Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

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If a child is corrected, he becomes wise. But a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.

If you train your children, they will give you peace. They will bring delight to you. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭29‬:‭15, 17‬ NIRV)

Our morning devotion today was about the Ten Commandments. We read each commandment and I gave a brief explanation about each one.

We ended with the 10th commandment, “Thou shall not covet.” I explained that this meant wanting something that another person has and being miserable and cranky if you don’t get it.

We all want something we don’t have, and that’s fine. It’s good to like and want beautiful things, even expensive ones. But it’s not really in the “wanting” that the problem arises: it’s in how we respond to those desires.

When we focus our energy on getting whatever it is that we want even if it means crossing the line and making compromises that lead us to sin, then that’s a problem.

When we grumble and complain and get depressed over things we can’t have, then we are also sinning.

The remedy? Being thankful.

When we take the time to reflect on our blessings, we begin to see life is full of good things. We renew our mind and refresh our spirit as we realize how much we have to be grateful for. Be thankful for the things we have accomplished through our hard work and patience, and more so for the favors we have received that we do not deserve.

“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” (‭Lamentations‬ ‭3‬:‭22-23‬ KJV)

Thank You, Dear LORD, for all Your wonderful blessings!

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Today we made the most of what it means to be homeschooling at this day and age.

  • Science: While studying about the parts of the plants, we read about how stems and leaves grow from buds that pop open in the spring.  A quick youtube search led us to spectacular time-lapse videos of actual buds opening.

  • Language: Verbs were introduced using a sports theme. We read about soccer and how it is the most popular sport in the world. Since my daughter wasn’t very familiar with it, I had her watch clips from the movie “Shaolin Soccer” as it was the first thing that came to mind.

Of course, I did teach her how the sport was actually played, along with watching some stuff from the World Cup.

  • Filipino: We read a story entitled, “Ang Kaharian sa Kagubatan” (“The Kingdom in the Jungle”) about how the jungle was full of trash and the King Lion asked for a meeting. The animals realized that waste segregation was the best solution to their problem and resolved to separate their trash into “biodegradable” and “non-biodegradable.” In order to illustrate how biodegradable materials decompose and become part of the earth again, we watched this time lapse video of a dead piglet decomposing: (WARNING: IMAGES CAN BE DISTURBING FOR SOME.)

 

  • Mathematics: We’re adding two-digit numbers now. And since we started with some “mental math” strategies from Shelley Gray (which by the way have been very helpful):

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Mental-Math-Strategy-Units-the-Complete-Addition-Collection-166682

I did a quick google search on more mental math strategies and found this:

http://www.homeschoolmath.net/teaching/a/adding_2_digit.php.

 

I honestly don’t know how moms homeschooled decades ago when all these stuff wasn’t available with just a couple of mouse clicks. But, I am very grateful that they are now just a few seconds away now that I am the one doing the homeschooling. Google and youtube have proven invaluable in enhancing what we learn from textbooks. It’s overwhelming how so much information is right at our fingertips.

However, this fact also reminded me about how we are living in the end times. Daniel 12:4 tells us:

“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.”

I remember reading somewhere how this verse has been said to refer to both transportation and the internet, because at no time before now are people travelling from one place to another so much (running to and fro) and the process of transferring information or knowledge been so quick and so widespread (knowledge shall be increased).

And at no time until now has prophecy after prophecy being fulfilled right before our eyes. Just read the news about what’s going on in Israel and the Middle East; the policies and trends being adapted by Obama, the call for religious unity by the Pope, etc… and if one has enough knowledge on Biblical end-time prophecies, it would be easy to see how we are indeed, living in the end times.

Of course, no one knows the exact date as Jesus would come like a thief in the night (Matthew 24), but the Bible also says we would not be like the children of darkness that we would not know when the thief would come. Instead, we are to live as children of light, and therefore, we will not be taken by surprise (1 Thessalonians 5). The signs are here for us to be warned — and for us to pray —  and be ready.

And ready we should be. For us, it’s a reminder not to put too much focus on academics that the education of the heart and spirit is neglected. As with all things, we must seek God first and do all things for His glory.

And be thankful. Thankful for each day that God is still graciously giving us to learn more about Him and experience His love. These are things that cannot be searched in google and is not something we could expect from watching youtube. It comes from having a quiet time of prayer and meditating His Word — something that we honestly have a hard time keeping. Being techie does make it harder for us to know how to have a quiet time with the Lord, but thankfully, He is gently reminding our family to make this our top priority.

Thank You LORD.

 

 

 

A couple of weeks ago, we started on an ambitious art project — making a paper mache globe. I had envisioned it to show some elevation on the continents and our labels would be relatively simple — just the continents and oceans. I thought it would be a perfect project that would match our science lesson on Creation (days of creation / living and non-living things).

We used glue + water mix for the first layer and started with a balloon as a mold.

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We switched to a flour + water mix for the next couple of layers. The kids would tear the paper and help out with laying down the pieces onto the mold, but honestly, most of the work was done by mom. I read that you had to make sure each layer is completely dry before adding another layer to prevent the growth of molds. So we figured since we needed around 6-7 layers for it to be really sturdy, it would take more than a week before we could start painting our globe.

Then one fine sunny day, mom had a brilliant idea: Why not let the paper mache dry outdoors under the sun? That would speed things up. Or so I thought….

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BOOM! This is what we came home to that night. The balloon inside exploded because of the extreme afternoon heat.

I had a couple of more brilliant ideas to try and rescue our project, but generally lost interest for a while…

Then today, I cut up some shapes for my daughter for her to put together and make some sort of artwork during her free time.

And this is what she decided to make: The days of creation.

It then dawned on me how sometimes, as parents, we tend to be overly ambitious with our kids’ projects and presentations, trying to make them as unique, eye-catching and as amazing as those projects we see on pinterest and all those mommy-blogs out there. Or maybe it’s just me.

The Lord reminded me today of our memory verse last week, that each individual is “fearfully and wonderfully made.” I had been trying to make her do something really complicated, and in truth that means I am going to have to do most of the work to make it. And upon reflection, my desire to make an amazing project was so that I could have something to show off — rather than to really make it part of the learning process. I had wanted for her project to be at par with those that I also see on the internet. I had wanted her to be like the other wonderfully-talented homeschooled kids — and I had wanted me to be like the other cool and creative homeschooling moms. I had forgotten to let our own uniqueness shine and bring out the best from what God has so graciously showered us with.

Today, all I had to do was to cut up some colored paper and she did all the work — from conceptualizing (I suggested she do a self-portrait but she said she wanted to do days of creation), to designing her work and putting them all together.

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And she did it all with a smile. No need for pushing or coaxing or bribing. She finished it all on her own and even cleaned up afterward. 🙂

Keeping it simple. Making learning fun. Celebrating how God made us special.

Thank You, LORD!

” I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” – Psalm 139:14

 

 

 

 

 

When people see us with our kids, one of the first questions is usually, “Where does your child go to school?” When I say I homeschool them, especially our 6-year-old daughter, it goes without saying I have to have some sort of follow-up explanation as to why we chose to homeschool instead of enrolling her in a “real” school.

Well, aside from the fact that homeschool is, in fact, a REAL school, here are some of my other reasons to answer the question, “Why homeschool?”

1. I just love my kids so much I want to spend all day with them.

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This sounds like a selfish answer, and maybe it is, but in truth, our kids are only small for a very short time. Soon enough, they will prefer the company of their friends more than family, and one day they will have to leave home for college and eventually to be independent adults. And when that day comes, I will have all these memories of them with me while they were young to cherish and hold dear in my heart.

2. I believe this is what God has called our family to do. Homeschooling is not just another schooling option — it is a calling. Not everyone is suited for this kind of educational setup and even we are sometimes tempted to give up because of the many challenges we encounter day to day. I am far from being a great teacher and I make a lot of mistakes, but what keeps me going is knowing in my heart God has called me to teach my children. So everyday, it’s about praying to God, asking Him for wisdom (and patience!) as well as relying on His grace to fulfill this calling. And as an added bonus, Daddy gets to teach them too!

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3. I want my children to learn the TRUTH and not just the facts. We only have secular schools where we are. In these schools, children are not taught about God or how He gives meaning to all that we have to learn. When they learn about animals, for example, they just learn about the theory of evolution and learn to classify them according to species but there is no reference to God creating them “each according to its kind”(Gen. 1:24). Quite simply, there is no biblical integration whatsoever, and we do not want our children to grow up with that kind of education. We believe that the Bible is the source and standard of TRUTH. Facts and theories and concepts are important, but learning what God has to say about these things are even more so.

  • Bible: We always start with a lesson from the Bible, and values education is always based on scripture.

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  • English: When we study words and phonics and spelling, we first learned that the Bible is God’s Word. When we started with a lesson on “self,” we learned that we are unique and special and “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). 
  • Math: When we study numbers, we learn that God is the “inventor” of math. In the first book of the Bible, we learn how God counted the days as He created our world and how he commanded man and the animals to “increase in number.”
  • Science: When we study about living things and non-living things, we discover that God makes all living things and there is no living thing that is man-made. God gave man a mind to think and make tools and make something out of what He has already provided. But man does not have the ability to create something from nothing; only God has that power.

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Truly, this verse sums it up:

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” – 3 John 1:4

Granted, parents who have enrolled their children to regular schools can teach their kids about God’s Word at home. But in our case, as I mentioned, homeschooling was also our calling, and it carries with it this greater responsibility to ensure that we strive to excel not only in academic pursuits, but more importantly, in “growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18)

OTHER BENEFITS:

And then, of course, there are other things that make homeschooling such a fun family adventure. Things like:

1. Being able to homeschool anywhere. Like in the hospital or dental clinic for example (good thing there was a kid’s play area in the pedia section of the clinic!).

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2. Getting creative with crafts.

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3. Having your little brother as your classmate. (And learning basic electronics while in your jammies!)

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These are just a few of the other simple joys we get to experience in our homeschool adventure.

So, why homeschool? Just because. 🙂

Fruits of the Spirit: LESSON 8 PART 3 – Gentleness (Titus 3:2b)

Lesson: GENTLENESS (Be considerate)

Memory Verse: Be gentle toward everyone.” – Titus 3:2b

Lesson: Gentleness in this verse is taken from the greek word “epieikēs” (pronounced as epi-yay-keis) which means “suitable” or “fair.” It implies acting in a manner that is moderate and careful; it is responding in a way that is not harsh nor quick to judge. Rather, being “gentle” in how we treat others is a way of letting God’s love flow through us and be experienced by the people around us. It is “loving our neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). It is also the same word used in the following related verses:

“Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, “to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.” – Titus 3:1-2

This shows us that being “gentle” means – it is being considerate of others. In other words, it is being conscious about how our words and actions can affect others, and it implies taking that extra step to be careful with what we say and do so that we do not hurt other people’s feelings.

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” – James 3:17

The KJV version translates the word “considerate” as “gentle.” Notice the following similarities:

Titus 3: 1-2 James 3:17
be subject to rulers and authorities and be obedient submissive
be ready to do what is good full of… good fruit
slander no one Impartial and sincere
be peacable peace-loving

 

Gentleness is then best viewed along with these other virtues or characteristics which go hand-in-hand to show us a more complete picture of what it means to be a “gentle Christian.” It is something which we should remember not only when we are with good people; but more so when there are others around us who hurt us or cause us much stress.

Even in correcting others, the bible tells us to do it gently – because God calls us to be humble and recognize that none of us is perfect and we have “different measures of faith” (Romans 12:3). It is acknowledging that though some may seem better than others, the truth is, an honest estimate of ourselves would show us all to be living way below God’s standard – which is holy and perfect – a standard only Jesus was able to meet. Jesus actually tells us to learn this virtue from him, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29). Therefore, we leave it up to God to judge; our role is to encourage one another and to be gentle and kind and most of all, to pray that God will touch people’s hearts and bring them to repentance and belief in Jesus Christ so that they might be saved.

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” – 2 Timothy 2:24-26

Feb 17 2014 Titus 3 2 coloring page

Fruits of the Spirit: LESSON 8 PART 2 – Gentleness (1 Kings 19:12)

LESSON: GENTLENESS (The Spirit’s still, small voice)

Memory Verse: “And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.” – 1 Kings 19:12 (NKJV)

Background:

In 1 Kings 18, Elijah, a prophet of God had a “showdown” on Mount Carmel with the prophets of Baal, wherein they set up two altars and declared that whoever is able to call on their god to bring down fire on the sacrifice is the true God. Sure enough, even when 450 prophets of Baal cried out to their false god from morning to evening, shouting and dancing and even slashing themselves as was their practice when offering sacrifices, nothing happened. But when Elijah had the people pour water on the sacrifice and drench the whole altar in water, he simply prayed that God would show the people that He, the Lord, is God, and fire fell from heaven and burned the sacrifice, the altar, even the stones and soil and dried up all the water. This miracle resulted in the Israelites’ repentance and they killed all the false prophets. This also greatly angered King Ahab’s wife, Queen Jezebel, so much that she sought to kill Elijah, and Elijah ran for his life and hid in the wilderness to escape Jezebel’s wrath.

Here we find Elijah after all his running and hiding. He was feeling very much sorry for himself and he didn’t know what to do. But God had a message for him; a plan, a message and a word of instruction; and in Elijah’s case, this is how He let His presence be known.

Bible Passage: 1 Kings 19:11-12

Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.”

Points to Ponder:

  • When we are troubled, we sometimes want God to make all things right again and we wish for miracles to happen so that all will be well. We want to feel His presence through a supernatural experience, thinking that it is through feeling, seeing and hearing great and amazing things will we know He is with us.
  • The Lord is able to make Himself known in wondrous ways, such as fire from heaven or as we know from the history of God’s people, through the parting of the Red Sea or manna from heaven. He is able to show His glory in all it’s grandness and magnificence and with so much power that people are left in awe of His majesty.
  • But when there is a conflict inside our hearts, when the struggle in inward and we’re feeling lost and alone, God can patiently wait for us to calm down and choose to speak to us through a “still small voice.” Our God is both powerful and mighty, and yet he is also gentle. He is the God of peace and tells us, “Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10).”
  • Elijah was so troubled that even a display of spectacular things such as a great wind, earthquake and fire did not do anything to change his mood. Eventually, it was God’s gentle questioning and instruction that got him refocused on what he needed to do.

Application:

  • This “gentle whisper” or “still, small voice” can be a prompting which we hear in our spirit, much like our conscience. It prompts us to act according to God’s will. God also speaks in a “still, small voice” through the Bible. Scripture is the written Word of God and when we read it while seeking God’s will, often, God answers by leading us to a particular verse or story in the Bible that can be either a word of encouragement, a gentle rebuke or correction, the solution to our problem or a word of instruction on what to do next.
  • Our God always has a good plan; the solution to our problem; a greater purpose for our trials and sufferings, and He wants to make His will known to His children. We need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, and be still, so that we may be able to hear God’s gentle whisper in our hearts.

Prayer: (A prayer by Fr. James B. Reuter, S.J.)

LORD, Look down upon us, this day, this hour. Regardless of what has gone before, or what will come after, give us the grace to consecrate this time entirely to You—all the actions of our body and soul.

May all the thoughts that come to us be true.

May all the things to which our hearts go out be beautiful, with the beauty of God.

May all the things we want be good.

Give us the light to see Your will, the grace to love it, and the courage and strength to do it.

We ask You this through Christ Our Lord.

Amen.

Feb 10 2014 1 Kings 19 12 coloring page