Friday, March 21, 2008

The Winds of Change

As the winds of our lives blow we often find that the strong air that wisks through will many times bring a change in direction. These winds can be unsettling and confusing but can be God's way of stirring our spirits to prompt us to move from one place to another. Sometimes it can be a spiritural change of direction while others can be more of an emotional re-location and then many times it can be of the physical type change when we are called upon to do something that is more of an outward change as opposed to an inward. Well, the winds of change have been blowing through our family recently. I feel as though the Lord has really been stirring us, shifting our foundations, calling us to step out of our comfort zones and trust Him. I hate stepping out of my comfort zone and dislike anything that resembles change but it seems as though the Lord has been working in my heart reassuring me that "change is good". As we have surrender our wills to Him, opened our hearts and minds to see what He might have on the horizon for our family, He has slowly impressed upon our hearts things that have caused us to re-evalulate many situations in the life of our family. As we have considered the incredible duty and honor of being a mom and dad to Cody, Grace and Emily we have felt an incredible sense that we could be doing more at building them up and equipping them to stand strong in the world in which we live. We have felt passionate about protecting them from things that they are not emotional ready to see and hear while giving them safety in questioning things that just don't make sense to their little hearts and minds. I believe that as a mom I have longed to have more of those "nighttime moments" when I get a window into the heart of my children. We have felt that we are missing so many teachable opportunities to cause them to consider who they are in the eyes of the Lord and it has been through these longings that we have felt a strong "calling" to homeschool the children next year. It has been such a BIG decision in that I had always said that "I would NEVER homeschool". I had always had such admiration for those families who did but never felt that I could do it and so when the Lord began prompting me with ideas of homeschool I quickly rejected them. He continued to prompt and it wasn't until I surrendered to His "call" that His peace fell upon us. So I just have to say...."be careful of what you say that you will "NEVER" do.

We are excited as well anxious about what next year will look like in the life of our family. Homeschooling is not an easy task and we know that there will certainly be challenges but I truly have been amazed at what is available to homeschooling families and think that it certainly will be a fun adventure which will give us the opportunity to soak up precious moments with our children. We have told both Cody and Grace and they have slowly warmed to the idea and although I know that they have a little anxiousness about the unknown ways of homeschooling they are growing in excitement as we explore curriculums, activities and all of the other options that we have available to us. We have also been slowing sharing our news with others and have been amazed at the reactions of people as we have announced our decision. Never would I have thought that the simple act of homeschooling could bring about such emotional responses from individuals. People really have strong opinions regarding how and where the education of children takes place which was very surprising to me because I have always felt that there advantages and disadvantages to all types of education and that what is good for one family or for that matter, one child may not be for another. Parents simply have to educate their children in the ways that they feel are best for their individual children. Fortunately, we have experienced encouragment from family as well as friends and although they may not fully understand the why's of our decision they are supporting us and many have applauded this change. I know that many families choose different paths of educating their children and am thankful that we live in a country that offers parents such a vast array of educational options. For this reason we have confidence in taking our homeschooling decision on a year to year basis. It is very possible that this change will only be for a season in the life of our family and then again it could be something that is more long term. But for however long the Lord directs us to have our children home we will be faithful to obey knowing that being in the center of HIS will is the best place to be for us and our kids.

Thanks to all of you who have encouraged us in our decision, provided information and resources and simply prayed for us as we have made this decision. As I said it will be an adventure that I am sure will stretch us and grow all of us in ways that only the Lord can.

1 Year Gotcha Day

I am catching up on some blogging this morning and have quite alot to say and lots of news to report but this will probably be my last post for today given that Cody and Grace are home from school today and we are going to try to dye and decorate some Easter Eggs. But before I sign off my computer for the day I wanted to write a quick post to note that on Feb.26 we celebrated our 1 year anniversary of Emily's Gotcha Day. Much to my disappointment the day passed without much celebration outwardly but deep in my heart I was rejoicing about how special that day was. It was a day in which the emotions that filled me will be imprinted upon my heart forever. I will never forget seeing Emily for the first time dressed in pink overalls. I will never lose the feeling of the moment I first felt her in my arms and the emotions that flooded my heart as we experienced the fulfillment of the miraculous events that brought her into our family. It was a day of quite reflection as I basked in the joy and knowledge that the blessings that have fallen upon me during this past year as a result of being Emily's mommy have been precious gifts from a God who longs to lavish me with His love. It has been a year of adjustments, challenges as well as incredible and indescribable joys and as I witness the flower which has bloomed within our daughter I see God's divine perfection in His plans. We can't always "see His hand but we can ALWAYS trust His heart". Emily has grown and blossomed into such a confident and secure little girl with such a witty and playful personality. And it just keeps getting better. But most of all she is FULL of love. Her constant verbal and physically expressions of love make my heart soar and bring such happiness into our days. What joy fills my heart that we were chosen to be her family.

Thank you, my precious Emily for teaching me how simple and beautiful deep love can be. For allowing me to see Jesus in you and for touching me in such a way that I will never be the same.
Thank you, my loving Cody, for allowing God to speak to your heart and directing our paths to the gift of Emily
Thank you, to my sweet Grace, for being patient and kind for taking the time to learn how to fall in love with your sister.
And most of all thank you, to my adoring Mike, for everything....your patience, your kindness, your love and willingness to lead us through the waters of life. For constantly seeking the Lord and being our provider and protector and for always being willing to listen to the voice of God no matter where it leads us.
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Miracles In Every Moment

WOW! Where does the time go? It truly seems as though life passes us by in the blink of an eye. The Minot's have been busy, busy, busy since I last posted. School events have literally swallowed us up during the past few months. From Winter Wonderland Celebrations to Valentines Day to International Children's Day and with teacher birthdays and a few sick days and the frequent trips to the orthodontist (for me) we have been swamped. I really detest being so active that life becomes a blur. When our lives are so full of "stuff" we lose the ability to soak in the "miracles of each moment", which is a phrase that I am borrowing from a song on my new favorite CD by Steven Curtis Chapman, "This Moment". I love how music can strengthen, empower and make one contemplate a vast array of emotions and the songs on this CD do just that. I have been challenged through listening to the CD to notice and enjoy each moment of life, to surrender all that I am to a God who treasures me and to know that I AM changing the world, a heartbeat at a time.

I do truly enjoy having moments to enjoy my husband and my kids. I find that when I stop, look and listen to them and cease all the "multi-tasking" I get a glimpse of just how wonderfully they are made and am delighted at their uniqueness and creativity. It is during those moments that I relish the fact that I am a MOM.

Well, as I said we have been busy in the recent much that I am sad to say that I have lost some of those precious moments as I hurried Grace and Cody out the door for a day at school only to rush back in with an agenda that involved things like cleaning, straightening, folding etc.... This only was followed by another mad dash out the door to the school with a van full of supplies for the next event. It has been during these mad dashes that I have longed for quietness amidst the chaos. Night times have been treasured times as the quiet calm settles over our children and I listen to their hearts and try to soak in what is left of each day. God's word tells us that "children are a gift from the Lord" and I pray that you are having moments to treasure your gifts from the Lord each day. I am posting a some photos of our activities including Emily's first snow experience which she loved as well as Grace's Winter Wonderland Celebration and Emily riding her tricycle for the first time. I also included a photo of my handsome husband and good looking brother in law during a "guys trip" to Washington D.C. for the National Prayer Breakfast. It was a fun opportunity for them to get away and "have breakfast with the President". The photos posted a bit out of order but hope you enjoy them anyway.

I hope that you all are happy, well and enjoying life to the fullest.