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Monday, January 24, 2011

Bible in 90 Days-Week 3: #B90Days


3 weeks in and I am still alive!  I am seeing a lot of my own stubborness as I read about the Israelites. How many things must God do in our lives before we stop questioning and doubting Him?

I want a faith like David's.

But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock,I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” 1 Samuel 17: 34-37

He knew he could face Goliath because God had enabled him to face a bear and a lion and win.

Different circumstance... same God... He can be trusted!

Don't look at the challenge you are facing, look at the God who never changes, and who has been faithful to see you through time and time again.

If you are still taking the 90 day challenge, I know there have been hard days, but don't give up... press ahead as we move into week 4!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What's for Dinner?

I like to cook. It's not my favourite thing but I do get a certain enjoyment being in the kitchen. The one thing I hate is deciding what to cook. Especially when pressed for time or when 3 hungry kids are asking "what's for dinner?"

One thing I do like to do is entertain although having had 4 kids in 6 years I have had very little time to do so.  When I entertain I like to plan out a menu, get creative and then spend time preparing food so that my guests can have an enjoyable culinary experience.

One day as I was throwing together something entirely uninspired with very little thought,  completely out of necessity for my hungry brood, I started thinking... these 5 individuals that I share my life with are the most important people in my life.   If that is the case, they deserve the same thought and care when preparing their meals that I give when I am entertaining.  Now don't get me wrong... I do put thought into what I am feeding my family, making sure it is a balanced meal, trying to find things that they like, but sometimes the attitude behind cooking for them is "Oh, this is such a chore".  Right then I knew they deserved better... I had to bring the joy back into feeding my family.

The most important thing I have to do in order for this to be a joyful experience is that I have to be organized.  At the beginning of each month, I have been making a list of 20- 25 meals that I want to make.  Some are my basic, old faithful recipes like chili, chicken fried rice, BBQ chicken, spaghetti,  but others are new recipes that I want to try.  I have some cookbooks that I may look through from time to time but most of my new recipes come from the internet.  I have a few trusted sites that are my go to recipe sites like The Pioneer Woman (PW), Brown Eyed Baker, A year of Slow Cooking (Crock pot recipes) to name a few.   Before I grocery shop each week I look through my list and make a menu for the week. What I choose will depend on what activities we have planned and how much time I will have to prepare each meal.  Once I use a recipe on the list, I cross it off and make a note of the result.  If it is a winner I put it on the list for the next month.  I have recently been ranking the meals depending on how many thumbs up I get from the family.  Each person gets one vote so until Marcus can participate a winning meal gets 5 thumbs up.  I am happy when it is at least 3 thumbs up but it makes the do again list if it is at least 4 thumbs up.

Another important thing is that the recipes have to be fairly uncomplicated... I like a challenge but with 4 kids running under my feet (well... 3 running, 1 crawling) it has to be something that isn't going to add to my level of stress!  They also have to be economical.  Healthy is good too although I have a weakness for anything with cream and butter.. I'm a Paula Deen kind of girl!!

Once my fridge and cupboards are stocked with the necessary ingredients, menu is planned and recipes are printed, I can then exhale and enjoy the task of feeding my family.

I'll try and share more about my adventures in the kitchen each month, the recipes that worked and the ones that didn't but for now, what about you?  How do you plan your meals? What are some of your go to recipe sites?  Please share... I am always looking for new things to try!!

Linking this to Works for Me Wednesday at We Are That Family... head over to see what great tips others have.

Happy cooking!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Bible in 90 Days-Week 2: #B90Days

Sometimes when giving my kids a task they don't get it right.
    Sometimes it's because they haven't listened carefully to the instructions.
          Sometimes it's because they would rather be doing something else and have a bad attitude...

BUT sometimes it is because I have given poor instructions for successfully completing the task.

As I read through Leviticus, Numbers and part of Deuteronomy this week, it struck me that the Israelites could never use this last reason as an excuse.  God is a God of detail and order.  His instructions are clear, leaving no room for error if followed carefully.

I completed the second week of reading the Bible in 90 days.  There were a few days I thought I wasn't going to make it... getting through Leviticus was tough!!   I find on the days I don't get up and complete the reading first thing in the morning, it gets harder and harder during the day to fit it in, so my aim this coming week is to get up when my alarm goes instead of trying to get in a few extra minutes...which usually turn into 30 extra minutes!

Before I sign off I want to leave with one additional thought/ observation that I jotted down this week.

In Numbers chapter 21 vs 6-9, The Israelites grumbled against the Lord (again).  God sent poisonous snakes which bit and killed many of them.  They quickly realized their sin and asked God to remove the snakes.

What was Gods answer?  Did he remove the snakes?

God told them to make a snake of bronze and put it on a pole.   Whenever the people were bitten, they could look at this snake and live.

So, evidently, God did not remove the snakes but he gave them a way to survive if bitten.

Yes, their sin was forgiven, but there were painful consequences for their disobedience.

A good lesson for us. Jesus paid the price for our sins. We can look to him and live... but if we make bad choices, there may still be painful consequences.  We need to follow God's instructions.  The path He has for our lives- without grumbling and complaining.
             He knows what is best for us and wants to bless us! 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

New Normal: Our week in Review

Our first full week back after Christmas break.  I knew by lunchtime on Monday that we had reached a new stage as a homeschool family... I knew it was coming but I was hoping I had a few more months...

When we finished for Christmas break, we had a great routine that had been established since September.  Marcus napped all or most of the morning and we were able to work uninterrupted on most days.  The times that he was awake he would sit in his bouncer or in my lap contentedly...

well, GONE are those days!  I now have a crawling- pulling-himself-up- getting-into-everything-not content-to-sit-and-watch-without-getting-involved-6 month old! And BOY does that change things!

Amidst finding this new normal, we did manage to accomplish a great deal.  We were even visited by a local news reporter who is doing a story on homeschooling in Bermuda... and it wasn't total chaos while she was here!! The story which is actually part 2 of a series is to air during the evening news at some point soon so the kids are looking forward to our 30 seconds of fame!

We spend the bulk of our mornings working through math, spelling, reading, handwriting etc.  We broke up the routine one morning and headed off to the library to do our math.  At first the boys were a bit distracted but we did manage to get though the lesson for that day.  Eli is gaining more confidence each day with reading and it has become the subject I most enjoy doing with him.  I like to see the light come on in his eyes when he sounds out a word and realizes what it is.

Micaiah continues to enjoy history as we go through The Story of the World Vol 1.  I must say that I am learning so much myself!  This week we were introduced to Hammurabi, the sixth Babylonian King.

We spent lots of time outside this week, taking advantage of the good days when we could. 

Eden and her friend Josiah on their way to gymnastics

Until next week,

Monday, January 10, 2011

#B90Days: One week Down!


So my first week of the 90 day Bible reading challenge is complete and I was able to stay on task.

It is a lot of reading each day but it has been so rewarding. I loved reading through Genesis and Exodus.  Reading at this pace has allowed me to appreciate the continuity of the story, to see God's love, sovereignty, absolute power and control woven throughout.  

There were so many things God showed me through the week... I'll just highlight a couple:

First while reading about Noah and the flood chapter 7 verse 24 said that "The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days".

150 days... stuck with a boat load of animals... no escape... Noah must have been wondering if it would ever end!  I start to go crazy when I am stuck in the house with 4 kids on one rainy day!! 

But then chapter 8 starts out with 4 beautiful words...

           "But God remembered Noah..."

those words just leaped off the page at me.

Even during hard times, when there seems like there is no end, God remembers us.

He will not forget me even if he allows hard times to persist for awhile.

What trial does God have you in right now?   But God remembered {insert your name}!

Secondly, in Exodus chapter 23 when God was telling the Israelites that he will drive the enemy nations out of the land that they were to inherit,  verses 29 and 30 say:

   But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate
   and the wild animals too numerous for you. Little by little I will drive them out before
   you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.

God prepares us for the blessings he has for us... he doesn't give us something we are not ready for.  He will grow us in wisdom and maturity in order to be able to handle the blessings and the work that he has for us.  God's timing is perfect and I praise him for that.  I am learning to be content where he has me at this moment in time, preparing me for the next place he wants to take me.

So 7 days down... 83 to go!  For all of you reading along with me, be encouraged and stay at it!  See insights others are sharing at Mom's Toolbox.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Week in Review: Back to School

One of the things I have really come to love about homeschooling is the flexibility of our schedule and our calendar.

When we finished up for Christmas break on December 17th I had planned to start again on January 4th but on Christmas Eve Joe told me that he was off work until January 6th... that immediately entitled him to "Husband of the Year" award!!  It has been awhile since he has had that much time off so it was not  a problem for me to postpone the start of our new term.  The kids had a great time with their daddy being off.

On the last day of vacation we took a family outing to Dockyard.  We took the bus and the ferry, visited the glassblowing studio, explored the playground, enjoyed lunch at Frog & Onion Restaurant...  it was a great end to a wonderful Christmas holiday!

We spent Thursday and Friday easing back into somewhat of a schedule... The kids wrote about their day in Dockyard, we made pattern block creations, did jig saw puzzles, read books and made a simple snowflake craft... nothing strenuous as clearly I had gotten used to lazy days!

Next week is back to our full schedule... and as much as I have enjoyed the break, I am looking forward to getting back to our normal routine... and I think the kids are too!

Picture of the Week
I'm hoping to get back to taking more pictures of the kids and their every day moments. I won't commit to a picture a day like I did in 2009 for Project 365, but I am going to try and post a picture of the week. SO,  without further ado... here is this week's picture of the week:

Monday, January 3, 2011

A 90 day journey

About a month ago I was reading this post by Jolanthe of Homeschool Creations where she joined a 90 Bible reading challenge hosted by Amy from MomsToolbox. I have been wanting to be more intentional with my bible reading and in October I began the Essential 100 Challenge through You Version. Since this was scheduled to end on Dec 31,  I thought it would be a great idea plan on joining the next 90 day challenge. I felt God was leading me to this and continued to make it a matter of prayer.  


SO here I am..
                Day one of this ninety day journey!

As I read I will be journaling the things I am trusting the Holy Spirit to reveal to me. I will be using the "SOAP" method to organize my thoughts. I found this outline on Moms' Toolbox.

S: Scripture-Write the ONE scripture that I feel God is using to speak to me in today’s reading

O: Observation-What might He be telling me with that scripture?

A: Application-How can I apply it to my life?

P: Prayer-What is my prayer to ask God in helping me to make that application?

To say that I will blog about this journey with any sort of regularity will be over ambitious. I want to be sure that my time and focus remain on learning the things God has for me in His Word. I will however check in here from time to time with my progress.

Mom's toolbox has accountability built into the challenge in the form of a weekly check in and encourages participants to blog if they desire so I will link any of my progress reports to the check in post of that week.

If you are interested in learning more about the Bible reading challenge, you can read more about it at Mom’s Toolbox. You can also download your own printable reading bookmark if you want to join along in the challenge.

Off I go...
                            to read God's Word...
                                    cover to...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

On setting Resolutions...

 Wow!  It is 2011!  Happy New Year!!  So another year brings...

New.Year. Resolutions the end of each year, I resolve NOT to set them for the next year.  Why?  Are you like me?  Do you get to January 15 only to realize that you have already fallen off the wagon and get frustrated and give up completely!

BUT then...

 there is always  something about a fresh start that always brings me back to setting goals and getting excited about starting over or starting something new on January 1st.

So what's the problem with resolutions? How can we avoid the pitfall of not accomplishing our goal...finishing the thing what we are so excited to begin?

The problem with resolutions are that they are usually something WE have resolved to do... in our own strength.  They may be great goals but half the battle will be won if we start out by asking God what he would have for us to do.  It is about living our lives with purpose, allowing our Almighty Heavenly Father to guide our steps.

Your word is like a lamp for my feet
and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105 9(NCV)

We have to spend meaningful time with our Saviour and allow Him to direct us.

 The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
      He delights in every detail of their lives. Psalm 37:23 (NLT)

The rest of the battle can be won by daily surrendering and submitting to God, trusting Him to accomplish in you what he as given you to do... allowing Him to mold and shape us.
..being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Phil 1:6 (NIV)

Will it be easy?  NO!  It will take discipline and hard work, but God will be faithful to bring forth fruit in our lives when we commit it to Him.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Gal 6:9 (NIV)

So why not start this year by asking God to show you the goals HE wants to you strive toward and then trust him for the power made available when we are weak.

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2Cor 12:9 (ESV)

Are you wondering if the Creator of this universe actually loves you and cares enough want a daily relationship with you?  The answer is YES and this relationship can be found in Jesus Christ.
Here is what I believe.   I would love the opportunity to share with you how Christ can make a difference in your life... please email me at rusheika {at} gmail {dot} com.