Tuesday, October 14, 2014

"Come."

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) 

The invitation has gone out. It is at our doorstep. Pick it up and read it, for Jesus says, "Come."  
You are welcome to walk in. "Come." You are accepted. "Come." You are wanted. "Come to me." Jesus is calling your name and desires to know you.

My pastor's wife read that Scripture aloud, and as soon as I heard, "Come" I got choked up. I heard His invitation. I felt His love. I knew His acceptance and was overcome. My Lord has invited me.

I cannot remember, nor am I able to count, the amount of  times where I have had the realization that I was not invited. Talking with friends, laughing, enjoying each other, and then the 'party' came up. Friends would say, "Oh, I thought you just couldn't make it." or "Oh, you weren't invited?" Then came the pit in my stomach in realizing that for some reason or another I wasn't invited. I wasn't wanted. Sadness would ensue for days. Rejection, my steady friend and companion for years, would show up alongside me, BUT Jesus, God, Lord of the Universe, says, "Come to me" to us

And what is His invitation? To come into rest. If you are tired and burdened, (raise your hand if you are tired and weary) and come and rest. He desires for you to come in, drop your bags at the front door, slop over to the couch and lay down. He actually wants us to stop 'doing' and rest.

I remember, about ten years ago when I had four children under four years old, my grandmother-in-law invited me and the kids over to her house for lunch. I came in with two babies in infant car seats, baby bags, blankies, and all the paraphernalia that goes with having little ones. She met me at the door and began to 'unwrap' me from my heavy load. She took one baby, than another. She set up a play area for the kids. Then welcomed me in. As I entered her home I saw the dining room table was set, for me. Beautiful dishes were laid out and more enticing food than I could have asked for. We talked for awhile and then we sat at the table for lunch. She served me. As I took my first bite I began to cry. I felt ridiculous, but the tears flowed without my permission. She put her arm around me and said, "Rest." I didn't have to explain. She knew how very tired I was. How difficult my life was. She understood and offered me to rest. She then got down on the floor and played with my infant twins while I sat and ate lunch in peace. The tears did not stop once while I ate.

Jesus is offering to us, to come in  rest, and "learn from me." Rest your mind, surrender your worries, and "learn from me." The invitation is here, how will we respond? I say, "Yes." I want to learn from God. I want to hear what He has for me. I want His advice. I want to stop striving, stop trying to achieve in making everything right and perfect. I want His plan-His perfect plan. "for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." He is gentle, not harsh. We are safe in Him. We can trust Him. 

I have known Jesus in a deeper way since 1998. In all these years of 'coming' to Him, I have learned that He not only calls us into rest, but into much more. 

Jesus calls to come into repentance.

On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17) Jesus offers forgiveness for our sins. Forgiveness from shame. Forgiveness from guilt. He removes it from us, "As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." (Psalm 103:13) and washes us from our sin "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." (Isaiah 1:18). With the forgiveness of sins, that only Jesus can give, we become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), and receive the fruit of the Spirit which, "is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control." (Galatians 5:22-23)

 He calls us to come and trust Him. 
 "Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:25-31)
Jesus calls us to come into a deeper trust, a deeper faith in Him.

Jesus calls us to come and follow Him.
"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will send you out to fish for people." (Matthew 4:19) We can follow Jesus and tell others about Him.

If you have never asked Jesus into your heart and asked Him to be your Lord and Savior and would like to, read the prayer below and believe that when you ask Him to come to you, He will.

Dear God,

I know that I am a sinner. I believe that you sent Jesus to be my Savior, and that He died on the cross to take away my sins. I believe that Jesus rose from the dead and is coming back someday. Please forgive me of all my sins, come into my heart and change me. Please help me to follow you for the rest of my life. Thank you for saving me and taking me to heaven one day.

In Jesus' Name,
Amen.

If you have prayed the above prayer, and would like to talk to someone about your commitment to Jesus Christ, please feel free to contact me.




Thursday, October 9, 2014

Little House in the Big Woods: Chapter 4

Chapter 4: Christmas

This week we read about how Pa and Ma prepared for Christmas.
Pa made a wooden shelf for Ma, but made it special by carving into the wood little pictures of birds, flowers, and stars. I did not have the proper wood for children to whittle, so we took the idea to carve SOAP and give it away as gifts.









Ma prepared LOTS of wonderful foods to eat for Christmas. One thing was Molasses Candy. The ingredients are: Molasses, brown sugar and SNOW! Well, I happen to have a SNOW cone machine- so we got busy!


Here we are making snow...

and the molasses candy...

and pouring it on the 'snow' just like Ma.








We also read about how Laura's Aunt Eliza was saved from a panther by her dog, Prince. At lunch that day we sat and watched, "Old Yeller." It was perfect.


On our last day of reading we read about the presents Laura received. She was given: A pair of red mittens,


 a peppermint stick, which I bought for the kids at our local "Cracker Barrel' restaurant and her doll.
My older children compared and contrasted our Christmas to Laura's Christmas.



The little guys had to color in a picture of Laura and her new doll and the older children wrote a report on their favorite Christmas present they have received.






Big week, lots of work and I'm hoping LOTS of learning!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Little House in the Big Woods: Chapter 3

Chapter 3: The Long RIFLE

Day 1:
In our time together in the 'Big Woods' we were to read about how Pa: 1) made bullets and 2) cleaned his rifle. Creating the vocabulary list was easy, but understanding all the words not so easy- even for me. I looked to You Tube, funny enough! I searched for videos that would show a rifle from the 1800's, describe the different parts of it, and even how to fire it. I found it!

Before reading the few pages for the morning we watched this video clip from You Tube.
Testing the Accuracy of the 1800 Pattern Infantry (Baker) Rifle.
In the book, Laura speaks of a "Patch box, Cow-horn..., ramrod, etc. There were no pictures or true explanantion of what these items were used for. Watching the video allowed us to not only see each item, but to understand their use.

This video was a great help too! Loading and firing an 1800's Baker Rifle

After we watched our videos, read about Pa's chores with his rifle, discussed it all, we went to our seats and wrote out the steps to making bullets and then we listed together how to clean a gun. (I found the below templates from HomeSchoolShare).
 :


Then we listed together how to clean a gun.

Day 2:

Today we read about a story of Pa when he was a little boy. He was out, late in the woods at night and heard an OWL.

We discussed the story and then waiting for them back at the table were OWL PELLETS! At first they were excited, then grossed out, then excited again as they began unearthing all the bones!





 These two found a vole skeleton! 




We think we found a lizard!

Next we learned how to draw owls!
I have the set of Art Books called, "Draw Write Now." 
These little guys loved it!



ADD THE FINISHED PRODUCTSSSSS!



Day 3:

Today we reread, "The Story of Pa and the Voice in the Woods" but this time we focused not on the owl, but on Pa's disobedience as a young boy. We opened up the Bible and read different Scriptures on what it means to obey the Lord and our parents. 


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

She Didn't Even Write

My eldest, mentally disabled, brother wrote me an actual paper letter where he said how much he misses me. He also wrote to express his love and of course, to ask for a present. He is fifty-seven years old, but at the mental age of a nine year old-he's really cute. He is able to read and write, but not able to address an envelope, stamp it and send it out to me, and this is where, "she" comes in. As I spied the envelope again, I noticed that the hand that wrote my name and address was not of my brothers, but my mother's.

My mother wrote my name.
Did she take a moment when she heard him say, "I want to write a letter to Ellie" and sigh?
Did she tear up when she wrote out my name and realized that she hasn't seen me in eight years?
I don't think so.

Did she think, "Maybe I'll slip in a note to Ellie in his envelope to her."

I have to think, not.

She had a chance.
A secret chance to write to me.
No one had to know. Not even my brother.
As she sealed his letter into the package, she could have passed along a note too.

She didn't.

How does a mother do that?
How does a mother forget her own child?
How does she loose all hope of being reconciled?
How does a mother write out an envelope to her lost daughter and not even write a note on the envelope itself and say, "I miss you." or "Love you too, Mom."

I have no idea.

Lord,
My mother has forgotten me, again.
How many times does it have to happen before the hurt stops?
I give you my mom.
I pray that you will fill her with your love to overflowing and heal her heart.
Bless my mom, Lord.
Let her know, I still love her.
Ellie


Friday, September 19, 2014

Little House in the Big Woods: Chapter 2

Chapter 2:

Chapter two is only twenty pages long and yet it kept us learning and researching, making crafts and creating in the kitchen all week long! We've had great fun.

This week in our Prairie time we read how Ma allowed the girls to use her thimble and make drawings on their frosted windows. We don't have frosted winters in September, so I gave them blue construction paper, white paint and my thimble.


We read all about Laura and Mary's chores. They made their beds every morning and helped Ma clean and dry the breakfast dishes.  Ma also had a special chore for each day:

"Wash on Monday,
Iron on Tuesday,
Mend on Wednesday,
Churn on Thursday,
Clean on Friday,
Bake on Saturday,
Rest on Sunday."

We discussed our daily and weekly jobs and compared them to Laura's.
The templates I got from HomeSchoolShare


(This was my five-year-old's list of chores).

Next we read how Ma and the girls churned the milk into butter.
We made butter too! 
Each child had their own butter container to "churn." 
We wrote about it and entitled it, "I Made Butter!"


This is a little book listing all the steps Laura took in order to make butter.
(We discovered that it was more difficult to make butter in Laura's day then ours!)


Now, it says that when all their work was done that Ma allowed the girls to play with their paper dolls- so, when we were finished with all our work, I let them play with paper dolls too!



 Here's the paper 'little house"- I had it laminated.




Then we sat down and cut out Pa, Ma, and Laura paper dolls!



And there were times when all the work was done, that Laura and Mary played with their real dolls. Laura had a corn-cob doll, but we made corn-husk dolls and played with them!





At the end of the day, when Pa came home at night from trapping, he would play the fiddle. I rented this CD from the local library and as my children worked on their next project for their Lapbook, we listened to fiddle music.

The little guys made Pa's fiddle and my older children wrote a reflection or journal entry comparing how Laura felt when her Pa played the fiddle as to how they feel when their daddy plays the guitar.


The chapter ends with Pa telling a story about how a panther chased his grandfather. 
We checked out books on wild cats, researched, and then wrote up all we discovered on the panther.



 I can not believe how much the children and I are learning! It feels like with every word Laura Ingals Wilder writes there is something new for the children to engage in. I am so grateful for the time together to learn so much!