Finding Peace in the Midst of Terror

Finding Peace in the Midst of Terror

Every morning when I turn on the television I see death. More people killed at the hands of merciless shadows. The hatred, the lack of grace, the feeling of “well, they deserved it” wells up inside too many people. Why is all of this happening? It’s quite an easy answer, SIN. We all have sin inside of us, no matter what. We all do and say things that we shouldn’t. But how do we go about creating a more peaceful world, is the ultimate question?

Terror All Around Us

In the United States of America the total deaths due to mass shootings is 202. Two hundred and two families lives have been ripped apart. Changed forever. Lives that ended to early.

San Bernadino, California on December 2, 2015, 14 people were slain, while 17 more were injured. Multiple shooters decided to barge into a disability center and open fire.

Kalamazoo, Michigan on February 22, 2016, 6 more innocent victims were claimed. A man without a rational bone in his body went on a seven hour shooting rampage on various victims.

Orlando, Florida on June 13, 2016 painted a scene of pure horror. In the middle of a night club, a man (I don’t care about his name), decided that killing 49 people and wounding at least 53 more, was a good idea.

Dallas, Texas on July 7, 2016, a lone sniper picked off 5 Dallas Police Officers and wounded 7 more. What was suppose to be a peaceful night of protesting, turned into total chaos.

Nice, France on July 14, 2016 a truck rammed through a crowd at the beach, killing at least 80 people. It was Bastille Day, their Independence Day.

It doesn’t matter who, are why they are killing people. It only matters that as a human race that we exam what is really going wrong!!

Pointing the Finger

As I watch the news this past week, I find myself pointing the finger at others, judging them for their actions. How could they do that? Who in their right mind would shoot innocent people? I would NEVER do that? And the blame keeps on rolling.

Blaming others has been mankind’s reaction since the beginning of time.

“The man said, ‘The woman you put here with me–she gave me some fruit from

the tree, and I ate it.’ Then the LORD God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have

done?’ The woman said, ‘ The serpent deceived me, and I ate it.’ ” (Genesis 3″12-13)

Even in the beginning of time, no one wanted to say to God that it was their fault. That maybe if they had done things differently that the outcome would have been better. But, instead they blamed each other and were kicked out of the garden of Eden forever. Death, pain, sin, hurt, feelings, hardship and more came upon man for this one decision.

What if what is going on today is the same thing? What if we took a closer look at what we are doing in our own lives, that contributes to a sinful world?

Look in the Mirror

As much as we would all like to think that we do not judge others, that we do not talk about others behind their backs, that we think pure thoughts all the time, this just isn’t the case. We are human. We are born with sin and sin lives in us all. We all have times where we judge someone before we know the whole situation. We all say things that we shouldn’t say. We all have thoughts that are not pure.

Stop blaming others. Stop pointing the finger. Stop thinking that your opinion is the end all be all for others. Take a look at the person in the mirror and really see who you are.

So how do we go about changing ourselves?

Well, you can’t. It’s like trying to pluck your own eyes out and still see at the same time. Impossible. But there is a way to start seeing the world through a different lens. A lens that allows you to have compassion, empathy and even love others when you do not want to.

God’s Grace and Mercy

There is one thing that helps us to change permanently, It’s called the Holy Spirit. This is a gift from God to you, given by His grace (receiving something when you do not deserve it) and mercy (compassion or forgiveness given to someone who doesn’t deserve it). This is a gift that no one deserves, but our loving God has given it to us anyways.

When you tell God that you believe that His one and only son, Jesus, died for you on the cross, the Holy Spirit comes to live in you.

“and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice

came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well

pleased.’ ” (Luke 3:22)

This gift allows us to truly change who we are from the inside out. To start seeing the world the way that God sees it.

“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in

this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old

has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave

us the ministry of reconciliation:” (2 Corinthians 5:16-18)

Reconciliation means the restoration of a relationship. Due to our sin, our relationship with God was broken. Through Christ’s death, our relationship with God has been restored. God’s grace and mercy allowed us to no longer be enemies of God, but to be part of His family. To be loved, taken care of and even helped when we still do not deserve it.

So how does having the Holy Spirit living in you, help you to change?

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old

has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

When we live by our everyday wants and needs, we tend to be selfish. We find ourselves wanting what we want and thinking about others less. But, when you live by the Holy Spirit, things begin to change. You love others, even when you do not want to. You find yourself thinking about ways to help others. You will even notice that the sinful ways that you lived by before, begin to melt away. All of this happens when the Holy Spirit comes to live in you.

“And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has

identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30)

”   12So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness,

humility, gentleness and patience; 13bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint

against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14Beyond all these things put on love,

which is the perfect bond of unity. 15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were

called in one body; and be thankful.16Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom

teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,

singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17Whatever you do in word or deed,

do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” (Colossians 3:12-17)

Having a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, will come about when you begin to love others. Waking up everyday, reading God’s word and allowing His wisdom to penetrate your day, leads to a true understanding of what love means. If we all took the time to love other through grace and mercy, then a tide of peace and understanding would penetrate our land.

There are a lot of times that I do not understand why someone did what they did, or even agree with their opinion on the situation, but, that doesn’t mean that I get to love them any less. I have to take the time to listen, to truly open my mind and pray to God to help me in those situations where I am truly ignorant to what is going on. To let the Holy Spirit fill me with Jesus’ peace and let me see the world through God’s eyes.

So instead of pointing the finger at others this week about the horrible situations that we see on the news, lets start with ourselves. Take a good look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Do I need God??” Because if you do, like we all do, then take the time to tell Him that you believe that His son Jesus died for us. Thank Him for loving you even when you didn’t deserve it. Ask for the Holy Spirit to come live within you and to help you to love others, even when it is hard.

If you are a Christian who feels like you can’t even hear God anymore, or maybe you wonder if the Holy Spirit still lives within you, take the time right now to tell God, “Sorry for the way that I have lived lately. I do not put you first in my life. Please fill me with the Holy Spirit. Help me to live my life for you. Help me to put you first, by reading the Bible everyday, praying for everything in my life and listening for your words to guide me in my life.” Then wait to see what happens.

Come on, lets all change the world, one loving Holy Spirit at a time.

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Fear of the Unknown

FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN

 

So I have been working the last two months as a waitress. And let me tell you, it is not as easy as when I was in my early twenties. I go home some days exhausted, sore but grateful that I have a job.

I look at my husband, who has been laid off at home since October and sometimes I feel frustrated. How can someone with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering, not find a job??? But, I know that he has applied to numerous jobs. He has gone on a few interviews and nothing has panned out. He has been offered jobs if we want to move, that is not happening. So the What Ifs have started to creep in.

What Ifs

What if my husband doesn’t find a job by the time I need to start homeschooling again?? In September I will be tutoring at my local Classical Conversations homeschool group. I am so excited to be a tutor. I used to be a public school teacher and I miss the kids a lot, so being able to have my own classroom again is like a God send. I also run our local youth fall soccer program. So in Septmber and October I am really busy. If my husband doesn’t find a job, I am not sure that I will be able to do these things that I love.

What if I have to keep working at my job in the fall, what will homeschooling look like?? My husband has already said that he will help teach the kids in the fall, if we need to. I am so grateful to hear that he will do whatever needs to be done, and maybe it is the teacher within me, but I want to be the one who homeschools our kids in the fall. I feel like I already know what I am doing and that I am able to help them the most when it comes to their educational needs.

What if we can not figure out a way to financially meet our families needs?? I think about our bills right now and feel a little overwhelmed. I know in about 4 years we will be a lot better off financially. A lot of our debt will be paid off, it’s just getting to that point. I also know that there are certain things that we can do without, including out t.v., certain groceries and other things. I feel frustrated to be back at this point. I mean I have a Masters Degree in Elementary Education and my husband has a Bachelors Degree. We thought that we would be much better off financially than we are.

My, what ifs, could keep going all day if I let them, but I refuse to live that way anymore.

Releasing the Anxiety

So after a few sleepless nights, I sat down to analyze why I couldn’t sleep. What was going on in my life that was robbing me of my peace?? It led me to realize that I hadn’t been spending time with God. I would wake-up in the morning, get ready for work, or sleep in later because I was tired. I didn’t start my day with the One who controls everything. The One who gives me peace and understanding. The One who gives me strength in my times of need. Things needed to change and they did.

I made it a point to get out of bed, no matter what and spend time with God. I have to have His wisdom and Word wash over me in the morning to allow the anxiety to go away. All of my what ifs have seemed to be quieted.

” Those who try to hold on to their lives will give up true life.

Those who give up their lives for me will hold on to true life.”

(Matthew 10:39)

I have been so busy focusing on what I want, here in my earthly life, that I am not listening to God. I am not giving up my life to Him. I want to be in control again because life has felt uncomfortable lately. I want things to go back to the way that they were when my husband had a good job, I stayed home and took care of the house and the kids. That was comfortable to me. But what if God is trying to lead us in a new direction. In the middle of my stubbornness I may be missing God’s plans for our family. I may be missing another adventure.

So today as I am writing this to you, I reminding myself who is in control. Reminding myself that I need God. That I can try to run my own life and my family’s life right along with it, but where will that take us, say 10 years down the road. Now that is a scary thought.

I throw my hands up and give this problem to God. Because if I try to figure it out on my own, we are going to be in trouble.

May you see your need for God. Stop trying to figure life out on your own. Put your hands up to God, right now. Tell Him that He can take whatever problem it is that you have. That He can figure it out for you. Then spend time in prayer and reading the Bible everyday. Just listen and know that God will show you the way. May all of our eyes and ears be truly opened to see what God is trying to show us.

 

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Fun Weekly Summer School Ideas

Weekly Ideas That Will Spark Interest in A New Topic

Fun Weekly summer school ideas

Starting June first of 2016, we will be having a weekly summer school idea extravaganza. If you are not part of our Facebook group, you will want to join us as soon as possible. During each week there will be a weekly challenge for you and your family to complete. Then each family can post pictures of how they completed the challenge, use words to describe their adventures or even post videos of all the fun things that you have learned during the week or a video explaining how to do the challenge the way that you did.

I know that this will be a fun way to keep all of our families learning and sharing ideas with one another. I know that if you are like me, it is so easy to just forget all about school in the summer and just have fun. But, what if we could learn and have fun all at the same time?? Wouldn’t that be the BEST SUMMER EVER!!

Well here is our line-up of fun challenges to complete each week this summer:

  • Please feel free to complete the tasks that suite your family’s needs.

June:

6/5 – 6/11: Butterflies – Let’s save the Monarch Butterflies. The  Monarch Butterfly population has declined by more than 90% in the past                                                     few years. Go to the Butterfly Heroes website, to receive your free butterfly garden starter kit. Here are some cool                                                     butterfly activities: http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/butterflies. Please take pictures of your family planting their                                                     butterfly garden together and post them on our Homeschool Women of God Facebook group.

6/12 – 6/18:  Plants – This week go for a nature walk and take as many pictures of different plants as you can. Then you can post your photos                                            onto the Homeschooling Women of God  Facebook page asking people to help you to identify each plant. Or, you can                                                label each picture with the name of the plant, so that everyone can learn the name of the plants as well.

6/19 – 6/25:  Clouds – This week take time to relax in the grass and gaze at the clouds. Remember to take pictures of your favorite clouds.                                                   Then upload your photos onto the Facebook page. Label each picture what object you think that it looks like and also                                               the name of the cloud, if you know it. Here is a video to help you and your child(ren) learn about the different types of                                             clouds: http://www.teachertube.com/video/cloud-types-137031. If you do not know what type of cloud it is, ask other                                             people to help you label them from the Facebook group. If you have pictures of your butterfly garden coming up,                                                       please take pictures and share them with us.

6/26 – 7/2: Airplanes – Using whatever materials you have lying around your house to make an airplane. Let each child explore what works                                                best to make their airplane fly farther. Don’t forget to have a lot of tape on hand. Allow them to measure how far                                                        their airplane has flown each time. For older kids you could have them graph the distance of their airplane during                                                    each flight attempt. You could also have them use a stop watch to see how long the airplane stayed in the air. If you                                                  need more help with airplane ideas checkout this website: http://www.scholastic.com/browse/lessonplan.jsp?                                                          id=1508. Please take pictures and share your experience with us on our Facebook group.

July:

7/3 – 7/9: Rocks – As you are out on walks this week have your child be on the look out for rocks that look different, or let them collect                                                 whatever rocks that they like. Then take a picture of the rocks and post them on our Facebook group. You can label each                                         picture with what type of rock it is or you can ask others in our group to help you figure out what kind of rock it is. Here is                                       a video to help everyone learn about the three different types of rocks.

7/10 – 7/16: Chemistry – There are a lot of ways that chemistry plays an important role in our lives everyday. Try to come up with different                                                     ways that certain chemicals react with each other. It could be how yeast makes bread rise, or how baking soda and                                                     vinegar bubble up. Take pictures of what happens when you mix certain chemicals together. Here are some more                                                       chemical reaction ideas.Then post your pictures on our Facebook group. If you have them time tell us how you and                                                   family made the chemical reaction happen.

7/17 – 7/23: Painting – Let your child(ren) paint this week. Let them paint on all different types of materials: rocks, wood, paper, leaves,                                                       flowers, etc.  Let them use different types of paints as well if you can. Please post pictures of their beautiful artwork                                                   on our Facebook group.

7/24 – 7/30: Recipes – This week make your favorite recipe together or try to make a new recipe. Take photos and post them on our                                                               Facebook group. Then add the recipe and directions to your photos. I can not wait to try some of the wonderful                                                         recipes that I know we will get.

August

7/31 – 8/6: Egg Challenge – This week have each child create an egg holder that will allow them to drop the egg from at least 10 feet in the                                                             air without it breaking. If you need more instructions check out the egg challenge PDF. Please post pictures of                                                           your egg contraptions along with how high your egg was able to with stand being dropped from without                                                                       breaking, on our Facebook group. Come on let’s see some amazing inventions that push the height limit to its’                                                           maximum.

8/7 – 8/13: Recycling Challenge – How much waste do we produce a year? That is something that I want you to think about this week. Are                                                                      there ways that we can cut down on the amount of waste that we produce? Maybe, you could start a                                                                              recycling bin, repurpose older stuff in the house, start a compost bin, rain water collection barrel, turn                                                                          things off that use electricity more often, etc. There are so many ways that we could help our earth. Let’s                                                                      start to make a difference today. Please post pictures of how your family recycled this week along with                                                                          an explanation.

8/14 – 8/20: Homemade Things to Play With – This week is pretty open. Do you have recipe for homemade playdough that you love to                                                                                                     make. Or how about slime, bubbles, paint, chalk, etc. Please post your recipe and how to                                                                                                   make it on our Facebook group. If you get time try to post a photo of you and your                                                                                                               child(ren) making the recipe together. Maybe, even a photo of your children playing with                                                                                                 your homemade item. Have fun and learn new ways to make homemade things to play                                                                                                       with at home.

8/21 – 8/27: Changes in Matter – There are three states of matter: gases, liquids and solids. Here is a good video to watch with your kid(s)                                                                       to help them understand the three states of matter. https://youtu.be/C33WdI64FiY Now here is the fun                                                                       part, let’s make some food where states of matter change. Homemade ice cream in a bag – it goes from a                                                                       liquid to a solid and tastes amazing. Make homemade butter – it goes from a liquid to to a solid. Vinegar                                                                       and Baking soda – solid to a gas, you will want to do this experiment outside. Lollipop Lab – goes from a                                                                       solid to a liquid. Please take pictures of the food experiments that you did this week and post them on                                                                           our Facebook Group.

  • Thank you for joining us on our fun summer adventures. May we continue to have more adventures together. To make sure that you do not miss any other fun ideas on this website please make sure that you subscribe to this website, right now.

 

 

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Letting Go and Letting God Be The Parent

Letting Go and Letting Go Be The Parent

One of the hardest things to do in life is to be a parent. I have read plenty of books on the idea of parenting. But, nothing can prepare you for when a child struggles with something that you can not help them with.

Teenage Years

This past week I have watched my teenage daughter struggle in ways that has brought me to tears. Between boyfriend issues, a lot of tests at school and other obstacles, she has been a mess. I have tried to talk to her, hold her, just let her know that I am there for her. I have talked with grandparents, aunts and uncles about just showering her with love and attention. I don’t want her to feel alone, nothing has seemed to help.

So what do you do when you are out of your element, ask for help. I do not feel that I am capable of helping her with some of the emotional issues that are arising. She says that her emotions get so BIG that thoughts of suicide have crossed her mind. That feelings of just ending it all to make the pain go away, keep coming. This is no joke. I have gone from scared to sad to angry in the past few days. Now I am just exhausted.

Dealing With More Than You Can Handle

This past Monday I took her to a medical center for a mental evaluation. We were there for a little over 7 hours. They did a lot of medical examinations, including, chest x-rays, EKG, blood tests, and more. They didn’t find anything wrong, so they sent her to the psychologist, for a mental evaluation. She looked so upset and embarrassed. She kept saying that everyone was going to think that she was crazy now. I just kept explaining that we all need help sometimes and that getting help is better than bottling it all up inside and pretending that you are okay when your not.

The look on her face was heart breaking. I wanted to just grab her arm and run out the door with her. To take her somewhere where she could feel safe and loved again. Some place where I felt like I had more control in her life again. But, what would that solve. NOTHING!!! So I made myself calm down, put on a smile and started talking about anything in life that might make her smile.

After about an hour in the mental evaluation room, the psychologist came out to talk to me. She asked me if I had any concerns and I told her about how she said that her emotions would get so big that she thought about suicide. That it scared her. I told her about what was going on in her life that was causing stress. I then asked her straight up, if there were any red flags that she noticed. You see, my daughter is the child that gets good grades, helps others, is loved by her teachers, is honest, and wants to do well in life. I hadn’t seen her grades drop, her friends hadn’t changed, and nothing else in her life warranted a red flag to pop up. I was confused as to how to help her or what was going on.

The psychologist proceeded to tell me that she didn’t see any red flags either. That sometimes between hormones and other stressors, that their emotions just change. That’s great, but it still didn’t help me figure out what to do to help her. So I told the psychologist that what was going on with my daughter was out of my element and that I didn’t know how to help her anymore. She said, all that I could to was be there for her. To really listen to her. And to seek the help of a counselor.

So that is what we are doing. The hard part is that I think she forgot the most important part of all, the powerful element of GOD!!

God’s Role in All of This!!

God already knows what is going to happen way before we do. We can choose to obey and follow His plan, or we can try to make a path of our own. The second idea usually ends up with something bad happening, trust me I know.

So as I left the medical center this week and headed home, I just kept praying. Praying to God that He would have to be in charge of this situation. That He is the best parent for what is going on and that I would follow His lead.

I don’t want to go through this alone. I don’t want to fell helpless and afraid as her parent. And with God I do not have to.

“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.” (Psalm 27:13-14)

“Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.” (Psalm 37:5)

“”For I am the LORD your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.'” (Isaiah 41:13)

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving

let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)

In the midst of a parenting storm, rely on Him. Know that our God is stronger than we will ever be. That He cares for us and loves our children more than we can ever imagine. That in Him we find peace and strength to keep moving on, trying to be the best parents that we can be.

If you are struggling with how to help your child, STOP right now and pray to God. Tell Him that you can no longer do this alone. That you need Him to step in and take control. That you are waiting on Him. That you trust Him and will follow Him in this situation.

Then, just sit back, be still and know that our God WILL provide a solution, if we just wait, listen and obey. Even though this is one of the hardest things to do in life, it is essential to our sanity, to our children turning out to be a Godly person, to our whole relationship with our kids.

Please comment below, how God has helped you as a parent. Or, how we may pray for you in your struggles as a parent.

May peace and strength be with you today and the days to come. God bless.

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Review – Story of The World – Volume 1

story of the world

This is our second year of using Story of the World Series: by Susan Wise Bauer, at the beginning of this year for my eight and five year old. Here is our review of this Social Studies Series:

Pros

The stories that are in the book are easy to read and are in simple fiction format. Susan takes the time to include important vocabulary, but not at the expense of the understanding of your child. I also like the pictures that are in the textbook. They are kid friendly and point out the important parts of the text.

I love the activity book. Each chapter includes encyclopedia cross references, review questions, narration exercise, additional history reading, corresponding literature, map work, coloring page(s), and project(s). We do the map activity before the beginning of each chapter. This allows my children to understand what region of the world we are learning about. I also use the coloring pages for them to color while I am reading. Sometimes I want to read a little more from the story book and their attention span is just not there yet. They tend to sit a lot longer for me if they are coloring. I love the list of books that correspond with each chapter. We like to go to the library the weekend before a new chapter and get some books that relate to the topic, that we will be reading about in our Story of The World book. Finally, my favorite thing about the activity book is the list of projects. You might be creating a crown when you read about Egypt, a paper coat to resemble Joseph’s colorful coat, or a Mohenjo-Dara dwelling out of clay. My kids love all of the projects that we have made and look forward to them.

I like how the author also talks about creating a time line with your kids. We decided to use all of their coloring pages and maps to create a timeline around our school room. We tape them up along the top of the wall to create a timeline. Some other people use a big cork board and smaller pictures to create their timeline. Whatever method you use, creating a timeline helps your child to visualize what they have learned in Social Studies for the year. I refer to the timeline quite often before we read a new chapter to review what we have learned so far.

I like how the program is created for four years and then you cover the same material, but at a different level. For example, in first grade you start learning about 1,500 B.C. to 400 A.D. Then in second grade you learn about 400 A.D. to 1600 A.D. You continue learning about world history all the way till present day in fourth grade. Then in fifth grade you start to learn about 1,500 B.C. to 400 A.D. but at a higher level. Then in ninth grade, they learn about the same time period but at a much higher level. So by the time that they are in ninth grade, they will have learned about the same time period twice before and will be able to discuss, defend and apply their knowledge in a whole new way.

Cons

The only complaint that I have against this social studies curriculum is that there is a lot of material to cover in one year.

Overall

I highly recommend the Story of The World curriculum for your 1-8 grader. This series is meant to be used with 1-4 graders but, can be used with older kids depending on their level of understanding of ancient history.

 

 

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