Do You Celebrate Advent?

 

Christmas Tree 2013Do you celebrate Advent?

Advent is a personal thing.

Perhaps you attend a denomination that celebrates with certain liturgical rituals.  That’s great.  Rituals bring meaning and reverence to our worship.  Perhaps your church doesn’t celebrate Advent.  Perhaps you’ve never even heard of Advent.

Advent is simply a way to focus our thoughts and our hearts on Jesus and the celebration of His birth, death, resurrection, and His offer of salvation to us.  It’s a time of reflection and heart searching.  It is a personal, holy thing.  What you do isn’t as important as what you do in your heart.

We light candles on an Advent wreath each night in December, read our Advent Book, pray, and on good nights, sing a carol.  Do we do it every night?  No.  We miss a few, but that’s okay.  We just pick up the next night and keep going.

I encourage you to focus on Jesus as the excitement of Christmas continues to mount.

Christmas Blessings from Harvest Lane Cottage,

Laura

Why We Homeschool

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Someone recently asked me why we homeschool.  This is what I told her.

I was trained as a teacher in college.  I didn’t find a position right out of school, so I went to work in insurance.  When my first son was born, after much prayer and many discussions with my husband, we decided that I’d be a stay-at-home mom until he started school.

As school age approached, I became aware of homeschooling through Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family radio program and through some books that crossed my path. After research and prayer, my husband and I became convicted that it was God’s will for our family to homeschool.  My son also had some special needs that we felt could be handled best in a home environment.  We’ve been homeschooling since 1995.

So, here are some of our reasons:

1.  We believe that God gave us, as parents, the responsibility to teach and train our children.

2.  We believe that we are to protect the innocence of our children as well as physically protect our children.

3.  We believe our family is closer because we live life together on a daily basis.

When our family grew, our little school did as well. I’ve found that there are some advantages:

1.  Learning takes place at each child’s pace rather than trying to keep up with a class or wait for a class.

2.  Children thrive with individual attention.

3.  Negative influences from peers are limited.

4.  I can teach them truth from God’s Word as absolute truth.  All other subjects, especially science, are viewed from that biblical perspective.

5.  My children are better socialized than school children.  They know how to interact with adults and children well.  Homeschool groups and church provide playmates.

6.  They have more time for following individual interests.  One of my daughters writes worship songs and participates on our worship and dance teams at church.  One of my sons is teaching himself to make knives and raises animals.  My youngest enjoys sewing and crafts.

7.  They’re not afraid of speaking in front of people.


8.  Homeschooling works well for families that have fathers who work unusual hours as well.

These are some reasons we homeschool; but, ultimately, we homeschool because that is what God called us to do.
You can find more information about homeschooling at http://hslda.org. That’s the Homeschool Legal Defense Association.Blessings from Harvest Lane Cottage,

Laura

 

This is reprinted from my other blog, Harvest Lane Cottage.

Every True Wife

“Every true wife makes her husband’s interests her own. While he lives for her, carrying her image in his heart and toiling for her all the days, she thinks only of what will do him good. When burdens press upon him she tries to lighten them by sympathy, by cheer, by the inspiration of love. She enters with zest and enthusiasm into all his plans. She is never a weight to drag him down, she is his strength in his heart to help him ever to do nobler and better things.”

 ~ Homemaking ~

J.R. Miller

 

“She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.”

Proverbs 31

Through Jesus

 

You know, sometimes we just don’t feel like praising God.  The drain’s clogged, your kid has poison ivy, a black snake is eating your chickens’ eggs, what you plant doesn’t grow, the kids track dirt or whatever in, the car won’t start, the air conditioner is broken, it can be any number of things.  There’s always going to be something, isn’t there?  It’s just one thing after another.  Ever wonder why? 

We truly have had a rough time for the last few years.  BUT GOD has brought us through every single trial.  In fact, He has shown himself so faithful, I just don’t get as upset or angry or worried as I used to.  I know that most of the things I worry about are out of my control.   They are totally in God’s control.  He WILL take care of the problems one way or another.  My job is to pray and let Him be in control. 

So we pray, we give it all back to him to carry, and we praise the Lord even when we don’t feel like it through Jesus!

 

 

Is This Blessing Realistic?

“May God be with you and bless you,
May you see your children’s children,
May you be poor in misfortune, rich in blessings.
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.”

This is a traditional Irish blessing. It’s a wonderful thought and wish.   We most emphatically want God to be with us and the ones we would bless.  We most emphatically want God to bless those we would bless.  In fact, we most emphatically want God to fulfill all of this for those we would bless.  Is it realistic though?  Is it really the way God works?  I think not, at least not all of it all of the time.

Sometimes I think that we try to boss God around.  After all, how could He know what’s best for us?  We’ve got it all figured out in our minds.  We know how life should be.  It should definitely include for richer, in health, and living long.  Pain should be minimal or non-existent.  We shouldn’t know unemployment, bills we cannot pay, friends or spouses that betray us, children that rebell, mice in the house, ants, clogged sinks, cars that won’t start, lost library books, and all such things.  We would have lots of friends; we would be beautiful and thin; our hair wouldn’t go gray; we would always have money in our pocketbooks; life would be perfect, or would it?

What need would we have for our Creator God?  Would we even acknowledge Him let alone worship Him?  Would we not be setting our own lives up as idols?  Would we not worship self?  Would we grow in grace, mercy, or compassion for others if life were perfect in our own eyes? 

What if our lives are perfect right now?  Not that everything in them is perfect, but what if God is perfectly working in our lives through our circumstances and through other people in our lives to bring us closer to Him?  What if losing the job and not finding another is really a way of drawing us to Him?  What if the arthritis, the heart attack, the pain or the cancer are ways to draw us to Him?   After all, where else can we really go for help?  Do I think that God is causing all of this?  No.  I do think that God allows things to happen that will cause each of us to seek him with diligently with heart, mind and strength. 

That’s what’s been happening with me the last few months.  Lowell’s long-term unemployment and under-employment, our inability to pay bills, my pneumonia, and some other problems in our life have absolutely driven me to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  I am reading the Word almost compulsively.  I must read it daily.  I want to read it often.  I am not really interested in reading anything else.  This from a woman who reads fifty or more books a year.  This year I’ve finished two, I think.  God is changing me.  He’s changing the way I think.  He’s changing how I view my salvation and my Jesus.  It’s all good.  I’m finally beginning to really believe “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” Romans 8:28 and “I can do everything through him who gives me strength”.   Philippians 4:13.   

Bad circumstances bring us closer to our good God.  Run to Him.  He is our strong tower in times of trouble.  It’s not that He will do all we ask; but, if we give ourselves totally to Him, He will help us to pray truthfully, Thy Will Be Done.

Growing in Grace and Trust,

Laura