Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Time Has Come

The end of our homeschool journey has finally arrived.  As of this Tuesday, May 20th 2014, Bridgette will officially be a high school graduate!   It's hard to believe that it's been 8 years since we started on this adventure called homeschooling and that we made it through 4 years of high school!  This year she was able to get in LOTS of theatre activities and has worked on plenty of art work!  She has been in 3 plays and just started rehearsals for her 4th (Disney's The Little Mermaid Jr. opening on June 20th - she was cast as Carlotta (the headmistress in Prince Eric's castle) and also an ensemble sea creature (dancing/singing clam for at least one song "Under the Sea").  Plus she was in two Out of the Box shows (as a volunteer helper for the special needs theatre group).  And has completed close to 2 dozen art projects...with a few still in progress...including her first paid commission!

It's been a busy Senior year and we are glad to be done!

We took this photo early so that we could get
announcements printed up and sent to friends & family.
 
 

By way of celebration, we have a couple things planned.  First we have reservations for the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue at Disney, which we are super excited about...the last time we were there was on our 2001 vacation to Disney (before we moved to Florida) when Bridgette was in kindergarten.  It seemed appropriate that since we were there at the beginning of her school years, we should go again at the end!  Then this summer the three of us are going on vacation up to New Hampshire (our home state) spending a week with family, then Brian goes home and Bridgette and I are staying for an extra week and spending some time with my best friend (in Maine) who, with the exception of a few hours in 2009, I probably haven't seen since Bridgette was a baby.  I can't wait to spend time with her...we email a lot, but it's not the same as hanging out together! 

So what's on the agenda for her future...well only God knows the answer to that...but in the meantime as she sees how things play out, she plans to take some time to enjoy more of the things she loves (theatre, art, perhaps even finish those last two chapters of her novel she started in 10th grade?)...after this summer she may take some acting and/or voice lessons.  She has a week after we get back from vacation before her 2 week summer camp starts.  This year's Show in Two Weeks is going to be Schoolhouse Rock...so that should be lots of fun!  I'm sure at some point she will need to get a job, but we'll get through our busy summer first, before thinking about that.




Thursday, March 6, 2014

Long Time...No Post

Man, I really suck at this lately :P  Not that it matters probably...I don't think many people read my posts.

Anyway, sorry about the absence...we've been in the South Pacific the last couple of months!  Ha Ha!  Yep, my girl was in South Pacific (the musical that is) and now it's done and over with.  Sad, because it was pretty awesome...yet glad because it was a long run (compared to what we're used to).  It ran for 3 weekends...for a total of 11 performances (including the preview night and a private show on the last Saturday for a volunteer group).

This is Nellie and her Honey Buns :)
(Bridgette is second in from the left in the flowered romper)

Mom & Dad with their "special nurse"

She's in love, she's in love (repeat like a gazillion times) with a wonderful guy!"

The Cast of South Pacific (minus a couple nurses)
(Bridgette is the 4th nurse in from the right)
 
 
And of course Bridgette is still plugging away at her senior year of high school...despite a major case of "senioritis"!  As of today, she has 52 days to go!  We hope to be finished by May 23rd!
 
 
The other BIG event, is that we are now parents of an 18 year old.  GAH...where in the world did the time go...wasn't she just 18 MONTHS old, like yesterday?! 
 
Technically, we are only parents of a 4 1/2 year old though...because she's a leap day baby we get keep her "young" for a bit longer than most people!  lol   She is celebrating with her 2 besties this weekend...it's a Muppet Madness Party...everything is letter M themed, (Muppet is her nickname) from decorations, to food, to what they do (mostly watching movies that begin with M and playing Mario kart)!
 
Our Leapling!  Happy "Half" Birthday (2/28 - 3/1/2014)!!!
 
The picture above in the blue, is from the first part of her senior photo shoot.  We are going to do some more soon, as our first day was really cold and windy...and we had wanted to do some in another outfit.  This weekend is supposed to be nice weather so I think we'll probably stop at a nice park on the way home from church to finish them up. 
 
Well - that's about it for now.
 
OH...ps: this happens to be my 400th post...what do you know!
 

 
 

 


Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy ALMOST 2014!

It's been quite a while since I've blogged, but since my daughter drew a new blog header for me for Christmas (isn't it adorable?!), I figure it's time to get back at it.  It's almost a new year and I'm thinking I should try to blog more, but I'm not sure what direction I should take things.

I know those who get a lot of traffic are ones who post things every day, and while I'd like to have more readers/comments, that probably requires more effort than I want to put into it.  At least right now anyway.  Perhaps when we are done school.

I'm moving into a transitional phase of my life.  Only 5 months left of homeschooling Bridgette.  That's it. FIVE months and she'll officially be done with high school.  So, I'm still considering what sorts of things I want to pursue in my post homeschool life. 

I'm sure I will still be involved with Bridgette's life.  She's become more and more involved with theatre the past 6 months, and was recently cast in her first "main stage" (as opposed to youth theatre) show of South Pacific, albeit just in the ensemble...but still it's all very exciting.  I joke (kind of), that I am her personal secretary...keeping her theatre schedule straight and making sure that she gets where she needs to be, when she needs to be there!  I think she needs to make it "BIG" so that I can get paid for my services (retro-actively of course!) ha ha!

Other than that, I should really start focusing on life after homeschool.  I have thoughts that perhaps my house will be cleaner (ha ha)...but we'll see about that.  I'd like to work on my scrapbooking.  Maybe get into photography more.  Ideally, I'd like to find something that maybe Bridgette and I can do together as a business...to make a little money, so that she can have some income, but still be able to pursue her theatre passion.  There are no plans for her to go to college, and I am more than happy to have stay here at home for as long as she wishes...we've been separated from all of our family (through death or moving) that I think the three of us are clinging to each other for dear life!

And then of course there are spiritual endeavors to work on...getting into God's word more and listening for whatever it is that the Lord wants me to do in the coming months.  I've sort of let the posts of that nature slide the last few months...not sure what direction future posts may go...but I hope to do more at some point.

Anyway...wishing you all a blessed & happy new year!


ps:  I'm going to try creating some "signatures" for my blog and see which I like best...here is one...what do you think?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Trying To Hide From God

Genesis 3:22   "And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever."

*from the footnotes in my Life Application Bible: "If they had continued to live in the garden and eat from the tree of life they would have lived forever.  But eternal life in a state of sin would mean forever trying to hide from God."

 Hmm - that's interesting…a state of sin = trying to hide from God?

 Is that what I do?  Try to "hide" from God?  When I think about the times that I avoid reading/praying by "forgetting" or neglecting to take the time, or being busy…is it that I'm sub-consciously thinking that maybe if I stay away from reading the word and praying to God, I can "avoid" God's…discipline, judgment, correction…in a sense "hiding" from him.  If I don't read about it or have a conversation with him about it, can I pretend that everything is okay - that there is nothing in my heart, thoughts or actions that need changing?

This reminds me of when Bridgette was little and we would catch her doing something wrong and give her an opportunity to change her behavior before getting a spanking.  We'd start counting and before we would get to 3 she would cover her butt with her hands to avoid the spanking (trying to "hide" from being disciplined) instead of acknowledging the wrong and changing the behavior.  As an adult I can see my own version of trying to "cover my butt", when really I just need to face things head on and allow God to do whatever it is he needs to do in my life in order for me to change my behavior (repentance)…even if it means a momentary sting of pain.  

Hebrews 12:11 "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."

In reality though, I cannot hide from God…he sees and knows everything that concerns me!  And while in some respects that seems scary, it is also comforting to know that despite God knowing everything about me…he still loves me.  In fact he loved me enough to send his only son, Jesus to die for me…the Lamb of God who takes away not only the sin of the world, but MY sin…so that I could have eternal life!  Why would I want to hide from a God who has promised me that?  I don't want to hide…instead I want to be running toward him!  We used to sing a song at church years ago called Where We Belong that reminds me of this! 

Lord, help me to fight the urge to want to hide, and instead fill me with the desire to RUN to your throne, where I belong!

Where We Belong by Hillsong

There is no height or depth
Neither life nor death
That can take me from all that I find
Here now in Your Glory Lord
No other powers or love
The things of now or to come
There's nothing on earth in this life
That could ever separate us Lord

Your Love is never ending
To your hands we surrender
Where all our sins are washed away
Your Grace beyond reason
Has paid for our freedom
We're made alive in You

We run to Your Throne
Where we belong
Every heart will sing
That Jesus is Lord
Casting all else aside
For the joy of our Christ
Let Your Glory fall
Our hearts are filled with Your Fire

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tubby Little Cubby All Stuffed With Fluff

Apparently I forgot to post this back when I first wrote it...But as I mentioned in an earlier post, Bridgette was Winnie the Pooh in Lakeland Community Theatre's youth theater production of The House at Pooh Corner a couple weekends ago (September 20-22)!  Here are a couple of pictures :) 

Isn't she the most adorable Pooh Bear!

We are so proud of her...she did an AMAZING job!
 
The Cast and Crew!
 

Staying within God's Pleasant Boundaries

Genesis 27…(the whole chapter...go ahead read it...I dare you! :o))

The first thing that came to mind was that I sort of felt sorry for Esau in a way.  Here is this guy, who I can only imagine was probably made fun of his whole life because he was "red & hairy" and apparently he didn't smell all that good either.  And I can relate to how in chapter 25, Esau was so hungry that he would do or say just about anything for something to eat..including stupidly giving away his birthright.  He was careless, but I can understand.  But the part where I really felt sorry for him was when he was crying out to his father after his brother Jacob had stolen HIS blessing right out from under his nose…"Bless me - me too, my father!" in vs. 34, and then in vs. 38 "Do you have only one blessing, my father?  Bless me too, my father!"   Can't you just hear Esau's desperation.  The realization that  his brother had deceived his father and stolen what should have been his.  BUT…it wasn't really supposed to be Esau's blessing, at least not according to the word God spoke in chapter 25 when the Lord said to Rebekah in vs. 23 that "the older will serve the younger".    However, it seems to me that  Esau didn't know this…nor does it seem that  Jacob did either…only Rebekah knew this and it looks as if  Jacob was essentially being a "mama's boy" and took advantage of the situation.     The situation was a little different  with Isaac and Ishmael…I'm sure that Ishmael knew and understood from the moment Isaac was born that the blessing  wasn't his to have and so it seems that his anger was unjustified…in other words he had no right to be angry, because after all he was just the son of Sarah's maidservant Hagar.  But with Esau, despite God's plan it seems to me he had a right to be angry.  His mother & brother had conspired against him, and were deceitful in order to "make God's plan" happen.

Which brings me to my next thought - Was this how God intended for things  to play out?   No, I'm pretty sure that God's plan did not include deception.   Obviously, he knew how it would play out,  but it surely wasn't how he desired it to happen.  It's kind of like Abraham with Hagar - people knowing what God wants, but because they don't see it happening in the way they think it should or in the time they think it should, they then go and take matters into their own hands.

I see one of two extremes that usually take place.  We either respond like in these two situations (Abraham & Hagar…Rebekah & Jacob), and try to take matters into our own hands thinking  we know better how things should be done.  The "oh I'll just help God out with this"  or "God obviously doesn't know what he's doing" type attitudes.   Or we go the opposite and sit back and do nothing - much like the humorous story of the man who believed that God would rescue him from a flood, and waits on top of his roof as he refuses the help of 2 boats and a helicopter offering to rescue him…all because his expectation of how God will rescue him is something different.  Then when the flood consumes him and he meets God in heaven asking why he wasn’t rescued…God replies, "I sent you 2 boats and a helicopter, what more did you want?!"

Why do we do that as people?   There is a fine line I think,  between taking over and doing nothing.   I struggle with this…trying to find that "middle ground".  That place where, I'm not trying to be in control, but I'm not just sitting back passively hoping that God will perform miracles either.   And yet despite the times when I find that I'm out of balance…when I've gone too far to one side or the other, the Lord always leads me back to the path I need to be on.

Romans 8:28  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Psalm 16:6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.

These two verses tell me that even when I mess up, and start heading off in directions I shouldn't, that because I love him, and have been called according to HIS purpose, God will work all things for MY good.  And keeping in mind the delightful inheritance that awaits me, gives me more of an incentive to watch out for those boundaries, knowing that God has placed them "in pleasant places" because he loves me and wants me to keep walking towards him!

Lord, help me to better stay within your pleasant boundaries…not straying to far to the left or the right, keeping my eyes focused straight ahead on you, because you have my best at heart!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Stillness

Ever have an intense desire to just get “away from it all” and just be still?

Once when I was browsing around some websites related to homeschooling issues I came across this one particular website, Inspiration for Mothers.com in which the author was blogging about just this topic, titled  Teaching Stillness. This is a portion of what she wrote that I really liked:

“This stillness comes when we stop planning every minute of our lives and stop worrying about what has been and what is yet to come. Choose to see instead What Is, right now.

This stillness comes when we stop criticizing and judging others, nagging them and complaining, expecting them to be different from what and who they are.

Becoming still means simplifying your life. Paring it down to the essentials so that you can see what is essential for you for a joy-filled life. Emptying yourself to make way for the simple joys of life, to allow life's abundance in.”

This is so true…I obviously have a tendency to “worry” about what has been and even more so about what is yet to come…maybe not in the sense of wringing my hands nervously pacing sort of worrying (although I do admit that I have done that on occasion, when something is really getting to me)…but more, mulling things over and over – trying to figure things out. But also, choosing to see WHAT IS, right now, can be a scary thing too.  What I need to remember is that the REAL 'what is' isn’t necessarily the circumstances I see or know about, but really 'what is', is that God, was, is and always will be in control of whatever situation I am in.

The second part…that stillness comes when I stop criticizing, judging, nagging, complaining and expecting people to be different than what and who they are…Whooee! That right there is a really tall order. Especially the expecting them to be different than what and who they are. After all, isn’t that part of my job as a mom, a wife, a friend, a mentor, to encourage those I love to become a better person? Maybe it’s just that the expectation shouldn't be of what and who I want them to be, but what and who God wants them to be…and not getting discouraged when it isn’t happening in my timeframe…but instead trusting that God will change them into who HE wants in HIS timeframe!

And then there is that emptying yourself concept again…the dying to myself…so that the abundance of what God wants for me can spring to life within me.

This lead me to want to know what else God might have to say about stillness…and Psalm 46:10 came to mind…Be still, and know that I am God. So I googled this verse and came upon this website - Christian Courier and read an article by Jason Jackson by the title of – yep you guessed it - Be Still, and know that I am God.  You can check out the article to read the whole thing by clicking on the title link.  Here are a couple things that I liked from this article:

 
“The word translated “be still” comes from the Hebrew term raphah.”

 
Now the article went on to define this Hebrew word, but I wanted to look it up myself and this is what I found on Biblos.com… A primitive root; to slacken (in many applications, literal or figurative) -- abate, cease, consume, draw (toward evening), fail, (be) faint, be (wax) feeble, forsake, idle, leave, let alone (go, down), (be) slack, stay, be still, be slothful, (be) weak(-en).

I’m not sure exactly what to make of some of these words in regards to being still, such as fail, be faint, forsake, idle, slothful, be weak etc. But a couple words that I didn’t expect, popped out to me. Consume and let alone (go, down). These words make me think that maybe the phrase “Be still and know that I am God” means that I am to let go of all that is troubling me and let the knowledge of who God is consume me – let God over take my thoughts in a sense…and actually in that respect I can see where the other words could mean the same. Such as...Fail – to hold on to anything but God. Be faint – to let the knowledge of God wash over me without fighting it. Forsake – again let go, turn away from my troubles…etc.

Later in the article the author wrote the following that I thought was interesting.

Here is the irony in this term “be still.” While we must take the initiative to fulfill our responsibilities and live our lives, the uncertainties of living in a world of sin and woe will continually challenge us. Personal initiative is no substitute for reliance upon God (cf. James 4:13-17).

“This command—“be still”—forces us to think on two things: that we are finite, and that God is infinite. That being the case, we need to drop our hands, go limp, relax, and “chill out.” Christian people ought to “come, behold the works of Jehovah,” (v. 8) that we may enjoy a calm confidence in him who gave us his Son.

“Shall he not also with him freely give us all things?” Paul reasoned (Romans 8:32). Psalm 46:10 encourages us to reflect on what God can do in the face of what we are unable to do.

Spiritual serenity, the psalmist admits, ought to be cultivated in spite of the shaking mountains and agitated waters (vv. 2-3; i.e., figures for the difficulties we face in life). This spiritual calm, that God commands, does not come from a lack of troubles; it derives from a steady, deep reflection on the ways God has intervened in history on behalf of his people (cf. Romans 15:4).

So as your world crumbles around you, the call from Scripture is: don’t flinch in faith in God. Stand still—not because of a self-made confidence, not because you are the most composed person in the face of disaster, not because “you’ve seen it all.” Be still because of what you know about God.”

It is “God’s past” that provides calm for “our future.” Know that he is God! Know it, not merely intellectually, but practically, spiritually, and emotionally. He is your God. He is the ruler of kingdoms of this earth and the all-powerful Creator of the Universe."

And so I think about all that has transpired recently and I am reminded and encouraged that MY GOD can do immeasurably more in the face of what I am unable to do!  In fact God just proved it once again with a NEW new job for Brian (remember my post last week about trust and doubt?).  Well, Brian had an interview yesterday morning and was offered the job yesterday afternoon...and the pay was much more than we were expecting or even hoping for!  Was I upset and frustrated that the other new job was turning out to be a joke?  Yes.  Am I thrilled that God brought about a MUCH better job to take the place of the joke job?  You better believe it!  God HAS done immeasurably more than we could have imagined!  My God is an AWESOME GOD!

I still long for that time however – the opportunity to step outside of present circumstances, the day to day stuff  – and be still – to “drop my hands and go limp” (and I add to that, my head and heart as well) before God, seek His serenity, His strength, His refuge. And not that I can’t do these things in the midst of turmoil or the business of life…it’s just more challenging.

Quite often, when I’m contemplating a subject…God will remind me of a song…this time that song fits right in perfectly with this topic…

Be Still and Know
by Steven Curtis Chapman

Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is holy
Be still, O restless soul of mine
Bow before the Prince of peace
Let the noise and clamor cease

Be still

Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is faithful
Consider all that he has done
Stand in awe and be amazed
And know that He will never change

Be still

Be Still, and know that He is God
Be Still, and know that He is God
Be Still, and know that He is God

Be Still; Be speechless

Be still and know that he is God
Be still and know he is our Father
Come rest your head upon his breast
Listen to the rhythm of his unfailing heart of love
Beating for His little ones
Calling each of us to come

Be still, Be still