Saturday, January 28, 2017

Unshaken Northeast April 28-29, 2017

I have two journals that I write in, my blog journal and my faith journal.  I share my blog journal because without fail, whenever I think of quitting, someone reaches out to me through email, this blog, or Instagram to let me know they have found encouragement here.  

My faith journal is quite different.  Perhaps I will share it one day, but not now.  It chronicles my journey from a denominational faith structure to discovering my friendship with Jesus in a non-denomination, evangelical church.  Today however, I do want to share one very special entry; my reflections after attending my first Moms in Prayer meeting at church.

“After years of not writing, the desire to journal has returned, and returned with a powerful need to record what is happening both in me and in my family.  Glory to you God, the most powerful God, the God who has always been and always will be, for your love is a true and awesome love and your grace has washed over me.  This is the second day in a row I have woken up with worship lyrics in my mind. Yesterday it was Lauren Daigle’s Trust in You and today I sing, "your love washes over me, washes over me, for you are for us, you are not against us....” so that is my faith prayer for today.  You are for us, you are not against us.  

“If God be for us, who can be against us?” 
Romans 8:31

God is for us.  Simple.  Last night as I drove home from my very first Moms in Prayer meeting, I reflected on how simple it really is.  I left washed in peace.  I have never, ever, spoken prayer for my child, let alone someone else's.  The power in hearing another woman pray for your child is life changing.  It is real and tangible and touching.  I want this community of praying women in my life.  I want to call them friends.  I want to drink tea or coffee with them, learn who they are and how they came to this place of faithfulness.  I want to learn how they find the eloquence to talk about a child they have never seen, never met, as if they know them personally and deeply.  A day at the spa may give you relaxed muscles but it is fleeting.  A few hours of prayer gives you true rest.  We moms are chasing the wrong thing.  We are chasing peace and calm and quiet and rest amid our very busy lives and we are chasing it in the wrong places.   I may not have the “time” to add a Monday night prayer group to my week.  Grace has her youth group Tuesday, I have my small group Wednesday, date night is Thursday, but this is essential.  This will make me not only a better Christ follower, but a better mother, wife, sister, daughter, self.”

Why share this?  There is something very special happening this April at Black Rock Church in Fairfield, Connecticut.  

Moms in Prayer is sponsoring Unshaken, an event gathering women from 11 states (WVA-ME).  We have national speakers attending as well as local speakers:

  • Secret Keeper Girl/Pure Freedom Founder and Best Selling Author, Dannah Gresh (Speaker/Partner), 
  •  Pulse Movement Founder/Together 2016 Visionary and Author, Nick Hall (Speaker/Partner), 
  • Moms in Prayer President, Sally Burke (Speaker), 
  • K-Love President and CEO, Mike Novak (Speaker/Partner), 
  • Video message specifically for Unshaken, delivered by the Kendrick Brothers (War Room Producers/Directors), 
  • Personal testimonies from women who have remained unshaken in times of trouble through prayer, 
  • Operation Christmas Child/Samaritan's Purse (Speaker/Sponsor), 
  • Young Life/Young Lives (Speaker/Partner), 
  • Hopeline (Partner), 
  • National Day of Prayer (Partner).

Through this event, I hope to further my understanding of how to stand UNSHAKEN in a shaken world. I hope to learn how prayer truly does makes a difference; in my life, in my friendships, in my marriage, in my children's lives, in my church, in my community, and in my world.

REGISTRATION IS OPEN. Cost is $50. Scholarships and Hotel discounts are available.

If you find encouragement here, would you please forward this on!

Friday, January 27, 2017

In the details

Over and over I tell myself that God is in the details.  I think He can’t possibly know or care about the little details of my life because I am just a drop of water in the huge ocean of humanity, yet He hears me when I speak.  I was feeling a bit worn out and purposefully kept the calendar light this week.   I thought we would see a movie, visit my Aunt, and do a bit of work.  I needed to slow down in order to fill myself up.  

In an odd way, I got exactly what I said I wanted.  A nor’easter blew through Monday whipping up some crazy waves at Silver Sands State Park and my weather girl/photographer thought she could get in some driving time in windy conditions and get some cool pictures.  The Connecticut driving laws are a bit overprotective in that while under a learner’s permit, Lilah cannot be in the car while Grace is driving.  This restricts her practice and is often why Lilah is lacking in pictures lately.  I find it absurd, but rules are rules.

The wind was whipping sand everywhere and after only a few minutes I was ready to leave.  Grace got her pictures and I just wasn’t feeling quite right.  Tuesday coop was cancelled due to trees down in several towns and a school cancellation in the town where coop is held.  This was a blessing because I felt like crud.  We watched chemistry, watched the final lesson in Dave Ramsey’s Generation Go series, watched a Great Course photography lesson, and Lilah finished Miss Peregrine’s School for Peculiar Children (she rated it 5 stars).  Our chemistry lesson was so interesting, we watched another Wednesday before going to see The Redemption of Gavin Stone (I give it 5 stars).  At the movie, Grace didn’t feel quite right.  Thursday kept us home as she struggled with a fever and body aches and I cancelled piano for Friday.  

In the past weeks like this would have stressed me out.  Did we do enough?  Did we learn enough?  Now I roll with it.  Lilah has been reading like crazy.  She is up late every night reading, and has had her fill of at home days.  I have been able to catch up on things I had outstanding.  We planned our late winter vacation.  We took naps.  We ate lots of soup and drank lots of tea.  We watched Heartland.  We got a calligraphy lesson in and lots of practice.  Our life is as if we never knew what school was.  Eight years into homeschooling and I know us.  I know that God is in the details and this week was clearly a week for rest.  

Grace's picture:

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Modern Calligraphy

Our year has never ever run like a traditional school year.  We end and begin things all the time.  When someone I knew opened up a paper store in a nearby town, I asked if she would teach a class during her day off.  She agreed to teach a 6 week modern calligraphy class to my girls and three of their friends.  To say they are a bit obsessed is putting it mildly.....

They are completely inspired.  Lilah has been writing in cursive and calligraphy for ever.  She likes to add words to some of her paintings.  Grace never really expressed interest before until now.  She thinks that with the right writing instrument, she can write over photographs.  That will be pretty cool. 

We are two weeks in and they have worked on brush strokes and several letters.   This may go down as an all time favorite class!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Dresses for Swaziland

January brought a new semester in our Friday coop.  New choices, but for the most part, their day looks the same.

Grace:  Worship Band (ukelele), semi-private guitar lesson, Dresses for Missionaries (sewing)
Lilah: Worship Band (cello/singing), figure drawing, yearbook

The biggest change this semester is for me!  Parents participating in this coop must work two of the three hours.  Last semester I supervised a dance class, had one hour free to chat with the other mothers, and my last hour I was a floater, being placed wherever there was a need.  This semester I will be an aide in a dissection class, have one hour free and I will teach a sewing class, even though I am barely proficient in sewing!

Last summer I read a Guidepost magazine given to me by my sister in law, and I came across an article about Little Dresses for Africa, an organization that sends dresses made from pillowcases to girls in Africa.  These dresses fulfill a need in terms of clothing, but more importantly, they give an outward demonstration that someone loves these girls and cares enough about them to give them something handmade.  The dress then becomes more than a dress, it becomes a source of protection, decreasing the chances that she will become a victim of a child predator.  

I filed the article away under my “to-do-someday” file and while I did not forget about it, I did not make the time for it.  Fast forward to last October.  I was walking through the church that hosts our coop and saw a beautiful dress being donated to Little Dresses for Africa and knew that I must revisit this desire.  I cleared the idea of a class with the coop director and I reached out to an Instagram friend, who is a real life friend of a real life friend of mine, and she agreed to take our dresses and distribute them to girls and agencies in her home of Swaziland.  We have been corresponding through Instagram and Facebook building a cultural component to my class.

I have three teens who are in this “class” which is really a workshop.  I was also blessed with a class assistant, who in reality will be more like a co-leader, who sews in her free time.  Really sews.  Like sews ballet costumes for ballet companies.  Yikes.  To say I was intimidated is an understatement, but God showed me that this is His work, not mine, and He provided me with the resources I needed to make this a reality.  It was evident the first day that I can handle the simple sewing of the pattern but I would have been lost with the technical aspects of some of the sewing machines, a detail I never even considered.....

As this class progresses, I will provide updates on the dresses as we work through the next few months sewing and praying and learning.

Don't You Just Stay Home All Day?

It’s funny because last night at youth group some of the kids friends were discussing homeschooling and really truly felt that we stay home...