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Well Planned Prayer GIVEAWAY!

I’ve hit 100 likes on Facebook. I feel like this is such a big accomplishment! When I started blogging, I knew that I would blog continually no matter what. Even if I only ever have a handful of views a month, I would continue. I enjoy writing. It’s my small slice of Heaven. It’s my hobby. I’ve never really been able to say that before. When people asked “what’s your hobby” I would always ask myself the same question. What was my hobby?

The more I continue to blog, the more I enjoy it. I’m learning so much, and I have so much to continue to learn. The biggest thing I’ve learned recently is how to set up categories on my website. (You can laugh at me, I know it’s a silly little thing.) But, I barely knew how to use anything other than Word up until a few months ago. I do have plans to monetize, hopefully, in the future but I do need to build a larger following first.

This giveaway is one of the ways I *hope* to achieve that. If you’ve not heard of The Well Planned Gal, she’s a, well, well-planned gal that provides easy to use planners and organizers as well as many useful resources to homeschooling mamas and encouragement. You can visit wellplannedgal.com to learn more about her and her products. I specifically chose this planner because it’s not just for homeschool moms!

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From their website: “The Well Planned Prayer Planner helps busy moms stay organized and prayer focused. Plan meals each week, maintain daily to-do lists, schedule appointments, journal prayer requests, find encouragement, and more.”

*To enter the giveaway:

  1. Go to Facebook.com/schoolinreyes 
  2. “Like” the post
  3. Comment with your favorite planning tool or homeschool resource.

That’s it!  You can comment once a day if you’d like. Please feel free to share with your friends and family. Good luck! 🙂

 

 

*Contest ends July 7th, 2017 at 11:59 a.m. A winner will be chosen at random. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or associated with Facebook or The Well Planned Gal.
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It’s All In The Context

**This post was originally published in FBC Thorndale’s monthly newsletter.**

Verse memorization is a vital part of spiritual growth. It helps us in times of need when we’re unable to sit down and scour the bible for what we’re searching for, or when we’re helping a friend who needs immediate encouragement. It’s part of disciplining ourselves to seek God first in all things, rather than looking for answers in other places. Taking verses out of context can be damaging to our thinking, as well as our walk with Christ. There’s a meme floating around the internet that says, “Someone called me pretty today… well, they said I was pretty dumb, but they still called me pretty.” It’s all about context. THIS is what it sounds like when verses are taken out of context.

However, with “Lukewarm Christianity” more prominent than ever, verses are taken out of context constantly. It’s easy to take an uplifting verse in the Bible and apply it to your life without considering whether or not it actually applies to the situation. Yes, we CAN do all things through Christ… God willing, though. Put into context the ever so familiar verse is more about enduring through a struggle or coping with a loss, rather than overcoming a simple feat or winning a sports game.

10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it.11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:1-13

See, in context, this is Paul saying to be joyful and content in Christ. We should make it our mission to not just memorize verses as stand-alone ammunition when handing out advice or making decisions, but to know what was happening in the bible when those words were used, who said it, and whom it was said to.

“Ask and you shall receive” is another commonly misused phrase. In context, this is said after a conversation between Jesus and His disciples. The disciples ask Jesus to teach them to pray and He teaches The Lords Prayer and then continues to speak to them. The examples he gives us to ask for in prayer are not material things or a win from your favorite team. We’re to ask for forgiveness, guidance, and to live how He wishes us to live.

And he said to them, “When you pray, say:

“Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread,
and forgive us our sins,
    for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.”

And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’;and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence[c] he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” Luke 11:2-10

Context is important. It’s the key to understanding the Bible and it’s the lock the key fits into for righteous living. Asking God for a new car or a nicer house with the idea that asking and receiving is how our relationship with God works will leave you empty and unfulfilled. As will assuming that all things we want are possible through Christ instead of using the verse to learn contentment in all circumstances when pursuing what God has asked.

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Why the Kids at VBS Need More

 

It’s that time of year again when churches are pulling volunteers from all walks of life, and resources from anywhere possible to put on a VBS children will always remember. I, personally, LOVE VBS. It’s my favorite outreach program put on by our church. It’s fun, exciting, and we see kids we only see once a year. There’s wacky decor, and more church members pulling together than any other event.

There’s a struggle that comes with Vacation Bible School, though. The long crazy hours weeks before the actual date, wondering whether or not you will have kids show up, and praying you will have enough volunteers to pull it off is a wild ride. Then there are the kids. They’re the light of VBS, the reason we do it, and also the reason we’re crazy at the end of the day. They’re full of energy, and their hearts are wide open to receive the word. But, sometimes, it can be tough. If you’ve ever volunteered at VBS, you know what I’m talking about. Whether at school, a birthday party, or daycare, there are always children who need more. They’re NOT problematic; they’re NOT bad kids. They just need more. More love. More attention. More Christ.

As VBS volunteers it’s our job to give them more. Sometimes VBS is the only time they come to church. If you’re an avid church goer, and your kids know where their Sunday School room is every Sunday morning, let that sink it. Sometimes this one week out of the summer is their only exposure to church. A lot of times these are the kids that make you want to pull out your hair, but these are also the kids NEVER need to know that. NOT EVER.

VBS is not daycare. As volunteers, we’re not paid workers required to make a note of their “problem areas” and report back to the parents with bad news at the end of the day. What is that going to do for the child? Maybe they’ll get in trouble when they get home. What does that do? It causes those children to lose the excitement for VBS. Losing the excitement for VBS means they’ll stop listening. Not listening means they WON’T learn.

If this is the only experience a child has of church for the entire year shouldn’t we make it the best week possible? Shouldn’t we show them God’s love and not just tell them about it? Children need to hear from us! They need to know we think they’re kind, able, smart, enough, important.

Chances are if there are problems at VBS it’s happening at school too, which means they’re on summer break from the notes home and principle visits. It also means Mama and Daddy are getting a full days experience of their child. Give the kids a break. Give the parents a break. Kind words will change behavior. Kind words will also stick with them for the rest of their lives.

While we can’t let them run through the sanctuary hopping over pews or draw on the walls, we can show them grace. We can choose to correct the behavior without making individual children feel like, well, crap. (Sorry, kinda…) And we can use this week to make an impact on their lives by showing them the love of Christ. Especially if this week is their only week. Let’s give them more.

 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

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You’ve Got Your Hands Full

It never fails. Everywhere I go I always hear: “You’ve got your hands full!” I don’t even know how to respond to it most of the time. What do you say to something like that? “Uhm… yeah, I do…” or my usual and quiet, “Thanks…” Even though I have no idea whether they actually mean that as a compliment. Parenting a large family doesn’t come with a rulebook and comebacks to comments like this. *Usually* this is what people say when they’re not sure what to say, but they know they’re gawking and are actually thinking, “Holy moly! That’s a LOT of kids.” If you’re reading this and know you’re guilty, let’s agree not to say it anymore. If a mama is juggling a toddler and a baby, while her five-year-old has to be reminded twenty times to keep her hands in the cart, she knows. Oh, SHE KNOWS. She’d wave the white flag in surrender if she had an extra hand, but, they’re full and all. And if you’re that mama, I feel your pain, and I know how full your heart is.

There’s always someone staring when we go to the store. If you’ve felt those judgy eyes on you, just know I’m right here with you, girl. I’ve felt and will probably continue to feel the heat creep up my cheeks when I’m in the store, and I can feel someone’s eyes on me and my brood. Who knows if that’s actually why they’re staring, I could have a booger or something in my teeth, but I prefer to assume they wish they had a large family. It’s what gets me through those comments about how we need cable or a hobby.

I once ran into a lady at Randalls. The kids all had to go to the bathroom, and all had excess park-energy, and I was a bit frazzled. She started with, “are those all yours?” I was worried it was going to turn into one of those, “did you do that on purpose?” conversations, but it didn’t. “Wow! You’ve got your hands full.” *Cringe* But then, she told me I was blessed. That she never could have children and adoption didn’t work out for her and her husband. That she longed to have a big family, but it just wasn’t part of her plan. And then, she promised she’d pray for my family. If I was a crier, you could cue the tears here. Kindness is out there, and if you can convince yourself those stares are because they think your kids are adorable, and your big family is awesome, it will make your trip more enjoyable.

So, the next time you’re out and about with your crew, and the looks you sometimes can’t ignore are just getting to you, remember what I do. Remember that sweet woman who stopped me not to ask me how I do it or to tell me how she wouldn’t, but to say how blessed I am. Remember the friends and family members that congratulate your fifth and sixth pregnancy and offer love and support in those first and last tiring months and not those that ask why, or if it was planned. Imagine each stare comes from a place of love or admiration. Even if you just know they’re trying to figure out how to get you a one-way ticket on the Crazy Train.