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Monday, December 12, 2011

Homeschooling Encouragement

I get regular emails from Sonlight, our home-school curriculum provider, and this one encouraged me today.  

I was overwhelmed with the immense portions on my plate , and the fact that we are 'behind' on the curriculum.  

But this email reminded me to celebrate the REASON why we are homeschooling.  

Right now Ollie and Malia are twirling around singing the Christmas play music and she is teaching him to say new words. This is beautiful.  This is our home-school. 

My foundational homeschooling verse is Phil. 2:15
"so that {Malia, Zachary & Oliver} may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which {they}shine like stars in the universe  as {they} hold out the word of life..."  

The ultimate goal we have for each of our children, is not that they  absorb mass amounts of information and achieve higher degrees, but that they understand why God created them, how he has ordered the universe, the earth, the people in it, and specifically our family.  I want them to "love one another deeply" and witness our faith in Christ lived out in our day to day responsibilites.

We may get behind on the information gathering, but God will never be behind in shaping their hearts for His glory.

Here's the email....

Carolyn from North Carolina wrote.

"This is what it's all about!" she began. "And it is NOT the Hokey Pokey!!"  It is a chilly day so the kids do not want to go out and play. So what are the doing? Playing hide & seek!You ask, "What is so fantastic about that?"
"Ah! There are four children playing: our 15-year-old son, 11-year-old son, 4-year-old daughter, and 1-year-old daughter! They all take turns helping the littlest.  THIS is why we homeschool. "

I read that and said, "Amen!" And I want to encourage you to hold that attitude for yourself. 

I say that because I'm reminded of a conversation I once had with a friend of mine "way back when." Cheryl was mortified, she said, when "someone asked my children what the capital of France was, and they didn't know!" 

I told her: "Kids can look that up anytime. In the total scheme of things, it is not that important for our kids to know what the capital of France is! How much better that they learn how to get along with one another. . . ." 

Sonlight staff gather for prayer every morning. And I pray at least once a week during those meetings that God will build strong relationships among our customers' families. I pray the same for our family. . . . And I see God answering those prayers. 

That is what I see happening in Carolyn's family. And what I have seen in ours, too. 

I was just thinking about that the other day. How else can I explain that our oldest son, an Old-Testament-prophet kind of guy--hard-driven, straight-arrow--somehow gets along with his youngest brother, one of the most laid-back, happy-go-lucky people I know?
May the members of your family rejoice in each other's presence . . . partially BECAUSE of the investment you are making now in your children's lives.
Sarita Holzmann, President

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Welcome Winter

Autumn has just begun, but we experienced the thrill of Wintery days up in Big Bear this past weekend.  Marty's family met us at the cabin for 2 days of sledding and snowman-making fun.  
Jayden even got a THIRD b-day celebration with Grandma and Grandpa!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy Birthday Jayden

She is thrilled to be SIX years old, feeling quite older, more responsible and capable in a Fancy Nancy kinda way!  And the only gift she requested was to have a girls only 'drop-off' party.  So we called on Five of her best friends from church to celebrate with a SUPER play-date with crafts, face-painting, lunch  and cupcakes.  (Zach, Ollie and Marty vacated the house and had an awesome father-son breakfast at the Waypoint Cafe at the Camarillo Airport)

Jayden Malia is an amazing little girl, with faith and maturity beyond her age.  I am so blessed to be her mama, friend and teacher.  

Friday, September 2, 2011

First Day of School

The morning began with Hand-made crowns, Old Navy uniforms, chocolate muffins, and smoothies.

Then we snapped photos outside.

And we were off to Bethany Christian to meet up with dear friends. Sophia and Morgan Elder and Taylor Ikenouye are all in Zachary's preschool class on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  I am so blessed by the friendship of their Mamas, Nikki Elder and Kelly Ikenouye, and so excited that our kids will grow up together!!

 Back and home, Oliver had a nap, and Jayden and I opened the door to her new classroom!  She is a quick and eager learner, and I had the best time, the most fun, the perfect role as her teacher!  I am incredibly blessed to stay home with my children and to have so many options for their educations.  And I have a feeling that Homeschooling is going to become my very favorite mothering activity.  God is so Good!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Amazing Gifts part 2

In the previous post I mentioned my love for hand-made gifts.   But I must also profess my love for gifts that help my boys expend their energy...outside!

In July, my parents drove up to celebrate Oliver's entry into the Terrible Terrific Twos.  And with them came gifts and the enthusiasm to create an impromptu party. 

Mima and her sous chef, Jayden, baked delicious cupcakes.  Oliver ate about 5. 

And Oliver became the proud owner of his very own tricycle! 
I have enjoyed watching him speed around the yard with his brother and sister.  
But I have greater enjoyment seeing his exhausted little body sound asleep in his crib!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Hand-made Love

  Oliver turned 2 years old this past July, and although we didn't throw a raging party in his honer he did receive some wonderful gifts.

Marty's mom is abounding with creative inspiration, and without fail produces something unique and personal for the kids on their Birthday's and at Christmas.

This year to stir Oliver's imagination she made him this amazing Safari Landscape, complete with hand-stitched boulders.  Then she filled it's pillowcase-like pocket with a dozen plastic animals.  The whole thing rolls up for easy storage, which was her gift to me!

I love these type of gifts, handmade labors of time and love, because as the years go on they will escape the give-away bin and be kept with other childhood treasurers.   

Long after my kids have out-grown the wonder of playing with them, each home-made gift will serve to remind my kids that their Grandmother loved them dearly and invested her love with every stitch.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Summer Highlight Video

Last summer we made our inaugural trip to Forest Home for Family camp.  We had such a blessed time, that before we left the mountain we signed up for 2011.  But as the time passed our calendars filled with other exciting opportunities -- India Mission Trip just being one of them!-- and Marty felt that he couldn't take any additional time off from work.  I was in an emotional dilemma because I believed God was saying "yes" to going, but what would Family Camp be without the Head of our family?  How could I manage all the activities without Dad, and would the experience be as enriching for our marriage without us both in it together?   God always has a plan!  And it is always so much better than our own!!

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts. "

Isaiah 55:8-9

As it turned out two of my best girlfriends were able to go with us, and their husbands stayed behind as well!  So 3 mama's and 8 kids became a family for a week and God moved in our lives and we will be forever changed.  (And Marty was able to use the alone time for serious reflection and time in God's Word, setting family goals and preparing for the challenges ahead.)

Take a moment and enjoy a glimpse of our 6 day adventure.  Plans are already in the works for 2012 -- you just may want to join us!

My Backyard Sunrise