Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Mother's Legacy...

My mom passed away on Tuesday, December 21, 2010. She passed away peacefully from this world and straight into the arms of Jesus. She was surrounded by her entire family. The room was filled with singing, prayer, tears, and joy. I know our 'going away' celebration could NEVER match that of her 'homecoming' celebration, but I am so thankful to God that he allowed each person to be there by her side as she passed on to her forever life with the King of Kings.

It's really hard to think of her not being here anymore. Every picture of her seems to stare straight into my heart. When someone you really care about is gone, you start to think about all the things you should have done, the things you should have said (or not said), the extra time you should have spent with that person through the years...just everything. To be honest, I've never lost anyone who was as close to my heart as my mom was.  I mean, I've lost grandparents, other relatives, and even friends in the past, but I was either too young at the time to fully understand what was going on or I was not as close to them as I was with my mom.

I miss all those things that used to get on my nerves: the lecturing phone calls, the unwanted advice, the arguments... And, of course, I miss all the nicer things too. My mother was truly the strongest person I had ever known. Her steadfast faith in Jesus Christ still continues to amaze me. Her church, C Baptist, created a a short 6-7 minute video of her and her testimony for a special they did in their church back in May of this year. It was played at her funeral. I still can't watch it without tears coming to my eyes and that will probably always be the case. If you have not watched it yet, please take the time to do so.

In the months before she passed away, she spoke to me a lot about the Holy Spirit. She told me the Holy Spirit was her comfort, her guide, her advisor, her helper, her strength... I have so much more to say about this topic, but I will save that for a future blog once I can collect my thoughts together.

On a side note - I am so far behind in our home school blog postings. I will catch day.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Show me how to die

Wait...what? (cue record scratching screech) Show me how to die? No, I don't mean a physical death, but rather a spiritual death of self. That can only happen when I move out of my way long enough to let God take the lead. He's ready and willing and waiting patiently - I'm the one with control issues.

This is something that he has been dealing with me on for a long time. I know it will continue to be a struggle throughout my life as it is for every Christian, but I would rather run this race with more of Him in the lead than me.

When I try to control things, it never ends up very good. And I know that is going to be the case every single time, but I still continue to jump in and mess things up. You'd think I would have learned by now! I know the plans he has for me are way better than anything I could imagine for myself, but I really do have a hard time letting go and letting God take the lead.

At the start of the school year, I had all these ideas in my head of what I wanted to do as far as school was concerned, of what I wanted to be involved in, what I wanted the kids involved in. I started out going strong with Him in the lead, but somewhere along the way, I moved back into 1st place and got on the wrong path all-together.

When my mom's cancer went to the next level a few months ago and she started requiring more one on one care, I think that is when more of me started to take over. I thought I could still do this and this and that, AND take care of my mom, AND take over my brother's schooling, AND do everything else in-between. I've had to let go of everything I wanted and focus on what God wanted. And believe me, I put up quite a fight (and still continue to do so).

God is showing me that sometimes it is the most basic and simplest of things He wants me to focus on. There will be a time and place for some of those other things, but that time is not now.

God is showing me that I need to stop giving Him my left-overs. If I start out giving Him the 1st part of my day and I end up having to cut something out at the end of the won't be Him. Who really looks forward to left-overs anyway? 

God is showing me that deviations do not have to equal disaster. That no matter what road-block is placed in my path, he'll lead me around it, over it , or crashing straight through it, but He'll be by my side every step of the way.

God is showing me how to die...

The title of this post came from a beautiful song titled "Show Me" By Audrey Assad. Here is a piece of that song along with a link to hear it for yourself...Believe me, it is beautiful!
"Bind up these broken bones. Mercy bend and breathe me back to life. But not before you show me how to die. God, not before you show me how to die."

You might also want to check out this blog. The post on 11/30/10 titled "Decreasing" has really been an inspiration to me. And I look forward to reading more of her thoughts on this.

Live, Learn, & Love Together

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hamburger Experiment

Day 2...

No big changes. The hamburger didn't have any bad smell or odor to it. No bugs or flies. The only thing we noticed was the bread and meat becoming a bit more firm. 

Days 3-4...

The outer edges of the meat and bread were starting to harden a little more. The centers of both were still a bit spongy and the meat was getting darker around the edges.

Days 5-7...

Pretty much the same as above. Day 7 is when we really started to notice the hamburger patty shrinking.

Days 8-10...

On Day 9, we noticed the bun was starting to crack in the center. By Day 10, everything was as hard as a rock and the patty was much darker. Still no smells, no bugs, no nothing.
Wednesday (the 15th) will be the final day of our hamburger experiment. By that time, the hamburger will officially be 2 weeks old. We are pretty much bored with this experiment. Perhaps we'll finish off the experiment by trying to crack the hamburger and bun to pieces with hammers. I think the kids would like that ;) I will post one last review on this experiment including some video clips of the kids thoughts on this whole thing.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I Choose to Believe

This song "Carry Me" so perfectly fits the steadfast faith and belief our mother has in Jesus Christ despite her relentless battle with cancer. I hope you enjoy this little video I put together depicting my thoughts on her battle with cancer...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

We're not weird...really...I promise


Someone sent me a web link a month or two back (or did I come across it on a forum?) either way, it was about McDonalds... And I saw this literally the same day I had just eaten a double cheesburger from there, so it was still in my stomach and fresh on my mind. Anyway, this guy had taken video documentation of the changes (or should I say non-changes) in an uneaten McDonalds hamburger over the course of several months and years. We searched around and found several more videos on you tube just like it all saying the same thing...McDonalds hamburgers don't mold and decay like normal patties and buns. So that got me thinking, if the buns and patties don't break down and decay like normal hamburgers, what does that say about the ingredients and preservatives that are in them and how hard do our stomachs have to work to break down and digest them? Needless to say, the kids and I were intrigued (and a bit disgusted) by this and decided we would do our own McDonalds science experiment.

Today, my dad called and wanted to meet us somewhere in L-town for lunch. Lo and behold, the kids guessed it... McDonalds. So, before leaving, we picked up a plain McDonalds hamburger. We are going to keep it wrapped it its paper in the laundry room and take a picture of it from time to time to document and see for ourselves if it will or will not mold and decay.


Before you think we are weird or that we'll go crazy on some beef buying binge- let me just say... we will not be adding more to our collection, we will not create a shrine of hamburgers, we do not plan on keeping it long term, and as soon as I start smelling anything funky or start seeing little bugs and flies everywhere, that sucker is outta here! 


McDonalds hamburgers are like this, I wonder how many other fast food places are similar?

We'll be updating the progess in the days to come, so check back soon :)

Click on the 'nutrition' link on McDonalds website to see the ingredients in the buns and patties.

Here is the link to that video I mentioned earlier along with some other info.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Making Christmas Meaningful

Each year, we try to find new ways to make Christmas more meaningful. It is so easy to get caught up with gifts, lights, decorations and lose sight of what is most important . Last year, we retired our Little People nativity scene and our 'What Does Jesus Want For Christmas' set and passed it on to younger cousins to enjoy. When the kids can tell you what is in every box before you ever even read the Bible Scriptures - you know it's time to move on to something else ;) We needed new and fresh ideas. My sister told me about a book called Redeeming the Season by Kim Wier and Pam McCune. I bought it on sale last Christmas in preparation for this Christmas. I absolutely love this book... So many new, easy, affordable, and inspiring ideas to bring the focus on Jesus!
Redeeming the Season: Simple Ideas for a Memorable and Meaningful Christmas (Focus on the Family Resources)

This year, we chose to do an activity called 'Attribute Ornaments'. I purchased 25-30 mini ornaments (last year on sale) to use on a mini-Christmas tree (I had stored in the closet collecting dust). Each day, from December 1st-December 25th, we choose an ornament. We read and discuss a passage of scripture that talks about an attribute (or Godly quality) of Jesus, then we use a permanent marker to write the name of that attribute on the ornament and hang it on the mini-tree. I think the kids will enjoy taking turns looking up the scriptures, reading the passages, and hanging the ornaments on the tree.

Since I gave away the Little People nativity set, my table where it used to set...feels empty. It looks like I'll be hunting around for a more grown up nativity set now :) I really wanted to buy a beautiful hand-carved olive tree nativity set from Salam Ministries in Bethlehem, My sister brought me a beautiful figurine from them when she visited Bethlehem a few years back and I loved the smell and look of it and thought  it would be wonderful to have an entire nativity set made just like that figurine, but the shipping and handling was just as expensive as the nativity set, so I'll stick to looking for one here in the the USA...unless my sister plans another trip to Bethlehem...then I'll send my wish list along with her ;)

Nativity 488