Wednesday, December 9, 2015

CHRISTmas is Upon Us

It is hard to believe that we are in December already! The tree is up, the lights are lit up, the stockings are hung. Shopping is almost done, lists are made, plans are set and life is crazy. WAIT STOP!! What is this all for?! JESUS! But why all the other stuff?!?

Okay lets take a look at the history behind Christmas. The first recorded date that Christmas was celebrated on December 25th was in 337 AD. In 336 AD Roman Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity (he was the first Christian Emperor).Then a year after, Pope Julius I declared the birth of Jesus to be held on December 25th. 

We have no exact date of when Jesus was born, but some believe that Mary was told that she was the chosen one and that she would bear the child of God on March 25th nine months later is December 25th. Some also believe that we celebrate it on this date as Winter Solstice was held around this date, so they wanted to take this celebration and make it a day to celebrate the birth of our Lord. 

What about Santa Claus? Why? Here is a little back story on St. Nicolas.. It all started with a man named Nicholas. Nicholas grew up in Asia Minor (now known as Turkey), He grew up as a devout christian, his parents taught him to love people and God. When he was a teen his parents died and left him with a large amount of money. Living his life by the Lord and obeying his words"sell what you own and give the money to the poor," Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. Nicolas became a bishop of Myra and was well known around Myra for his generosity. 

As a bishop he wore a red coat with white fur and a red hat. He was also an older man with a white beard.... See how that image comes to play. 

When he got older he heard of this family with three girls who didn't have enough money for a dowery (to marry off the girls). If they didn't get married they would most likely end up in slavery. He went to their home on three different days and tossed a bag of coins into the window; some say the bag of money ended up in the girls stockings hanging by the fire drying out. People heard of this and anytime they recieved a secret gift, they assumed it was Nicolas. Do to his good deeds he was given the title of a Saint. 

There is a day of celebration for St. Nicolas which is on December 6th. This is the day St. Nicolas actually died and so it is a celebration of his life. This is a great way to share this remarkable story of a man who lived his life fully to serve the Lord and to help others. 

This is great information to explain Santa Claus to children, and why he does what he does. In our home we do have Santa come and visit we talk about St. Nicolas and how his name came to be known as Santa Claus. How he gives to little boys and girl a gifts, food and or money. But we also talk about how we should emulate St. Nicolas, and work for the Lord every day. So we really focus on giving back through out the year; especially during the holiday season, this allows us to share Gods love to those in need. 

Christmas Tree? Well this dates back to Egyptian times. They worshipped evergreen trees, when winter solstice came they would take the palm leaves to symbolize that life trumps death. The tree was originally a pagen symbol but was adapted into the christian celebration of Jesus for Christmas. The reason behind the Evergreen Tree is because it stays a live and vibrant all year long, it doesn't die, or go into hibernation a lot like the love of Jesus Christ. 

Lets get to it... There are a lot of things that have been added through out the years to Christmas. Most of which is commercialized, I agree that a good portion of it is ridiculous, but I also know my kids love some of this. I also know that my kids know the true meaning of Christmas and that we are to give more and not take. Be happy with what we have and to live a life for our Lord. Jesus is the reason for the season, whether adapted or not. Everyone deserves a birthday party and Jesus is no different. Jesus was Born of the virgin Mary, that is a big deal! We may not know the exact date or year of that birth but we know he was born. So celebrate him this year, celebrate the Savior who came walked among man, sacrificed his life for our sins, died on the cross and rose again from the dead. How amazing is that?!? Enjoy this large celebration of lights, trees, carols, stories, and gift giving. Its the biggest birthday party of the year!

God bless and Merry Christmas! 

My Feet Firmly Planted... Gaze At The Stars.

I often want to take it all on.  I want to be the best at everything, push myself to success and of course never say "No". This is just out right crazy! What am I thinking? I can not be the best at everything, I am not perfect last I checked there is only one who is perfect; and that is not me. God is my shepherd and I will continue to do my best to live my life in his image, but the fact is I will fail time and time again. Frankly that is ok!

Over the past few months this revelation has come very clear to me. I have failed over and over again with my kids, my marriage, my jobs ect. Today I came home from our Community Day and I looked around in (lets be frank) disgust. My house is a mess, I had nothing planned for dinner, laundry has taken over my bed (and tonight I will more then likely push it all to the side and climb in). But I have realized that yes keeping a clean house is kinda important, dinner is very important and putting laundry away is well overrated. Non the less they are all things that are on my long list of things to do in a day. My kids are great and keeping up with their chores and are eggar to help but this week we are saying forget about it.

I am taking steps back from work, I am shifting my focus and changing my tone. I am living life with my feet firmly planted on the ground. I don't need to live a life of YES all the time, or one where I do it all. If someone offers to help me out I will take them up on that offer 99% of the time, because I know I can not do it all alone. I get these grand ideas of all the things we (my family) will get done in a year. Then when week 12 comes (this week) I take a look at that and go OH NO!!! We didn't get half this stuff done! I have failed my kids, my husband, my community, my family! Then I listen to my kids talk about things they have learned, share with others the things they have been doing. That is when I realize my feet where not firmly planted on the ground when I was writing up those lesson plans, I was shooting for the stars. The stars are for gazing not for catching.

My life is crazy, loud, messy, and it does not follow my lesson plans; stupid life! Just kidding this life is perfect and written down in Gods life plan for us. I do not have to follow my lesson plans, or work to be perfect. I just have to work at living out the life that God has planned and do my best at walking in Gods Image.

So know that you do not have to say "Yes" all the time, saying "No" is healthy so practice saying it. Live a life that brings you piece and happiness. Walk the path that God has laid out for you. Keep your feet planted firmly on the ground, just gaze at those stars you do not have to catch them.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Classical Conversations

I can not believe that I have not had single blog post this year, and about this amazing journey we have been on with Classical Conversations. We are already coming up on week 12 of our first year with CC, and what an amazing year it has been!

Homeschooling has not been the most easy adventure we have been on but it has been the most rewarding. Classical Conversations has been a true blessing and I am so happy that we decided to go this route. Last year Ace was in a private preschool and Jae was homeschooled half the year with cyber school and the second half was traditional homeschool. It was a year with many tears, and a lot of frustration as we tried to figure it out. This did not discourage us though, it pushed us to find the right path; and we did! We decided that this year we would pull Ace out of preschool as we felt this was not working for him as he really was not getting the attention he needed as he was in a LARGE class (18 kids aged 3yrs old). We kept Jae out of the school system and looked in to CC for both of them. We truly could not be happier with our decision.

CC has been a staple in our house hold for education, and getting to see how much my kids have grown and how much they have learned is jaw dropping amazing. For example yesterday we were reading the story of St. Nicolas and in the story they talked about Turkey and Constantinople both kids got really excited and wanted to show me on the map where these to places are. As we kept reading we came across the reign of Roman Emperor Diocletian, the persecution of Christians; as well as the Council of Nicaea, all of which they know about! Mind you they are 4 and 6.5 years old!! Then as we read the story of the birth of Jesus during our advent reading Caesar Augustus and both kids yelled "hey we know him!" How amazing is this? I know that this will just keep getting better and their light bulb moments will become more frequent as their education with CC continues.

This is beautiful classical learning style that has been a blessing to my family, I look forward to our on going adventure with CC.