Book review: Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace By. Sarah Mackenzie

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What an encouraging read! A weight has been lifted, Sarah reminds us that Gods has got this.  He has prevision even for my little home-school.  She wrights with grace and humility and gentle words, that we are not what is going to determine our children destiny.  That is Christ and we are to simply bring our gifts of love and offerings of time.  God will fill the gaps so we can stop stressing about or failings and get to the fun of teaching with peace and prayer in our hearts.

If you are normal, and worry if you have anouf to fulfill this huge task of schooling from home, then you must read this book.  I feel 10 pounds lighter having been reminded to leave my expectations at the foot of the greatest teacher of all time.  I am reminded that He loves my kids even more them I do.  So in the spaces that I struggle to fill, He is there with prevision and love and I am not alone.

This task of homeschooling is not mine alone but Christ has given me all I need and He will do the rest.

Teaching From Rest is a short book packed with so much encouragement right from the life of Christ.  Pick up a copy and read it before you lose one more night of sleep over all the things that steal your rest.  You will be blessed and so will your kiddies!

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Also Check out Sarah Mackenzie’s Blog and Join the Read-Aloud-Revival.  You will find lots of great encouragement and ideas to add to your homeschool! https://amongstlovelythings.com

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The night we fought about Chicken-Tractor, Fung-sway

Communication….  Its hard.  With all this texting and tweeting you would think talking might come smoothly and naturally.  But nope.  And don’t try to pretend like you are such a expert.  We all want to be heard but the listening is the part that hooks us.

We work at it, read a book, implement some practices.  We all have the best intentions, so don’t be discouraged and give up.  Its just we struggle, Im not alone and neither are you.

But really, that my be the lesson in itself.  Its really not about me and truth be told, its not about you either.  All the conversations we are having out loud and in our heads don’t serve us much if they don’t either, honour the King or proclaimed His glory.

So the Trucker decided we should get some chickens and left me in charge of the rest.  I wanted to brain storm and plan out or little Hen Hostile together, but we just couldn’t seem to connect on the topic so with a will and a way I pushed forward and ran his toes right over with my Chicken tractor….  All for the lack of listening and articulating.

And how may others have been mowed down at the cost of productivity?  In our Churches and in our Schools.  We decide and we do.  We take over and sacrifice team work and delegating, just to save the meeting and the talking.  But how can we ever be known?  How will we ever know the Father if we can’t stop and sit at His feet and do our half of the communicating?

But that takes faith to be ready to obey.  Sometimes we only want marching orders, but not all the steps we are to take along the way.  I know its true for me.  I put off prayer till Im ready to surrender and then Ill bring it to the Lord.  But that will never stretch my faith, I will never grow that way.  It is the process of figuring out the procedure that propels us forward and into faithfulness.  When we are willing to obey we are willing to communicate.  When we are ready to admit “Its not my will, but Yours” That is when we Talk our Walk.  

Because sometimes the walking is the easy part, everyone can fake a good walk but to surrender our stillness, is the practice of patience and perseverance.  Some times I confuse Busyness with Holiness and I forget to stop and Pray.

I sacrificed doing life together for the sake of getting the work done and I had to repent over a Chicken Tractor.  What a stilly thing to have lost patience on. Here in my wanting to have it done and over and my way, I missed a chance to create and build and grow and dream with the one who I Love.

How much more do we miss our chance to operated with the Lover of our Souls when we don’t stop and pray.  When we miss what is truly important.  When we Martha our way right out of communion with Christ.

Stop and Slow and Savour and let the words sink in.  Some times marriage looks like staying in a hard conversation, 2 hours after the conversation has started.  Communication isn’t easy, that we know, but if I listen twice as much as I talk. If we take the time to allow our words to sink in and give grace and creativity a chance to grow.  We will Grow to.

Patience is tied to good communication and good communication always comes from a heart that is humble and ready to serve and sacrifice.  When we are truly ready to communicate we are truly ready to compromise.  That is the place were conflict flees.  That is the language of Love, living out Faithfulness to give Flourishing.  That is a conversation that Honours God.

 

Look In

I have been seeking and searching, pruning and purging.  Trying to skinny down the “must do’s” so I can fully focused on the one thing that is most important, today and every day.  Serving where the Lore has placed me.

My vision has been some what scattered.  My community, my church, neighbours, family, friends.  I feel like my heart is breaking in every direction and I can’t possibly be in service to all at once.  I feel inspired, overwhelmed, torn and then defeated.  And each time I pray the Lord say “Look In”

“Look in to your home, Jenny.  That is the greatest task I will ever give you, and you are being romanced by the dream of ministry….  Is not your family ministry anouf?” 

We all know it is but the needs of the many seem to outweigh the needs of the few in my mind.  So I commit to this, and volunteer for that.  I will just serve at this function and bring a meal every time there is call to help.  I think if they are all good things then I must be doing well to never say no.  I love to be creative and serve.  But at what cost?

This is not my encouragement to step back and do nothing.  It is my commitment to step up and do the right thing.  

1  pray pray pray and listen listen listen.  Not if I should serve…  I don’t need to ask God if He wants me to teach Sunday school or bring food to those in need.  Its a no brainer, YES!  But that doesn’t mean I must do it all, every time.  I must Pray and ask “will this yes make my number one task you are calling me to (my kids and husband) be neglected or dishonoured?”  My priorities must be prayed over.  There will be time I can serve and still be fully present to my family, so go serve. But there are times I go way over my capabilities and my kids get my leftovers and the trucker is neglected. So those are the time I must say no.

2 be okay with God filling the gap.  Because He can!  He has not called me to success and productivity, He has called me to rest in Him.  He has not asked me to feed the 5,000, He only asked for my 5 loves and 2 fish, and He provides the rest.  I can server faithfully and wholeheartedly when I remember that the success or failure of any ministry is not dependant on me getting it all done or figured out.  The gospel will move forward with or without me.  I am only invited to ride along, with my meagre offering, to join in the adventure when my kids allow and my husband is on board.

3 stop stressing about it.  God has made His will clear.  Go and make disciples of all nations. A wise friend recently told me, as we were talking about programs to get our kids involved in.  Sports, music, sunday school, day camp, VBS, homeschool Co-op, swimming lessons, the list goes on and we as moms antagonize, about what to do, what not to do.  She reminded me that all theses things are good things.  They all get a easy Yes!  But you can’t say yes to them all at once.  Likewise I can’t serve on the Church committee, plan events, volunteer at the ski club, lead a bible study, teach Sunday school, run wilderness play group and still expect to have relationships that foster flourishing and love with my family, let alone have any friends.

4 be nice… What is the easiest way to fulfill the great commission?  Love your neighbour as yourself.  What if we were just all in the zone of caring for our families and being nice to our neighbours, to our friends.  What if my Faith was make by kindness and generosity and not with productivity?

Now Im not picking those of you out there managing the non-profit or running the car-pool.  I don’t aim to live isolated and saying no to every service opportunity that comes my way.  But I do intent for my yes to be my yes and my no my no.

If my family ends up with the leftovers then I am out of my depth and that is the space where Jesus has prevision for my limitations.  If I can include my kids (not just drag them along) if it doen’t suck every hour out of my evening when, I could be culitavating my friendship and love with my husband. Then count me in!  But when it stretching me so thin you can see right through me, its time to step back.

As I have been more consistent about praying over my limitation before I commit. I see I have begun to commit to much less. But my family and I flourish much more.  My kids get my best offering and my husband doen’t watch me struggle to juggle and balance.  We have more energy as a family to just be nice and kind and generous.  The Gospel is still fufilled but Im not pretending Im responsible for the feast.  I just offer my loves and fishes and God dose the rest.

The Lord has called me to look in.  To look into my own home and see my children as worthy converts, to be witness to the love of Christ in mommy.  To look into my friend group and community and see where I really could serve from my heart and from my home.

Each day I walk out to the pasture to feed the calves and I look into our yard and I thank God He has asked me to “Look in” and has given me a congregation of family and friends to minister to, with my Husband and my kids.

Don’t feel Im telling you to quit what the Lord has in your heart just because it takes you away form your kitchen sink and own back your.  We are all called differently and in accordance to our gifting and abilities.  Serve with all your heart where ever you are.  But if your heart is being tugged, just as mine was, to “Look In”. Don’t be afraid to make a change and pray pray pray for His leading.  You will always be in ministry as long as you are nice and marked with the Love of Christ flowing out on those in your path.

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Book Review: Loving the Little Years by. Rachel Jankovic

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This is the perfect gift for any mom with littles at home!!  It is super short, so if you are a mom with kiddies running underfoot, there is a real chance you might actually get through it.  More a collection short essays, each chapter was packed full of tips, tricks and wise Godly encouragement for moms in the trenches!

I just finished it and have already tried out a few of her ideas and can see my kids responding to the conversation we are having around the topics of discipline, kindness, and controlling our emotions.  I plan to read it again right away. Thats how much great information was packing in this perfectly concise book for moms like you and me!

If you are a mom of littles or if you know a mom buy this book. It is a game changer!!  She is real about the struggle but firm about the rooting in faith it requires to do this mom thing with grace and calm.  I felt like the whole vibe of the book was a deep cleansing breath and my mind is more clear to deal with the sour cream that secretly got dipped into in the fridge door, or the planters that seem to keep up rooting themselves.

Whether is a sibling squabble, or my own ridiculous expectations of myself. Rachel has a wise word of calm, to move past each little rain shower, so you don’t get left standing out in a thunder storm.  She knows how you feel, right around 4:40 when your trying to get dinner on the go, your pre schooler wants to take on a complex art project and the baby is boy-cotting wearing a diaper.  This stuff works and Rachel has your back!

Book Review: Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv

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Amazing!!!  Will read it again for sure.  Or I should clarify; listen to it again.

This book spoke my heart and soul, and everything I long to offer my children.  It took me back to my own childhood and my dad first fostering that relationship with the forest near our house.  He would take my brother and I on magical outings to adventure playgrounds and picking berries on the edges of farmers fields.  We would fill buckets and our bellies and mom would bake pies from our spoils!

We would walk along the Fraser River and throw handfuls of tiny rocks, for what felt like hours. Mesmerized by the sparkle it would make on the water.  I was given great freedom to ride my horse up behind our hobby farm where I would often see black bears and deer.  I had a view of the whole valley and could watch summer storms coming from miles away.

The little girl down the road and I spent hours “down the gully” at the end out our country road.  Clambering down the sandy banks into a whole different world of sun filter light, streaming through the trees. We would carry our shoes and cross the creek till we found our latest hid out and would build forts and have hours of unsupervised play wile we swatted bugs and collected rocks.  Later in life we would be each others back packing partners as we hiked the “West Coast Trail” and even up to Alaska to climb the “Golden Staircase”.

My work has taken me into some wild mountains and my farming roots have kept me close to the Land and the Dirt we have come from.

Who would I be without my connection to Nature and the Creator who has meant for me to dwell within it?

Richard Louv, (though not speaking from a Specifically Christian Perspective) Is asking that very question.

“What will happen to future generations and to the environment if we as parents fail to foster a love for the natural world in our Childerns hearts and minds?”

Time in nature is deeply important to Child development and Richard give essay upon essay as to how and why we need to be allowing our children to explore, experience, touch, see, smell, and play in nature.

I Love this book!!! I would recommend it to anyone looking for encouragement to get their kids out in nature. Or if you are looking for some practical advice on how to do that, in our ever changing world, where cation is king.  It affirms everything I was already feeling in my heart.  I purchased it on audio and would suggest that, as some portions were slightly dry.  (only because they didn’t really address the life stage I am in currently)  But still beneficial to listen to wile I cooked supper or washed the floors.

Seriously get this book and get your kids outside!! They will push their own limits and lear there own capabilitite and limitation.  It will stimulate their senses and help them to understand their value as a first fruit of Gods creation.

To be Spiritual is to be Amazed, and to be in Nature is amazing.  I always feel close to my Creator when I connect with His creation and it is my prayer that I will be able to offer that same opportunity to my children as well. This book gave me great advice, as to how I can put this dream into action!