Thursday, April 25, 2013

Classical Conversations 2012/2013 Completed!

We Did It!

Thank you, Erika!  Mrs. Mullins and I loved our beautiful flower baskets.  I will try not kill them.  

The kids did an amazing job on their apologetics papers! 

Saying Thank you to Mrs. Mullins!  She made this school year an incredible experience.  I love her.

My Colton....Responsible

These next several pictures are of the students receiving their goodbye gifts. 

Sophie (Discipline) and her mama

Bethie (Competition)

Logan (Strategic)

Terry (Intellect)

Moriah (Organized)

Sage (Organization)

Ciara (Presence)

Malcolm (Thinker)

Noah (Communication)

All the students received these beautiful certificates of completion.  Thank you, Mrs. Maser for making them for us.

Honoring my fellow directors. 

Being surprised by my community. (tears)

Honoring My Christa

Challenge III

The entire Foundations Community saying goodbye to Mrs. Maser.  (Lots of tears)  She'll be opening our Clearwater campus next year.

Seth's class playing, Mary Had a Little Lamb

Year end performance was packed!  People standing in the back.  Lots of hooting, shouting, cheers, and tears!

Saying goodbye to yesterday and preparing for a brand new tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Celebrating & Saying Goodbye!

You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore!  Psalm 16:11

As I type this blog post out, I am preparing to leave my house in just over an hour to attend my last day of CC for this school year.  I am excited, overjoyed, full of anticipation, and a tiny bit sad!

I am overjoyed to have more margin in my life for the next few months while we are on break. 

I am thrilled to have my Tuesday's free for the next few months while we renew and revive our hearts for next year.

I am excited to begin my training for my new chapter of moving from being a Challenge A Director, to being the Foundations/Essentials Director.


I am sad to say goodbye to the most incredible class experience I've ever had. Walking with the same families for 30 full weeks, all working on the same material, reading the same books, writing on the same topics, draws the heart closer than you can imagine.  

Just as sadness begins to cloud my thinking:

 I am reminded that in YOUR PRESENCE is the FULLNESS OF JOY!  I will not grieve for what is over, but instead, I choose to celebrate all that was, and is TO COME!!!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Believing Without Seeing - Coffee W/ Jesus!

As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.” The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name. (John 20:20, 29-31 NLT)

This morning as I lingered in John 20 my heart focused on those individuals who were seeing what their mind could not comprehend. I cannot even imagine the war that was taking that place that day between the flesh and the spirit. I know I would have wanted to believe, but I wonder if I would have wanted to see what Thomas saw, first?

So, as believers 2000 years later, how do WE believe?

"So then faith comets by hearing, and hearing by the WORD OF GOD!" Romans 10:17

We spend time in the Word! Thank you, Jesus!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Which Will You Choose, Mary? - Coffee W/ Jesus

I had such a rich time with The Lord this morning as I read through my devotional, Jesus Calling, and then through John 18.

Today's Take-Away:

"My kingdom is not an earthly Kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. BUT MY KINGDOM IS NOT OF THIS WORLD"- John 18:36

I am so thankful for the Word of truth and Life! It is so easy to get caught up doing things I love to do. Those things that offer instant gratification. The problem is that though it may start truly as the Lords Will, I can take it and run with it in my flesh.

"The mind governed by the FLESH is DEATH, but the mind governed by the SPIRIT is LIFE & PEACE." - Romans 8:6

Praise the Lord for His Holy Spirit......When I'm "off" track my Spirit recognizes it before my brain. Out of nowhere, there is suddenly NO JOY in the midst of doing the things I love so very much.

Why am I eternally grateful? Because this world and all the things that belong to it will perish, but the WORD of The Lord will stand FOREVER!!! I don't ever want to get caught up in things that are here today and gone tomorrow. Left to myself, (apart from God) that is exactly what I would do.

"Search me O God and know my heart, test me and know my thoughts, point out anything in me that offends you" - Psalm 139

"For my thoughts are nothing like Your thoughts, Mary Arnold! Neither are your ways My ways, says The Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts." - Isaiah 55:8-9

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Resetting My Compass- Coffee W/ Jesus

I am so thankful for the gift of my "forced fast" this past week. It has truly made me hunger for more of my Jesus! My habit of my quiet time may have still been in tact prior to the flu, and God certainly did speak to me in the midst of my time with Him, but it was not nearly as fulfilling as when I show up hungry, empty of the things of this world.

I am completing my jaunt through John today and my eyes fell upon 17:17:

" Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; YOUR WORD IS TRUTH."

Yes! Lord I beg you to sanctify me. Set me apart from this world. I am yours. Sanctify my husband and my children too! Lord, let us be busy for you! As I come to you each morning with a hunger for holiness, I ask you to take your life-giving Word and to change me.

My take-away this morning:

1- Eating from an overfilled plate of responsibility will ALWAYS dull down the fullness of my relationship with The Lord!

2- He is more important than my best idea or intentions!

3- He loves me just the same today, yesterday, and tomorrow---HIS faithfulness does not change based on mine!

Resetting My Compass: Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2 AMP)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Renewing My Heart In A Forced FAST!

This past week and a half has been filled with fever, chills, vomiting, and more! Jacob started with a slight 24 hour fever and then it went to Seth....whoa! Seth was so sick that he could not stop throwing up even with anti-nausea medication. It lasted for days. Scott and I scrubbed, Lysol dis-infected, and aired the house, trying desperately to get all the germs out! Just as Seth perked up, it was my turn. It was horrible, but turned out to be INCREDIBLE!

In the very depths of my fever and chills, I cried out to God and HE rescued me. Everything was put to the side. I had to wipe my calendar clean for one whole week. It was during this time that the Lord renewed my heart in ways I could have never imagined or fathomed. He was my Jehovah Rapha, (Healer) and my fortress.

The flu allowed my body and my spirit to become hungry. It was a forced FAST of sorts. As food was reintroduced, I found myself craving only healthy, whole, good, nutritious, foods. In the same way, as i fasted from TV, computer, and pressing projects, God's WORD reigned supreme!

God's currency is so different than man's, Rather than feeling behind, I feel right on track! FASTING is a funny, wonderful, incredible, thing. It gives us time to reset our personal GPS with Christ as the ultimate destination. Our circumstances, tasks, and obligations don't change, but our hearts sure do.

Personally, for me, I am in the thick of the busiest season of my year. Rather than feeling overwhelmed, I now feel INVIGORATED!!! Rather than focusing all the minute details required to complete my tasks, God instead changed my heart and showed me the wonderful relationships being built while we serve Him. Rather than trying to get through upcoming events, I now look forward to Savoring, enjoying, participating, and being present in each and every one of them.

To GOD Be The Glory!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Holiness- Coffee W/Jesus!

This morning I started my quiet time in my favorite little devotional, Jesus Calling. It was talking about how important it is to go to God daily. The author reminded me of the Israelites in the desert. They had no food sources, yet God faithfully fed them. He called their food, Manna.

Here was the deal though, They had to get up early in the morning and gather it. They were not allowed to store up for tomorrow or to live off left overs from yesterday. Others could not pick it up for them. It was about total dependence on HIM.

I was reminded how true that is for my own relationship with The Lord. I cannot flourish by living off yesterday's quiet time or storing it up for tomorrow.

He showed me 4 things:

1- I have to get up every morning and start with HIS Word.

2- I have to leave time to linger, pray, praise, and wait.

3- I have to stop through the day and make myself snack on what HE showed me in those early morning hours.

4- My husband, my family, and my friends can never fill that Jesus shaped hole in my heart. It was created for Him and Him ALONE!

Lord, I love you! May I walk the walk! Let me talk TO you, as much as I talk about you!

Sainsational Chicken!

Tonight I made my precious friend, Brenda Sain's SAINsational Chicken! It was a total HIT with my family.

I changed a few things for our dietary needs, but overall this is the same, simple, easy-to-make, baked chicken dinner she serves her family.

6 Chicken Breasts
Grape seed oil (olive oil)
3-4 Onions
Red &/or Yellow Pepper
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
Juicy Roma Tomatoes
DeCecco Angel Hair Pasta

-- Rinse & Pat dry fresh chicken breasts
-- Generously apply salt and pepper
-- Lay flat on greased Pyrex baking dish
-- Cover chicken w/ cut veggies, including sliced Roma Tomatoes
-- generously drizzle oil over top of veggies and chicken
-- Cover and bake at 350 for 35 mins
-- Uncover and bake for 10 more mins or until done


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I Can See The Finish Line!


 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV) 

Only two more weeks!  I am conflicted!  Part of me is looking forward to a break so I can catch up on laundry and have nothing else on my plate.  Yet at the very same time, I am so sad that my time with my students is quickly coming to a close.  I love each and everyone one of them.  In all the years I've homeschooled I've never traveled for 30 weeks with other families all studying the same information.  It has been the JOY of my soul.

Geography- This week the students began their final exams to see how many countries and capitals they remember.  The countries tested on were USA, Canada, & South America.  The students did GREAT!

Rhetoric- This was our last week with Don't Check Your Brains At The Door.  Such a great book on biblical worldview.  We have learned so much about myths and TRUTH!  Ultimate Truth.  

Science/Research-  This past year we have worked on the skill set of research for our science.  The students have learned how to discover interesting facts about animals and then about the human body.  Beginning next week they will get to show everything they've learned about the human body as we practice drawing and labeling from heart.

Literature-  The Bronze Bow!  Absolute favorite discussion of the entire school year.  I hope each of the students went home and talked with their parents about some of the subject matter we discussed.  Is it okay to steal if it's life or death?  What the difference between freedom fighters and thugs?  Why does communism not fix everything?  (It seems fair, right?)  Excellent discussions!  I love it when they do most of the talking.  That means they're learning.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Director Business Training - Take Two

Wow!  I am always amazed at how much the Lord energizes my heart through DBT.  Yesterday was filled with lots of encouragement, laughter, idea's, and aha's.  We had to settle ourselves down to stay focused on where we're at so we can finish strong where we're at.

Once again we worked on Classical Conversations Theme:


Our devotion on humility was SO good!  The Lord ministered to our hearts as we had conversations about what it means to view ourselves as servants, instead of leaders.  Isn't it funny how those words mean the same thing, but they paint a totally different picture of how to lead?

Our discussion revolved around the fact that many times when pride is leading the way WE are not even aware that it has crept in.  

It shows up as needing to have OUR IDEA'S promoted, OUR THOUGHTS heard.  We desire to be right more than we desire to be holy.  Our prayer is that God would alert us immediately when this creeps in.  

Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes WISDOM! Proverbs 11:2  (Shared by both Brenda AND Gina, unbeknownst to one another)

Brenda shared her testimony of how God took away her strength theme of FUTURISTIC so that she could not plan or dream about her homeschool future like she always had.  It was in that season of humility that HE gave her far more than she could have ever dreamed or plan herself. 

Terri shared from a very powerful book by Andrew Murray.  It's a 31 day devotion on "Abiding" and it's based on John 15.  It so spoke to my heart because it doesn't get any busier than where we're at now through June.  I find myself being pulled in many different directions.  The lie in my head is that I want to run home, close the doors, shut the blinds, and go back to just being mom.  Serving is hard, I find myself tired.  

And then.....

"The most heavily laden branches bow the lowest".

I literally stopped in my tracks.  I want to be comfortable.  I want my branch to be "light". (aka: easy)  But it's now, (in this moment) in the busiest season that I find myself more dependent on God than ever.  

My flesh wants to retreat, but my spirit simply wants me to bow.  

Thank you, Terri for sharing!

Gina brought tears to our eyes as she shared the heartache she experienced this year, walking through being a foster parent.  She gave God all the glory.  It was a JOY to hear how HE is working in her heart.  

Here are just a few of her verses:

If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (AMPLIFIED)

 Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you,  Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. ~ 1 Peter 5:6-7 (AMPLIFIED)

For lunch I had woken early and made chicken curry.  Can you believe I walked out of my house and left it sitting on the counter?  Thank you Brenda Sain for sharing your left over roasted chicken to go with our salad.  I so deeply love and appreciate you! 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Nearing The Finish Line!

What are they doing?  

They are playing Catechism Drill!  

We are truly nearing the finish line!  Keep your eyes on Jesus!

Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2 AMP)


This week we researched the eye and all of the thought the Lord put into creating our sight.  When we look at the details we see the Creator.

Last week we learned how God perfectly purposed our digestive system.  It's what keeps our bodies going.  This wonderful little class project was done by Bethie White.  She used household objects to re-create the digestive system by heart.  Then she let another student try it.  It was such an excellent tool.  Bethie walked in the Dialectic stage of learning through her research and then in the Rhetoric stage by teaching.  She will now own this information for life.


This is how we plan to test out drawing the world by heart.  It will be broken down into our last three weeks.  Please note the dates and countries so that your student can prepare.  Next week we will begin this process with the United States, Canada, and South America.

The following week we will cover the above listed countries.

Our final week we will complete the entire world!

Oh how happy my heart is to finish this school year.  Not because it's over, but because my children have grown and gained understanding.  We see Jesus in all the details of every single subject.