I can't wait to get back to our school routine and I'm itching for fall weather too. Whenever I catch myself wanting to rush a season, I slow down and remember that each day is a gift and each day offers a special grace or surprise, courtesy of our loving and attentive Heavenly Father. I downloaded some pictures to remind me of summer's graces.
For the most part the weather and mosquitoes were terrible, and our favorite garden vegetable, yellow squash, failed for the first time ever. Just too wet and not enough sun this summer. The giant pumpkins died on the vine too.
But there were blessings, as the photos below attest to. And there is hope for a better summer next year.
I love even the sound of that word...hope.
Romans 8:24-25 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
In a couple weeks I start schooling the boys again, along with Mary who will be a first grader. Beth will join in as I have time to accomodate her.
I made room for Mary's weak attention span last year, her kindergarten year, but this year I plan to work her hard. She'll likely need the Lord's grace and strength to make the adjustment. And Momma too, because household duties will get behind as I sit with her for longer segments this year.
My hope is that the right schedule will come together, with God's help, so we're learning and having fun together at the same time. And to maintain Momma's sanity, I pray that under my tutelage, the children will surpass chore expectations as well as their schooling goals.
And on that note, I'll pray for our family and yours as we look to fall:
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for your love and unending grace. Thank you for the opportunity to pray and share our hopes with you. A new season will dawn soon and we thank you for it. We thank you for four seasons--four modes of fun and beauty each year. Your plan is amazing. You are amazing.
Please bless this blog community as we tackle new challenges in time management and parenting. May our standards be high and our children respond well. Shower us with grace for one another and for ourselves as we start anew. Keep our eyes on you and on what you've done--not on ourselves. Change our hearts from selfish to sacrificial. May we live in this world but be heaven-minded.
The world is so very lost, Lord, and that can be scary. We read that 50% of Christian men and 20% of Christian women are addicted to pornography. We read that more and more children are losing their Christian worldview, not to mention their purity. Help us to say no to unsupervised Internet access. Help our children to stand strong for you. Help us, as parents, to practice what we preach. May our children and our families as a whole, become excited readers and doers of the Word this fall.
Give us discernment in all things, Lord. We humbly ask you for wisdom. We humbly ask you for blessing in our homes. Knit us together tightly, Lord. Parent to child and child to parent and sibling to sibling. May we stand strong as one unit, defeating Satan's schemes. May your mercy and grace follow us throughout our days. May we love you with all our hearts, never putting ourselves first, but you.
May we bless the least of these this fall, Father, whether it be through Compassion International or another entity. Help us to give thanks for our blessings, hold them loosely and spread them wide. May we write many a letter to our sponsored children, telling them that yes, Jesus loves them. They are valued, loved, beyond words by their Heavenly Father and by us. May the words sink deep into their hearts, Lord. May they no longer be bound by hopelessness, Father, but by love. Redeem their stories, Lord, and ours too as we give. Make beauty from ashes in our hearts and theirs.
Bless each and every marriage represented in this blog community. May we love one another, sacrifice for one another, extend mercy to one another, for your glory and for the good of our children's someday-marriages. May the health of their marriages begin building today, as our own strengthen.
May we look for blessing and beauty in each September day, may we give thanks, and may we slow down for fixed prayer, honoring our first love. Jesus.
In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
Our ninth annual visit to the county fair!
We're at my aunt and uncle's house here, who are hosting my mom during her visit. Yes, you count five children here. One is a third cousin.