Sunday, January 31, 2016

Resolution Check

#1 It's the last day in January.
#2 I thought this would be a good time to check-up on those New Year's resolutions


Let's jump right in!

My running goals:
  • Run a sub-20:00 5k - I really wanted a chance to knock this out quickly, but my training kind of peaked out without time allowing me to get to a race.  I'm going to take a small break to rest up a bit and then re-train with a goal race already picked out.  {In case you were wondering, it's hard to get to races when you can't leave your children home by themselves yet, and your husband works night shift, which means he is basically never awake in the morning time...gotta plan ahead!  No more excuses! (That's me talking to myself.)}
  • Run a 50-miler - My hopes for this have been dashed.  My loving husband is concerned about me running such a distance and doesn't think I should do it.  Without his full support this would really be an impossible goal.  I was really very sad about this, but I may try again in 2017. This kids will be a year older, and Lord willing, we will not be on night shift anymore. {I'm sorry.  I know a lot of people are on night shift continuously, and some people like it, but it is just not my cup of tea, and really seems to affect everything we do....I shouldn't complain.}
  • Eat for fuel - I'm acing this one...mostly. :)  {My favorite power food this month was oatmeal with about a teaspoon of chia seeds, a teaspoon of ground flax seed, and a cut-up banana.  It's a yummy, filling breakfast.}
  • Run more trails - Fail. Sad.
  • Use running as my "Go" from Mark 16:15 - Not really much success here either...mostly because I haven't raced, and I've been running alone.  I'm not giving up though.  {No more excuses!  (That's me talking to myself again.)}
Personal goals:
  • Compliment people more - I was going strong on this one, and then somewhere along the way I reverted to my introverted, shy, overthinking side, and have failed a few times.  {To the nurse who took my blood the other day:  You have really pretty gray hair. (Seriously...It really was very pretty hair.)  I'm going to keep practicing this.}
  • Write more - I have been writing once a week, though I have not posted everything.  {You probably will never see the "unpostables"...unless I die and someone posts them on behalf.  Too morbid?}
Home school goals:
  • School, in general, is going very well right now.  {Ask me again next week...it's a fragile beast.}
So, that's where I am.  Life's a continual bought of refocusing it seems.  Repositioning.  Resetting.  Re-posturing???

Beyond my silly little New Year's resolutions I have made a most important "re-posturing" of my faith this week...See "Check Your Posture."

Check Your Posture

#1 Having good posture with your body takes practice.  You have to be aware of your body's position and form habits to keep your neck, back, and hips aligned so your body can function at it's best.  (I have my dad to thank for always reminding me to stand up straight...Pilates is good for this too. :) )
#2 Your heart can have a posture all of its own.

What's the position of your heart?


This was a question in our life group's study guide this morning at church.
We've been working our way through Exodus and talked today about the Israelites whining in the desert for water, forgetting where they came from, and losing focus on God and where He was leading them (Exodus 17).
Their hearts were turning inward...focusing on themselves and their immediate needs and desires instead of on the God who, thus far, had provided everything they needed. 

The posture of their hearts was out of alignment.

Boy, could I relate...

Earlier this week I posted this verse on Instagram:


 
I was feeling like Asaph in Psalm 73:
Surely God is good to Israel,
    to those who are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
    I had nearly lost my foothold.
For I envied the arrogant
    when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
I knew God was still good, but I just wasn't feeling it.  My heart was out of position.  I was focusing inward.  The psalm goes on to say:
 12 This is what the wicked are like—
    always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.
13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
    and have washed my hands in innocence.
14 All day long I have been afflicted,
    and every morning brings new punishments.
I was just getting tired.  It's hard to always try to do the right thing, especially when you mess up so often. 
 
I was thinking about it in the car, and I had one of those moments where a verse pops into your mind, and you know it's God speaking to you through His Spirit...it was a simple,
"Cease striving" (Psalm 46:10).  Thank you, Lord.
 
So, I took a deep breath and gave it up.  Relief.
 
The rest of Psalm 73 talks about this relief...When you've entered God's presence and your heart is back in position so that you're able to have a clear view of what's going on around you, and you're able to see with new perspective what God's doing:
 23 Yet I am always with you;
    you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.
27 Those who are far from you will perish;
    you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
28 But as for me, it is good to be near God.
    I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
    I will tell of all your deeds.
 
Phew.  Praise the Lord for staying with us...even when we are as Asaph was earlier in Psalm 73:
21 When my heart was grieved
    and my spirit embittered,
22 I was senseless and ignorant;
    I was a brute beast before you.
"A brute beast"...I can definitely be that at times.  Sad truth.
{Read the full psalm here.}
 
Thankfully, He never lets go...He never fails...God is ALWAYS faithful.
 
 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Round and Round

#1 The grand scheme of our home school is ever changing.
#2 I'm sure I'll have the "perfect plan" soon after they all graduate. :)

This year we're going "Round and Round."


I used to have a daily plan for school that would generally start with spelling and writing, move to grammar and reading, and then onward to math.  Then we were suppose to do history, science, Latin, and all the rest.  The problem was that we would get through with reading, barely make it through the math, and then either cry and fight through the rest, or just call it a day.  It rarely ended well.

When I realized that we needed to make a change I decided that instead of starting each day the same we would just pick up where we left off the day before.  After a little "googling" I learned that other home school mom's have also been doing this, and that it had a name:

Loop Scheduling.


Who knew???

The blog I first came across gave an outline of how to use Evernote with a loop schedule.
Check it out at www.simplyconvivial.com
(She explains it all in more detail then I ever care to, so I'll leave it to her!)

I was already using and loving Evernote for holding my running notes/articles, recipes, addresses, schedules, and other random things, so this was an easy move for me.

Thus far, this (along with a to-do list for King and Duke of daily school tasks they can do on their own) is really working. 

It's a little more relaxed, but the learning is more focused. 

Here's a glimpse of how I'm working it:

  • King and Duke work on their to-do lists, which includes hygiene, chores, and as much reading/spelling/math as they can do without my help, while I do my morning chores (unload dishwasher, start the laundry, make the littles' beds, and wipe down the bathrooms).
  • I check out Evernote to see which subject should come first and then just work down the list, spending as much time as we want, or is necessary, on each subject until we run out of time (I cut off schoolwork at 3pm) or our brains are fried (usually before 3pm).
  • We could get grammar, writing, math, and history done one day, then the next day we would start with geography and move to science, Latin, and typing before we come back to grammar again.  (We do some form of reading everyday.)
  • There's lots of other stuff that happens during each day, but we always try to end with a 15 minute clean-up time (for sanity's sake).
That's about all there is to it. 

This will obviously not be the right plan for everyone, and it probably won't be the right plan for us for forever, but it is definitely the right plan for us for now.

The "perfect" home school plan will probably always remain a mystery to me, but I'm thankful that we follow a God who directs all change and gives wisdom and knowledge when we need it.


 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Building Something Beyond Myself

#1 It's a new year, and I, like so many others, have set some new goals for myself.
#2 To me, these goals are like small building blocks, so I'm asking myself, "What am I building?"

Building Something Beyond Myself


These are my original goals for 2016:

  • Running goals:
    • Run a sub-20:00 5k.  I did a 20:30 this year...cutting 10 seconds per mile is a lot harder than it sounds!
    • Run a 50-miler.  I really want to go back to Utah in September and up the ante...IV does too.
    • Eat for fuel.  Not dieting, just viewing everything I eat as fuel - I want to eat things that benefit my body most.
    • AND...Run more trails. Period.
  • Personal goals:
    • Compliment people more. Whenever I think something nice about a person I want to say it immediately instead of over-thinking it, and letting the moment pass, like I tend to do now.
    • Write more.  I'm going to try to sit down to write at least once a week.  I definitely won't be posting everything I write, but the act of trying keeps me thinking and digging and praying and learning.
  • Home school goals:
    • Finish the school year with a good attitude and my best efforts.
    • Focus on what's important.
    • Don't lose focus...that's the hard part.

I thought this was all good, and it's not bad, but then I read this:

From Moby Dick by Herman Melville:
Ishmael had just finished his summary of the different types of whales (not the most interesting part of the book so far), and he leaves it unfinished and says,
"...even as the great Cathedral of Cologne was left, with the cranes still standing upon the top of the uncompleted tower.  For small erections may be finished by their first architects; grand ones, true ones, ever leave the copestone to posterity.  God keep me from ever completing anything."

 

My train of thought:

  1. Great works continue on, and are often not completed, within the lifetime of the person that started them.
  2. God is the great architect. "For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God" (Hebrews 3:4).
  3. If I want to build something in life that will last beyond myself then it needs to be focused on God's work...This seems obvious to me.

 

But I don't want to throw out all my goals.

What to do?


I recently did a little personal study on Hannah from 1 Samuel 1.
Hannah had a goal...She wanted a son. 
She was being tormented by her husband's other wife for being barren, so she put all of her heart into praying for a child.
The twist is, she promised to give the child back to the Lord.
She prayed:
“O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.” - 1 Samuel 1:11
And she kept her promise.

After this, her son, Samuel, went on to be a great prophet of God (1 Samuel 3:19-20).
He anointed both Saul and David as kings over Israel (1 Samuel 9 and 16).
David, of course, continues the pathway straight to Christ (Luke 3:23-38).

Hannah's dedication to the Lord allowed her to be part of building something much, MUCH, bigger than herself.  She was part of building God's Kingdom.

Therefore, instead of wiping out my goals, I want to re-focus them:

  • Running:
    • This is a pretty selfish sport in general, and really, it makes no difference if I meet these goals. It's kinda pointless...but I love it. :) 
    • I do, however, meet a lot of people through running.  I almost always come home from a race having made at least one new friend.  This is where I can take the focus off myself and put it on the lasting work. 
    • Most of my days are spent around my family, my church family, or other home school moms...very few non-believers there.  Running is a gateway for me into the world at this point in my life, and it is a chance for me to let His light shine through me.  It's my chance to "go" (Mark 16:15).
  • Personal:
    • These aren't too far off track...
    • Complimenting people with truthful compliments can equal a little kindness shown to them in a sometimes dark world...like an "apple of gold" (Proverbs 25:11).
    • Writing is (obviously) my way of communicating the works of God in my life to others.  I hope that someone will be encouraged through it (Hebrews 3:13).
  • Home school:
    • My children are my mission field right now.  To keep my focus and have a good attitude will only help them.  I want them to see Christ through me, and I want to always be teaching them the Word (Deuteronomy 11:19).


I hope that you've set some goals of your own for the new year...small building blocks to build a better life for you and your family today, and prayerfully, laying foundations for works that will continue to grow long after you are gone.

Build your house on the rock, and keep your mind on things above (Matthew 7:24; Colossians 3:2)


11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.  - Titus 2:11-14
 Build it big.