Monday, July 23, 2012

Here it is....

Okay, so this will be the short version of a VERY long story.  It all started last year (I told you it was a long story); when we really thought we would be relocating our family to Omaha Nebraska.  In our search for a place to live, we kept school districts in mind for Price.  Of course that meant we needed to live in that school district, but the "best schools" were not anywhere close to Jon's possible future job.  So we started looking closer to his place of work.  The houses in those neighborhoods were charming, (which is a code word for expensive) and since we felt we should rent before we purchased something, we didn't like the price tag that came with these wonderfully charming rental homes, even though the schools were good. 

In my prayers, I started to ask God to show me what to do; where to look.  I was not satisfied with what He spoke back to my heart.  So I ignored that answer...yes you heard right, I pushed His soft answer to my stubborn heart on the back burner and continued to pray for a 'better' answer to my question of "Where do I look Lord?  Where is the balance of home life for our family  (proximity of Jon's job) and education for my children (school district)?"

His answer did not change.  Though His answer was still gentle to my heart (enough that I tried to act like I didn't hear it), His voice over the matter became more frequent.  Soon, this answer of His was keeping me up at night. 


Why?  And an even better question was  "HOW?" I am a product of a public school and I am a fine, well rounded, educated individual (if I do say so myself).  My major in college was elementary education.  I loved the planning, teaching and creating manipulative's to help find new ways to connect with a young mind,  yet when it came to doing my field work, I decided a room full of  2nd graders was not what I wanted to face everyday.  And so, a whiny "whyyyyyyy?" filled my prayers.  

I remembered a Bible study I had done titled "Called to be a Keeper."  It said that if you run an idea by your husband, and he is not on the same page, then do not take action, just continue to pray. This was my "out."  I knew this crazy idea wouldn't fly with my man.

One night while Jon was folding laundry on our bed, I said, "I want to talk to you about something."  I had his undivided attention.  "Its kinda crazy, but what do you think about homeschooling the kids?" I had not even said 'homeschool' out loud yet.  It felt weird coming across my lips. Not bad, just foreign.  Jon said "I think that might be a good fit for our family."  My heart beat faster.  I sighed in my spirit and decided in that moment to surrender to the call to homeschool our kids.

Here is where we skip forward a few months....
Jon did not get the job in Omaha.  It was a surprise to both of us.  We hit the 'refresh' button on our plans and continued to wait.  But at this point, my heart was sold on homeschool.  Over the last few months, I had been researching curriculum and co-ops, schedules, ideas, reading books, etc.  What a change  had taken place in my heart!!  I told Jon I was actually disappointed at the thought of losing that opportunity with the kids.  Being a man of few words that he is, he said "If it was right for our family in Omaha, why not in Chickasha?"  It was what I wanted to hear, but it didn't settle it for me.  Why the struggle to decide now that we are not moving?  The idea of homeschool was easier to accept if were starting over.  Now what?

This was my list of why it felt complicated:
  • We love Price's current school.  He loves his school. 
  • There is a waiting list to transfer from our school district to where Price goes.
  • We know a lot of teachers there; and they are wonderful. 
  • I would still need to keep my 20 hour a week job....and homeschool.
  • Some things would have to give (meaning, I will have to drop some plates to keep the most important ones spinning,  which would pretty much be work and homeschool)
  • Then there is the whole "what will other people think?" issue....God dealt with me swiftly on that matter, and I thank Him for it.
  • "I am so inadequate for this job!"  Not the teaching part, but the being at home...all the time...with both my children.  A precious friend reminded me that "God doesn't call the equipped, he equips the called." Thank you Molly. 
This was definitely harder.

But, as I said before, I had done a lot of research on homeschool.  The most important research was when I studied God's word.
" Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, but much revenue comes from the strength of the ox."  Proverbs 14:4

Weird verse, I know, but it spoke so deeply to my OCD.  My house, won't look like a magazine.  It won't.  Not with school taking place at the kitchen table.  Not with children literally in house 7 days a week.  But in that comes the trade off of strengthening my children in their relationships with each other and Jesus all while getting a home grown education.  I am trusting God will make good on the return!

"4 “Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord! 5 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 Keep these words in your heart that I am telling you today. 7 Do your best to teach them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road and when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as something special to see on your hand and on your forehead. 9 Write them beside the door of your house and on your gates."   Deuteronomy 6: 4-9

Every time after God says to follow these commandments, he also says that in doing so, you will be blessed.  Not monetary blessing, but the blessing that comes from children who learn to fear the Lord.  Psalm 128:1-4

Now, that being said, this is where I lose some listeners.  I am not saying that homeschool is the only way to teach your children about God!  Not everyone is called to full time paid ministry; but that doesn't mean the rest of us can't minister. Some people are called to be nurses or doctors, and that is a wonderful profession, but just because it is an admirable profession, doesn't mean everyone should pursue a career in medicine.  Homeshooling is a personal decision. It is not for everyone.  It is a calling, and we as a family are going to answer it.  It may or may not be a permanent one. Truly only God knows.  

God knew how much (more) I would resist homeschooling had he not put Omaha in our sights. 
He knows how difficult this undertaking is, but he calms my soul when I get all 'Jonah' about it (and sometimes I still feel like running from it).  He knows the blessing he has for our family by spending this time together.  He knows what this will mean and what seeds will be planted and watered during this time when my children are young.  It is time I can't get back.  The slower pace is just what my family needs  (young children and time constraints don't mix well).  The rat race made for one grumpy Momma at times. No more looking into my children's eyes via the rear view mirror as I shuffle them from one activity to another, hoping this time in the car will meet the requirement of interaction they need and want from me.

Down time, learning together, playing together, crafting, experimenting, cooking, living and loving together is just what God ordered.  Sounds like a Johnson and Johnson commercial, right? Ha!  I know there will be times when I wonder where God is taking us on this journey, but I will not question the call to participate in it. 


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ask and you shall recieve....

I would like to say that the Daniel fast was a time of extreme clarity. Well, I guess it was in a way, but not in the way one might think. What is the scripture? "His ways are not our ways, his thoughts are higher than our thoughts...." He answered my prayer of clarity, but in an unexpected way. There is NOT a definite path lit up for me to follow after the Daniel fast. Actually, quite the opposite. I feel like the fog is thicker and my 'sight' is not so great about what lies ahead. But at the same time, there is so much clarity about my faith and in whom I trust. That seems like the easy answer when there is no other; I know, but it is true. I have learned so so much about walking by faith; submitting to the will of God, even when it is not clear. Daily trusting Him and his plans for me and our family.

One thing, I have learned is that right now, this is destined to be a season of waiting on the Lord. This 'fog' is here, blinding me to my path because it is not for me to see at this given time. It is a faith building exercise that only comes to its end by taking one step at a time.

There are some things presented as options right now. The place where Jon is working currently, seems to have some interest in keeping him on full time with a career that suits his skills and education. He also had an interview with Devon Energy last week as a financial analyst. He recently received an email inviting him to an interview in June for a train dispatcher school in Fort Worth for the fall semester. None of these options has come to fruition. But more than ever, I know God is working all things for good; because we DO love Him.

On the home front, our recent childcare situation for Maggie Beth (of which we had so much confidence in) has fallen apart. This has caused some stress on me and Jon as we search for someone who will care for her the way we do. But the truth is, no one will care for my kids and invest in them like we do. For that reason, I am eagerly trying to arrange my work load and office hours where I can spend the majority of them at home with Maggie Beth.

During the Daniel Fast, I prayed intently about homeschooling. Yes, let me say it again "h-o-m-e-s-c-h-o-o-l." That 10 letter word that used to make me scrunch my face at the thought of being my children's teacher. What a work the Lord has done on me! (More on that later).

Overall, the lesson I have learned is to take my focus off of seeking God's hand in the situation and focus on seeing his face! He has more for me than just plans! He has a relationship waiting for me that only comes through trusting, praying, seeking, (sometimes lamenting), listening, praising and waiting on Him. In this time of waiting, with his purpose in mind, he will reveal to me and to our family what he has in store for us. He is worthy to be praised.....

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

He speaks Part 3

The next part of this particular Daniel fast was to read the story of King David and his building an alter to sacrifice something. The gist of the story is that David was to build and alter. He approached a man about some materials and the man said "I will just give them to you." David said, "no I will pay you full price for the materials for the alter for what good is my sacrifice if it doesn't cost me..."

So the devotion for that day asked me to think of something to sacrifice. It needed to be something I could give daily until the fast was complete. I began to think (which was the first problem). I thought to myself "I will give up coffee." But not having coffee was part of the fast itself. I thought "I will sacrifice my Christmas bonus from the church. I will write a check to Mary's Kids in the amount of my bonus!" No that wouldn't work because it had to be a daily sacrifice. Something that would be "inconvenient or stretch me beyond my comfort" so the description said. Okay.....

I began about my day and started to pray about what God would have me sacrifice. Then it hit me like a bolt! Make-up....

"Oh no Lord, surely not make-up." I am not a vain person, and I often went without it (at my own choosing). My mind began to bounce around all the places and events I would attend over the next 3 weeks where I would have to show my pale uneven skin tone. I closed my eyes and sighed. Okay Lord. If you have something to teach to me in this, I am willing to sacrifice make-up for the next 3 weeks.

And so I attended a New Year's party the following day without make-up. There were little cuties with perfectly shadowed eyelids and sparkly lip gloss accented by peach cheeks and eyelashes to die for in the room. Some were good friends. Some were people I didn't know; and here there I sat without a stitch of make-up. I attended church the following day without make-up. Work was not that difficult because I am pretty much alone during that time anyway. I took Price to school and picked him up without make-up on. I attended a girls brunch with some besties (who kept telling me they couldn't really tell I was without make-up, yeah right, but thanks girls : ) They too are all very beautiful. One who is a red haired bombshell with a natural knack for pulling off eclectic and chic. One who was a former Mrs. Oklahoma 2010 (need I say more) and another who has a very polished and trendy touch. And then there was me.

When all was said and done with sacrificing make-up, I learned a lot about myself. I learned I use make-up to conceal what I don't want others to see (blemishes, redness, uneven skin tone, dark spots or circles). I highlight what I want them to see (glossy lips, long eyelashes and perfectly peached cheeks). How reflective that is of my life! Not only in my relation to others but to my God who sees right through "concealer." He is not fooled by my mask. He sees right into my heart. He knows this smile means nothing when my heart is breaking. There is no fooling him into thinking I am better off than I really am. He knows. He cares. He loves me.

All in all the fast was a very spiritual experience for me. The sacrifice of make-up was the most challenging for me. More than the food. I will post again with specific things that were revealed to me during this time of praying for clarity.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

He Speaks. Part 2

The next mornings devotion (following the 21 Day Fast from the YouVersion Bible app) was the explanation of the Daniel Fast and where it comes from. Daniel asked to be fed only vegetables and water and not feast on the king's food. His body became lean and impressive to the king...and you probably know the rest of the story. Not realizing what I had signed up for, I had to do some research about the Daniel Fast, and there is plenty of information out there. Luckily, I was on fire to do this. I know God answered my prayer. Not only did He answer my prayer of '"should I be fasting, Lord?" He also answered the "Can you hear me?" question in Daniel 10. I was ready to pour my heart out and listen intently to what He had to say to me.

After a grocery shopping trip with a basket FULL of produce (broccoli, apples, bananas, oranges, strawberries, baby carrots, lettuce...lots of lettuce, squash, bell peppers, sweet potatoes and even kale!)

The purpose of the fast is to be disciplined with what we eat as an act of service. To humble ourselves before God. Hunger reminds us to pray. Our desire for sweets, meats and dairy remind us to pray. I have never spent so much time in prayer. I prayed every time I prepared myself something to eat within the boundaries of the fast. I could only have water to drink! Which was hard for a coffee, tea, soda, lemonade, juice...anything but water girl. I kept reminding myself that water is all my body needed to stay hydrated. I likened it to the living water Christ offers; a sort of 'back to the basics' mentality; both physically and spiritually.

I had asked God to reveal to me what it was he had planned for our family. I not only wanted to see his hand working in my situation; I LONGED and still do to see his face. I wanted to journey through the fast knowing God would show himself faithful to give me clarity...about something. Anything.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

He speaks. Part 1

Over the last several months, we have been in a season of waiting. My sweet husband is working a job that serves us well in the meantime, but we know it is not a long term job. To say we are grateful for this job would be a severe understatement! God is so in tune with what we need, even when we don't know it. As we have been 'waiting on the Lord' to direct our path, we have been so thankful even though we can't see what lies ahead. Jon's current job was given to him by a friend of ours who owns a company in our hometown. Jon works in the lab mixing chemicals (he wears the body suit and goggles). He goes to work at 6 and works until 2:30. Most days he picks Price up from school at 3:10 p.m. During wrestling season, he officiates in the evenings on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and all day on Saturdays.

Through our season of waiting, I have done a lot of praying. On a Wednesday, December 28th I believe it was, I was praying in the shower. I call the shower my prayer closet. I do A LOT of praying in the shower! I was asking God, maybe lamenting a bit; talking to him about wanting direction; wanting to see His hand moving in our uncertainty. I asked "God, should I be fasting? What should I fast? How long? What should I do so I can hear your voice clearly in my life and in our season of waiting? Lord, do you hear my prayers?"

The next day, I was sharing with Jon how through the uncertainty of knowing what God had in store for our future, I have not ever felt fearful of the unknown. Later that night I woke from a terrible dream about a snake slithering around my feet. I remember saying in my dream "if the snake bites me on my foot, I will lose my foot. If it bites me on my hand, I will lose my hand..." Adrenaline was racing through my veins. My heart was beating fast. Instantly, I fears went from dreaming about a scary snake, to things that were completely irrational. Fears for my children's health, my health, our safety and lives. Crazy things that I don't normally think about. A spirit of fear had overcome me. Knowing immediately that this type of fear was NOT of God, I reached for my iphone on the nightstand. I opened my Bible app. The bright screen made me squint my eyes as I adjusted to its light. At the top of the screen it said "The Daniel Fast" Knowing I needed God's word to calm me, I tapped the scripture reading; never mind how I ended up on a Bible Plan for a 21 day Fast! Daniel chapter 10. Daniel sees a vision of a messenger. It frightens him (I could relate to that at the moment). In verse 10 the vision touches Daniel, and in verse 12 he says "Don't be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer." Oh my goodness!! Chills ran down my arms and back. These are God's words to me in response to my prayer yesterday!.....

Verse 14 "Now I am here to explain what will happen to your people in the future, for this vision concerns a time yet to come." Verse 19 "Don't be afraid, for you are very precious to God. Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong!"

I felt the ever present Holy Spirit comfort me in my fear. It seemed more than that even. A calm and a peace indescribable washed over me. I re-read the passage; and again. I was shocked and humbled and amazed at how personal God is. HE SAW ME IN MY FEAR. He came with his Holy Spirit to comfort ME. I fell asleep picturing God being aware of everything (even bad dreams) that concerns me. I slept soundly in His love that night. I woke excited to read the next day's devotion of the Bible plan I had 'stumbled' upon at midnight. Just 2 days ago I had been asking God in the "prayer closet" if I should be fasting. He obviously answered with a resounding "Yes, child!" And so it began.....

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tasty Tuesdays

Confetti Pinwheels

1 pkg of Pillsbury flaky croissants
1 jar nacho cheese
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 pkg green onions, chopped

Spread out croissant. Mash together the perforated lines to make it one large rectangular dough. Spread on nacho cheese within 1/4 in of the sides. Sprinkle entire dough with bell peppers and green onions. Roll the dough into itself starting from the longest side of the rectangle, NOT the shortest, so that it looks longer than it is thick. Press the fold together and smooth it out. Cut into the log at a 1/2 in to 3/4 in thick. Lay pinwheels on a cookie sheet. You should be able to see the insides of the looks like confetti; go figure, haha. Bake according to package instructions, or until golden brown. Enjoy!

Makes a great appetizer, brunch, game day snack or item to bring for a finger food get together.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tasty Tuesday

BBQ Chicken Pizza

1 pizza dough, or prebaked pizza crust
1 jar favorite BBQ sauce, (mine is the Head Country hickory smoke with the yellow label.)
1 pkg cheese for pizza
1 pkg pre cooked fajita chicken
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper sliced into small strips

bake pizza dough for 7 min or so (if not premade), remove from oven, spread on BBQ sauce, top with chicken, bell pepper and cheese. Bake for another 7-10 minutes until dough is cooked through. Yummy with ranch dressing on the side and sweet tea : )