Spring Cleaning And Newsletter Updates

Spring cleaning. Usually it is something that I do not look forward to, but this year is different. I am loving digging deep and removing not only the obvious junk but also seemingly good things that weigh down life. Lifestyles are being simplified and while change can be difficult it can also have a rewarding aspect. When determining what stays and what goes I’ve boiled it down to two questions that I ask of everything; 1) Do we need it? and 2) Does God want us to have it? It is absolutely amazing what God does when you give Him control of even your spring cleaning!

What kinds of rules do you have for spring cleaning? Do you have a ‘something goes for every something that comes in’ rule? Maybe a ‘put it in a box for six months to see if you miss it’ policy? I’d love to hear about what you do.

Last week I took a break from blogging to do some spring cleaning on this site as well. One thing I felt led to do was to give people an option of subscribing to all of the site or the ability to pick and choose which types of content you want delivered. I know not everyone homeschools or wants decorating tips etc. Now I can finally offer that service! Yeah!

Keep in mind, this is not our old blog post email system through feedburner. If you want to sign up or change your newsletter subscription options, just go to our Mailing List page. Fill out only your email address if you are updating your preferences as it will ask if you want to change your preferences and then send you an email to guide you through the rest. If you are new to our mailing list, fill out all the options that pertain to you to start a new subscription.

Later this week I will resume normal posting. I’ve put together a few yummy recipes for you and I’ve been finalizing a Biblical study series that I hope will be a blessing.

Time to get back to spring cleaning!

VickiSiggy2

 

Am I Qualified To Homeschool?

proverbs22

 

If you are anything like me, you might be wondering “Am I qualified to homeschool my children?”. How was I to be sure I was teaching them what they needed, when they needed it and in the way they needed it? Sure, I could just use a typical school program and go about the year as usual. The trouble was that I saw that system fail more times then not on the most basic level in the educational system. I worried about teaching chemistry, or worse yet, physics! I found myself torn because of a lack of confidence and a lack of knowledge. I wondered if this whole homeschool thing was for me. Still, I really felt like God was leading my family to jump into this new way of learning.

What God began to show me is that I had been trained to see the public school system as the superior if not only means of giving a child a quality education. The public education system was a type of idol to me that I felt I needed to emulate. But that isn’t what I was called to do. I was called to be more like Christ and help my child do the same. I wasn’t called to teach my child how to answer questions on a test. I was called to create an environment where he would love to learn – in his way, in his timing. I am called to encourage my child to find and nurture his strengths, find his calling, and strengthen his areas of weakens. Once that was settled in my heart I was free to move forward.

What about my weaknesses? The great news is that I don’t have to be perfect. I don’t need a PhD, and I don’t need to teach every subject! Yes, I can get out of physics! A little research revealed that there are options for children who need outside help for certain subject areas. From curriculum that comes complete with lab kits so that even I could teach – I mean, learn – chemistry, to cooperative classes, and online classes, there are hundreds of possibilities.

Once you find a local homeschool support system, you may find another parent that excels in the area you struggle with and they might even be willing to help you out. There are tutors, older homeschoolers and homeschool graduates plus internet resources for just about anything you can imagine.

With a little support, we can be completely successful in educating our children. However educating and training are not exactly the same thing. Education and training are two separate yet interweaving aspects of child rearing. I can provide my child with the most elaborate and extensive education and still not train him to succeed in life. Homeschooling on the other hand allows us the opportunity to train and educate towards life and callings.

What qualifies me, and you, to homeschool our children? Our love for our children and God. You see, God calls us to train up our children. Because of this I know that all that is needed is provided by God. We need only be obedient to His leadings. He never gives us more than He can handle. You, as your child’s parents, are the strongest force, aside from God, in his life. With God’s guidance and your love for your child, you are completely capable of taking on this calling. When distractions and discouragement try to steal your peace, remember that you were made for this. The waves are just temporary and God provides the best surf boards.

VickiSiggy2

 

 

Esther’s Character

scepter

This week is Purim. It is the celebration of the deliverance of God’s people which was accomplished through a young woman named Esther – Hadassah in her Hebrew language.  A series of events paved the way for this young woman of integrity and holy character to hinder the plans of the enemy of God’s people. I briefly touch on this in the post Purim.

After the King calls for the Queen to present herself, and she refuses, she is removed and shamed for her disrespect never to be in the King’s presence again. The King is assured that if the Queen behaves this way without being reprimanded, she will encourage all women to ‘ look at their husbands with contempt’. He also decrees to give her position to one better than she.

In comes Esther. Along with many other women, Esther undergoes a year a beauty treatments. These treatments are purifying and healing. Basically, if she was impure and pregnant…you would know in this time. If she had a disease, either it would manifest itself or she would be cured. During her time of purification, Esther was winning favor with everyone around her. So when her time came to be presented to the King, (where he would determine whom he wanted to marry), Esther asked the eunuch in charge of the women for his advice as to what she should bring with her when presented to the King. As the King’s eunuch, he probably had some insight as to what would catch the King’s attention. Whatever happened, it ended with Ester gaining the King’s favor. In Esther 2:17 it says that “the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she won grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.”

Esther’s Uncle, Mordecai, who was captured during the same time Esther and the other women were captured when the King was looking for a new bride, found out about a plot two of the eunuchs had made to kill the King. Mordecai tells Esther who then tells the King. It is investigated and found to be true. The men are executed and Mordecai’s act is written in the book of chronicles before the King.

After some time, Haman is promoted by the King to be over all the officials with him. Even the King’s servants were commanded to bow down to him. But Mordecai would not. Day after day Mordecai was tested and when Haman found out that Mordecai was a Jew, his hatred grew for all Jews and wanted them all destroyed. Now Haman had casted lots, (Pur – where Purim gets it’s name), to determine which day would be good to set his scheme in motion and it arrives at the month of Adar. The plot thickens…Haman tells the King of a group of people scattered throughout the kingdom who hold to different laws, even when opposed to the King’s. He asks the King for permission to destroy them and the King grants it not knowing that his Queen is also a Jew.

The decree was issued in every language of every providence, sealed with the King’s signet ring, given to Haman. All Jews were to be killed.

dice

Mordecai, as well as Jews all over the kingdom mourned, fasted, and wept. Esther and Mordecai exchanged information via a eunuch in charge of her care. Esther explains to Mordecai that no one may enter the King’s inner court without invitation and He has not called for her in 30 days. The legal penalty is death unless he holds out the golden scepter.  I can’t speak for anyone else, but if my husband had not called for me in 30 days I might be a little more than fearful. I would be lacking confidence of his love for me. I would be worried that I lost favor with him. Never mind telling him… “Honey, you know that decree to kill all the Jews? Well, guess what? I am a Jew too.”

In Esther 4;13-14 Mordecai tells Esther…  “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Wise and faith filled Mordecai. He knows that God will not let His people be completely destroyed. 

Esther responds in verse 16…  “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.”

I am trying to put myself in Esther’s shoes here. I might be thinking, “I’m going to be killed anyway as soon as he learns I am a Jew.” I might even think that being killed for being a Jew is one thing, but to be sentenced by my husband, the one whom I shared the most intimate moments with, is more than I can bear. But I also think that after three days of fasting, Esther was possibly convicted that she was to do this. What an amazing level of love for her people and for God Esther must have had to be willing to face her own death head on. We have only seen a glimpse of Esther’s character up to this point but it is enough to know there was something more to this young woman. But now we begin to see something deeper. She is a woman who is willing to set aside her pride, her human instinct to preserve her own life, and approach the King without invitation.

The King must have seen this character trait in her because when she enters in the inner court he holds out the golden scepter to her. Not only does he do that but he asks what her request is and promises to give her up to half his kingdom should she ask for it. Think about this for a moment. He banished the previous Queen for disrespecting him. Now he is offering her, (in a traditional gesture reflecting that he will grant her favor generously), up to half his kingdom!

What was it about Esther that made the King willing to be so generous towards her? After the horrible experience with Vashti, the King would not want a repeat situation, especially in his inner court. I can only assume that Esther did not make a habit of being disrespectful or rude. She obviously treated people with respect and continued to be in good favor with those around her. No one in the court would have mistaken her act as one of defiance. Therefore, the King would easily not be worried about Esther negatively influencing the kingdom and so he held out the scepter.

Esther invites the King and Haman to a feast and the King accepts and calls for Haman to join them. While at the feast, the King asks Esther… “What is your wish? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.” (Esther 5:6) She responds by inviting them to a feast on the next day and promising to tell him her request then. Haman walks away pretty full of himself and bragging about how only he, along with the King, was invited to the Queen’s feast. And, having seen Mordecai once again not bowing to him, he ordered gallows to be built – at his wife’s suggestion – so that he may hang Mordecai.

That very night, the King was unable to sleep and had the book of chronicles brought to him. When he read about how Mordecai had saved his life, the King asked what honor had been given to him. When the king heard that nothing had been done for Mordecai he asked who was at court. As it happened, Haman had just arrived to seek the King about hanging Mordecai. The king calls for Haman and asks him… “What should be done to the man whom the king delights to honor?”(Esther 6:6) Haman, totally full of himself, thinks that the King is talking about him and suggests all these wonderfully extravagant gestures.

Esther 6:7-10 “And Haman said to the king, “For the man whom the king delights to honor,  let royal robes be brought, which the king has worn, and the horse that the king has ridden, and on whose head a royal crown is set. And let the robes and the horse be handed over to one of the king’s most noble officials. Let them dress the man whom the king delights to honor, and let them lead him on the horse through the square of the city, proclaiming before him: ‘Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.’” Then the king said to Haman, “Hurry; take the robes and the horse, as you have said, and do so to Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Leave out nothing that you have mentioned”.”

Can you imagine the shock Haman must have been in? Here he is trying to get Mordecai hung on the gallows and the King goes and gives him all these special honors Haman had coveted for himself…and it was to a Jew, destined in Haman’s mind, to be killed.  After Haman walked Mordecai through the town he went home with his tail between his legs…I mean mourning with his head covered…where his wife and wise men let him know he was going to be in trouble. In the middle of this, he is taken to his feast with the King and Queen. Maybe he thought this was a sign that everything would work out for him. He just had to wait for the day the Jews would be killed. Little did he know what awaited him.

During the feast the King again asks Esther her wish and request.  Esther replies… “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be granted me for my wish, and my people for my request. For we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. If we had been sold merely as slaves, men and women, I would have been silent, for our affliction is not to be compared with the loss to the king.”  (Esther 7:3-5)

The King asks who had done this and she tells him it was the enemy, the wicked Haman. The King was angry and went to his garden but Haman, knowing he was in deep water, stayed to beg Esther for his life. When the King returned Haman was falling on the couch were Esther was and it looked to the King as if Haman was trying to take advantage of the Queen. Needless to say, it didn’t end well for Haman and the gallows he built was used to end his life.

Esther told the King who Mordecai was to her and she and Mordecai came before the King. The King gave Mordecai his signet ring that had been in Haman’s possession and Esther set Mordecai over Haman’s household. Esther again came before the King, at his feet weeping for the lives of the Jews. The King AGAIN holds out his scepter to her. When Esther pleads to him, he tells her that the King’s decrees can not be revoked however, since he has given her Haman’s household, (and therefore the authority that came with it), they could write a decree in the King’s name in regard to the Jews and seal it with the King’s signet. It would be a decree that could not be revoked.

Here is a King who had just been duped by Haman, and had been disrespected by his previous Queen, giving total authority to write a decree in regards to the Jews as she saw fit. He didn’t worry that she or Mordecai would take advantage of the offer. He didn’t worry because he knew their character. She didn’t store up hatred that he had to be concerned that she would be unfair or cruel. She didn’t try to win him  over with flashy displays but with meekness and humility. Even when she had a dire need, she sought to show him her esteem and respect for him as husband and King.

The scribes wrote as Mordecai commanded…”Then he sent the letters by mounted couriers riding on swift horses that were used in the king’s service, bred from the royal stud, saying that the king allowed the Jews who were in every city to gather and defend their lives, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate any armed force of any people or province that might attack them, children and women included,and to plunder their goods, on one day throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar.” (Esther 8: 10-12)

Mordecai went out in royal robes and a gold crown rejoicing through the town. People willingly declared being a Jew and fear came over the kingdom.

On the 13th of Adar, the day the enemies of the Jewish people had hoped to overtake them, the Jews overtook their enemies. What man had planned for evil, turned and brought harm upon themselves.

The King asks Esther again what she requests and she asks to allow her people one more day of victory over their enemies and it was granted in Susa. She also asked for Haman’s sons to be hanged. (Keep in mind they were already killed in the fighting.) The Jews in Susa rested and feasted on the 15th, while those outside of Susa rested on the 14th.

Purim was then set as a feast.

And Mordecai recorded these things and sent letters to all the Jews who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far,  obliging them to keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar and also the fifteenth day of the same, year by year, as the days on which the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month that had been turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, days for sending gifts of food to one another and gifts to the poor.” (Esther 9:20-22)

The King sent a letter declaring how Haman had brought this evil upon himself with his evil schemes and that Haman and his sons were sent to the gallows. Esther also sent a letter confirming these things to the people. As for Mordecai, he was a great man of power whose acts were recorded in the chronicles.

Whenever I read this book I am in awe of how God can use any situation for His good. Much like Joseph and his brothers, God used a terrible situation to accomplish great things for His people. No matter what your situation looks like, you can have confidence that God is working behind the scenes for the good of those who love Him.

Do I really trust Him with my life? Am I willing to risk it all for His purposes, even if I can’t see what He is doing? Am I willing to face my fears to serve him?

Ladies, our character is not about appearances. You can appear to have it all together but without Godly character it is of no value. You can be surrounded by “yes men” like Haman but that is of no value. You can be put in a position to impact one or one million for the Lord, but without the Godly character of humility, it will be of no value as God can not use those who seek their own promotion.

Esther earned her reputation quietly and without fanfare. She gained favor winning over one person after another starting with those closest to her and the word spread. I’m guessing based on what the Bible says that she didn’t gossip, spread rumors, engage in slander, criticize, treat others with cruelty, but that she treated everyone kindly and with respect from slave to King.

As we approach Purim later this week let’s take some time to reflect on Christ’s character and seek to be more like Him. Maybe some will decide, much like Esther, to take 3 days to fast and seek the Lord. No one wants to look at themselves and dig out the yucky stuff. At least I know I don’t. But when we are willing to face the yucky parts of ourselves, handing them over to the Lord to refine us, He is then free to move through us and accomplish His will. That is a greater reward than any other we can have on earth.

 

VickiSiggy2

 

 

P.S. Now go make some Hamantaschen cookies.  :)

 

“Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

Let’s Make A Nature Journal

 

Nature journals provide a one on one experience with nature. No matter what time of year, it has the ability to provide hands-on learning opportunities we are not soon to forget. These journals can be in any form you choose. They can be the starting point or inspiration for a lesson, or it can be a lesson in and of itself. There is no limit to what you can do.

Journals provide you with an opportunity to get to know your subject on a personal basis. Because you get to know your subject matter and not just be told about it, you are more likely to understand the concepts and retain the information. You experience nature with all your senses and hopefully develop a healthy respect for it.

It is always a perfect time to begin keeping a nature journal. Spring and autumn present us with a more instant gratification as the environments change quickly. Plus, they tend to have more pleasant weather which encourages being out of doors. Summer has the vibrancy of the changing flower blooms from week to week. While winter brings us full circle to prepare for renewal.

Nature journals come in all shapes, sizes and forms. They can be as simple as taking a sketch book along on a picnic. The type and purpose can be as individualized as it’s creator. From a few pieces of folded paper to notebooks and sketch pads and everything in between, nature journals can be made to suit your needs. Pencils, crayons, charcoals and water paints are all great supplies to have on hand as is a good field guide for your area.

Nature journals do not have to be formal.  It is collecting leaves, seeds or pine cones. Taking advantage of a teachable moment as it presents itself and then recording a history of it to look back on. They can be a stand alone subject, they can accent an existing lesson plan, or they can do both.

redleafwaterdrops

Among other things, journals can be used to spark interest. Let’s imagine your child has found a tree and has made an impression of its bark. He has collected some of its leaves to press and has written about how the branches hang and the shade of green the leaves are. But there is more. You see that a certain insect seems to like this type of tree. Then your child wonders, “What type of insect is it?”, “What type of tree is it?” and a plethora of other questions fill his mind. So you and your child look into it and find that it is your state tree. You find what type of seed it has and how long it takes to grow. You also find that this insect living on the tree is actually good because it eats another insect which is harmful to the tree’s well being. You begin to see how it fits into the whole environment and the role it plays in the ecosystem. Your child may not even realize it, but through all this fun he was having, he was learning.

Some Ideas and Tips for Your Journals:

dragonfly

* Don’t worry if your child is not an artist. Drawings do not have to be perfect. By letting your child have the freedom to draw it as he experiences it, it will have more meaning to him.
* Use charcoals, pencils or watercolors to create drawings of your surroundings.
* Try setting it up as you would a scrapbook with photos, drawings and notations about what you see, hear and smell.
* Use photographs
* Close your eyes and draw what you *feel*
* Add anecdotes to spark memories.
* Write the lyrics/words to a song or poem that reminds you of your adventure or use the lyrics/words to inspire a whole new topic.
* Having a field guide for your area can offer considerable assistance in determining the plants you are looking at.
* Use it to track the development of a particular location over the course of a month, season, year or more.
* Record what you find while on a nature hike.
* Use pressed flowers and leaves.
* Compare landscapes either within your own town or while taking a road trip.
* Note if a particular plant or animal tends to be found in similar surroundings or if they develop habitats over many types of environments.
* Keep track of your own garden (even if it is a potted garden).
* Track how the weather influences nature.

Nature Journals have the ability to give us a sense of awe and wonderment of our world and it’s Creator.
We begin to realize how diverse the world is, we begin to take time and look beyond the surface and we see how we can impact nature in tiny, yet meaningful ways.

Enjoy exploring and making your journals. They are sure to become keepsakes your family will enjoy for years.

VickiSiggy2

 

 

 

 

 

Fruit Of The Spirit

Gal5.22.23

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

1 2 3 26

*** WELCOME ***

Vicki
This is my cyber home. I invite you to walk with me on my healthy mind, healthy body, and healthy spirit journey.
Lookup a word or passage in the Bible


BibleGateway.com
Include this form on your page

Connect On Social Media:

Want my posts emailed to you?

Email Me Post Updates On These Topics: