Sunday, September 12, 2010

Back to School

Another school year has begun. We hit the books (running!) mid August. There is never a dull or slow moment when homeschooling three boys. Joshua is now a sophomore in high school. This will be Seth's first year of middle school and Noah is in the 4th grade. I am learning so much!

like i should've paid more attention in school!

Two of my favorite subjects at the "Ryals Academy" are Fieldtrips and Service Projects! Our first field trip was to a local Alpaca farm.

Alpacas are members of the camel family. They are indigenous to South America. Alpacas are raised for their soft fleece.

I think we caught this guy still eating breakfast.

kinda looks like me before my morning coffee!

It was so hot, this guy decided to skip the fanfare and hang out in the tub.

This was a fun beginning to a new school year.

Once a week the boys go to a class with other homeschoolers. This is the highlight of their week. One thing I love about the class is that every week they have to do a 2-3 min. presentation. This week their presentation was on poetry. They were instructed to find and present on a funny poem or story.

We found the poem, "Friends" by David Harrison online. I thought it would be great for Seth and Noah to present together, because I am always talking to them about being best friends. We added a little something to make it even more entertaining. (if you are viewing this from your email, you will have to click the link at the bottom of this email to go to the blog to view the video.)

I didn't realize I hadn't turned on the camera, so I missed the first little bit, but it's still really cute!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Books 7 and 8 /13

Hey y'all, I'm back! I can't believe it's been over a month since I've blogged. I don't know about you, but our summer flew by.

i must be getting old!

Just because you haven't heard from me doesn't mean that we've been lying around doing nothin'. I have managed to add two more books toward my 13 book goal for 2010.

I basically read these books at the same time. Our Wednesday night Ladies Bible Study group read through the book, "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World". It has a great little study guide in the back of the book so that you can have a discussion about each chapter. Finding intimacy with God in the busyness of life is what this book is all about. Sometimes we get so busy (in the kitchen) that we miss Jesus sitting in the living room, waiting for us to come and rest with Him.

The Lord used this book to really speak to me about how I was living. Recently, I had taken on some extra responsibilities.(ministry) It was good stuff! I really enjoyed it at first and it made me feel like I was doing something important for God. As time went on though, I began to feel more and more overwhelmed and burdened by this new responsibility. As I prayed I felt the Lord was telling me to pull back, or at least that's what I thought I was hearing. Or was it that I was tired of the extra work and knew that I could excuse myself out of it easily? I was really confused. I didn't know what I was supposed to do. Finally, one day I stopped everything, grabbed my bible, and headed for seclusion. I needed time to pray, read the Word and hear from God as to what He wanted me to do.

I specifically prayed for God to show me if I was to give this ministry position up and just focus on the boys or keep things as is. Sometimes when you pray and seek God's will, it takes time to clearly see the answer. That was not the case this time. After praying I decided to start reading the next chapter of this book (Mary/Martha) and surprisingly there before me was my answer.

The chapter title was "The Cure" and the scripture under the title was, "You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed." Luke 10:41-42 The chapter starts out with this fictional story of a man that meets with God in the valley. The man asks God if he can do anything for Him. God replies with a "yes" and says He has a wagon with three stones in it and asks the man if he would be willing to pull it up the hill for Him to the top of the mountain. The man eagerly agrees and begins his journey with the map God gave him that showed the way to the mountain. The man walked with ease. The wagon was light. He was cheerful about his work.

Along his journey, the man passes by a small town and stops for food. While there someone stopped him and asked him what he was doing. When he told them the story, they were elated, because they too needed to get something to the top of the mountain and didn't know until now how they were going to accomplish their task. They quickly asked the man if he would be willing to help them and take their pebbles up to the mountain. Excitedly the man agrees. On and on the man goes along his journey stopping at each little town. With every stop someone added some small something to his wagon to take to the mountain for God. Little by little the wagon began to tug more and more. It was not so light anymore. He was not so cheerful either. By the time the man reached the base of the mountain he no longer could pull the wagon up the hill. He cried out to the Lord and asked Him why He had given him such a heavy burden that he couldn't possible accomplish the task entrusted to him. There the man sat frustrated and over burdened.

Then God looked at the overflowing wagon and began pulling the items out one by one. He told the man that he should have let the others take responsibility of their own burdens. He told him that if he was busy with all those other cares that he would not be able to care for the belongings he had entrusted him to care for. God said to the man that all he told him to take to the mountain were THREE stones! The man suddenly realized the freedom God had just given him and he rejoiced knowing that God's burden really is light. WOW!

I had my answer. I cried as I read that story. I have always felt that raising my THREE boys to be godly men was to be my main focus, but somehow I let my focus get divided. Also references to stones in the bible has always stuck out to me and meant a lot to me. They were used as memorials to remind God's people of His faithfulness and the things/places He had brought them through. So a story about THREE STONES could not have been better written to get my attention. I'm so glad to have a Heavenly Father that cares enough to make Himself known to little ol me!

okay, so that was one book!!!

The second book "Home Education 101" By Vicki Bentley is actually a small group study for new homeschoolers. A sweet friend of mine asked me to lead this small group study... GULP!... to help families who were thinking about home schooling or were new to home schooling... DOUBLE GULP! Reluctantly, I agree. I'm so thankful I did. I learned so much through that study, not only from the bookwork, but also through the wonderful discussion we had as a group. Because there was a lot of reading, I'm counting it as one of my books for the year.

and i don't feel guilty 'bout it one bit... really!

This study verified the message I heard from the Mary/Martha study. It turned my focus right around to where it needed to be.