Saturday, February 23, 2008

Please Pray for Tennesse Homeschoolers/Praise Dance

Please keep Tenn homeschoolers in your prayers, along with our state leaders.  There is a "very dangerous" bill being introduced which will threaten our homeschooling freedoms.  This is the information sent out by HSLDA.
"House Bill 2795 would subject non-public school students, including
homeschool students, to additional state testing. It would require
them to take subject matter tests based upon state-approved textbooks.
It would also require them to pass the Tennessee comprehensive
assessment program tests before receiving a high school diploma. These
new testing requirements would also apply to students being taught at
home through extension or satellite programs of church-related

If House Bill 2795 passes, it will essentially mean the end of
homeschooling in Tennessee. Parents deciding to teach their children
at home would have to conform their curriculum to the material taught
in public school in order for their children to be able to pass the
state tests. The Tennessee Department of Education, not parents, would
determine whether a student taught at home was eligible to receive a
high school diploma. "

The problem with this bill is much bigger than what book we will use.  We believe whole-heartedly that this is an attempt by the enemy to crush our homeschool freedoms.  This is a spiritual battle.  He would like nothing more than to make us slaves of the state.  If this bill were to pass, we would no longer be able to homeschool according to how the Spirit directs each family.  We would no longer be able to teach to individual interests, giftings, and needs.  Satan hates most homeschoolers, because so many of us are training our children to love the Lord with all of their hearts and to follow His ways.  He can't get his hands on them with all of the typical trappings of the school system, so he's desperate to stop us. 
James and I have never been politically active beyond voting, and some occasional emails to legislators.  However, God convicted both of us yesterday, that we should be at the sub-committee meeting in Nashville later this week.  Our area homeschool association has asked for homeschooling families to attend.  Pray for our travel safety, for the girls to sit patiently and still during the meeting, and for this bill to be stopped in it's tracks.    For fellow Tenn homeschoolers, please, please, email and call your legislators before Wed.!!  If you need the information, email me, and I will send it to you.  (Just a note to any would-be lurking burgulars  : )  my house will still be full of people housesitting and taking care of ALL OF OUR DOGS!)
While we're in Nashville, we plan to take the girls to the state capitol and other buildings in downtown, as well as the Children's Museum. 
This is a praise dance (mostly sign language) from 2 weeks ago. Ashley and Briana are the 2 in the center.  I wish the video wasn't so jerky!  At the end there is a picture of a burning bush up on the screen.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

This Week in (Mostly) Photos

Here's a look at some of the things we've been doing this past week. (And, yes, we did some studying, too!)
Marissa and Daniella busy creating valentines for their grandparents, cousins, and other family.

A few of the finished ones

We spent most of Valentine's Day at the aquarium with our little "Aquarium Club".  A group of us have season passes and go once a month for a class on the ocean given just to our little group (about 18 children, plus parents), then, of course, we go through the aquarium   We met early that day and had lunch and a little valentine exchange for the kids.  Dad decided to go with us this time, so the girls enjoyed having him there and showing him their favorites.  They have a great discount for local residents, who can get in for just $8, so he got to go even though he's not in our little club.  : ) 
  When we got home, Ashley and Briana were cooking a fun Valentine's supper.   Heart shaped homemade pizzas and chocolate chip bundt cake.

The cake....well, it had some problems coming out of the pan, so it was a little camera shy, but it was still yummy!
For five weeks in Jan. and Feb., Marissa took a Saturday morning painting class at Arrowmont School of Arts in Gatlinburg.  This was her first art class, and she got to use acrylics, oil, and watercolor.  She loved it.  This is an acrylic she did of a beach scene.

Here's Ashley being a really good big sister, painting with Marissa while she takes a break from her psychology studies.

Last night Ashley and I spoke in front of about 75 people.  That was hair-raising!  I don't enjoy public speaking!  It was A Night Of Asante (thanks) for sponsors of children in Orbit, Kenya.  We were asked to speak because we were either the 1st or 2nd family to sponsor children in the program about 9 years ago.  We were also interviewed for the newspaper.  Briana and Marissa went with us. 
And, finally, this picture is in honor of all of my blog friends from the north and out in Colorado.  I'm always looking at your snow pictures, so I wanted to share mine!

TA DA!  See?  The whole deck is white!!  That's about it so far this year.  We used to get a lot more snow than this, but not for the last few years.  It gets really, really cold, but not at the same time it snows!
Have a great week!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Are We Ready?

I sat down at the computer to share some of our week with you, but, honestly, it all seems very shallow at the moment.  I sat contemplating what to write, and I couldn't make myself write about going to vote and making valentines.  I'm sure I'll share some of those things soon, but tonight my heart is burdened for the presence of the Lord.  I've mentioned a couple of times here that our church is praying and seeking real revival.  I don't mean once a year revival meetings, where everyone gets their emotions stirred and are on fire for the Lord for a couple of weeks.  I mean God's presence come down on the church.  Life changing revival. 
   I've watched the changes start coming over the last few months~more people on their knees, raising their hands in praise and worship, singing and praising from the depths of their souls.  You can truly sense the Lord in those times of worship.  He's there, but you know there's more. 
   This morning, in a very moderate size, conservative Southern Baptist Church, we got only a glimpse of God~a shadow of what's to come.  It was an amazing morning.  During the midst of our worship, as the minister of music began to pray, a man from the choir stepped forward and began to pray.  This is a very quiet man; reserved and soft spoken.  This would be out of character of anyone to do in our church, but especially someone like him.  He began to pray~to pray very strongly, and you could sense the spirit, and through that prayer, God called the church to repentence.  People began pouring to the alter, praying, crying, and praising God, quietly, but audibly.  The man continued to pray aloud as God spoke through him for several minutes. 
   Some people have questioned our pastor today, and were upset about what happened~ "This is not what we do".  Tonight our pastor (whom I trust and know to be so sensitive to the spirit) said that he believes without a doubt that none of that was from the flesh,  and if he had had *any* thought that it was, he would have put a stop to it immediately. He believes that it was a message from the Lord, that the church better be paying attention, and that this is only a small glimpse of what is to come.  He said He knows this man well, and he knows this was not him talking, but the Lord.  I believe that, too, because the result was too powerful. 
  I can't describe to you my heart on this.  I feel blessed, I feel awed, and I feel a burden.  This afternoon my mind went to the Bible stories I have been reading to Marissa and Daniella the last few months.  We read about the Israelites, and how they could not stand to be in the presence of the Lord.  They were too afraid, and asked Moses to go do it for them and deliver His message.  Will we be too afraid?  Will we truly repent, and give ourselves completely and openly to the Lord.  Will we be able to stand in His presence without fear, or will people be too afraid to do things differently?  Will they be too afraid to open their hearts for a life changing encounter, and throw their hands up in praise? 
  I want to be ready.
   Revival begins in each heart.  Of course, as we go through each day, we are seeking God and praising Him; searching for Him in all situations, giving ourselves to Him.  I just don't think that most of us realize what God really wants to give us.  Our family has already had glimpses of God changing us, but I want all God wants to bless us with.
   I want to be ready.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Which Book Do I Choose?

Okay~ a book meme is supposed to be a simple thing, right?  Pick up the book nearest you, and turn to a certain page.  The problem is there is a stack of books to the left of the computer, a stack of books to the right of the computer, and 2 books in the floor next to the computer.  I can't figure out which one is closest.   No, really.  This is messing me up!  Then, even if I can figure out which one is closer, none of them are mine!  I am feeling a desperate need for a week on the beach with my husband!  : )  I told my girls tonight that I am totally and completely tired of thinking.  And, I am.  All day I have been avoiding it as much as possible.  Now, which book?  The ones to the left are all computery types of books~boring.  So, I'm going to go for the ones to the right, mostly because they are easier to reach than bending down on the floor.  Am I totally pathetic, or what? 
Book Meme
1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people
"What is happening?" 
Sam paused, for a moment unable to gather his thoughts.  "You're right."
Taken from No Legal Grounds by James Scott Bell.  Sounds really suspenseful.  Maybe I should read it. 
I was tagged by kimalitaI am so glad she stopped by.  I read some of her entries for the first time tonight, and really enjoyed them.  She seems to have such a sweet spirit, and we have some of the same thoughts on homeschooling. 
If you made it through the first half of this warped post and kept reading, then you really are my friend!  I promise to try to be more intelligent next time.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

A Restful Week

First, I forgot to mention my thanks for all of the encouraging comments on my entry before last, and on the comments of how that entry encouraged some of you.  I really appreciate you guys. 
Also, several people asked for the link on how to make the paper snowflake from my last entry.   It's  I asked James, and he said it was pretty straight forward directions, and he did it just like they said.  Let me know if anybody makes one. 
This has been a pretty restful week.  Last Sunday really wiped me out~nothing in particular; I just got up and went to church Sunday morning, but I felt really tired and run-down most of the week.  I started feeling better by Thursday.  Thankfully, there was nothing on the calendar for me this week, so it was a nice stay-at-home week.  I promised myself to stay home all week, but ended up going to get my haircut this afternoon. 
James has been out in our craft room at lot working on business, so Marissa has been taking her math book out there with him, curling up in a cozy little corner, and working her math out there with him, asking him questions if she needed help.  This has helped me a lot, because it frees me to concentrate on Daniella.  She tends to get her work skipped some days.  It doesn't concern me for a 6 year old to do that much "school work", but she loves it and is always begging me to "do school" with her.  She's dying to learn to read, so we've been able to spend a lot more time the last couple of weeks doing her Explode the Code book and reading some lists in Alpha Phonics.  She *loves* math.  We've done some hit and miss little workbooks all this year, but I started her in Level 2 of Developmental Math last week, and she loves it.  In fact, she's almost finished with it, so I had to quickly order level 3 yesterday. (I went ahead and ordered Level 4 while I was at it, but I don't know if she'll be ready for adding and sub. 10's yet~we'll see.)  She seems to have a real knack for math at this point.  She already understood the concept of addition and subtraction, and she is quickly memorizing facts, or being able to think them out in her head quickly.  Ashley and I watched her thinking and working the other day, and couldn't help laughing at her because she amazed us.  We've also been working on coins and time, and played Pumpkin Patch Math.  It's a little Bingo type game where you roll three die~ two have numbers, and the third has either an addition or subtraction sign. 
On Thursday I got out the Anagrams tiles (you could also use Scrabble tiles) and let them just spell words with them.  They had a ball.  Anagrams has lots of "A's", so Daniella was able to spell all the short a words she knew.  They've worked quite a few jigsaw puzzles this week, along with a couple of word searches.   Marissa is reading the Kaya books from American Girl, and James is reading to her from Children's Classics or other books at bedtime, while I read to Daniella.  We started reading Sarah Witcher's Story this week, too.   We continue to read (again) from The Child's Story Bible.  This time through, Marissa is able to think through and understand even more spiritual concepts and see how they relate to her life, even in the old testament stories.  We've also been working hard on AWANA verses.  Marissa's (T&T) has had her looking up more verses and answering questions this past few weeks, which I like.  (Not to mention that it gets her writing more.   She hates to write!)  I hope this week or next to start on Time Travelers~The American Revolution.  I've got to get my act together in the next few days and get things printed and gathered.  Marissa likes this era, and I really hope we're going to have a great time with this study.  I just noticed tonight that they have a Colonial study.  She would really like that. 
Wednesday night I had the house to myself, and I scrapbooked for the first time since early November, I guess.  That perked me up, and I had fun.  And, to make matters better, as far as I know at this point, Monday-Friday, I don't have anywhere to go either!!!!  Some weeks are just good!  : )