Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Scariest Moment Of My Life!

This past Thursday we officially kicked off our convention experience by attending the FPEA leaders forum.  

This is a time once a year where homeschool leaders from all over the state of Florida come together to be encouraged and informed so that we can go home and pour out to our members.  

The highlight of the day is that we are treated to a gourmet lunch.   

Little did I know that this "lunch" was going to be the most memorable of my life.

We started off with a yummy tropical salad:

We then moved to the main course which was Mahi Mahi with lobster sauce:

Doesn't that sound yummy?  

Well, apparently I have developed an allergy to what we assume is the Shellfish.  Within just a couple of minutes I began to feel like there was a lump in my throat.  I thought maybe I just needed to wash it down with some water and began sipping from my freshly filled glass. 

It was at that moment I knew I was in trouble.   

You see, I couldn't even get the water to go down as my throat began to swell.  

I cannot describe the panic that overtook me in that moment but I ran for the door with my dear friend Caroline hot on my heels.   

As I flew down the hall I began projectile vomiting in front of everyone and everybody. (blush)  I could feel my face and chest getting very hot and my neck began itching.  

Caroline went and got our friend Korey who is a registered nurse and I just surrendered to the Lord and to my friends.  Korey got an EMT and had him administer benadryl.  I cannot tell you how very grateful I am to Caroline, Korey, Dawn and Ann who missed out on their leaders forum experience to help me calm down and get settled.  

I praise the Lord with my whole heart for walking every single step of that journey right by my side.


Monday, May 30, 2011

Working Weekend!

 This was the first time I have ever worked the FPEA convention.  I am normally one of the moms roaming the aisles, looking at resources, purchasing curriculum, hanging out in the hallways & catching up with friends.  

This year I was at a booth and had the pleasure of meeting people I otherwise would not have.  It was GREAT! 

 My incredible team!
(Mary, Marie, John, Kerry and of course Ed the Mouse)

This will be our fourth year using Time4Learning.  We will be using it for our full math curriculum and it will supplement our language arts. 


Monday, May 23, 2011

Last Minute Tips For Convention!

For those of us who live in sunny Florida our FPEA Convention is coming up in just a few days!  How excited we all are to get to stay at the beautiful Gaylord.  It has a beautiful glass atrium that allows you to stroll beaches, walk boardwalks and gaze upon live alligators while INSIDE an air conditioned environment.

The speaker schedule is chock full of incredible topics this year.  Everything from Unschooling to Classical Education.  Did you know that the FPEA is the largest homeschool convention in the United States?!  This allows them to bring in some of the best speakers from all over our nation. 

If you are coming out this week here are some tips I've learned through my own misfortune:

Bring your own bottled water.  You can buy a flat for what you would pay for 1-2 bottles.

Wear comfortable shoes.  The vendor hall alone is the size of a football field. 

Bring your own snacks!  We get granola bars, crackers and cheese and I even make up a batch of muenster cheese chunks mixed with grapes in ziplocks.

Order your Meals To Go.  FPEA has worked out a special with the Gaylord and you can feed a family of four for just $15.  Check out their website to sign up and pay when you get there.

Bring address stickers along and use that when signing up for mailing lists.  It will save you a TON of time.

Go through your catalog and find out if any of your favorite vendors are offering specials.  

Time4Learning is discounted their annual online, full curriculum program from just 169.95.  (Normally runs 241.00)  They are also giving every person who signs up a FREE ONE YEAR PREMIUM SPELLING CITY MEMBERSHIP.  I know this because I get to help them at their booth this year.  Stop by and say "hi"!


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Scott, Sushi, Romance!

When I stepped down from the Pinellas Parent Educators Associaton this past month, one of my goals was to romance my husband.  I felt that in the busyness he had been incredibly sweet and patient while my time was divided.  

I so love how the Lord allows opportunities to tie our hearts to one another.  We had been given a gift certificate to Tsunami's and had an opportunity to use it this past weekend.  Oh My Goodness!  It was INCREDIBLE!  

Scott, who is not given to being overly emotional about things said that it was now his favorite sushi place.


Weight Watchers 5K! We Did It!

 I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me!

 My younger sister Brandy.

 My Hottie Scotty! (25 years later and I love him more)

 Becky giving us the pep talk!

 Here we GO!

 Look how happy we were!  ONE MILE!

 Sweet Becky's encouragement along the way!

 Mary, not feeling as excited by mile 2, but Bonni is keeping us motivated!

 He was loving the beautiful weather.

We completed our journey in just over one hour.  My camera broke so I couldn't get a pic at the finish line. :(  

I am so thankful to have my friends Bonni and Stacia there, as well as my beautiful sister Brandy and of course my amazing husband, Scott!  

I know that ALL of us loved how our fearless leader Becky ran back and forth keeping us encouraged.  She is a natural encourager. 


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hearing "HIS" Voice

Our family is taking a little break this week.  We have no TV or internet. (Other than the I Phone)  The first day I absolutely hated it.   I grumbled and complained for at least 12 full hours and then at 7:30 pm I did a complete 180!

I went from resenting to LOVING it! 

Last night, my mama heart was overflowing as we all gathered in the living room to read and play games for well over an hour.  The boys were pulling out puzzles and we were having deep conversations.  I didn't find myself trying to hurry through what we're doing because I wanted (thought I deserved) my down time to sit and veg in front of the television.

In the two days without T.V. I have found that my quiet times became crisper, clearer, more focused. 

“So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, so we may drift away from it.”  Hebrews 2:1

I so resemble and completely identify with this verse.  The problem with "drifting" is that you don't even see it happening.  

Have you ever been at the ocean, playing in the water and you look up to discover that you are a mile down the beach.  Your chair and towel are a tiny dot on the horizon?  It's so gradual you weren't even aware.  It takes a little bit of work to walk against the current to get back to the right place.  

That is what I've seen happening in my heart.  Slow gradual things of the world have pulled my heart in a way that has allowed me to drift from my first loves......., 

My walk with Jesus
My homeschool
My marriage
My friendships
My family

Nothing is wrong in any of those areas but they are not as crisp and sharp as they once were.  In the midst of my busy agenda, filled with good intentions I drifted.

“Praise the name of God forever and ever, for he has all wisdom and power.  He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings.  He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars.  He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness, though he is surrounded by light. 


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Surrendering My Children

“Do not love the world or anything in the world.  If anyone loves the world the love of the Father is not in him.  For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from  the world”. -- 1 John 2:15-16

 When my boys were little I was mentored by older, amazing, Godly women who encouraged me to love my children enough to invest my heart and time into helping them know boundaries while at the same time having fun and tying heart strings.

I fell head over heels in love with this new calling of mine.  Being a mom took on a whole new meaning. Watching my children flourish in our family fueled my excitement. 

One morning, I woke up and was quietly sitting before the Lord.  I don’t remember the details all these years later, but I felt the Lord speak directly to my heart: “Mary you have allowed your home to become child-centered. I want you to have a CHRIST-CENTERED life”

What?  What are you talking about Lord?  I am raising up my children for you.  How can that not be Christ-centered?  I truly remember being a little peeved at this thought.  Did God not realize how hard I (wince) was working? 

Here is what He showed me:  Somewhere along the road I had become focused on “my” ability to raise up my children.  I took great pride (ouch) in their achievements.  

My heart would soar when they would look my friends in the eye and remember to say, “Thank you” or “Yes sir, No sir”.   On the other hand, if they forgot to remember I would be furious.  I didn’t identify at the immediate moment what was going on but Jesus was faithful to help me grasp that this was pride

Somewhere in the midst of my good intentions my heart had begun to change.  My actions were based on selfish gain.  I lived on the self-centered highs of good days and despaired over the bad ones.  It became all about me.

"Mary, this calf you crafted by your own hands.  It is NOT God; therefore it must be smashed to bits"!  Hosea 8:6

God is still showing me how to smash my idols to bits.  All these years later and I have found great peace in surrendering my children to their Heavenly Father.  

My goal is to remember my part (Loving correction, training, discipleship an discipline) and to give God glory for His. (Their hearts) I am learning to thank the Lord when we see fruit and cry out, cling, depend, when we don't.  These are HIS boys!

 How do I learn to crave God more than anything?

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”--- Matthew 6:33

“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”  John 15:4-5
Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be." Matthew 6:19-21


Friday, May 13, 2011

You Are Invited!

Are you closing out your school year and wondering what to do for the next?  Have you found yourself itching for fellowship, accountability and encouragement?  

Classical Conversations

Classical Conversations might just be the perfect program for you.  After 13 years of homeschooling we are so excited to begin this new chapter in our lives.  

 Classical conversations is a Christ-Centered home centered community of families dedicated to loving Jesus and raising our children to do the same, while giving them an excellent education.  

There is a FREE information meeting scheduled for Thursday May 19th at 7pm!  We are meeting at the Panera off of 4th Street North.  (Across from Sunken Gardens) 

Please R.S.V.P. to Tara Kipp if you plan to attend: skipp1@tampabay.rr.com


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Planning Our Homeschool!

Praise the name of God FOREVER AND EVER, for he has ALL wisdom and power. He controls the course of world events; He removes kings and sets up kingdoms.  He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars.  He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness; though he is surrounded by light.  I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors, for you have given me wisdom and strength." -- Daniel 2:20-23

We are closing out another school year here at the Arnold's.  It's a time of reflection and prayer.  I stop and ask myself what has worked well for us, what hasn't, and why?  I also ask the Lord to show me areas I need to grow in.  He is so faithful!  His strength is truly made perfect in my weakness. 

Thank you, Lord for CHOSEN Co-op, Time4Writing, Time4Learning!

This Thursday is our year-end testing and I look forward to seeing how the boys did.  Two weeks from now is the PPEA graduation, four weeks from now is the FPEA convention, five weeks from now is the Classical Conversations Practicum, and then my favorite of all favorites...., RIVER HOUSE!  

The "River House" is a tradition I have with some very dear friends.  We go away to Sumter county to a friends river house and take all our curriculum, notes, journals and most importantly our bibles and we sit before the Lord has He pours HIS plans deep into our hearts.

So, as we finish out this year of homeschool,  I stop and ask the Lord who sets up Kings and Kingdoms to set up our homeschool for our 14th year! 

Mary, Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.