned 7 years old and wanted a “Rainbow Party”. Many friends came, and they all had a blast.

rainbowparty
Party Table

 

rainbow cake
Fondant and Buttercream Rainbow Cake

May: My twin sister and I had a quick three day trip back to San Diego to support our sister in the loss of her daughter at 30 weeks gestation.

June: Wonderful news, I was pregnant, and so thrilled.

July: My twin sister and I hosted a yard sale, Peanut had a very successful lemonade sale, and the next day I had some concerns, which resulted in an ultrasound. The test showed one healthy baby and one “non-viable egg sac”. One week later a follow up ultrasound at about 6 weeks, and both babies had not survived. Oh. And I turned 30.

August: Three weeks after the  devastating news, I finally miscarried. I was hospitalized due to blood loss. It took me three weeks to build my blood levels back I up to where I could stand for more than a few minutes, and clean my house. We also started second grade for Peanut. And I made a wedding cake for my neighbor. (Probably shouldn’t have done that- healthwise.)

wedding cake for neighbor
wedding cake for neighbor

September: I took on the role of co-teacher for our homeschool group.

October: Bubba turned 3; we celebrated with a Pirate Party. Bubba and his cousin dressed up as Jake and Captain Hook for Halloween.

Bubba's Birthday Cake
Bubba’s Birthday Cake

 

The Birthday Pirate
The Birthday Pirate
Trick or Treating
Trick or Treating

 

November: I announced to the Facebook world that I was 12 weeks pregnant! (yes, again! the pregnancy in the summer wasn’t announced nor was the miscarriage, other than to family and close friends at church)

Baby at 12 Weeks
Baby at 12 Weeks

December: I honestly can’t believe it’s over already, but we reflected on the gift of God’s Son, made over 20 dozen cookies and enjoyed family and friends.

So, 2013 was truly an eventful year. It was filled with grief and sorrow, but also with wonderful memories, beautiful family moments, and so much love. I learned, last year, that God is faithful, no matter our Earthly circumstances. That submitting to His will brings about peace I couldn’t even imagine. I learned many things about myself, about my faith, and about my limitations. And I can honestly say that it was a good year. Not because of what happened during the year, but because the year was given to me as a gracious gift. And because I am a different person than I was last January.

A NEW YEAR

*sigh*

Well, I gave blogging a shot last year. I went all the way through March. Then life hit. Hard. I will tell the story of my past year in a later post. I promise.

This post, however, is a happier post.

Welcome, 2014! The kids decorated last night, Peanut had a friend stay over, and Bubba even stayed up until 11:45!

Happy New Year!
Happy New Year!

I’m not a sentimental person when it comes to new years. I don’t usually set resolutions, and I’m really not good at remembering what they are. By January 7, I forget that I even set them, usually.

But it is a good starting point to get back into this website! (Thanks to whomever it was who started following me, which reminded me how far behind I was on this, which prompted me to reset my password and get on here!)

Some verses to ponder as you all embark on one more year:

Phillipans 3:13-14

No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not as I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and recieve the prize for which God, through Jesus Christ, is calling us up to heaven.

Ecclesiastes 3:11

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men, yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Make the best of this new beginning!

With Love,

Stacy

Basketball, Bible Study and Boys’ Underwear

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Saturday was Peanut’s first basketball game of the season. She has gotten really good at making baskets. She was “so super excited” to play her game.

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She’s been working on her dribbling, and trying to be able to dribble without looking at the ball. She’s improving, too.

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The game showed a lot of areas where we need to work on. Like, explaining to her *how* a game actually works. Tonight’s practice was promising, though. And she was playing defense amazingly in the scrimmage. She also was paying attention as to when to switch to offense. So this Saturday’s game should be fun.

My Tuesday Morning Bible study has been really convicting. When Jeff and I came together to decide that closing my child care would be the best decision for our family, I was very encouraged that: A) we made a decision together as a unified husband and wife; and B) Jeff would be encouraged that I could actually give him the space he needed to lead our family in the financial realm of life.

This was a HUGE step for me to take because I like to be in control. Of our money, of planning, setting goals, of everything. And God has been teaching me that HE is ultimately in control, and I NEED TO LET HIM DO HIS JOB.

I realized, by studying pride and humility, that I was trying to take back control of our life, and searching for ways I can work in some child care clients to make some extra money. Which is basically telling God, “You’re in control. I know that you’ll work things out. In the meantime, I’ll try to fix this on my own. I don’t trust you 100%”

I am a work in progress, you know.

On a lighter note, I loaded up on these today. Guess why.

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Bubba is doing amazingly well, and much better than I expected. Is it wrong of me to have low expectations for a 27 month old boy in terms of potty training? I only began this endeavor because he kept coming up to me and saying, “Mama! I pooped! Change me!” I figured I’ll give it a day or two, and if it fails miserably (which it still could) then we won’t speak of it again, and try another time.

He had zero accidents today. Until I left him in the care of his Daddy while taking Peanut to B-Ball practice, during which he peed in his underwear two times. And I got an exasperated phone call asking me where all the underwear was. Which is why you see the above. I stopped at Family Dollar and picked up a couple extra sets and some pull-ups for the church nursery on my way home tonight.

big boy training pants
(excuse the poor image, my phone was the closest thing I could grab at this moment)

Hip Homeschool Hop Button

Revival

The Lord is teaching me new things. My soul is ready, but my heart is nervous. I am a fearful person. I am not accustomed to change. I get set in my ways and I don’t want to be moved. But the Spirit has been softening my heart for months now, and I can see now that God seeks a revival in my life.

This isn’t about coming back to Christianity. This is about maturity. Growing in the Spirit. Cultivating spiritual fruits. And letting go of the control that I thought I needed to have.

Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

I am learning truths about who God is.

About learning to trust Him.

About my role as a follower of Christ.

How I am not defined by how much money I make.

How my success in life is not defined by what I do outside my home.

How keeping up with my laundry and dishes glorifies my God.

How God is in control of my life, even when I think I am.

About motherhood, and bringing up Godly children with values and virtues.

About stepping back and allowing my husband to possess the authority that God gave him.

I am excited to see the results of these changes, but I know that the road will be hard. I know that through this process, God will expose truths in me that will hurt. I am only ready with the strength I gain through my Savior, Jesus Christ.

John 3:16 I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength.

Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, Oh God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Goals…

It’s amazing how Life can get in the way of certain goals. I intended to start really working on keeping up this site four months ago.

Ah well, moving on.

Yesterday I cut up my credit cards. I was holding on to them like they were going to save me from something. But in reality, they are a trap. My husband and I have resolved to release ourselves from our $10,000 of debt, and holding on to two credit cards wasn’t helping. I believe that was an important step.

Essentially, we’re following the advice of Dave Ramsey and his Total Money Makeover. Cash for most purchases, $1000 Emergency Fund, and then throw everything you can at the pile of debt.

I am already armed with envelopes for the envelope system. We are almost halfway to an emergency fund. And I am on FIRE to get this debt gone. It’s like this THING over my shoulder that nags me and never relents. I am convinced that God does not look kindly on living with debt. The Scriptures have nothing kind to say about people who are in debt. In fact, the Scriptures WARN people not to go into debt for another person, or to guarantee the debt of another. Most of our debt was obtained frivolously, and without cause. It was for a bunch of “I-wants” and not out of necessity. So I do believe that the debt we carry is sinful. I am certain of the forgiveness for this sin, and I know that Christ has set us free from the sin, but we are still bound to it by the money we owe.

Soon we will be free of it, and I look forward to that day!