Friday, March 27, 2009

Freedom in Christ

I have been learning about freedom for the last couple of years. The Father has been opening my blind eyes to see things from a very different perspective. I'm not even sure when this started. Maybe it was when I was pregnant with Maya and had to be on my back so much of that time. I read through the Bible that year for the first time ever (and yes, I have been a *Christian* for a really long time. Sad. I know.). It was extraordinary! My friend, Mary, from the FIAR boards had mentioned a website that had made a difference in her Bible reading and in her life. I read through it one day, and too, was challenged and changed in a dramatic way.

Here is a quote from the site...
We have never had so many books out on marriage, raising children, decision making, etc…and yet we have never had more divorces, relationship problems, problems with our children, etc.! Why? We might be looking for answers in the wrong book! Often people run to self-help books instead of the Bible. Why rely on a man’s opinion? The Bible says that He is the “Almighty Counselor.” (Isaiah 9:6) Only a moment of reflection would reveal that we have gotten very wrapped up in so many other materials and we have been using the Bible as a resource book, not The Book. By reading through the entire Bible, we are seeking the whole counsel of God. Psalm 119:160 tells us, “The sum of His Word is Truth.” We desire no other answers but His. We desire no other answers but His!


I didn't have a small group that was interested in doing this kind of study at the time, so I just had my own small group with God. I started in Genesis and in Matthew at the same time but decided to just start at the beginning and go all the way through. I would read, not according to any plan or checklist, but just as the Holy Spirit would lead me. I read one chapter some days, three chapters some days, one verse or several verses. I read through conversationally with the Father...listening to Him...waiting for something to stick out and speak to me. I cannot tell you how powerful it was for me. At about Deuteronomy, I really felt that He wanted me to take one colour of highlighter and underline all His names (God, Lord, Almighty, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Redeemer, etc.). I now can open my Bible and on almost every page I can go immediately to the green highlight and see one of His many incredible names. So powerful, especially when I want to study or pray through them!

I still read through the Bible this way today...whatever book He leads me ever many verses or chapters I feel lead to read...always conversing with Him. It's so beautiful and, again, so powerful!

Back to the topic of freedom. I think during all of that reading and listening time, I noticed so many things that I had not been taught or had not learned on my own or things that contradicted beliefs that I had learned along the way and made my own. I have since read through the gospels over and over to learn who Jesus really is and what He did while He walked on this earth. He is all about the Father, the Kingdom, freedom, love, rescue, redemption, truth. He was on a mission and did not get deterred. His way is truth and He offers freedom to us who are in the pit, captured and bogged down in sin and unbelief and self.

Consider these verses...

Psalm 119:45
I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out Your precepts.

Psalm 146:5-8
Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD his God,
the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea,
and everything in them—
the LORD, who remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed

and gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets prisoners free,
the LORD gives sight to the blind,

the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down,
the LORD loves the righteous.

Isaiah 42:6-8
I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles,
to open eyes that are blind,

to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
I am the LORD; that is My name!

I will not give My glory to another
or My praise to idols.

Mark 5:34
He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."

Luke 4:16-21
He went to Nazareth, where He had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day He went into the synagogue, as was His custom. And He stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. Unrolling it, He found the place where it is written:
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because He has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
Then He rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on Him, and He began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."

2 Corinthians 3:17
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

Galatians 5:1
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Ephesians 3:12

In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

When I read these Scriptures and others, I see that freedom is one thing that I should be experiencing in my life if I call myself a follower of Christ. He is the Answer. He is not only my Saviour, He is also my Life. The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy and there is evidence of him everywhere. But the victory is ours because of the innocent blood that was shed on the cross. We are covered. Jesus never needs to die again.

It is finished.

And we are free.

Praise His Name!!!

I would love to know your thoughts and what God has taught you about freedom. Please share your comments.


Bat Nursery

My kids pretended to be mama bats this week for an experiment (don't worry about the boys, their masculinity is still intact!). Austin and Ben are doing Apologia's Exploring Creation with Zoology 1 for science this year and love it! One of the lessons in the chapter on bats was about bat nurseries and how they could contain hundreds and even up to one million baby bats at one time. How is a mother to find her own little snuggle pup? The main way is by smell.

So the book suggested doing an activity to demonstrate the difficulty of finding one little pup in a very crowded nursery. I got twenty cotton balls and put a different scent on each one. Then I assigned one scent per child and told them to memorize their *baby's* scent. Then I put them all on a tray and had them try to find their pup...blindfolded. It was a fun activity...lots of laughs...especially when Austin declared "I'm such a bad mother" when he couldn't find his baby at first. LOL!

Unhappy mama...

Happy again...

Our list of scents...
lemon-lime drink
orange drink
white vinegar
balsamic vinegar
mango juice
Worcestershire sauce
dish washing soap
mouth wash
(And sorry, my memory fails me for the last 2.)


Envelope System

I mentioned in my last post about starting Sue Patrick's Workbox System in our home school. This is a system that my friend Leslie from the Five In A Row message boards had introduced to us at the beginning of March. She had started it in her home school and had seen great results. Her enthusiasm was very contagious! I don't think I've ever seen a thread as long as that one in my 7 years of participating there. LOL!

The idea is that you get a four tiered rack and 12 plastic shoe boxes per child and fill each shoe box with an assignment or activity so that they will have 12 assignments per day. It is very visual and a great motivator for the child to see their progress as they complete their work and move on to the next box.

The main reasons Leslie found the system so helpful were more independent work by her children, getting more work accomplished in a shorter time and adding more fun back in to their school day. Those sounded like great reasons to me. I ordered the book and read through it in two short sessions. It explained the philosophy behind the system and some how-to's. Some of the other FIAR moms also shared their ideas and variations on the system, and I particularly liked Jessica's, as I did not see how I could find a place for 5 racks and 60 plastic shoe boxes (it makes me shudder just to think about it). So I decided, prayerfully, to try it out the envelopes. Of course, one VERY positive result of this for me is that I had to get all of my school materials better organized in order to be able to fill the envelopes every day.

I decided to use the school baskets we already had. I just added the number grids to the front of the baskets...

The little girls didn't have official school baskets yet, so I did buy new ones for them...

So, in case you're wondering how long we've been doing this and what my opinion is now that I've actually implemented this into our school day...we started them the week before March Break, took a week off and have just completed our second week. The jury is still out as far as my opinion goes. The children absolutely LOVE the envelopes...even the two year old asks for *embelopes* every day! I think it's the surprise factor that they have enjoyed so much. They are progressing through them quite quickly and seem to be getting more accomplished each day. I have also been able to add in more fun (i.e. watercolours, bug studies, menu planning, nature journaling, drawing, extra colouring pages, games etc.).

I'm not sure why I'm still not 100% sold on this thing...except that maybe it's just taking more discipline and TIME on my part to get it all organized and the envelopes filled. I'm going to give it another month, though, because I imagine it will get easier and quicker the longer I do it. I'll let you know!

By the way, take a look at Heather's adorable boxes here! Such a creative mom! And I am using her workbox planner sheet (also on her blog).


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

March Break Re-Cap

March break...where'd it go???

It was a great week but, of course, too short. We did some MAJOR cleaning out/de-cluttering around here and it feels great. Seriously. I want to live in my cleaned out closet, that's how happy I am. Bob took a HUGE load of perfectly good cleaned out stuff to the mission and a small load of not so good stuff to the city dump. I also did a big organization of school materials/books/supplies because I have jumped on the workbox bandwagon. I'm not usually a bandwagon-jumper-on-er...but this one is worth it and is making a difference in our home school! More about that in the next post.

Also during March break, we took the children to a local maple syrup festival and bird sanctuary. It was both yummy and educational!

We met some good friends for a walk at the lake...

And just had some nice family time and celebrated beautiful signs of spring!

It was a nice break and now we are back at it.

Happy Spring!!!


Friday, March 20, 2009


My dear friend, Rebecca, emailed this to me and knew that I would love it. She's so right...I've listened to it over and over.

God, please be my EVERYTHING!

A March Break post coming soon...and thoughts on true freedom in Christ.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pink Princess!

Ava turned four yesterday and we had a fun PINK day! Her sisters made the beautiful PINK cake and the boys put up with PINK everything else all day! (Austin had to be awakened out of his late sleep to join the party, so thus the reason for his normally happy face to be so blank ~ or hidden in the couch.) We also took some hysterical videos of Ava blowing out her candles, so if I can figure out how to upload them, I will.

Happy Birthday, sweet girl! :)


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Back Soon!

I'm missing my blog, but posting is just not happening right now. We've had more sickness, more sleepless nights, not to mention our camera breaking, and on top of all that, I've been trying to implement a new organizational system in our school! Good timing on my part, eh?! LOL!

So I'm hoping to be back soon, but I also need to plan a few things for a little girl who is turning 4 on Friday! :)

Until then...

Psalm 68:19 Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Selah.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tonight's Supper

In the past few months, this recipe (from my friend, Barb) has become one of our favs, so I thought someone else might like to try it, too! YUM!

Barb's Buffalo Chicken Soup
6 servings
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes

1 2-1/4 to 2-1/2 lb. deli-roasted chicken, skinned, boned, and coarsely shredded
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup coarsely chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 14-oz. cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
1-1/2 cups milk
1 tsp. bottled hot pepper sauce
1-1/2 cups mozzarella cheese (6 oz.)
1-1/4 cups crumbled blue cheese (5 oz.)
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (2 oz.)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour (I used sweet rice flour)
Bottled hot pepper sauce (optional)

1. In 4-quart Dutch oven melt butter over medium heat. Add celery and onion; cook and stir until onion is tender. Stir in broth, milk, and the 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce.
2. In bowl toss together mozzarella, 1 cup of the blue cheese, Parmesan, and flour. Add gradually to soup, stirring after each addition just until melted. Stir in three-fourths of the shredded chicken; heat through. Top with remaining chicken, blue cheese, and hot sauce. Makes 6 servings

Note from Barb: I used Buffalo Chicken Sauce instead of plain hot sauce (just a generous slosh of it) and added ranch salad dressing in place of the milk for a little more flavour!



Lots on my I'm keeping this song in my heart...

(from YouTube and MusicforHISMission)