Wednesday, September 24, 2008

September Memories

Other than the "journey" that God has me on this month, we have been having some fun here at the Engel home.

Inspired by the ever so slight change in our weather - (Nothing like NJ by the way)

Don't they look YUM?!
Ok, let me explain the above picture...That would be Shane "Sweatin' To The Oldies" with Richard Simmons. OH my goodness, this boy found these tapes (I'm almost embarrassed to say I own) way way down in the depths of our video collection. Can you say "the 80s!"?

This is the best part of homeschooling. Now they are fully dressed - I require at least shorts in the morning, but there is nothing like doing devotions to start us off!

These are bees, or dragon flies not sure, but they are just like the children in some African countries make for themselves to play with. They are vegetable animals. This was fun.

Below you will see what we do on Fridays. We belong to a Homeschool Co-op and on Fridays this month the children are being taught all about the election process. They have so much fun being with all of their friends and learning about our Presidents, congress and how the election process works....

Below is Brendan and Shane with their good buddy Valor waiting for class to start! As you can see there are a lot of friends in our humble homeschool group. Some of the signs read..."Proud to be a Republican", "Think Elephant", my children's signs read......"Vote Shane"....and "Vote American" - Brendan did tell me later that he meant to write America, but he is so used to writing the "a" and "n" together (because of his name of course) that it was just a mistake. I saw nothing wrong with that....the way our country seems to be going we never know....we may have to make signs that say that at some time.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Evidence

I could not believe my eyes when I signed on to my blog this evening......September 9th was 13 days ago. WOW! That is so not like me, but I must say, I have been going full steam with all my "balls". The Lord has not really released any yet, so I keep plugging along.

Last week while driving my husband's grandfather to his doctor's appointment and insurance agent, I experienced quite the "thrill". My breaks went out. Yes, there I was with all of this precious cargo and absolutely no breaks. The Lord did see us to safety and once again, I am without a car.....not sure how long this one will last.

Well, I have been pondering this word evidence lately. It is amazing how it is as if the Lord Himself, sits down and writes a prescription for me when I am going through a challenging time. He is so faithful to do that. Sometimes, the prescription is simply more time in His arms, sometimes it is close your eyes and walk, sometimes it is Bible Study. Well, this time I am pretty sure He has written me all three.

Hebrews 11:1 says "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen." This happens to be the King James Version (which I memorized when I was little), it is so fun though to look at the other versions to see how it is worded. But, my word evidence is in this version so I like it. I'm on this journey of faith. You are too. We all are. The journey just varies in scenery and direction, but it is all still a journey. I am in the Beth Moore "Believing" study with a bunch of women from my church. I am just having the time of my life in my small group -- I love these ladies. But if you have been looking for Lisa these past two weeks on Sunday morning, she has been on her face at the altar. The Lord is doing something in me, and perhaps that is why I have been unable to pump out a blog.

Here it goes. Evidence....that which tends to prove or disprove something; ground for belief; proof. Something that makes plain or clear; an indication or sign: In Law; data presented to a court or jury in proof of the facts in issue and which may include the testimony of witnesses, records, documents, or objects.

Just reading this makes me understand where I am in my faith. Faith is being sure of what we hope for, or the substance of things hoped for. Do I know what I hope for? Yes! It is the evidence, the proof, the certainty of things even when they are not visible. Whoa! How can we be certain if we can not see? Hello? I have been certain of my Jesus my whole life, and He has yet to show up in flesh and blood to me. I am certain because I have three miracles named Kyle, Brendan and Shane, I am certain because He rescued me even when I was a sinner, I am certain because the moon and stars are set just so because HE set them there, I am certain because I have seen a flower bloom, I am certain because I believe His word when it says that He is the same yesterday, today and forever. That means that all that He was and all that He is, He will continue to be!

The Lord knows our needs right now. We have some huge mountains that have been placed in our path. My husband and I are determined to watch and see what faith, even the size of a mustard seed, will do. Look out mountains - get ready to move!

Lord increase my faith today. Become bigger and bigger in me Jesus. Do in me the work that needs to be done so that my life may bless you Father. I lay my life, my home, my family, my car, my finances at your feet Abba father. Please, handle my affairs and grant me wisdom to hear you clearly and obey. Amen.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Kids Quotables!

Not much time to be on my computer these days. Having to homeschool all day and then having to share my PC with my children only allows me to get minimal computer time. Which is fine. Here is a short one (I know your thinking....RIGHT?!....it is true this time!)

Little quotes from my little men:

Shane setting the table: "Is this fork for a kid or a human?"

Brendan after reading 6 chapters so he could get to the end of his book: "Mom, go easy on me today, I have crowded my brain with lots and lots of words already this morning!"

Kyle frustrated with Dad for making him get dressed in the morning to go to school: "Daddy Donald Engel...What in the world are you trying to do to me!! I CANNOT wear this shirt!!"

Shane sitting down bouncing his left leg quickly: "Mom look, I can hold a baby now!" (He must see babies being bounced a lot!)

Shane sitting front row in church on Sunday with Mike and I during communion - (kinda loud): "That is Jesus blood and you are GOING TO DRINK THAT STUFF! -- (Yea, it was his first time sitting in for communion - there I was in the front row having to explain all about communion and NO it was grape juice!)

Kyle frustrated again, this time with his brothers: "No one wants to play with me! My brothers won't play, my mother won't play, it is no fun playing with me!" (When I told him what he said, he laughed....."I mean it is too fun playing with me!!"

While reading the story of the Princess and The Frog, I read the part where the young girl has a wicked stepmother and how she was so mean, she made the girl do horrible chores and bring water from the well with a sieve (I demonstrated to show how hard that would be). We finished the story and I made Shane finish his chores (empty trash from bathroom)....he did it, but not without this comment..."You can be just like the wicked stepmother sometimes"........and from the peanut gallery this was heard (Brendan)...."Hahahaha that was classic Shane simply classic!"

Where do these kids come up with this stuff!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Oh The Weather Outside

My boys are currently learning about weather and keeping a weather journal in their science studies. I'm pretty excited that we started here and we've had some "interesting" weather since the beginning of our school year. As a Floridian (native or not) I think we cannot help but become "obsessed" with the weather. It there a hurricane, tropical storm or a tornado? Is there flooding? Is there a fire hazard due to drought? Is there red tide going on right now? How is the beach erosion? At least there is always something to talk about! Anyway, this has been passed on to my children and Brendan in particular loves to watch the weather channel. So to lighten things up, (and it was for his assignment today) Brendan has prepared the weather report for today Friday, September 5th (with the help of Shane, of course!) Enjoy!
video

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Gift List Continued...

The Lord so graciously reminded me (since writing my last blog) that it has been awhile since I focused on what I am grateful for! Here it goes...

116. The "aha" moments of my little Shane! The boy who had no idea what the number 64 was or how to say that number now knows to say "six..T...four"! I am so proud! The same little 5 year old who now after only 2 full weeks of "homeschooling" writes his name! YOU GO LITTLE MAN!

117. My friends who love me through my moments.

118. My Lord who carries me and teaches me through my moments! Oh how I am grateful that I know and recognize the voice of my Savior and friend!

119. Love notes in lunch boxes! I love to write love notes to Kyle and leave them in his lunch box! I love it because he gets so tickled when we hears/reads what they say! (I can be silly, just like him!)

120. Opportunities to read to my children. Our curriculum is very rich in literature! I love to read and I love to read to my kids! Shane is getting to hear all of my favorite storybooks from when I was a child. You know....all of those "Little Golden Books"! Oh, I just love them!!

121. Brendan's sensitive spirit and heart! I found a quite place to cry last week after my conversation with Kyle, and Brendan found me. He put his little arms around me and told me I was the best Mom and that Kyle is going to be just fine! He hugged me and gave me a kiss and my husband came in (impossible to hide in a small house full of men!) and told my son that he was going to make an amazing husband and father some day! Thank you Lord for moments like this, when we can be real with each other and watch the Lord do His thing in all of us!

122. The strength to do what is right even when it is not easy!

123. The excitement of learning and being in the Word of God that is spreading like crazy amongst the women of my church! Go God!!!

124. His everlasting arms that I can freely fall back into without taking a breath! Deuteronomy 33:27 "The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms."

125. Peace in the midst of storms, trials or simply "balls that we are juggling"! Hannah Whitall Smith once said, "The fruit of our placing all things in God's hands is the presence of His abiding peace in our hearts!" You can have all my "things" Lord, I just want You!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My Heart - And Those Crystal Balls

I have been unable to blog for awhile. The following should explain why.

About my heart.....
Sometimes I question the ability of a heart to handle all that is put on it! These past two weeks my heart has been pulled, tugged, burdened, aching, full of love, and broken into a million pieces, but yet it still stands. Amazing. God knew what he was doing when he created a mother's heart.

Last Friday I received a phone call from my Kyle 1st grade teacher. Concerned for him, she called me first thing in the morning. I of course, was not here. By the time I received the message, it was closer to noon. The message went something like this..."Mrs. Engel, I am very concerned about Kyle, he is cry hysterical and I cannot get him to stop. He says that he wants to come home. Could you please call me as soon as you get this message." By the time I got the message, I knew that he more than likely had stopped crying. So, I called and she explained to me again, that yes he had stopped crying, but that he seemed very upset. I explained to her that Fridays are always a challenge for Kyle, just expect that he needs a little extra grace on Fridays. He is exhausted from dealing with all the stimuli all week long, plus having to get up before the sun does not help. She put Kyle on the phone and this is what I heard, in the sweetest little voice you can imagine..."Mommy, I cried very hard this morning. I cried real tears. Mommy, can you come pick me up? I just want to come home. 1st grade is too hard Mommy, I just want to homeschool with my brothers? Is Brendan working? "Yes Kyle Brendan is doing school right now." How about Shane? Is Shane doing school too? "Yes honey, Shane is schooling too." Well, Mommy please can I just come home and do school with my brothers too? 1st grade is very hard and I just want to come home!"

Can you just imagine my heart? Being pulled and stretched to its maximum capacity, it literally hurt inside my chest cavity! My baby is needing me and I knew I needed to say this, (which is what I said) "Kyle, I love you so much! You are such a strong brave boy! You are a great 1st grader!! Mommy is going to come and get you in 2 hours only and so I really need you to put your smile face on for Mrs. Garrett and show her what a brave little man I have OK?" "Ok Mommy I will see you in parent-pickup!" I hung up that phone and cried every tear I had left! As a Mommy I wanted to go running to that school and pick up my baby! He totally knows that his brothers are homeschooled and he is not. He gets that this year. He never used to really understand that! It used to be fine that Brendan had his "special school", Shane had his and Kyle had his own special school. With all of Kyle's changes this year, he is having a challenging beginning, one of which absolutely needs to be soaked with prayers (and evidently a few Mommy tears as well).

I really have sought God on this and know that for now I am trying to do what is best for each of my children individually. Right now, Kyle needs the structure of every day being the same - knowing what to expect. This helps him function a little better. Shane and Brendan have their reasons for being homeschooled as well. Believe me when I tell you, I am not homeschooling because I'm being selfish with my kids. No way, it is just the opposite. For me the easier thing would be to send them to school, but that wouldn't necessarily be the right thing for my children at this point in our lives. As far as Kyle goes, I want to bring him home too. The day will come when he is home, I believe, but for now, until he is able to mature some of those coping skills, homeschooling might not be the best option for him.

About those crystal balls and rubber balls....
As well as being a God's girl, and a mother, I am a wife, a granddaughter, a friend, a sister, a small group leader (of two groups), an AWANAs leader, a sign language teacher (for a homeschool enrichment program), a homeschooler, in charge of primary events in our homeschool group, a women's ministry vision team member, a meal team coordinator and a connextion team leader, and finally I have the role of making phone calls/house visitation to women who are interested in becoming a Christian. Whew, I'm exhausted. I love all of those things, I really do! However, I know myself, when my I am feeling a lack of grace in any of these areas, I am not operating in the will of God, no matter what those things are that I'm doing. My husband's new job keeps him away from home for a good portion of the day and night. We live with his 90-year old grandfather who is really needing more and more of my attention. (Falling down, forgetting medications, drives to Dr. appointments) - I love being able to serve him and all of my other "acts of service" too, but I'm quickly feeling the weight on my heart.

We all juggle balls, all day long! Some are delicate crystal balls, you know the kind that if they are dropped, they will shatter! Then there are the rubber balls, those are the ones that if they are dropped, they just keep bouncing and bouncing, until you (or someone else) can pick them up again. I've been trying to determine which of my "duties or services or roles" are crystal balls and which are rubber. This needs so much reflection for me. I love all of my "balls" and want to juggle all of them, but alas we were not called to be "Marthas" we are called to be "Marys". More and more I am being reminded that I need to stay here at the feet of Jesus and allow him to hand me each "ball", for He is the one who taught me to juggle in the first place. So, I may be needing to rework my life a little. Would you pray for me today? I know I am not the only one in the world who takes on too much with the best of intentions.