Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Foam Christmas Ornaments (B&B)

Need to spruce up your tree with something new this year?  Try these quick, easy, and inexpensive ornaments:

You will need:
to head over to this fabulous blog to find out more.  B'Twixt and B'Tween is all about discipleship.  Discipling your daughter/s that is.  Shelley has featured my post there--the one explaining how to do these fabulous ornaments.  Leave a comment here or there, please.  Let us know what you think.

Google Search Terms: ornament, ornaments, Christmas ornaments, holiday crafts, easy holiday crafts, inexpensive holiday crafts, kid-friendly holiday crafts, foam

Monday, November 28, 2011

Homemade Nativity Set

Are you looking for an inexpensive, homemade nativity set?  Well, see if this fits your budget:
(Click on images to view larger.  I think you'll get redirected to a slideshow, actually.  Close out slideshow to return here.)

Don't forget to enjoy some lovely Christmas music and some hot chocolate when you're done.


Google Search Terms: Melissa Culver, School Daze, nativity set, free, inexpensive, homemade, Christmas, nativity, craft, homeschool, art project

Monday, November 14, 2011

Slowing Down

This has been a long and beautiful journey.  It all started back in February of 2010.  It has been nearly two years now that I have been sharing my heart and my home with you.  I have thoroughly enjoyed the ride.

As I look forward at the horizon I see new ministry needs and new opportunities.  When I recognize my limitations and the needs of my family I truly believe that limiting my activity here is best.  What is going on here is good, for sure.  But, I know that He has called me to glorify Him with was is excellent.

Tithe.  For example, OT giving was the best animal or the best of the harvest and it was the first portion and never the last.  I too must be discerning with my time and my talents and my ministry opportunities.  What is best and what is first?

So, I will be serving at home, in the church, and locally more than I have the last few years--in different ways.

For now, I plan to leave everything up.  There are some really cool things here.  I know that I use this as a reference tool often.  I share links with others.  I come back and peruse things--like a yearbook or a photo album.  My kids enjoy looking at the various things we have done together.  Reflection is good--and revealing.

Expect one more post in December.  Shelley Noonan over at B'Twixt and B'Tween is showcasing a Christmas craft and it will post here live.  I don't want you to miss out on that fun, family craft.  But, beyond that...I don't plan on visiting here much.

Humbly, imperfectly,
For the King,

Google Search Terms: Melissa Culver, School Daze, farewell

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Homeschool SOS

Historically, November is a challenging month for me academically.  Even when I was a full-time educator I found November to be challenging.  It was all I could do to get to Thanksgiving Break.  I pushed hard and knew that a small break was just around the corner.

As a homeschool mom I can establish breaks whenever we need them—and yet I’m fully aware that I need to meet the calendar requirements by the end of the academic year.

Maybe you are nearing the end of your rope and you are needing a rescue team to come and save you from the chaos that buffets.  Dear one, here are words I have lived by again and again.  Maybe they will bring you hope if you are out in the torrent buffeted by the waves of doubt.

Plans.  I’m a planner.  I like my calendar organized.  Sometimes future planning overwhelms me.  Sometimes I bow down and worship the god of Control.  Such an ugly god.  So worthless.  And I need to rest in the tranquil comfort of these words, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds the m. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" (Matthew 6:25-27).  I need to rest in the miraculous grace-filled authorship of God’s mater plan and trust in His ways—always.

Expectations.  I set expectations that are way too high, sometimes—for myself mostly.  I can give you a laundry list of excuses why, but the real reason takes me to the root of the issue. It’s idolatry again: name-advancing glory.  It’s just as filthy as that last idol.  When my expectations are too high it’s because I want my name advanced for my glory.  I can falsely claim that the real reason is godliness or holiness or obedience or humility, but let’s be honest: it’s not. 

Faulty thinking.  Are you ever bombarded with faulty thinking?  I wrestle with faulty thinking a lot.  Any motivation that is rooted in man-pleasing is faulty thinking.  I want my kids to excel academically.  Sure that’s a legitimate goal in life, but if my motivation is to please man then I am bowing down and worshiping the opinion of others.
          I just read a biography on Walt Disney.  Early in life his teachers criticized his drawings.  Aren’t we glad he didn’t listen to them for long?  Benjamin Franklin’s father wanted him to eventually take on the family trade: selling soap and candles.  Can you fathom all the inventions we would not have today if he had not followed his passion to explore (swimming flippers, the iron stove with an exhaust pipe, explorations in electricity, bifocal glasses, the first hospital, the first lending library, the first fire department, a revamped mail delivery system, and the list goes on)?
          First Corinthians 10:31 says “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”  Ultimately, I am to please God in the smallest details of my life and the large.  Dear one, I was not designed to worship man’s opinion and neither were you. 

Reality.  The dishes still need to be done.  Laundry still piles up.  The lawn still needs to be mowed.  Insurance is due.  Toilet paper runs out.  Children disobey and fight and push boundaries.  Flu season sets in.  This is life.  Job 1 shows us the dialogue between Satan and God.  We can rest in the fact that God’s authorship is always in control.  He is sovereignly working out every detail of our lives to bring Himself glory.  Cancer?  Chipped tooth?  Lost job?  Missing dog?  Car accident?  All of it has the hand-stamped approval of God Himself.  You can read more about the power of  God's awesome plans here: Job 38-42, Psalm 139 and Daniel 4:34-35. 

Overwhelmed.  In the complicated messiness of living, things—at times—stack up all at once.  Aunt Thelma ends up in the hospital.  Taxes are due.  Johnny busts a tooth.  Ministry demands get thicker than anticipated.  The business needs to cut back on salaries.  And homeschooling must still go on.  So, when life stacks up on you, what do you do?  Where do you go?  What do you turn to?  Who do you turn to?  Food?  Social networking sites?  Friends?  Television?  Online computer games?  Complaining?  Fear?  The Bible?  Prayer?  Your knees?

Psalm 42:5-6
   Why are you downcast, O my soul?
   Why so disturbed within me?
   Put your hope in God,
   for I will yet praise him,
   my Savior and my God.
   My soul is downcast within me;
   therefore I will remember you
   from the land of the Jordan,
   the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar. (Emphasis mine.)

David’s words: hope, praise and remember.

Friend, let me close with this exhortation: 
1. Follow David’s example: pour out your heart to the One who made you. 

2. Let go of the faulty way of thinking.  Set your mind on things above.  Put your hope in Him (Ephesians 4:22-32).  And if you uncover sin in the process, go right ahead and share that with Him.  He is faithful to cleans us of all unrighteousness when we confess it to Him.  His blood is enough. 

3. Maybe rest is what you need.  What happened when Elijah wanted to die?  The Lord sent an angel who fed him and gave him rest.  And then he fed him and gave him more rest (1 Kings 19:3-7).  Rest.  Beloved, rest.  God rested; read Genesis.  Christ got away from ministry.  He left busy areas and people in need (Matthew 15:39).  He was alone with the Father (Matthew 26:36).  Alone.  You too are called to be alone with the Father.  We are called to be alone with the Father.  

4. Dear one, go right ahead and readjust your sail if needed.  Establish a new direction, create a new vision.  If the last set of plans wore you out and left you hopeless then go back to the drawing board and find a new way of doing things. 

5. Put on a garment of praise.  Praise Him, beloved.  He is worthy of your praise.  He is worthy.  I doubt your suffering is anything like what Paul and Silas suffered when they were flogged and thrown into jail.  Yet, what was their response?  They were singing and praising God (Acts 16:22-25).  Beaten, bruised, hurting, alone.  And they praised God.  They worshiped Him.  Dear one, such a beautiful worship.

Humbly, imperfectly, sweetly,

Google Search Terms: Melissa Culver, School Daze, homeschool blog, encouragement, I don't want to homeschool anymore, discouraged, overwhelmed, give up, hopeless, done