Monday, September 24, 2007

Art is Not For Sissies

If I could take a dream vacation it would be to Brightwood Studios, home of artist Claudia Nice. If you are interested in nature study, art, or both you will love Claudia Nice's work. I highly recommend How to Keep a Sketchbook Journal . Between the covers you will find detailed sketches on every page with beautiful hand written notes by the authoress. On page fifteen there are directions for making a field kit. I hope to make one soon for each of
the children.
The link below will take you to the studio web page where you can see samples of Claudia's detailed artwork.
If you have a little boy that thinks art is for sissies tell him Claudia Nice's eye for detail and keen sense of observation landed her a job with the search and rescue in her area as a man-tracker! That doesn't sound sissie to me -and might motivate a little more interest in keeping a nature notebook!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Post Card From God

Today was a good day overall but even good days can have their stressful moments and today was no exception.
As I pulled up to the drive thru at McDonalds I saw a long legged, scrawny, chicken running about the parking lot. The irony of the situation made me stop and laugh. It was like a post card from God saying

"Hey, stop and enjoy life, don't take things too seriously!"
Thanks God, I love you too.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Less is More

The 19th of September remembers the ten year anniversary of the death of Rich Mullins. There were many things I admired about the man and his music but what will forever stand out in my mind about him was the fact that he didn't seem to feel the need to promote himself.
In his later years he embraced a life of poverty which enabled him to pursue his life calling more fully. Now that may seem extreme to you but consider for a moment...How much "stuff" does in take to make me feel happy?

"How much time, effort and money does it take to take care of my "stuff?"

Our desire for stuff can hinder us emotionally, physically and spiritually.

My husbands grandmother is an excellent example of a person entrapped by material belongings. Having been raised during the depression a deep rooted sense of fear for the future caused her to horde material things. She was very thrifty on one hand which was an admirable trait of hers but her tendency to horde was not.

A day came when her health made it necessary to declutter a bit to accommodate a wheelchair. I found 10 identical pairs of gold shoes in her closet while cleaning.Ten! All the same size, style and color, and that was just the gold shoes. There were also the black, brown, red, white brown, sandals, dress, sport shoes and slippers. Her modest home had three bedrooms and a garage stuffed to the brim. She paid electricity for a second refrigerator, yet she lived alone.

When is enough, enough?

When this sweet lady passed away all of her "treasures' were sold for pennies on the dollar at yard sales to strangers.

This is not the first time I have seen this and each time it is sad and breaks my heart. Do you want your children to go through rooms and rooms of clothing and fabric, electronics, costume jewelery, pictures and papers when you are gone? Or perhaps worse yet have bickering break out between family members over...s.t.u.f.f! :( Of course not!

God wants us to be an openhanded people. We serve a generous God but we must have open hands to receive. Clutter clogs up that flow of giving. Hmmm, preaching to the choir here...

My friend Gayle always says "You can't out give God." and it is true.

Go through your closets, cupboards and garage...

IF you find cans of Lima beans but your family hates Lima beans? Gift them to someone else or to a food pantry.

Does Jr. really need three winter coats? How many outfits does it take to have a decently turned out family?

Old boyscout and AWANA uniforms are often needed by low income clubs. Put the awards in a shadowbox hang it on the wall and gift the uniform!

Your overflow household items and clothing can be used in so many ways!

The homeless shelter and local animal shelters always need blankets in the winter. The men at our local shelter depend on bikes for might check with yours if you have disabled bikes or parts.

Graffiti abatement programs can use your leftover paint. Libraries would love your magazines and books. Your church nursery or play group might want Jr's outgrown toys.

Ask God to reveal your heart as far as your attitude towards material things. Ask Him to give you creative ways to re gift those things you no longer want, use or need.

Your housecleaning can really bless someone else.

I'm off to clean and declutter!!!


Friday, September 14, 2007

Random thoughts

As I was cleaning the outside of my stove and mopping the kitchen floor this morning my mind jumped from thought to thought as it often does. Here is some of the random thoughts I had running through my head.

What was it that God saw in seventy five year old Abram that made Him want to draw Abram out of a pagan nation to set him apart for Himself? What was it in Abram's heart that pleased God so? Abraham wasn't just the Father of a Nation he was "Ibrhim Khalil -Abraham the Friend'." Father create in me the type of heart that you seek in a friend. Give the tenacity in spirit I see in all of the men and women of God.

What a blessing it is to be cleaning my home ( I didn't always feel this way:) This is Friday, Preparation Day for Jews all over the world. There must be women everywhere cleaning and preparing special food, bathing children and making ready to welcome in Shabbot. Oh, Father please help me to truly see my home as a sanctuary.
Help me to be intentionally hospitable. Help me be intentional about making Sunday and preperations for Sunday special.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Fragments of Life and Mommy Guilt

My days seem incredibly full and it is easy to rush from one activity to another without taking time to really see life through God’s eyes.
As mommies we tend to wrestle with a lot of guilt. We tend to compare ourselves with others (which scripture warns us not to do)
and find ourselves wanting.
The truth is when life throws us a curve ball and we end up looking our mortally squarely in the face (as my friend Emily did recently ) we find the thought of not being here for our families very, very sobering. Even if we aren't doing everything perfect we are irreplaceable in the lives of our families!
In my quiet time recently I cried out to God, I was feeling overwhelmed and just not up to the task of another year of homeschooling.
God spoke so clearly to me in response from the book of John; and though I am using the verse out of context it spoke directly to my weary heart.
Jesus had just fed 5000 men (plus women and children) from five barley loves and two small fishes. So when they were filled, He said to His Disciples…
"Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost."
Fragments that was all I had to offer God, fragmented thoughts and plans, fragmented time, fragmented emotions. Bits and pieces here and there from past years of schooling that needed to be somehow shaped into a cohesive homeschool year.
Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost." Jesus was speaking to me ... telling me bring me those fragments I can use them. Like a child bringing her Daddy a broken toy to fix, and that’s okay because healing and fixing broken things is what our Heavenly Father does best.
I am convinced nothing will be lost if I gather up the fragments and leave them with God.

Maybe you have brokenness in your own life... it's okay.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Earthly Treasures

Earthly Treasures

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy,
and where thieves break in and steal. Matthew 6:19