Sunday, April 24, 2011

Operation Solid Lives

It has been almost 2 weeks since my journey of Operation Solid Lives (OSL) ended.  OSL is an intense decipleship program offered by our church, Church of Living Water. (  Boy what a journey it was!  I can't tell you completely what it has meant to me but I will try to do justice to how it has impacted my life.

OSL is one of those things that makes you want to pull your hair out at times, and at others weep with appreciation and jump with joy for the relationship that is forged with our Lord because of it.  Let me explain.

When Mark and I first started OSL I was excited to start a new study and journey.  They encourage couples to do it together which was exciting for me but Mark wasn't as eager as I was.  Don't get me wrong, he wanted to do it but he went with me more because I asked him and he is an awesome husband and loves me.  Like I said I was excited, until we got there and were greeted with a couple of unexpected realities. 

The first reality was that we would NOT be sitting with each other.  Now, I was partially excited to do this because my hubby and I would be together!  We haven't been able to do anything together in quite a while and I was looking forward to spending time in a group getting to know others with my best friend.  When we walked in though and looked for our name tags we quickly found out that our seating would be at separate tables, Mark with men and me with other women.  Our smiles and anticipations both sank.  Oh well, we would sit as close as we could and try make the best of it.

The second was the rules.  Lots of rules!  Mark and I are not exactly the best at being consistent with structured kinds of things.  First there was only 2 hours of TV, movies, reading or music a week unless it was Christian music or teachings.  That seemed to hurt most people but what got me the most was the Bible verse memorization.  I do not memorize easily.  There were a lot of things we had to do such as reading certain chapters in our bibles every day, journaling, listening to teachings, coming to all of the meetings, attend the church services and sit in the first 3 rows (which I still don't get).

I wasn't feeling the home teachings so much (good teacher, just long and repetitive at times), neither was I enjoying the sitting in the first three rows (we are back third of the church sitters.. lol) but as I said above those bible verses were just not my friend.  I was trying so hard to memorize them and as I tried I would get one part mixed up with another verse or just go blank.  I was really beating myself up until my 4th class, when I visited my coach and ended up in tears over it.  She quickly reminded me that I don't have to be perfect, that I have only to try and that it was more important that those verses got into my heart!  What a relief that day was because the expectation of having to recite my un-memorized verses was taking over every thought and ruining my days.  I was reminded that there is "NO condemnation in Christ Jesus!" 

Well, I was almost on my last week of OSL and I was proud of my accomplishments of journaling and reading and even memorizing some of my verses but didn't really feel there was this huge change in me that I was expecting, until April 5th. 

My dad died on April 6th, 2001 and on the 5th I was reflecting on that time.  As I thought about it pain and tears welled up inside of me.  I thought about the time that I spent in Idaho taking care of him (he was unconscious most of our time there), and the time that I read the bible to him hoping he would hear me and turn to Christ.  Most of all I thought about my last moments with him before we left to come home because we had to go back to work.  I said good bye and we drove our 8 hours home and the next morning I got the call, he had died.

My heart was stricken with grief by the fact that I wasn't there when he died, I left one day too soon.  The grief was overwhelming wondering if my dad had accepted Christ before his death or not.  As I cried I felt fear and panic rise up in me.  I had to do something, and I found myself thinking frantically, "I have to find my bible, where is my bible, I just need to read my bible and I will be ok!"    Those thoughts stopped me dead in my tracks.

In the past if I was hurting so much that panic would arise I would run to food, the TV, movies, or other self destructive activities, but that day, for the very first time I was running to God's word!  Life itself!  It hit me, the last 3 weeks of OSL had infiltrated so deep into my spirit that running to God was my hope, not the things of this world that did nothing but hurt me.  I had hope in my Christ, in His Word, and in the Life I knew it would give me.  I was not feeling a lot the first three weeks because I was storing up what God wanted me to be able to use in the future.  I was storing up HIS HOPE!

When I ran to the Word, God didn't stop the pain, but He did stop the panic, and how grateful I am for that.  Realizing I can feel pain without falling apart is a huge thing for me and I am so thankful for my church for offering OSL because I don't think I would have this hope otherwise.

Was OSL the best thing I have ever done?  I don't know.  But what I do know is that without it, I wouldn't be where I am today and I couldn't get to the places I know God will lead me to in the future. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Birthday Camping!

My birthday was last week and I was asked by many people what I wanted, of course there are too many things to list and too many things I would never ask for.  We have been working hard to cut spending and to change the way we see presents or gifts.  We don't want birthdays or holidays to be about the gifts, but about the love and the relationships.  My wonderful husband and daughter made sure I had presents and cake though!

So, when asked by my sweet husband what I wanted to do, I said... CAMPING!

I love to camp and getting away from all the things in life that get between you, God and your family.  So for me, it was perfect.  We packed up the tent trailer, made sure we had goodies to eat, "DRY" wood to build a fire (because what is camping if there isn't a good fire) and warm clothing.  We were not sure if we would be camping in the snow or rain, since we haven't been in the 60s yet this year and we have had a lot of low snow!  Either way it was going to be fun... I knew it!

When we got there we made sure to find a secluded place, not too hard since no one else in their right minds is going camping in the wet rainy season here!  I never said we were in our right minds.  We got set up right away, and as you can see Charis decided the picnic table was a stage and Sadee had fun with all the smells!

Once we were done with all the set up everyone was starving, so lunch was served and Charis of course thought there was nothing better than eating in the trailer, even if she still had to eat her veggies.  (As you can see, I brought my birthday flowers with me!)

Charis truly had a blast and I loved seeing her have fun! 


   She is a total ham and adores the outdoors!
This is her on the picnic table again singing and dancing for us.  I about had a heart attack each time she was within an inch of the edge but she just rolled her eyes at me, she knew what she was doing!  LOL

 Beautiful girl enjoying the sunset!

It is getting COLD!!!!  The nights got super chilly and we woke up each morning with ice on the dog water.  The sun is going down as Charis can feel it so she is huddled while she waits for the fire!

 Ahhh, Fire!  As you can see, she didn't have to wait long.  I have always thought that the best thing about camping is the fire.  I love the true heat it puts off, while it burns your knees, and the beauty of the flames.  I also love to roast (or burn) marshmellows. We don't eat them, yuck!  

We are an anti-marshmellow family!

 As with most camping trips, the evening skies did not disappoint us.  The sun went down with blazing colors which I will share in another post, and the moon was full and put out as much light at times as the evening sun.I am so grateful for this trip.  It was a true blessing to be with my family in such a beautiful place.  I will soon share some more pictures of all the wildlife we saw, and the most amazing sunsets!  Be Blessed!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


As we take the time to research homeschooling for our beautiful daughter it is interesting how many curriculum are out there!  Way more than I could ever research completely.  Thank goodness for others who have gone before us right!  It is nice to get feedback from other people as well as from blogs.  But I am a hands-on kind of person so it is still difficult for me.  Thank goodness for the curriculum fair coming up on June!  I can't wait.

So far there are three curriculum that are jumping out at me.  Charistian Light Publications has a great homeschool program that I a loving the look of and may be the one.  Lifepac by Alpha and Omega, Christian Light Education and Sonlight are at the top right now as well,  A Beka is another good program, and Singapore Math looks fun.  But again, I need to see it all hands-on.  It is difficult making these decisions with little pictures on the web... and sometimes no pictures at all.  I need to see, touch and feel it.. lol  I can't wait until the curriculum fair!

If you have anymore insight then I would love to hear from you and get your opinions!

Have a wonderfully blessed day!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring Break Fun

We didn't go anywhere exciting this spring break.  We stayed home and enjoyed each others company.  But we did go outdoors on the ONE non-rainy day!  Notice I didn't say sunny!  We did get a bit of sun breaks here and there on Saturday, but all in all, not so much sun... BUT there was an absence of rain!  I will take that anytime!

First we worked on our tent tailor, we are going camping this weekend for my birthday and I wanted to open it up, clean out the dust and purify the water tank.  That was fun, going through all the gear, letting Charis play around and enjoy memories of the past!  I love camping!

After that we decided to go into town and just enjoy the weather, walk around and get some fresh air.  So we went down by the capital building, as you can see, there is no sun!  But no rain either!

Capital Building ~ Olympia, WA

We saw lots of beautiful trees and Charis had fun climbing them!  Or trying to rather, she would get scared as soon as she got up there, but it was fun anyway.  The colors of the trees were so vivid and beautiful, I was in awe of how we miss those colors sometimes because of the constant rain this time of year.  I am so ready for sunshine so I can take in more beauty as it blossoms! 

There is a grouping of trees over by the DOT building and right next to it there is a community garden that has been planted.  Charis had a blast running through the trees and playing between the gardens!

Charis posing for her picture ~ 

Charis having fun running through the maze of trees!

~ Almost looked like Chronicles of Narnia!


      Beautiful girl in the beautiful trees ~

 I love my little Muppin!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

To Homeschool or Not To Homeschool!

Wow, life brings us to strange places, places we would never have expected to be.  Some are good and some, not so much.  We have a beautiful six year old daughter and if you would have asked me 6 years ago if I would ever consider homeschooling the answer would have been a resounding NO!  Be careful, because your no's could end up being maybes, then they might turn into a yes, louder than the before-mentioned NO.

Well, some things have happened to urge us to consider homeschooling.  When I first started looking into it fear overcame me.  "I am not qualified to teach children... I don't even know how to start... What in the world will happen to my daughter if I choose to do it?.. Won't my daughter be scarred for life?.."  and on and on the questions go.

But as I have researched the subject, going to dozens of blogs, dozens of websites and dozens of curriculum websites I have found that everyone who makes this decision goes through the same kind of stress and worries when trying to come up with the right decision for them.  That is a comfort, though not as much comfort as the statistics I have found going through many different sources.

If you go on education alone, homeschoolers test much higher on average than traditional school kids.  They transition into the non-school world much better and colleges are now recruiting homeschoolers because they work better on their own and are more self-motivated.  That was enough to get me to thinking more clearly.

Then the next thing that I researched was how it would affect my family and it's dynamics.  Would we get closer or would it drive a wedge between us.  That was exciting to read about as well because blog after blog, story after story, book after book all I found was that the bond between children and parents and siblings was strengthened and sealed on a deeper level than ever before.  I want that too!

When I started to see all the opportunities and possibilities, far more than I could share here, I started to get excited... very excited!  Again, not what I ever expected to feel when the word homeschool was ever mentioned.

We have not made a formal decision to homeschool but we know that it is a serious consideration and probability and that thought makes me excited.. with still a bit of worry.  How will our family take it, our friends?  But we know that if we listen to God, research wisely, make no rash decisions that we will be able to come to the right decision for our family.  God knows what is best for us, and He will guide our every path during this decision.

So even though we still are asking the question, To Homeschool or Not To Homeschool, I know we are on the right path!

Have a blessed day!  It is sunny!  That means fun in the sun!