Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Striving to Serve Him

Saturday, October 21st, we celebrated a special someone's birthday - Ryan turned 24! Due to rain we couldn't go to the shooting range to shoot blue rock as he would have liked, but we had an enjoyable time playing games together indoors. In our family, each person can pick a special meal to have on their birthday. It has become tradition that every October 21st we have turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, dressing, corn casserole and rolls. (It's quite similar to our yearly Thanksgiving dinner as that is Ryan's favorite meal.) So we all enjoyed the treat of a delicious dinner! All in all, we had a wonderful day enjoying each others company, and how thankful I am that God blessed our family with Ryan!

Our girls group has been going very well and we have certainly felt the Lord leading. We have quickly formed relationships with each of the girls we are working with and Thursdays are anticipated by all. Over the past two weeks we have made muffins together, gathered and pressed leaves, made a verse card with a Scripture about being a "keeper at home" (which is the topic that we have been discussing) and worked on the cross-stitches. Earlier this month, Leah and I spent some time with Ellie to do our basic planning for the weeks in November and I'm looking forward to another exciting month.

Group photo (minus one of the girls who was sick this day and the photographer - me=)

Several months ago our family studied the word 'deny' as used in Scripture. Since then, I have been often examining my life as I go through my day. Why am I doing this particular task? What is my heart attitude? Am I doing this as a service to others and to God or simply because I want to do it? Why am I reading the Scriptures? Because I know I need to, or because my heart is eager to learn and grow in my walk with Christ? Trying to develop this "examiner's heart" in my life has been somewhat difficult as every thought pattern, facial expression, spoken word and my actions all need to be examined closely through the light of God's Word to see if I am being obedient to Him. Truly denying oneself begins in the heart and it takes conscious effort. I need to be constantly "Taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ."(2 Corinthians 10:5 NASB); and to have the mind "which was also in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 2:5 KJV).

The past few months has truly been enlightening to me, but also I see how much of my time is spent in satisfying my own selfish and often petty desires. After the examination and discovery of areas of 'self' in my life, comes the surrender of these to Christ. The cry of my heart is that I rest in my Savior. That as I go through my day, it will be less of me and more of Him. What joy to know that His promise is true that if we give our heart and will fully to Him, He will guide us in the path of Truth.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Girls Group

Fall has officially arrived as of September 23rd and the leaves on the trees are changing into brilliant shades of orange, yellow, and red and the farmers are beginning their soybean and corn harvests. However yesterday it felt like summer made a reappearance as the temperature reached 94 degrees! Perfect weather for training our Chesapeakes and Golden on water retrieves (which we were able to do this morning). This afternoon/evening though, the temperature has fallen and it feels more like fall with a steady, somewhat chilly, breeze.

My days have been enjoyably full the past few weeks with cleaning, sewing, animal chores, fiddle practice, helping with the dog training, teaching sewing lessons on Mondays, preparing for and then leading girls group on Thursdays, and many other things.

Girls group has been going very well. We began August 31st and since have met together three times. The girls are all so special and how I've enjoyed our times together! A dear friend of ours, Ellie, is also helping with the group and what a blessing she is. Over the past few weeks, we have taught and discussed the importance of reading and obeying Scripture, and the qualities of love and kindness. Out of the different activities we've done, the girls' favorite so far is cross-stitching. They are always so eager to work on their projects and it brings a smile to my face to see them bent over their work with such focus and determination!

The girls working diligently on their cross-stitches with occasional assistance from Leah, Ellie and I.

Another fun activity that we have done was to make candy. It was a simple recipe and first we made the candy correctly - following the recipe exactly. Then we asked the girls if they thought it would be more fun to make it our own way and not follow the instructions. The girls were a bit hesitant to do this, but Leah and I dived right in to making the most interesting and horrible smelling concoction. It didn't take long for the girls to begin suggesting different ingredients to add. In the end there was applesauce, corn, vinegar, lemon juice, ketchup, mustard, salt, tortilla chips, marshmallows, chocolate syrup, etc in it. After they saw what we had contrived following our own plan, they agreed that following the recipe was much better. We then drew a parallel between making the candy and following God's Word. Each has instructions for us to follow and obey. When we follow the teachings of Scripture, the results are good and pleasing to God. Just like when we followed the recipe for candy, the results were pleasing to our tastes. But when we go our own way, the result is just like our smelly and awful tasting "candy" that we made. Previously we had read and discussed several verses regarding the truth of God's Word, its importance in our lives and why we need to obey it. For God said "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments" John 14:15. Through this object lesson the girls began to understand more clearly the importance of obedience to God.

Leah helping the girls as they measured out ingredients.

Laying out the candy to harden on wax paper

Clean-up time!

As tomorrow is another Thursday, much of today Leah and I spent in planning and preparation. Last week the girls made greeting cards and tomorrow we will be learning how to write and compose a letter. They will then write in their cards and learn how to address an envelope. We will also be teaching more in-depth on kindness. And as usual, the girls will be working on their cross-stitches and writing in their journals about what they have learned. In a nutshell, this is some of what we have been doing and we are looking forward to another exciting day tomorrow!