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Thursday, July 30, 2009

The End

Is there anything better to the end of this day than Miss Kitty-Cat pajama-clad blondie chasing and being chased by Spiderman himself....the one with the infectious laugh? Um, no actually. Save Heaven, I just can't see it getting any better! Round and round the table they go, hold everything....milk break, activity starts again after a 6-second countdown. It used to be 10 but in this economy...well you know. Scene to be rescued with a reading from A Little Princess.

So Far

The coolest part of the day, no breeze, my swing from Danny, fresh coffee in a cup, a Chickadee coming in for a nice soft landing, a hummingbird and a chickadee sharing a tree, a hummingbird introducing its' bill to a pink flower, two doves quarreling-one of them sounding a lot like Edith Bunker, self-serving crows, a hummingbird chasing off three chickadees, a neighbor rearranging stacks of wood, atleast that's how it sounded to me, a loving dog that snores, random pieces of corn silk here and there from last night's corn shucking event, an empty coffee cup, an insect investigating my hand, quiet air, mostly.
This is what I have observed this morning, so far.

"Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy." 1 Timothy 6:17

Sunday, July 26, 2009

His Quick Reply

Second guessing. Friday night I shared with a friend by phone, and in person with another friend, my concern regarding curriculum choices I had made for this upcoming school year. My phone buddy used her God-given gift of encouragement to reassure me "it's going to be fine." My face to face friend and I spent some time in prayer together over many matters, and one of my prayers was laying down my concerns about curriculum choices before the Lord.

I will say that I prayed over my choices, I researched until there was little research left beyond talking with the authors themselves. Ultimately, I went with what I felt like was best for us in this very strategic year. Isn't choosing curriculum like so many other areas....."trust in the Lord, lean not on your own understanding." Can I trust the one who made their able minds to fill in the gaps where I as an instructor may fall short?

Saturday morning my face to face friend took me to the airport signaling the end of my visit to West Texas. With only a carry on (which also held a couple of books to read), and realizing a gate-checked bag was in my future I quickly grabbed the one called,"The Well-Trained Mind",written by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise. They are the authors of the Language Arts Curriculum I'll be using this year. While I was holding up the boarding process the woman behind me said, "That's the best book! We use that all the time in our homeschooling." Wow, did you hear that??? Can you say, "reassurance!" Our brief conversation included specific concerns for one of mine in the area of language arts, and upon mentioning my choice for this dear child she said, "That's what we're using too, and it's great, you're going to love it!"

What I loved was not her approval, encouraging though it was, but how God, my Father, the maker of my children, chose the person behind me in line to say, "I heard you Kathy and here's my quick reply! I love you, I love your children even more than you, and I am leading you. I will do it because that's how I work."

I call to the Lord, and He hears me. To this knowledge I will cling.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Beautiful Introduction to The Odes Project

Please take about 3 minutes to view a promotional and moving introduction to something called, "The Odes Project." Then, you may wish to take a moment and register so you can hear sound clips from the songs taken from the two volumes of this project. John Andrew Schreiner, close friend and producer of most of Fernando Ortega's projects is behind the initial vision, so take a listen and be truly blessed. While I do not have these CD's in my own collection, I have two of the songs on other compilation CD's. Blessings in Christ!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Joy In Grace

Joy in Grace. Have you considered the joy that comes from grace, the freedom that comes from grace, the brokenness that comes because of grace(the kind where you throw yourself at His feet), the peace that comes from grace? Grace fills in the gap. Grace spans the gap. And I take comfort knowing that grace spans the globe!

I spent a nice portion of time today visiting with the people from Voice of the Martyrs at our annual Homeschooling Convention. I have a keen interest in cultures around the world, and low and behold, so do my children. I'll be honest, I don't know why God has given me this desire for His world because I feel so helpless, and I feel as though anything I might do is barely a drop in the bucket. Voice of the Martyrs has a wonderful component to their ministry called Kids Of Courage. (I posted previously on Kids of Courage.) A part of Kids of Courage are these wonderful Country Guides filled with geographical information, stories, prayer opportunities, puzzles, crafts, recipes, but most of all, beckoning the children and their Christian families here in America and around the world to pray for the Persecuted Church. These Country guides along with a set of Heroes Then and Now books from YWAM Publishing will be the foundation of a Geography/World Cultures study in our upcoming school year.

When I walked away from the VOM booth, and anytime I read about the persecuted church, I feel an excitement rising in me. I am so very comforted to the point of joy in realizing His deep love for those who suffer for their faith. I don't mean to sound lighthearted because I know their reality is unlike anything I have ever known. I add though, that God becomes bigger to me for this reason: I cannot understand their suffering apart from the grace and greatness of our Father. A strange kind of joy that I was referencing earlier seeps into my heart because I know that I know that I know we have a great God. We're going to spend eternity with those people that I'll be studying with my children. Pray hard for the Persecuted Church.

Prayers That Avail Much

Remember the book, Prayers That Avail Much? Longer than the book itself has been around, we have a faithful God who hears our prayer. It avails much! I think we're going to get quite a revelation in heaven, and certainly a greater understanding about the power of prayer.

I have a friend who is a blogging friend to many of you, but to me she is a personal friend. I encouraged her recently to post about a physical need she has so that people can pray. For that reason, because of who she is in our family, I am asking that you pray for Mary Lee at Into The Abyss. You can read about this ailment which dogs her periodically, and then let's pray. I want Mary Lee to see a harvest in this season of prayer on her behalf.

Friday, July 17, 2009

About Worship

I was made for Worship. I know it. I started playing piano at the wee age of 4 when we got an old upright. I remember its very place against the inside wall in our living room. I started out playing by ear, and it's not as painful as all the jokesters make it out to be. Yes, I've heard every joke out there about playing by ear. When it came to a song, if I heard it, I could play it. Of course with my raising that meant a lot of hymns which I still love today. And if it wasn't a hymn I'd make it sound like one because that's what I knew. I still cherish the hymns and include them regularly within the context of our own worship services. I am thankful for writers and worship leaders such as Fernando Ortega, and Keith and Kristyn Getty who re-release old hymns and write new hymn-like worship songs-often introducing the beauty and theology of the hymns to many for the first time.

When I look back on my life I feel like David the shepherd boy, except that I am Kathy, the little Montana schoolgirl/shepherdess in training. I feel like David because all the while, God was preparing me for worship: the playing, singing, writing and leading of worship. I could talk about the divine intervention of God in the area of worship: a lady in our church who insisted on teaching me piano at no charge my Junior and Senior year in highschool. What about the years of college instruction by the most sought after professor in the entire School of Music.

Music comes naturally to me. Sitting at a piano and playing is similar to breathing. It's that much a part of me, and that easy for me. When I sit at a keyboard and play to the Lord, I might as well be breathing. Am I an expert? NO! But I know I was made for worship. And as for the breathing, I think I've been walking around holding my breath.

We don't live long without breathing as it's clearly known. Over the years I've taken big deep breaths during times when ordinarily the wind would be knocked out of me if you can follow the analogy. I ran to Jesus and then we ran together. The greatest hardships in life were when a new sweet fragrance would be released. Disappointment, death, divorce. I've experienced a lot, but as I said yes to the God of Sovereignty, and yes to the sovereignty of God, I have felt the faithful companionship of the Holy Spirit. I learned that God has the last word over every circumstance in life, and little did I know He was creating a costly perfume in me unlike no other. I say that because that's how God is. He's doing the same in you. Your fragrance before God is like no one else's.

The good news is I'm breathing again! Did you know it's possible to function in a gift and calling, but not flow in it? I lead worship every week at our local church of Jesus followers, and I love it. I'm not saying I've been a phony week after week as I lead because I haven't. God is more than faithful to pour out His presence in those times. But I found that I had stopped enjoying and flowing in my calling as a worshipper in my home. The sign was on the door- Secret Place, I would see it, but I didn't spend much time there with my precious Father. I was having a hard time adjusting to a secret place with windows...children, husband, etc. While I'm not there 24/7 because duty simply calls, I am finding myself there more often. In the busyness of life and doing wonderful Mom and wife things, I am learning there may be nothing better I could do for my family than release the fragrance of true worship in the walls of our home. I could see it last night as son and husband were clearing the table and cleaning the kitchen, and I sat and played and sang....and worshipped. It's a ministry to God and to my family. The stirring of that God-given gift is rising again, and I live for the next time I am with Him for a precious time to sing what I think He likes.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Thankful R Us!

I spent the afternoon shopping for pre-homeschooling convention bargains at a local resource center, and in my view, mission accomplished! Everything was slightly used, and here's what I found: I did my best pricing everything out retail, and I think I came up with between $275 & $300 dollars (give or take $50 or so dollars) for all of the items, and I was able to purchase them in very good condition for $141.oo, and because they were having a 50% off sale, it then reduced the bill to $70.50! Favorite items are: the GeoSafari Game with multiple card sets(not shown). It's one of the prehistoric models but works beautifully! , 7X9" Christ Centered Phonics Card Sets (I purchased 3, using 2 as gifts for two new-to-homeschooling friends), the Usborne books-4 in total, the Phonics Fraction Manipulative kit, Eagles Wings Considering God's Creation Science Curriculum (been eyeing this all year!), plus pretty much everything else I was able to purchase-17 items total. God is good!

They say you should eat before going to the grocery story, and I'm hoping this little shopping venture will curb my appetite at the convention as well.

Friday, July 10, 2009

12 Easy Steps To A Sleepy Smile

How to get a sleepy smile:

Step 1. Allow oldest child multiple opportunities to talk to her Daddy on the phone to get orders from headquarters on how to pull off the big surprise for the Mom's birthday.

Step 2. Allow and help the oldest child to set her alarm clock for, cough cough, 4:30 a.m. in order to pull off the big surprise so that planned event in Step 3 can occur. Remember to seem as though you haven't a clue about the whole thing.

Step 3. Plan a 6 a.m. hike to the pond that same day to observe God's beautiful creation: ducks, cranes, egrets, rabbits, quail, hummingbirds, a roadrunner, some other kind of bird, and ants. (Don't forget to stay up until 1 a.m. the night before!)

Step 4. Get up at 5:15 a.m. Walk downstairs and stand in honest amazement and cast your eyes on the first blessing of many for the day.

Step 5. Recall the shining faces as they observe your expressions of gladness at their hard and earnest work: a set table, a birthday balloon, cards, and thoughtful gifts, especially the pencil.
Oh yes, and don't forget to have them put out a cake, some fruit-flavored licorice and chocolate covered raisins. (It helps to share the raisins with the working children.)

Step 6. Eat a fresh garden tomato and the best zuccini bread ever brought by someone who understands what really matters.

Step 7: Take a short nap-the appetizer for the real one that is forthcoming. Eat again.

Step 8: I don't remember this one. I'm too tired.

Step 9: Read one chapter of The Little Princess to the children who have made every effort to make this a one-of-a-kind day.

Step 10: Watch the young man in the family fall asleep to the sound of your voice as you read.

Step 11: Hold hands with him while you walk upstairs to pack them both off to bed.

Step 12: Sing and Pray with them, thank them (and Him), reflect on steps 1 through 11, and wait.

Results are guaranteed: one sleepy smile for each participant!

A Song In Season

The providence of God saw to it that I would one day meet Roxie. I always thought it was so cool that she and Jeff shared this special day with me-their anniversary and my birthday. Same day, same year. Today is that day, and I have candles to prove it!

If Roxie and I were together we would, on this day....I just know it, laugh and cry together, because that's what happens every time we get together, especially the laughing part. This year is different for Roxie because Jeff went home to be with Jesus in February.

This is a new season for her and I'd like to walk the path with her for a while today. Yes, I'm humming a birthday tune, but I'm humming this song too. I appreciate the footage in this song in that it includes times of joy and sorrow, and I share any of both that this day may hold for you, Roxie.

God hears our prayers, so let them rise on Roxie's behalf today.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Seemingly Small Stuff

I was considering an upcoming mini-study on Oceanography. Coffee in hand, unspoken thoughts. I was thinking about all the scriptures in the Bible that talk about Oceans, waters, the sea and things in the sea, and was just wondering how many verses there were like that. So, I ceased my wondering, opened my Bible and my gaze fell on Revelation 5:13 which says,

"And then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea. They also sang: "Blessing and honor and glory and power belong to the one sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever."

While this happening may seem like small stuff, it says to me, "I am near, Kathy. I know your thoughts, your wonderings, I hear you. So, here's HOW EASY IT IS for me to answer you."

I couldn't help but wonder how many of those kinds of events happen in our daily life that we are unaware of. I like the way He works

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bethany's Grand Old Flag

She wants to do it the way it's supposed to be done now that she's the proud owner of a small American flag. In the dark of a girl's pink bedroom she remembers. You never leave a flag up overnight. I was a guest in the room for that moment as she crawled out of the comfy high-rise bed to do the honors. She unwound the string from the nail on which it was wrapped (wow, how'd she think of that?) and slowly began to lower Old Glory to the floor. It gripped me as a mother watching the girl who decided the flag should be displayed and found a way to do it. I found myself caught somewhere between a laugh and a cry, a strange but very real place, as the flag came down. The heart of the girl who insisted it be done had touched me and brought out that emotion that seems to escape words. I didn't make a sound but just watched. Honor was never more beautiful than it was right then as a young and innocent girl did what must be done. After all, it was the flag.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

John, age 5, in Sudan.

This coming year in our homeschooling journey we will be focusing on World Geography/Countries and Cultures. I have researched a ton of curriculum and am still doing so, making notes here and there of great websites to help us along the way. I am most excited about this one: . It is the Children's link from Voice of the Martyrs. Persecution is a tough concept for children to grasp, and it's certainly not my pleasure to even have to introduce the concept. However, it's a living and dying reality for many. God gives grace and opportunity to teach young ones about other children that He lives and died for, and I want to take those moments to pass that along to my own.

I just spent a few minutes with Bethany reading the feature story about John in the Sudan. We talked also about children in the Phillipines who comb the dumps for their daily provisions. I read this to her from our air-conditioned home while her younger brother was playing contentedly with a load of legos in the background. Her question was, "Can't they come to America?" I'm not sure what everyone's views are; varied I'm sure. My reply was that bringing them to America was not always possible, nor always best. I explained that Christians and missionaries living in those countries are able to speak hope on the spot when they come across someone such as John. I must add that our own church is about 30% New Americans-what we call our refugee families. They came to escape the persecutions and conditions Bethany and I just read about. We have a thriving ESL program called Global Transitions that teaches English 2 nights as week at our facility and it involves about 1 dozen different churches from varying denominations.

Not only do I want to educate the children we've been given, but I long to instill in them the heart of their Heavenly Father for the entire world, free and captive, which He can liberate. (It's an inside job if you know what I mean!) If you know of anyone with young children and feel this would be beneficial to their family, or you minister to children, or you have a heart for the nations and want to learn more then I encourage you to click on the link.

Thankful and Blessed-Kathy

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Freedom For All

Hi everyone,

This is an article I wrote for the Worship Team Blog, and I felt it was fitting for every one of us. My added prayer to this article is that the reality of our freedom will bring a resurgence of JOY in our lives, and fanatical thanksgiving in response!

John 8:32
"Then you shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

This passage was written to the Jews who had believed Jesus. This passage was written with us in mind.

Galations 5:1
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."

Galations 5:7
"You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?"

How's it going? Are you still walking in the complete freedom you were designed to walk in? Positionally we're totally free in Christ....His doing, not ours. Unfortunately, we still tie ourselves up with unforgiveness, idolatry, cool-hearted expressions of love, being preoccupied with everything except the One who we invited in as Lord and Love of our lives. I especially love the verse in Galations 5:7, "Who cut in on you.....?" This reminds me of when God asked Adam in Genesis, "Adam, where are you?" (Genesis 3:9)I know that Jesus would ask us the question Paul is asking, already knowing the answer.

When we lose our first love, we are not living in freedom. We have freedom, but we're not living in it. When we hold onto unforgiveness and other things that can hinder so, we're forsaking, to a degree, the most costly act of love ever demonstrated.

Let's return. Return to freedom, return to the Truth, return to Jesus. Thank Him for His welcoming heart of restoration. Remember, we're running to win! Running to glorify!