Monday, February 11, 2013

YET I will Rejoice in the Lord

The past few weeks have been interesting.  The electricity has been turned off so much that I think it has been off more than on.  As time went on and this continued, I found myself quickly loosing my patience.  Joy?  That was definitely something I have been struggling with and it is something that Eric and I have been talking about over the weekend.  Then this morning in my devotions God again convicted me of how easily I have let something so small rob me of a joyful spirit.  In Acts 20:24 Paul says,

"But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God."

I started to think, when do I start to lose my joy?  Yes, when I am controlled by what is going on around me, when I allow them to "move me".  But that wasn't what caught my attention.  It was "neither count I my life dear unto myself."  It is when I start counting my life dear to me, when I start thinking of taking care of me and what I need, that is when I will lose my joy.  

Later in the passage Paul says,

"I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive."  Acts 20:35

What does that have to do with it?  Well, on almost a daily basis we are surrounded by needs.  The phone rings early in the morning and late into the night.  I have started 'hearing' the phone even when it is not ringing - cringing, thinking, "what do they want now?."  Neighbors come and ask for large, unreasonable amounts of money, even when they have no interest whatsoever in listening to the Bible.  I feel like, ENOUGH!  Again, this verse reminded me of why I was losing my joy.  I felt I was being pushed to "my" giving limits.  Once I start thinking of 'myself' and 'mine' (whether it's things, money or even my husband's time) THAT is when I lose my joy.

Over the weekend Eric shared these verses with me, but this is how he read it...

Although the electricity won't work, neither shall there be any water; the laundry shall pile up, and there shall be no clean dishes in the cabinets, though the phone rings off the hook...
YET I will rejoice in the Lord.

{"Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:  Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation." Habakkuk 3:17,18}

That is my prayer for the rejoice in the Lord and have joy in the God who saved me; also, to learn to give joyfully, for it's really not mine anyways.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Piano Lessons and More

I think I've mentioned it before, but I love Mondays!  Usually Mondays are my organizing/cleaning days, but not today.  We are completely off-schedule.  I have had such a hard time getting motivated today!  First, we didn't wake the kids up (usually not necessary) and I don't think they woke up until 7:30!  I just enjoyed the quiet of the morning and tried to get caught up on some email.  I couldn't reply to any of you as my email account is not allowing me to send replies right now.  I can read emails, just not reply to them.  Hopefully that will be fixed soon.
Handsome Boy!
Anna did finish her school today.  Sammy went with Eric to the city to run some errands and go grocery shopping.  Lydia and I did some school too.  I cannot believe how fast she is picking up on things!  She loves it!  I put off writing for a while with her because I was unsure how we were going to start - the normal manuscript way or jump right in to cursive.  Since I was leaning towards cursive, we decided just to jump right in to cursive.  Living in another country has really opened me up to that idea.  The schools here in Ukraine (or at least in our area) teach the kids to write in cursive.  After reading more about cursive in America, I was even more convinced that was what I wanted to do.  Lydia is doing well - and very excited at her accomplishments.
I love little boys in suits!  Daniel is getting too chubby for his though. :(

 Besides Abeka, I have used some of the information from the Spell to Write and Read program.  Though I feel like Abeka has an excellent phonics program, I think this enhances it even more.  I am using parts of this program to teach the English class too.  In the evenings we are doing piano lessons...somewhat irregular right now, but I am surprised at how much Anna is grasping.  Being a piano teacher before God called us to the mission field, I was familiar with many of the popular teaching courses (Alfred's, Thompson's, Faber...) but was introduced to a course on deputation that looked excellent.  When we were Stateside for furlough I ordered the Madonna Woods Piano Course for Christians Preparatory level set.  I love their approach!  Most of the other books start children out on the black keys, playing by finger number - slowly moving them to letters then to the staff.  This program starts them on the staff from the start - no letters written on the notes.  I cannot express how much I have enjoyed this course!  When we returned home I discovered that this wasn't the course I WANTED to order.  The course I meant to order was the Mary Jo Moore Piano Course.  I have recently just ordered the first book from that course as well and am anxious to see what it is like.  For me, I ordered The Concert Hymn Book.  I can't wait to play it!  Since I don't have time to play classical music anymore, I feel I have become more rusty.  This would help me brush up on classical skills and also see them in relation to the hymns I am playing.  While we were in the States I also ordered the first book of Draw Write Now.  We haven't gotten started with it again, but drew one picture when on furlough.  The kids LOVED it!  It really could almost be a complete curriculum.  Example:  We drew a hen the first lesson.  They talked a little about hens and gave recommendations for books on hens so you can learn more about hens, eggs, etc.  Love, Love LOVE it!  I wish we had a library near so we could do the book list too, but since we don't, my plan is to find videos and information online for us to read as we go.  It is an art, writing, history, science, etc. class all in one!  We will be starting with that again this week.

The girls and I brought home chocolate muffins the day we went out.
Daniel liked those MUCH better than his birthday cake. :
 Well, my time is up and I went a completely different direction with this post then I intended.  I think I was going to share a recipe or some of the blessings of modern conveniences (like skype). ;)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

16 Weeks

I noticed the photo in the background later.  It says, "Blessings come in all shapes and sizes."  The only one missing is Daniel.  He's going to have the middle child syndrome. ;)


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