A thief on the loose...

We recently had the pleasure of hosting the "Modern Day Bonnie & Clyde" here in Northern Montana. No one knows for sure where they were staying or how long they were here...but everyone knew they were close at hand. I got the dreaded phone call one evening from my husband at work..."Are you going anywhere tonight?" Me, "No, why?" Him, "Make sure you lock up and keep an eye on your surroundings." I always know what that means...there are bad guys on the loose. It is amazing how quickly we batten down the hatches when we know that evil is close by. Suddenly we are aware of every car that passes by and every unfamiliar face in town (and when you live in a town of 500...well, you can guess).

And last fall, when our puppy was stolen right out of our front yard...we made it our personal mission to find her. We searched for hours for her. The next day we made signs and called the radio station. By noon we had her back. We soon learned from our new neighbors that the hot handed thief was a habitual thief in our town. We kept our eyes open and our doors locked much more after that. Yes, he was most likely harmless, he was young and mostly a petty thief ~ but we certainly did not feel obligated to share our hard earned bounty with him.

And yet all the day between the town thief and the murdering fugitives...we went back to our complacent lifestyle. We live in a town of 500 people...we generally feel safe. Our biggest threat here is a grizzly bear coming in to town. How concerned do I really need to be? Well... I was reading from the book of John the other day and came across this so familiar passage...

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

John 10:10

Ladies, there is a thief among us ALL THE TIME. And he is far more cunning than some runaway fugitives (who were thankfully caught far far away from my home) or some petty puppy stealing teenagers.

He is the king of LIES and he wants our joy, our peace, our patience, our trust, and anything else he can get from us. He is swift, sometimes hard to trace, crafty, and most certainly deadly. And chances are...he is hanging out right outside your door...or worse...he is already inside your home.

The good news is...if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior...you have the most effective home and heart security system available to man. When the enemy is knocking at your door ~ the Holy Spirit sounds the alarm and all you have to do is hit your knees and pray to the One who has already overcome (John 16:33). He comes swiftly to your defense...faster than any local sheriff ever could...and He rescues us from the enemy. Thank you, Lord that you are my personal security team!

Pondering all of this has also made me realize there are things I need to be doing to continually safeguard my home and my children from the enemy. We cannot become complacent in our walk with Jesus or our lives. As my Pastor mentioned this past Sunday...the enemy works best when we THINK we are safe.

Do I assume that just because I home school my children will be safe from the enemy? I may have allowed that thought to cross my mind once or twice...

Remember ~ he is sneaky and he will darn sure try until he finds a way to get to them. My initial reaction to this thought is to panic...but Pastor also reminded us that, "...God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7

So what do we do? We use that sound mind to call upon the power of Jesus to protect our children and our homes. Do we do this once? Or twice...and call it good? Nope, daily my friends. Every single day.

I have also been convicted to re-examine the media we allow into our minds. Now....let me first day that we are very strict about what they are allowed to watch on television. My kids consider Sponge Bob to be evil and Phineas and Ferb not much better. They are restricted to Clifford and Curious George, Dora the Explorer and Mickey Mouse Club House (plus a few other hand selected titles). They also have TONS of Veggie Tales videos and my personal favorite, Signing Time. So my biggest conviction lately has been just to turn it off.

And for the radio...I mostly listen to Christian music but I must confess I do like my country music too. And since the ONE and ONLY radio station I get here is the local station and it happens to be country...that is usually what I turn on in the car. Recently, the kids have been asking me questions about the songs...like the song, "I Run to You" (by Lady Antebellum)... Nicole asked me if they were singing about Jesus. Gulp. And my favorite...when Joshua asked me the other day what a "Mississippi Hippie" was (She's Country by Jason Aldean). I decided we should probably turn off the radio and listen to christian music, hymns and Bible verses (to music) on my iPod. The kids love it and I find myself singing the hymn (or verses) as I go through my day. Don't worry, I still have my country music playlist on my iPod and I will listen to it when the kids are not around...which is never...so oh well.

And that leads me to a last thought (before I fall asleep on the keyboard)...I need to remember to stop what I am doing and pray with them when they tell me about things they are struggling with. For example ~ I heard Nicole talking in her bed tonight and when I went in to check on her...she told me she had bad dreams in her head and she was telling them to get out. I stopped and prayed for her...and the other 2 as well...out loud and asked Jesus to remove those bad dreams and replace them with sweet ones. I want them to learn to stop what they are doing and seek the Lord when they come again struggles (especially ones that are suspicious of the enemy).

OK, so I gotta admit this post took a completely different turn than I had intended. I wanted to tell you how I've become so content and at peace with life here but after reading John 10:10 I realized that I do not experience that "full life" that Jesus died for me to have. I am not sure when the enemy stole it from me...or if I ever really took hold of it when He offered it to me...but I'll be praying about that one and I'll let you know what I find out.

In the meantime..."Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:8 Don't let it be you...or your kids!

Many blessings to you all,


The Simple Woman's Daybook

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Outside my window...it's beginning to look a lot like fall here. Is the summer gone already? Is it really almost September?

I am thinking...about a million things that feel overwhelming right now...and wishing I was in bed instead of fretting!

I am thankful for...access to God's Word ~ it gets me through the day!

From the learning rooms...school has been in full swing for about two weeks now. I have 2 students this year ~ 1st grade and Kindergarten. The days are longer but so far so good!

From the kitchen...hubby's smoking a brisket for us today. Can't wait to sit back and enjoy tonight! Believe it or not...I actually sat down and planned my menu for the WHOLE month of September. What a relief!

From the garden...lots and LOTS of zucchini and green beans. Still waiting for the tomatoes to turn red. Looks like we will have a few pumpkins too!

I am creating...a "patriotic" crochet blanket.

I am going...to reorganize the school room a bit. Need to move some cabinets so I have a little more room for my growing students.

I am reading...The Bible and about to start "Girl Talk" with Nicole (as recommended by my pastor's wife)

I am hoping...that my Mother-in-Law will wake up today. C'mon Grandma, it's time to play! Oh yeah, and that Abigail will get this potty-training thing down soon!

I am hearing...complete and utter silence. That's because I am typing this the night before I post and everyone else is in bed (or at work)...

Around the house...trying to keep things organized now that we are back to school. It can get out of hand far too quickly!

One of my favorite things...the complete and utter silence of after bedtime!

A few plans for the rest of the week... hubby's weekend starts tomorrow so a little family time then lots of school and a trip to the library!

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

Nicole and Joshua whitewater rafting near Glacier National Park.

Check out the original Simple Woman's Daybook for more great stuff!


Our Circle Time

Well, school is in full swing here as we muddle our way through week #2. For the first time I have 2 students ~ Nicole is in 1st Grade and Joshua is in Kindergarten. We are using My Father's World Curriculum (for both K and 1st Grade) and we love it! Nicole and Joshua are able to do quite a bit of school work together and then I spend about 45 minutes one-on-one with Joshua and about 2 hours one-on-one with Nicole (much of which happens when the younger 2 are sleeping).

My most favorite time of the day is Circle Time. I first learned about "Circle Time" from Kendra over at Preschoolers and Peace. She is amazing/ inspiring/ and quite personable. I read all of her archived posts about Circle Time and downloaded her e-book about it as well. I have even asked her questions and she has answered them all! Anyhow - my circle time looks very different from hers but that is the beauty of it...you can make it be whatever you need!

Our Current Circle Time Activities:
ACTS Prayer Time
Sing and Sign (ASL) Hymn
Define Pledge of Allegiance
Say Pledge of Allegiance
Calendar (Months of Year/ Days of Week/ Today)
Number of the Day

ACTS Prayers
I made a poster of the different parts of the ACTS prayer model. I wish I could post a picture of it but I am just not that savvy. Anyhow, I explained it like this...(words in parenthesis are actually clip art pictures of that word)

ADORATION... (heart) ...I love you, Lord
CONFESSION... (sad face) ...I am sorry, Lord
THANKSGIVING... (happy face) ...Thank you, Lord
SUPPLICATION... (child praying) ...Please help, Lord

After we discuss the aspects of the prayer model, we use the poster to help us pray through each element around the table.

Sing and Sign Hymn
We are currently learning the hymn "This is My Father's World." The kids sometimes perform hymns with Sign Language at church, so I figured we would incorporate the American Sign Language with each hymn we learn. It is such a beautiful way to worship and it helps us keep up on our vocabulary. See Joshua's blog to find out why we sign...

Define Pledge of Allegiance
My kids have been saying the Pledge of Allegiance for several years now. But I realized that they really have no idea what they are saying. So...I decided to break it down into vocabulary words for them to learn and teach them what the Pledge actually means. Do you know it means?

Pledge: Promise
Allegiance: to be loyal, faithful and true
Republic: form of government where leaders are elected by the people to represent them
Indivisible: cannot be divided
Liberty: Freedom
Justice: Fairness
For all: Citizens

In other words...
I promise to be loyal
to the flag of our country
The United States of America
and to the elected government the flag represents
one nation, under the authority of God,
that cannot be divided
and offers FREEDOM and FAIRNESS
to every CITIZEN of this country

This morning we spent some time discussing the freedom that we so often take for granted. We want our kids to know that our freedom is precious and cannot be taken lightly - or it will be taken away. They know that is other parts of the world ~ Christians are being killed for worshiping the one true God. And other parts of the world ~ children are being taken away from their parents because their parents choose to home school (and that is Germany, and possible soon the UK...scary). If you are not up to date on the UN Rights of the Child Treaty - please go to ParentalRights.org to learn more. Our rights and freedoms are in grave danger folks. We MUST take this seriously. Our children will know and understand what we are fighting for!

After discussing the pledge, we stand and say the Pledge of Allegiance facing the American Flag in our school room. I am hoping to soon have a flag pole next to the school house so we can raise and lower the flag each day.

The rest of Circle Time is pretty self-explanatory. Our curriculum has lots of great ideas for the # of the Day. We also discuss the calendar and all the good stuff that goes with it. Today I made a section in my Lesson Plans binder for future "Circle Time" activities...So far I have written down memorizing the Lord's Prayer, the Fruits of the Spirit, Hymns such as Holy, Holy, Holy and How Great Thou Art, and a series of Patriotic Songs to learn. I am sure that as the year goes on our Circle Time will change and become more in-depth...but I think we are off to a great start so far!

Hope your school year is starting well! May the Lord bless you as you teach and train your little ones!


An Update of Sorts...

Since my last post, I have driven over 7,000 miles. Impressive, huh? OK maybe not. But add the fact that there were 3 children under the age of 6 in the car at least half of those miles were just me and them - I am considering it impressive.

So we rewind. May brought warmer weather and garden planting. June wrapped up the end of our first year of homeschooling, Vacation Bible School, a visit from a dear family friend, my husband's birthday and a call from my parents that my grandfather's health was failing fast. You know the call - if you want to see him again you need to make some travel arrangements. That left 2 options...$4,500 in plane tickets or start driving. So we did. Just me and the kids. 2,600 miles. We drove 600 miles per day. We used the DVD player. We stopped at hotels that had a pool and a continental breakfast. My dad was gracious enough to fly to Chicago to meet us and help up drive the rest of the way in to Maryland. We made it. And just in time. (If you are considering driving from Chicago to the Eastern Shore of Maryland in one day with 3 small children in the car...reconsider. It was a long day.)

The kids saw my grandfather (affectionately known as Pop-Pop) one time before he was too sick for them to see. I was able to spend one night at his bedside before he died - I shared the gospel with him one last time and asked him some questions about his faith. He was able to answer yes and no questions and after praying with him...I am certain that he is with Jesus right now. Thank you Lord for your sweet assurance. Pop-pop passed away on July 4th. He had a really good view of the fireworks that night...and the Orioles actually won a game in honor of him (I am sure that was it cause they can't win a game when they try).

The next week was the hustle and bustle of funeral arrangements and time with family. Just as we were hoping to turn our trip into a vacation we got a terrible phone call - my in-laws were flying their single engine plane from Colorado Springs to their home in San Diego when their plane crashed. They were outside a small town in New Mexico. My father-in-law sustained severe injuries and was transported to the local hospital for surgery. My mother-in-law was life-flighted to U. of New Mexico hospital with multiple would and TBI (traumatic brain injury). She has been in a coma since the crash. My husband flew from Montana to New Mexico early the next morning. I tried to make arrangements to meet him there - but he told me to stay put. He didn't want me driving back across the country under the circumstances. So we waited. Days passed and my mother-in-laws condition waxed and waned. Some doctors thought things were hopeful...others disagreed. On June 29th they were able to transport her via helicopter to a facility in San Diego so she would be closer to home. At that point - we all headed home. My mom was kind (or crazy) enough to drive as far as Denver with us....which is where we met my husband and he drove us the rest of the way home. Boy were the kids glad to see their daddy. We had been away from home for 5 weeks.

Fast forward to the end of August and we are home...harvesting the little bit of garden that survived the cold Montana summer and the lack of care it received from us being gone. Surprisingly - we have harvested quite a bit of zucchini and green beans. We will also have tomatoes and pumpkins before the cold takes over (I hope). We also celebrated Joshua's 5th birthday last week and started school. Joshua has been dying to start "real school" when he turned 5...so we decided to dive in. So far so good.

My mother-in-law remains in a coma. We are praying desperately for her to wake-up. None of us are ready to lose her. I can't begin to tell you the number of times we have gone to pick up the phone and call her...for a recipe or to tell her the latest hysterical thing that Nicole has said...only to put down the phone and cry. The grand kids need their Grandma. Please Lord, wake her up! Not our will though ~ but Yours Lord. You can keep up with her condition on her Caring Bridge Website

I am working on a post right now that has been brewing in my head for days...just figured I better update ya'll before I hit you with some heavy theological thinking :)

Many blessings,